The Church of Not Being Horrible

I’m tired.

I’m tired of professed Christians preaching a Jesus that they seem to have no interest at all in emulating; of religious people being a loud, loveless noise in the world while claiming to speak for a God who is supposedly love.

I know the world is tired of such people.

I’m fairly certain that God is too.

I’m starting a new church: the Church of Not Being Horrible.

Our mission statement is simply this—Don’t be horrible to people:

Don’t treat them as less worthy of love, respect, dignity, joy, and opportunity than you are.
Don’t create caricatures out of them based on their skin color, their religion, their sexual orientation, the amount of money they have, the circumstances they find themselves in.
Don’t seek to take away things from them that you already enjoy in abundance: civil rights, clean water, education, marriage, access to healthcare.
Don’t tell someone’s story for them about why they are poor, depressed, addicted, victimized, alone. Let them tell their story and believe they know it better than you do.
Don’t imagine that your experience of the world is everyone’s experience of the world; that the ease, comfort, support, affection you have received are universal.
Don’t be preoccupied with how someone experiences God, how they define family, who they love. Cultivate your faith, family, and marriage alone.

The central question at any given moment in the church is: Am I being horrible right now? If one concludes that they are, they endeavor to not do so. If they are unsure, they allow other people to help them see their horrible blind spots of privilege, prejudice, and ignorance—and then they respond.

In other words, our sacred calling is to be decent, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be whatever it is that we believe the world is lacking: to be the kind of person the world needs—and it definitely needs people being less horrible these days. 

The Church of Not Being Horrible will gather every week to celebrate the inherent goodness of people. We’ll share stories of the ways we succeeded in being less than horrible to our families, coworkers, and strangers, and we’ll challenge ourselves to be even less horrible in the coming week. We’ll do this faithfully, repeatedly, and passionately, and hopefully we’ll begin to watch the world around us gradually become less angry, less bitter, less painful—less horrible.

I’m not sure such religion will catch on, as being horrible seems to be trending these days but I think it’s worth a shot. I think it might alter the homes, marriages, and communities we’re living in, if not the planet we’re standing on. It might renovate our very hearts, themselves so prone to being horrible. It might help us become the best version of ourselves that we are able to be.

If you’re interested in joining the church, you don’t need to pray a magic prayer. You don’t have to attend a membership class or recite any creeds or take a test or promise to give financially. There are no theological or bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

There is no conversion, there is only commencement. You simply begin, right where you are, in this very moment—seeking to be less horrible to the people you live with, work with, come across in the street, interact with online, see from a distance. That’s it. 

It may seem like a low bar to set, but it’s actually a beautiful aspiration: making the world less cruel, less violent, less insulting—less horrible.

If you feel like that might be a religion worthy of your days: let’s have some church, friends.

 

 

497 thoughts on “The Church of Not Being Horrible

    • Oops my comment came up as anyomous…i missed filling in my info
      My comment was i would love to be part of this church..😍

        • I’ve been to UUA and was not happy there. They made fun of others beliefs! I was disappointed and speechless. I hope all their congregations are not like that.

          • Kinda like John regularly criticizing other people he judges as not Christains. Yes that is sad. Sorry that happened where you worshipped.

            • The Bible tells us we’ll know Christians by their fruit. Admonishing the hypocrites and defending the “least of these” isn’t judgemental; simply courageous. And. Truly. Christian.

              • You wouldn’t even be able to see my fruit, although there is much, I feel like you are blind to fruit you’ve never heard of.

                Being courageous isn’t in condemning, being courageous is in trying to understand. Being courageous is holding a hand of a person you once condemned.

                You would condem me. If you ever came down off your thrown and talked to me, you no longer would.

                Good luck to you.

              • Correct biblically. Sound psychologically.
                Protective of fellow human being. Nothing at all wrong with standing up and being a force for reality of the need to change into something better.

              • It seems to me that no one actually knows the specifics about what beliefs were ridiculed, and why. Perhaps we shouldn’t speculate.

            • I agree with what John says. I have never met such unloving people as white evangelical Christian folk. I have tried 3 different evangelical churches who say that they embrace diversity. It took one of the smallest ones 5 years to learn my and my daughter’s names. The other church didn’t welcome us at all but simply stared at us every Sunday for 2 months. The last one only wanted surface relationships, or “shake hands” and great your neighbor only on Sunday mornings. The 3rd church has several campuses and I seem to have authentically connected with people at last. Only time will tell….

          • UU Church is a congregational system. Each congregation is an entity unto it’s self and is self determining outside The Seven Principles all congregations embrace. You may need to visit several congregations to find the right fit. I can assure you, generally speaking, most congregations do not behave that way.

          • No they aren’t, they are each unique to the community they are part of and/or creating. One of the main universal tenements is that all religious thought and belief is worthy of exploration and respect. Not sure how the congregation (or individuals within it) lost sight of this, but as I said before, they are all unique, as are individual people, and noone is perfect.

        • UUs like any group, have some blind privilege spots in their vision field & don’t like them illuminated. Bit they don’t get nasty, they just look right through you. You aren’t there.

      • Dear Scott,

        I owe you an apology. I jumped on you for your reply to “gdd”, when she made a snarky remark about John. You cursed at her, and I allowed myself to be triggered by that.The “extra-stupid” part of my comment to you was that I agreed with YOU.

        In the first place, you weren’t even addressing me – it was none of my business. I have reacted far worse toward some of “those” people since then. I get it now. I hope you’ll accept my apology.

        • I am tired of churches not putting emphasis on Jesus Christ as the crucified and resurrected Son of God. Without this underlying principle, churches are not fulfilling their mission, no matter how many causes they fight

          • No, this is about the Church of Not Being Horrible.

            Plenty of horrible (horribly judge-y, horribly Submit-To-My-Theology-Dammit, horribly emphasize the Cruficition, by how many they crucify) churches that away…

          • FWIW, there are aspects of that “underlying principle” that don’t make a lot of sense if you examine them carefully. I don’t mean to belittle your dedication, but if that’s all you have, I’m not interested. I fear that will offend you, but I sincerely hope you will accept that such is not my intention.

      • Yep….all that silly stuff about only one way to Heaven is woo wooville. That one dude had it correct right when he said to EVE…”did God really say? It worked at the Passover remember when the blood of the innocent lamb worked for everybody and NOBODY died. I’m still trying to figure out tho why the Ark door got shut and all but 8 drown…maybe that was all made up, right?

    • Or we could call it – The Church of Don’t be a D*ck I think even Bill Maher could get on board with that!

  1. I’m in!! My motto has been to leave them with a smile on their face and a chuckle in their heart so this works for me. Grandma used to say if you can’t say something nice, hush up. Peace and Love

    • His church pattern is found in the Bible….”Acts 4:12King James Version (KJV)

      12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

      • If the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all Truth, why are you still stuck in the First Century? Hasn’t the Holy Spirit said anything since then? [Or have too many “Christians” not been listening?]

  2. I agree with the general tone of the post. However, many people may say “I’m being contentious/aggressive, but I’m not being HORRIBLE.” So we definitely can fool ourselves that way. And the thing is, consistent being nastier than we should be makes us horrible.

    Joe Maddon’s (Cubs manager) advice to his players was “Try not to suck.” I think this works whether trying to hit, field or throw a ball, as well as in life. Know the big mistakes. Work to avoid them, and work to put yourself in situations or groups where they are 1) not easy and 2) definitely frowned upon.

    I guess what I’m saying is, if (yes, a monumental if) I started a church, it’d be The Church of Consistent Decency. But I would definitely welcome anyone in the Church of Not Being Horrible, and we would probably find we have a ton in common anyway.

    Hopefully this doesn’t come off as word semantics but different ways to look at the same goals, that is, religion as more than, we’re in the promised land, you’re not.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew’s positive slant to Johns message. I think it’s important to focus on the positive statement, not avoiding the negative. So, sign me up for the Church of Consistent Decency.

      PS Andrew, My son used to play for a soccer club who’s pregame huddle broke on “Don’t Suck” so I had to chuckle at your Madden reference.

    • I think the intent is the same for both. The WWJD was kind of trite to me when I first heard of it but now I embrace it as a wonderful spiritual and moral guide for humanity. I love and admire the brilliant teachings of Jesus. I’m sure had I been exposed to Buddha, Mohammed, and any other religion of not being horrible I would
      embrace them equally. I just joined the church of not being horrible and the church of being decent consistently because I like the idea of being with others who believe this is possible.

        • The fig tree thing was a metaphor. And as far as the other part: Jesus was sort of the “Occupy Wall Street” of the First Century. On the direct action side, to be sure, but I don’t think actually violent [It’s a gray area—but hey, Jesus was human (too)!]

      • Acts 4:12King James Version (KJV)

        12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    • — We need a go-between. On our own, we are unable to avoid horribleness. God is not looking for Self-propelled churches.

      • I disagree. God is omnipotent and doesn’t “need” churches. If God needs anything from us, it is not proof that we believe. He already knows if we believe or not, no matter where we go on Sunday morning or what verses we can quote. If we really want to honor God, we need to show awareness and respect for His creation. EVERYTHING He created. Not just Christian humans, not just white humans, not just humans. EVERYTHING, right down to the insects that pollinate our food to keep us alive. As the article says, we need to stop being horrible. We CAN be in control of our own horribleness. I realize that am not a fully developed soul. I have much to learn, and sometimes I act like the immature being I am. I fully acknowledge and own my horribleness. I don’t blame it on anyone other than myself. By having friends and family of many faiths, I have learned that no faith is the “true” faith except the one that helps you become a better person. Personally, I choose to follow the teachings of Jesus, but I don’t use Him as an excuse to pretend I’m superior to others. I don’t treat the Bible as a book of magic spells that will make me better than others and give me what I want. My faith gives me what I need, which is guidance by a higher power to a higher consciousness.

  3. I love this! My question regarding my actions is whether they are based on love. Which of course is part of not being horrible.

    • Great comment Janet! I’m always humbled by looking inward and asking “what I am doing to make the world a better place.” That’s the Jesus way! Make someone’s life better today! That’s the challenge I give myself. Storing up treasures in heaven can be the result!

  4. Pretty simple, huh? Because church should worry less about being right and more about being humble, helpful, and kind. Thank you, John.

  5. Wow! I no longer attend mass, but I now know that I’ve belonged to a church all along. Kindness has always been my guiding principle in life, and will be until the day I die. Count me in as a dedicated member of The Church of Not Being Horrible, John!

    • John wasn’t pushing any one denomination.

      In my experience the UUs have issues just like most other churches.

      Moving on.

      • yes, i agree. Universalist churches depend on their own volition. But will they last? Not sure what foundation they are built upon.

        • UUs don’t all believe the SAME thing, but many believe in something! There are some atheists who attend UU churches, but I have found that many of those who attend are very spiritual! I have been a UU member for nearly 10 years now. They are very welcoming and accepting of a variety of beliefs. They do great things – tangible I things – to benefit the community. They have a long and rich history in the United States and across the globe. You should research it a bit. This is not a new organization or one that’s going away anytime soon.

    • I agree, Beth. Certainly in many of the points he describes, many UU congregations offer this – a willingness to see the sacred in others, an attempt to understand the beliefs of others, the idea that all of us have inherent worth and dignity.

      “In my experience the UUs have issues just like most other churches.”

      Yes. That’s called “every church that’s ever existed in history.”

      Churches are communities and they’re also a political body – though not all churches are Political with a capital P, the politics of how a church organizes will always bubble up. So, too, does the reaction of the community to core values/beliefs. Some will chafe at restrictions, others will hold up their hands at perceived laxness. UU’s don’t believe in a creed and that may be a challenge for some.

      Certainly UU’s have a bit of the “NPR bubble” label and there’s certainly a valid criticism there. But part of the way to poke that bubble is to welcome more people into the tent.

    • Yes, it is. “Whoever you are, where ever you are on your spiritual journey and whomever you love, you are welcome.” When I heard those words I knew I had found my “home.” Bet part is, they mean it. Then they go out and live it as best they can.

    • Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;
      Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    • Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;
      Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

      • OK, now you’re just spamming. You’ve made your point/posted your (selected by you, from your narrow, exclusionary interpretation) Bible quote—move on.

  6. This is church…when two or more gather in the name of Love (not being horrible) we can change our world.
    John P., thank you for once again pointing to the simple truth that is hard to do in the moment because we are angry, fearful, greedy, belittled, or any emotional state except in Love.

  7. I believe to be more accurate, this is the Church of Wheaton’s Law.
    (From Will Wheaton, and the law goes like this: don’t be a d**k.)
    That covers not only the not being horrible, but takes care of the rest of the actions–and mindsets–that contribute to being horrible.
    As a non-Christian, I would also argue with the concept that this is a Church. To me, “church” is the specific building where specific people gather to do specific religious things.
    What we have here is, to put it into Unitarian Universalist terms, a “congregation” or a “fellowship”. There is no building; we do not need one–or we have a building in which we can gather, but it does not sit empty 6 days of the week.
    From the Dalai Lama: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated theologies. Our own brain, our own heart, is our temple.The philosophy is kindness.”
    But as a Buddhist, I also have no attachment to labels and words. So regardless of what this is called, the concept is world-changing and I’m totally on board with that.
    Thank you, John P, for once again giving us hope in a world that seems very hopeless. I am grateful for your ministering to us.
    Peace and Blessings

    • I completely disagree… The “church” as God defined it has nothing to do with a building or a structure. Man has come along and put God in a specific box that he can understand or try to define. Part of that is this need to beleive that God is in one place but not another. God is in a building we have labled as a church. That God is not in our schools, as if man has the ability to keep God out of a place. God is in each and every person who walks the Earth in the form of the Holy Spirit, whether they believe in Him or not. And God says AWAYWHERE that rwo or more gather in my name I am there. When my wife and I gather at the kitchen table we are at church. When. I meet at a local muffin shop with my men’s group we are at church. When I spend time sitting in the park in time of prayer I am at chruch. Man no more has the ability to keep God contained in any one place then he has the ability to live without breathing.

  8. Surely you see the irony in writing this:

    “Then I asked a wealthy, white, straight, Christian Republican…” one day, then following it with this:

    “Don’t create caricatures out of them based on their skin color, their religion, their sexual orientation, the amount of money they have, the circumstances they find themselves in,” literally the very next day.

    • I’m not convinced it’s as much irony as cause-and-effect. Have you never found yourself so angry, so frustrated, that you say and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do? I think we’re all finding ourselves there these days. I can’t speak for John, obviously, but I wouldn’t be surprised it this new movement is aimed just as much at himself.

      Oh, and kudos for missing the message entirely and instead deciding to be judgmental (i.e. “horrible”).

        • “Dammit. Now there I go being horrible. [sigh] This is harder than it looks.”

          Laughing at this, thank you J_A, yes, kindness is harder than it looks. It sure isn’t the choice of a wimp. Seems like we have a kneejerk reaction to be nasty, sarcastic, snarky, and snide. Takes considerable work to learn otherwise. Not for the faint of heart, embracing compassion and kindness.

        • But you caught yourself. That’s good. Changing behavior is like strengthening a muscle, the more you do it the stronger it gets.

        • Hold on, you are buddy buddy with charles, who, when he’s not referring to women he deems “fundies” as b*tches, frequently tells people to STFU, but you have a problem with my language? Is that supposed to be satire?

          I’m now convinced you are a mole for the right. In his wildest dreams, the evil genius himself, Karl Rove, could not draw up a caricature of the uber left who so effectively discredits everything progressives profess to stand for. I salute you, ma’am. Bravo.

      • So we don’t have to practice what we preach if we’re frustrated? I’d say what we do when things are difficult says a lot more about us than when everything is peachy.

        I understand what he’s saying, I just find it rank hypocrisy based on his clear disdain and derision for everyone outside his ideological fold.

    • You have a point, but it is rather like the typical “don’t hate my hate or be intolerant of my intolerance” point that so often comes up in these discussions.

      Let’s be frank… “Conservative Christians” have made a church of doing precisely those things. They just elected Donald Trump president almost entirely because he’s horrible… (even if they call it “telling it like it is”)

      They have elevated being horrible to people as a supreme virtue, and act as if kinder, gentler people are simply spineless sissies who refuse to call things as they are or give people the “kick in the pants” they need.

      But the reality is they just enjoy kicking other people in the pants and enjoy putting other people down in the guise of hard-nosed truth-telling.

      They enjoy being horrible to others, so they act as if being horrible to others is a noble act.

    • Lionel Posted:

      Surely you see the irony in writing this:

      “Then I asked a wealthy, white, straight, Christian Republican…” one day, then following it with this:

      “Don’t create caricatures out of them based on their skin color, their religion, their sexual orientation, the amount of money they have, the circumstances they find themselves in,” literally the very next day.

      —————————————————————————

      What a brilliant observation. Why haven’t there been comments about this? By his own standard JP was being “horrible.” Do you think he will take this one back?

    • Ah, the old “this is why we can’t have affirmative action” CANARD (or “You ‘Tolerant’ are so intolerant!!1!1”)

      Here’s the Gospel deal: don’t judge God-given, immutable factors (skin color, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability). But it’s not only OK, Christians are SUPPOSED to judge—in order to CHANGE—power dynamics. Systems of oppression. Injustice.

