The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be

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I am a Christian.

Actually, it’s more accurate lately to say that I am still a Christian.

I now say this with much trepidation. I say it with great fatigue. I say it somewhat begrudgingly. I say it with more than a good deal of embarrassment—not of Jesus, but of so many of his people and so much of the Church who claim to speak for him.

Looking around at too much of what represents my faith tradition, it’s become a daily battle to make this once effortless declaration, knowing that it now automatically aligns me with those who share so little in common with the Jesus I met when I first claimed the name Christian.

It now aligns me with bathroom bullies, politicized pulpits, white privilege, and overt racism; with bigotry toward so many groups of people who represent the “world” I grew up believing that God so loved.

There are things that used to be a given as a follower of Jesus, that no longer are.

For far too many people, being a Christian no longer means you need to be humble or forgiving. It no longer means you need a heart to serve or bring healing. It no longer requires compassion or mercy or benevolence. It no longer requires you to turn the other cheek or to love your enemies or to take the lowest place or to love your neighbor as yourself.

It no longer requires Jesus.

And so the choices are to abandon the idea of claiming Christ altogether to avoid being deemed hateful by association in the eyes of so much of the watching world—or to reclaim the name Christian so that it once again replicates the love of Jesus in the world.

I am trying to do the latter.

Yes, I am a Christian, but there is a Christian I refuse to be.

I refuse to be a Christian who lives in fear of people who look or speak or worship differently than I do.

I refuse to be a Christian who believes that God blesses America more than God so loves the world.

I refuse to be a Christian who uses the Bible to perpetuate individual or systemic bigotry, racism, or sexism.

I refuse to be a Christian who treasures allegiance to a flag or a country or a political party, above emulating Jesus.

I refuse to be a Christian who is reluctant to call-out the words of hateful preachers, venomous politicians, and mean-spirited pew sitters, in the name of keeping Christian unity.

I refuse to be a Christian who tolerates a global Church where all people are not openly welcomed, fully celebrated, and equally cared for.

I refuse to be a Christian who speaks always with holy war rhetoric about an encroaching enemy horde that must be rallied against and defeated.

I refuse to be a Christian who is generous with damnation and stingy with Grace.

I refuse to be a Christian who can’t see the image of God in people of every color, every religious tradition, every sexual orientation.

I refuse to be a Christian who demands that others believe what I believe or live as I live or profess what I profess.

I refuse to be a Christian who sees the world in a hopeless spiral downward and can only condemn it or withdraw from it.

I refuse to be a Christian devoid of the character of Jesus; his humility, his compassion, his smallness, his gentleness with people’s wounds, his attention to the poor and the forgotten and the marginalized, his intolerance for religious hypocrisy, his clear expression of the love of God.

I refuse to be a Christian unless it means I live as a person of hospitality, of healing, of redemption, of justice, of expectation-defying Grace, of counterintuitive love. These are non-negotiables.

Yes, it is much more difficult to say it these days than it has ever been, but I still do say it.

I am still a Christian—but I refuse to be one without Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

710 thoughts on “The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be

      • Wow! this post calls to mind Luke 18:11;” The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector”. The pharisee, as he prayed with himself, in his arrogant elitist confidence and pride was totally blind to how he was at the same time justifying himself and condemning anyone that was not as perfect as he was in his own mind. Your post is such an eloquent and beautifully constructed justification of your rejection of those who consider themselves Christians but do not hold to your world view. You should be proud of yourself. Oh, wait. Obviously you are

            • I would hesitate to say they aren’t Christians. I think, as their brother or sister, we can call them on their actions, but we aren’t called to read their relationship with God. As C.S. Lewis has said, better to say they’re doing it badly than to determine if they are Christians or not.

                • Carol, I hope I haven’t misunderstood what you were referring to. // I haven’t looked it up but I think it goes about like this, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light. No man cometh before the Father except by Me.” Or, to put it another way, “I am the ONLY way you get to the Father. And no, your good deeds don’t count for anything if you don’t have my special mojo.” So, Pastor John, you see the image of God in people of all religious traditions? Jesus’s claim of ULTIMATE SUPREMECY for his followers and ONLY his followers leaves me cold. And now you know why I am NOT a christian.

                    • Pastor John isn’t saying that everyone is a Christian. He’s saying that everyone is made in God’s image. We are all created by Him not that all of us worship Him.

                    • Please tell me where the Bible defines white privilege and also where in order to be Christian it says we are to compromise with society and be politically correct? You just undone every bit of your whole spill by judging others based on liberal propaganda rather than biblical facts and words of Christ. The same Christ who ran the money changers from the temple!

                    • I agree. If we are to see the image of God in everyone, that means pedophiles and murderers. That is not my God. It is fine to say we ARE created in the image of God, but that’s as far as it goes. People like that are now NOT the image of God. Not the sinful state they are in presently.

                    • I would like to live a long life but I would rather die tomorrow than have the stain of hate and intolerance on my soul, but that is me.

                      I would never judge the relationship that another person has with God but I don’t think it hurts any of us to examine how we are living.

                      Remember, God existed long before man created organized religion, God will exist long after manmade rules have faded and our bodies are nothing but dust.

                  • Christ is the only way to salvation. But we should do our best to be open and loving to others. The best way to lead them to salvation is to show them Christ’s love.

                    • This is truth yet you would have to be deaf and blind not to know that this comes across as religious blah,blah,blah and worse yet a religious caste system. If we do not live the love and receive people where they are we fail and these words become weapons we hide behind and cold exclusive rhetoric.

                    • To say that “”Christ is the only way,”” does not have to be exclusionary. A man can save a bus load of people, only a few of which have a relationship to him.

                    • Really? I think not. This is one of the many reasons people don’t like christians or religion in general.

                    • Who or what is “Christ” ? you throw that term around as if you know (and you don’t) — as if it is some graspable 3-d phenomena or “thing” or some person or persona – You have no idea what you are talking about…. “Christ” is not a thing or a person or some limitation by some textual quotes or book – or a religion – christianity (christians) have turned it into someTHING — something to BELIEVE in — “He,” or whatever you refer to “it” as, is not something ( not some ONE) to “believe” in — “It” is our very true self – our very life itself — and it is felt and discovered and lived (and it is/was there (here) all along) and a person accesses this in so many different ways — and it does not need to come through this or that particular person(a) or personality……. (that’s why Jesus said it matters not if one sins against “him” – but against the spirit of the truth of ourselves- that is what matters….. this whole believers non-believers dichotomy is disgusting and a lie – the greatest heresy there is, and many religions adhere to it – What a crime – what a shame — what great harm (psychological and otherwise) this has done to humans and humanity (and the entire earth….)

                  • Supremacy over evil whatever form it may take–lack, sickness. Protection. His Spirit raised Him and others from the grave, It manifested food calmed the storm changed water into wine healed the sick, gave sight to the blind. Most Christians have forgotten what He was about. They believe they should be self reliant. That is why the medical field is a gold mine, why we have a stock market, why we have storm shelters , weapons of destruction. There is little belief in theOmnipotent control of The Spirit of Christ.

                  • Actually, the word “only ” was put in and not part of any texts found . According to one author who has studied the way the Bible was put together.The scholars at the time felt that it was intended. I dislike that assumption as we put so much weight on every word . The early ” Church” was not without corruption.

                    • I have always had issues with the bible for this exact reason! Just about anything can be justified by some part of the Bible. If it was not before it has been altered many times throughout history to make it so! I prefer to pick out the parts that discuss the teachings or actions of Christmas Himself!

                  • Who or what is “Christ” ? you throw that term around as if you know (and you don’t) — as if it is some graspable 3-d phenomena or “thing” or some person or persona – You have no idea what you are talking about…. “Christ” is not a thing or a person or some limitation by some textual quotes or book – or a religion – christianity (christians) have turned it into someTHING — something to BELIEVE in — “He,” or whatever you refer to “it” as, is not something ( not some ONE) to “believe” in — “It” is our very true self – our very life itself — and it is felt and discovered and lived (and it is/was there (here) all along) and a person accesses this in so many different ways — and it does not need to come through this or that particular person(a) or personality……. (that’s why Jesus said it matters not if one sins against “him” – but against the spirit of the truth of ourselves- that is what matters….. this whole believers non-believers dichotomy is disgusting and a lie – the greatest heresy there is, and many religions adhere to it – What a crime – what a shame — what great harm (psychological and otherwise) this has done to humans and humanity (and the entire earth….)

                    • I am so sorry for your ignorance!!!!
                      You are so off with your interpretation
                      You need to talk to a true theologian

                  • Glad a Non- Christian understands the difference, that is why I am a Christian. As it says in the good book, “speak the truth (only One) in LOVE.” Love all people with the message of hope, but don’t water down the message to appeal to all

                  • You come to the Father by Grace thru faith and that not of yourself it is a GIFT of God. He gave his only begotten Son and he is the way and only way. He loves you. Just accept him by faith and then begin your discipleship. He love you!

                  • The original Greek quote used the word ‘ego’ – I (an emphatic I sometimes translated as “I and only I”), but too many people take this single line out of context and ignore the fact that the original word ‘hodos’ – way – also refers to a way of thinking or acting. On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving. He asked them if they new where he was going and how to get there. They replied they didn’t know how to get there because they didn’t know where he was going, so he told them “I am the way.” Never in any verse did Jesus tell anyone to worship him, pray to him, or even thank him. Jesus was only the “way,” give your thanks and praise unto the Lord. Every blessing and miracle in the bible, Jesus reminded them that it was only for their faith in the Lord. But for the lost sheep to whom he came, he said what you hold true on Earth, the Lord will hold true in heaven, so if they truly believe the commandment of the bible is to worship Jesus as their savior, so be it. The Lord will recognize us for our faith even if we stumble on the “way.”

                    • Hello Eric,
                      I stumbled across your post. I found it interesting. I am curious, though…you state that Jesus never demanded worship…let’s assume you’re right. What would you think of Jesus if he ALLOWED people to openly worship him? Is it fair to say that if Jesus shouldn’t be worshipped that he would’ve stopped this behavior? And if he didn’t, wouldn’t that would be deplorable? I’m not interested in a fight or heavy debate…really just curious on your thoughts.
                      Take Care.

                    • Throughout the Bible, especially in Luke and Mark, there are accounts of people who came to Jesus asking for his healing and his miracles, but even so, Jesus always told them that for their faith, the Lord has made them whole, healed their child, even to the “dogs who collect the crumbs from their master’s tables.” God does not discriminate only to the chosen who worship this rabbi, but if it is your faith to pray to this sin of God, your devotion will be blessed just as He has blessed all who are true to their faith.

                  • Jesus ‘s way is found universally in every religion and every person who follows the teaching to love their neighbor and welcome the stranger

                    We know nothing about Jesus other than his teachings. We do not know his color of skin, his length of hair, whether he wore shoes or went barefooted. His teaching of love is the way.

                  • I don’t see why it is so hard to believe that there is only one way to get to heaven. There is only one way to be born the womb, to leave this life death to get to my house etc. Why is it so hard to believe? So many things in life are this way. And no one is forcing this on people its is your choice. What else does God need to do he died for us its free and still we refuse.

                    • What an odd idea. There is more than one way to be born. You can come head first, or be a footling or a breach birth. You can be born by cesarean.

                      There are a bazilion ways to die.

                      There are many routes to anyone’s house, depending on whether you come from the north, the south, the east, or the west, or from any point in between.

                      A defining truth about God is the infinite variety of God’s creation. Why, when God obviously values diversity, would there be only one way to heaven? Why would God limit that possibility only to people who were born into the right circumstance?

                    • God did not die for us His only begotten son Jesus Christ died for us. There is one thing that is wrong with a lot of Christian Religions when they say they are going by the Bible. One thing is that for example the Catholic Religion The Crucifixion is always Celebrated on a Friday. Good Friday. His Ascention into Heaven on Easter Sunday. We all know by calendars that the day is different each day. Also the Sabbath is celebrated on Sunday . Sunday is the first day of the week God created the Earth and all that is on , in and under in 6 days the 7th day he rested. The 7th day is Saturday and I know in Judaism they observe Saturday as the Sabbath. The Israelites were Jewish. Then they Celebrate Christ’s Birth on December 25th, Yet no one knows exactly what day or month for that matter that Christ was born. Because the date is not mentioned in the Bible and he only asks them to observe the Nisan in remembrance of him not his birth. In the Bible when the Magi find him he is a toddler and he is living in a house. Another thing is that the Shepherds would not be watching the sheep in deep snow the livestock would be inside for the winter if it were wintertime.

                  • HeShowsNoMercy, I have always taken those words differently than many Christians I guess. But I believe when Jesus says we get to the Father through him that he means through being what he showed us God is, unconditional love. When we are following God, we show this as Jesus showed it through humility and service and respect for each person, not by saying we are Christians. That is how I find myself a Christian yet don’t believe that God only has a place for Christians. To me getting to the Father through Jesus has nothing to do with saying “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” but everything to do with living as Jesus taught.

                  • Yep, you can’t just pick parts of the Bible that you like. God also said it’s unnatural for man to lie with man. I AM a Christian, I don’t agree with gay lifestyle but I don’t hate them. But I am a hater in the world’s view. How is that fair. I disagree with so called Christians that do not love as Jesus did. But I like how you called out John on the point of the way, the truth, and the light-hearted it’s actually life not light but you have a good point. You are right. That’s what the truth is.

                    • Truth is found in scripture as it was originally written. But when what was originally written conflicts with what has been translated into the modern languages, which is truth: What was originally written, or what appears in our Bibles? There are numerous conflicts between scripture in the original languages and the English language Bibles. Where they conflict, should we blindly accept what is written in our Bibles? Or this perhaps is what God had in mind when He inspired Paul to tell Timothy to “Study to show yourself approved to God: a worker who does not need to be ashamed, correctly dividing the word of truth.”
                      So just a few things to ponder:
                      No Greek manuscript of the New Testament says that the Word was “with God” in John chapter one. But every commonly available English translation does say that. So which is true?
                      Some English Bibles tell us in Col. 1:19 that God was pleased, while others say the Father was pleased, while some versions, and the Greek texts, don’t mention God or the Father. Which is true?
                      There is no such word as sodomite in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible, nor any word that could legitimately be translated that way. But the word appears in most English versions in one or both Testaments. What’s the truth here?
                      The Hebrew text of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 both speak about a woman’s bed, and neither contains any phrase that is a comparison of any kind. But every published English version of those verses fails to mention a woman’s bed and all contain comparisons (“as with”). What’s the truth here?
                      Prov. 23:23 tells us to buy truth, and not to sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. But when the various English translations don’t even agree with each other, let alone agree with the Hebrew and Greek texts, doesn’t that suggest we shouldn’t be so dogmatic about standing for something just because “the Bible says,” at least until we have done our homework and made sure that the Bible really said that when it was originally written. Otherwise, we may find ourselves arguing in favor of man-made doctrines and prejudices that less-than-honest translators felt they had the right to put into our Bibles.

                    • You may be well not be a hater, but it is hard for people to know because you are using haters’ language. You say that you don’t agree with the “gay lifestyle”, which is all very well and good because there is no such thing as one monolithic lifestyle that all gay people participate in. Not all gays have dogs, some do. Not all gays live in the city, some do. Not all gays volunteer at soup kitchens, some do. So you not agreeing with something that doesn’t exist isn’t hateful, it’s just kinda silly. Where the hate comes in is the pairing of the word “gay” with the word “lifestyle”. People who really do hate gays created “gay lifestyle” as code for “all gays do is have disgusting sex 24 hours a day”. And you know that that isn’t true either. If you don’t want to be confused with the haters, don’t ever use those two words together again.

                    • A Christian is defined by what we are AND what we do. Jesus is savior AND Lord. We love him for what he has done for us…and a reflection of that love is found in what we do (found in the book of James). Our deeds don’t save us or make us Christians, but because we are Christians, the deeds are a natural outpouring of who we are in Christ.

                  • That claim is not from Jesus. It is from the church that grew up after the crucifixion. Jesus teaches that his teachings begin with Matthew 22:36-40. That means the claims in the creeds and especially those made in the gospel of John are applied inappropriately and lead to anger, hatred and despair.

              • “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exposed.” –Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922

              • As Christ Followers, we get anxious for a world where Christ reigns and are foolish enough to think we can transform it into what we think it should be. Jesus still loves us for none of us, regardless of the sides we take are hitting the mark 100%. God is still in charge of the nations and whatever happens is in his hands. Our job is simply to represent Christ in the chaos and wait for his return. Maybe while we wait it would be helpful to read “Not A Fan”.

            • Who is he or you or I to define what someones personal relationship with Jesus should or does look like. The Bible says “anyone” who confesses the name of Christ as the Son of God is saved. That includes the stages of sin and shortcomings we all have. His article even calls out more grace and less judgement, yet he begins with judgement and the subtle yet clear condemnation of those that made a choice different from his.

                • Those men of religious bent were good at making money off of symbolic items, and they made people feel that they were kind of buying their way into God’s arms..a lesson learned from them by today’s TV preachers, and many, if not most Evangelicals. Are these the kind of people you’re condemming. Keith?

              • The Bible also says that we who are Christian should no longer wallow in our sins, but exhibit a Christlike attitude and if we are of Faith it will show in our GOOD works.

              • I think he is trying to say something about the deplorables that voted for Donald Trump. For some reason believing in being a Christian and an American in the way we deplorables do makes us racist sexist and homophobic, xenophobic etc….. Just because I don’t approve of Obamas ways does not mean that I hate black people. It has nothing to do with his skin color. And anyone that cannot see past his skin color and look at what he has actually done as president is the one with the race problem.

                • And ‘what he has actually done’ would be…?
                  Were you talking about the economy improving? Or unemployment decreasing? Or what, exactly?

                • Yes, what are those terrible things he has done? Please be specific. And try to keep in mind that not all proud Americans are Christian and that this is their country, too. Christians don’t get to set the social agenda in this country.

              • I felt this Christian was very judgemental, & even used political policies as justification to judge a Christian who believed differently about bathroom policies, etc. Where in the Bible does GOD tell us we have the right as Christians to judge a person’s faith, & whether they are a Christian, based on how they vote, or what policies they support? When a truly humble Christian talks about their faith, it would be impossible to know what their political party was. This author brought politics into his testimony, & it was obvious what his message was meant to convey. ????

              • “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty
                Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” –Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936

              • You have it all wrong….Jesus was always a Jew and died Jew….He did not hate the Jews, if you can read…He came to emphasize His Father’s love and His gift of Grace. The Romans suspected that He was getting too large a following, Some of the Jewish folk were becoming fearful that He, Jesus could bring down wrath of the governing body down on them. Yes, they were frightened….the government had been fairly fair with them, and they didn’t want to upset the applecart. He only got support from his ardent followers, they were a small but growing minority. His followers weren’t politically correct i n that day, same as in today’s day, the liberal non conformist was feared by the Pharisees Just as the liberals are in this day. the Pharisees are the party of the privileged called by a different name, but holding the same views. The first Christians were the poor, the lame, the outcasts, prostitutes drinkers, generally the despised. God did not come to save the pharisees, but the broken, but the outcasts. He was feared because he gave the rabble hope…..read your own Bible….I hear that Phyllis’s older son is working on rewriting the bible for the sake of the conservatives…he does not like it as written….

              • Keith, I agree with you. Like all family we have members we wish would just shut up! But they are still family until and unless God sifts them out. Meanwhile, embarrassing as it is, we are stuck with them. They keep getting white 1950’s America mixed up with Heaven.

              • Amen, Keith! My thoughts exactly. His own words contradict him:

                “I refuse to be a Christian who demands that others believe what I believe or live as I live or profess what I profess.”

                And yet his article condemns those Christians who think and believe differently from him.

            • I disagree. They love Jesus. And Jesus says that if they go in My name……. You see, once you start deciding who is and who is not a Christian, you walk the dangerous line of faith not mattering. If faith isn’t enough to truly save, than faith is worthless and the system is all clap trap.

              • You shall know them by their fruits. If those fruits include cheering for anger, or cheerfully supporting blatant sin and hate speech, those are fairly obvious fruits.

                • “Ye shall know them by their fruits” was referring to “the fruits of the Spirit” (there are 9)….of which agreeing or disagreeing with you is not one.

              • Yes, you don’t know where someone is on their journey with Christ. Jesus takes us where we are and spends the rest of our lives changing us into his image. Its not something we do for ourselves — and if we do, we will miss the mark.

            • That’s what Christians always say. Bad people who claim to be Christians are not Christians. Well, guess what, they are. If you ask them, they’ll tell you. You count them as part of your majority in this “Christian” nation. So live with them. They’re yours.

            • That’s what Christians always say. Bad people who claim to be Christians are not Christians. Well, guess what, they are. If you ask them, they’ll tell you. You count them as part of your majority in this “Christian” nation. So live with them. They’re yours.

              • As I said elsewhere, I won’t say who is and who isn’t a Christian, of those who say they are. (With the obvious exception of a man who proudly says he’s never repented for anything.) However, as you say, they’re ours, so trying to pull them back from the brink is our job. For everyone’s sake.

            • No.
              True.
              Scotsman.

              the behaviour you abjure IS christianity, and the people claiming it have as much right to the name as do you.

              Either cut them loose or start something new. American xtianity is a damaged brand. Start from scratch with actions and not words, and certainly not the begrudging charity doled out to those who agree to listen to sermons and poor-blaming, and you might stand a chance of regaining some sort of social relevance.

              Otherwise, xtianity will continue to lose ground among millennials – and none too soon IMO.

            • Good for you John Pavlovitz… I’m always encouraged when I learn of like-minded Christians who truly believe that we are to live by the instructions the LIVING CHRIST gave us at the sermon on the mount! When the exhortations of other writers of the bible (Paul for example) seem to ‘butt up’ against the actual teachings of Jesus… JESUS wins! The popular modern day ‘flavor’ of Christianity seems to have completely lost the actual message of Christ. If He told 1st century Christians to carry the armor of that nasty, unclean, ungodly (and quite possibly homosexual) Roman soldier twice as far as the laws of the land required as a demonstration of God’s love (you know, the same Roman soldiers who would nail him to a cross, then later march Christians to their death in the collusiums), then I think we need to heed that example first, last, and foremost. Bake two wedding cakes, welcome ALL strangers as tho you may be entertaining angels unaware because that’s the message of Christ ~ the rest of the bible should be used to examine our own hearts, NOT to swipe at others in judgement.

            • It’s the very mindset of some the respondents that led to my decision to renounce and disassociate myself from Christianity for almost five years.

              Once a seminarian and Scripture scholar and now happily far removed from the judging, guilting and hypocracy.

              In the words of Anne Lamott: “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

            • True Christians who believe what the Bible teaches us and try to live their lives that way are BELIEVERS not Christians. So quit giving yourself a bad name and call yourself a BELIEVER. ????

          • Wow carpenterson, amazing how quickly you found someone to double down and illustrate your point even more! Mr. Masters now has elevated himself to the level of deity in that he can say who does and does not have Salvation.

            I didn’t even vote for Trump, yet the past few days has shown me bigotry against rural and working class people that I couldn’t even imagine. Jesus also didn’t look down on those with lower income or less formal education (I don’t know many PhDs who can repair my HVAC, and I work at RTP. Regardless, you are not who will determine anyone’s salvation., just as I am not, despite whatever views they hold and even if some may be distasteful.

            • Actually my husband has a PhD. He can fix an HVAC and he can fix space telescopes. I have a master’s degree and can change the oil in my car. Shocking, but not all stereotypes are true.

