The Faith Crisis Epidemic in America

The woman’s voice began to quiver.

She’d just introduced herself to me in the hallway of our church, and for a couple of minutes she’d held it together. But as she started to share the difficulty of the past few months, the strain showed on her face and her cheerful facade quickly began to crumble and fall away before my eyes—until finally she blurted out the words punctuated by heavy sobs:

“I don’t know if I believe anymore.”

I’d like to say that my first feeling was surprise or sadness—but honestly it was deja vu. This is commonplace now in this work. This is normal.

There is an epidemic of the soul here in America: millions of people of a once steadfast faith, now standing at the precipice of unbelief. They’re exhausted and terrified and finding faith a hard sell.

I hear from them every single day. They once were blind and have now seen something they’d prefer not to have seen:

Celebrity evangelists selling their souls for a Supreme Court seat.
Local pastors loudly sanctioning hometown anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Church friends being silent in face of Muslim Bans, Anti-Semitic graffiti, and refugee neglect.
A theocratic political leadership that offers safe sanctuary to bigotry, racism, and homophobia—and expels compassion and decency.
Christians in their families and homes who they no longer easily see Jesus in.
A faith tradition they no longer recognize as home.
Even the hatred in their own hearts as a result of these things, toward people they love or those they barely know.

The cumulative affect of it all has generated an existential, belief-battering sh*t storm that’s left them feeling as though they’ve lost a secure hold on something—whether they call it God or faith or peace of mind or sanity.

I’d also venture to say that the past 18 months has produced more former Christians than any similar period in my lifetime—and honestly I can’t say I blame them. I understand their devastation. On many days, I share it. As I sift through the events of the day and my conversations with people, and as I witness what so many people of my faith tradition seem perfectly fine with, everything becomes unstable. Cloudiness replaces clarity. I begin to question the whole system. 

Dozens of times a week people come to me with a similar form of the same questions: “How do you do it? What sustains your faith? Why do you still believe?”

My answer varies greatly depending upon the hour, my news feed, or how honest I feel like being at the time.

You see, often I know what I’m supposed to say as a pastor, how I’m supposed to respond as a Christian; that the world is filled with flawed human beings, and that we’ll always experience a perfect God through imperfect people who are prone to do damage.

I’m supposed to say that Sin is a sickness of Humanity that afflicts us all, and that while we’re here we’ll have to endure the horrors it brings.

I’m supposed to believe that even in times when people are being brutalized and sanity seems in short supply and hatred seems to be rewarded—that God is still present and good and at work.

And most days I believe that.

Most days.

But we all reach a point at which we can’t absorb any more spiritual body blows, moments when we can’t sustain any more injury to our souls, days when our emotional resilience is exhausted. This year, many people have found themselves here. They live pressed hard against their capacity to still believe all the things they once believed—about people and life and God.

My inbox is filled with messages from therapists, social workers, counselors, mental health professionals, and ministers of every faith—nearly drowning in the existential fallout of these days. This epidemic is real and growing. And as tragic as that news is (and it truly is), it’s also the place I find reassurance. There is faith and hope to be mined here in the solidarity of our unrested souls.

There in the anger, the outrage, the grief, the very not-alrightness of so many, we might find reason to keep going, keep loving, keep believing.

Maybe our shared discontent is an alarm that there is something better and that we should keep seeking it.

As I stood in the church hallway listened to another human being tearfully let me into to her desperation, I realized that she and people like her are often the reason I still believe, and the place where I see evidence of God. Maybe the faith crises breaking out all around in these days, are a sign that people’s souls are waking up and pointing to something worth pursuing.

Perhaps this epidemic isn’t a sickness, it’s a rebirth.

This is a prayer that is still worth praying.

To you who are exhausted and terrified and straining to still believe: You are in good company. Be encouraged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

256 thoughts on “The Faith Crisis Epidemic in America

  1. It doesn’t help to water down the faith or embrace injustice. Abortion is a horrible injustice that kills millions, so it’s not to “sell one’s soul” for good Supreme Court Justices. LGBT people should NOT be mistreated, but it does them no good to tell them lies such as there is such a thing as a same-sex Christian marriage.

    Trump and Republicans should not be scapegoated. That’s not faith. That’s hate and hate doesn’t inspire anything worthwhile, least of all faith.

    • Talk to me about what you do with those babies AFTER they’re born, skippy. Other than cut taxes to the 1%. Or what about those brown-skinned babies you STILL don’t want to let in this country because they’re Turrists(tm), but you’re perfectly happy to bomb them to death, and their pregnant mothers with them. So I’m calling hypocrite on you.

      • Even if your lies and distortions were true, it doesn’t get you off the hook for blessing the destruction of millions of innocent babies, many of whom are “brown.”

        Real Church authority says abortion is an injustice. Phony churches say it’s a “choice.”

        • And nothing gets you “off the hook” for not doing more than just voting to pass laws to force women to carry a pregnancy either.
          I think Jesus was pretty clear that church authority is not the main voice in anything. Real churches work or all solutions available, phony churches work for only forced birth.

        • Get it through your head, Joe, no one cares about your opinion on this subject because you are pathologically obsessed with it. Get some help.

          I also notice many of your “fans” don’t seem so eager to support you since you announced on this blog that everyone other than Roman Catholics is a heretic. I am certain they didn’t care you that.

          Not even your Pope thinks non-RC Christians are heretics.

          • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

            I suspect that some Popes would excommunicate Pope Francis for heresy.

            Oh, and remember — Rome never changes.

            Blessings!

          • LivinginVA, the only church this guy recognizes is the Roman Catholic Church. He told us all the other day that anyone who is not RC is a heretic.

            This is fine by me if it means I get to be on the side of compassion, generosity, kindness, and love toward 100% of humanity, instead of only those who agree with me.