      So yeah: I’ll judge wealth. No, not the infant born into it—but that person, grown up, who doesn’t redistribute it. Not for being white (I’m of the low-melanin tribe), but for not committing to overthrowing white supremacy (and acting on that commitment—something, I confess, I am far from living up to. Kyrie eleison.) [And the same for straight people not commited to overthrowing heterosupremacy. Cisgender people yada-yada. Temporarily physically-able people, and so forth. People who act like national borders are something God-given, instead of *at most* a means of regional organization for the purpose of UNIVERSAL human thriving]

      Judge, judge, judge: I’m happy to do it! 😉 [And I’d *better* submit to judgment, as a Christian, when I’m one of the privileged. As I often am.]

      So there’s no irony in what John wrote—just a challenge.

  9. I like it! I’m in! Do I have to leave my denomination – St. Steven’s de Nineteenth Hole and Loyal Order of The Liberally Caffeinated?

    • I don’t think you’d have to leave your denomination–St. Steven’s de Nineteenth Hole, etc. and The Church of Not Being Horrible seem to me to be able to thrive in a comfortable syncretic relationship–unless some loud-voiced bystander yells “Get in the hole!” at the wrong moment. But nobody said it was going to be easy.

        • I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

          So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

          • In John P’s (un-horrible people church) just wondering… –who gets to say what ‘horrible is’?

            People have differing views on what is ‘horrible’.

            [Personally, I think lying is the worst ‘horrible’ thing to do to someone. Not telling them the Truth, is very ‘horrible’. I think ‘flattery’ is horrible too. ]

            • I agree I don’t like lying or flattery either. Flattery is probably worse, because it is intentional manipulation or bribery. But sometimes people don’t realize they’re lying when they believe the lies themselves. So for that I give people a break and a little compassion.

              • Carmen, just curiosity speaking here…. when someone continually presents the same lies over and over in which they 100% believe and have been presented with evidence and facts which disprove the lie and reject that evidence and facts, what then?

                Many people’s lies have been debunked here and yet people cling to them.

  10. Acts of kindness won’t get you to heaven according to the Christian rule book. It’s the grace of God that gets you there. Most Christians have it all wrong. We do nothing to deserve grace. We only have to believe that Christ was the sacrificial lamb for all the wrong things we have done. It’s a lot to believe. But once you get it, you get the mind of Christ which is peace and love.

      • No, you have to actually believe. There is a difference. When you do actually believe then you stop being horrible bit by bit as you are transformed by grace. I don’t see the ideas of believing and not being horrible as mutually exclusive. I do think it’s a little horrible to accuse all believers as being horrible.

        • Candi, one has to choose to learn to be kind.

          “I don’t see the ideas of believing and not being horrible as mutually exclusive.”

          They aren’t and no one said they were.

          ” I do think it’s a little horrible to accuse all believers as being horrible.”

          John P did not do that.

          • Thanks, Gloriamarie, I am so tired of blanket statements. Nothing in this life is easy, and sometimes I wonder when people say all you have to do is believe, there is so much more to it than that, being kind is not easy sometimes, being loving is not easy but it would be meaningless if we don’t try. Anyway if I misread the comment I am sorry but I admit I have trouble with this simplified all you have to do is believe, that is the easy part, the rest is difficult. Peace……….

            • Kathleen and Gloriamarie, I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. Very well thought out and kind towards others – even when you disagree. I understand what Candi is saying but the unfortunate thing is that it’s hard to really explain through a comments section on a blog post. No matter how many times I read through my own comment, I have no way of knowing how it will be interpreted. All I can say is that it really is that simple but it’s the “believing in your heart” part that’s tricky. It’s not about what you say. It’s what’s in your heart, and that’s between you and Jesus. Too bad we can’t all just meet up for coffee and have a good discussion. So much is lost in written words. Take care and have a good week. 😊

              • I don’t want to belabor this, what I am trying so hard to say, is once you believe then you have to do. I had someone who tried to tell me that if he believed that was enough, no, you have to act on it, not by bludgeoning people but by loving, taking care of, and not just your family, but the worlds family, wherever they are, however they look, whomever they love. So it is not simple, if it was everyone would sign on. That was all I was trying to say. Please you have a great week also. Peace…

              • It’s true. We do the best we can with our words and hope that people read them in the light that they were intended. My plan when reading comments here is to start with the idea that the person writing has good intentions in writing from their experience and viewpoint. And as long as they don’t insult, or twist someone’s words, or say something that oppresses a recognisable demographic, I hold to that idea, even when I may disagree with their opinion. If I choose to write back, I try to find some common ground before I share what my thoughts are on that topic.

                I know that there are others who read searching for the tiniest loophole that they can push themselves through and launch an attack. I have written some comments in very plain language with no hidden agenda and had those comments twisted into a wild fantasy for which I was insulted for. I have to laugh, but it is also sad that some people are that unwell to need to have somebody that they feel they can stomp their boots into.

                • It’s sad but true, Patricia. I can’t help but note that some of those agreeing with you are people who have done exactly as you describe to me and many of us who love John’s blog.

                  I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

                  So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

            • Faith / in Jesus Christ, takes extreme humility. Those humbled are the kind ones. Because they know their low position.

              • I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

                So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

                • Gloriamarie: it’s not ok to be ‘horrible’ to someone. But stuff happens. [ You apologize, ask for forgiveness.]

                  It’s simply not sustainable to never be ‘horrible’. That is why we need a Savior. That’s why its true that Faith + Gods’ Grace Saves. Not everyone is able to do ‘good deeds’ that you are talking about. What about those laid up in a hospital bed? Are they expected to be doing good deeds? They belong to God, regardless of what they are ‘doing’.

                  I think Church IS for HORRIBLE PEOPLE. like me.

        • Thank you Candi,

          Believing, being transformed by grace.. accepting the free gift of salvation..
          Ephesians 2:8-9
          For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, lest any man should boast.

          Yes, God is love , but God is more than love, God is a just God, a jealous God

          We are responsible for our actions and choices .. and the consequences of actions and choices..

          It is irresponsible and it is wrong to say”There is no conversion, there is only commencement. You simply begin, right where you are, in this very moment—seeking to be less horrible to the people you live with, work with, come across in the street, interact with online, see from a distance. That’s it. ”

          Because thats not all there is to it. We can not save ourselves by just being kind to others without the believing coming first.

          I love most of JP’s blogs, but this is where his “teachings” break down for me.. we can not work out our salvation without the believing first. There has to be a conversion first.. It scares me how many people he is misleading with his brand of being a Christian. I love the fact that he teaches to love one another like Christ loves. But he leaves out how Christ loved us so much, He died so that we could have the free gift of salvation. Why else would we want to be like Jesus if we do not believe in the gift He offers us?

          • Angie, you lie. You bear false withness against John.

            The reason you do so, I suspect, is that he doesn’t say it all in the words you want to hear. You want the same thing over and over and over.

            No one will ever grow in their faith by staying in the same place. All of us need to get out of our comfort zone.

            I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

            So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

            • No where did I say its okay to be horrible to people, to anyone, or did I disagree with the choice not to be horrible.

              Pointing out JP’s half truths or the parts he left out is not contradicting what he said at all.. but saying there is more to the story..

              I think you are just trying to find a reason to try and call me a liar , or trying to make me look like a horrible person. I am neither of those things.

              And I absolutely NEVER said anyone should do anything less than treat others with kindness.

              • You constantly berate John P for not saying what you want him to say in the words you want to hear, instead of choosing to absorb what he says. Because of that you frequently distort his words.

                As I said, I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find anything to disagree with in this post. Yet, people have.

                I think too many people come to this blog looking for things with which to disagree.

          • angie. yeah, i think John Ps ‘Church of Politeness’ is missing the mark. He says at his Church there is; ‘no theology’, ‘no conversion’, ‘no need to pray a magic prayer’, where the ‘only question’ is ‘Am I being horrible right now?’

            John P doesn’t say whose Standards he’s is going by.

            (some people think Pro- Life views are ‘horrible’, some people think Pro Choice views are ‘horrible’.)

    • I’ve always traveled my own path. Starting as a young child I didn’t want Jesus to be hurt. It seemed the height of selfishness to demand that he suffer so we could be “good.” It still does.

      For me, he’s always been an exemplar of how to live, love, and how to survive even in the darkest times.

      The crucifixion can be read another way, as a message of hope when we are suffering and don’t think we will make it through, a reminder that we too will survive and rise.

      Too often literal readings miss spiritual and psychological truths, all so we can feel good.

      I think Jesus deserves better than that.

      • ” It seemed the height of selfishness to demand that he suffer so we could be “good.” It still does.” It does to me, also, CR.

        This concept of Substitutionary Atonement is an invention of the Reformers and is not taught by Lutherans, Roman Catholics or the Orthodox. The only Anglican priests and bishop who do so are those who have embraced the Reformation.

        The majority of Christians for the majority of our Church’s history, don’t believe in it.

      • I feel the same way, you said it much better than I. Sometimes when people try to simplify my walk, it brings out not the best of me. I believe there is so much more to belief and not about treasures in heaven or anything but about making life better for people on earth and let heaven take care of itself. Where and how I spend my afterlife is not my top priority, that will come soon enough, how I spend my nowlife is what is important and do I make God happy that he created me. Anyway, you said it good. Peace…

        • Thank you, Kathleen. I’ve never understood the fixation with the after life, if there is such a thing.

          Like you, my spiritual walk is my own. It’s a relationship with life that can not be dictated by someone or something else. Otherwise it is not lived and authentic. It is merely garb we’ve been dressed in.

          We’re all pilgrims on this journey and there is, or at least should be, a great deal of beauty and wisdom to share. But as with those things deeply personal, language can be hard to find. None the less, we reach out, struggling to find words to hold the inexpressible. Peace to you and yours.

          • Like minds, I have never understood the afterlife fixation. I am 75 but I am not worried about that, there is still too much to do. Besides all those people that I have known and gone on before me, I feel them in my soul every day so I’m hoping that I will be felt in someone’s soul someday or not.

            • Have no doubt that you will be held in someone’s soul, Kathleen. We’re all connected in this tapestry of life.

              Your ancestors live on in you, as all ancestors do with all of us. Our children and grandchildren carry them and us into the future
              Perhaps it’s getting older. Perhaps it’s being a grand parent. But I find much comfort in being a small part of a thread that stretches back to the past while moving into the future. Hope that makes some sort of sense.

              • As someone who has been into genealogy for 30 years, it makes more sense than you can know. Nice to meet a like minded soul. Thank you,

                • Been exploring the family genealogy recently and find the process both frustrating and fascinating.
                  The history freak in me loves it.
                  The accuracy freak, not so much at times. So many records. So little time. 🙂

                  • I hear that. I love history too, so it was a natural for me. What is amazing is that you look at history in a totally different light. And when you find an interesting ancestor, wow. Good hunting to you,

          • CR, well said. “But as with those things deeply personal, language can be hard to find. None the less, we reach out, struggling to find words to hold the inexpressible.”

            What saddens me is when someone demands another express deeply personal experience in only one set of words. That unless one conforms to a specific formula, then one’s experience is invalid.

            Seems to me that is forgetting that God created each of us as a unique individual and our response to God will also be uniquely our own.

          • CR,

            What is wrong with a “fixation” on eternal life? This life is very short even for those lucky enough to live to old age, and much shorter than that for many. Why do you say “if there is such a thing” as eternal life in a Christian forum? Christ came to save us from damnation and to lead us to Eternal Life in Heaven. That we have eternal souls is a given.

            Why wouldn’t you want to live forever, and if there is a Heaven and a Hell, why wouldn’t you prefer forever in Heaven instead of Hell?

            We don’t get to live on through our descendants and our ancestors are not living on through us. They have souls that separated from their bodies when they died. Besides, what of those who never have children or grandchildren in your scenario?

            If you were going to make a move across the world to live in a totally new culture for the rest of your life, you would be preoccupied with that and would be making plans to arrive there safely and be prepared for your new life. How much more should we be “preoccupied” with our next life? What is a few years on this earth compared with an eternity that follows, and if our behavior here affects our eternal destiny and our life in our permanent home, then of course we should be thinking about it fixated upon it and living this life accordingly.

            • It’s late and I’m tired. There is too much to unpack in your comment for me to grapple with at the moment.

              Suffice it say the emphasis you describe seems egocentrically focused and that I find off putting. It strikes me as very “I” centered, not “thou” centered.

              The need to “live forever” is not something I share.

              But then I’m fully aware that I am a flawed human being. I don’t begin to have the hubris to think that I have a grasp on the infinite. Nor do I have the hubris to think that God can be shrunk down to a book compiled by men in the 3rd century and rewritten and fought over ever since.

              All I do have is Jesus’s life. His caring and compassion for others. His constant reminder to “love one another.”

              We all pick and chose what matters to us.
              You have chosen your path. I have chosen mine. There is far too much at stake in this life for me to worry about the possible next. What arrives after death, no one knows. I’m ok with that.

              • CR, I look at it this way. We are already living in Heaven. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is at hand. What else can that mean but that the presence of Jesus is Heaven?

                I feel that C S Lewis was divinely inspired when he wrote The Great Divorce.

              • What a wonderful post. Thank you and I do appreciate the tired. Thanks again, and have a wonderful rest of the evening. Peace..

              • CR, you said you didn’t understand the “fixation” with the afterlife as if it were something negative or bad. I simply responded to that.

                It’s a worthwhile fixation, and since you mentioned Jesus as if you believe in Him, then why would you question whether it exists, or do you only believe certain things that the Bible says that Jesus said?

                For me, it’s part of one great piece. Jesus’ words can’t be separated from the rest of the Bible and the Bible can’t be separated from the Church, and there you will find the totality of Christianity and that its primary purpose is to help people get to Heaven.

                What JP is proposing is not a “church” but more of an attitude. It’s certainly good to “not be horrible” but the (real) Church is needed to help the person to that end, as we can be very horrible even when we have convinced ourselves we are doing something good.

                • “but the (real) Church is needed to help the person to that end, as we can be very horrible even when we have convinced ourselves we are doing something good.”

                  A politician in Canada, Senator Beyak, recently got into a mess of hot water when she said that the Indian Residential Schools did a lot of good. This is after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated that the schools committed cultural genocide.

                  The schools were run by the Government of Canada with the help of the mainline churches.

                  Many good-hearted people did go to teach at residential schools believing that they were doing good. Of course, we now know they were sold a bill of goods along with everyone else. So while Ms Beyak’s idea that good was done can make sense from the position of the person thinking they were doing the good, good was not received.

                  All this to say, even the Church itself can think that it is doing good while actually it is doing something horrible.

            • Dear La vida es como una sombra qua pasa.:

              Two question:

              1] Has anyone ever told you that you’re a Gnostic?

              2] Are you aware that Gnosticism is the most blasphemous heresy ever devised in the history of the world?

              Blessings!

      • CR: Jesus volunteered to take on all sin. [No one is forcing Him. ] And Christians arent supposed to re-crucify him over & over. It’s finished. Either accept the gift, or toss it in the trash can. [ He didn’t die so that we could be ‘good’. He says, ‘No one is good, not one.’ ]

        By Faith & God’s Grace, sinners are now seen as Righteous by God The Father. (not by works, lest anyone boast.)

        • You know I am really glad that is the road your following, I wish you would allow us the same courtesy. We have had this preached to us over and over, if we choose a different path, perhaps with different nuances that should be our choice. If we believe in the teachings of Jesus and our understanding of the scripture, won’t you try not to be so dogmatic with where you are at. It is so off putting. I mean this in the kindest way, but you really don’t know what is in CR’s heart or mine so just listen. Peace………………..

          • kathleen.

            If some poor soul thinks that Christians, “in their height of selfishness demand that Jesus suffer so that we can be good.” — then, Im going to say something.

            I think its cruel to any sincere seeker, to let that horrible false statement stand.

            Jesus / and bible scripture are a huge stumbling block for a lot of people.

            Of course I know that you don’t believe in an absolute Truth. Youre certainly allowed that belief. But since John P is always addressing us conservative Christians, then I have open invitation to respond to all his writings. After all, he is writing directly to me. Without me, he’d have nothing to write about.

            • I feel the need to say one thing but I don’t want to belabor this whole thing. The only comment I want to make is this, you do not know what I believe in it’s entirety and that is the point I was trying to make. You only have a smattering of comments and you made a judgement call and I guess that is the thing that bothers me most. It is like looking at someones ethnicity and making a conclusion without taking the time and effort to know them. I’m not arguing and I won’t argue so I wish you well, my beliefs are mine. I have allowed the window to open some but you don’t know me. That is what troubles me. Just some respect would be nice. Peace………..

              • Kathleen, I think you handled that beautifully. Peace How wonderful that you can look out your window and see God’s beautiful work.

                • Joanne, Thank you so much, I am trying to live up to JP’s church of not being horrible. Must admit it is not easy sometimes. I lapse. But then as you say, I look out the window and watch the bluebirds and my heart heals a bit. Peace, Love and Resist.

    • Cindy,
      So you’re saying Christianity is all about getting to heaven, that’s the bottom line? So nothing here and now matters, except for what we believe, so that we can have a peachy afterlife?

      And are you saying a person can’t have a mind of peace and love unless they believe as a “right kind of Christian”? That’s interesting, because some of the most peaceful and loving people I know are not any kind of Christian. They’re not even trying to get on God’s good side. It’s just their nature.

    • Dear Cindy Ortiz:

      I think Calvin said it better with…

      We are justified by faith without works; but the faith that justifies is not without works.

      Blessings!