            • It isn’t about poor rural working American’s. It is about support for a unchristian candidate, who represents a clearly unchristian party (GOP has long abandoned the disenfranchised and poor in this country with their policy positions), who has been endorsed by unchristian hate groups (including the KKK), and who now is appointing an unchristian white nationalist and anti-Semite to one of the top positions in a presidential administration. As we are told, we can measure people by the fruits they bear because words are easy to manipulate. And, there currently are allot of christian’s bearing a whole lot of unchristian fruit. I will not sit by and let “christians” use my lords and savior to support hate, fear, violence, and bigotry. Christ calls me to actually call it out when and where possible.

              • Barack Obama was endorsed by CPUSA, unlike Trump denouncing the KKK endorsement Obama never refeuteated the cpusa endorsement. Point being you really have no say who endorses you but you do have a choice on embracing the endorser/endorsment

              • 1. To suppose that either of the candidates in the most recent election represented a ‘more Christian’ perspective is deluded. Neither of these people embrace a Christian vision for our nation or the world; they reject the notion that Christ is Lord over every area of life. They both have deep flaws – one of them uses demeaning and divisive language and the other cares more about secret deals with Wall Street bankers than the thousands of unborn babies murdered every year. We had the choice of drinking from two poisoned chalices, and I said ‘no thank you’.

                2. Regarding who is and is not a Christian, the New Testament is very clear on this point: Jesus said ‘Repent and believe the gospel’ (Mark1:15); Paul preached to repent and have faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21). Faith means to believe in Christ as God in the flesh who died for our sins and was raised from the dead (I Cor. 15:1-9). To repent means to turn from everything God calls sin and follow Jesus with all of your heart. Remember: God is the one who defines what sin is, and he does that all through the Old and New Testaments.

                3. Everyone one is created in the image of God; this image is grossly distorted by sin and only restored by Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). So while we are compassionate towards everyone due to their creation in God’s image, we utterly detest the sin and sinfulness that has warped their identity and separated them from God. Their only hope with God is to turn to God through Christ.

                We live in an age when people claim definitional prerogative over reality. God says ‘No’.

          • I disagree. They love Jesus. And Jesus says that if they go in My name……. You see, once you start deciding who is and who is not a Christian, you walk the dangerous line of faith not mattering. If faith isn’t enough to truly save, than faith is worthless and the system is all clap trap.

          • A Christian is someone who has humbly accepted Jesus Christ as his savior; it is not a person devoid of sin. And, we should all remember that pride is sin. Oh, the irony of John’s post.

        • Carpenterson, thank you for calling attention to the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. As I read this article I felt like that it provided a lot of information I needed to hear. But after reading your comment I realized that the attitude that I had while reading the article was “so-and-so really needs to hear this” and not so much that I need to hear it (that cut when I realized that). Lately I’ve been convicted that when I put on that sort of an attitude I am in danger of becoming the hypocritical Pharisee myself. I don’t know John and this is the first of his writing I’ve read (I arrived at this article from a link from a friend), but I hope and trust he too is challenging himself to avoid pharisaical thinking.

          However, I don’t think that allows us to dismiss the article wholesale. We can’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater because we have occasion to question the author’s’ intent (or even our own intent as we read). There are some deep problems that are addressed in the article that we ALL need to work towards fighting against. These sins are ones that the church has not been addressing (or addressing poorly, or partially, or only by select communities). Due to our neglect, some would believe that we as Christians are endorsing these sins. We cannot stand for that. My job is to fix that by daily dying to these sins as I confront them in my own heart and challenging fellow believers to do the same.

          As Christians we should all look carefully at this article and resist the temptation to think: “oh, so-and-so needs to hear this” or even “the author is bad, he is just is picking at the sliver in someone else’s eye.” Instead we should read it with a heart that says “Lord, I am guilty of these transgressions and in doing so am bringing disgrace to you. Fix my heart so that others may see you only and bring change to your church so that we would bring you glory.”

          • Kevin, I am not a Christian but the temperament, even-handedness and kindness with which you have written this comment is very touching. Thank you.

        • carpenterson makes a valid point, John. While I share your disillusionment and disappointment, it would have been far better had you written about “The Kind of Christian I Want to Try to Be,” reversing your negative descriptions into positive ones. Doing it as you did makes you look judgmental and hypocritically doing what you decry in others.

        • Thank-you!!! So well put exactly my thoughts and feelings but couldn’t quite figure out why it was bugged me. . that passage perfectly explained it. Sad so many people feel they are righteous in there condemnations just because they don’t agree.

        • So true….this was not humble but a Holier than Thou attitude. This we as politically motivated against the believers in Christ that happened to have a different opinion.

        • I agree. Although I had higher hopes of what this article would say, I am compelled to agree with you. He seems to be that very Pharisee. Maybe he should remember his own words, “I refuse to be a Christian who demands that others believe what I believe or live as I live or profess what I profess”.

        • hehe Carpentson, aren’t you doing the same you are criticizing of him. Kinda hard though to find the line between one thing and another. Still he does sound more like Jesus than like the Pharisees. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees clearly, and I think he is doing just that. Not saying that he is better, but that those using his Father’s name are using it falsely to promote themselves culturally and keep their power. He is calling that part of the church as false, just like Jesus did. He is not comparing virtue or good works or anything.

        • hehe Carpentson, aren’t you doing the same you are criticizing of him. Kinda hard though to find the line between one thing and another. Still he does sound more like Jesus than like the Pharisees. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees clearly, and I think he is doing just that. Not saying that he is better, but that those using his Father’s name are using it falsely to promote themselves culturally and keep their power. He is calling that part of the church as false, just like Jesus did. He is not comparing virtue or good works or anything.

        • Certainly you did not understand at all what Pastor John Pavlovitz is talking about!
          There is people who have eyes but do not see and have ears and do not hear…

        • It’s one thing to claim you don’t have the same temptations tendencies and desires as other (all others) (which, as you know, is NOT what Pavlovitz is doing here) – but it is another thing to give an Okay to those very actions and attitudes and even somehow associate that as bing christian….. That is what he is criticizing here – this wink and a nod and support of such attitudes and actions. He’s talking about what it is to be a christian – and your same bible talks about being reborn in Christ which IS made manifest in ones actions words and attitudes…

        • Well said. As many join in similar sentiments lately it seems they forget that it is loving the hardest to love that shows true spiritual maturity. Jesus pointed out, loving your friends is easy, loving your enemies is the job we are called to

        • I was going to say something similar, but you said it better. I will pray for the author that they can let go of the bigotry still living in their heart.

          • I am trying to figure out which of these statements by the author you find objectionable:

            I refuse to be a Christian who lives in fear of people who look or speak or worship differently than I do.

            I refuse to be a Christian who believes that God blesses America more than God so loves the world.

            I refuse to be a Christian who uses the Bible to perpetuate individual or systemic bigotry, racism, or sexism.

            I refuse to be a Christian who treasures allegiance to a flag or a country or a political party, above emulating Jesus.

            Yes, we can have differences of opinion on some things, but THESE are things you find debateable?
            How is that possible?

            If these statements are debateable, it seems to me that American Christianity has become very debased in 2016.

            I want to understand your perspective.

        • Okay that was unfair and a sad interpretation of that passage. This Pastor is writing about a difficult and painful subject, which is how to be a follower of Jesus in a country where everything that Christianity has stood for has disappeared under the leadership of the far right Republicans. Christians, many of them, elected a man that, had he been running as a democrat, they would have vilified and turned away from as a fraud and lacking a moral compass. I cannot for the life of me understand this about face and trying to explain it to non christians is impossible as I cannot explain it to myself.

        • Couldn’t have said it better carpenterson. I am a Christian. I love God. I follow his ways and his word. I am not a liberal inclusive in as much as I do not throw out God’s laws in order to be everyone’s best friend. I do not agree with everyone’s views in order to get them to see what a lovely Christian I am. I love people. All people. But I will not agree with all people’s lifestyles and behaviour and if that makes me a hater in some people’s book then that is fine by me. I know the truth of how I feel and what I do and who I am. I hate nobody. If anyone wants to say that in order to be a real Christian I MUST accept everyone’s lifestyle choices and behaviour that is contrary to God’s law or word then let them say that. It won’t make it any the more true.

          • Totally agree Maisie. While I really like a lot of what is said in this article, I also feel there is a very fine line between loving people and being accepting of their lifestyle. The church would not be any different from the world if we just accepted and condoned everyone’s lifestyles and choices in the name of love.

          • Hmmm . . . Lifestyles to be disagreed with. You mean like if I have a dog and you have a cat, I can disagree because having a cat is just wrong? Or maybe it’s that you like to clean the house yourself, but I cannot stand cleaning house so I hire someone to do it, so you get get to look down your nose at me? I used to really have problems with the lifestyle of my next door neighbour. He would play really loud hip hop music at inappropriate times.

        • I actually view this post as him saying that he refuses to be a pharisee. If you look at the pharisees, they were the self-righteous. They were the ones all about traditions and rules. Who would that be today? That would be the very people that he said he refused to be.

        • WELL! I MUST say that even “I” am MOST impressed with this article. I DO believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the HOLY SPIRIT, but I do NOT jive with the hypocrites that call themselves by *name*, Christian, but don’t walk the walk. It also vividly points out that not ALL Christians follow the idiocy of these hypocritical Pharisees. Jesus himself said to love your brother as yourself. I personally am ALL for that. I also refuse to accept the hypocritical precepts of these charlatans that call themselves Christian, but are further from Christianity as one can be. ROCK ON to the author of this article.

        • remember the whole “hey don’t judge other people even if they have a different worldview” thing? yeah that’s a pretty shitty way to go about that

        • Very interesting, indeed! But it is not his “world view” that makes a Christian a Christian. Be wary of conforming to society’s view of what it means to serve our Lord. We must stand against the sins of all sinners as we show compassion, of course.
          Let’s not get caught up in demoralizing a “so-called Christian” when we are called to lead others to Christianity by reminding them of what is right and what is wrong!

        • carpenterson, i sense a facetious outlook. Somehow, the idea of “alternative facts” has taken hold, it seems. Rather than seeing John’s blogpost as a rejection, why not seek the facts, the truth in his statements? It is a fact he, and many, choose to follow Jesus. The WORDS of Jesus, the red words in the bible. We do not see this as elitist. I am confused as to why anyone would see this simple truth as elitist.

        • Right on, I completely agree, he has put himself on a pedestal of righteousness, as if he is better than another… Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Thank God for Jesus, we are incapable of being anything close to the likes of Jesus, don’t insult his sacrifice by suggesting you can be anything like him or close, it’s because of your inability to be Christ-like that he paid your debt of sin. Thank you Jesus for doing what we could not!!!!!@

        • I would say he sounds like a coward. Look at the way John the Baptist spoke to others in reguards to their sin. Obviously Christians have no right using government in any way against others, but they certainly are not called to make everyone comfortable with their life choices. It Is loving to tell the truth even when it offends at times. God is offensive to those perishing and we either want their approval or His. The church of nice is equall to the church of Donald trump flag wavers. Jesus was neither.

        • Carpenterson, this calls to my mind the tension between avoiding saying “O Lord, I am glad that I am not like other men” and following a Savior who did not shrink from calling out hypocrisy and sin where he found it (see Matthew 23). This article resonated with me because I believe that a portion of the evangelical church has gone off the rails into heresy, and the earmarks of that heresy are well summed up here.

        • A sheep of the flock has a duty to alert the flock to the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Someone said something about being innocent as doves and wise as serpents. Speaking truth was what Jesus was all about. That it stung you. Carpenterilliget, to try to discredit John speaks volumes.

      • I would like to know if John believes that Jesus is the ONLY WAY. Jesus said this about himself, but it is not apparent to me in John’s writing at all! Looks like he thinks you can come into the kingdom of God however you are, you don’t really need to believe anything specific about sin or God or the Way of salvation and you’re “in,” you’re a Kingdom Kid. Looks like he’s saying, “all those people who are preachin’ out there and saying that the Bible is Truth and is God’s Word that we need to apply to our lives, well people, you don’t have to listen to all that. They are just being mean and hateful and bigoted. They are talkin’ about sin and stuff, don’t listen to them, by all means!” I also have to say, this article is in itself very judgmental, John. You judge the hearts of those who want to share the Truth of God’s Word with a lost and dying world and are loving enough to tell the bad along with the good. Could we do better at being kind and loving, yes, we all could, and they Bible will tell us that this is so. Tell me, whom is more loving the one who warns you about the upcoming doom, or the one who lets you sit and think you’re safe?

        • Lee, carpenterson, could one not also argue that you all have rushed to John’s judgment by condemning his words. Maybe you all just missed what he meant or maybe you all thought the apostle Paul meant something else he said, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.” Racism,
          sexism, any other -ism, and xenophobia have no place in the church. All John is suggesting here is that we try a little less “hate the sinner, love thy bigotry” and a little more “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I fail to see how someone putting that idea more eloquently in writing is a problem, or maybe John is right and we now have two different types of Christians. I’ll gladly cast my lot with the Samaritans.

          • No, he is judging the hearts of those who would preach truth. You can tell by the way he says it. I’m not seeing a whole lot of racism, sexism, bigotry in the church of God. We are all invited to the church of Christ on God’s terms. We don’t get to pick and choose what is sin and what is ok with God. He’s Sovereign God! He rules! Liberal churches want everyone to be happy just as they are and allow them to remain how they are. Jesus died to change us, we don’t get to change Jesus into someone that we want him to be. God IS definitely love, but He is also a holy, righteous judge. There are plenty of pastors who will tell people what their itching ears want to hear, not what they need to hear (2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”)
            People who are led astray may end up saved but not in a right relationship with God or they may be separated from God for eternity. We can love people/ the sinner, and also want them to deal with their sin problem (hate the sin) but you have to tell them it’s sin! It is unloving not to.

            • Thank you Lee – you convinced me by your own example that not only is John accurate in what he says, but also that the damage to Real Christianity by self righteous – false “Christians” such as yourself needs to be taken seriously. While it’s obvious you have a psychological need to be in a position where you believe you are “speaking for Jesus”, the real damage occurs to those who fail to realize that you are using Christianity to fill your own personal needs and agenda. Your second sentence referring to what John wrote was “You can tell by the way he says it.” After that you proceeded to misrepresent EVERYTHING John actually communicated. Your inability to understand simple sentences, coupled with your written admission that you add your own meaning based on your opinion of “the way something is said”, indicates that you likely understand very little of the truth contained in the bible. The idea of you attempting to teach it to others is a scary thought indeed!

              • I felt it was important to let you know that Lee may have simply been mislead, but you are definitely not emulating Jesus in the way you regard Lee. Your attacks on his comprehension and personality are disgusting and wrong.

              • A person can be merciful and tolerant of individuals who are indeed sinning while standing on the “right” side of God’s laws by reminding them that they are sinning! It is not being bigoted. It IS being Christian!
                “Being” a Christian is like being an apostle in Jesus’s days on earth…”go out and preach the Good News!”
                So, don’t try to hide from the truth because “what is masked by darkness will be revealed in the light.”

            • No, that’s what you read but it’s not at all what he said. It’s not the words he wrote. You’re seeing what you want to see. I have no church because I keep leaving churches as soon as they begin to being politics into it. Sermons about Lady Gaga trying to claim we are all “Born This Way”, a sermon about why the preacher was glad to be preaching today instead on at a baby shower for a bastard baby, etc. This is something I’m seeing all the time and it fills my heart with despair. I’m seeing preachers and those involved in church leadership busy condemning everyone else around them, but never ever seeking to improve themselves. That’s why I want church. God loves in me. Jesus shows me the way. But church is for improving myself as a follower of Christ and for serving my community. I’m not seeing that in the vast majority of churches, and there’s not much more disheartening than that.

              • Why have you got this sexual hangup? Why are you equating politics preaching about Sex. Not I an an unattainably political preacher. I preach about Justice I preach about respecting my Neighbour. I peach about respecting yourself. in the Context of the Respect for God – You coal love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself. I speak about giving right measure and making sure that you do just and love mercy. That is politics. Do I worry about sexuality? well not really, I will tell people to act responsibly in whatever kind of relationship they are in, I believe that you do not commit adultery. I believe that casual sex is bad and that you support people and don’t judge because you re not God.
                What do you mean people improving themselves? That is growing up physically and Spiritually.

              • have you tried a Unitarian church? They are about the least judgement church there is.

                I can’t understand why some people want to sit through a sermon that is all about hell and damination, instead of things you can apply to your life.

                I grew up in a denomination where women traditionally wore prayer coverings. Not as many wear them today. One Sunday we had a guest minister. Part of his sermon was wondering if God would allow woman into Heaven if they didn’t cover their heads, because the Bible clearly states that women were to wear them. If this was the case there would billions of Christian women being sent to hell for disobeying his laws. Of course, I think this is absurd, but many Christians condemn people for less.

            • How do you feel about the sin of wealth that Jesus spent a lot of time talking about? It seems like this is one teachings conservative Christians want to ignore,

            • Maybe God guided John to write this to show those that do the things John wrote about that they are not following the intent of his teachings. You think that you have the God given right to tell gays about their sin even though many of them are fellow Christians.

              There are a multitude of things different Christians think are sins. I am guess that you might engage in some of these even though you don’t see them as sinful. How would you feel if they were constantly telling you that you better change or go to hell, but they said they were doing it out of love? That is how gays, many of whom are Christian, feel when told they are sinners going to hell.

              It’s all about paying attention to the log in one’s own eye,, instead of a splinter in someone elses eye.

              • No, it is not about what some christians call sin, it is ALL about what God calls sin. And by living in the true power of Holy Spirit to affect change in your own heart. This is where attitudes/sin/ judgment are dwelt with, it is in the heart (spirit)were true renewal convjction comes from ,not the head. And this happens when we read God’s Word, not what we want it to read, ie. the Whole Council of God. If anyone took the time to read the party platforms against the Word of God, you should have no problem coming to the conclusion that one party lines up with the Word of God-His Bible and one does not. By agreeing with the Bible does not make me a homophobe or racist or any other name calling that was described here. Jesus showed us we don’t wink at sin, nor do we condemn sinners. If we are true followers we don’t get to pick and choose what we believe about the Bible, it is not a menu, 2 from column A and 1 from column B. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!

            • The truth according to your interpretation? You nor anyone else gets to interpret how Gods word speaks to them!!! Hate to break it to you. Not your job, not your right and not your business!

            • Dear Lee, Don’t you think people know when they are sinning without you telling them? Love one another, let God do the convicting. Trust the Lord. Esp if it is your spouse your trying to change. ❤️

          • It seems appropriate to reference a favorite letter I’ve read on this subject:

            Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. When people try to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

            I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them:

            a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev.1:9).The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

            b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

            c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev.15:19-24).The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

            d) Lev.25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

            e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

            f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

            g) Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

            h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

            i) I know from Lev.11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

            j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread cotton/polyester blend. He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev.24:10-16)? Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

            I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

              • ” Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.”

                Is that what you meant to refer to?

            • The condemnation of homosexual activity goes beyond the Old Testament laws, and is re-iterated by Paul in the New Testament. It still applies to Christians today.

              • That’s because Paul struggle with his own sexuality like all of us. We are sexual creatures born to reproduce that is the act of asexuality whether it is for pleasure or to reproduce making another human. God gives and God takes away…

              • Also, paul is an apostle, he is not our savior. As a result, Paul is a flawed human like all of us. So, it seems a little extreme to condemn vast swaths of humanity off a few weak references by a flawed Apostle. I would like to see you apply that same level of zeal towards the sins Jesus clearly hated, which were greed, wealth, hate, undue judgement, and bigotry of any sort. This election has exposed the true hypocrisy of Christian American’s, and their use of the religion to validate whatever hateful rhetoric and actions they want to. Sorry, but you can’t elect a man like Trump and claim the moral high horse (86% of Christians voted for him, sigh).

                • Many of you where prepared to elect Hillary and willing to claim the moral high horse. Completely unwilling to remember her hatred for anyone or anything that isn’t what she wants to support at the moment. Look back over the last 30 years at the news snippets available on her.

            • I am clearly out of line here.
              But, my understanding of the Bible is that there is a old and new testament and the death of Christ Jesus on the cross did away with the old laws set out for and only for the chosen people of God…
              And, if you are not a Jew you are not apart of God’s chosen people.
              You are condemned to everlasting death to die over and over with the gnashing of teeth burning in hell with Satan and a third of the Angel’s who followed Lucifer.
              Hell is a complete separation of God’s love, cast in to darkness.
              Since the death of Christ on the Cross put an end of the aged and out dated laws of the time. Although, sin has separated us from God’s love. Jesus is the redemption for our sin. There is no one sin greater than the other. Sin is sin.
              The good news of the life and death of Christ that we as Christian proclaim to be seem to come with all kinds of strings attached to this salvation. Like the woman at the well; the leopards were cast out if the cities. Even when Lot was to find one individual that worshipped God in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he failed the cities and lost he wife. His daughters got him drunk and had sex with their own father.
              Christ died that all men could come to the cross for forgiveness, that’s all of humanity. Even me.
              My sins are great. I die daily so Christ Jesus can live through me. My physical body is the temple for which the Holly Spirit lives. Christ died that I and everybody else can live in Christ. Christ forgives us our sin from the past, the present and the future. As far as the east is from the west…
              He is the alpha and the omega of life…
              We live our lives because if the New Testament and not by the out dated laws of the Old Testament.
              Just sayin’

        • Is Jesus the ONLY way?
          And if Jesus is the only way, does Jesus have the power to save someone who does not say the ‘sinners prayer’ before they die?
          Are liberals correct that grace and mercy supersede the law, or are conservatives right that law is always more important, and anything else is condoning sin?
          I wrestled with these questions for a long time – aware that equally well-educated pastors who all pray to the same God for guidance have come to completely opposite conclusions. Who is correct? I am not as thoroughly educated as they are, nor am I am the most intelligent person on the planet, nor do I assume that I am closer to God than everyone else and therefor only I can hear the correct truth from God….so how do I know who is correct?
          Easy! ….whichever ones agree with me. They must be the ones who are correct. Ha ha
          Isn’t that EXACTLY how we decide that we are right and others are wrong?
          I think ANYONE who is certain they are correct and others are wrong is suffering from a huge lack of humility.
          I have decided to err on the side of grace and mercy….and if on Judgement Day I find out that I was wrong, I prefer to know that I erred by showing too much love and too much compassion, rather than holding a legalistic perspective and finding out on Judgement Day I was wrong and I had erred on the side of being too judgmental and lacking in humility and compassion.
          I don’t know if I am right or others are right, but I think I am leaning more towards the teachings of Jesus.

          • And you just the nail more squarely on the head than any written or verbal thoughts on this topic I’ve come across yet. Thanks very much for caring enough to share!!!

          • Maybe this thinking goes against many “Christian” beliefs, but I believe that all paths lead to God. I truly believe that all of the major faiths have SOME of the WHOLE truth. And that it is not until we are willing to embrace all faiths, and see how they all have truths, that we will see the complete picture.

            I have made it a point to try to understand many faiths. Buddhism, Taosim, Judaism. I’ve a copy of the Quran that I plan on studying. I’m still in the early steps of understanding, but I’ve found that there are many similarities depicted differently, likely based on cultural influences.

            I don’t know how – yet – but they all fit together. I hope someday I will have that understanding.

            • YES! That is the understanding I have come to know after years of studying religions. I’m a convert from atheism and when I first started asking questions about religious beliefs, I wanted to make sure I got it “right” when I actually committed to one. I researched and tried out several types of Christianity before settling on the one that brought me closest to God. In knowing that all people have to find their own path to belief I encourage people to ask people who practice the faith fruitfully, meaning they are someone who you would go to for advice or counsel. Most major religions have a place where you might be able to go and worship or practice the faith. I personally had someone who was a great resource for me, a sounding board of sorts even though she was non-denominational Christian she never said anything for or against any church I tried.