        • Interesting word choice “Church Authority”; I don’t care what any “Church Authority” has to say if it’s not backed up directly by the words of Christ. He never said a word against abortion and he never said a word against same sex relationships.
          I was born in ’73; at that time few Christian sects taught the idea of personhood at conception. That idea is younger than me and happy meals. From Old Testament times until recently you became a person (having a soul) at birth with your first breath (breath of life).
          Actually the Bible gives instructions on how to perform an abortion, and the church performed same sex marriages for centuries after Jesus’ death.

          • Carlotta holman, so many of us have said the same thing to this person who, I warn you, posts under a variety of different pseudonyms, even though he promised us that he would cease to do that and post only as Joe Catholic. So we can clearly see that he lied to us.

              • The Bible passage that described how to perform an abortion makes no mention of knives, chemicals, vacuums, or forecepts to remove a fetus. According to the passage, it is left up to God to miscarriage the fetus, not the doctor and not the woman.

                • Well Jon, that is some creative interpretation, but you cannot deny that it is in there and therefore known to God, who does not at all seem to condemn it. I do notice that God and Jesus directly were much harder on adultery and adulterers than anyone in the Christian Right ever is…too busy with abortion and the LGBTQ I suppose.

                • If it up to G-d to miscarry foetuses why does he not make women miscarry ectopic pregnancies, which will kill both mother and foetus? Why does G-d sometimes make a miscarry incomplete or continual for sometimes days, weeks, and months? Why does G-d make women carry dead foetuses sometimes? Why does G-d punish women for allow them to get pregnant during rape? What kind of G-d is this? If this is G-d I would rather be an rational humanistic atheist. I don’t believe in a G-d that decrees “A Handmaid’s Tale” a how-to book.

                  • Thanks, Robin, I don’t believe in that God either. That’s like saying somehow when two children are in an accident, one survives, one doesn’t, that one was more deserving of life than the other. Peace,

                    • That has always confused me. I was taught that God will help you get through things but if I mess up God is not miraculously going to clean up that mess. God will give me the strength and the tools but don’t expect an intervention. They try to make God spiteful and cruel, if they can live with that image, OK, but that is not the image of God that I have. Peace,

        • Obamacare reduced abortion to 12000 per year down from over 300000 BECAUSE WOMEN HAD ACCESS TO SAFE MEDICAL CARE. WHEN YOU ELECT PEOPLE WHO NOT ONLY BAN ABORTIONS BUT ALSO TAKE AWAY THE CLINICS GIVING FREE OR LOW COST PRENATAL CARE, YOU ENDANGER MOTHER AND CHILD AND MURDER BOTH. THE INCIDENCE OF DEATH WILL RIVAL 3RD WORLD COUNTRIES, WHILE THE WITH HEALTH CARE NOT ONLY REDUCE ABORTIONS BUT KEEP THINGS SAFE FOR PREGNANCY.

          • I am curious as to where your facts and figures come from. Did you know the reported number of abortions is over 600,000 a year lately. It is dramatically lower than previous decades when it was well over a million a year. However, did you know that the system to report an abortion is voluntary, and so.e states refuse to report the numbers, one being California! The slight decline in recent years could be related to a 7% decrease in abortion clinics since 2008. And one abortion provider, planned Parenthood, doesn’t have medical facilities, or offer prenatal care in most offices.

        • Dear Skippy:

          Infanticide is infanticide whether by abortion or US made munitions.

          Welcome to the US[Murder Inc.™]A.

          Blessings!

          • “Infanticide is infanticide whether by abortion”

            Abortion is not infanticide. Why must you people lie constantly?

      • Dear Joseph Gillis:

        Actually, those ‘so-called’ ‘tax-cuts’ to the 1% are not tax-cuts at all. This shifts the entire burden on the working class.

        The US can no longer afford the 1%. They did not earn their wealth, and that wealth stands to be appropriated by the working class.

        Blessings!

    • Joe, this was a beautiful blog post, a loving blog post and here you go, trying to pervert it so you can pursue your pathological obsessions.

      I wish just once you could find something good to say but your hatred of John P is appallingly apparent and is expressed in vile terms.

      • Gloriamarie, I think Joseph’s comment was aimed at our “Anonymous” “friend” who posted above, not at John. Or perhaps “Anonymous” is also named “Joe.” May God have mercy on all of us in these bizarre times.

        • My words were directed at “anonymous” who is really Joe Catholic, who posts under many names. We can be assured it is Joe Catholic because he immediately went to the subject that is his pathological obsession.

          My words were not addressed to Joseph Gillis.

            • Oh, Leslie, he uses so many. I see today he is writing as anonymous, Skippy, and “fighting lies from the left.”

              He does this all the time to suck people into his bog.

              • Thank you – I should have realized these were all from the same source. Why a person who believes as he does even follows this blog is beyond me. I remember when I thought I had all the answers; I wouldn’t go back for anything. I have always appreciated your comments, and I’m glad to have a chance to say so now. Peace.

                • Thank you, Leslie, for the lovely compliment. A few weeks or so ago, Joe said he comes to the blog because he enjoys upsetting people. Nice, huh? Tells us all we need to know.

      • Theodore Seeber (“Joe”– I prefer to call him out by his real name instead of an alias) is a one trick pony. I can’t tell you how many times he was banned from Red Letter Christians, only to come back under a new alias to continue his anti-abortion rants.

        When I got into a discussion regarding LGBT issues on RLC (I’m trans and bisexual), the ugliness from him was caustic.

        He’s also a member of the Knights of Columbus, named after the genocidal maniac Christopher Columbus (the guy that got lost on his way to India).

        Bless you for your lovingkindness, Gloriamarie. I see so much Jesus reflected in your posts.

        • “Bless you for your lovingkindness, Gloriamarie. I see so much Jesus reflected in your posts.”

          Traci Rowland, thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that especially as I think I lose my temper too often with Certain People on this blog.

          If he is employed, we should all report him for the amount of his employer’s time he wastes on this blog and possibly other places.

    • “but it does them no good to tell them lies such as there is such a thing as a same-sex Christian marriage”

      Here is a place where opinion bounces up against fact. It may well be true in the writer’s faith tradition that marriage is not offered to same-sex couples, and it is the writer’s opinion that that is the correct course of action.