      • James in his Epistle said it even better, gdd and Cindy Ortiz, “faith without works is dead,”

        I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

        So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

    • Cindy, the largest denomination of Christianity believes that faith without acts is useless. That if you have faith in Christ then you should try to act like Christ.

      That “Acts of kindness won’t get you to heaven according to the Christian rule book. It’s the grace of God that gets you there.” has given cover to acts of depravity, acts of fear, acts of hate in God’s name. “Oh it doesn’t matter that I act like a judgemental ***hole in God’s name..because I claim to be Christian and that washes away all the sins I’ve committed and all the sins in God’s name I will continue to commit.”

      hitler claimed to have faith in God and Jesus Christ. Does that absolve him of what he did? Does Hitler really deserve heaven more than Ghandi?

      • I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

        So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

  11. Pingback: The Church of Not Being Horrible - Feediu.Com

  12. Not bring horrible requires a lot of thought. It is not only not acting like an ass, it is realizing when you are unknowingly horrible. For example, I had a new cleaning lady. Partway through her shift, I offered her a cup of tea because I was having one. She started to cry. It was the first time that a client had recognised her humanity. That made me realize all the times that I had failed in that regard and hopefully I am doing better now.

    • P.S. I had a cleaning lady because I was running a day care. I couldn’t be both cleaning the house and nurturing the children.

      • Patricia, there is no need to justify your need for a cleaning lady. At least I don’t need an explanation.

        I myself have a County supplied homemaker due to my disability and handicapped, and despite the fact that my neighbors see me hobbling to and from the mail boxes, sometimes with a cane, sometimes with a walker, depending on the pain level that day, I still get snarky remarks from some of the neighbors.

        One of the most persistent in the snarky remarks department has an enormously gigantic Icthyus hanging on her front door.

        My homemaker is a blessing from God every single week. She consistently goes past the job description to serve and make my life easier and make it increasingly possible for me to do things on my own.

        I said above that I became a member of the Church of Not Being Horrible when I saw the bumper sticker that said “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” and adopted that as part of my Benedictine lifestyle.

        Yeah, we are saved by grace, but more people will be receptive to God’s grace when they are treated with kindness.

      • You didn’t have to explain. Your previous post fits with when you know better you should do better, my motto, don’t always live up to it but I sure as heck try. Peace,,,

  13. Sir, if more Christians were like you, I would have stayed in the church. Wil Wheaton’s law is honestly a great thing to live by – “don’t be a d-ck” is hard to argue with, and that’s pretty much what you seem to advocate.

  14. I’m in! 🙂

    You said, “I’m not sure such religion will catch on…” – and be assured, it won’t. Religion depends on people knowing how bad they are; being told they are bad all the time makes them act that way; this comes as no surprise.

    Where you said, “…to celebrate the inherent goodness of people”, that’s also where the bad-people religion won’t agree.

    But did Jesus not say in Mat 12:35 (p.p. Lk 6:45) that ‘The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good..’ – so next time someone tells you that everyone is inherently evil, firstly Scripture-bomb them with that verse, and then prove it by pulling them out of a car wreck at considerable risk to your own life- just like any ‘good’ person would do. People *are* inherently good, no matter what the Fundamentalist might say.

    • Yes, because Jesus gave his life so you could prove your moral superiority and how easily you can point out the faults of others…not.

      Careful, Tony. It was the good, moral church folks who wanted him crucified.

    • TC: — the man that saved someone from a car wreck, also cheated on his wife that day. Is he a good man? (just making the point, that in the bible, doing a good deed, does not equate with Righteousness, –which only comes through Faith. )

  15. Did I miss the part of the gospel where Jesus said that pointing out the faults of others made you a better person? Point to any human Earth and you’ll see faults. Jesus said his followers would be identified by their love, not their moral superiority

        • Let us begin with …

          “I’m tired of professed Christians preaching a Jesus that they seem to have no interest at all in emulating; of religious people being a loud, loveless noise in the world while claiming to speak for a God who is supposedly love.”

          You can start with Pastor John identifying a group of Christians distinct from acceptable Christians by labeling them ‘professed’ Christians. It is highly unlikely they self-identify as ‘professed’ Christians, after all, and consider themselves true adherents of Christianity.

          You can continue with his description of their speech as being “a loud, loveless noise in the world”. We can then add …

          “I know the world is tired of such people.”

          How is that not condescension? The ‘World’ is tired of a group of folks because he says so? Seriously? The bulk of Humanity agrees with his ability to discern who is a true Christian and who are merely ‘professed’ Christians’? That is news to me.

          “I’m fairly certain that God is too.”

          And then he doubles-down with God not liking this group either. GOD is on his side in condemning these ‘professed’ Christians who the World is tired of.

          Mr. Allen, Pastor John + World + God are all together on this and we have Pastor John’s say-so about it. Pastor John is claiming to speak for a World tired of behavior he dislikes. He claims to be speaking for a God who also dislikes this behavior. How is this Pastor Pavlovitz not putting himself in a superior position from whence to condemn others?

          “I” speak for the bulk of Humanity.
          “I” speak for God.
          “I” find your behavior to be wrong and I speak for Humanity and God.
          This is textbook condescension.

              • Leslie m offers us a excellent example of the cognitive disorder of overgeneralization.

                John P condemns no one, he merely points out the hypocrisy of a certain segment of Christians. When the shoe fits you make the red herring claim that he says this about all conservative Christians. Unless, of course, you wish to assert that all conservative Christians hold the same theology as each other and the same political views as each other.

                If you do wish to assert that, again that is an example of the cognitive distortion of overgeneralization, because it is patently obvious to me that conservative Christians do not have a uniform theology or identical political beliefs.

          • James I didn’t get that from JP’s post. I thought it was uplifting and humble. Why is it I get a different take from it than you?

            • I got what James got from the post. I can see how you’d think it was uplifting. But it’s problematic on so many levels. Many of which James laid out well. The only time I see humility from JP is when he’s writing lovingly of his children. I think he’s a good man and father. But in my view, he’s deceived and is passing his deception on in his posts.

                • I appreciate that you and I can have a real discussion. I’ll list what I think John is deceived about:

                  Human nature—He thinks we’re inherently good; scripture and observation says we’re born sinful.

                  The enemy—John thinks mainline evangelicalism is the enemy; scripture says the devil is our enemy, the devil and our sinful nature are the enemies here.

                  Scripture—John thinks it’s full of error and shouldn’t guide Christians. He’s bought into the Bible as a 66-book-library-idea. Here’s a question: If it’s a library of books, who’s the managing editor? Scripture is the very word of God. Sharper than any two-edged sword. It is the Christian’s guide. If it guided John, he’d be much less angry and much more wise. He’d fight the real fight.

                  God’s nature—John says rightly that God is all-powerful and good. But he doesn’t think God is holy because he thinks it’s up to us to present him by our standards, not his. Anything goes. John thinks God is a clockmaker God—he created everything, but is not involved because we have free will. I say both are true, and so does scripture. John thinks we’re “co-creators” with God. Not true; we’re sub-creators—we can make a helicopter, but we could never make a hummingbird.

                  The resurrection—did you read John’s post about a hole in the ground? Did you once get a hint of a resurrection? Of eternal life? Uber Doofus, one of the people Gloriamarie wants to ban and Charles wants to break in half, had some good things to say in his blog that were right on about eternal life.

                  There’s plenty more.

                  • Likewise Bud nice to have a decent conversation with you.

                    as far as I can tell the scripture says we are born good but I am wondering how, by observation, do you see we are born sinful.

                    well I agree we are our own worst enemy— I don’t get that he thinks mainline christianity is the enemy but I can see how you would interpret it that way

                    My experience with the Bible is that it teaches and enlightens me— but it is not the exclusive source that informs me and JP is not saying we should not read or love the Bible right?

                    I don’t know if JP is saying God isn’t Holy but I do know Jesus tried very hard to break down the cleanliness laws. God makes us Holy therefore he must be Holy ?

                    When you are talking about the co creator thing are you more concerned about us not being presumptuous as humans ?

                    I think topics like the resurrection are disputable isn’t the what the Sadducees argued about ? We have been having this dispute for centuries then.

                    I am not sure any of this takes away from the Gospel although it may challenge tradition.

                    I guess what I am trying to ask is how important are these things in determining anyone’s relationship with God?

            • Ms. Kathy, much of his message is uplifting ~ don’t be horrible. It is a good ideal. Honestly, if he did nothing but spout swill, I’d be gone by now. He doesn’t. He’s very good.

              The context I see is ‘today is horrible’ whereas … say 2013 wasn’t in some way. There was plenty of bad things going on in 2013 which were just as horrible in so many places yet Pastor John emphasizes ‘today’ which rolls back into his larger message of his Resistance to a Trump Presidency.

              President Obama deported more people from the United States than any other president … nothing.

              President Obama imposed a travel ban to Muslim-majority countries … nothing.

              President Obama killed US citizens with drone strokes ignoring due process … nothing.

              President Obama continued on, or expanded upon three wars (Afghanistan, Syria/Iraq, Libya) … nothing.

              And I do not necessarily disagree {yep ~ cringe ~ double negative} with much of what President Obama did above as a citizen though I know what he did was wrong as a Christian.

              Are there Republicans doing bad things ~ YES. Until Pastor Pavlovitz shines a light upon his own house, he will remain open to such criticism though.

              Personally, I believe we can be good Christians and good Citizens, but we must balance the two. We do not live in a Christian State and it is unrealistic to expect our statesmen to hold Christian values to be superior to the obligations of Citizenry. They should act as what they have volunteered to be = servants of the State.

              • okay James how do we balance the two ?

                It seems right now the two sides are polarized and everyone in between is being forced to take sides or get shot down.

                I thought you were pretty moderate when I first read you comments what do you suggest then?

                • Ms. Kathy … I wish I knew for certain. I think we can start with believing “compromise” isn’t a dirty word. Thinking we can have everything we want is foolish and destructive. It leads to people at loggerheads.

                  As an example; Gun safety. The majority of gun owners are fine with gun registration and modest gun laws. In turn, they want various strict gun laws removed nationwide. The Anti-gun lobby wants the registration, but won’t budge on the stricter gun laws. The Gun lobby won’t budge on opposing gun registration until the stricter gun laws are repealed. Neither side wants to blink first.

                  We could have saner gun laws … if gun owners didn’t believe the Anti-gun lobby wasn’t going to use those laws as stepping stones to totally remove gun ownership entirely.

                  Or, as I recall two people discussing the topic.
                  “Why would anyone want to own twenty guns?”
                  “Why wouldn’t I?”

                  Neither wants to compromise.

                  We also need to understand that Freedom is an Ugly word. It is burdensome, nasty, painful and forever a worry ~ yet we should never want to be without it.

                  We need to remember it wasn’t the Right to bear arms which guarantees Democracy, it is Free Assembly and Free Speech. It has been our fundamental belief the other guy, or gal, gets their say which has kept us going.

                  Plenty of other cultures have had guns and slipped into anarchy, unrest and civil disorder. We in the US have had precisely one screw-up ~ our Civil War ~ in over 200 years. The South and North stopped talking to one another. They stopped listening. Each thought they were right and the other was Evil. We spent over a 100 years recovering from that failure to communicate.

                  Slavery, as an economic system, was doomed. Industrialization and the tide of Western political opinion were making it so. All we needed was time and patience.

                  I don’t think we are about to slip into a second Civil War. We don’t need to. We live in a Global Society now. All we need to do is squabble among ourselves as the World passes us by. Our capacity to do good as a Nation and People will fade as we make ourselves irrelevant.

                  I imagine, as an answer, we could start by not considering our fellow citizens as our enemies. By and large, we are neither delusional bleeding hearts nor misogynist racists. That would be a start.

                  • That is a good example, Mr. Dosher.

                    What I’ve never understood is why we simply don’t treat guns the way we do vehicles.

                    To get a license to drive a car one must be able to prove one knows not only how to drive, but all the laws associated with responsible driving.

                    A car must be registered in the owner’s name.

                    The owner must provide proof of insurance.

                    The car’s registration must be renewed annually.

                    There are limits on the kind of vehicles a private citizen can own. For example, no tanks.

                    If we did this for guns, collecting all that registration money could to the education and training programs.

                    Also, I think the ban on civilian ownership of assault weapons should be reinstated because that is like owning and driving a tank.

                    • We could, Ms. Amalfitano, but people will always defy reasonable discourse and return to the Founding Fathers not bring up our ‘Right to Ride Horses / Mules / Jack-asses’ in the Constitution, or Bill of Rights. They did bring up guns though … so, we are stuck with guns being given special status.

                      At times I wish they had gone for swords instead of guns. At least you need some ‘schooling’ to use a sword properly.

                      We could still effectively defend our property and such like while leaving firearms in the hands of the police and military. With zero commercial market there would be no guns entering the criminal underworld.

                      Sadly, our Nation was founded roughly three hundred years too late for that idea to work.

              • I believe here you nail the primary problem with this blog, and I believe, anyway, the country as a whole. The author, along with millions more, are only willing to hold those across the aisle accountable for what they deem unacceptable. John Pavlovitz does so from the far left, losing his mind over behavior from Trump, while being noticeably silent when that behavior is seen from someone with whom he shares an ideology. Any party that sent Ted Kennedy to the senate for 40+ years after Chappaquidick forever gives up the moral high ground regarding the treatment of women.

                The problem is not confined to the left by any means, and it’s why we will remain hopelessly divided.

                • I have always said there is no high road here. I think the problem I had was when the Republicans claimed to be on the side of God and the party of family values. That caused me to say “baloney”.

                  Words mean a lot to me. A person who lies loses my respect. I am hardly perfect but a person who lies tells me what kind of person they are. I do not know how nor do I think I want to change my opinion on that.

                  • Joanne, you wrote “Words mean a lot to me. A person who lies loses my respect. I am hardly perfect but a person who lies tells me what kind of person they are. I do not know how nor do I think I want to change my opinion on that.”

                    I agree 100%. One of the highest human values has to be integrity. I pursue integrity which includes the pursuit of honesty.

                    As I skip over the words of people whose posts here I will not read, my eye will inadvertently catch one of them calling me a liar when I have shared a life experience.

                    Seems to me only a very pride-filed person could have the audacity to tell me I am lying about my own life. After all, which one of us lived it and no best?

                    I’ve been told I’ve lied about being sexually molested as a child, raped as an adult, my religious vocation has been insulted, that I have lied about what the nuns taught me… oh the list is long.

                    So many lies have been told about me on this blog, I just can’t be bothered to read the words of such people.

                  • I don’t think you should change your opinion on that.

                    Like I mentioned, dishonesty and hypocrisy know no ideology. It’s not for no reason congress has an approval rating in the single digits. It never ceases to amaze me when I see a group of congressmen or senators, democrats or republicans, rail with righteous indignation against something they were all for a few years earlier. Do they really not know google and YouTube exist?

                    • I sometimes wonder if some politicians start out actually wanting to do good. Because money is such a big part of the whole thing they almost have to sell their souls to move up the ladder. No ones gives money to someone that goes against what they believe is right.

                      But maybe power does corrupt. I believe Congress will not be respected until they actually do work together for the good of the people by blocking the extremist side of both parties. If they cannot what good are they doing and why do we need them? But then, I am more of a middle of the road person and quite boring.

          • Perhaps if there were such a fasle teacher her, instead John P is a prophet with a gift of exhortation.

            I guess you don’t like what’s looking aback at you from his mirror that he holds up in front of all of us.

            So you attack the messenger instead of asking the Holy Spirit to illumine your mind and soften your heart.

            • You have no idea of the condition of my heart. It’s quite soft—even toward John. The mirror he’s holding up is no mirror at all it’s a window into his heart. It’s what he’s convinced about and what you agree with. I simply disagree wholeheartedly and would like to express my opinion. My mind is illumined by Holy Spirit AND by the word of God. I think, and this is just my view, that John’s heart is illumined by his vanity and anger. I agree that John does have the gift of exhortation, but the words of prophets are measured against scripture not emotion. John’s words consistently fail the test. You must admit that he rarely uses scripture. Do you know why? It’s because he doesn’t consider scripture as God breathed. John is his own authority. Prophets represent God and proclaim HIS words, not THEIRS. He says he doesn’t believe scripture is God’s word. He says so in many of his posts. John writes words that he thinks are wise and true, and he’s passionate about them. They may move you, but they run counter to what the Holy Spirit tells me is true. Is it possible that John writes what you want to hear? Do you measure the truth his words by how they make you feel?

              • Bud, when I read JP’s posts I can tell he has read the scripture because it shows up in his overall message. I don’t think people need to proof text every time they write something– even though JP has done that in some of his posts.

                • I agree with you. John knows scripture. But I have to disagree with you about it showing up in his message. What shows up for me is a disregard for scripture. And an anger and passion that shows he’s a emotional guy and a fighter. My point is that he’s wrong most of the time because he bases his message on his own opinions, many of which run counter to mine and, I believe, God’s word.

                  • I see, I understand, that struggle.

                    I think you hit on an issue I have had with the evangelical churches for a long time. Why are emotions frowned upon? Btw you use the word passion like it is a bad word. What is wrong with passion?

                    • There’s nothing wrong with passion—as long as it’s controlled and properly applied. John’s passion is like a runaway freight train with no conductor. Nothing wrong with emotions either as long as they don’t RULE us. They must channeled by the Holy Spirit and by the truth of scripture. Do you see how angry John is? He thinks the enemy is mainline evangelicals. The enemy is the enemy. Good evangelical churches teach people to rule their hearts with their spirits in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. Do they frown on emotions or on ruling emotion?