              • Matthew 7:13-14: “13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
                7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

              • Kris R and Lyndsay,

                To say there are many ways to an eternal existence with our maker is to call Christ a liar. Jesus answered,

                “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

                To me, that’s about as clear as you can make it. To deny that basic precept of Christianity is to acknowledge that you do not believe the Bible nor what Christ said is truthful. This is another fundamental precept of Christianity – that the Bible is truth.

                To deny either of these precepts is the same as saying “I’m not a Christian.” To say “I am a Christian.” does not make you a Christian. You must except the fundamentals that Christianity is built on in order to be a Christian. It’s really not up to you or to me. It’s up to Christ whether you are actuality following him or not – whether you are one “who goes by His name…”

                You should read 1st John. It’s a short book of the bible… 5 chapters. This book, written by one of the closest of his disciples (John) spells out very plainly who will make the cut and who won’t when the time comes. In essence, there is a definite divider between those who sin and those who live a life of sin. Those who sin form time to time reveal a repentant heart. Those who live a life of sin, do not and, as a result, are going to get an F on their final report card. Not a good thing.

                Here’s what I know the Bible to say:

                1. God knows and loves both Kris R and Lyndsay deeply. He also knows them better than they know themselves (He knows how many hairs each of you have on your heads!!! Do you?). In addition to knowing and loving you both, he desperately wants to have a one on one relationship with each of you.

                2. Unfortunately, his desire to have that relationship has been blocked. Nobody wants to believe that they are a “sinner.” The thought of it is not very pleasant. Because of its unpleasantness, we tend to be in denial of it. That denial is the wall that cuts us off from him and a relationship with him. We also, as humans, want to write our own truths – especially about what is sin and what is not. Guess what!? We’re very prone to saying the things we do aren’t sin. Imagine that… How convenient for us… Unfortunately, what is a sin and what is not is simply not up to us. That’s not our decision. It’s God’s decision. We do not have the authority to over rule him. We just don’t. We are his creation and are subject to his rules. Period. The final thrust here is that without a personal relationship with God, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

                3. So, here we are. We’re all sinners the Word of God tells us. You, me, Lee and all the others who made comments on this posting AND the man who wrote this article in the first place! Our sins exclude us from having a personal relationship with God. Pardon the language, but it kind of sounds like we’re screwed forever doesn’t it? Those are all his rules. No changing them or over ruling them. That just doesn’t sound that great does it? Well, here’s here’s our “saving grace.” Oddly enough, it’s called Grace and it Saves us from our poor decisions and enables us to have the eternally saving personal relationship with God that he desires. Here’s how grace works. (John 3:16 says) For God so loved the world (you and me) that he offered up (gave) his one and only son (can you imagine doing that with one of your kids!? God loves us that much!!!) to be a sacrifice that pays for our sins. His sacrifice, the bible says, separates our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west.” God did this for us because, even though He expects us to live our lives without sin because there is no excuse for our sin (1 Cor 10:13 for example), He anticipated that we WOULD sin. Because of his love for us, he made a way for us to overcome our sin and have that all important relationship with him – through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. Jesus saved our eternal lives through his obedience to the Father.

                My last Point:
                4. Knowing all of this and the good news I shared in 3 above is not enough to give us our eternal salvation. There is one more thing. This is the last part of John 3:16. He gave his son to be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Whomever (you or I or Lee or the man that wrote the initial message) makes a decision to believe in Jesus and his sacrifice and that if we confess our sins and (here’s the biggy) accept his sacrifice as forgiveness for our sins, we will spend eternity in Heaven with him.

                How can I get this? I want it.

                Here’s where you go. Pray with your lips that:
                You are a sinner (remember by His definition of sin not ours)
                You want to be forgiven for those sins.
                You accept Jesus’ sacrifice as being sufficient to pay for those sins and that you accept forgiveness for your sins through that sacrifice.
                Finally, invite God into your heart and your mind to start the most important relationship of your life – this temporal life and an eternal life with Him in His kingdom.

                • This is not Christianity, but an aberration which is claiming to be Christianity. Christians don’t believe that the “Bible is true” We believe that the Word of God as it is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament is the only rule which God has given us to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
                  The idea that the Bible is true came out of the Niagara movement in the late 19th Century.
                  The initiative for a one to one relationship with God lies with God, he is the one who has called some, or perhaps all or perhaps all bar one into his kingdom.
                  All have sinned and come sort of the Glory of God, however through his death and resurrection Christ has changed God’s relationship with us. He can overlook our since because the judge – Christ – is judged in our place and act as our advocate.
                  Unfortunately you lack a real understanding of the Gospel. You are so into a transactional view of the Atonement you have lost the other views.
                  Form me Christ is the way the truth and the life. I cannot say that God is not going to accept other people. You are only it seems interested in a post death life. I believe that Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly. I think that your view of Christianity stinks and is not faith in Christ at all, but the worship of a particular view of the Bible. That is idolatry, I don’t think that your Bible even reflects Christ.

                    • My statement comes from the shorter Catechism of the Westminster Divines an subordinate standard of faith of the Church of Scotland. Where actually does your statement that the Bible is true come from? Remember that the books which made up the Bible were not actually accepted by the Church until the 4th Century, and the comments about scripture in the New Testament were about the Hebrew Bible or perhaps the Septuagint.
                      It also seems as if you actually believe in a gospel of works rather than grace. I have a feeling that you actually are an Arminianist, so your claim even to be orthodox is gravely flawed. In fact you are leading people into error. Of curse John Pavlocitz is such a high minded christian that he would not get tot the dust to fight people like you but really in Theological terms your ignorance is quite profound.

                  • Edward,
                    Your understanding of the life Christ wants for us and the way to obtain it is quite mixed up.

                    You also seem to be angry with the world. Your angry language, your need to call people names, and your attempts at belittling people all to show how intelligent and learned you are indicative of one who has yet to accept Christ’s message. The fruits you produce are rotten. When you walk without Christ in your heart, you also walk without the Spirit of God. Without the spirit as your counsel, it’s no wonder you don’t understand what his Word means.

                    You’re upset that I shared the message of salvation that the entire true Christian world believes and shares with other non-believers. This is what I would expect from Satan or one of his minions. Satan hates when a seed is planted, because when a seed is planted, the Spirit can then grow it.

                    At the risk of somehow validating your remarks, I will address a couple of them so the people I had directed my comments to will understand.

                    Quite simply, I do not believe in salvation through works. Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Isa 64:6 and a host of verses beyond these more famous ones plainly indicate that our salvation is available because of Christ’s grace, mercy and love for us. Your assertion that I believe in salvation through works is completely wrong and I don’t believe that anything I wrote in my initial comments indicate that you are right. If you think that confessing your sins to Christ and asking him into your heart are anything but an act of faith, you are mistaken. I believe, as does true Christianity throughout the world, that you must do these things. They are not an act of works, they are an act of faith and an acknowledgement that Christ alone holds the keys to each persons eternal salvation.

                    With regard to me saying that Christians believe the Bible is true. I’m sorry my friend. Christianity does believe the Bible is true. You seem to be saying that the Bible and its contents is not the Word of God. I disagree with you. I’m not sure what distinction you are making between the two, but it sounds like rhetoric which you think you learned from some source at some time. It’s a ridiculous thing for you to find fault with and a ridiculous thing for you to say.

                    Your theology is aberrant. Your idea that the old testament is true and the new testament is not is an absurdity. They are one in the same. both written by the hand of one God. The old testament speaks incessantly about Christ, his sacrifice and salvation through his saving work. The new testament is a continuation of old testament writings and confirm all the old testament has to say about our eternal lives.

                    If you think that salvation is an automatic for everyone, you are sadly mistaken. It is not an automatic. You must humble yourself to Christ and ask for his sacrifice to cover your sins. You must ask for it. You must repent. If you’re interested, John lays it out very plainly in his first epistle. He makes it very clear that those who repent will be saved and those who choose to continue to live a life of sin will not be saved. It is NOT an automatic.

                    I’m sorry that you have not yet found the truth. I’m sorry that you’re angry. I’m sorry that Satan has duped you into thinking that you somehow know better than the rest of the Christian world. He is taking you for a ride and he is using you to take others for a ride. You are unknowingly serving Satan as one of his apostles of deceit.

                    Edward, I love you and want you to know that Christ is ready to forgive you for your sins, but you must ask for it. He gives it freely to those who repent. You must repent to be eligible for his salvation, however. You must stop leading a life of sin. We all sin from time to time, but there is a big difference between an occasional sin and living a life of sin. The latter is a life lead by someone who has no repentance in their heart. They are doomed my friend.

                    I believe I have said everything I need to say to you. I’ll not be entertaining any more of your deceitful thoughts nor will I be reading anymore of your future attacks on God’s truth. It’s obvious that you need God in your life. Please consider confessing your sins to Christ and asking him into your heart so that he can begin making you into the person that he wants you to be. Humble yourself to him. It’s your only hope. There is no other way to eternal salvation, but through Christ Jesus.

                    • Yes I am angry, angry that someone with such a deficient understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the cheek the temerity to produce the rubbish which they do as the authentic Gospel.
                      You seem to think that the only reason for a faith in Jesus Christ is to protect you from Hell. Have you ever thought that in fact you carry your own hell around with you. The way that you right demonstrates that you certainly have not got a living sustaining relationship with God through the Crucified Risen Christ.

                      First of all I don’t say that there is a different relationship between the Word of God and the two testaments within which it is contained. What I was saying is that the proofs which are used to suggest that the Bible and the word of God are coterminous are about the Old Testament. When whoever was writing 2 Timothy made the statement which we find in 3:16, he (or she) was speaking about the Old Testament. How could they have known that they were writing Scripture? The view which you have of Scripture has more todo with Islam than Christianity. Even the Mormons have a slightly less objectionable view of Scripture as they have the proviso ‘Correctly Translated” Not I’m not going to go into detail about the Bible, except to say that it is a whole mixture of writings, some of it historical some of it poetry some of it about the relationship between God and humanity. it is however not “true” in the say way as it is true to say the Trump was given a majority of the Electoral College, or that an object dropped will fall. The Bible contains the World of God, it was put there by the Holy Spirit and is also revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Your position “the Bible is true” first of all is meaningless as it doesn’t define what you mean a true, secondly you are probably claiming a kind of truth about the Bible which it does not have for example it is not a scientific text book, and thirdly it does contain internal contradictions – for example what was the relationship between Passover and the day Jesus was crucified, the Synoptic Gospels and John give different days.

                      Secondly you clearly believe in Salvation coming through works. Now I am sure that you believe in the existence of God, fine, I refer you to James 2:19. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” by the way it is very bad practice simply to quote a reference, especially if you are making a point. I will be charitable however for a moment at some of your quotations. If you look at the Titus passage you will see that the emphasis is on grace, yet you will tell us that we believe certain things, that we have to go through certain actions, for what – for you it seems simply to avoid Hell. Yet the writer of Titus points out clearly that it is by the Mercy of God the we are saved – and you can unpick what that means -. You for example would believe that I an excluded for the promises of the Gospel because I have a different theological understanding to you. It is God who gives us the gifts of faith and of intellect. You say “You must humble yourself to Christ and ask for his sacrifice to cover your sins. You must ask for it.” You must go through the action you must do something. the grace of God is not enough for you. Where do I say that I believe in automatic salvation? What I do believe is that Some (and that is an Aristotelian Logic term which simply means not necessarily all) are called to eternal Salvation. (the eternal part includes this life, salvation and its benefits don’t just begin at death). They are the people who are effectually called, they are justified they are adopted and they are sanctified. I would gather that from your writing you are ignorant of these concepts.
                      It is actually you who is at odds with the Christian world. There is nothing which I have written which is not the Orthodox Reformed Faith – I am a classically trained Reformed Theological.
                      You can’t even get the faith right. Christ has already forgiven my sins, that was why he died on Calvary. We do not ever stop living a life of sin, we continue to be sinners, but redeemed sinners, looking at our lives seeing where we have sinned and repenting.
                      In what way are people doomed. Your God would plunge them into hell, You do not seem to understand that Christ came to give us life more abundantly (John 10.10).
                      As for you, Jesus had a word for you Matt 23: 13. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” I suggest that you either learn a bit about the faith of the Church about which you are ignorant, or stop producing your ill informed folk religion which has little to do with Christianity except the name.

                • Mark, what a wonderful presentation of the truth of the Gospel. Thank you for taking the time to share what’s in your heart. You obviously have a passion for the lost in this world!

          • Yes, Jesus is the only way. I can’t see how any true Christian would say that he isn’t. Really, I can’t. He said he is the only way in His Word (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6)
            He proved who he is by his death, burial and resurrection that he is THE ONE that God promised in Genesis. He doesn’t force himself on people, it’s a gift they have to accept (by admitting you are a sinner, believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to pay your sin debt because there is nothing you can do to repay it, and by calling on Him in repentance and asking him to come into your life and be your Lord (boss over you!) and Savior. He will save a person who does this. It’s not the prayer that saves, it’s the repentant and believing heart trusting in Jesus as the only way.
            You have to study the Word of God, Old Testament and New-it all fits, it’s amazing! You have to go to a church that actually believes the Bible to be true, as well. Many pick and choose. And you have to ask God to give you wisdom. He says in His Word He will. I’m convinced most people have no idea what’s even in he Bible and how Jesus is all through the Bible. I can tell from comments on many posts on either conservative or liberal sites. Study, study, study, and attend a well balanced church 🙂 I have been in Bible Studies and church for the past 25 years and every time I study or listen, I learn something new.

              • Sondancer, are you 100% certain that with Jesus being the only way….that Jesus is not powerful enough to grant salvation to those who believed in God and worshipped him but never said the ‘sinner’s prayer’? Is Jesus that weak?

            • Lee,

              You say we must. We need to be careful of our words and how we use them when talking to people that don’t have all of the required information. Going to church and studying the Word are NOT prerequisites for being a Christian or our salvation. Our “Christianness” is based solely on our belief in and acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice as being all that is required to cover our sins and make us acceptable to the father. Asking for a relationship with him and being willing to repent. This is how we start our walk as a disciple of Christ.

              Having said that brother, going to church and studying the Bible will be quite handy in our new walk and along with listening truthful sermons, prayer, and a readiness to see and accept the presence of the Holy Spirit along with a willingness to be obedient to him.

              Some of us are Bible studyers, some pray warriors, some evangelists, some pastors,some highly spirit filled. Most people are not all of these. At least I haven’t met him or her yet. God places us and gifts us to perform as the part of his body that he wants us to be. A hand by itself cannot listen to a sermon, but it can feed a hungry person. A mouth has has no ears, but it can speak God’s word into the ears of others. My point is that we are not all bible scholars BECAUSE God did not intend us all to be the brain. We should read His word, Yes. Absolutely, no doubt. But a detailed on-going study every day, every week is just not for everyone. Not all of us are prayer warriors. There are no “musts” for everyone. Rather, there are musts for each one of us based on what part of Christs body we are to assume.

              Just some thoughts. Have a good rest of the week. Your comments are welcome. Love you brother Lee.

            • Are you as Theologically Illiterate as you seem.
              I don’t know what your faith is, but for Christians there is 1 Tim 2 3b-6a “God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all people”
              We don’t have angels who intercede for us (or even saints) we have the Judge Judged in our place, thanks be to god for his generosity to me a sinner.

              • We have Christ himself and the Holy Spirit who do intercede for us to the Father.

                Thanks be to god for his mercy and grace and spiritual provision to me, a sinner.

          • Ed St Pete, yes I am with you. It’s so easy to think that it’s the other guy who continues to sin. Certainly I don’t. After all, I see the light. Jesus suggests we judge no one, lest we be judged. And also, Vengence is mine; I will repay says the LORD. Please, brothers and sisters, it is not for us to say who deserves to claim the name Christian. It is only within our power to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Let Jesus the judge speak to each of us who claims the name Christian. Let Him free us from fault-finding others. He has freed us to be people of God. Now let’s mature in Him and live in that joyous freedom of loving God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves. The two commandments Jesus affirms. Please.

          • Why do you even think there is a Sheit (she/he/it=god)? No one has seen Sheit or talked to Sheit so the idea must have been devised by man. Therefore Jesus is not anything extraordinary. Why are there 9000 versions of what Sheit wants and they all have different churches.

        • Lee, you have missed the point. “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son” John 3:16King James Version. I am sure that when this passage was written It did not say that God only loved a few people or certain folks, nope God loves the world. If you take a really good look at the world you will see that there are some many interesting individuals out there and yes they all believe and worship differently. John is say that as a Christian, we should be okay with how others are not condemn them for it. You believe your views and John believes his. Are either one of you wrong? No, but you are wrong for saying John is not right. “I refuse to be a Christian who can’t see the image of God in people of every color, every religious tradition, every sexual orientation.”
          All that he is saying here is that all mankind is created in his image and with that everyone is loved by God. Do n’t take it personally but you may want to really search your heart about what you have been taught. Tolerance and forgiveness, grace and mercy, even if they do not agree with you or your beliefs. All persons on this Earth are entitled to Gods love and they have it. They may accept that love differently than you but it is their choice and you do not have the power or right to say otherwise.
          Go out into the world Lee and take a really good look at the people around you. Next time you are sitting in your church look around and you will be surprised at what you see. Do you see people dressed in their Sunday best all dolled up and putting on a show? Or do you see those that truly humble themselves? People coming into sit in the back because maybe they are not dress as fine as the others or maybe you see only those you want and ignore the rest because they are not worthy of your attention and thus should not be worthy of God’s? If you think that God picks and chooses whom he loves you are wrong and I am sorry for you for you are whom John speaks of.

          • No, sorry, the Bible states clearly that there is only one way. That’s God’s way, through Jesus. He proved whom He is by his death, burial and resurrection and that he fulfilled the prophecies. All other religions are man trying to get to God. Christianity is Jesus, God’s Son coming down to man, paying the penalty for our sin. Our penalty is death. It’s not narrow minded or hateful, Jesus just IS the way God chose because God loved us. Not all accept the free gift, but God does offer it to all.

            • One way. God’s way. Yes. And the God we saw here on earth in the Son very clearly told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He told us to love and pray for our enemies. He told us to feed the hungry and house the homeless and visit those in prison. Nowhere did he say to spread anger and hate and fear about anyone who is not like us. He chose the protagonist in the Good Samaritan story intentionally to show us that place or origin or background don’t matter in that command to love.
              You want more people to accept that free gift? Love them into it. Not to that end, but because it’s the first thing we’re commanded to do. Love God, love the people.

            • Doesn’t it stand to reason that any new religion in it’s infancy will create doctrine showing that it and it alone is the one and only way to know God?

          • A person can be merciful and tolerant of individuals who are indeed sinning while standing on the “right” side of God’s laws by reminding them that they are sinning! It is not being bigoted. It IS being Christian!
            “Being” a Christian is like being an apostle in Jesus’s days on earth…”go out and preach the Good News!”
            So, don’t try to hide from the truth because “what is masked by darkness will be revealed in the light.”

        • Who is more loving? The person being with someone and providing comfort to a person that is gay that is dying of AIDS or the person at the person’s funeral holding up a sign that “God Hates Fags?”

      • WHY THIS ARTICLE IS WRONG: Consider John chapter 8 where the Pharisees brought an adulterer to Jesus and asked if since the Law required her to be stoned for her sin, did Jesus believe she should be stoned. We all should know the story; Jesus said whoever is without sin can cast the first stone displaying (and foreshadowing) that sin is forgiven in Christ. BUT, many modern day Christians neglect to read further. Jesus THEN told the sinful women “to go and SIN NO MORE.” To repent. The writer of this article is one of those Christians who wants to love everyone like Jesus does but neglects to acknowledge that while Jesus loved us in our sin, He also called on us to turn from our sin. Jesus loves us with love, kindness AND discipline. The author of this article used the world “celebrate” which is a modern euphemism meaning the acceptance of homosexuality.

        Everyone is and should be welcome in the house of God and all men and women are created equal in Gods eyes and we should treat one another this way. However, nowhere in the bible is it said that we are to accept and “celebrate” sin. I don’t believe it is a Christians place to condemn or judge anyone, especially a non-believer (what would be the point). But if a believing, Saved Christian where to ask me if homosexuality is wrong, I would tell them to seek God’s word and ask his pastor/priest about the matter. Seek counsel and seek God. As believer in God’s Word, I would never state that homosexuality is acceptable (or to be celebrated) behavior in God’s eyes, because the bible clearly states that it isn’t.

        The author of this article is clearly a member of the church of Laodicea and I would rebuke him way before I would condemn someone who was gay for spreading a twisted idea of Jesus’ ministry and love.

        Matthew 5:17. “I did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it.” (the law is still in effect).

        To further clarify, it is a Christians calling to minister and love everyone, including the LGBT community and to not condemn them. But to welcome everyone into the house of God. To condemn a non-believing LGBT would be cruel but also just… illogical. Why condemn a member of the fallen human race for being… “fallen.” Lead that person, whoever they are, to God and then let God work in their lives. We don’t need to tell them sin is sinful. God will do that for them. BUT to encourage, celebrate and claim that acceptance of sin is a display of Christ’s love? That is a False Gospel and should be rebuked.

      • Yup., agree with anonymous. The person who wrote this is hiding behind a no true Scotsman argument.

        As a person who walked away from it at twelve years old and hasn’t looked back, at base, by reason of theology espousing terrible circular reasoning, christians are a bigoted, hateful, judgemental group. To say either that

        A: the people behaving as he describes are not really christians, or
        B: that he is a christian but he doesn’t believe in bigotry or whatnot,

        he’s basically saying “f!@ck you” to the people who are getting victimized by christians throughout this country, because he demands that the title of christian means something associated with good behavior, despite xtianity’s well-deserved association with obscurantist, willfully ignorant people who fear modernity and social progress..

        If you don’t like what christians are doing, LEAVE THE CHURCH.
        REFUSE TO OWN THE TITLE OF CHRISTIAN.
        Let the hateful and bigoted be shown for what they are,
        Find another name for what you believe and don’t let it be tainted with the current crop. Work to create new memes that aren’t tired repetitions of holy books. Do some good in the world without demanding an audience hear you preach in return.

        And then maybe those of us burnt and damaged by the lies of fundamental religion will join forces with you, because your actions will be louder than words.

      • We should sit down and open the scriptures to the Spirit of grace, mercy, and love, and grace and truth, and justice. The question is; are people willing to listen, hear, receive, and change their mind when the revelation of His truth, His righteousness, purity, justice, ordination of the family and marriage, pro-creation, government, etc… is made known. The scriptures say plainly that His Word is a revelation to us His creation, and it is He that even gives us the gift of repentance, drawing us to the cross to receive Jesus as our personal savior. He absolutely loves you and I! He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement… only that we might be saved! There is absolute truth, and God absolutely abhors sin but unconditionally loves the sinner, as I am without the great and wonderful salvation through Jesus Christ, His righteous life and finished work on the cross of Calvary to whosoever will believe! Therefore, God is patient with His creation, not willing that any should perish but come to repentance. However, there will come a time when He will separate the wheat from the chaff! He will take the wicked one, the great deceiver, and throw him, his prophet, and those who chose to take the mark, into the everlasting Lake of Fire, forever! Those who by patient acknowledgement, and exhibit true repentance, acknowledging Jesus as their righteousness, not having tried to establish a righteousness of their own, will be welcomed into everlasting life! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

    • Maybe this thinking goes against many “Christian” beliefs, but I believe that all paths lead to God. I truly believe that all of the major faiths have SOME of the WHOLE truth. And that it is not until we are willing to embrace all faiths, and see how they all have truths, that we will see the complete picture.