      The fact is that many Christian denominations around the world do offer the Sacrament of Marriage to same-sex couples. Thousands upon thousands of couples have “same-sex Christian marriages”. The couples themselves involve Christian principles in their relationship and the way they live in the world. The priest or minister who married them is usually required by canon law or by denominational polity to be sure that the couple did indeed intend to follow Christian principles. Therefore, “same-sex Christian marriages” absolutely do exist. It is not a lie.

      It still remains your opinion that these marriages should not exist, and you are free to hold that opinion. You are not free to require others to live by your opinion as that would be mistreatment. You are free to refuse to enter a “same-sex Christian marriage”.

      • The other thing about same-sex marriage is that it is legal in the USA, so it exists because it is a matter of civil rights. The church and state are separate.

        I wish churches would get out of the marriage business. That is a state issue.

        The church should get into the business of blessing unions.

        The business about ” By the authority vested in me by the State of ____ , I pronounce you husband and wife” always blurs the separation of church and state, I think.

        • That’s why I never say it. You’re not required to. Nor do I ask if anyone objects. It’s the 21st century. I don’t ask who is ‘giving away’ the bride and I invite couples to seal their covenant with a kiss. It’s no longer an ownership transfer.

          As for this post, I agree entirely. And I also think that if we want people to start to feel differently, we need to stop being quite so damn quiet about all of the things the author mentioned.

          • Exactly, Abbygale. I am not silent at all. I make a great noise every single day.

            One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

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

        • Exactly. Marriage is a legal contract between consenting adult parties, the state is involved to register such contracts because they may be called upon to negotiate the dissolution of marriages. Religious people keep conflating Marriage with Holy Matrimony. If their specific church doesn’t want to acknowledge the “Holy Matrimony” ie, God blessing/sanctioning of a union under their own religious tradition, fine. They’re probably asses, but fine. They can’t deny a legal contract though.

          • Thank you for that. It is not any different than when people who have been divorced. There are churches and ministers who won’t marry them so they either go to a church who will or they are married by a JP. Not any different. For divorced people this has been going on for a long long time. My husband used to have people from many different churches come to him because they wanted to be married in the church, he performed their marriages. He always felt that not to would just add one more thing for them to overcome. Perhaps if the church stood beside them instead of on them they might have a better chance the second time around. Well, same-sex marriage works the same way, you don’t have to recognize them in your church, your minister does not have to perform them, but and this is the biggee, if another church wants to recognize them or a minister wants to perform them, you don’t get a say.

      • Thank you for explaining to the bigot that not every Christian Church thinks same-sex marriage is wrong. I wish they could get it through their brains that this is not a theocracy, they do not get to decide for everyone what to believe. I am 75, this has been going on all my life, I just wish they would put a sock in it. Go to their church, feel superior, who cares, just stay out of everyone else’s. My husband would perform a marriage between same-sex couple in a heartbeat. That doesn’t mean another minister has to. We each have the right to yea or nay.

        • Any Christian who doesn’t believe in your interpretation of Christianity (after 2,000 years of marriage being between a man and a woman) is a “bigot”?

          I suppose it’s “hate” or “bigotry” to believe in and profess Christian marriage according Scriptures and Church history and 2,000 years of teaching, but what is it to call other Christians “bigots”? Love?

          • Wrong Skippy, it is not her or anyone else’s “interpretation of Christianity” that is the deciding factor, it is the message in the Gospel of, teachings of and words of Jesus Christ.

            Jesus used hard words to rebuke self-righteous behavior in the church of his day so do not be so dismayed when His followers speak plainly of what they see.

          • The wisdom of the church can (does and should) evolve along with our maturing understanding of the human experience. The Hebrew Scriptures condoned slavery but we now understand differently and rightly drop such support from the faith. Marriage is no different.

            • Hey don’t forget all the sex slaves he could carry off. “Traditional marriage” had plenty of room for those women too!

              One man, as many wives and concubines as he could afford, and as many slaves as he could manage. Isn’t that how it goes?

              Oh, bigots-for-Jesus just mean “straights only” and looking like the 1950s fantasy they cling to as “the good ole days”? Ah, that makes more sense. Funny how it always involves controlling women and brutally suppressing LGBTQ people, whatever way they go.

          • It’s not 2000 years of church teaching. Anyone you genuinely cares to be informed can find that the early church performed same sex marriages as a sacrament.

            • Carlotta holman, I have on more than one occasion provided him with a reading list so he could become better informed but he refuses to expose himself to actual historical evidence.

          • “Any Christian who doesn’t believe in your interpretation of Christianity (after 2,000 years of marriage being between a man and a woman) is a “bigot”?”

            Yes. Because that premise, which isn’t as old as you dishonestly claim by the way, and your argument is a fallacy, is intrinsically biased.

            It is also sin. Every person who believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman, is guilty of favoritism, and as such are lawbreakers.

            James 2:9
            But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

            To allow heterosexuals to marry in accord with their innate sexual orientation, and disallow homosexuals to marry in accord with their innate sexual orientation, intrinsically favors heterosexuals over homosexuals. That makes you a lawbreaker, and that one sin is sufficient to damn you, if you do not repent (particularly in legalistic approaches to Christianity).

            God cannot, does not, favor heterosexuals over homosexuals, not matter how much you need him to, skippy. And yet, it is hate as well, to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

            If calling people like you bigots is somehow wrong, then your crimes against humanity are so much worse, you have no business commenting at all.

            • I am nigh sick unto death of the claim that the Biblical view of marriage is between a man and woman. The Bible itself contradicts that assertion. There are many forms of marriage in the Bible:

              Here’s a summary:

              Polygynous Marriage
              Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.

              Levirate Marriage
              When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).

              A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
              The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).

              A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
              The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).

              A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
              Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

              A male rapist and his victim
              Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.

              A male and female slave
              A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.
              and of course …

              Monogamous, heterosexual marriage
              What you might think of as the standard form of marriage, provided you think of arranged marriages as the standard. Also remember that inter-faith or cross-ethnic marriage were forbidden for large chunks of biblical history.