                  • I am simply astounded that anyone could possible find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

                    So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

                    • We can disagree with John’s premise that many churches are “horrible” without being okay with bad churches. I disagree with what he thinks makes churches horrible. I disagree with his criteria for horrible churches. He thinks churches that hold to scriptural truth are horrible. do you?

            • Charles, could you possibly list all the names you know of that he has posted under? Thanks.

              I ask because I am convinced he is a danger to others, if not to himself, and I am going to tell John P this.

              So far, I can think of
              Benny
              Joe Catholic
              Lone Catholic
              Let everyone be born
              Everyone has a right to birth
              anonymous
              Wayne
              A Catholic Perspective
              Bud Maunch
              La vida es como una sombra QUE pasa.
Lionel Hutz
              R J Grayson
              Gordon Nicely
              pj
              Uber Doofus
              The Right to Life
              Another name he used was Miss and I forget the rest od that poseudonym

              • Are these people dangerous because you disagree with them? You’re gonna tell John P. about them so he can ban them from his blog? I think (hope) he left his comments open so people can comment under whatever name they want in the spirit of free speech and open discussion. Are you into censoring opinions you don’t like?

              • Your list looks good to me. If it makes any difference to anyone, posting under different names on the same blog is considered to be a classic breach of basic and long-established Internet etiquette. It is like pulling out your d*ck at a dress-up cocktail party and asking if anyone would like to sniff it and compare their sniff to their vacation visit to the Singapore Seafood Market.

              • I’m not Joe Catholic. I’m not even a Catholic. Any claim to the contrary is unsubstantiated BS, or, dare I say, a lie.

                It’s pretty obvious which posters are one of his many pseudonyms. His writing style is consistent across them all, and the elaborate names are dead giveaways.

                By all means, though, if you have proof to the contrary, please supply it.

                You don’t, of course, but that doesn’t matter to you, does it.

            • Why does it matter what name(s) someone uses on a blog comment? How about judging the validity of their viewpoints by their words and not their commenter names?

                • It’s the way social media works. It doesn’t feel manipulative to me. I disagree that it’s a form of lying. How this: I’ll stick with Bud Maunch and not change it to establish trust with you. Cool?

                  • I will agree that it is the way that social media is used, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing.

                    In the case where someone lives or works where expressing their views can be injurious to their health or their livelihood, a nom de plume is a fine idea. I myself used one for a while so that I could write freely without losing my job. There are valid reasons for using one.

                    In the case where someone hides behind multiple names so as to engage in assholery, and to make it look like many people agree with their twisted hatred, this is dangerous to society.

                    What is happening in the comments sections here lies somewhere between the two. I don’t find it conducive to good discussion.

          • Hallelujah. I don’t care how rude or mean someone is to me, just don’t lie to me about Eternal Salvation! And I won’t lie to you either.

            • I don’t think it’s possible to lie about a thing you’ve had no personal experience with (since I’m assuming all of us here typing are still alive here on earth:) Maybe a more descriptive term would be falsely elaborate, hypothetically postulate, or simply be hopeful for…
              But without firsthand experience can anyone really speak on eternal destiny one way or another? That’s faith. All fine and dandy of course, but to speak of such a description in terms of lies and truth just seems misplaced.

              • Carmen, Thank you for that. I totally agree it is faith, I keep saying we all come to things differently, doesn’t make them right or me right, it is just different, and that is ok, it is faith. Peace……………

              • I absolutely agree with you Carmen. Many faiths believe they have the only key to heaven. There is no way to know if one is right or 10 are right or every one is wrong.

                That is faith. The issue is when you want to tell someone else their faith is wrong. You can spend all day quoting the Bible or telling them how wrong they are but is that what we are meant to do?

                Each person’s faith is their own personal truth. Shouldn’t we be allowed to travel our own path? We can share our truth with each other if asked. My relationship with God is my own. He has control of what happens to my soul.

                • JM. Jesus talks about Heaven quite a bit (he talks about Hell more). This is what Jesus said about Heaven:

                  –My Father’s house has many rooms.
                  –I will prepare a place for you, and come back to take you there, so you can be with Me.
                  — It’s a kingdom prepared for us before the creation of the World.
                  –I will set you over much.
                  –Joyful treasures and rewards are stored up for you.

                  Pastor John says he’s unsure about where he’s going after he dies and that no one can ‘really’ know.

                  • He’s right. Jesus also said that many who judge themselves first in line for Heaven will be sorely disappointed. Many who think they have no chance will be welcomed with open arms. We cannot judge ourselves—like you do Leslie. Only God can judge the heart accurately and take into account mitigating circumstances that were at work.

                    I always love it how you fundies repeatedly say that Jesus said more about Hell than Heaven. You love it so much because you believe “Hell is the greatest evangelistic device ever invented.” I sometimes believe you guys love the idea of Hell and will be disappointed if all your nonfundie enemies do not end up there. But hey, never forget, you may end up there too because many who judge themselves to be first will actually be last.

                    • Whatever Jesus may say about hell is overshadowed by what He says about Heaven which is that it is right here. We live with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and we are already in Heaven. That’s gotta be a bigger persuader than fear of Hell. Fear never results in anything that lasts.

                  • Leslie m. As you know I have only been on this site a few months. From the beginning I noticed that you only commented rarely and when you did I pictured you as coming down from your mount to smite “those of us who did not believe as you” with your rightousness stick.

                    In my mind I thought Ugh whatever she is selling – Thanks but no thanks.

                    A few months in you actually shared bits of your life which I find so interesting and I am very appreciative of what you shared. I admire your faith as I do others on this site. Your faith is your truth.

                    I do not know if you have convinced anyone here that you hold the only true key. I do not think anyone here has. I do know I find it interesting to learn what other people think.

                    As for the other, again, thanks, but no thanks.

                    • I doubt she has, Joanne, because she hasn’t learned the simple truth that one attracts more flies with honey, rather than vinegar.

                      Simple human kindness opens doors and hard hearts in a way bludgeoning people over the head with harsh words never will. In fact people will run in the other direction.

                      leslie m has bludgeoned me in the past and so I don’t read anything she writes. Even though we both had the exact same horror that happened to us in the past, she makes no allowance that as i deal with my own horror, that God might have taken me in a different direction that God has apparently, from what she says, taken her.

    • I read the post and then skimmed through the comments, thinking, surely no one could have a problem with this concept.

      I’m not sure what I was thinking.

      But I do know without doubt that the only people who can have a problem with are those that could not be members of this church.

      But maybe you’ll be able to join someday.

      • Lori, I was thinking the same thing ! And you reminded my of the John Lennon song Imagine and the last lines–

        “You may say I’m a dreamer
        But I’m not the only one
        I hope someday you’ll join us
        And the world will live as one”

  16. “The inherent goodness of people “? Which Bible did you read? Because the one I study shows me time and again that people are not inherently good. Experience shows me the same thing. We are selfish creatures of half corrupted spirit who need the grace of God. Being good doesn’t cut it because we all, no matter what we do, fall short of what God creates us to be. Belief doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility to right action and loving kindness, but a message of “just be a nice person ” is a corruption of the Gospel.

    • I debated on whether to comment or not, my first instinct was to allow my not so nicer person to speak and then I thought of JP’s message and your comment, so I decided I hope you have a better day. Peace and Kindness and Love.

      • What does niceness have to do with anything except for John’s mistaken theology about our natures? I applaud Hyaline for telling the truth while expressing his opinion. Please debate the validity of his comment, not whether to be nice or not.

    • John doesn’t believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Or in God’s sovereignty or in the resurrection or that we’re born under sin. He doesn’t believe in sin—he calls it “messiness.” Makes it easier for him to preach the enemies’ revisionist emerging church self-gospel lies.

      • Please tell me what doctrine of inerrancy that you believe?

        Because John P does indeed believe the actual, historic doctrine of inerrancy which is that it is only the original autographs which were without error. The church meeting in council determined this.

        Anything else is a fasle teaching.

        • I believe that scripture is God breathed. I believe God is inerrant. I believe he gave us a guide for what he wants us to know and do in this life. I believe he’s an active, loving and holy God who cannot abide with sin. Which is why his Son, Jesus died for us. Which makes grace so wonderful. Do you know what God thinks about redemption? Eternal life?

  17. A tad too simplistic … because human morality is difficult, not easy. If it was easy, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have had to die for our sins.

    To beat Joe Catholic’s old drum here for a second: from a purely Christian standpoint, abortion is murder. The Bible doesn’t make contingencies for when a fetus ISN’T a human being. The majority of abortions are NOT performed in matters concerning rape, incest, or a threat to a mother’s life. Would it not be more humane to nurture that life for 10 months and then give it up for adoption instead? Where is your simplistic morality now?

    So, who do you NOT be horrible to; the woman making the tough choice concerning what an unwanted pregnancy will do to her life, or the advocates for the voiceless Unborn?

    Abortion in the United States has been decided on secular grounds: the Rights of the Woman concerning her body should not be infringed upon. I’m Pro-Choice and I’m Pro-Choice because of secular reasons, not Christian ones.

    ***

    “I know the world is tired of such people.”

    Oh, really now … is this based on solid data, or merely a deep-seated desire within your psyche bubbling forth as fact within your Echo Chamber?

    “I’m fairly certain that God is too.”

    ‘Fairly certain’? Just ‘fairly certain’ that you know God’s Will concerning those who profess his faith in a manner you don’t approve of? I don’t put much stock in modern day prophets who tell me to look down upon another group. “Don’t be horrible to people” sounds nice, but then Pastor John seizes upon and tries to confine and define what makes a person horrible.

    “… be decent, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be whatever it is that we believe the world is lacking …”

    The first three seem wonderful, correct? I’ll get to those later. The fourth could be something more like ‘decisive strength and leadership abroad’ and ‘honest governance, prosperity and stability at home’.

    “—and it definitely needs people being less horrible these days.”

    And why would that be? A rhetorical question.

    ***

    “The central question at any given moment in the church is: Am I being horrible right now? If one concludes that they are, they endeavor to not do so. If they are unsure, they allow other people to help them see their horrible blind spots of privilege, prejudice, and ignorance.”

    So, if you are being horrible to our President, you should stop?

    “In other words, our sacred calling is to be decent, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be whatever it is that we believe the world is lacking: to be the kind of person the world needs—and it definitely needs people being less horrible these days.”

    And …

    “Don’t seek to take away things from them that you already enjoy in abundance: civil rights, clean water, education, marriage, access to healthcare.”

    Horrible to whom about what? Does ‘decent’ include ‘law-abiding’?

    Does ‘kind’ include being kind to everybody no matter their actions and affiliations?

    **

    Is this compassion without consequence ~ as in taking into account the price you are demanding others pay for your morality. The moment Pastor John brought up healthcare, he moved beyond ‘Christian Charity’ to the realm of government tax policy, taxation and tax penalties. Opposing the increasing governmental takeover of the healthcare industry is somehow ‘horrible’ to him.

    Does this mean the current government may leave people with healthcare currently without in the future? Yes. How is that a Christian issue? Taking care of people is, forcing the government to assume our duty is not ~ at least not in my mind. Our government even encourages personal charitable donations through tax breaks for Pete’s sake.

    **

    For that matter, opposing Same-Sex Marriage is upon interpretation of religious doctrine, not ‘horrible’. I think it is wrong. The greatest argument for Same-Sex Marriage is secular nature of our government, not religious.

    **

    Precisely why should the full body of our civil rights of citizens be applied to non-citizens when we abridge the rights of our own citizens when they break our laws?

    Is opposing Globalism ‘horrible’? It is perfectly understandable for a person to chose a faith over a nation, but at least be honest about it. Christianity endorses human rights as faith is a human aspiration, not civil rights for the obvious reason there is no ‘Christian’ government to impose its Will upon Civil Society.

    **

    Clean water … sigh … is that 99% clean water and no iPads, or smart phones, or 98% clean water and iPads and smart phones, what will people chose? 98% clean water, iPads, smart phones and the average passenger car costing $150,000, or 95% clean water, iPads, smart phones and the average passenger car costing $35,000? At what point do you call people horrible?

    **

    Education … as in a Public School system which is failing our youth and has for decades? Are charter schools horrible? Religious schools? Muslim schools? Who decided what educational practices are horrible?

    ***

    My problem remains that Pastor Pavlovitz refuses to shed his partisan agenda. He remains a Liberal Progressive which leaves him, in my opinion, little different from a righteous evangelical in that he muddles faith with politics.

    Liberal Progressives can be Christians and good people.

    Conservative Christian Evangelicals can be good people too.

    There are good Democrats and good Republicans.

    The problem stems from folks believing one side is virtuous and the other isn’t ~ aka horrible. You know; when they give into prejudice.

    • James, you lost me at the first sentence in your second paragraph. You are quoting Joe? Really? I couldn’t read on. He’s disgusting.

      • Anonymous, I don’t agree with you. At first, I thought he turned up here just to bait people, which is not very nice, certainly. Then I concluded that he also has an honest and sincere purpose, which is to dispute the things he disagrees with in John P’s posts; and I don’t see why he shouldn’t. Okay, he’s often ‘horrible’ while doing it, but other people who talk about him or to him are often pretty ‘horrible’ as well. So I can definitely see the temptation. “Disgusting” is a very strong word to apply to anyone, and a completely unfair one in my opinion. I challenge everyone reading this to be less ‘horrible’ to the people who disagree with them: both Joe to the rest of us, and the rest of us to Joe. And we should start first; at any rate, I’ve already started.

    • Question of the day: In a debate between James Dosher and John Pavlovitz, would Mr. Dosher win easily, or very easily?

      • James Dosher and very easily. He’d win by default because John doesn’t debate. I’ve tried. He says it; therefore it is.

      • Mr. Gaster, it is an unfair comparison since we have never seen Pastor Pavlovitz debate nor have we seen him rebut any of my issues with his blog posts.

          • Ms. Amalfitano, I agree and understand. If he responded to half the questions on this blog he wouldn’t be able to have much of a life outside of it ~ such as his ministry and family.

            I feel his lack of response is the probably the best as, at best, he could only respond to a few questions, comments and/or attacks thus leaving himself open to folks ‘triumphing by being ignored’ which happens all to often on Social Media.

            When I write in a post a question to Pastor John, I do so as literary license, not expecting a response nor do I ever feel shorted by his silence. His blog – his rules. I honor his willingness to put up with so much … ill will upon occasion.

            He lets everyone have their say. Considering the willingness for moderators elsewhere to remove posts, block and ban we should all appreciate his patience in this matter.

        • John won’t rebut anything here. Gloriamarie is right about why. He debated with me a few times on FB, but it was not a true debate. He simply looked for holes in my questions and then defended his position by writing, “I stand by what I wrote.” After that he was done with any debate.

            • I’m sorry — I should’ve said he looked for holes and found two that weren’t actually holes at all,. just views he didn’t agree with. but rather than try to persuade, he shut down all debate with, “I stand behind what I wrote.” It’s okay, he doesn’t want to debate. He wants to start fires on a pyre of evangelical Christianity and the feed the flames with his anger.

              • May I just point out the obvious, this is John P’s blog. If you want something different why not start your own. I don’t understand how you get to be judge, jury and executioner of someone else’s blog. I am seriously asking, because for the life of me I don’t understand you. Why should he debate. It doesn’t say John P’s debate it’s a blog. Do one of your own and show him up. But this is crazy.

                • Uhm, his, like most blogs, has a discussion section for discussion of views–even opposing ones. i respect john’s not wanting to debate. it’s cool. my motivation for commenting is this: if even one person realizes that John is not portraying God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit accurately, it’s worth it. i have started a blog and invite John, you and anyone else to share their views about what I write.

                  • ” if even one person realizes that John is not portraying God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit accurately, it’s worth it”

                    Thank you for another exampled of the cognitive distortions of mind reading and overgeneralization, not to much how insulting is this.

                    I sincerely doubt that anyone here believes John is not portraying God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What an ego you must have to think you know better than the rest of us>

                    Come to think of it, that statement is n example of two other cognitive distortions, “jumping to conclusions” and “global labeling.”

                    As for your blog, will you be changing the name of that blog as often as you change names here?

                    For more info on cognitive distortions: https://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-cognitive-distortions/

                    • I think there are other dissenting voices here besides mine. Weren’t you guys decrying this joe character? what about the people on your list? Why can’t you handle dissenting voices in a social media situation? If you disagree with me, persuade me … without the psychoanalysis, please.

                  • Ah, discussion, I always thought discussion was we each listen to each other and respect that there can be different views. I would never say you are wrong about your view of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I recognize that we each hear and see thru the lens of our experiences. That one is not purer than the other, that God is so large a concept that he appears to us in different ways depending on one’s journey. He is not one size fits all. I respect your view, but you refuse to give some of us the same respect and that disturbs me. I hope you can grow and understand that God is different things to different people at different times. The God I believed in when I was a child has grown so much larger as I have grown. I hope that you can find it in your heart not to be such a jerk.

                    • You still do not get it. You did not hear what I said. Perhaps it was a fools errand. So I wish you peace.

                    • So just to recap: It’ s not just my opinion; it’s how I express my opinion—with confidence and passion—that you guys dislike. When i do it, I’m a jerk. when John does it—he’s an inspiring prophet. We both express our opinions with passion (he even more so than me) but because you guys agree with him, it’s okay. Because you disagree me, it’s not okay. I see.