      I have made it a point to try to understand many faiths. Buddhism, Taosim, Judaism. I’ve a copy of the Quran that I plan on studying. I’m still in the early steps of understanding, but I’ve found that there are many similarities depicted differently, likely based on cultural influences.

      I don’t know how – yet – but they all fit together. I hope someday I will have that understanding.

      • All paths do NOT lead to God.

        John 14:6 says “Jesus answered, ‘I AM the way. I AM the truth. And I AM the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.'” (Emphasis, mine)

        This whole concept of “I believe all paths lead to God” is wrong thinking. And that is not me saying so, that is the Bible saying so.

        In Matt 7:13, 14 Jesus further says:

        “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

        So the whole concept of “all paths lead to God” runs counter to what Jesus said.

        ANY religion that denies salvation and entrance to Heaven, other than by the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ is heretical thinking at best.

        • You do NOT get to do evil in the name of Christ or set yourself up as an absolute judge, Guy. That you cherry pick the Bible and miss the point says it all.

      • To believe that all religions lead to the same God is you leaning on your own secular understanding without reading any of the religious scriptures or texts. The religions you’ve mentioned ALL contradict each other and if they contradict and all say that their path is the correct path then either they’re all lying or only one of them is true. They can’t all be true. That would be naive. One needs to seek out the truth. Study these scriptures and you’ll find it. But don’t mediate on religions and come to your own conclusion with no understanding of any of it.

        ~O

    • John, there is nothing wrong with believing in Christ AND having boundaries in your country’s security and believing that certain things are right and certain things are wrong, per the Bible’s guidance. Yes, we are to love ALL others without judgement which is hard for everyone to do. But it seems like anyone who has voted for law and order, is immediately branded with terms as racist, sexist, and so on. This is wrong and your article implies that anyone who voted for Trump is of that mindset, and anyone who voted otherwise is the Christian we all should be. Shame.

    • With all do respect to the pastor, there was something oddly missing from his list, like for example…. being a Christian who refuses to be reluctant to share the Gospel and call sinners to repentance. You know the thing Jesus told us to do in the Great Commision. A Gospel -less Christianity is no Christianity at all.

    • What is really sad is that this entry is a perfect example of how sinners manipulate the “word of God” to conform to “the sin.” Intended Christians call out sinners (liars, murderers, adulterers, homosexuals, etc) as much as recognizing their own sins. We all have a past and we all have to conform to God’s laws. It’s easier if we have each other to confront us when we stumble…and THAT IS A CHRISTIAN! “The lukewarm I will spew from my mouth. “

      • Isn’t it special when people who refuse to post honestly as themselves list homosexuals as the same kind of sinners as those who do grievous harm to others. Homosexuality is not an action, whether positive or negative. It is the way that some people are born; the way that they were knit together in the womb. When you make that kind of comparison, you show that you are not actually that interested in calling out sin, you just want to feel holier than someone else. There is no honour in that.

    • When did it become wrong to tell people the Truth?? If we care about people, when they are living contrary to the Scripture you outta be telling them so…as Jude says, you might be able to ‘snatch them from the fire..’ Gently…tell the Truth. The words of this article may sound great but the are certainly not Biblical…they are contrary to what the Scriptures teach…

      • OK, Jules, so let’s say you tell me that I am living in sin according to the Bible. And I tell you that according to my understanding of scripture, it is you who are in error, you are in sin. We have a stalemate of sorts. Now, I am willing to say, “you may believe as you wish. Live and let live.” But if you, on the other hand, continue to tell me I am in sin, condemning for living in a way I believe is correct, then you have become a hateful annoyance. And a hateful annoyance will never be appealing or appreciated, and will never persuade anyone of anything. Are you SO sure you are correct? There are hundreds of Christian denominations, and they differ greatly in beliefs, even fundamentals such as the nature of the Godhead and the plan of salvation. And yet, all use the same Bible. What makes you so certain your understanding is the right one? How much time have you spent studying scripture in depth, in the original languages, to make certain it was translated properly? How much time have you spent studying the history and culture of Bible times in order to better understand the context of scripture? Or do you just pull verses out of your favorite translation and throw them at people who don’t measure up to your understanding of those verses?

    • you are right, you refuse to be a Christian! Otherwise you would be to take a Biblical stand and not a worldly politically correct one! Many Christians have been caught up in the wash of the tide of political correctness all in the name of love!

    • Right on the money with most of what he said, but he cldve been clearer on what love looks like in certain instances. Though he may not have meant this way, he made love sound vague & he cldve been more specific. The world needs the True love of God, especially in this time; the last thing we need is vague love. Example: we shld love everyone, no matter what, however love doesnt let persons into our country who mean to harm us. Love doesnt allow someone who means harm to continue doing so. Example 2: If someone is struggling with their sexual orientation, treating them equally is important because they are loved by God just as much as we are. However, it wld not be loving to that person to be dishonest with them by letting them continue living the way they are w/o telling them the truth because it will end up hurting them in the end. Jesus loved in a way tht didnt always “feel” like love & refused to let people feel comfortable. Letting someone feel comfortable in sin isnt Christlike love.
      A full spectrum of what u mean is needed.

      • Janell, it sounds like your heart is in the right place, but there are some difficulties with example 2. If a person is struggling with their sexual orientation, it is because people have told them that God does not love them. Or that people have told them that the way that God created them is extra sinful. Or that people have told them that because of the way that God created them, they are not allowed to experience relationship or love. Or because people have told them that the way that they experience attraction and love is a disgusting abomination. Or because people have shunned them or bullied them or assaulted them. People who are struggling with their sexual orientation have been traumatised, downgraded, and pushed away from God. They are being forced to live someone else’s lie.

        People who accept the way that they were knit together in the womb, who remain close to their family, friends and faith community, and who receive encouragement to live honestly as a child of God do not struggle with their sexual orientation.

        The truth is that God’s creation is infinitely variable with every person, creature, and organism having a place. The truth is that sexual orientations are created in the womb and that no one has a choice as to which one they are going to get. The truth is that forcing someone to live in a way that denies their creation tells God that you think God made a mistake. The truth is that the Bible is not a medical textbook, and even if it were, sexual orientation is not discussed. The truth is that the Bible does say that some sexual acts are sinful, those that are dishonourable, violent, oppressive, coercive, that rely on a power imbalance, or that are for the purpose of idol worship. The truth is that the Bible forbids those acts for all people, not just those who are gay, but we twist those verses into a ban on gay people. The truth is that God is infinitely more loving and just than petty and spiteful humans can understand.

        • It is and sounds like yours is in the right place as well. However, if someone is struggling with their sexual orientation, its not always for the reason that you mentioned; it could be for a vast array of reasons with that being only 1 of them, but never where the struggle began. The struggle has Much deeper roots 99.9% of the time. And I do very much agree that it is so wrong for anyone to treat another human being this way, but I disagree that God knit them together homosexually. The only case where a person is “knit” is when they were born with both genitalia, but is Extremely rare and is the only case where there is a true sexual orientation issue. Either way, they should never be treated lesser than either (because they arent lesser), but should always be treated with love.
          I strongly agree that anyone who treats a person with contempt & bullying is extremely wrong and I treat that behavior with extreme prejudice.
          However, to say that a person is knit together this way is wrong. God did not knit a person together to love their same sex. God created a man to love a woman & woman to love a man; plain and simple. To say anything different is to go against his word and creation which only causes hurt and struggle in the end. He says repeatedly in His word that sodomy and women loving women is wrong (keep in mind He says the sin Not the person). So you saying it is not stated in Hid word is incorrect. The reasons why homosexuality is not good are obvious in HIV and diseases caused by homosexual acts which is why God outlined it in His word to stay away from because He loves us.
          I have heard so many times, “so youre saying what I feel is wrong?” To that I say, “I have urges to go sky-diving, but is that the best idea being that I have a nursing child at home? Not all feelings are right or the best for you”. In other words, when did we start believing that all “feelings” should be trusted? A mere feeling (or urge) was never meant to be trusted.
          I have many many good friends and close family members who have and are struggling with their sexual orientation so this response comes with great experience, understanding and love. With every single case, the person struggling has been either hurt, abused, verbally told by parents that there is something wrong with them, or highly mistreated in some way. Thats what I meant prior when I said the “struggle” has much deeper roots than simply bullying like you mentioned.
          If I simply resolve to only say “you are awesome and wonderful” without also lending my hand to help them through this struggle by also saying “even though what youre feeling is not right, you are so very loved by your Father, lets let the Lord lead and answer your questions and heal your heart; ive got your back through this no matter what”. How is anything but the latter true love? Can you see that simply giving a person gushy, surface love isnt true love? Its not helpful. A person struggling with this needs real answers and telling them they were knit together this way is a lie as it goes completely against Gods word & is counter-productive. If we are to truly love people, we need to know the facts ourselves. The fact is that this person needs Real Truth (Gods word) and help in order for their struggle to finally come to an end. The only reason there is even a “struggle” is because 1-they have the idea there is something with them & 2-they know deep inside theres something not matching up with how they “feel” (otherwise there wldnt be a struggle). The trouble in all of this is that there is not only mistreatment coming from others, but that its coming from within especially.
          They (as well as everyone) deserve to know how extravagantly loved they truly are by their Father and to know His closeness and Real Truth. Most importantly they need to know that God accepts them exaclty how they are today & wants to be close to them now, not later when their “fixed” like theyve been lead to believe.
          In summation, the kind of Christian I CHOOSE to be is one that offers the God kind of love

          • Hi Janell, I am in a bit of a hurry right now and cannot take the time to read your whole note. I hope to get to it later. But I did need to say that in the first paragraph or two, you confuse people born with indeterminate gender with sexuality. The two are not related. I highly recommend that you Google the Genderbread person. It is an excellent resource for understanding the difference between sex, gender, orientation, and expression. Without that knowledge, it is hard to be on the same page in understanding what we are talking about.

            • I looked up the genderbread person and though i appreciate you giving me the reference, it only “says” that a child can be born homosexual, etc; it doesnt say “how” they are born homosexual. You mentioned before tht a child is “knit” together this way. What is the scientific proof of that?

              • Children are all born with a sexual orientation. The process is no different for gay kids than straight kids. It’s an innate trait, like hand dominance. And like hand dominance, although it is present from birth, it does not manifest until later.
                For many centuries, people thought being left-handed was demonic in origin, and perverse. They severely punished left-handed people, and forced them to use the right hand, which was unnatural for them. Today, we know it’s genetic. But despite decades of research, we still have not identified all the genes involved in hand dominance, only a few. And we’ve been researching that far longer than sexual orientation.
                Some, hoping to prove that being gay is a “choice,” will say silly things like “there is no gay gene.” Such individuals demonstrate that they understand nothing about genetics, as few, if any traits are governed by a single gene.
                They will also often cite the twin studies on sexual orientation, but then claim those studies found the opposite of what they actually found.
                The fact is that identical twins are FAR more likely to share the same sexual orientation (whichever one it might be) than fraternal twins or other siblings. This holds true even if the twins are separated at birth and adopted by different families. That alone is STRONG evidence of a genetic component.
                But then, they argue, if it is genetic, identical twins should ALWAYS have the same orientation, instead of just usually. But that ignores the fact that, nomenclature notwithstanding, identical twins are not 100% identical. For example, they do not have the same fingerprints. (My brother is a retired fingerprint expert, a senior investigator, and I asked him about that years ago. He stated that identical twins have similar fingerprints, but that there are subtle differences.)
                God created a great deal of diversity in His creation in regard to sex and reproduction. For example, there are species that can actually change their sex to met the needs of the population, and then change back again if the needs change. There are species that true hermaphrodites. (For example, all snails are both male and female, but they still require two to reproduce.) In some species, it is the male who becomes pregnant, while in others, it is the male who must incubate an egg and begin raising the young after hatching. Other species reproduce asexually, and the individuals in those species are neither male nor female.
                Homosexuality is found in over 1000 species, including all the great apes and marine mammals, arguably the most intelligent animals on earth. Bonobos and humans have nearly identical dna, with only a 3 or 4% difference. But among bonobos, a full 98% of the species is bisexual… which is obviously how God created them.
                Among species that mate for life, same-sex pairs are not at all uncommon. By not reproducing themselves, these pairs help to prevent a strain on resources and overpopulation. At the same time, these same pairs will usually adopt and raise orphaned young, helping to preserve the species. It’s a brilliantly designed system, and I don’t need to tell you Who designed it. And it would function exactly the same way in humans, were it not for human interference.
                Does it really makes sense that the same God who created all the diversity, and who clearly created homosexuality throughout the animal kingdom, with proven benefits to a population, would then turn around and call the very same thing an abomination when it spontaneously occurs in a steady percentage of humans, generation after generation, for thousands of years? It doesn’t make an ounce of sense. And in fact, He did not. And until around 400 years ago, Bibles didn’t claim that He did. That’s when the prejudices European Christians learned from the Muslim Moors centuries earlier were incorporated into the new vernacular Bible translations.

          • I must correct you on a few things. First, EVERYONE has a sexual orientation. That simply refers to which sex(es) one is innately attracted to.
            Second, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with homosexuality. It exists throughout God’s creation, in over 1000 species, so it is obviously something He created. Third, if we look at scripture in the original languages, as opposed to the flawed modern translations, homosexuality is never even directly mentioned, let alone condemned. There are no such words as sodomy or sodomite in the original texts.
            Fourth, there is no disease on earth that can be transmitted by gay sex that cannot just as easily be transmitted by heterosexual sex. HIV? A full 70% of cases on earth were the direct result of heterosexual intercourse. HIV is a virus. It is not God’s punishment for homosexuality, nor even for sex outside of marriage. It does not discriminate.
            Discrimination against gay people was not something seen in Christianity until after the Moors invaded Europe. They taught the Christians, whose Bibles were scarce and only in Latin, that God destroyed Sodom because of homosexuality, a statement found in the Quran, but not in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible. The Christians believed it, and homophobia was born. Centuries later, when vernacular Bible translations were made, it was incorporated into them, including adding the word sodomite and altering verses in Leviticus, 1 Cor. and 1 Tim., and in later centuries, rewriting Gen. 19 to match the Quran’s account of events at Lots’ house.
            Christians who oppose gay people and same-sex marriage undoubtedly believe they are standing on the word of God. They are very wrong. They are supporting medieval prejudice and lies.

            • Thank you, Bill. I wasn’t sure where I should start or even if I would be able to stop. There was so much misinformation being lovingly held as God’s own truth. And I can tell from the way that she writes that the lies that she has been taught bring her great comfort and she honestly feels that if others could accept these “truths” they would also be comforted. She probably doesn’t know that that belief system drives people away from God.

        • Also, keep in mind that what Im stating has nothing to do with being forceful to another person. It is completely up to that person to live how they choose, but I refuse to give anything less than the truth when asked. For love to be true, it must be honest, otherwise its not love.

          • Bill: Also, I never said HIV was Gods punishment, rather result. Out of tht 70% of those cases, how many persons had homosexual relations prior?
            If im so wrong, then help me umderstand instead of blasting me for not understanding the way you do. You and Patricia dont have to be so rude.

            • Few, Janell, because those are nations that greatly stigmatize homosexuality and severely punish it. The great majority of gay people would be terrified to act on their sexual orientation. In some west African nations, gay men have recently been beaten to death, or even burned to death, in the streets, sometimes by their own families. Unfortunately, most of the churches in those nations have openly condoned that violence, egged on by visiting American preachers like Scott Lively. In some of those countries as much as a quarter of the heterosexual population is HIV+.
              HIV isn’t the result of anyone’s sexual orientation. It’s simply a virus, without intelligent purpose, and sex is simply one of the ways it can be transmitted. That’s a medical issue, not a moral one. If cultures didn’t force gay people to live secretive lives for centuries, it’s unlikely we’d have seen any kind of significant epidemic among gay men in western civilization. But when people grow up thinking that there is no hope for a long-term relationship, and that the only way to fulfill their legitimate sexual needs is through anonymous contact with strangers, it’s to be expected. What they did was the only socially safe thing possible for them at the time, and it unfortunately turned out to be medically unsafe. That has changed dramatically in western nations it is now safe for gay and lesbian people to form lifelong commitments and even marry.
              Unfortunately, in the most severely affected nations, ignorance prevails. A great many people have been taught that having unprotected sex with a virgin will cure HIV! Of course it doesn’t. It only results in more women being infected, who in turn pass the virus on to their husbands when they marry, and even to their infants. Agencies that try to teach the facts and promote safe sex have their hands tied by both Christian and Muslim leadership in those nations. The result is the highest rates of HIV on the planet.
              It bears mentioning that if one uses correct figures to make the calculation, only about 1.5% of American men who have sex with men are HIV+. (Unfortunately, CDC doesn’t use correct figures. Like many anti-gay organizations, in order to determine the percentage of American men who have sex with men, which would be gay and bisexual men, rather than relying on long established figures from scientific studies, they take the figures from unscientific surveys on general topics that ask one or two questions about sexuality at the end. That’s not a scientific means at all.)

        • What examples can you give to prove i have misinformation? I am happy to discuss openly about it. And to the gentleman who said that in the original languages of the Bible it backs up what you are saying, what passages are you referring to?

          • Take any passage in the English Bibles that you think condemns homosexuality, and I can tell you it is either completely mistranslated, or in the sole case of Romans 1, sloppily translated, and routinely understood divorced from historical context. (That is, people reading/quoting it have absolutely no idea what specific situations in Rome Paul was addressing, because they haven’t cared enough to bother to study it. As a result, they cannot help but come away with incorrect conclusions about what he was saying.)
            Homosexuality is never directly mentioned in the Hebrew and Greek texts. Not even once. There is some indirect mention, but none of that is negative. (For example, two same-sex marriages in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Not only was neither marriage condemned by God or any extant prophet, it specifically cites God as the One who put one of those couples together.)
            The closest the Bible comes to speaking of homosexuality is actually just a passage on sexual orientation, and an error the Romans made in regard to it, whereby the overwhelming majority of them deliberately disregarded their orientation (what Paul called their “nature”) in order to meet the expectations of their society and religion, both of which expected them to live in a way we would call bisexual. Paul said this was a mistake (not a sin or abomination), and unseemly (that is, out of character), specifically because it was against their own nature. By orientation, the great majority of any population is heterosexual, and for them to engage in homosexual relations (whether exclusively, or as the Romans and Greeks did, by living as bisexuals), is a mistake. God expects heterosexuals to live as heterosexuals, and any religion or culture that tries to make them live differently is misguided and wrong. But conversely, gay people also have an innate sexual orientation, a “nature,” and to ignore it in order to satisfy the expectations of a culture or demands of any religion is equally misguided and wrong. So just as it was wrong for heterosexuals in the first century to try to live as bisexuals, it is just as wrong today for homosexuals to try to live as heterosexuals. And they KNOW it is wrong, because it FEELS wrong. Everything about heterosexual activity feels wrong and unnatural to someone whose orientation is homosexual. And that is EXACTLY how God created them… and not only them, but a steady percentage of over 1000 animal species.
            Since scripture in the original languages does not mention homosexuality, it therefore does not condemn it. And nobody today can call it a sin without adding to God’s original word, and THAT’S a sin!

    • It’s amazing to me that people search so hard for a reasoning of existence and or way of life that had been written by another human being and passed down thru the ages as a factoid of what we have been taught to believe in and the bases of how all humans should live and abide by. Why are people so desperate to have their lives defined by a faith in someone who had never existed?All I can say is I think it’s the biggest brainwashing of all time. And the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time.

      • Tracey,
        Though I grew up Christian, I came away from everything to get a true persoective of the world instead of assuming what I was taught was true.
        The problem with what youre saying is that I dont even need to “search for reasoning” to find evidence of God. Ive tried and it actually takes more faith to believe in every other proof of existance other than God. Historically the facts line up and also in my own life. I was diagnosed with arthritis at 6. Doctors said i wld be diabilitated by 14. At 17, still walking, but in extreme pain constantly for all those years, my pain vanished. I got a bloodtest which showed no traces of arthritis which is impossible because arthitis is like cancer, it can go into remission, but is always in your blood. The Dr told me I honestly have no explanation for you. I didnt take any meds. I didnt go to a church. No one put hands on me and prayed. It simply vanished. All I did was ask God if Je heard me, please help me. That is what tells me God is real. There is no desperatism about it.
        Correct me if im wrong, but I think the biggest struggle for people in relation to God is the aweful example theyve been shown by others.
        If God was made up to brainwash people then what alternative have you found to explain our existance?

    • For me John, does not matter if you are Christian or not. The main question is: “Are you saved?”. If you answer yes then god bless you Brother!

    • What about discernment, and standing at the gate? Have Christians ever been attacked, persecuted, and killed by members of other “religions”? Yes, absolutely. We had better be aware of those propogating to take over our land in the name of their religion, by which we will either convert or be exterminated. Tolerance and acceptance requires discernment, does it not? The gate is narrow. And seeing God in every person, I would posit that discernment is a God ordained gift to KNOW right from wrong, which way to turn, and know who our brothers and sisters in Christ are. It is not by blood, but by Faith. Stay vigilant and discern!!!

  1. Oh, John P, thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a wonderful post.

    You wrote, “For far too many people, being a Christian no longer means you need to be humble or forgiving. It no longer means you need a heart to serve or bring healing. It no longer requires compassion or mercy or benevolence. It no longer requires you to turn the other cheek or to love your enemies or to take the lowest place or to love your neighbor as yourself.”

    I see this much too often and the saddest thing about it is that I find this can be contagious. When I am confronted by Christians of this ilk, to my shame I find I become less humble, less forgiving, less of a servant and less interested in healing. Etc. I need to keep remembering to turn the other cheek and respond to violence with gentleness, not more violence.

    • I try to explain to them that the church is a hospital for sinners. We are all broken in some way, each with our own disorders and sins, and many of the patients might not seem like much to write home about, but they are works in progress. I point to Jesus and the saints as the examples, and not to myself and other Christians, since I know we’re sinners, and not always the best examples–but we try. Of course there are some good and holy examples here and there such as the likes of Mother Teresa.

        • I believe John would agree that he is a work in progress as we all are. The question is “where are we trying to progress to? As I am a Christian I daily try to follow the teachings and walk in his way. I’m not always successful but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m not nearly as worried about putting Christ back in Christmas as I worry about putting Christ back in Christian.

        • And l have wanted to say to John: don’t you think that the Christians you are condemning are works in progress? Who are we to judge and condemn? That’s Jesus’s job. Break free, John. Enjoy the freedom in Jesus. Put your burden down at His feet and leave it there. The weight of the world is weighing you down. Only One pair of shoulders is able to carry what you’re trying to carry. And He succeeded at it. Let it go, my friend.

          • Warm water in mouth- sit back and let evil happen to people by your fellow believers because you can say you don’t judge? Jesus knew that was just being complicit. Letting people find their way is one thing, letting people you claim to group with act in destructive ways against others is another.

          • I don’t see him condemning any Christians. He is pointing out the actions of many Christians that he thinks goes against the teachings of Jesus, like being a racist, which many Christians are, and like in the Civil Rights Movement and under slavery people used the Bible to justify their racism.

      • Have you ever considered how condescending that sounds? I realize you might be a troll here – someone who enjoys riling people up. But your patronizing attitude (and it clearly comes across in your many comments) is going to repel people, not invite them. You seem like one of those know it all jerks, to be blunt. People definitely don’t take advice from those types of people.

    • I am an agnostic, and I do try very hard to distinguish ‘political christians’ from Christians. I’ve been begging Christians to do what John P is advocating here: take back their faith from the false prophets and hypocrites who are bearing false witness; let their voice be JUST as loud as those who are speaking in hate so that others can see the love.