              The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.

              So there you go. The next time someone says that we need to stick with biblical marriage in this country, you can ask them which of the eight kinds they would prefer, and why.

              • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

                So when we hear, ‘Biblical marriage,’ perhaps we should ask ‘to “which” Biblical marriage do you refer …’

                Blessings!

      • No “priest” who is a Catholic in good standing would perform a same-sex marriage, especially since it’s not a “marriage.” It’s impossible for it to be one. Christians who enter into them or perform them are rebellious or very ignorant.

        Sure you can pretend it’s real just as a man who thinks he is a woman or wants to be a woman can say he is a woman, but it doesn’t change biology.

        Isn’t it interesting that almost every so-called Christian who says they are for same-sex marriage also has no problem with abortionists stopping beating hearts. That alone should be enough evidence of the misguided and/or evil place from which such thinking originates.

        • “No “priest” who is a Catholic in good standing would perform a same-sex marriage, especially since it’s not a “marriage.””

          The RCC does not define Christianity, and frequently violates Christ’s teachings.

          Your claim that same-sex marriages are not marriages is irrational, a sinful display of pride and conceit.

          James 2:9
          But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

          By allowing heterosexual marriage, and disallowing same-sex marriage, you are a lawbreaker, you sin, because you show favoritism toward heterosexuals and against homosexuals. Any condemnation of homosexuals you think, against logic, the Bible expresses, is false, because your belief causes you to sin against hundreds of millions of people.

          “It’s impossible for it to be one.”

          No, many thousands of such relationships exist. You are defining reality according to your pride, that is neither lawful, or sane.

          “Christians who enter into them or perform them are rebellious or very ignorant.”

          Well, they may indeed be rebelling against you, but they are not rebelling against God. And it is unlikely that they are ignorant about the hateful theology people like you spew. They just don’t believe it. But out of sinful pride, you and your peers presume that you must be correct, and that anyone who doesn’t agree with your sinful lifestyle of prejudice, is just ‘ignornant’.

          I’d argue the ignorance is essentially entirely yours, and that in any discussion of the subject, you would lose to many people here, utterly and completely.

          “Sure you can pretend it’s real just as a man who thinks he is a woman or wants to be a woman can say he is a woman, but it doesn’t change biology.”

          Now that is demonstrably ignorant, as you confuse homosexuality with gender dysphoria, and then fail to understand the role that biology plays in gender dysphoria. By the way, did you know that there are many species of life that have the reproductive organs of both genders?

          “Isn’t it interesting that almost every so-called Christian who says they are for same-sex marriage also has no problem with abortionists stopping beating hearts. ”

          What is interesting is that you fabricate the false and carefully pejorative accusations without a shred of evidence to back them up. It is also interesting that you use a heterosexual behavior to fabricate a condemnation of homosexuals. So much deceit and irrationality in your post, it is almost as if you were a parody of a conservative pseudo-christian, rather than the real thing.

          “That alone should be enough evidence of the misguided and/or evil place from which such thinking originates.”

          So your argument is based on an irrational fantasy coupled with circular logic. But reality – the murder and rape and torture of GLBTQ people, the evil fruit produced by ‘homosexuality is sin’ and those who teach it – tells us where your thinking originates, and it is beyond evil.

          • Seriously. No priest will perform a same sex marriage but they have no trouble abusing children, especially young boys, in the most grievous ways possible. And then are moved, hidden and supported by the RC Church. There’s a model to hold up for the rest of us. It’s a little hard to bloviate about homosexuality when you’ve got a pedophile and gay clergy problem worldwide.

            • What is the problem in ‘gay clergy’?

              It is disturbing when someone equates pedophilia and homosexuality.

              • Oh Erik, that is my hot button too! Those who claim pedophilia and homosexuality are the same thing or that one entails the other are just beyond ignorant. Maybe that comment was a misspeak? I sure hope it was!

                Not to mention that pedophilia is only one of the sins they allowed and covered for as a church body. The abuses in the orphanages and “unwed mother’s” homes they ran is quite disgusting and scarred families for generations.

                  • That may be true, Kathleen, but as their sexual desires are for children and not women, I wonder if they really are heterosexuals?

                    But pedophiles are definitely not homosexuals. What they want is control, dominance, and power over someone. That seems to be the kicker for them.

                  • There is a school of thought that a man having sex with a girl child is bad but at least it is normal, but a man having sex with a boy child is a gross violation.

                    Studies show that girl victims are double the number of boy victims, but boys are traditionally more valued in society and that gains far more alarm in the press.

                    Further, people have a tendency to label male-on-male sex as homosexual sex, even when the men are not homosexual, such as in the case of rape or the biblical example of sexual acts for the purpose of idol worship.

                    This has led to the myth that pedophiles are homosexuals.

                    All this to say that Kathleen B is correct. Various research methods have shown no correlation between pedophilia and homosexuality. The vast majority of pedophiles identify as heterosexual.

                    • Something we don’t hear too much about is RC priests having sexual affairs with parishioners, be they male or female. I wonder how often that happens? I guess we don’t hear about because maybe people think of it as consensual but as a priest has a position of authority, from my POV it would be sexual harassment and molestation.

                    • Thanks for putting that so well. I know back in the day, if you, a girl, tried to tell someone what was going on they would tell you to be quiet and somehow it was your fault. Most of us never told anyone until we became old ladies. For what it’s worth, every young woman I knew who was molested was molested by a married man, including myself. Peace,

                    • Kathleen B, good observations. As a pre-teen, I was held down and molested on the living room floor in the middle of an adult party by the husband of a family member’s friend. I managed to free myself, showed my anger, and left the room. My family member came to tell me I had to apologise to her friend for rejecting the friend’s husband as it had embarrassed her for her husband to be seen an undesirable.

                    • Patricia, I am not a violent person but this story makes me want to hurt someone for doing that to you. Wow, talk about adding to the violation.

                    • So do I. But I also know that which Patricia speaks. It is a messed up world when we have to apologize for not letting some heterosexual do what he damn well pleases. Peace,

        • Okay Skippy. You wanna throw down on trans people?!?’