  18. So of course I agree with this idea and willingly embrace it. Where I am wrestling is with the anger and yes hatred i’ve experienced as a result of my inability to deal with the reality of who is now 45. My humanity and compassion for “the other” is being tested, daily if not hourly. And who is the other in this story? The other is 45 and everyone associated with him and the politicians who will not do what is right. And yes, the Christians who voted for and support him. I make confession daily regarding this. I even wrote a letter to 45 (not sent). The only way I can see him as one of God’s creation is to observe him as a 4 to 9 year old who went through some sort of trauma that he is still dealing with. Not to let him off the hook but just so I don’t let my anger grow and fester into hatred. But I hate what he is doing and I hate how the vulnerable and disenfranchised are even more vulnerable and targets of his horrendous ideology and policies.
    So I will continue to work on my “logs” but I will not stop resisting and I will not close my eyes to the injustices that continue.
    And I will continue to work on not being horrible to anyone.

    • A good place to start, Rev, is to acknowledge that “the other,” or “45” has a name. He’s a person. He’s President Donald Trump.

      Many Christians voted for him and support him for good reasons. Try to understand that people can embrace conservative principles and life for all, including inconvenient life in the womb, for good reasons. (What’s done to the fetus or embryo by an abortionist is pretty “horrible,” wouldn’t you agree? Hillary favored this horrible treatment, while Trump and his supporters do not).

      I don’t see that anyone is being “targeted.” Can you be specific about that?

      I don’t understand Christians who voted for the Wicked Witch of the West, but I don’t hold it against them. If we had elected this catastrophe, then I would have accepted it. We have more important things to do in this world than wring our hands over who is in office. Our eternal souls are at stake.

      But it is nice that the adults are in charge now, and I sincerely believe President Donald Trump has our best interests at heart and that he is working hard for our country and that we will all be much better off than if Hillary had won.

      At least try to understand that Trump and his supporters are not “horrible” and neither did they intend to be “horrible” to others. You of all people, by claiming to be a Reverend, should give people the benefit of the doubt

      • Adult. Since we have such differing understandings about what comprises adult behavior, i’m pretty sure we’re not going to have much more to say to each other. And saying his name nauseates me.

        • Do you realize, Reverend, that many Christians voted for Donald Trump (and Republicans) because of the injustice of abortion? Now you may be fine and dandy with it, though that would be sad for any Christian to take that position, especially one in leadership, but can you at least accept that those other Christians were motivated by doing what they believed is right and just for all?

          There were other reasons besides that, like wanting to work.

          Please consider that possibly you are the one whose thinking is askew and whose motivations need to be examined.

          But how hard is it to give someone the benefit of the doubt? Why is it so hard to not hate people who think outside of the confines of that liberal left wing box of thought? Why do you expect their religion to align perfectly with such thinking, especially since it is political and not religious?

          Something is very wrong if a Reverend to has to struggle with not hating President Trump or his supporters. That shouldn’t be difficult at all.

          • I am so confused. If someone states their opinion and you don’t like it they are wrong but you can turn around and try to shame them and call them wrong. I personally don’t get it. That was her opinion, and some of us agree some don’t. But then to shame someone, that is a form of bullying. So I’m confused. Maybe I read it all wrong.

              • That’s probably true but once in a while it seems that peoples duplicity under whatever name should be called out for what it is. I am coming to the opinion that this is a very unhappy person or they would not behave like they do. Why else would you vilify someone you don’t know.

                • Because this person who posts under many name is seriously in need of mental health care. This is a serverely damaged individual who needs help, given the addiction to lies and a pathological obsession with women’s bodies.

                  I sincerely wish John P would report him to the authorities who could track him down via IP address and remand him into the psychiatric care he so desperately needs.

                  I say that with love and compassion for a person who hurts and suffers.

          • Sorry if my humanity offends you. I clearly noted that focusing on my log was a thing I needed to do.
            I’ve seen enough destructive behavior from someone you admire to not want to see anymore occur. I mean really. You’re ok with an individual admitting to assaulting women?
            Re children: can i assume you are concerned as wrll with the children who are alive and suffering now? Children in Flint Michigan. In the Sudan. In Somalia and Syria? And in our towns and cities? Children being separated from their parents? Just asking.

            • I’m with you, Rev. Joanna. This election was more complicated than just one issue. Our President and his entourage do not represent me, nor do I believe the actions of many of them are safe for so many in this country. I am looking at the big picture, and so many will be harmed under his Presidency if his policies go through. My faith community has sponsored a family from Somalia that came immediately after the ban was lifted. A single mom with 8 children. 8 years in refugee camps. Her husband left to find work 2 years ago and never returned. They came here to be safe. To find peace. Why are they less important to this administration? To Christians in general? That is unacceptable to me. I also think it would be unacceptable to Christ. Maybe if we spend more time supporting those who need assistance right now instead of being righteous and “holy” and judging them we would could truly “make America Great Again.” I struggle every day to understand how we got here. It’s contrary to everything I believe. I understand, Rev.

            • No I’m not ok with anyone assaulting women and there is no evidence that he did. Regardless, the vast majority of Christians, including me, voted for him regarding his policies which we felt were more in alignment with Christian principles than those of his opponent. My point to you is not to debate any of the issues, but that people who supported him did so for their own good reasons, and you should be able to respect that. If you can’t, I frankly don’t think you belong in any Christian leadership position. It should be easy as falling off a log to accept that others did not vote for your candidate and think differently than you do and had their own good reasons for how they voted.

              @Joanne, I just picked that name because that’s where our opponents always go. If we want life in the womb to be protected we therefore have to “hate women.”

              • I told you I believed that you honor the Sacramento of Matrimony. I couldn’t understand picking such an ugly name. You generalize unfairly.

                Abortion and misogyny are 2 different things. Misogyny is treating abortion as just a woman’s issue or fault when it is not and never has been. Attitudes need to be changed.

              • The evidence is his own words. I’m not debating anyone here. I said I struggled with the reality that his behavior and policies toward other human beings presents an all too human response in me where that is concerned. The fact that being not horrible in some cases is a challenge. And I acknowledged what it means as a Christian.
                Enough said.

          • I believed you when you said you honored your wife and your marriage vows. Why would you call yourself a misogynist Joe? Are you really prejudiced against women? Is that why you have chosen abortion as your cause? You do realize that since the beginning of time that women have been held 100% accountable for something they are 50% responsible for. Do you think that is right?

            You have chosen one mortal sin and use it to strike out. What about the other 9? I understand voting for Republican policies. What I don’t understand is excusing a liar. He slanders people. No one challenges him to tell the truth. TO TELL LIES IS TO COMMIT A MORTAL SIN. He does it almost daily. Do you think a woman would have an abortion almost daily? Why do you make excuses for his constant sins. You gift him with an honorable heart. His talking heads tell us we take him literally like that is something bad.

            He is the President! He is also supposed to be a man. Real men do not lie constantly.

            He is also a serial adulterer. That’s 3 Commandments broken.

            You have every right to believe your Republican policies. You gift a sinning liar as a good person while you disparage those who cannot respect a liar. Not respecting a liar is not a sin.

            I do not lie. I cannot respect one who lives by lies.

            • I believe Donald Trump wants the best for our country and for me and you. I don’t know about any “lies.” If he has told lies he has to answer to God for that. I know that Hillary has been caught telling some whoppers. He’s an imperfect man, but I believe he is trying to do good.

              I agree that men should be held accountable for unwanted pregnancies. They should not be let off the hook (which is what an abortion does, and then they can do it to someone else).

              But back to the point which was not to debate abortion, but that some people–probably the vast majority of Christians–thinks that it’s “horrible” to treat a fetus or an embryo the way an abortionist does, and therefore they were voting “against horrible.”

              If sounds warm and fuzzy to be in the “church that isn’t horrible,” but it’s not that simple as what is horrible to one person might be something nice for someone else. We all have concupiscence and can all be drawn into behavior that might be satisfying to our “lower natures” but that is not good and that could indeed be “horrible.” For example the young single man who pressures his girlfriend to have sexual relations as as an expression of “love” is doing something horrible to her and to himself, but others who have no firm grasp on an objective Truth might not see it that way at all.

              I have to be careful about posting too much or what I say. I’m here illegally and one false step and I could be deported again, hence my many disguises…

              • Joe, thanks for you kinder gentler traditional expression of your point of view. I think you made a good point ” it’s not that simple as what is horrible to one person might be something nice for someone else. ” I think you have a lot of empathy for the unborn I just wish you had the same empathy for the living breathing person in the here and now who find themselves in an impossible situation– that you have never been in.

                • I do have empathy for them. My anger is at the system and our culture for allowing and promoting it. I know women who have been there. I know what they went through before it and I know what they suffered afterwards.

                  But once again, I didn’t mean to debate this topic but to make the point that people voted as they did for what they believed were good reasons and “against horrible.” You might agree or disagree with their reasoning, but I think they deserve to have their good motivations respected. If that could be done, there wouldn’t be any temptation to hate them.

                  And secondarily, by what standard do we judge what is “horrible”? One man’s “horrible” might be another man’s “wonderful.”

                  • Okay well I think you made your point long ago about abortion and the election, eh?

                    I am interested in your statement, “And secondarily, by what standard do we judge what is “horrible”? One man’s “horrible” might be another man’s “wonderful.”

                    I think that is a good point do you mean like how I dislike the taste and smell of liver — but I tolerate and accept those who like liver and eat it ?

                    🙂

                    • There are moral absolutes. If I bring three wives to the “church of not horrible” will anyone be horrible with me and tell me I only get to keep one, since Christianity only allows for one wife? Facing that reality might feel “horrible” but speaking that truth isn’t horrible and in the long run would be what is best for me. Or is the “church of not horrible” based on moral relativism, and if I’m ok with it then the church is ok with it?

                      Reluctantly, I must revert to the abortion topic since it easily makes my point. It might be “horrible” to some to tell them it’s wrong to have an abortion, so the “church of not horrible” might be entirely “pro-choice,” but what it does to the embryo or fetus is very “horrible” from their perspective and from the perspective of those who want justice for the unborn who see that with an abortion there is a victim.

                      That’s why “not being horrible,” though it sounds nice, is not a sufficient basis for a religion. It’s too easy to do horrible things and protect that behavior by calling it horrible to address it. (Abortion is just one example. There could be many more).

                  • Joe et al, please just choose one identity and stick with it.

                    I am simply astounded that anyone could possible find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

                    So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

              • I understand your feelings but you seem to see all those who did not vote the same as you as voting for evil. Can you not see that you are doing the same thing you accuse the other side of doing?

                I feel the difference is a matter of compassion. You see it a different way. I see you as not helping your cause when you call others horrible for their compassion. I am not a murderer but I do have compassion for the situation in a different way than you do.

                Peace, joy, and happiness

              • If you don’t know about 45’s lies, you haven’t been paying attention. Politi-Fact has been tracking the truthfulness of statements made by politicians regardless of party. If you check out this page:http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/ you will find that 45’s statements are True, Mostly True or Half Truth 30% of the time. The other 70% of his statement are Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire. They back this up with the research that shows how they made the determination.

                But you don’t even have to go that far. Just listen to 45 himself. On Monday he will make a statement. On Tuesday, when asked to comment on that statement, he will say, “I never said that”, even when here is video available proving that he said that.

                • Patricia, while you are certainly accurate in your statements, and I admire you for your attempt to get through to him, so many of us have said the exact same thing to him to many of various pseudonyms and he ignores anything that doesn’t fit his agenda.

                  He claims to be such a devoted Catholic, but I know first hand that no Catholic teaching encourages Catholics to embrace evil as wholeheartedly as Benny/Joe/Lone/Let/Everyone/A Catholic et al.

                  He keeps changing his identity to suck people into his morass.

              • OMG! Deported? I can’t stop laughing. You voted for the man who wants to build the wall. He wants you out of here.

                Your “many disguises” is a lie and you need help. Seriously. I never met anyone as sick as you are. Joe, even those who disagree with you want you to get help. Your behavior is not normal.

                • I think what has amazed me is that Joe is basically saying that somehow 45 deserves God’s grace but Hillary doesn’t. Somehow he can justify this man’s behavior, which has been terrible almost all his life, he was sucker punching his teacher when he was ten, and all of Daddy’s money couldn’t keep him in that school, but he can’t give the benefit of the doubt to………… say a Democrat. There is a double standard here. No I am not conceding that Hillarys sins are as great as 45’s, either, I am pointing out Joe’s logic. I agree I think this is a very unhappy individual who really doesn’t want dialogue. Just saying.

        • And since his name is also his brand, and he continues to profit from his brand, I choose not to increase his bank account.

  19. I attended an evangelical, non-denominational mega church for several years. I served as a volunteer and was pretty much immersed in the church. As volunteers we would wear shirts with “No perfect people allowed”. I slowly came to the realization that the church leadership did not walk the talk…or they were too willing to overlook their own flaws and growing arrogance. I left the church and have been wandering in the proverbial wilderness for the past several years. I know this to be true: as long as I’m wearing my earth suit, I will not find perfection. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sorry for rambling. Peace

  20. So… it’s obvious to me that you left out one group of lives to be included in the church of not being horrible to people.
    How about not being horrible to all animals, not just the human one. Their lives( animals) are just as valid and worthy of living without humans using and abusing them,No?

    You sound just like all religions that I abhor…..the animal world was put here for us to use by God. They are not inferior to us!

  21. I’m in the middle of reading THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF by Lipton. Have you read it? It completely supports what you are saying. It’s a bit of a heavy read on cell biology, epigenetics, and quantum physics, but it all leads to spirituality and love. He started out as an unbeliever but from his study of these areas came to believe in the existence of God and the importance of cooperation and love for the survival of our species and our world.

  22. I love this John Pavlovitz and I am saying this prayer for your blog

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.

    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
    Amen.

    • Yes, Sunny :), That is exactly what John P is saying.

      I am simply astounded that anyone could possible find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

      So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

    • Very nice. If I may make a recommendation … the last line:

      “and in giving up this life we are born into the Eternal Light.”

      I was thinking the attitude of ‘surrendering one’s life to Christ’ as the gateway to our eternal reward. Just a thought.

  23. I have been an almost daily commenting guest on this here John Pavlovitz blog for a little over three years, and I have learned many things as a direct result of my experience here. I thought this might be a good time to share with you what I have learned:

    1) Christians (no matter what their denomination or stripe) are just as bad (and often worse) than the worldwide system of evil (called the “world” in the Bible) that they so often condemn and claim to be unlike. It is really quite pathetic—but not unexpected—because we all still live within the circle of sin in this life. However bad we are is a reflection of just how bad the church is—because we are the church.

    2) Christians disagree with each other far more—across a vast spectrum of disagreement—than they agree with each other. It is a wonder we have not all killed each other off over the years—and it is a known historical fact that we who claim to be Christians are responsible for the deaths of millions of people by sins of direct commission and sins of omission. No matter how much we might deny it—truth is—more of us Christians distrust—and even hate— each other and hate our fellow men and women who are not Christians.

    3) It is a good thing that John Pavlovitz’s “The Table” is a virtual table—because if it were a real table—many of us would be in prison on various charges for having reached across the table and done something really bad physically to another person.

    4) “The Table” was a really bad idea because it has never worked out the way John Pavlovitz wanted it to work out. He envisioned a table where all would come together in good faith, learn that we were just ordinary people, become friends, put aside our silly religious differences, love each other, and “cumbayah” forever. Good luck on that in light of 1 through 3 above.

    5) Most Christians do not want the real and complete Jesus in the Bible. They are not interested in him and they are especially not interested in being anything like him or actually following him. All they really want are his “dog treats.” You have seen it before. The Master reaches into his Purina bag, pulls out a treat, holds it up in the air so the dog can see it. Suddenly, the Master disappears in the mind of the dog. The only thing that exists in the world is that treat and the dog’s desire to get it at all costs. Christians are like that with Jesus. They want salvation from Hell. They want blessings. They want every other damned and undamned thing on Earth (like a scholarship for little Joey). The only they do not want is to really follow Jesus and really be anything like him—way too damned hard and not in keeping with the things most important in man’s secular culture. “You killed my wife—now I’m gonna kill you.”

    6) Christian groups (subset groups of Christianity as a whole) maintain social unity through hatred. Each group needs another group to hate in order to remain cohesive and internally unified. Roman Catholics hate Protestants. Fundies hate LGBTQ people. Protestants hate Catholics. Southern Baptists hate followers of Islam. Everyone hates the atheists and agnostics. I could give you a long list of hates here.

    7) All that LOVE stuff that Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about so much is just a cruel and cynical joke in modern Christianity. How could anyone ever take that seriously after becoming fully aware of Items 1 through 6 above. It is no wonder that we rarely ever see any of it. The fundies recognized that and ditched LOVE in the 1980s. I used to read a lot about LOVE in Christian bookstores up until about 1985-1986. In those two years, I noticed that the LOVE went away. I would go into those same Christian bookstores, browse books, and see the preachers and lay Christians who wrote those books ditching LOVE. One of the most popular ditches was: “LOVE is weak and has become synonymous with permissiveness—we have got to find a better way.” Well, they found one all right. It was HATE that they found—and they LOVED it.

    8) We are all a mess here folks—and Jesus has barely even scratched us. If Keanu Reeves in his role in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were to visit this blog and read the comments section, Gort’s metal locusts would surely be dispatched to devour us all:

    • Excellent analysis, Charles, thank you.