      I grew up Christian, specifically Baptist, and while I really respect and try to follow the red letter texts from the Bible, I have little use for much else of it. At one point, a minister said during his sermon that you don’t get to pick and choose what parts of the Bible you believe in….it’s an all or nothing game. And in that moment, I chose nothing. I don’t know whether there is a God or not, if God is the god of the Christians or the Muslims or the Greeks. Personally? I tend to believe that if there is a God, he / she has chosen to speak to different people in manners in which their heart can understand — and that all of these gods are the same. But, like I said, I’m agnostic. And primarily what that means is that I don’t know and I don’t pretend to know. I’m not going to say there is no god — because I don’t know if there is or not. I’m also not going to say god exists. Same reason.

      But there are things in the Bible that do have value, even if I just take them on their own and use them as a moral guide. You don’t have to be faithful to recognize that loving thy neighbor as yourself is not a bad thing to do.

      Jesus’s teachings were the heart and soul of the Bible — sadly, I hear far more of the hammer verses when I see the “political Christian” mouthpieces. People like Pat Robertson are not preaching the word of God. They are claiming to speak for God to gain and maintain power. These are the people saying wives should be submissive, that gays are sinners, that Muslims are going to impose Sharia law…..while they themselves are trying to impose the Christian version of that!

      I want REAL Christians to speak up! I may not share your faith, but I don’t want to see it hijacked by someone who pretends they do for the sake of power. I want to respect it again, rather than having to fight against persecution by those “political Christians” (who will claim they are being persecuted if I stand up to them for persecuting others.)

      • Misty, thank you for your honesty and for sharing some of your story with us.

        You wrote, “I want REAL Christians to speak up! I may not share your faith, but I don’t want to see it hijacked by someone who pretends they do for the sake of power. I want to respect it again, rather than having to fight against persecution by those “political Christians” (who will claim they are being persecuted if I stand up to them for persecuting others.)”

        John P is one of what you call the REAL Christians and every time he posts, he is attacked.

        You would be quite right to call us out for not standing up to the “political Christians,” as you call them except that we are, every single day. All over the USA there are REAL Christians working to make a difference. To demonstrate how seriously we take the command to love our neighbors.

        The sad thing is, doing good isn’t considered news. Sure we hear about people doing good when there is some sort of disasters, but the common everyday sort of goodness just doesn’t make the news.

        I have a couple of FB groups where I am trying to make a difference. One is to unite REAL Christians, the other is social justice. I would love to be one of the people doing good out in the world, but I am disabled and handicapped and so I have to do what I can with what I have in the time I am given.

        • Benny, I was thinking that this was a more liberal view of the Bible as well. For example, The Bible says what it says and it is TRUTH – no contradiction. You either believe all of it, or you don’t. I can dearly love those in my family and my friends who are gay, but it’s still a sin – it’s in the Bible, like it or not. This is not a “hater” comment, it’s in the Word. Simple as that. I’m not a fan of watering down the Word to be politically correct and loved by all people. Jesus was bold and unafraid – He loved and He served and He never compromised what is Truth. He is our example.

            • Is the truth to be found in flawed English translations that were created to support the social biases of the era of their translation? Or is the truth to be found in the original language texts of the Scriptures? When the English translation does not carry the same meaning as the original language text, and when the inserted bias is meant to oppress a certain demographic, absolutely it sounds like hate.

                • Homosexual behaviour is wrong? So a homosexual taking his elderly mother out grocery shopping . . . that’s wrong? A homosexual chopping vegetables at a soup kitchen . . . that’s wrong? A homosexual helping out with spring clean-up in the city parks . . . that’s wrong?

                  • Absolutely not! They are loving and serving people! However, they are living a habitual lifestyle unpleasing to God. Like many of us are!!! Sins are equal. A number of sins/ lifestyles can send us to Hell. We have to ask forgiveness AND repent which means to turn away completely from that particular behavior/sin.

            • Keep telling yourself that. But God said, the greatest is love. And I’m not hearing a whole lot of it here.

              The goal is to bring sinners into the church, not to ostracize them by pontificating like a holier than thou pharisee, and further alienating the very people that need Christ the most.

          • Pamela You have to remember that the Bible has been translated so may times and re-written that a lot of that Truth is really not. It all boils down to translation. How words from different languages have been misinterpreted to mean what one culture thinks. No one will really know the truth until we are stand in front of the Lord on that fateful day. For now we must all strive to do better here and search for the truth within our own hearts. If something your pastor or priest says does not sound right to you look within your self to find the truth. God speaks we have just turned down the volume.

            • This is a misconception. Look into the manuscript evidence and translation methods with an open heart & mind. You will be surprised at how God has preserved the text!

          • Pamela, although the thoughts you present sound swell – they have nothing to do with what John wrote. In your case, the only example you provided concerned gays. Now set aside your self righteous zeal and re-read what John actually said. He refers to the ability to “see God’s image” in them (it’s in the bible you know). He in no way condones the behavior, or encourages it, or implies that it’s not a sin. That part came from you.

          • Unfortunately many Christians feel it is their duty to condemn gays to Hell or say things like AIDS comes from God or this or that disaster is the result of God being mad at us for being accepting of gays as fellow human beings even through many of them are fellow Christians that do the condemn. Does not John 3:16 give salvation to Christians that are gay? It does say whosoever. I see no note in the Bible that excludes gays.

            Another thing that those who believe that the Bible should be followed 100% is that it always seem that they can find the verses that match their own beliefs, while totally ignore parts of the Bible they don’t like. For example. while many condemn gays to Hell, they overlook all the passages that condemn wealth, In particular James 5: 1-6. If God had replaced wealthy with gay, it would be their go to verse against homosexuality, but since it is directed towards the wealthy it gets ignored because they seek to rich themselves or at least look up to them.

            Why should some who has led a perfectly moral and good life, but hasn’t accepted Jesus be sent to Hell while a Christian who hasn’t lived a moral life get to enter Heaven?

            And why would anyone want to go to Heaven knowing that billions of people have been sent to Hell for the sole reason of not professing their sins and accepting Jesus?

            That is unjust, and goes against God’s teaching of forgiving one another seventy times seven.

          • The problem is that most professing Christians don’t walk in the fruits of the spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
            When Christians actually apply these things, the world would change. At least the little part of the world that you are apart of.

              • Love doesn’t including going to someone’s funeral and holding up signs that say “God Hates Fags” or “Thank God for Aids.” They also wouldn’t be blaming every natural disaster on God being angry at our growing acceptance of homosexuality. It doesn’t including refusing to serve someone because they are gay.

                Yet, these things are done by some Christians who like to say that they love the sinner, but hate the sin. You actually show that you love them by how you treat them. If seen where people will say on their in breath say how they love the gay sinner, but on the out breath say they want to push all the gays off a cliff.

        • No Benny–it’s that conservative American Christianity has adopted the doctrine of American political conservatism. John P (whom I don’t know personally) is coming straight from Jesus’ teachings and practices–and you have lost the ability to see them….

        • Benny, no he doesn’t preach Liberal Democrat. He preaches what Jesus taught. Really read the gospels and see what they say.

          • I have to agree with Benny on this one. If you read all of Johns posts, he is extremely political. It seems that if he had to choose between a leftist progressive policy and something from the Bible that contradicts it, he would choose leftism. I would challenge anyone on here to find a “Progressive” idea or policy that he disagrees with.

            • What about Abortion?Freedom to worship freely meaning Christmas trees in public,carols sung in school shows,etc.You think just because some of his ideas are more to the left that makes him bad or unqualified in some way? There are plenty of shades of truth.This absolute black and white answers for everything is BS and helps destroy rather than build up.

              • Singing carols in schools is necessary for free worship? Hardly. If u seriously believe that not allowing religious sounds in publically funded schools is some form of oppression of your faith, then you funny understand the term oppression.

                And by the way, by your logic, we should all accept that shoving your virgin daughters out the door to be gang raped is “holy” (because that is exactly what Lot did). You better not eat shellfish or pork either, because that is also “an abomination”. The story of Soddom and Gomorrah is not about homosexuality, it is about abusing strangers in your midst. Failing to understand the context of the biblical story is failure to understand the story, itself. Jesus said not one single word about homosexuality. He did, however, reprimand those who would judge others at every opportunity reminding us to love one another as HE loves us.

                Perhaps John appears to promote a liberal agenda because Jesus’s teachings WERE a liberal agenda. Jesus was a radical. That’s why they killed him. he was a rabble-rousing, leftist, radical activist. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand what he did. He turned the conservative expectations of the society he lived in on their ear.

              • Wendy, “there are plenty of shades of truth”??? Seriously? Something is either true or it is not. Just because you do not wish to accept a certain reality does not make it any less real. True and false do not lie on either ends of a spectrum. They are like a coin, flip it. It’s going to be heads or it’s going to be tails. It is not going to fall into some “grey” area.

                • I agree Sondancer, true and false are not shaed of grey, but one side of the coin or the other….the difficulty is: who among us is is correct in recognizing that truth? Jesus saved his harshest words for the religious leaders of the day who followed the Law meticulously but who missed the larger messages of mercy and grace. Yes, something is true or it is not. Did Jesus teach us that mercy is more important than following the Law? Is the Law more important than compassion?
                  So who among us – all sincerely praying to the Holy Spirit to guide us and yet coming away with different opinions – which of us heard God correctly? Yes, there is one truth….but are YOU the one who has correctly identified it? Are you smarter than everyone else? Or maybe you are more holy than everyone else? That is what I wrestle with when someone says with certainty ” I am right. You are wrong”. Yes, I agree with you that there are no shades of grey when it comes to truth ….but I am just wondering if only by lacking all humility is the way we decide who is right and who is wrong.

        • Perhaps Jesus was a political Liberal. Reading the New Testament it certainly seems as if he was, I mean who else would say sell all that you have and given it to the poor? Who else would be a Universal healer, but a liberal? Look up liberal in the dictionary. The definition seems more like Jesus than the word conservative doesn’t it?

      • Misty, with these two paragraphs you have put into words – much more clearly and succinctly than I ever could – my beliefs and feelings about religion. Thank you for your post.

        “I don’t know whether there is a God or not, if God is the god of the Christians or the Muslims or the Greeks. Personally? I tend to believe that if there is a God, he / she has chosen to speak to different people in manners in which their heart can understand — and that all of these gods are the same. But, like I said, I’m agnostic. And primarily what that means is that I don’t know and I don’t pretend to know.”

        “I want REAL Christians to speak up! I may not share your faith, but I don’t want to see it hijacked by someone who pretends they do for the sake of power. I want to respect it again, rather than having to fight against persecution by those “political Christians” (who will claim they are being persecuted if I stand up to them for persecuting others.)”

      • Wow! That was an amazing viewpoint! Thank you! If you aren’t already…you should be a writer or columnist. Very well written!

      • Very well said, Misty. It certainly, and please don’t take this wrong, sounds like you have a kind heart. With no religious foundation of any kind, I now call myself a believer.

        An all loving creatoe, I’ve learned, exists outside of natural scientific laws; therefore, we can’t provide “proof.” But your attitude, and others like you are my proof. It’s termed the “moral law.” You don’t have to be associated with any religion to understand this.

        Admittedly, I am ignorant to the Bible
        However, I’m positive an all loving creatoe isn’t “religious.”. Religion is man made.

        • ‘moral law’ is a product of evolution, not evidence of a creator-deity. Note carefully that ‘moral law’ is essentially tribal. Killing your neighbor is evil and bad, but killing ‘the enemy’ in battle is good and heroic. Stealing your neighbor’s stuff is bad – ‘plundering’ the assets of the enemy is good. That which contributes to tribal cooperation (and therefor survival) is good. That which disrupts tribal cooperation is bad. This is the basis of instinctual morality. The supposedly god-ordered genocide of the Amalekites and other nations is clear evidence of this sort of ‘tribal’ morality. WE are good, THEY are bad.

      • Thank you Misty. I no longer see the love of Christ within my fellow Christians and am brokenhearted over their self righteous attitudes towards Mexicans, poor people, gays, Muslims, and women. The Holy Spirit supposedly guides their hearts when they pray, yet I do not see any evidence of this. These ‘Christians’ make it very hard to believe in their God, when their actions and attitudes contradict everything our Savior taught us.

      • Misty, you sound like a person who would benefit listening to Joyce Meyer. She speaks of how the bible applies to everyday life, and helps people all over the world. She sees through all of the fake trappings of churches and says we don’t have to accept it all. What matters is your relationship with God. Visit Joyce Meyer Ministries at http://www.joycemeyer.org/

      • I agree wholeheartedly with you! I too was raised a Christian in a Methodist church. And all I saw growing up was grandstanding and people who wanted to be seen as Christian. They were as hateful to the poor, of which I was one, and judgemental as they come! I never felt welcomed by them. So I do believe in a higher power, within ourselves, and I try to live a good and simple life. I help others as much as I can and try my hardest to be a good person. I do not sit in judgement of others and their lifestyles and I believe in justice for all regardless of their faith, color, sexual orientation, or any other situation. Thank you to this man for standing up and speaking out against the ones who claim to be following their religion but who sit in judgement of others.

      • Excellent break-down, Misty! I also no longer claim any association with Christianity (and often wonder how much it will take for John and some of his readers to let go of that claim as well — the swastika may be an Indian symbol for peace but how many would claim it after it was used by the Nazis for such an opposite meaning?). I strive to be faith-filled and have found more spiritual meaning in being open to all the faith traditions and the best of each rather than clinging to one that has become so antithetical to my own beliefs.

      • Here, here! I also am an agnostic/atheist brought up as a Christian in the Episcopal Church. I want to respect people of all faiths but the ‘political christians’ I cannot respect. More true Christians need to speak out wherever and whenever they are confronted by the ‘political/evangelical christians’.

    • John 15:19 : If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.
      Matthew 10:22 :You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

      Christianity is not meant to be popular or attractive to everyone. Jesus plainly told us we would be unpopular and hated as Christians.

      • “Christianity is not meant to be popular or attractive to everyone. Jesus plainly told us we would be unpopular and hated as Christians.”….but Jesus, and then early Christianity, was condemning the love of money, calling on us to be compassionate to the poor, the loathed lepers, the “others”…..American Christianity instead admires “rugged individualism”, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “point your fingers at gays, transgenders, Muslims….in those days Christians were hated for shaming the privileged…… today we are being hated for defending the privileged.

  2. In the shower this morning this occurred to me:
    Jesus loves the little children
    All the little children of the world
    Whether yellow black or white
    They are precious in his sight
    Jesus loves the little children of the world

    • I learned that song over 55 years ago, at such a young age I do not remember not knowing it. I think it’s the primary reason the racism of my elderly family members didn’t ever make sense. I just wanted to play with the pretty little girl across the street with the nice blue dress and bows in her hair; it never dawned on me that she was black until it was pointed out as the reason no one would take me across the street to play with her. I never told her the reason I was told. I was just not allowed to cross the street. I couldn’t have been older than 3, but I’ve never forgot the friend that might have been.

      • There’s a beautiful documentary about a white woman who was part of the Civil Rights movement and part of it talks about this song and how she sang it all the time, but somehow didn’t see the adults around he living like they believed it. I can’t remember all the details but it is cool that you all are connecting that song with those thoughts as well. 🙂

  3. John,
    THANK YOU!!!! You are a voice gathering those of us who feel compelled to leave American ‘Christianity’ because of the sinister twist it has taken, back into something resembling community.

    • I’ve never heard of “American Christianity.” Is this what some Christians call themselves or is this a label bestowed upon them by JohnP?

      What does it mean?

      • You could have googled and had you done so, you would have found that John P has already addressed this:

        Please google: My Emancipation From American Christianity

        for the answer to your question.

  4. Yes. I have to agree that this post was a great one. The last line was particularly great:

    “I am still a Christian—but I refuse to be one without Jesus.”

    Historically speaking, it kind of makes you wonder when Christianity evolved to the point where it could give only lip service to Jesus while ignoring his New Testament commands to us, ignoring all He said, and ignoring all He did while He walked this Earth. Modern Christianity has become only the disembodied shadow of Jesus rather than Jesus himself. Shadows are all about opacity and darkness.

    • Thoroughly investigate the Catholic Church, get to know Catholics and priests, study the Saints, do some of the prayers, attend Mass, and you will see that what you stated couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Are we talking about the Catholic Church which has allowed priests to brutalize children for decades, at least? That covered up sexual molestation? That forces women into a second class citizenship? That created the Inquisition and terrorized people in the Crusades? That burnt people at the stake? Whose Popes have kept mistresses and fathered children, albeit not recently? Simony and selling of indulgences?

        When you bring up the field of Church History, that’s my field and the Catholic Church is not so lily white and pure as you imply.

        • I know there are sinners in the Church. The Church is very large and very old. You will find that some have done misdeeds in the name of Catholicism, though there is much more to the Crusades and the Inquisition than what you have alluded to. You probably have used Chic comics as your reference material. But that doesn’t negate all the good within the Church, any more than some bad cops invalidates the concept of law enforcement.

          Regardless of all that, only in the Catholic Church (with the exception of Greek Orthodox) is there Apostolic Succession , all the Sacraments, a teaching authority guided by the Holy Spirit and much more.

          I politely challenged Charles to look into the Church. If you want to smear Her unfairly, be my guest, but you show your true colors when you do.

          I became a Catholic because I believe that when the priest pronounces the words of Consecration that the bread and wind are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. You can’t be more about Jesus than that. Did you believe that when you were a Catholic? Do you deny it now?

          If you’re looking for the Truth about Catholicism, you’ll find answers to all your objections at http://www.catholic.com.

          • Benny, you have disrespected my name, my vocation, my church, and now my academic degree.

            You seem incapable of having a discussion without demeaning people trying to talk with you.

            You are here solely to stir up trouble.

          • Great reply Benny in telling people where the o truly find Jesus. Yes He is in the Catholic Church, with all her foibles and sinners.

            Every time people have no defense against the Truth of our Faith, they immediately attack with the priestly scandals and and. Inadequate knowledge of the Crusades.

            Some serious study of history, true Church history and the complete Bible, would help everyone to understand the beautiful Faith handed down from Jesus to Peter, right up to this day.

            God bless you all. There is little room for a Faithful Catholic to spew hate toward anyone.

          • Apostolic Succession has a history with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as well by way of the old Swedish Lutheran Church. Those awesome Lutheran Swedes held on to that and also conveyed a sense of mission ss the moved to the United States in the 1800’s that brought hosputals, colleges, orphanages, schools, and more to many communities.

        • But Gloria, you clearly have not approached researching the Catholic Church with the goal of getting the Truth. Your views are COMPLETELY biased. All you’ve done is fall, hook, line & sinker for every half-truths & downright lie ever told about the Church.
          And if the Church is so bad, why has it survived? It has survived because Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.

          • I’m sorry but I don’t think that you get it. It is quite easy to criticise the Roman Catholic Church, and it is not an answer to say that if it was so rotten, why has it survived?
            The Church is (and Kung will bear me out) the people of God. Let us take ourselves away from the recent stories about the Roman catholic Church and look to the time of Pope Alexander VI. Basically the structure was rotten and there was a general Reformation, for remember the Council of Trent was a Reforming Council whose work lasted until perhaps the 19th or 20th Century (Vatican 1 and definitely Vatican 2).
            Today there are problems and perhaps God has called Francis to the See of Peter.
            Now I am a Reformed Pastor and I end up producing a Roman Catholic defence of the Church. Why did you not?
            I suggest that your retreat into the old stories of Rome which are intellectually bankrupt suggests that you have never really thought about just where the Church as the people of Jesus is.
            The Church is a spiritual institution. it is the people of God from the beginning (and into the future?) There are places it touches the earth in the Church Militant. Rome has not got an exclusive franchise of God (as the Vatican 2 decree UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO reminds us).
            All any Church when confronted by our History can do is to beat our beasts and say mea culpa. My trade is Church History, I can take any Church to pieces, but I’m also a theologian and I understand that the broken, sinful institution is no more the Church of God than we, broken sinful people are what we shall be when we inherit the Kingdom.

            • Thank you, Edward Andrews. Yes the Church is the body of Christ and Christ is our Head. Jesus more than anyone knows the sinfulness of His body. Others here have talked about the saints of the Bible being less sinful than our generation. Come on. Put your thinking caps on. Who in the Bible is called a friend of God, yet killed the general of his army so that he could have the man’s wife for himself? King David, ancestor of Jesus. Who denied knowing Jesus three times while Jesus was being flogged by soldiers to save his own skin? Peter, the disciple of Jesus who exclaimed he’d die for Him. Who gave his own wife to the heathen king saying she was his sister? Abraham of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob fame. Who terrorized Christians, rounding up entire families, having them imprisoned and killed for speaking the name of Jesus? Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, a professed lover of God, whose name was changed to (Saint) Paul upon meeting Jesus and following the Way. People who have professed their love for God have done damnable things throughout written history. The modern church is not different. It’s living DOWN to the expectations God has had of us all along and continues to be the reason we will never be good enough to go it alone without Jesus and His righteous work on our behalf. God has a plan for each of God’s people. If we aren’t loving God’s people we have become part of the problem. That includes Christians who judge that others who call themselves Christians, aren’t. And I’m starting to think that’s every Christian. Dear God, help us, and let us look at ourselves rather than others for the change we want to see in Your church. Amen. Let it be so.

    • Charles, I wonder if you have read Our Great Big American God, by Matthew Paul Turner? I found it to be an interesting discussion of how America’s history, culture, and politics have impacted Christianity and vice versa. I think it might be right up your alley, given your profession.

  5. John,
    I love to read your stuff that needs to be said, you are truly a follower of Jesus, but today, was so amazing, I loved every word, and feel exactly the same way!! But I’m not gifted the way you are lead by the
    Spirit, how to say it,

    Thank you so much for saying exactly what I’m feeling!!

  6. So accurate and there is more to that entire issue.
    The term and use of “christian” has been hijacked and bastardized to a place of being immoral and no longer relevant to the message Jesus attempted to tell and live.
    Bishop John Shelby Spong has very clear and voluminous writings on all of that. It takes a real willingness to see how the Christian message has been used for centuries to manipulate, control have power over and extract maximum money from people. Bishop Spong has answers to all of that and much more. Everyone would do themselves a favor to read his books and blogs.

      • Someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as the only son of God, sacrificed to cover our sins (shortcomings; faults; etc.)or lack of perfection, in your heart(with no excuses or exceptions) and understands that you are not now, nor ever will be perfect in and of yourself; that perfection only comes by being covered by his blood and only the perfect can enter heaven.

        • Kerry, “only the perfect can enter heaven?” Hard on yourself much? And please tell me where it in the New Testament it says only the perfect can enter heaven?

          For one thing, as believers we are already in the Kingdom of Heaven and for another, God’s grace allows us to have faith and that’s how we are saved.

          • Gloriamarie… When we are born again, God sees us as white as snow, pure, cleansed of all sin, restored to whole. He sees us through Jesus’ perfection, as perfect.

              • We are made righteous (pure, holy, blemish free), therefore seen as righteous, by God through faith in Him. That’s the whole message of the NT (and the OT too).

                1cor1:30: …He made us pure and holy, and freed us from our sins.

                eph5:26…to sanctify, make holy by washing with water through the word.

                heb10:10…God’s will for us to be made holy and pure through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ.

                1pet2:9…you are a chosen people,, a holy priesthood.

                etc.

  7. John
    Today I pray you find the joy of the moment- you have the great pearl and God is clearly using you to remind us of His great love and heart for the world. Find peace and rest.
    Many of us are in the same place and in some respects I am glad the church is slowly deconstructing. God will not abandon us.