          Bring it.

          You’ll be carrying your wounded pride in a doggie bag when I’m done with you.

          Your ignorance is no match for scientific fact.

        • Skippy, isn’t this kind of speech exactly what the author of the post was referring to? I don’t think it’s ever helpful to use the Bible to beat others up. It never works, believe me. I’m as exhausted as the woman in the story with all this vitriol from people who claim to follow Jesus. I’ve worked in churches for 25 years and have been a faithful believer for much longer. What you are doing here has become so tedious to others of us who just want to welcome others into the fellowship of Christ.

          • valoreem, the person who at this time is posing as “Skippy” posts under a variety of pseudonyms, but the message of vitriol is always the same. He has terrible theology because his leads to hate.

            “If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, of self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. ”

            ― Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

        • It IS a marriage, legally. What your church may not think it is is Holy Matrimony. That’s your right as a matter of religion. But PLEASE, for the love of all that is holy, learn the difference between Marriage and Holy Matrimony!

        • Dear Skippy:

          Isn’t it interesting that almost every so-called Christian who says that they are against abortion also have no problem with US-made bombs stopping beating hearts. Should that alone should be enough evidence of the misguided and/or evil place from which such thinking originates?

          Blessings!

          • It should, gdd, but as these so-called Christians only believe a part of Jesus teachings and endlessly rant about things Jesus never mentions in the Gospels, they see no contradiction between leaving refugees stranded in war zones, bombs going off every which way, a marathon of death in Arkansas, the hungry getting hungry to the point of famine, the sick so ill they die, etc.

        • “It’s impossible for it to be one. Christians who enter into them or perform them are rebellious or very ignorant.”

          Nice break with reality, skippy. But nothing Jesus said prohibits Christians from entering into a same-sex marriage, or performing them.

          ” but it doesn’t change biology.”
          Biology does not determine marriage.

          “stopping beating hearts. ”

          Folks who believe as you do have been stopping the beating hearts of GLBTQ people for seventeen centuries. You and your peers do not value life. You value whatever control you can wrest over other human lives.

          • ” but it doesn’t change biology.”
            Some people will never get the difference between sex and gender. Either too damn bullheaded or just too dumb to understand it.

    • And you can claim from the safety of anonymity that Christians who support Trump have did not have to “water down the faith or embrace injustice”? Are you sane?

      Yes, “abortion is a horrible injustice” but what, besides trying to force a woman to carry a pregnancy has you or your ilk done to change that?

      Yes, it was absolutely to “sell one’s soul” for hollow promises to force, harm, endanger and treat cruelly people who do not deserve it. LGBTQ people ARE mistreated, and that includes not only your judgement based on dogma but your efforts to legislate and use the force of law against their rights and equal protection.

      Trump and Republicans are not being “scapegoated”. Their danger, ignorance and harm is very real. They are not faith. Nothing they have done has shone anything but hate, exclusion, and division.
      That’s hate, and as you say, “hate doesn’t inspire anything worthwhile, least of all faith”. And hate is all it will ever inspire.

      • “If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, of self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. ”

        ― Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

      • Nobody has to compromise their faith in making a choice between two very personally flawed candidates. Trump voters didn’t vote for his sins. They voted for his policies.

        • In my opinion, a Christian (who follows Christ, not just the church) did have to compromise their faith in voting for Trump and most assuredly has to compromise their faith in publicly supporting and defending him and his harmful policies.

          Discernment and free will were given to us so that we could make the best decision with the information given. Trump proved over and over that he, nor his policies, follow the teachings of Christ. Trump was and remains, much more than “flawed”.

          Christians who support Trump policies stand in direct conflict with the teachings of Christ on almost every issue.

        • His policies are sins, as your your false characterization of Hillary. To equate her as comparable to trump – a confessed serial sex offender, is the sin of slander on your part. Paul was clear, slanderers do not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

          Please repent.

        • Unfortunately, they are one in the same. Trump voters ignored his obvious flaws, and by doing so endorsed his policies-to pretend otherwise is naïve. If you know anything about the man, his companies, and his business acumen, it is no secret he is thin skinned, gullible, and easily provoked. A manchild, with no moral compass, is now running our country, and his policies will now be all of our sins, simply by association and not standing up to his insanity. I for one, will not be silent, especially in the face of those that want to defend or minimize these effects on our county-by feigning ignorance or indifference to the facts. Shielding yourself by thinking you can separate your vote from your religious beliefs is showing your emotional disconnection from reality-you knew exactly what you were voting for-and now you got exactly what you deserve. Stop denying and claiming you are on a higher social ground-you are not. You were conned just like the other 48% of so-called Americans-just to ashamed to admit it.

        • Yes, they possibly voted one policies.
          Without compromising faith give me bible verses that justify:
          1) “Grab them by the p***y”
          2) denying sanctuary to refugees
          3). Decimating the EPA, and thereby our planet
          4) Cutting food assistance to people that are either working already or are full time caregivers to those who are unable to

          • Carlotta holman, as Trump has completely failed to articulate in a manner that communicates, one can only wonder what “policies” anyone found to vote for.

            However, the GOP party platform is anathema to the Gospel. Those policies are based on evil so people who voted for the GOP voted for evil and are apostate.

        • What policies?????????? Good God Man are you trying to be funny or what? He has no policy other than to make himself rich. Research his past and just watch how he treats his own family! This is the most amoral president in history. Nixon didn’t walk on water but Jesus Christ Dump should have been struck by lightning when he said he was a Christian and waved the bible around. Man you and your kind are a hoot. Thanks for the laugh I really needed it.

      • What is the horrible injustice in abortion? Considering that millions of females, of all species of mammal, spontaneously abort fetuses all the time, what exactly are you accusing half of all mammalian life, including human women, of doing?

        • Erik Zellers , may I ask please, to whom are you addressing this? You wrote “What is the horrible injustice in abortion? Considering that millions of females, of all species of mammal, spontaneously abort fetuses all the time, what exactly are you accusing half of all mammalian life, including human women, of doing?”