      I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

      So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

      However, if people would like a place with conflict, a place of peace, repose, and safety, I invite all to a place where disagreements and arguing is never allowed. The discipline required of all members is they look for what they can affirm in the posts and only comment upon what they can affirm. I amtalking about the Facebook group, Celebrate What Christians Have in Common, so named because in actuality, we have far more in common than otherwise because Jesus.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1409874399270377/

    • “Roman Catholics hate Protestants”

      I have never met a Roman Catholic who hates Protestants. Many Catholics once were Protestants as I was. Many Catholics have friends and family who are Protestant. Catholics don’t hate Protestants.

      This is your projection, Charles, and it has no basis in fact, and therefore your other assertions regarding who hates who are not credible. (Neither is your prediction that the world will soon come to a fiery end).

            • Seriously? What planet do you live on that you do not know the history of the Roman Catholic Church? Yes, their members have done wonderful things. Yes, the liturgy is beautiful. Yes, the church’s traditions provide the foundation on which to build a good life. But at the same time, hate was taught. This is known. There are documents. There are eye witness testimonies. Nobody needs to prove that hate was taught at their parochial school 60 years ago. It is something that is known to have happened. Churches are unfortunately populated by people, and people can be awful.

              • Patricia, thank you.

                This person has proven over and over again that he does not have the maturity level of an adult. He does not demonstrate the life experience of an adult. He has told us repeatedly that he enjoys baiting people here, as a child would enjoy it. He repeatedly rejected all the evidence facts, and simple truths that have been presented to him because they don’t match his prejudiced worldview.

                As for the proof he demanded since he can’t be bothered to google it.

                It dates back time to a time long before the Protestant Reformation itself, as various pre-Protestant groups such as Arnoldists, Waldensians, Hussites and Lollards were persecuted in the Roman Catholic Europe.

                after the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, the persecution of Huguenots and the French Wars of Religion in France, switch of power between Protestant and Roman Catholic rulers after the death of Henry VIII of England in England, the launch of the Counter-Reformation in Italy, Spain, Habsburg Austria and Poland-Lithuania. Anabaptism arose as a part of the Radical Reformation, lacking support of the state Lutheranism and Calvinism enjoyed, and thus was persecuted.

                nti-Protestantism, also known as Catholic Anti-Protestantism, originated in a reaction by militant societies connected to the Roman Catholic Church alarmed at the spread of Protestantism following the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Martin Luther’s Proclamation occurred in 1517. By 1540, Pope Paul III had sanctioned the first society pledged to extinguish Protestantism.[1] Christian Protestantism was denounced as heresy, and those supporting these doctrines excommunicated as heretics. Thus by canon law and the practice and policies of the Holy Roman Empire of the time, Protestants were subject to persecution in those territories, such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, in which the Catholic rulers were then the dominant power. This movement was started by the reigning Pope at that time and various political rulers with a more political stake in the controversy then a religious one. These princes instituted policies as part of the then extant Spanish Inquisition, these abuses of that crusade originally authorized for other reasons such as the Reconquista, and Morisco conversions, ultimately led to the Counter Reformation, and the edicts of the Council of Trent. Therefore, the fallout from the political repercussions of various European rulers for their own political reasons supporting Roman Catholicism or the new Protestant groups, only subsequently branded as heretical, and after rejection by the adherents of these doctrines of the Edicts of the Council of Trent, resulted in religious wars and outbreaks of sectarian violence, one example of which is the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

                In 1771, Bishop Charles Walmesley published his General History of the Christian Church from her birth to her Final Triumphant States in Heaven chiefly deduced from the Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle, written under the pseudonym of Signor Pastorini. The book forecast the end of Protestantism by 1825 and was published in at least 15 editions and several languages

                In Franco’s authoritarian Spanish State (1936–1975), Protestantism was deliberately marginalized and persecuted.

                Among theologically conservative Christians (including Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, as well as Evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists), mainline Protestant denominations are often characterized as being theologically liberal to the point where they are no longer true to the Bible or the historic Christian tradition. These perceptions are often linked to highly publicized events, such as the decision to endorse same-sex marriage by the United Church of Christ. While theological liberalism is clearly present within most mainline denominations, surveys show that many within the mainline denominations consider themselves moderate or conservative and holding traditional Christian theological views

                https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Anti-Protestantism

                • And it isn’t all in the past. About a dozen years ago, our then Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, was present at a Roman Catholic Church for a state funeral at which there was communion. Ms Clarkson took communion as did everyone else present. A picture of her receiving communion was published in the news at which point some people lost their minds. Ms Clarkson is a known Anglican. How dare she!? It didn’t seem to bother the Archbishop who gave her communion until later when it hit the press. Then he said that it was inappropriate because that was the sacrament and Anglicans are know to take communion “in any old way.” It wasn’t a good day for interchurch dialogue.

                  • I know, Patricia, I know. And kudos for them misrepresenting Anglican Eucharist. That’s always lovely.

                    At some point after Vatican 2, Anglicans were embraced by the then Pope as “separated brethren.” I thought at the time and I still think, his action would have have a much more profound effect had we just been welcomed as brethren without the emphasis upon separation.

                    Christians have far more in common than otherwise. This I firmly believe and dedicate hours every day to proving it.

                  • I stand by my statement that Catholics don’t hate Protestants and that they were never taught to hate them. I would love to see the proof of that from Ms. Amaliftano regarding the school where she claimed that happened, but no such proof will be offered–just accusations and dredging up of things from centuries ago. We are talking about the here an now.

                    A non-Catholic should not be receiving Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass. The reception of Holy Communion implies an acceptance of all that the Catholic Church teaches, which an Anglican does not, or he or she would instead be a Catholic. A Catholic who is not in a state of Grace should not be receiving Holy Communion either. There’s nothing “hateful” about that.

                    • What a strange understanding of communion. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” He didn’t say, “Do this to agree with everything the Roman Catholic Church teaches.”

                    • That’s really the point, Patricia. We believe that the real Church is the Catholic Church and that he was speaking to Catholics. The Catholic Church was founded upon the Apostles. All the other “churches” have some elements of Catholicism but do not have the fullness of the faith as does Catholicism. The other churches are not really churches at all but are “ecclesiastical communities.”

                      We also believe that when the priest pronounces the words of consecration, “This is My Body…” etc., that the bread and wine are changed into the actual Body and Blood of Christ, and those who do not believe this should not be receiving Holy Communion.

                      Holy Communion is reserved for practicing Catholics and that’s how it should be and that’s what Christ has taught us though his Church. When a person says “amen” before receiving Communion, he is saying he agrees that this is the Body of Christ, and is saying he is in agreement with all that the Church teaches.

                      If you don’t agree with any of this, that’s fine, but why would you want to receive Communion from a church that goes against your beliefs?

                      ALL ARE WELCOME to become Catholics, however, and join us in receiving Holy Communion.

                    • I respect your opinion, I have one comment, don’t want to debate or anything. The comment is the fact that you just put down every other religion, sect, church, whatever as not being churches but ecclesiastical bodies sends me away from your church because that is saying we are not good enough.

                    • I am an authority on my life only. I grew up in a small “farming community”. Our 11,000 person community included a good percentage of Italian, Portuguese, and Hispanic – so a good percentage of Catholics.

                      The Catechism Classes we attended all through school would have been quite different than adult Cathechsim taught 30 years later.

                      In the beginning it was mostly memorization – Prayers, the Sacraments, the 10 Commandments, etc. Later is was mostly about obeying the 10 Commandments.

                      We were told that attending a different Church’s service was breaking the 1st Commandment.

                      We were not told to hate. I do not hate and I would remember if anyone in my life told me to hate.

                      When I was young a Mormon told me that Catholics were the devil. I didn’t hate her and I didn’t believe I was the devil.

                      In my opinion homosexuality was never addressed because that was when people pretended there was no such thing.

                      In the same way abortion was never addressed.

                      But I do know that everyone I knew went to the OB doctor 2 months before we married to get on birth control pills. It was just how things were. My body just happened to say no.

                      Also growing up it seemed the only people who were granted Catholic annulments were the wealthy.

                      What can I say it was a small town and everyone knew everyone and it was decades ago.

                      I am sure things have changed a lot in the years since then.

                    • I don’t mean to be “uppity” about the Catholic Church. I know there are very good people in other churches and I know that although I stated that we believe there is only the “one true church” that those who believe otherwise do so in good faith. If the Catholic Church is correct about what it says about itself, then those of us in the Church have a much greater responsibility to live righteously than those who do not have the tools and graces we’ve been given. I think we all will be judged according to how we walked in the light we were given, and I know there are many outside of the Catholic Church who are doing a better job of that than many of us Catholics.

                      What impressed me about Catholicism when I began looking into it in my late thirties was that there wasn’t any animosity towards other religions, especially towards Protestants. They were never put down or criticized. What was good and true in other faiths was to be honored and respected. We were told to refer to other Christians as “separated brethren.”

                      I remember growing up that there was much hatred TOWARDS Catholics from various groups, including sometimes from my own family, though I don’t know why. It was a tragedy when my older brother married a Catholic. My neighbor referred to our Catholic neighbors as “harpies” and I remember having some bad feelings towards them for absolutely no reason other than that they were Catholics and that there was something wrong with them for being Catholics.

                      Anyway, I made the first post because I objected to the assertion that Catholics have hatred towards Protestants. I honestly have never seen that or felt that myself, and I have never heard anything from older “cradle Catholics” to that effect. From our perspective, they don’t have the entire picture, and they have embraced some errors, but there is more that unites us than divides us. And for whatever it’s worth, whether those outside the Catholic faith believe it or not or like it or not, we see any validly baptized person as radically belonging to the Catholic faith. (Though they can’t receive Communion until officially and voluntarily back in the Catholic Church in good standing).

                    • You have always been true to your faith. Many faiths believe theirs is the one true faith. Your faith is your truth.

                      Yes Catholics have suffered a lot of animosity some self-inflicted, some not.

                      I can remember the uproar when President Kennedy was running. I was a teenaged Catholic and just couldn’t understand their reasons. He was nice looking and a hero. Teenager Brain. There have not been an abundance of Catholics in politics since then.

                      For some reason religion doesn’t seem to be an issue for politicians who are Protestant or Evangelical.

                    • Can you imagine why people from other Christian traditions might hold hatred for the Roman Catholic Church? It is all there in your many comments that hammer home the message that you are the greatest and everyone else has a religion that just doesn’t cut the mustard. You are almost demanding that people hate you and your religious tradition. I don’t think you are doing the Roman Catholic Church any favours.

                    • I don’t think that excuses hatred towards Catholics, Patricia. This is a discussion board and there were reasons to post what I posted, but it’s not something that is obnoxiously imposed on other Christians.

                      Besides that, other Christian denominations believe “they” are right, and that others are in error, especially Catholics. I can’t fault them for that. Why not belong to the religion you think is right?

                      I think the main reason the Catholic Church is hated is because it is unwavering regarding moral teaching and does not change that according to the way the political winds are blowing or to gain acceptance or a following.

                      But the subject has been changed. You agreed that the Catholic Church teaches Catholics to hate Protestants. Do you have any evidence for that assertion?

                    • You wrote, “You agreed that the Catholic Church teaches Catholics to hate Protestants.” In fact, that is entirely the opposite of what I said. I was quite clear that any hatred that was taught was the fault of individual people or specific parochial schools. I was also complimentary about the Roman Catholic Church itself.

                      As for “excusing hatred”, that also I did not do. I was explaining cause and effect. If you behave in a hateful manner, you can expect people to hate you for it. Not all people, and not me, but some people.

      • It’s “legit” that “Catholics hate Protestants”?

        How do you know this?

        I’ve been a Catholic for 22 years and never heard of this and don’t know any Catholics who hate Protestants and don’t hate them myself.

        Why do you say this is “legit”?

        • Because you are a Catholic and by almost every word that comes off your fingertips, you prove that Catholics are taught to hate Protestants because you personally, with every word you write, prove that you hate Protestants.

          If you want people to think otherwise, stop writing in such hate-filled terms.

    • 1) The World – today – where are Christians murdering people because of their faith, or lack there of? Okay, besides Russia. The most recent picture burned into my mind was that of Coptic Christians in Cairo creating a Human Wall around Muslims (who were kneeling & bowing in prayer) to stop Egyptian Security forces from attacking them when they were most vulnerable.

      Shall we bring up Christians joining with those of other faiths to stop people from being deported and sponsoring refugees from non-Christian countries to come to the United States to live?

      Those two took me one minute.

      2) True – if you want to look over the grand total of 2000 years. Much less true of you want to look at … say the 21st century ~ the past 16 years … ya know, Modern times.

      If you want to scroll back to include the 20th century, you get a hodgepodge of good and bad. Pogroms against Jews in the Russian Empire. Catholic-inspired warfare in a half-dozen other countries over the first half of the 20th century in Europe.

      The second half of the 20th century looks much worse for your argument. Christianity became as much a force for social revolution as it was for counter-revolution. I recall in the 1970’s and 80’s hearing stories about priests and nuns ending up in mass graves because of their unwavering support of the poor and defenseless. Yeah … horrible f**king people.

      Finally you are ignoring the fact that since the 1960’s the Christian Churches have been growing closer together and uniting both in liturgy and social aims, not acting as divisive forces.

      3) I find it unlikely if the ‘Table’ was real any of us would be facing prison time. People talk so much smack on-line, but shut-up, or talk softly when in person. The internet makes people rude ~ and I think part of that is because no one can reach through the screen and slap some manners into them. Me … I’m James Dosher. What you read is what you get.

      4) Here, I agree with you. Without the personal, real world connection, internet activities too often spiral out of control because there is virtually no penalty for ‘bad behavior’. I don’t mean physical violence. I mean ~ when someone at your dinner table says something incredibly rude, or callous, you give them the look which expresses your displeasure. Your body language adds to the censor. You have none of this on the internet.

      As a general rule I try to follow, never print anything you would say directly to your Mother, wife/husband, and/or teenage child.

      5) I agree yet again. I price of being true to Christ is very high. It is giving ~ and not only of your money, but of your time and heart. Most are willing to give one of those … a rarer few two. If you recall Christ DIED for us, you realize no sacrifice on your behalf is too much. From that point, it is easy to ‘forgive yourself’ for being ‘less than Christ-like’ until you can speak the words and miss the Message entirely.

      6) I was raised in two Christian communities: Episcopalian and Southern Baptist. Neither taught me to hate any group. The Episcopalians were more mellow in their passion, but the Southern Baptist congregation I attended in the Summers was small town/rural ~ Richlands N.C. Their abiding principle was ‘Take care of a Stranger’. For those folk, rich, or poor, if you saw a stranger in need, you gave.

      It was that simple. You didn’t judge. You didn’t ask for anything in return. Any ‘stranger’ might be Jesus in this world and in need so they would treat them as such. Yes, certain members were less attentive to that principle than others, but as a group, it was what they attempted to do. It was their mission. Hate? Ha!

      7) “Love is weak” … who have you been listening to? I was raised witnessing the POWER of non-violent protest. I was taught violence was the LAST RESORT growing up. I was also taught to put emotions in context.

      As an example: no amount of ‘love’ will fix an abusive spouse. No number of “I’m sorry”‘s will make it not happen again. Sometimes you have to say ‘enough’ and say good-bye to love. Walking away is what you need to do. If they won’t let you … congrats ~ time for the cops to come in and take them away – the proper application of violence does solve some issues.

      Love is not always the answer. Nothing is. This does’t make love weak and I’m not sure who would think so. I have certainly never heard that belief spouted from the pulpit.

      8) You are correct. We should settle this with a duel on Mars. The first one to remember we should have brought space suits and oxygen tanks wins.

  24. I agree. We must always love and respect others. However, we must speak the truth in love. Always back it up with the Holy scripture from the word of God.

  25. “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.”

    Flannery O’Connor

  26. Not Perfect , In Training , Love of Jesus Christ, Love of Country, Love of Values that train to follow Jesus in where ever , what ever he wants.
    No mans Will , But Gods will Thru Jesus Christ , Savior to the world to all who believe, and follow. Not Perfect , Forgiven, Not Great , Training to be the best Humble Servant of Jesus Christ.
    The Sin of All Mankind , Men, Woman, Children on the Death of a loving God, in the form of a man , Jesus Christ who died for all who would believe, follow, trust, give him all their heart and worship.

    • I am simply astounded that anyone could possibly find something to disagree with about the choice not to be horrible.

      So, by disagreeing with John, it sounds as if people think it is OK with God to be horrible to others and that certainly contradicts loving one’s neighbors as one’s self, loving them as God first loved us.

  27. This sounds just like a church I already know – the local Unitarian Universalist Church! Attendance is booming in 2017, by the way!

    Find your local UU Church to check it out yourself!

    • I know a recently former fundie who is now going to a Unitarian Universalist Church.

      The Norwegian branch of my family attends a UUC. As one family member said to me one day:

      “We have the greatest church in the world. We don’t believe in anything.”

      Really. I swear. He said that.

      • Not believing anything is pretty liberating. I’m sure there are days when you can understand this. I mean all people do on this site is battle their beliefs against one another and where does it get us? It’s ridiculous.

        But if you can shed all the stories and just be open to love, with willingness to grow & change and be fully present to the whole of life – well, why not?

        • Carmen Melton wrote, “But if you can shed all the stories and just be open to love, with willingness to grow & change and be fully present to the whole of life – well, why not?”