  8. Thank you John; I have spent 30 some years refusing to be called Christian because of the very things you mention in this article and others; although I never left go of my lord, and our Father. With this article you have brought me back.
    “I am still a Christian; but I refuse to be one without Jesus”.

  9. *puts popcorn in the microwave*

    *sits down with laptop*

    *waits for Gloriamarie and benny to start commenting*

    Ah this’ll be a good Friday night 🙂

  10. John, I completely agree with you. I can’t believe that I cringe now when being called a Christian – I do truly want to be called by his name, but this title has come to mean so many hateful things. “Follower of Christ” may become the correct term. Love your words – please keep sharing them with us.

  11. Back in the 1970s, if there is anyone here other than I old enough to remember the 1970s, we called ourselves Jesus People.

      • That too. Oddly enough, I and all the hippies I knew did not call ourselves hippies. The media created that term because our uniform tended to be hip hugging jeans. We called ourselves freaks, instead. And then, in the early part of the 1970s some of us discovered Jesus and we then called ourselves either Jesus People or Jesus Freaks, because we were still counter-cultural.

        Some of us still are! LOL

        Come to think of it, John P might be talking about counter-cultural Christians as contrasted with enculturated Christians. Perhaps those who so disagree with what John writes do so because as enculturated Christians, the shoe fits entirely too well.

      • I steered clear of the Jesus Freaks in the 70s…they scared me. I regret it now. I wish I would have found Jesus as a young person. I thought poorly of a classmate that brought her bible to class every day and quoted scripture. I’ve since tried to find her, to apologize.

        • I knew lots of them—not really people you would have wanted to know. They enjoyed all of the people dying in the plane crash when the piloted was raptured out of here. They used to laugh about it and say, “That was so cool man—seeing all those left behinders die in those plane crashes and car wrecks.”

  12. In 1934 The Swiss theologian Karl Barth wrote a declaration in response to the Nazi German Church.
    Among statements included is this one
    8.22 – 5. “Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17.)
    Scripture tells us that, in the as yet unredeemed world in which the Church also exists, the State has by divine appointment the task of providing for justice and peace. [It fulfills this task] by means of the threat and exercise of force, according to the measure of human judgment and human ability. The Church acknowledges the benefit of this divine appointment in gratitude and reverence before him. It calls to mind the Kingdom of God, God’s commandment and righteousness, and thereby the responsibility both of rulers and of the ruled. It trusts and obeys the power of the Word by which God upholds all things.
    8.23 We reject the false doctrine, as though the State, over and beyond its special commision, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church’s vocation as well.
    8.24 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State.
    This document is one of the Confessions found in the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America

  13. Amen, John! I am so grateful for your excellent writing and your willingness to speak out despite the negative consequences that you likely receive.

    Like Christ Himself, you inspire me to share in the same ways.

    Continued blessings,
    Bruce

  14. Indeed. I, for a time, refused to claim the title ‘Christian’, especially a ‘Born Again’ Christian, for those same reasons. I even took lots of flak on Patheos forums for that refusal; many people would not believe that I believed in JEsus because I refused to claim the label.

    But then I figured, what the hell? I’m not going to let a bunch of religious people steal the name of my true inheritance. And now I say it out loud: I am a Christian! But just not hte sort of Christian that people in the world rightly associate with the name.

  15. I am a Catholic. I am a member of the Dominican Laity. I am a Christian. My heart and soul belong to Jesus Christ and I will continue to pray for and educate those who need a reminder of what a Christian is. So many are being misled and they do not see for the enemy blinds. It is only by the grace of God that some of us are allowed to see what is right and wrong. The St. Jude Novena began a couple of days ago. Christians may want to participate and join their prayers with others to pray for the lost souls.

    • Yay, another Catholic. One thing the Christians who follow JohnP don’t understand is that life begins at conception. They have no compassion for the unborn, and think anyone who does, doesn’t care about the born. Then think it’s either/or.

      • Benny your level of reasoning is simplistic black and white / right or wrong thinking which is at the most rudimentary level of moral development.

        For example: You say “they have no compassion for the unborn” and then you turn around and complain that “they think anyone who does, doesn’t care about the born” Your reasoning abilities lack depth and wisdom because you are unable to see the nuance of the issue.

        It is not true that we can label all pro-lifers as having compassion and everyone else has no compassion. It is a known fact that fanatic pro-lifers (who are more than likely influenced by your kind of rhetoric) have bombed abortion clinics and killed doctors. They did this because they could no longer see the humanity in people.

        Therefore, the kind of rhetoric you propose has benefitted those in times of war and is used for the purpose of steeling people up to fight against their enemies. When we wind people up to do atrocious things we are not doing God’s work.

        Jesus taught a different way, a higher way of reasoning and living which involved social justice, interaction with people of every faith and helping those who are sick and poor. He taught us to love our enemy, to make friends with everyone, to sit down and eat without giving preference to one person over the other. He taught us to call out the oppressors and those who used the law to support themselves and control others.

          • I use to think that there was nothing wrong with Abortion. Partly, because I also believed in Reincarnation. [That was the kind of Christian that I was. ]

            Later, I started reading the bible, with faith in my heart, God showed me that Jesus=Life. I saw that God always values Life. [In every instance of conception in the bible, God has a hand in it.] He values Life. Then, I decided, if He values Life, then I will too. So, now, I think Abortion is wrong. [That’s the kind of Christian I am.]

            –‘You have been my guide, since I was formed in the womb, you were my God.’ gal1.15
            –‘Truly, Children are a gift from God.’
            –‘God created humans in his image.’ gen1.22
            –‘You knitted me together in my mother’s womb, my frame was known to you when I was made in secret.’ ps139.
            –‘Behold, thou art with child…’ God’s messenger.

            • Are you also against the death penalty? War? Sensible gun control laws? Feeding the hungry? Clothing the naked? Caring for the sick? Equal rights for all human beings?

              I ask because I know Entirely Too Many people who have a rabid desire to prohibit abortion without caring about the quality of life for all of humanity.

              If one is so fixated on stopping abortion and doesn’t care about the quality of life for all of humanity, then one is not someone who can say they are in favor of life, but are only pro-fetus.

              ‘Truly, Children are a gift from God.’ is not in Genesis, it’s from Psalm 127.

              Lifting verses out of context does not prove your point. That is called proof-texting and quite often the context disproves the very point someone uses the verse to prove.

              For instance, people are very fond of saying “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” They lift that verse out of context to prove why one shouldn’t smoke, drink booze, etc.

              But if people actually read the verse in context, they would see that Paul is not addressing individuals, but a group and is referring to the Body of Christ as a temple of the Holy Spirit. This is also proven by the koine which distinguishes, as English no longer does, between a singular and plural use of “you.”

              But if you are old enough to remember the 1970s then perhaps you are old enough to remember the number of botched abortions that took place before Roe V. Wade became the law. If you are so in favor of life, then you need to protect women from the botched abortions, because abortion is a fact and has been throughout all of human history.

              • Gloriamarie. When Jesus sparred with Satan after 40 days in the wilderness, he lifted verses out of Deuteronomy , & ‘proof-texted’…

                –‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word from God’s mouth.’
                –‘It is written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
                –‘Away Satan. It is written, Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

                [I never said I want to ‘prohibit’ abortion. That power does not belong to me. I said , I think abortion is ‘wrong’, therefore tax payer dollars should not support any abortion provider. ]

                Do you think it is wrong?

                • Are you seriously comparing your use of Scripture to jesus’?

                  No scholar worthy of the name would ever stoop to proof-texting and what Jesus did cannot possibly be compared. Proof-texting is a cheap, lazy shot at making a point without taking the responsibility to do the research necessary to find real evidence for a position.

                  It doesn’t matter whether any of us think abortion is right or wrong. Abortion is. And has been throughout all of human history.

                  • If Jesus used scripture to combat Satan, then that’s good enough for me. It’s sharper than a two edged sword. (oops, sorry).

                    I think, Scripture is beneficially used by Gods people, every day, all day, for every occasion. It’s wonderful inspiration, instruction, comfort, guide.

                    ‘I have treasured the words of his mouth, more than my daily bread.’

                  • Gloria,
                    Gotta say that one was a poor argument. There has also been murder and theft throughout history, but it is clear to me that they to are wrong. You should rethink that one

              • Gloriamarie, my best friend and I have discussed this so often in recent days.

                “I ask because I know Entirely Too Many people who have a rabid desire to prohibit abortion without caring about the quality of life for all of humanity.

                If one is so fixated on stopping abortion and doesn’t care about the quality of life for all of humanity, then one is not someone who can say they are in favor of life, but are only pro-fetus.”

                This is one of the subjects that puts both of us off the version of Christianity as professed by many people we know. People who have no compassion or concern for anyone who is not just like them, who does not believe exactly as they believe. Why do people who believe life is so sacred only apply that belief to select groups of people? It truly grieves me.

                • “This is one of the subjects that puts both of us off the version of Christianity as professed by many people we know. People who have no compassion or concern for anyone who is not just like them, who does not believe exactly as they believe. Why do people who believe life is so sacred only apply that belief to select groups of people? It truly grieves me.”

                  Well, yes, it grieves me also, which is why I brought up all those other ways life does not thrive.

                  School breakfast and lunch programs, Head Start, SNAP benefits that are large enough to buy health-giving food, adequate medical care, the list is endless, Angela.

                  There are so many ways to encourage the living to thrive. In my own personal experience across the decades, for whatever my experience may be worth, the people who have the shrillest voices against abortion, are also people who don’t want these programs that allow life to thrive. They have many justifications for this, but the end result seems to be that they are only pro-fetus and really don’t want to see to it that the fetus saved grows into a healthy person.

                  In fact, some of the voices here on John’s blog are people who have gone on record saying they are against these programs.

                  Whereas history proves that if the government and the private sector fail to work together, children do not thrive.

                  • It’s judgmental to think …’I know better’ what quality of Life is going to be.’ (even if you did know, your opinion does not usurp the free will of another human being whose deepest desire is to live! ).

                    God put a very strong will to live in his Children for a reason.

                    Tens of thousands of loving parents are waiting to adopt. Some even travel to other countries to adopt, at great expense, and great effort.

                    • I Am One of the Faceless Women

                      By nannyboz

                      I will preface this by telling you that this is extremely difficult to write. Difficult beyond words. But I feel compelled to share my story. Why? So that we make good and damned sure that we never allow ourselves to be overrun by “do good” “Christian” conservatives and any of their ilk who would be only too happy to take us back, back to the medical, spiritual and emotional Dark Ages. So that we make good and damned sure that women are never punished for having control over their own, very personal, bodies. No, you “power” hogs do not get to punish us. It is we who should punish you, you who think it is within your God given rights to determine how we pay for our “sins”. Screw you.

                      I was a 19 year old nursing student during the era of Woodstock, young and dumb about contraception. Hard to believe, right? But true. And, yep, I got pregnant.

                      I was terrified. Unprepared in every way to care for a child, absolutely no help would have been forthcoming from my parents, no where, I felt, to turn. I had zero knowledge of Planned Parenthood, if it existed then, no one I felt I could turn to for guidance. My then boyfriend and I agonized as I continued to attend classes, sick as a dog. Then, he learned of Dr. Takey Crist at the UNC School of Medicine and his program, Elephants and Butterflies.

                      I will digress for a moment. I literally had no one to help guide me. I needed my education so that I could graduate and provide for myself. I was so frightened that I could not see straight.

                      So, somehow my boyfriend prevailed and I was able to see Dr. Crist. At his home. In his bathroom where he examined me with his wife present. This was in 1970.

                      After he confirmed that I was indeed pregnant he talked to me about options. Mind you, Roe v Wade had not yet happened. Abortion was illegal in NC but not in NY. To me, at that time, it was my only option. So the journey began.

                      I was booked on a flight from Raleigh-Durham to NYC. Of course a neighbor of my parents in Charlotte was on the flight. I lied about visiting my Grandmother in NJ, praying this would not get back to my folks. As we landed, I was in the rest room experiencing diarrhea, no seat belt for me. I was picked up by a black limo, the driver radioed in that had me in the car, and taken to a clinic in the city. I felt like dirt. Although I was treated very kindly.

                      I arrived at the clinic, preparation was done, and the procedure performed. Unbelievably enough, I saw two women from the pool my boyfriend life guarded during the summer. I guess we agreed, tacitly, to keep all of this to ourselves.

                      After a awhile in the Recovery Room, as they were called at the time, I was taken by the same limo back to La Guardia for my flight back to RDU. I arrived at my dorm around midnight having one day to rest before start of classes again on Monday.

                      It all felt so cloak and dagger. But, Dr. Crist was trying to prevent back alley butcher abortions and so teamed up with the clinic in NY. I have been forever grateful to him even though I believe he has fallen on some misfortune of late.

                      I never have had children of my own. Not by choice, it has simply worked out that way. I am blessed with awesome stepchildren and grandchildren. I was also blessed with a wonderful career in nursing. And am now retired and 65.

                      My point in sharing this is that women today don’t have to go to these lengths to make their own medical decisions. Their decisions are now protected by federal law, one which Republicans would like nothing better than to reverse. Those who want that result will be left with the horrid results of desparate women who see no other way. And they don’t care, nor will they provide care for those women when things go horribly wrong.

                      We cannot allow that to happen. In my 35 years as a registered nurse I strove to be a patient advocate, to be sure my patients understood their rights, and that they knew their nurse was looking out for them. We must all be their nurses and never allow a young woman to feel so very alone, ever again.

                      Thank you for reading, for your work and advocacy. I’m With Her.

                      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/22/1585782/-I-Am-One-of-the-Faceless-Women?detail=email&link_id=11&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo&email_referrer=honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo&email_subject=honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo

                  • There are also 20,000 children die every day in this world for lack of food and health care. More needs to be done to prevent this.

        • So let’s stop winding people up to commit the atrocity of abortion.

          It is black and white in this case.

          And I think I stated correctly that JohnP and his followers have no compassion for the unborn. If they did, they would support laws and means to restrict abortions, but instead support “choice.” They also take it a step further and label those who do want to restrict abortions as having no compassion for those who have been born, as if the two necessarily go together.

          Violence against abortionist and abortion mills is rare. Pro-lifers do not sanction it or encourage it. It’s counter-productive anyway. But to point at those rare instances without addressing the millions of innocents killed by abortion is to be hypocritical or blind.

          Can we be with Jesus while encouraging abortion or even just looking the other way. I don’t think so…

          • The abortion story no one tells

            By stedmonds

            Every time I’ve read a defense of abortion rights in the recent weeks, I’ve felt compelled to tell a story about abortion that doesn’t fit the usual mold, which is yet far more common than anyone realizes. It is a story that underlines that abortion is a medical procedure, the uses of which are not at all obvious to those who would outlaw this medical procedure.

            My husband and I had our first child, and after two years, we decided we were ready for another. After supporting him through graduate school, I was enjoying my time off from being the family breadwinner and was putting myself fully into the stay-at-home mom role. A more traditional family model you could not look for, except I suppose that we used birth control to decide when we were ready for children. I went off birth control, and after a few months, we were delighted that I was pregnant, told all of our family and a few friends. For those of you who don’t know, you usually don’t go to the obstetrician to confirm the pregnancy until 10 weeks after your last period (generally about 8 weeks gestation), where the doctor should be able to detect the heartbeat using a Doppler microphone device. I went to see my doctor on a Friday, a few days shy of the 10 week mark. My doctor looked for the heartbeat again and again and could not find it. Her office does not have an ultrasound machine, which is a more precise and comprehensive tool, so she made an appointment for me at my local hospital to have an ultrasound done, hoping that it was just because of position or being slightly early for the usual timing.

            At the hospital, the ultrasound showed the small kidney-bean shaped embryo, but usually you can see a little beating or pulsing spot that is the heart. There appeared to be no activity at all. Just to be sure, they also did the trans-vaginal version of the ultrasound, which allows them to view closer and from another angle. The techs left the room and sent in a doctor to talk to me. He said that from what they could see, the heart was not beating, which meant I had a dead embryo inside of my body that would never become a viable child.

            I talked to my doctor that afternoon, and she laid out my options for me. She said I could wait for my body to naturally miscarry, as should normally happen in these cases, but there was a chance that my body would not miscarry. The medical term for this is a “missed abortion,” and in fact the medical term “abortion” refers to any loss of the products of conception, naturally or otherwise. She told me that if my body did not naturally miscarry, there was a risk that the decaying materials in my uterus could cause an infection, which could be dangerous to my health and possibly render me infertile thereafter. The other alternative was to have a “D&E” procedure, short for dilation and extraction, which is one of the medical procedures defined as abortion. I told her I’d like to wait a week to see if anything happened naturally, but that after that, I’d talk to her about having the D&E.

            My body went on behaving for all the world like I was building a baby, including the voracious appetite and light nausea if I didn’t keep feeding myself regularly. My body was in complete denial that this baby was not growing anymore. I finally called my doctor and scheduled the outpatient surgery for the D&E.

            Because my doctor was experienced at this procedure and could perform it at my local hospital, this was all easy for me. My husband came with me to the hospital 5 minutes from my house, and procedure took about an hour, I woke up from anesthesia with no pain, no cramping, and almost no residual bleeding in the days that followed. I was able to conceive my amazing, wonderful second child, my daughter, three months later. I was charged nothing for this procedure because my husband’s employer, a women’s college, understands that health insurance means reproductive health coverage.

            I am one of the lucky ones. Women living in other places, where procedures are limited, where doctors aren’t trained, where hospitals refuse to do these procedures (especially those associated with the Catholic Church) can’t have the easy experience I had. Even others living where I do who work for employers who don’t understand that the complexity of a woman’s health care needs is her business alone would find the cost of such a procedure prohibitively expensive. Miscarriage and this kind of missed abortion are far more common than anyone realizes, and it is only after it happens to you and you tell people that everyone’s stories come out. I bet that each of you knows someone to whom this story will sound familiar.

            Legislators, governors, and employers cannot possibly know the wide range of applications for any given medical treatment, nor should they be in any position to dictate which ones are permissible for whom and when. Leave the medical practicing to the medical practitioners.

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/22/1585764/-The-abortion-story-no-one-tells?detail=email&link_id=7&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo&email_referrer=honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo&email_subject=honest-don-spoke-at-a-closed-event-in-gettysburg-yesterday-someone-leaked-a-transcript-and-photo

      • Benny – I am Catholic and I believe in the sanctity of life. For me, life begins at conception and ends with death, and if you think I would ever condone abortion, then you’re completely uneducated about the Catholic faith. I am tired of being criticized for my beliefs, yet bring it on because I’d rather do my penance here on earth while trying to educate people like yourself than later. Your reply actually didn’t make much sense – in my opinion.

        • Huh? I wasn’t criticizing you.

          I’m a practicing Catholic and would not criticize another practicing Catholic. I am happy we are in agreement about life beginning at conception.

          I am frustrated by the many people here who call themselves Christian, yet support the destruction of life in the womb, and if that’s not bad enough, make villains of those who would protect it.

      • “Life begins at conception.” If you truly believe that, there are some excellent things to be done that will stop abortions without forbidding abortions.

        Ensure that women have control of their reproductivity. That means that men have to stop raping. That means that men must wear condoms when asked (and keep them on through the duration of the act). That means that women must have access to affordable, good quality, health care and reliable, affordable birth control. That means that accurate sex education must take place in schools before the age when pregnancy is possible.

        The minimum wage must rise to the point that a single person can support a family in comfort with just one full-time job. It is hard to be a parent when you are working 70 hours a week and still live below the poverty level.

        Child care needs to be available, affordable, safe and nurturing.

        Higher education needs to be affordable or subsidized so that people who choose to go to college or university are not trapped in crippling debt and also so that people can choose to better their opportunities so that they can have a lifestyle that is conducive to child rearing.

        In many countries, these kinds of policies have greatly reduced the need for abortion.

        The point is that you don’t stop abortions by haranguing people; you stop abortions by creating positive conditions so that they aren’t needed.

        • Patricia, Hear! Hear! These are reasonable, practical ideas yet the people I know who are rabidly anti-abortion refuse to even consider them. It truly baffles me.

            • Her Name Was Susan

              By amadon

              Her name was Susan. She was young. She was beautiful. She was intelligent. She was articulate. She was dying…

              Susan was a 23 year old single woman who came to Los Angeles in the early 60’s to pursue her dream to become an actress. She had played the leads in her high school plays somewhere in Utah. She was runner-up in the Miss Utah pageant. She managed to get a couple of walk-on parts in some B-grade Hollywood films. She was a starlet.

              A year or so after coming to the West Coast she became pregnant. The father quickly faded away into faceless LA. Her good Christian parents were humiliated, outraged and wanted nothing to do with her. She was on her own. Broke. Friendless. Pregnant. Scared.

              So she took the bus to San Diego, walked across the border and headed to a cheap, dirty Tijuana abortion clinic. Four hours later she was back on the other side of the border, in pain, bleeding and completely debased. By the next day, the pain had become unbearable and she was spiking a temperature. She went to a local emergency room and was hospitalized overnight at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. She was subsequently transferred to the Medicine unit at UCLA Medical Center, at that time a small teaching hospital in its embryonic stages.

              I was a 3rd year medical student in my first clinical rotation at UCLA. Susan was one of my first patients. We were about the same age. I was embarking on my medical career. Her life was ending

              Over the next three weeks, I learned how people die from sepsis. Her uterus was perforated. She had developed gram-negative septicemia. Our knowledge of and access to antibiotics was primitive and limited. Eventually she went into renal failure. She burned with fever. She was racked with abdominal pain. The lovely face become sallow, sparkling eyes sunken, lifeless. Her skin turned a sickly bronze color. Her breath reeked the pungent stench of ammonia. After weeks of agony, her frail body mercifully surrendered.

              As I recollect these painful images of my brief encounter with Susan, the most outrageous aspect of this experience is not even the way she died. It is that she died alone. During those three weeks, she never had a visitor. There was no boyfriend – he was off to other conquests. There were no parents – they disowned her in shame and embarrassment.

              Even worse was the mindset of the medical staff. While she was given the requisite care, there was little, if any, sympathy or compassion for this young woman or her situation. There was always the profound sense that “she brought this on herself,” that she was, in the final analysis, just an unfortunate tramp – Even As She Lay Dying.

              It is now 50 years later and I still carry this burden of shame for myself, my colleagues, my society, my country. And to this day, whenever the subject of Roe v Wade comes up, whenever I see and hear the holier-than-thou religious fanatics trying to take away the rights of a woman to control her own body, to make her own choices, to force her into the back alleys of Tijuana, I can still smell the stench of ammonia in the air.

              Goodnight, Susan, we will not forget you.

              http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/22/1585541/-Her-Name-Was-Susan?detail=email&link_id=2&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-trump-subdued-admitted-he-might-well-lose-election-someone-sat-him-down-and-showed-these-numbers-2&email_referrer=trump-subdued-admitted-he-might-well-lose-election-someone-sat-him-down-and-showed-these-numbers-2&email_subject=trump-subdued-admitted-he-might-well-lose-election-someone-sat-him-down-and-showed-these-numbers

          • What illegal abortion was like for ER Surgeons

            By txjackalope

            My grandfather grew up poor in Appalachia but had a photographic memory. He memorized the Merck manual. He would embarrass you in Scrabble since he knew the entire Oxford unabridged dictionary. He worked his way through college and medical school by taking notes for the wealthy students. After graduation at that time(1930’s) you had to buy into a medical practice which he didn’t have the money to do.