          I ask because it came up in my email as a reply to Sandi Saunders and these words would not apply to her.

          • It is addressed to Sandi Saunders, and I quoted her.

            “Yes, “abortion is a horrible injustice” ” April 30, 2017 at 3:20 pm

            I would like to know why she considers abortion a horrible injustice. It troubles me when someone affirms this false premise, it is reasonable to ask why.

            • Erik, she doesn’t consider abortion a horrible injustice but citing someone here who has a pathological obsession with the subject.

        • Erik, even supporting the right to choose, I am fully aware that a miscarriage is not the same thing as an abortion. That losing a pregnancy is not the same as choosing to terminate one. As you can see from the quotation marks, those are not my words, but I do acknowledge people can see “abortion is a horrible injustice.”

        • The anti-choice people think that abortion is a sin and they have the right to judge others for sin. They forget that God reserves that job specifically for himself…

    • Trump and religious right leaders can literally lie to your face and people use their faith to excuse both. People use abortion, that was never spoken about in the bible as a weapon against anyone that dares to find the angry biblical god unworthy of worship.

      People use ancient biblical bigotry to demonize the OTHER, and pass it down generation to generation and even convert those they have demonized, who then become judges and harassers of their own kind. After all even those that have been historically demonized don’t want to be the target of the self righteous Christian, self hatred is preferable.

      Look up how the pro-life movement began in the 60’s and you will find out why evangelicals would vote for an immoral, self centered, insecure narcissist like Trump, who is easily swayed by the slightest praise, into authoring things that he has no kn owledge about. He has a safe space in those that don’t bother to dig too deep.

      Trump knows his supporters won’t reach below the surface, he knows that many of his supports own agendas will prevent them from acknowledging that he is a fraud.

      He knows that even as he does things that will harm his own supporters, they will accept the excuses he gives for having gone back on his word, they will blindly accept their own interests being taken from them.

      Trump was able to win favor among evangelicals who’s soul purpose is to dominate. The christian right didn’t have to have a true believer to get what they wanted, because they already dominate Washington, they just needed someone ignorant enough to help them twist the government to suite their own need for dominance.

      We have ignored the christian right as they have methodically filled seats of power over the past 40 years while we naively thought their extremism would keep them from taking over our government.

      They brought him into power and they know his weaknesses and insatiable need for praise and they are all too willing to feed his superficial needs to gain full control of our government in the name of their GOD, which ultimately is themselves.

      Even trump knows he is not in charge, he needs the adoration of a rally to feel important.

      Think a radical Islam is scary, wait until we are ruled by the Christian Right.

      T

      • “We have ignored the christian right as they have methodically filled seats of power over the past 40 years while we naively thought their extremism would keep them from taking over our government.”

        Certainly, heterosexual mainstream moderate and progressive Christians have largely ignore the Christian right, but worse, they have frequently been participants in the Christian right’s war on GLBTQ people, the poor, people of color, and women.

        Now our whole society is at risk because for decades, while the right wing practiced their political strategies on GLBTQ people, far too many straight moderates and progressives either looked the other way or actually voted for anti-gay policies.

        Y’all should’ve paid a lot more attention when the moral majority was just bashing gays and women who have abortions.

    • Making abortion illegal won’t stop abortions. Making abortion illegal will just remove our ability to regulate the procedure. Prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking alcohol, it just created a black market. Prostitution is illegal in nearly all the states, but people still buy and sell sex. You can’t simply “outlaw” what you consider to be “sin.”

    • Dear too much of a coward to post their real name.

      Don’t justify Pro-Life hate. It doesn’t work. And there IS such a thing as a “same-sex” Christian marriage. You have zero right to make that determination. Zero. Mind the log in your own eye.

      You are the reason John faces so many people in fear and torment. You are a part of the problem.

    • “LGBT people should NOT be mistreated, but it does them no good to tell them lies such as there is such a thing as a same-sex Christian marriage.”

      Your deception is sin. Of course there is such a thing as ‘same-sex Christian marriage’ – tens of thousands of them exist. To deny same-sex couples is to mistreat them, and it is simply another depraved expression of ‘homosexuality is sin’ – the evil belief that produces murder, rape and torture.

      While you are here demonizing GLBTQ people – your peers in Chechnya are rounding up gay men and putting them into concentration camps, where they are tortured and killed.

      There is no lie you can tell, anonymous, to hide the brutality that anti-gay theology produces, and that brutality proves – to those who actually follow Christ – that anti-gay theology is entirely evil, an evil tree that produces only evil fruit.

      • “There is no lie you can tell, anonymous, to hide the brutality that anti-gay theology produces, and that brutality proves – to those who actually follow Christ – that anti-gay theology is entirely evil, an evil tree that produces only evil fruit.”

        I refer my anti gay Christian friends to Matthew 7:16-20. I tell them that anti gay theology has caused many wonderful young people with all the potential in the world to off themselves. I tell them their beliefs, words and actions have cost many innocent lives. I tell them their leaders and teachers have blood on their hands. They go bat shit ballistic crazy on me (the worst are those who are in the closet. My gaydar has never failed me). Things cool down between us. I hit them with it again. They are starting to soften and listen to me. They are starting to look at their gay friends and family members in a new light. They are starting to see the hatred they’ve been taught is in direct opposition to Jesus’ preaching.

        Don’t stop telling the truth Erik, the bible says it will eventually get through to some. Not all, but some will be enough.

    • Life is precious to the conservatives until the baby is born. Then, he or she should’ve had the good sense to be bitten to wealthy parents or immediately start working to pay for their care.

      The hippocracy is astounding.

      I get that babies are precious, wonderful, and a blessing from God. But why do we abandon making life better for those that are alive?

      Regarding gay marriage, who you love (consenting adults) is none of my business. And it is God who will judge all for their sins, which are equally abhorrent in his sight.

      Therefore, why should I force my heterosexual perspective on those that are not?