          Indeed, why not? To me, every word John P writes drips with love of his neighbor, the Bible, truth. God has given him a gift of exhortation and John speaks his words in a prophetic voice.

          We may choose to profit from his words or ignore them. And we know how well that worked out for Israel and Judah when they ignored the prophets God sent them.

        • Excellant. I believe we need to be present now, with love, and the rest will take care of itself. I don’t ask anyone else to believe as I, I am walking with Jesus on my own journey, I can’t walk anyone else’s but if they need an arm or a shoulder or a lift or whatever on their journey I should gladly offer that. Peace and Love

      • I know a number of Unitarians and they all believe different things.

        Of course, when they deny the Trinity, they demonstrate are heretics. But then, some of the nicest and most spiritual people I have met are atheists, agnostics or heretics.

  28. Here’s reason to stop being horrible:

    LINKS
    CONTACT
    Salam Neighbor: Inside Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp
    MARCH 13, 2017 / SHAUN JEX
    https://shaunjex.com/2017/03/13/salam-neighbor-inside-jordans-zaatari-refugee-camp/

    A few weeks ago our church (www.fumccoppell.org) hosted a screening of the documentary film “Salam Neighbor”, produced by the non-profit media company Living on One (www.livingonone.org). The documentary follows the film’s directors, Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, as they travel to the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, currently home to approximately 79,000 Syrian refugees.

    To gain a true understanding of life in the camps, Temple and Ingrasci received the permission of the United Nations to register as refugees and were given a tent inside the camp (the first filmmakers ever granted this right). They then spent a month in the camp and in the neighboring city of Mafraq, immersed in the lives of refugees. They learn the stories of those who have been forced to flee their home to build a new life in a foreign land.

    The film is a mixture of heartbreak and inspiration. Viewers learn the story of a young boy residing in the camp whose school in Syria was bombed. They meet a couple who lost two adult sons to the war. Viewers hear the stories of families who fled in the middle of the night, leaving home, career, and more with no promise of return. In these moments the full weight of the human tragedy unfolding becomes visceral and real. However, the stories do not end there. The film uncovers remarkable stories of resilience and innovation in the face of countless setbacks. They follow refugees who work with aid and support groups inside Za’atari, refugees who attend school or who devote their time to teaching. Temple and Ingrasci even discover large groups of refugees who have started their own businesses within the camp. They meet woman named Umali who gathers plastic bags discarded around the camp and transforms the plastic into yarn, making a variety of arts and crafts. The U.N. refugee agency has since hired her to teach the skill to other young women.

    Just as remarkable are the friendships that Temple and Ingrasci develop. Throughout the camp they are welcomed into tents, provided with food, and even play games with their neighbors. They swap stories, share jokes, and develop relationships. It is remarkable to see that, in the midst of so much adversity, so many residents of Za’atari are able to maintain a spirit of hospitality.

    The film stands as a remarkable document, providing a clear picture of the day to day struggles of the estimated 11 million Syrians who have fled their home since the beginning of the country’s civil war in 2011.

    In a time when a prominent member of the United States government saw fit to suggest that “other people’s babies” pose an existential threat to Western Civilization, this film reminds us of our shared humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

    • Yes. More of this please.

      Because honestly, it’s pretty easy to find endless examples of horribleness somewhere in the world. But we can also find countless more examples of the opposite. I know how humans love drama. But sometimes it gets old, because there is SO much love and beauty and kindness and compassion out there. If we can’t see that, if we can’t make greater efforts to bring those realities into the light, then maybe we deserve the horribleness. (not really, I just think we can do better:)

      • Carmen, you are so right. we must practice caring, compassion, generosity, and kindness and have these be our kneejerk reactions.

        I read a story today about a man taking a walk and from underneath the pavement he heard barking. He obtained tools and tore up the pavement to discover a pregnant dog had been walled up. She would have died had he not had the caring, compassion, generosity, and kindness as his kneejerk reaction.

        • See I think a lot of us need to hear more of these stories because it uplifts us and inspires us to do good too, and to have hope for humanity which too often gets trampled on with the paralyzingly, despair inducing horrible.

  29. Here is some of the horribleness we must not embrace:

    Dominionist pastor prays for the destruction of Trump’s enemies

    By Christian Dem in NC
    Sunday Mar 12, 2017 · 1:06 PM PDT

    For most of the last two months, some of the leading voices on the religious right have delivered a sobering warning to Trump’s foes—particularly those among their followers who regret backing the Donald. To hear them talk, any opposition to Trump is driven by witchcraft and demons, and those who stand against the Donald are breaking divine law by standing against God’s plan for America.

    So Trump’s outrages over the last month should have opened some eyes, right? Wrong. One of the religious right’s most prominent voices, Lance Wallnau, recently urged his followers to join him in prayer so Trump would have the strength to destroy his enemies.

    Wallnau is one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation, the overtly fascist offshoot of the religious right that seeks to bring about the Second Coming by taking over the world. On Thursday night, he took to Periscope to rally the troops.

    People for the American Way focused heavily on how Wallnau urged his followers to fast and pray for God to strengthen Trump. Watch a clip here.

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/12/1642698/-Dominionist-pastor-prays-for-the-destruction-of-Trump-s-enemies?detail=email&link_id=6&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_referrer=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_subject=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question

    Specifically, he wanted his followers to pray that God would “turn the tables” on the “sabotaging, sniping, and snarling” elements that have arrayed themselves against Trump and seek to “embarrass and frustrate, expose, hinder and accuse” him.

    Wallnau didn’t think it was an accident that this is happening during the Jewish feast of Purim—which commemorates the derailing of a planned massive pogrom of Jews living in the Persian Empire. For those who don’t remember the story, the Persian official Haman was planning to wipe out the Jews. But he reckoned without the queen, Esther, being Jewish—and when she alerted the king, he had Haman hanged on a gallows he’d built to hang a number of Jewish leaders. Wallnau implied that the same spirit that drove Haman is the same spirit driving the opposition to Trump.

    It’s too bad that PFAW’s clip ended there, because afterward Wallnau launched into a prayer that is downright bonechilling, even by NAR standards. However, I noticed it. As I mention at Liberal America, Wallnau prayed that “the comedians that mock” and those churning out “the news that is fake” face God’s wrath—and fall into “the pit that they’ve dug” for Trump. He also prayed for “a sudden seizing” in the media that would allow God to “put your people in the gates of influence.”

    Wallnau was speaking in code. He is the main strategist behind the “Seven Mountains strategy,” which calls for Christians to take over the seven forces, or “mountains,” that influence our culture—one of which is the media. His followers understood—and also understood the reference Wallnau was making to the anti-Trump references sharing the same mentality as Haman. Here are some comments from those watching.

    “They are coming down! Save them if possible but if not Lord, remove.”
    “shut up the mouths of the lions”
    “Yes, if they resist the Grace that has been offered, they will be publicly hung”
    “shut up the mouth of the accusers”
    “Yes Lord! They gotta go they gotta go”
    “May the enemy fall into their own traps”
    “Yes! Jesus! Turn the tables on the Hamans! Let them hang on their own gallows that they set up”
    This, friends, is how these Christofascists speak when they think no one is paying attention. But we are. And we will remember when Trump goes down—because Wallnau and friends are going down with him.

  30. Another example of horribleness

    ‘I can’t wait for the liberal genocide to begin’ and other things recorded at Arizona Trump rally

    By Walter Einenkel
    Friday Mar 10, 2017 · 1:40 PM PST

    Below is a video that was put together and picked up by Alternet and then Salon documenting a Maricopa Country, Arizona rally of support for unpopular President Donald Trump.

    Maricopa County burnished its reputation as the Trumpiest in America last weekend as hundreds of locals, including heavily armed militamen, white nationalists and even a few elected officials, gathered to support the 45th president. The ensuing “March for Trump” was as horrifying as it sounds.
    The video shows some standard “lock her up” phraseology from Arizona Republican Rep. Anthony Kern, and “protect our borders,” but the more frightening tenor of the rally is the hate and bigotry and threats of violence inherent in the message. Speaking to one 13-year-old there was this:

    “If she’s Jewish, she should go back to her country,” a 13-year-old Trump supporter said of a protester.
    Arizona creating a Hitler youth of its own. And then some patriot had this to say.

    “I just want to let them know that I can’t wait for the liberal genocide to begin,” an Oath Keeper shouted at a small group of protesters.
    You can watch the demoralizing parade of angry dumb below.

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/10/1642267/–I-can-t-wait-for-the-liberal-genocide-to-begin-and-other-things-recorded-at-Arizona-Trump-rally?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_referrer=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_subject=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question

    • Ugh …

      How about this call for genocide?

      bier4u
      Mar 13 · 03:11:52 PM
      “I wish we could have a Right Wing Nut Job genocide for real. It sure would make this world, and in particular, this country a lot better, safer and more sane place to live.”

      Are we to take this call for MASS MURDER as a serious representation of the ENTIRE Resistance movement to President Trump?

      Or this exchange:

      Mother Mags
      Mar 10 · 04:46:20 PM
      “At least 20,000 of us attended the Phoenix Women’s March; these assholes numbered in the tens. I’m not surprised the Oath Keeper blabbered something about a liberal genocide; after all, they’re the same goobers who said Sen. McCain should be assassinated.”

      So exactly who’s side were they on? It was followed by …

      inclusiveheart Mother Mags
      Mar 10 · 04:54:42 PM
      “There’s an idiot in the video who doesn’t go that far about McCain, but he’s pretty out there. He went on to say that “pizza gate” should be investigated because he reckons there’s a lot there to look into.”

      Crazy, huh? And …

      Nightflyer Mother Mags
      Mar 13 · 02:26:09 PM
      “Glad you outnumbered them so much … makes their “liberal genocide” drivel sound like what it should be … prattle.”

      So, is it, or isn’t it, prattle by a few loose screws? Then there was this …

      NormaJean hammite
      Mar 13 · 02:40:49 PM
      “The problem with that is what concerns me most. His base supporters, those who are emotionally attached to him to a point where they believe him to be a God, are the same ones who just don’t have the mental capacity to understand. To be completely horrible about it, they’re too stupid. I struggle with accepting that my Dad and sisters just don’t have the mental capacity to engage in what’s happening to them politically. When you combine stupid with angry…what’s that line? Be afraid of stupid people in large numbers. This is where we are now in what boils down to a holy war and I frankly never dreamed our country could generate so many White Supremacist Christian Terrorists.”

      ‘Too stupid’ and ‘don’t have the mental capacity for’ … and you end up with White Supremacist Christian Terrorists … sigh. SMH.

      ***

      At which point you come to understand the audience the Daily Kos is pandering to and go from there.

  31. Another example of horribleness. Child brides and grooms is a legalized form of pedophilia.

    New Hampshire Republicans scuttle bill that would ban child brides

    By Walter Einenkel
    Friday Mar 10, 2017 · 9:24 AM PST

    New Hampshire’s minimum age requirements for marriage will stay just as is—at 13 years old for girls and 14 years old for boys. It’s not that people don’t care in the Granite State, it’s just that Republicans don’t. A bill was up in the New Hampshire House of Representatives this week that would have required that both people involved in a marriage be at least 18 years old. Seems reasonable. Not for New Hampshire Republicans, it wasn’t.

    You may read the rest of this horror show here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/10/1642168/-New-Hampshire-Republicans-scuttle-bill-that-would-ban-child-brides?detail=email&link_id=14&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_referrer=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question-2&email_subject=why-hasnt-anyone-asked-donald-trump-this-one-question

  32. 24 million would lose insurance under the G.O.P. health bill within a decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found
    Monday, March 13, 2017 4:22 PM EDT
    Republicans had been bracing for what was almost certain to be a bleak accounting of the legislation’s projected effects. The American Health Care Act, as Republicans call their bill, was already facing widespread criticism from providers of health care, some conservatives, and a united Democratic Party. The numbers released Monday will only make it more difficult for Republicans to explain why their legislation would bring positive change to the country’s health care system.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/us/politics/affordable-care-act-health-congressional-budget-office.html?emc=edit_na_20170313&nl=breaking-news&nlid=18604707&ref=cta&_r=0

  33. How do we get a response! Except for a few semantic differences we are that church in Joplin, MO. The group wants to know if you are using that name and what we have to do to follow suite?

  34. Pastor John – The Gospel/Torah/Quran/Bahagavad Gita of Not Being Horrible already exists. (I suspect very strongly that you are already try to live it every day.)
    Its teachings are few, easy to understand, unequivocal, and unambiguous. When followed these teachings awaken our mystic heart and move us beyond the narrative of “us against them” to a new story of “all of us together.”
    The tenets of Not Being Horrible are:
    1) Love your Neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18)
    3) Do to others only what you want others to do to you, or said another way, that which is hateful to you, do not do to others. (The Golden rule/Hillel the Elder, Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31)
    3) Do justice (Micah 6:8)
    4) Love mercy (Micah 6:8)
    5) Walk humbly (Micah 6:8)
    6) In all things be a blessing to all the families of the earth. (Genesis 28:14)
    If we will cast aside the religious ignorance, arrogance, tribalism and triumphalism fueling an ever more chaotic, fearful, and angry world, and instead become members of the World Wide Community of Not Being Horrible we might just succeed in building a just, compassionate and thriving world we are proud to leave our children and grandchildren.

  35. I have been following the comments on this blog for a couple of days. It’s apparent that there is disagreement. Welcome to church. In church there is, will be, and always has been disagreement. I used to love my big church. I sang in the worship team for 10 years. But when my son came out as a gay man, and I naively shared that news with people I loved and people I thought loved my son, I experienced the horrible that John speaks of. Now my son was placed in the same category as “rapists and murderers in God’s eyes.” Our pastor and his wife gave us the silent treatment for the next 18 months. There was no longer a small group we could attend. Horrible. Through the years I have heard many stories similar and worse to mine. From many different people. Young people getting kicked out of their Christian homes for coming out. Horrible. Moms of gay kids losing their jobs in churches. Horrible. Hate mail from pastors. Horrible. I’ve seen videos of pastors calling people like my son perverts and pesophiles. Horrible. I know that there are many Christians who do and say horrible things at times but are not horrible people. I also know there are Christians who belong to the church John speaks of and treat people with grace and kindness. I do believe, however, that the Church with a capital C has work to do. I am not asking for total agreement from them, but I would sure like to see more conversation and less condemnation. More sharing and less judgment. More questions and fewer moments of being hit over the head with scripture. Believe me when I tell you that every LGBTQ person and their families know the point of view from the church on this. You don’t need to tell them again and again and again and again. If it is the goal of the Church (big C) to run push young people away, then they have been successful. Just talk to the generation below many of us. So perhaps we should love before we speak. Perhaps we should listen before we speak. Perhaps we should learn before we speak. Perhaps we should be less concerned about being right and more concerned about being loving. I think that’s what Jesus did. He had empathy for people he didn’t see as holy. Many in the Church have lost that….or they pick and choose who they care about….or they show love only to the groups that are the easiest to love. I hope that changes because we ALL matter. Not just the Christians that fit easily into the mainstream Church.

    • I experienced this as a gay woman at my church Julie and the rejection hurts deeply. I understand what you son went through– the abandonment is a horrible feeling and I grieved over it. I wish they could understand that. Thanks you for sharing your experience.

      • Hugs, Kathy. Although painful, we are actually grateful for the experience and better because of it. It opened our eyes. Now we do life in a small faith community of amazingly non-horrible people. We are much happier.

        • I don’t know if my previous church has softened their hearts at all but I have been curious and want to go back one day and say hi– but I am too afraid to. I miss the good things about their church, the family atmosphere, the music and how they loved to pray after service and take a moment to share what our week was like and listen to each others troubles. I want to be reconciled with them but the fear of having them reject me again would be worse, I think. If they only knew how much pain they caused. The other thing was the pressure to change and not be gay when I couldn’t no matter how I dressed or how long my hair was I was still me on the inside. There is a pressure to conform that is why church is so uncomfortable and didn’t feel I fit not because I wasn’t understanding the Gospel but because I was different .Do you really understand that?

          • I was pretty vocal about how our church hurt us when we left. A few have reached out in these past years to say they are sorry. People aren’t disposable, yet so many in the Church toss people who are different aside. It’s a shame. I don’t want to get into a theology discussion, but there are viewpoints that do not align with the mainstream message about this. I can share info somehow if you are interested. Tough stuff, but there are Christians who love LGBTQ folks without the “but…” that often follows the “I love you…”

            • Julie , Yeah and what the conservative churches may not understand is when they toss out conservative LGBT christians we find the transition to an untraditional church a difficult process because they taught us the fundamentals so well.

              unlearning something is the hardest thing to do– what info can you share ? Do you mean like a book?

              • Books and organizations for support and information. Matthew Vines is an evangelical who is also gay. He has a book called “God and the Gay Christian” that is pretty amazing. He has an organization called The Reformation Project. Also amazing. Justin Lee has a blog and a book and an organization called GCN (Gay Christian Network). I love Rachel Held Evans. Soul force is also good. I did not grow up in a conservative church, so the break was easy for me. My husband struggled more. He was working for a conservative talk radio network at the time and was afraid he would lose his job before he could find another one. His workplace was hostile toward LGBTQ people and issues, so he stayed very silent until he could leave. They were (are) brutal against the community. Just brutal. Horrible.