            He wound up serving as a doctor for the Arctic airbase construction teams doing frostbite amputations. Once upon returning in their ship they were torpedoed and had to jump from their transport onto a destroyer that came up for a rescue. Due to the pitching seas about half of them broke bones in the jump. He dutifully set everyone’s broken bones including his own.

            When the coal mines were federalized he was sent in to be the first medically trained doctor the miners had(Ones before were barber college doctors). Black lung was rampant.

            After the war he moved down to Oak Ridge because since it had been a secret city there were no established medical practices. He became an ER surgeon and had a general practice. He saw everything semi rural medicine has to offer. Malnutrition, car wrecks, a woman who couldn’t hear because of the roach eggs in her ears, everything. Had office hours on Saturdays for the miners to come in on their days off.

            The ER work also included botched abortions. They were illegal then but happened anyway. He’s been dead a long time but told me this story when I was young visiting. He had retired by that point. He would sit in a lazy boy, watch golf, and drink jack daniels all day eventually passing out and then wake up from a nightmare. I had asked him why he had nightmares and if it had anything to do with his legs being gone(the drinking caused his diabetes to force amputations). He said the following.

            He drank so he could sleep. Of all the things he had seen in his life and 40 year career in medicine, poverty in Appalachia, frostbite, half a ship of broken bones, black lung, car wreck victims the botched abortions were the ones that caused his nightmares.

            He said they would bring the young women in nearly always screaming, terrified and bleeding profusely. They would put her under general anesthesia and go to work. He said there were only two results. 1. She would survive and he would tell her, a young woman, she would never have children. In that day that also meant she probably wouldn’t ever get married either. 2. He would walk out to a waiting room where he would tell her clueless parents their daughter was dead. It was a small town so he knew everyone.

            He had a photographic memory so he remembered every detail.

            He was a Conservative Baptist who believed in legal and safe abortion.

            http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/10/20/1585054/-What-illegal-abortion-was-like-for-ER-Surgeons?detail=email&link_id=15&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-stephen-colbert-drops-the-pretensehes-fcking-done-with-donald-trumps-fat-ass-3&email_referrer=stephen-colbert-drops-the-pretensehes-fcking-done-with-donald-trumps-fat-ass-3&email_subject=stephen-colbert-drops-the-pretense-hes-fcking-done-with-donald-trumps-fat-ass

        • Price controls on wages aren’t the answer to improving an economy. In the US we have too many people who don’t work at all supported by those who do. We have too many government workers who can do inefficient work and not be fired, and who can retire comfortably at an early age while younger people foot the bill for them and for themselves. This is where much of the squeeze comes from. It would be better if there were no minimum wage. There are many teenagers and young adults who are out of work because of it. They could be doing something productive and could be learning skills that would prepare them for better jobs and higher wages, but instead they are idle and some are getting into trouble. Let’s start with cutting government waste and fat.

          Regardless of that, if life begins at conception then abortion is an injustice which needs to be stopped. Do we kill born babies because they put their parents in a difficult situation? Should we?

          One positive thing we can do is have a high regard and respect for each other and our own sexuality. It’s not a toy. We should be waiting until we are married. This needs to be stressed. We need to educated about the development of the embryo and fetus and understand the continuum of life from the moment of conception. Women who are contemplating an abortion should experience a sonogram and understand there is another life and another heart beating within them.

          Contraception is not the answer and neither is it “positive.” When Christian churches began accepting the principle of contraception, it opened the floodgates to immoral behavior and to abortion. Contraception helps to create the mindset that a pregnancy is a disease, and if that disease is not successfully prevented it can be “cured” by an abortion. (Note that about half of those who abort know about and were using contraception anyway. It can and does fail). The Catholic Church stands against abortion and contraception as intrinsic evils. Neither of them is any kind of satisfactory solution.

          We shouldn’t be showering young people with pills and condoms. They need to understand the Christian principle that sexuality should not be practiced outside of marriage. The positive condition should be one of respect for each other and not to objectify one another as objects of pleasure and use.

          This is a tall order, but we can at least start with ourselves. Christians should be setting the example.

          • benny, I am surprised that a person who is so adamant about arguing against abortion has not done the research to support the position.

            In places where abstinence has been taught as the sole method of birth control, teen pregnancy rates soar as do the related abortions. In areas where accurate sexual education is given coupled with the ethical teachings around expressing your sexuality, teen pregnancy rates plummet as do the related abortions. This teaching delays by years the average age of entering into acts that have the potential for creating babies.

            I agree with you that sex is not a toy, but it is a completely natural part of human functioning. Science shows that engaging in mutually pleasing intimacy boosts the immune system leading to better physical and mental health, and potentially increasing lifespans. Making love is something that we were created to do and it is a strong force for the survival of our species. The proscriptions against birth control and abortion were made during a time when the survival of tribes was still iffy. The command to be fruitful and multiply was also of this era. Given that we have overwhelmed the planet and are having difficulties sustaining ourselves without damaging Creation, it seems high time that the churches should listen to the current prophets (God didn’t just shut up 2,000 years ago) and devise ethical, life-enhancing policies and doctrines that will drop the humanity’s birth rate to sustainable levels.

            I am appalled at the idea of eliminating the minimum wage. You might as well just bring back slavery. You know that most people who sit at the top are so divorced from reality that they will take that opportunity to dramatically underpay their workers so that they can generate more profits for their shareholders and more bonuses for themselves. If you think things are bad now, it would be a whole other level of hell if your idea was put into practice.

            You stated that “[young people] need to understand the Christian principle that sexuality should not be practiced outside of marriage.” You seem to have missed out on the idea of separation of church and state. That means that one religion (or one denomination) cannot have their doctrine written into law.

            The capper for me in your message was your statement about sonograms in which you show that you believe that all women are so amazingly stupid as to not know that the fetus is alive. I assure you that women are aware of that fact. We also know that in places where your idea is law, the sonograms are experienced as a psychological torture, and in places where transvaginal ultrasounds are law, they are experienced as rape.

          • We are a very wealthy nation, but also a very greedy nation. We can afford universal health care, living wage jobs, we certainly shouldn’t be doing away with the minimum wage, which won’t increase jbs. If we truely are a Christian nations we would do these things, instead of complaining about how much it cost.

            Not every Christian is Catholic. Many don’t believe that contraceptions are a sin. It just seems odd that you believe that abortion is a sin, but that you don’t want people using things that would reduce them

        • Thank you, YES, Patricia, YES! Amen. Preach it, sister. such common sense.

          In my own personal experience for whatever it may be worth, over the decades I have observed that the shrillest voices against abortion are also very shrill voices against all the common sense practical things you have spoken about.

          I could go on but I fear my words would turn into a screed haranguing people as these are issues for which I feel a great deal of passion.

          • Here’s a shrill voice from your Church:

            While the Episcopal Church recognizes a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, the church condones abortion only in cases of rape or incest, cases in which a mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, or cases involving fetal abnormalities. The church forbids “abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or any reason of mere convenience.”

                • No single tradition monopolizes the truth. We must glean the best values of all traditions and work together to remove the tensions between traditions in order to give peace a chance. We need to join together and look deeply for ways to help people get rerooted. We need to propose the best physical, mental, and spiritual health plan for our nation and for the earth.
                  — Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ

                    • Benny, are you ever able to tlak to someone you disagree with without denigrating them?

                      No, you troll, I am a faithful Episcopalian, faithful to the teachings and traditions of my church.

                      It is hard for me to believe you really are as obtuse as you sound. But maybe I am wrong.

                      Try to get this through your THICK SKULL. We do not have dogma. We don’t have a party line.

                      Unlike some churches out there, we are allowed to use our God-given brains for their God-given purpose.

                • Benny, two points.

                  #1) I am Episcopalian, not Roman Catholic and The Episcopal Church does not expect its members to adhere to a “party line” the way the RCC does.

                  Anglicans do not unite around a body of dogma as does the RCC. We unite around a way to pray, to worship. We have a lot of latitude regarding personal belief systems.

                  #2) When a woman tells a man “no”. it is imperative that the man recognizes and accepts that “no.”

                  You have failed to respect that boundary I set. People who fail to respect boundaries are deemed to be abusers, bullies, rapists, and trolls.

                  I told you loud and clear that I will not discuss abortion with you because you seem to me to have an unhealthy obsession with it.

                  Please respect that boundary or I will name you an abuser, bully, rapist, as well as the troll that you have already demonstrated yourself to be to the point of ad nauseum.

                  • Gloriamarie Amalfitano…I have sent you a friend request on Facebook. Been following your comments here! I so agree!

                • I am glad I grew up in a denomination where I can determine for myself, and don’t have to follow some strict doctrine handed down by church leaders.

                • Is there any teachings of the Catholic church that you disagree with? There are many Catholics that don’t like it’s stance on the death penalty.

            • We should be cordial and affable with the poor, and with persons in humble circumstances. We should not treat them in a supercilious manner. Haughtiness makes them revolt. On the contrary, when we are affable with them, they become more docile and derive more benefit from the advice they receive. – Saint Vincent de Paul

        • exactly. and single women need to stop being shamed, as Jeb Bush suggested, or tell them that if they didn’t want to get pregnant they should have kept their leg closed.

  16. Thanks for reminding us, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again how superior you are to everyone else in America. We get it. You’re smarter, kinder, nicer than everyone else who has tried to follow Jesus. That’s great. Now, can we all move on?

    • I’m trying to find and understand what he actually offers to his flock except criticisms of other Christians and praise of Democrats and liberal policies.

      In my Church, we don’t do that to other believers in other churches or to those of other faiths, no matter how screwed up we think they are , and we don’t hammer away on politics and elevate it to the level of doctrine. We give others the benefit of the doubt that they believe as they do in good faith. The primary job of our church is to help souls make it to Heaven and avoid Hell. What’s the goal of JohnP’s church?

      I’ve never seen anyone pick on other Christians the way he does, and I don’t understand all the glowing reviews. He comes across as smug and arrogant–as if he’s got some kind for superiority complex. The only thing I see that could be “appealing” is that he can make someone comfortable in his sins and that by agreeing with his condescending remarks about other Christians, one can join him in feeling smarter and better.

      What makes him think others don’t have Jesus? Only HE and those who believe the way he does have Jesus? That’s very presumptuous.

      • I agree with your comment Benny and I am honestly amazed at the article and it’s glowing praises. I am a Christian who loves and serves Jesus and has raised children who do the same. Lately, I feel targeted for what I believe. When Christians are getting their hands slapped for trying to be Godly people, we are in a very sad time. You can love people who believe different than you but there is a line between that and being tolerant of sin. We will love you. We will pray for you. But we will not let you come between us and standing firm for God. Period.

        • –what he said.

          — at my fundamental Christian church we spend -zero- time focusing on other people/ other churches. We already KNOW we’re lowly sinners. [We think we are the worst of the worst.] We are in a position of lowliness.

          That makes us super grateful to be alive & that Jesus saved us! That leaves us a lot of time to serve God and his people. We’re very busy. Our God is so amazing.

      • you say that you give others the benefit of doubt, but then you continually attack Christians that are liberals, You do know that there tens of millions of them.

  17. “Thanks for reminding us, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again how superior you are to everyone else in America. We get it. You’re smarter, kinder, nicer than everyone else who has tried to follow Jesus. ”

    Please provide evidence of your ugly assertions.

    • He’s right. JohnP does tend to be smug. He looks down his nose at the “other Christians.”

      Does he ever offer anything positive? He’s always putting down other Christians.

      What is his doctrine? How does he help the sinner find salvation and peace? How does the soul make it to Heaven?

        • I asked some very fair questions.

          What is his doctrine? What does he mean by “Christian”?

          What does he preach? Or is this it? Liberal politics and attacks on other Christians?

          • I’m not speaking for him, to me it sounds like he is being the type of Christian the Jesus practiced. Love God like no other and love thy neighbour like thy self.

              • Anyone for whom the shoe fits, Benny. Surely you have met Catholics who don’t act as if they are Catholics, whose manner of life is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

                While I cannot speak for John P, I have earlier provided you with the title of his blog post that explains how he uses the phrase “American Christianity.”

                Had you really desired an answer to your questions, you would have googled it.

                I can’t speak for anyone else who reads these comments, but I believe that you don’t actually want a discussion, your intent is to be mean and nasty to John P.

                By the way, evidently John P and those of us who commented favorably upon this post are not the only ones who feel that way. From today’s National Catholic Reporter, I offer you:

                Let God be God
                Mary M. McGlone Illustration by Mark Bartholomew | Oct. 22, 2016 Spiritual Reflections

                Have you run into those churchy types whose very presence makes you aware that you don’t measure up? They don’t have to publish their religious résumé. Something about their bearing broadcasts it without any need for a printed copy.

                Some of them, as Jesus mentions in Matthew 23:5, display their distinction by their clothing, widening their phylacteries and lengthening the tassels on their garments. They look like the fans who sport the home colors — except that they’re claiming to be on God’s team. Their uniform serves as an admission ticket to the best spot in the ecclesiastical environs.

                This description is obviously a caricature, like the one Jesus drew of the Pharisee who went to the temple precincts flaunting his righteousness on both sleeves of his well-tailored cloak.

                Of course, the other actor has to be equally overdrawn, the opposite of character No. 1, whom we might call Levi. No. 2, let’s call him George, has pretty good clothes too; his shady profession allows him to purchase the best. But there’s something about his walk that’s different, ever more hesitant as he nears the place of prayer.

                When he gets to the Temple, he’s obviously not on his home turf. He doesn’t remember exactly what he was taught to do here, but something has drawn him to the place, and it makes him at least a little uncomfortable.

                Wouldn’t you know that the two arrive at the same time? Levi is immediately aware of that fact and processes right past George, who’s standing there, uncharacteristically too timid even to look around him. Surprisingly, Levi is glad to have seen George standing there. Compare and contrast is his favorite word game!

                Now we get to the “prayer” of each. Speaking about Levi, Jesus says, “He took up his position,” giving the impression that had he been Catholic, it would have been his pew … up front and on Our Lady’s side. (Though Mary would never say so, Levi knows she’s more important than Joseph.)

                While some might question whether Levi’s words qualify as “prayer,” Jesus leaves the question open to interpretation by saying that he “spoke this prayer to himself.” He did begin by using God’s title. If Levi intended to communicate with God, his message was basically something like, “Congratulations on your good judgment, it’s understandable why you appreciate my accomplishments — especially when one sees what a poor job others do.” All that was missing in his self-aggrandizement was the use of the royal “we,” also known as the “majestic plural.”

                There’s not too much to say about George. He just stood there and prayed with his head bowed, striking his breast in self-incrimination. He didn’t make himself anywhere near as interesting as Levi’s imagination had! But he did go to God with a clear request. George’s prayer gave God room to reply and to do what God does best: be merciful.

                Today’s reading from Sirach says that the prayer of the lowly pierces the heavens. That’s exactly the point Jesus made with this story. God may not have favorites, but God can do no more with us than we will allow. There’s no point in going to God if we only want to talk about ourselves and our plans for the world. God sees through all of that and finds tragic emptiness at the far end.

                This is not to say that we are to put ourselves down as worthless. Paul gives us an example of genuine humility in his last testament, as recorded in today’s selection from 2 Timothy.

                Paul knows that he’s done everything possible to fulfill his mission. He ran a good race and he didn’t lose faith in God. That’s exactly the combination that makes for living the Christian vocation. His mission came from God, and with the help of God, he completed it as best he could.

                With a clear conscience, he can look forward to receiving the crown of righteousness, a gift for him and the others who long for God.

                While Paul knows that he’s done his best and believes God will bring him home, he doesn’t single himself out. He doesn’t have to. Something about his way of being points beyond himself because his prayer has always aimed toward God with hope and thanksgiving.

                If we seek a one-line summary of what this week’s Scriptures teach us about prayer, it might well be “Let God be God.” And we can take that in many ways.

                [Mary M. McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She is a freelance writer and executive director of FUVIRESE USA, a charitable foundation that supports work with people with disabilities in Ecuador.]

                • I haven’t met these people, but those who come to mind as hypocritical Catholics who profess but don’t practice faith would be Tim Kaine, Nancy Pelosi, and the late Ted Kennedy. There are many more, but that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head.

                  There are others who I know personally who can be prideful, egotistical, and unforgiving. It’s tempting to judge them and say they “don’t have Jesus” but I have to remember I have my own faults and sins too, which express themselves in different ways. It’s not my place to say they don’t know Jesus. They have Jesus AND they have their sins and faults, like me and many other Christians.

                  • earlier you said that you don’t attack other practicing Catholics, but now you’re doing just that. You are putting it on yourself who is a good practicing Catholic,

                    Do you think these people won’t be making it into heaven?

              • The self righteous ones! The ones Jesus said were white washed tombs. Stop judging and condemning those who don’t think like you, We will all stand before God one day and give an account of ourselves and how we lived. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, and the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Jesus said that the world would know we are His followers by our love for one another, not for the denomination we are a part of or our political affiliations,

          • ‘What We Believe’: (from John Ps Church website)

            –We believe a broad spectrum of things about the Christian Life
            –We are trying to figure out what we believe (& that’s ok with us)
            –We are Christian. There are many way to be Christian.
            –Folks belong here (especially) if they have deep doubts about the most accepted parts of Christian Tradition.
            –We believe sin is no big deal.
            –Listen to your inner spiritual conviction then act. [if you do that, then sin will take care of itself.]
            –Spiritual truths are so vast, they can’t be contained in fixed doctrine.
            –We believe in Jesus.
            –We believe in spiritual disciplines (mantra meditation and enneagrams).

            • It sounds more like a hippie cult than a Christian church.

              “They don’t know what they believe and sin is no big deal…”

              WT*, Is this a joke?

              • Paul Inberea and Benny, I wish we could have this conversation face to face. If we could sit down over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, I think you would see that although we may disagree on some points, I am not your enemy or God’s enemy. Nor am I someone deserving of derision or one who you need to school in what it means to be a real Christian.

                I am unable to vote for Trump, but that doesn’t mean I am not a good Christian. (As a survivor of sexual assault, Trump’s comments about how he can “grab women by the p***y” just hit too close to home.) I believe that there are many issues in this election cycle to consider in addition to abortion, but that does not mean I am insensitive to unborn life. (Miscarriages took too many of my own babies, and it broke my heart every time.) I have profound questions about God and religion, and I would like to be free to discuss them honestly in my own faith community without being demeaned or marginalized, but that does not mean I am ready to join a cult. I wonder about the nature of sin, and I wonder if the “Christian” who leaves destruction and fractured relationships in their judgmental wake might offend God more than the “non-Christian” who leaves comfort and kindness in their wake, a la Good Samaritan. (The word “sin” means to miss the mark. Who missed the mark more?) I do not think my wonderings make me godless or evil. I believe the historical Jesus (as much as we can ascertain) is much more compelling than the Sunday School Jesus I grew up with, but that does not make me a heretic.

                I grew up in a faith tradition that circled the wagons in order to keep US in and THEM out. I felt so sad and ashamed when I heard our church members and our own preachers dismiss, reject, shame, and mock people who did not toe our party line. (And by the way, Benny, according to our doctrine, Catholics were right up there on the list of folks would find themselves in hell, and that is not okay with me.)

                John P asks questions I have been unable to ask in my own faith community, and so those questions resonate with me. I don’t agree with every one of his assertions, but I find it refreshing and challenging that we can open conversations that previously were considered closed by my religious leaders. You need not chastise me or question my faith. But an honest, respectful, good-faith discussion would be welcome any time.

                • “One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful.” Dave Willis

                  Zoe Grace, you exemplify this quote beautifully. It’s a pleasure to read what you write.

                  In my opinion, John P speaks with a prophetic voice exercising his gift of exhortation which holds a mirror in front of his readers. People react to the reflection as they may or may not like what they see in the mirror.

                  Personally, I welcome John’s compassion and soul searching. He stretches my comfort zone and that’s good because that is how I grow..

                  I am reading the most wonderful book which records the conversations of two of the holiest men on the planet: His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They converse upon joy. Title is The Book of Joy. Highly recommended.

                  • Gloriamarie, thank you for the conversation and for book recommendation. I will put that one on my list! I recently finished reading Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, by Marcus J. Borg, and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan. They were both SO thought-provoking, and I am looking for my next book (spiritual/intellectual challenge).

                    • Those are wonderful books. Last year around this time I read the Book of Forgiveness written by the Archbishop and his daughter. They also had a month long guided study.

                      Usually, my “spiritual” reading are Christian writers up to about the year 700 CE but there have been some more modern writers who have influenced me. Weote my MA thesis on Evelyn Underhill. Also love Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Frederich Buechner, Sr Joan Chittister, Kathleen Norris, Ken Leech. I could go on and on.

                    • Zoe thanks for sharing. I too wonder about the nature of sin. For a book recommendation if you have a contemplative side you might like Thomas Merton “The Seeds of Contemplation” and anything Henri Nouwen, who has an especially gentle spirit; reading his words is a balm for the soul.

                    • Gloriamarie, Charles, Kathy, and Benny, thank you for your recommendations (below). I think y’all just wrote my Christmas wish list for me! 🙂

                • zoe

                  thank for your comments. good points. [ i would never consider anyone here my enemy, least of all you]. tossing around ideas is fun and entertaining. blogging is kind of like texting, where tone and meaning are sometimes hard to read. take all w/ grain of salt.

                  i only post here, to be a voice for Narrow Road fundamentalism (i’m not ashamed), which gets battered here relentlessly. it doesnt hurt my feelings and i take no offense what so ever.

                  I know John P says he finds Freedom in his progressive Christian faith. I, on the other hand, have found Freedom on the narrow road of Church Doctrine. It’s good to have boundaries. They are life saving. I think the Christian Life IS a matter of Life & Death. Since I’m interested in LIFE, I sure as hell am staying on the Narrow Path.

                  The closer we get to danger of death, the MORE we should be constrained and protected. [When I go SCUBA diving or rock climbing, I’m not going to invent some other way to stay alive. I’m going to do exactly what my Instructor told me to do, I agree to her doctrine.]

                  I happen to think, that JPs free-wheeling progressive path is overrated, not to mention , deadly. [PS: I think if you really believe something, you are above taking offense –you can pity me though. ]

                • zoe… at the risk of being severely clobbered. I see your question about sin. All humans are born with a sin nature, that is, our tendency to do the wrong thing, think the wrong thing is innate.

                  The Law is there (in the bible, in society, & in our hearts) to remind us of our need for an Advocate . Someone to represent us to the Holy God, as we cannot possibly face Him in our state of sinfulness. (even if we are a so-called ‘good’, it’s not any where close to being able to approach God Almighty)

                  Jesus is that Advocate. Only sinless blood has Power to bring life to those who are dead in their sin.

                  God is concerned with the sin of his Children. He is not concerned with the ‘good deeds’ or the sin of those who do not belong to Him (those who are against Christ & follow their father the devil/satan).

                  God says over & over in the bible… ‘Your good deeds cannot save you, less anyone boast. I want your heart. ‘

                  If you are honest, how could a good deed turn God’s head, the Creator of the Universe, who knows all, controls all? He says, ‘your good deeds are like filthy rags.’ Harsh. But true.

                  Christians who continue to harm others, need to check in with God, perhaps they don’t belong to God? Only God knows. That’s his problem, not ours.

                  • Paul Inberea, thank you for the discussion. I understand the doctrine you explain, as I was steeped in it for 45+ years. And still, I am compelled by Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan and who of the main characters did what must be done “to inherit eternal life” (Lu 10:25-37). It was the nonbeliever (applying our lingo to the story) and not the religious guys. It was the outsider who exercised comfort and compassion. And who missed the mark (sinned)? It was the people of faith. And I consider what Jesus’ brother, James, said about faith without deeds. Who misses the mark? The person of faith who says, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about people’s physical needs. James said that kind of faith is dead (Ja 2:14-17). Harsh words!