      I have several friends who are homosexual, bisexual, and even polyamorous. Who we love is not a choice. Do I agree with everything my friends do? Heck no, but is it not my place to force my opinion or world view on others.

      Let God do the judging.

    • And your narrow-minded version of Christianity is what drives people from it (or so I have been told, on many, MANY occasions). I have some shocking news for you: You are NOT MORE qualified to determine “The One True Christianity” than all these other people who disagree with you

    • Theo, go away. Go see a psychiatrist because your single-minded obsession with what women do with their own bodies is pathological.

      PATHOLOGICAL. You are very ill. Get help. Please.

    • Anything that one might say which has some value and conviction for the person speaking surely can withstand having the speaker’s/author’s name attached to it, if it’s worth saying at all… that’s just my opinion Ms./Mr. Anonymous. ~ David Billingham

      • Thank you, David Billingham. Many of us have voiced the same thing. Without a name, I find it hard to take the poster seriously. Additionally, most who post as “anonymous” are trolls. I simply don’t understand why they can’t claim some sort of moniker.

    • Just the fact that you remain ANONYMOUS says a whole lot about how you react to statements from others, or so called life-styles or areas of people’s life that are different and difficult.
      Maybe you should do your OWN RESEARCH, instead of listening to those who just spew of most misinterpreted Bible verses just to try and get their points across.
      It is good that you read John’s Blog, because this way at least you are getting some education. Some of us actually read the Bible and do research, read Commentary., look at the origins of the words being used., who wrote them., when were they written and in what era and form. So you see there is a very lot to learn., there was never marriage as we know it now in the Bible. There were Covenants between “persons” in Biblical times, and just like now, there were those who did not approve of some of what was going on and wrote about it and put the “blame and in some cases the words” in the mouth of the Lord and then decided that it was “holy Spirit inspired” So you see, there is so much more for you to learn before you go spouting off about things you really do not know about., Abortion Yes, terrible, I do not believe for a moment that anyone likes it or approves wholeheartedly., but again there are circumstances that need to be discussed between a woman, her husband, family, physician, Pastor/Priest/Rabbi/Imam/ or whoever is their Spiritual Leader and of course loads of prayer. I pray for you and that Holy Spirit will guide you to the resource materials that will enlighten and educate you. I must always and so should you., know that all Humanity are the products of God’s work for this Earth, and humans are all his Children to be loved not ridiculed or hurt in any fashion., and especially by persons who profess to be Followers of Jesus Christ..so blessings to you and I pray that all will be well with your soul as you travel this new journey..

      • Well said, Bob Peacock.

        Actually the Bible recognizes eight types of marriage:

        Polygynous Marriage
        Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.

        Levirate Marriage
        When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).

        A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
        The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).

        A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
        The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).

        A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
        Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

        A male rapist and his victim
        Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.

        A male and female slave
        A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.
        and of course …

        Monogamous, heterosexual marriage
        What you might think of as the standard form of marriage, provided you think of arranged marriages as the standard. Also remember that inter-faith or cross-ethnic marriage were forbidden for large chunks of biblical history.

    • Dear Anonymous:

      Discretionary for-profit wars that kill missions and make millions more refugees water-down faith and embrace injustice.

      Jesus died and rose again to put an end to all sacrifices forever.

      Why does US de facto religion perpetuate an anti-christ system of human sacrifices?

      Blessings!

    • YOU don’t get to decide any of that stuff. ppl like you are exactly why, not only i’m not christian anymore, i’ve gone full-atheist and i’m only sorry it took so long. GOOD JOB, KEEP IT UP.

    • **ugh** And another example of why I turn away from the self-righteous. Tend to the mote in your own eye and leave mine alone. Thank you.

    • ” LGBT people should NOT be mistreated, but it does them no good to tell them lies such as there is such a thing as a same-sex Christian marriage.”

      Since same-sex Christian marriages do exist, it isn’t a lie.

      And even your mild expression of condemnation directed at GLBTQ people, attacking the nature of our marriages, is an example of mistreating us.

      Anti-gay theology, including your lie about marriage is the primary, nearly exclusive source of anti-gay violence.

      “Abortion is a horrible injustice that kills millions, ”
      No, it is not.

      But anti-gay theology, which you embrace and promote, produces horrific and real injustice against hundreds of millions of people, including murder and rape, torture and systemic discrimination.

      So here you are, anonymously defending fetus’ with exaggerations while openly inciting violence against hundreds of millions of living human beings.

      Truly, conservatives only give a damn about people before they are born.

  2. Brother John:

    Your words, as always, touch me deeply and strike a chord in my soul.

    I think I must put on a good face because people often ask me (and usually they know I am Gay) “How do you do it?” Which isn’t the easiest question to answer, especially if I am not “doing it” as well as they think I am, and sometimes I find myself fumbling for an answer.

    Usually, when I’ve fumbled long enough, the same thing comes to me (the words are sometimes different but the sentiment never changes): If God is Love, that means He loves me. No one ever promised me that life would be easy, But God always promises to love His creation. ALL of it.

    It isn’t much, I know, but it is all I have.

    And people like you. Who walk with me on this road and make the journey easier.

  3. John P, your words are beautiful and honest. Sometimes I think that people rest their faith too much upon other people and not enough upon God.

    So many of us here have been so badly treated by other Christians and our faith falters. I know it’s happened to me. So many times. Then I discovered the mystic path, I discovered that faith is something I have to cherish, feed, nurture to allow it to grow.

  4. If I’m looking for God, I find Him all around me. When I’m scared I can choose to ignore Him; I often do. But I know He’s there , in the world, in me, in others.

    How I would hold onto that in a big crisis, I have no idea. I doubt the resurrection and that Jesus was the only begotten etc., but that doesn’t change any of the rest of it.

  5. Thanks John.

    I agree.
    And as challenging, saddening, and confronting as this all is,
    I believe it is (in the big picture) good news.

    The body of Christ is called forward.