            • I would like to add that there are churches which go further, they have pastors who are gay and have partners. This is mainline so perhaps little by little the tide will change. I know that my mostly straight family has been turned off by the behavior of some to the LGBT community. My grandson says they lost me Nana when they can’t see that gay people aren’t any different than I, they are who they where born to be. So perhaps his generation will take it to the next level. We can hope. Peace

              • Yes!!!! Thank God for that!!! This current administration will not be kind, but my hope is in the individuals who will be supportive and loving and walk alongside us. There are more and more Christians who are doing that. I am grateful.

                • My grandson says that most of his friends think the same way as he and their parents are fundamentalists so there is hope.

    • I am so sorry Julie, that you and your son, ,your family went thru this. I know that at one time my parents were very legalistic but somewhere along the way, God changed their hearts, not their beliefs, but how they handle those beliefs when it comes to people who are different than they are. I hold some of those same beliefs, but the people of the church are to love people to Christ. We can not tell them about Jesus death on the cross, resurrection and free gift of salvation if we run them away by being mean and treating people like your family have been treated. I am sure that your son announcing he was gay was hard enough for you and those people should have been there to support you and him. And if they believe being gay is wrong, to continue to show him love and pray for him in hope of his not acting on the fact he is gay. There is no sin in being gay. I am so glad that the Christians in the church I attend to not act this way but love on every person who walks thru the door in hopes for their return. Again, I apologize on behalf of Christians who have not been taught to do better.

      • Thank you for your compassionate comment Angela, I know you are doing your best — we need more of this love that changes hearts.

      • It’s all good. The experience cleared our path so we could find a faith community that lives us and him without condition. They will be joining us in celebrating his wedding in October. We are better off without that other church. So much better off. They don’t define my faith anymore. Thank you for your kindness.

  36. Sounds like , Follow the 10 commandments. Of course the 10 commandment were givev/to/show us how horrible we humans are because we just could not all of them all the time. Christ made it worse by telling us that even thinking about breaking one of those scommandments was the same in God’s perspective as physically not keeping it.
    If we could “not be horrible” through just our own efforts who would need Christ or any other religion’s spiritual source? We could all be UUs or even Atheists. Christ has been left out of Christianity, at the institutional level, since it became the state religion of the Roman Empire. There are Christians (at least by declaration) who behave horribly toward towards other Christians, people of other faiths, cultures, races, and gender identification and any other difference. Christ said that many who thought they were following him, would be tossed out at the judgement because their pious actions and great displays did not matter because they did not show true love to those who really needed help just to be fed, clothed and comforted.
    So I wish you and other members of your church ( and members of already existing churches) who believe in the basic goodness of humanity that do not need God to rain on their parade, good luck. I also, pray Christians (I incude myself) behaving horribly would read and heed the words of Christ and his disciples on what not behaving horribly looks like and how internalizing the spirit of Christ is the means of behaving Christ like.

  37. Unfortunately, the idea of being or not being ‘horrible’ is subjective. For example, to the Pharisees, Jesus was probably the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person on the earth. And they were so upset by His ‘horribleness’ that they put Him to death (but not before torturing and mocking Him). And therein lies the problem… if you are unknowingly running towards a cliff — laughing and excited to be running in that direction — and I were to yell to you to stop or if I ran after you and dragged you down to keep you from your doom, would you see that as hateful and mean? Or would you thank me later after you realized you were about to die? It’s all about perspective. For example, scrolling through the comments, NO ONE thinks they are ever mean or horrible to another. Your intentions are always the best, your motivations are always pure. But others may not see it that way no matter how hard you try. I’d bet anything that if there were ever a so-called non-horrible church, within the first day, someone would be hurt or offended or would leave because of the words or actions of another just like many in the time of Jesus left Him. The best you can do is to walk in meekness and humility, striving for Christian perfection all the while understanding that none of us is perfect. At the same time, if you are walking in Truth, NOTHING that anyone says or does will cause you to leave the path. If we are secure in our faith and belief, then why would words and actions of others take us off that path? Maybe instead of demanding that others be nice, we look inside and find out why we are so easily hurt and diverted from our walk. — Mark

    • Mark, I think you are wrong. I think we do have objective standards to determine what is or is not horrible and thewy have been available to us since the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, where the Golden Rule was first mentioned. It has been picked up by every spiritual and religious path there is.

      Treating other people as you wish to be treated is a powerful concept.

      Do any of us wish to be hungry, naked, ill, in need? No, therefore we should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, supply the need if only because we would want to be on the receiving end of those things.

      What is horrible is to think “me and mine only.”

      And, yes, there are people who delight in hurting others. We can see that every day right here.

      • Jesus Christ provided bread, healed the sick, and followed the Beatitudes to a ‘T’ yet a short time later – and by many of the people who were the recipients of his generosity or were witnesses – shouted for His death. If what He did and said was so wonderful, then why was He put to death? Why wouldn’t everyone who was a witness to his words and deeds honor and glorify Him? How were these things ‘horrible’ to some and praiseworthy to others?

          • I am a Christian and I’m simply making the point that being “not horrible” is no guarantee that others will interpret your words and actions as such. I’m sure you and I can come up with dozens of examples where we were doing a good work (or talking a good talk) and some other party was hurt, offended, misunderstood us, etc. We thought we were following the Beatitudes, we thought we were being Christian, we thought we were being “not horrible.” That’s it. That’s all I was trying to say.

      • Isn’t John Pavlovitz being horrible by putting down all Christians. Perhaps he should look in a mirror. People who live in glass houses …

    • “And therein lies the problem… if you are unknowingly running towards a cliff — laughing and excited to be running in that direction — and I were to yell to you to stop or if I ran after you and dragged you down to keep you from your doom, would you see that as hateful and mean?”

      Yes. But only because you are the one stopping me. I like people I know, respect, and trust to stop me. If you as a stranger run after me, tackle me, and break my leg—I will think you are some sort of nutjob—and we will be going to court—and you will be paying my medical bills and certain penalties for my pain and suffering. Just because you think you represent Jesus, does not mean you have a right to go around tackling people.

      Just because a person is running toward a cliff does not mean that they are unaware that the cliff is there. Maybe they grew up in the area and they have a habit of ending their daily run at the edge of the cliff because they like the scenic view there.

      But do you know what really p*sses me off about this post of yours. A famous fundie makes this same argument. Basically, he says that you should do any hurtful and abusive thing that you want to do to a person as long as the abuse gets them into the Kingdom of Heaven. His preaching of this mantra has led an untold number of fundies, particularly street preachers, to be as nasty and abusive as the Devil himself to “passers by” that they do not even know. But most of all, the thing you need to understand is that God gives people a choice—and he respects their ability to make their own choice. God does not abuse people into the Kingdom of Heaven, and there is not a single example of Jesus tackling a person and breaking their leg to get them into Heaven.

      Last of all, the Roman Catholic Church is not the most hated church on Earth—not in my experience. I think it does a pretty good job. In my experience, the most hated churches are the mainline Christian churches (United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church, etc.). By your standard of measurement, I guess that makes them God’s one, true, and only churches.

      Don’t mess with me.

      • Charles, I don’t understand how my post ended up with you saying, “Don’t mess with me.” I wasn’t advocating doing violence to people to get them to my way of thinking or to “save them.” I was simply attempting to make the point that many times, our words and actions can be misconstrued by others. That others may misinterpret or even take offense at something we were trying to say or do in our attempts to be “not horrible.” In our minds, we are being “not horrible” but to others, we may be coming off as horrible indeed. And I’m sorry I pissed you off. With good intentions, I was trying to make a point and you got pissed off. I thought I was being “not horrible” but as you have proven, my good intentions not only upset you, but caused you to think I was somehow messing with you. And that’s why – as well intentioned as it sounds – a church of not being horrible wouldn’t last a day. — Mark

  38. People have been saying that John P’s words above remind them of St. Francis, the Unitarians, and the Society of Friends.

    Other voices have said there is no such thing as an objective standard to determine what is or is not horrible, which I find very strange coming from allegedly Christian people because what else is the New Testament doing but teaching us how to be better people and not to be horrible.

    But if that is not objective enough, I offer you Chapter Four from the Rule of St. Benedict. I myself live a Beneditinesque life. I don’t think a better objective standard for not being horrible can be found:

    Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

    1. In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength.
    2. Then, one’s neighbor as oneself.
    3. Then not to murder.
    4. Not to commit adultery.
    5. Not to steal.
    6. Not to covet.
    7. Not to bear false witness.
    8. To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
    9. And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
    10. To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
    11. To chastise the body.
    12. Not to become attached to pleasures.
    13. To love fasting.
    14. To relieve the poor.
    15. To clothe the naked.
    16. To visit the sick.
    17. To bury the dead.
    18. To help in trouble.
    19. To console the sorrowing.
    20. To become a stranger to the world’s ways.
    21. To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.
    22. Not to give way to anger.
    23. Not to nurse a grudge.
    24. Not to entertain deceit in one’s heart.
    25. Not to give a false peace.
    26. Not to forsake charity.
    27. Not to swear, for fear of perjuring oneself.
    28. To utter truth from heart and mouth.
    29. Not to return evil for evil.
    30. To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to oneself.
    31. To love one’s enemies.
    32. Not to curse those who curse us, but rather to bless them.
    33. To bear persecution for justice’s sake.
    34. Not to be proud.
    35. Not addicted to wine.
    36. Not a great eater.
    37. Not drowsy.
    38. Not lazy.
    39. Not a grumbler.
    40. Not a detractor.
    41. To put one’s hope in God.
    42. To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in oneself.
    43. But to recognize always that the evil is one’s own doing, and to impute it to oneself.
    44. To fear the Day of Judgment.
    45. To be in dread of hell.
    46. To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
    47. To keep death daily before one’s eyes.
    48. To keep constant guard over the actions of one’s life.
    49. To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
    50. When evil thoughts come into one’s heart, to dash them against Christ immediately.
    51. And to manifest them to one’s spiritual guardian.
    52. To guard one’s tongue against evil and depraved speech.
    53. Not to love much talking.
    54. Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
    55. Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
    56. To listen willingly to holy reading.
    57. To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
    58. Daily in one’s prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one’s past sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
    59. Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one’s own will.
    60. To obey in all things the commands of the Abbot or Abbess even though they (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the Lord’s precept, “Do what they say, but not what they do.”
    61. Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be holy, that one may be truly so called.

    • Love in Action
      Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

      Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

      Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

      “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
      In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

      Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  39. Another way to avoid be horrible

    The love that is friendship, philia, is perhaps more intimate than any other kind of love. . . . Seeing the world as friend is like seeing the world for the first time. Such seeing is actually a metaphysical sharing of one’s being with the beloved other, as the other shares her being with us. . . . Through the intimacy of friendship all of the things of the world become radiant, shining, alive, and the Earth as a whole becomes the Earth-Sun.

    — Robert Sardello in Love and the Soul

  40. What can I say, John, except you are the most compassionate Christian I’ve ever met. I’m not religious, but I know that people want to be loved, and to be safe in giving love more than they want anything else. I know we’re love beings and that that is why we suffer so; because the horrible things we do turn us against ourselves, and so we are no strangers to shame, though most of us would not call it that. It is a pleasure to read what you blog. You are a voice I never expected t hear, although I knew you were there. And I know there are more, however lost they are in the fray. Thank you.

  41. Why not take this concept a step further and strive to see the good in others and not focus on the “horrible” or what you “think” is horrible?

    How about looking for the good in Donald Trump and praising him for that? How about doing likewise with those who support him? What would it hurt?

  42. I’d like to become a member of TCONBH. When we are horrible we hurt ourselves the most and it all goes downhill from there. Thanks for this perspective. A low bar is excellent motivation as well.

    • Yeah and sometimes people are horrible and push you down the hill

      all you can do then is get up brush yourself off and begin again.

  43. Jon, I LOVE your blog, I really do. I share it with others all the time and I’m 100% behind your call for a revolution of the kind Jesus would support. While I don’t consider myself a Christian, I am a spiritual person and much of what you say resonates deeply. So, I write all that up front because I need to offer one criticism—this line:

    “I’m fairly certain that God is too.”

    It threw me right out of your message at the start, because I don’t see how you can possible be certain of that. Yes, yes, I would assume that most kind loving people feel a similar way and we extend that to a God as we imagine him/her to be, but this “certainty” — as if speaking FOR God — as if God whispered in your ear, is what many find off-putting in any organized religion. It’s a similar POV shared by other super-duper conservative preachers/messages that many object to as well.

    Maybe this is just a personal pet peeve and it’s nit picky and no one else cares. And maybe you have reasons for using this that I can’t see and if so, would be interested in hearing about it.

    I just enjoy your writing so much, but I’ve always found most certainty, when attributed to God, as problematic.

    I offer my heartfelt “thank you” for sharing as you do — your voice is much needed in the world today.

    • Oh, P.S. — After I hit post, I realized I spelled your name incorrectly. My apologies — I have a brother named Jon, so just habit I suppose.

  44. You say to be whatever the world is lacking. Okay. So what if I fee the world is lacking hard work and accountability- 2 very godly qualities? Let me guess. THAT’S not the God you are talking about? You know, the one who flooded the entire world for the sake of accountability? Or the one who chastised the Pharisees for talking too much and working too little through his son, Jesus?

    I conveniently read nothing of these principles in your little holier-than-thou diatribe there.

    • And YOU’RE not holier-than-thou at all, so you must be right! Relax, friend. It’s only life. Jesus forgives all of us. Take a vacation. 🙂

    • Bingo, Dustin!

      Apparently, you and I are “horrible” people for pointing out the glaring hypocrisy in the sanctimonious drivel that regularly appears here.

      Cheers …

  45. This sounds good in principle, but in practice people have all sorts of different definitions of what “horrible” means in this context. You’ve laid out some points like your list of “Don’ts”, but there are many people in this country that would not agree with you about some of them even being horrible; in fact, they would consider it “being horrible” to condone gay marriage. Are gun rights horrible? Is abortion horrible? What about white privilege, is that horrible? You are going to get wildly different answers to these questions based on who you ask.

  46. My mom shared this quote with me today

    “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.
    And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ”
    — Dalai Lama

  47. Dear Sally Jane,

    Thank you for sharing that here. Isn’t it beautiful that the greatest ideas are the most simple and direct. I saw His Holiness speak at ASU a few years ago, and I am pretty sure I heard him say that or something very similar. I still can’t forget that, without telling any jokes or any attempt at humor, whenever he would laugh, the entire audience fell under his spell of happiness and laughter. I was so struck by his beautiful, loving demeanor. I have been attending Buddhist meditations for years now, and it has brought a wonderful, deeper connection to my Christian beliefs. Thank you, and thank you, again, Sally Jane. Have a wonderful day.

  48. I finally found a church I want to join! Thanks so much for this John. I want to print this out and hang it on my wall to remind me everyday that this is how I want to live.

  49. And yet another sanctimonious, judgmental post from he who tells us we should not judge — of being horrible to people he disagrees with while telling them not to be horrible.

    Does the irony in this ever occur to you there, John?

    Bless your heart …

  50. I left mainstream Christianity to attend such a church 🙂 It feels wonderful to gather with people who focus on love and standing up for the under-represented. Of course, we don’t believe any one expression of connection to the divine is the only correct way, in fact we focus mostly on interpersonal connections…which many find un-churchlike. Are we even a religion? Maybe not. But I love being a Unitarian Universalist.

  51. John, I am in almost full agreement with the exception of one word that I would LOVE you to edit, so your opponents don’t use it to take you down.

    The church can’t meet to celebrate the “inherent” goodness of people. It can meet to celebrate the “achieved” goodness of people. I’m arguing this not as a point of theology but as one of realistic observation. Anyone who has raised a toddler knows that we are not inherently good, but have to be gently but firmly taught prosocial behaviors. And if we say people are inherently good, we can encourage the widespread raising of antisocial, messed-up kids.

    • Goodness isn’t behavior. Goodness is worth. I’m speaking to their intrinsic value. Gender identity and sexual orientation aren’t behavior, so achieved goodness is less desirable for me.

      I don’t believe toddlers need to be taught to be good, but they need to be taught to discriminate.

      • Then maybe you should use the word “worth.” Historically, the words “inherent goodness” have been used to describe the idea that human beings are inherently disposed to treat each other well and be kind. If you use the phrase “inherent goodness” instead of “inherent worth,” your more educated readers are going to think you’re referring to that historical strain of philosophy.

        The rest of that paragraph implies that you are talking about behavior, as you describe “succeeding in being less than horrible.” That is an achieved behavior, very clearly, from the way you describe it (success).

        Toddlers do have to be taught to be unselfish and prosocial, and willing to compromise. If you want to leave the word “good” out altogether, that’s fine with me, but “not being horrible” is not simply about an ability to discriminate, which you’re implicitly admitting by using the phrase “not horrible” as a euphemism for kind or peaceful. Living in peace without trying to dominate weaker creatures or take everything for oneself is an achieved behavior that takes self-discipline.

        If people continue to devalue and erase words like “kind”, because those words are no longer cool, it will be very hard to teach kindness. Kindness is a positive value, not simply the absence of the horrible. I know people in churches who are horrible. I also know plenty of liberal people in churches who are not horrible, but also not kind. They are a nothingness. They do not commit to kindness and inclusion of the people who sit next to them or the people on the street. They play it safe and because they’re not “horrible” and they mouth the right values (I don’t approve of Trump or racism or homophobia, etc) they think they are just perfect. But they add nothing to the world, because they have no positive values…only the rejection of the horrible.

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