                    If any person of any religious persuasion does something “good” for his brother or sister, does it turn God’s head, as you say? I believe God is MUCH too big for me to know the answer to that question. I do believe, however, that if God is Love, then I must believe that being the embodyment of Love is good and right and at least as important as subscribing to all the “right” doctinal points, which have always been debatable anyway.

                    I agree that Christians who do not behave like the (nonbeliever) Samaritan, Christians who wish others well without caring for their physical needs, should “check in with God,” as you said. But I disagree here: That is not just God’s problem, because these Christians leave pain, destruction, and alienation in their wakes. That becomes OUR problem, the problem of the human family.

                  • I think Jesus was talking to those people that did good deeds only to pronounce it loudly to let others know what he did. He said those deeds were worthless since they didn’t come from the heart.

                    He told his followers to do their good deeds quietly without fanfair.

  18. The early Christians were known as followers of the “way”, maybe that term could be reintroduced for those who do want to follow Jesus? Then we could look for the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of those who claim the Christ. Words are easy but action really does reveal the heart. Thanks for your post John.

    • Mike: I have decided to use the term: ‘Believer’.

      If you Repent (admit you’re a sinner) & Believe (what Jesus’ says), then you are a Believer.

      If you don’t repent/believe, then you are a Non-believer. [An enemy of Christ.]

      [Only God can see someones heart. But there are many today who blatantly reject Jesus, even proudly so — it’s safe to say they are not Believers. ]

      • Sorry lets unpick what you are saying: You equate repenting with admitting you are a sinner. Sorry, but that it rubbish, Repentance involves accepting what you have done is a sin before God – what is a sin?* asking God for forgiveness and seeking his strength not to repent the sin. Clearly your understanding is inadequate.

        then you are asked to believe what Jesus says. What do you mean? for example you judge that certain people are not believers. How do you tie in that statement with what Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-3 where we are expressly told not to judge.

        Lets look at what you are saying in terms of the early Church – clearly they have very little about what Jesus had said. the Gospels weren’t written until about 70AD. The earliest texts we have are the writing of Paul, its look at what he says Rom 10:9. I will quote it “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
        So in fact what you are saying is rubbish, and what you are producing as the Gospel is no Gospel. I think that you owe us all an apology, and no I’m not judging you. I am merely looking at what you are saying from a theological point of view. I mane no judgement about your belief, merely that it seems to be rather inadequate to express the truths of the Gospel.
        * Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God. So what is sin do you take the jewish line and take the 613 jewish laws. If not why not and what do you take?
        I may not reply as it is after midnight where I am, but I’ll pick up what you say in the morning.

        • I’ve never seen so many people blowing hot air around all the while swinging their Bibles like bludgeons at one another’s heads.

          Personally this whole thing gives me a massive headache. Everybody is right and the rest are going to hell.

          If you will excuse me, I think I am going to be sick.

  19. ” I refuse to be a Christian who demands that others believe what I believe or live as I live or profess what I profess”.
    I guess the key word here is “demands”. I hold different views on women in leadership than many of my fellow Evangelical brothers and sisters. While I don’t demand they believe as I do, I would not join a church that limits my participation based on my gender. That greatly helps me not “demand” agreement from people who will not be likely to give it to me. By so doing, I also don’t have to live with their demands on me. Live and let live, otherwise the author cannot write the quoted words with integrity.

  20. It is not those of a particular brand of Christianity who do not know Jesus, but it is within the various brands of the Church the there are those who know not Christ.. This is not a national thing either, the original post was about the US but it is in all Churches and all Countries. However while we can say that there are those who by their behaviour don’t know Chris, in that they refuse to feed the hungry and work for Justice, introducing their own parameters of the faith, it is never my place to Judge.
    However unless Jesus is for you Lord, if you have other lords in your love like your social position, or your country, like trusting in military might, or seeking your ultimate hope in anything else than the fact that Jesus is Lord and you are a sinner saved by grace then you know not Jesus. It doesn’t matter what brand of Christianity you belong to and profess to support, it doesn’t matter how much you go through your denominational hoops, unless you have that relationship of Jesus you do not have him as Lord and are not a person of the Way.
    While I may fence the table in warning people about their need for this personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and to live in charity with their neighbour it is the Table of Christ’s around which we should gather, not the table of any one Church or country. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

    • You wrote something that intrigues me, Edward. “However unless Jesus is for you Lord, if you have other lords in your love like your social position, or your country, like trusting in military might, or seeking your ultimate hope in anything else than the fact that Jesus is Lord and you are a sinner saved by grace then you know not Jesus.”

      I wonder if you have had an experience I have had? I’ve met Christians who seem to worship a particular interpretation of the Bible more than they worship God. They could be Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, splinter-group Anglicans, members of any of the Protestant denominations. Adherence to the particular interpretation is the litmus test that proves for them whether or not a person is a Christian. Rather than faith in the entire Gospel.

      I hope I communicated clearly.

      • The one word answers is Yes. I was brought up in a very conservative community in Ireland where the peripherals of what was seen as being Christian was very much socially determined.
        I then eventually became a kind of dogmatic canonist, but that did not long survive the experience of pastoring.
        The idea of blind people in a room with an elephant as a model for our understanding of Him is very attractive, we can only describe god as we have experienced him. All we can have is a series of very brief pictures of him. Some are external like the Sistine Chapel pictures, others are internal like reflecting our life experience, and others are truly gleaned from the World of God as it is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
        There are however who rather than seeing the scriptures of the Old and New Testament (notice I do not use the B word) reflecting Christ and at the best pointing us to him, (What we are to believe about God and what he wants us to do) but rather are to be worshipped in their own right. In a similar way there are those who see their particular form of God Box having a worth in itself, rather than merely being there to point us not to itself, but to Christ.
        When I was into Dogmatics in a big way I thought that they encompassed an objective truth, they don’t they are a human explanation of the Divine Mysteries, the greatest is why the Creator should bother with me as an individual.
        While I would agree with you to a point, I would be unhappy about the phrase “Rather than faith in the entire Gospel.” The Christian faith has to be a personal relationship, about a personal encounter. I don’t know what the entire Gospel is. I see through a glass darkly, and I have what is for me the Gospel, but tomorrow that could be different as my faith today is different from my faith of yesterday, because I have read something, or I believe that God has shown me something. This runs contrary to the idea of a deposit of faith once given to the Saints, but it is the limit of the faith which has been given to me, a finite sinful person whom Christ has brought into a personal relationship with him. And I don’t believe that there is a big bundle of the true faith held somewhere which can be doled out by the Church to people any more than I believe that there are a store of works of supererogation which they Church can dole out in indulgences. I passed through the Holy Door in St Peter’s this year do I get the Indulgences? Well no, not when you read the small print.

        I freely admit that the idea of some other Lords is a straight lift from the Barman Theological Declaration, but we all live in a transient society and are called into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and not to other lords.

        • Thank you for your considered reply. Please allow me to correct myself. You wrote, “While I would agree with you to a point, I would be unhappy about the phrase “Rather than faith in the entire Gospel.”

          When I said that, I was thinking of those who toss out parts of the Gospels as if they don’t apply to them. Such as those who have embraced the prosperity gospel here in the USA which relieves them of any necessity to love their neighbors and live as selfishly as they want.

          Sorry, did not mean to confuse.

          I walk the mystic path myself.

          • Yes, part of the problem of being a Christian is that we are confronted with the demands of the Gospel of love and care and humility and openness. There are those who seek to limit the effectiveness of the Gospel. Whether than is the prosperity Gospel, or a kind of civil Gospel where the state is in face the determinator, or demanding observance of a particular set of beliefs, the Gospel is reduced and eroded.

  21. John, I’ve been following you for two years now and feel so much of the frustrations you express in your brave blog. And I agree that it’s “stuff that must be said.” But I wonder if it’s ok to say something to you that I also “need to say”. I worry about you even tho I don’t know you. I fear for your anxious heart and your tender spirit that is so deeply troubled about what’s going on in America. I’m like you and I’ve just realized that before my gay son “came out” 2 years ago I spent the first awake moments of each day flooding my spirit with the peace of Jesus, allowing his spirit to refresh my soul and then handing my fears and anxieties to him. I just wanted to be an instrument of His peace in the world. Now I am realizing that I’ve been waking up to my daily dose of fear, spreading of all the darkest side of people who are supposed to be Christians. I have decided to switch my focus to all the good in the world that so many Christians are doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s blog about the untold stories of people like my cousin who started a non-profit called I-Sanctuary to rescue people from sex trafficking , or Susan & Rob Cottrell who are devoting their lives to bringing understanding to the church of the beauty that comes from opening our hearts to the LGBT community, to hearing their stories and allowing Jesus love to spread like a warm blanket over hearts that have been divided . The negative examples of Christianity are doing enough to spread the venom of hatred across social media. Maybe it’s time to flood social media with stories of people getting it right. Maybe we need to shine a huge spot light on those people and not give the haters any more exposure than they already have. Let’s feed our world with whatever is good, lovely, accurately painting Jesus for the world. He is good, He is still on the throne, He loves us all (even the ones who suck at representing Him to the world). So I’m just suggesting you might benefit John from using your huge blogging platform to spread good words about the true Bride of Christ and let the daily shot of upsetting thoughts go for a bit. It can’t be good for your health and I know it’s not good for mine. Your words are a gift John, use them well. God still has “got this” . So I guess what I’m saying is keep fighting for the marginalized but let’s paint the world with the true beauty of what Christs work is accomplishing.

    • Julie, when you start a blog that does what you describe above, please let us know. I am positive many of us who love what John P writes would follow it. I know I would subscribe to that in an instant.

      While I can’t speak for john P., I think he is doing what God calls him to do. He may not be called to write the sort of blog you describe. In my opinion, he speaks as a prophet with the gift of exhortation. As Kathy wrote earlier, through what he writes, John P holds a mirror up to our individual faces. We either like or dislike the reflection we see there.

      I personally love being stretched, having my comfort zone challenged by the compassion and soul-searching of John P.

    • Julie… thank you for your thoughts. Your true caring for John P really comes through. I care about him too. [This upcoming election is enough to send anyone over the edge.]

      I spent about an hour today, reading from Jeremiah, and Psalm 89 (‘You rule over the surging sea, when its waves mount up, you still them, with your strong arm you scatter your enemies…’).

      When i was done, I was a peace. Happy even! To have another day to be with God,
      and serve Him. It’s not about me. Thank you God.

      • At peace with ourselves is a very good place to be. I think of the peace that passes understanding. Only by being at peace with ourselves can we be at peace with others. We all should watch children play more. Before they have been harded by the worldly ways and what others think of them they are at peace with each other. My mother always told me there will always be someone prettier, smarter, more privileged than you. It is what you do with what you have that makes the difference in your life and those around you. Let’s try to make a positive difference, not by acting religious, or thinking we are better than the next one, but by our actions.

  22. “And where do I suggest that anyone is going to Hell (a concept which I actually don’t believe in)? All I’m doing is demonstrating that the views which were expressed aren’t even Biblical.”

    Hrm. I seem to have struck a nerve. Overreact much?

    • Your second sentence in the definition of Christian… why would you stop calling yourself that just because people choose to associate it with bullcrap. Peoples’ misunderstanding and misinterpretation is not a reason to be afraid to call yourself a christian.

  23. Hopefully, you will also choose to be a Christian who refuses to make sweeping generalizations about your other brothers and sisters in Christ, who are all fallible and frail, just like you, daily making mistakes, and daily coming to the foot of the cross of Christ to receive the forgiveness and mercy promised by all who choose to call Jesus their Lord and Savior. If you and I knew each other, there would be so many times I would offend you, brother. I would not mean to; I would not want to….but I would hope you could find as much love and grace for me as you say I should have for you.

    • John P does not, as I read him, make sweeping generalizations about anyone. He very specifically details what he means. For some of us,his words are a mirror held up in front of us and we don’t like what we see so instead of taking responsibility for our own feelings, we take them out on John P. It’s an “if the shoe fits” kind of thing. Psychologists call it projecting.

  24. And I also refuse to be a Christian who turns their head away from the people of the world when they are seeking to know the redemption that is offered to ALL people from ALL races and creeds in Jesus Christ. I refuse NOT to tell them about Jesus’ love for them.

    I also refuse to be a Christian who would deny the foundational truths God has set forth for fallible humankind; and I refuse to accept harmful and sinful choices just so I can be seen as tolerant. The tolerance I hold to is that ALL are welcome at the foot of the cross of Christ, and ALL of us who struggle because we live in a fallen world and face a sinful human nature can find hope to live in a state of hungering and thirsting after righteousness by the grace of God.)

    …and I refuse to be a Christian who will NOT help them understand the universal love of Christ for ALL peoples; but also of the WAY for ALL to find redemption from their sins simply by coming to Jesus Christ, God incarnate, acknowledging that He truly did GIVE HIS LIFE for all humankind that ALL may know redemption.

  25. What an incredibly arrogant and divisive piece of writing! I picture a high school football game with cheerleaders jumping about screaming OUR TEAM IS BETTER THAN YOUR TEAM!

    We all travel this rocky path together, our life experiences, abilities, even our brain chemicals work together to form our beliefs and our world view. How sad your refusals seem. Like a little boy at the dentist who refuses to open his mouth. Get over yourself. God loves us all equally. You seemed to have checked off all the boxes that are important to you, and that is fine. But remember it doesn’t necessarily make you the enlightened one in a world of demons.

    • I consider John P to speak with a prophetic voice, exercising his gift of exhortation. His words are like a mirror and we can choose to like or dislike the reflection we see in that mirror.

      Over the time I’ve been following John’s blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that people who feel justified in attacking him are people who didn’t like the reflection. It’s not John’s issue when someone dislikes what he writes.

  26. “They have many justifications for this, but the end result seems to be that they are only pro-fetus and really don’t want to see to it that the fetus saved grows into a healthy person.”

    This exactly, Gloriamarie! If all of these people were willing to see to it that every child born will receive necessary health care (especially in cases of severe illness where the parents are unable to afford it), food, clothing, an education, I would not take issue with them.

    • Neither would I, Angela. Neither would I.

      The “prosperity gospel” has infected too many people in the USA who claim to be Christians. It is a pernicious heresy because what it ultimately teaches is that the only people God blesses are the wealthy. Ok, maybe I exaggerate some. But not much. Good examples of those who preach this heresy are the Osteens.

      Generally speaking, I sit pretty loose on the subject of heresy. My definition of orthodox Christian belief is minimal. The Creeds, the Two Great Commandments. That’s pretty much it.

      The prosperty gospel must be confronted because it teaches people that loving one’s neighbor is not as important as loving one’s self and hoarding wealth so that it is never shared with the neighbor.

  27. I agree with most of this. The conviction on my heart is, that in a world of growing hostility towards Christians, I refuse to be a Christian who persecutes other Christians. I don’t agree with anyone on everything but I would rather error on the side of grace than arrogance.

    • Do you believe John P is persecuting other Christians instead of sharing with us his own personal soul-searching? Do you really believe John P writes from a position of arrogance rather than grace?

      I ask because my studies of Church History teach me that nominal Christians abound. As I read John, I see a mirror which challenges me to take my faith more seriously, to work harder at becoming the Gloriamarie it delighted God to create. Challenging me to stop being a lazy Christian, concerned only with my own salvation and not involved in loving my neighbors, even if it costs me.

    • It is not a world of growing hostility toward Christians. It is a world of growing hostility toward Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who seem to believe that they have ARRIVED.

  28. Gloriamarie, you make a good point. The division I see in the comments here is primarily caused by people’s inability to admit they are wrong or see the frailties of others.

    I see JP’s posts as touching on points that need correction not only in the church but within myself as well .

    And if JP stirs up dirt it is because dirt rises to the top when you are scrubbing something that needs cleaning. We are made righteous through our sanctification which is a process of redemption not a vacuum of self congratulation.

    If the church needs correction we need to examine ourselves and correct it. That’s how I feel in my walk with Jesus. I go to the prayer wall and say, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Even liberal and progressive Christians understand repentance and humility.

    The truth is we need each other and God accepts every variety of Christian denomination and is with us all. We are all loved by God and we all have flaws to work on.

    • Thank you, Kathy.

      I have thought for a very long time that all of Christianity, all of it, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism needs renewal.

      And by that I mean a renewal driven by the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds and soften our incredibly hard hearts.

      There are things that John has said which have hurt me. I know that is not his intention and if I am hurt by something he says, I need to look within **myself** to find out why I am bothered. I am not going to blame JP and call him names because he wrote words that bothered me.

      It is All Too Easy to become complacent as a Christian in the USA. Maybe it is in Canada, too. I wouldn’t know. Complacency is perhaps the very opposite of a vital spirituality. I don’t want to be a complacent Christian. I’ll even go out on a limb and suggest, only suggest, that those who are most disturbed by what John P writes may be complacent Christians and instead of warm fuzzies when they read his words, their complacency is shown up for what it is.

      I don’t know if this is true or not. But I am often struck by how little a resemblance there is between what John has written and what people choose to read into his words. For example, how many times has he been called arrogant or judgmental? He writes with compassion, soul-searching and an unflinching desire to see himself for who he is and change himself into a person that reflects the image and likeness of God as wholly as any human being can.

        • Thank you, Kathy, for asking the question. So many people when they see a word used that hits them the wrong way or dislike, lash out in judgment instead of asking for more information.

          Naturally, I have no idea what your reaction was, but I appreciate that instead of acting on it, you asked for more information.

          I use the term to mean smugness or an uncritical view of a person’s selfor achievement.

          By “complacent Christian” I mean the kind who thinks that as long as they show up for church on Sunday, put quite a bit less than a tithe in the collection plate, show up for Bible study on Wed, if there is one, votes Republican without thinking very much of the implications but because they have a vague sense that Republicans are more Christian than Democrats, despite the fact that God belongs to no political party at all.

          • Your welcome 🙂

            I wonder if people get the wrong idea because of the words we use. I remember when I was a teenager and we moved to the east coast. When I started making new friends there were all sorts of words I had to learn. My friends called running shoes; sneakers. I thought it was funny. Why call running shoes sneakers ? So I said “squeakers would be better because they made a squeaking sound on the gym floor. ” well it was good for a laugh.

            • Yes, I agree. We think we know what someone means because of our own frame of reference but really need to learn the other’s frame of reference for effective communication.

    • One reason he is so divisive is that he criticizes Christians for doing some things right.

      For example, in Catholicism, and hopefully in most of the non-Catholic churches, it is recognized that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that it is impossible for two of the same sex to be married to each other. It is gravely disordered and a serious sin for two of the same sex to have sexual relations with each other, as it is for heterosexuals to do likewise outside of marriage.

      I think I’ve read enough of JP’s writings to conclude that those of us who adhere to such beliefs and who have the courage to not be shamed by the world and speak up about them, would be called “homophobes” and maybe even “hateful” by JP. In the eyes of a world that hates Christians, we are “bigots.” So he’s not challenging my “flaws” when he insults my religion and the good-faith beliefs of others.

      That’s just one issue. There are many others such as being “bathroom bullies,” as if having a restroom for boys and one for girls is a bad thing to do. And I have no idea where he has dug up that there are “racist” Christian beliefs. That’s a new one for me.

      I don’t mind at all be challenged and reminded about my sins and flaws. I have lots of issues and I think I’m due to go to Confession and get some things off my chest. But JohnP has not been the catalyst for that because he’s hitting Christians for not changing their beliefs to be popular with the world, and because his criticisms are arrogant and are not done with love or kindness, but in a way that elevates himself above others.

        • This is gonna be good. Just remember that Roman Catholic ethics are not based on the words in the Bible. They are based on the Catholic concept of “natural law.” The word “disordered” probably comes from a natural law context.

        • The best way I could explain it would be by examples. If I have a desire to eat sand for my meals, then I have a disordered desire. Our bodies are not ordered in such a way that they can be sustained eating sand, besides whatever negative effects it would have on the digestive system. And if I act on that desire and follow through and eat sand regularly, then I have a disordered behavior, which could be very dangerous. It’s possible that I could have the disordered desire or inclination, and not act on it. My reason hopefully would overrule my disordered desire and I would use the strength of my will do dominate my desire and resist the sand and eat proper food.

          It is natural for men to be attracted to women and vice versa, which leads to a marriage and children. This attraction is not disordered so long as it is not lustful. It is a disorder for there to be a same-sex attraction, since there is no proper end. A same-sex union is gravely disordered. There is no possibility of a marriage and no combination of reproductive organs and other body parts can ever lead to reproduction.

          A disordered inclination towards or desire for the same sex is not necessarily a sin and often can’t be helped. A Christian who finds himself or herself in that unfortunate situation must accept his or her cross and remain celibate, just as should a single heterosexual.

          It might not seem fair, but life isn’t fair. We all have crosses to bear. A Christian who lets the disordered desire lead to disordered behavior puts himself in a worse place, as does the single heterosexual who fornicates. Sinful behavior is disordered behavior, and as Jesus said, “All who sin are slaves.” To be free then means to not yield to the disordered desire.

          I don’t mean to pick on homosexuals. There are plenty of disorders to go around for heterosexuals such as masturbation, lust, indulging in pornography, fornication, etc.

          If you want to understand the Catholic perspective please read what the catechism has to say:
          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

          • Thanks for this Benny. I can understand so much better where you are coming from. I own a copy of the Shorter Westminster Catechism with Scripture Proofs. However, it leads to more questions than answers for me.

            I love the food analogy you gave. This might surprise you but some birds eat sharp stones to help their gizzards digest food. And even more surprising in Haiti people are eating sand and mud!

            “Brittle and gritty – and as revolting as they sound – these are “mud cakes”. For years they have been consumed by impoverished pregnant women seeking calcium, a risky and medically unproven supplement, but now the cakes have become a staple for entire families.

            It is not for the taste and nutrition – smidgins of salt and margarine do not disguise what is essentially dirt, and the [we] can testify that the aftertaste lingers – but because they are the cheapest and increasingly only way to fill bellies.

            “It stops the hunger,” said Marie-Carmelle Baptiste, 35, a producer, eyeing up her stock laid out in rows. She did not embroider their appeal. “You eat them when you have to.”

            These days many people have to. The global food and fuel crisis has hit Haiti harder than perhaps any other country, pushing a population mired in extreme poverty towards starvation and revolt…
            According to the UN, two-thirds of Haitians live on less than 50p a day and half are undernourished…

            …As desperation rises so does production of mud cakes, an unofficial misery index. Now even bakers are struggling. Trucked in from a clay-rich area outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, the mud is costlier but cakes still sell for 1.3p each, about the only item immune from inflation.”

            This leads me to believe anything is possible under the sun and although not everything is neat and tidy and ordered, people live on and thrive.

            Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

          • Homosexuality a disorder? Really, Benny? Do you believe they can be changed with conversion therapy? Scientific studies point to the idea that they were born that way. After all, why would so many people select a lifestyle that they knew would result in being hated.

            You portray marriage as existing for the purpose of producing children. But what if my husband and I are unable to have children? Does that render of marriage invalid?

      • Benny. If it is impossible for two people of the same sex to marry each other, I would suggest that you have missed the fact that the impossible is being done in spite of your odd pronouncements on the subject.

        No one who is a non-Catholic is required to abide by your two-issue fixation on abortion and same sex marriage. We Protestants do not accept and will not ever accept that Roman Catholicism is the only true church of Jesus Christ. No one here is the least bit impressed with such vain-glorious pronouncements—nor will we be. You appear to be some sort of whacko, Donahue, ultra-conservative Catholic along the lines of Mel Gibson. I have a number of clos