    – Just intellectually believing some things about God,
    – Just socially gathering with others who believe as we do,
    – Just praying for change, but basically wanting to stay the same
    … to not grow spiritually, to not die and be reborn spiritually every day, to not walk with Jesus – who is here, now spiritually – in our real lives, step-by-step …

    These things just don’t cut-it anymore – for more and more Christians.

    Bless all the cultural Christians encouraging horrible things,
    for helping so many see:
    just doing religion – even religion in the name of Christ – just doesn’t cut it any more.

    We are called to grow up in God.

    And just like adolescence, just like early adulthood (just like most stages of life, and the transitions between them ; )
    this stage is tumultuous, confronting, painful, fear inducing, full of doubt, insecurity, un-sureity…

    The good news is
    – nothing is wrong,
    – we are still children of God, always have been, always will be
    – we are still dancing our lives with and within Spirit – there is nowhere else to go, there IS nowhere else.
    It’s just really hard, for most of us, to spiritually grow up.

    The good news is – there is Abundant Life beyond the old structures, formulas, beliefs, identifications…
    It’s just really hard, for most of us, to spiritually grow up.

    It helps, I believe, to have mature folks – folks a bit ahead on this spiritual path – around to say:
    – It’s ok, you’re ok, just keep going.
    – There is a method to the madness – you don’t see it yet, that’s ok.
    – Do what you have to, to stay in the game, and
    – Keep choosing Light, Love, Truth, Life, the Way that is uniquely yours – whatever of these words/realities that make any sense, choose that.

    God is still here,
    but God isn’t what you thought God was.
    Your Path is still here,
    it just isn’t the Path you thought it was.

    It’s ok, God is bigger, your Path is better, than you ever thought
    – you can live-into that.
    Yes, for now it sucks, just keep going.

    We cannot see the Glory that is before us, that is within us…
    until we do.
    And until the sun rises again, and the Light shines – we just have to press-on through the darkness.

    So much BS can fall-away, old belief-systems and structures and identity…
    but you have experienced God in amoung all the claptrap,
    you have experienced the presence of God and the reality of God’s unending love for you

    -> hold on to that without trying to understand it
    -> hold on to the hem of God’s robe, to the experience of God’s trailing Glory.
    -> Just hold on, and follow, bumble-around, trust even though you may not know the way or the goal.

    Yes, for now it sucks, just keep going.

    You may have heard:
    God burns up everything that is not God.
    This can be excruciating (yes, we must pick up our cross if we want to follow Jesus)
    But this is the ride you signed up for – deepening into God, maturing in God, bringing the Light into the world…
    It might seem like you are getting the opposite, going in the opposite direction – but you are not, so
    ask God to help you relax and not fight it – it will go easier on you.

    Walk out into the seeming void, you will not fall forever, you will find the rock beneath…
    that Rock is your more direct expereince of the presence and love, the inviting/leading and sweet nurturing of the Living God.

    No matter what you are experiencing, keep going –
    don’t let go until you are blessed.

    .
    Thanks for having this conversation, John.
    For being who you are, and doing all you do.
    Thank you for keeping going in your ministry, in the face of so much push-back,
    Thank you for being really truthful.
    It helps!

    Blessings all.
    Wendy

    PS – My favorite Christian Teacher, the late Dr Bruce Morgan (who – by his life and honest sharing – gave me encouragement to live-through so much darkness… into so much Light)
    shared this many times, and I share: this quote from Jung – in the hopes it may encourage:

    “Dear Frau Frobe,
    …There can be no resolution, only patient endurance of the opposites which ultimately spring from your own nature. You yourself are a conflict that rages in itself and against itself, in order to melt its incompatible substances, male and female, in the fire of suffering, and thus create that fixed and unalterable form which is the goal of life. Everyone goes through this mill, consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or forcibly. We are crucified between the opposites and delivered up to the torture until the ‘reconciling third’ takes shape. Do not doubt the rightness of the two sides within you, and let whatever may happen, happen. The apparently unendurable conflict is proof of the rightness of your life. A life without inner contradiction is either only half a life or else a life in the Beyond, which is destined only for the angels. But God loves human beings more than the angels.
    With kindest regards,
    C.G. Jung”

  6. One can’t help but notice the many voices of those who are disillusioned by their experiences in various churches in the USA. Hard not to be, really, if one is a critical thinker. Herd not to be when one is a caring, compassionate, tender person.

Refuge is offered in the Facebook group ”Celebrate What Christians Have in Common” where a daily buffet is spread of Asceticism and art, cartoons and quotes, comics and contemplation, memes and meditations, music and musings, photographs and prayers, just about anything that is one of the many voices from the many flavors of Christianity.

    There is one discipline required of all who join: one must not utter a negative word because this space is a refuge, a respite, a place of peace and quiet. If one chooses to engage in discussion one may only write about one can affirm in the selection. No arguments, no vitriolic words, no spammers and trolls will be tolerated,

Please come and celebrate what Christians have in common and let us together remember our faith is based upon God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and not the actions and choices of frail, sinful human beings.

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


  7. I’ve been in the same place for years, but the recent election cycle has made it even worse. Yet I keep going to church, even while wondering if I chose the right denomination, because so much of my life is tied up in it now….And I keep hoping that Jesus is real, because without him I see nothing but an abyss.

  8. Dear John, what you write is the strongest evidence yet that the “church” is called to rebirth just as you indicated.
    The world has suffered under 2,000 years of really bad teaching called christianity. A good and worthy life exposed the flaws in the “teaching” of the old law and revealed the birth of something so radically different so exquisitely beautiful that almost no one caught on to the message. But those who saw ‘opportunity’ jumped all over it and created new laws, rules, dogma and more lies than one can shake a stick at and called it “christianity” called it salvation, called it the way, the truth, the light when all the while it was designed to extract maximum adherence to the ‘new law’. This new law was intent on control, power and money without which that ‘new law’ would be exposed as the fraud it is and today we see the result of 2,000 years of “the lie for money and control” being tossed out.
    We now have an opportunity to rebuild, to love, to become inclusive, to bring integrity into full time operation, to care for those who do not know how to live life as it is meant to be lived. We have seen every facet of humans willing to exploit other humans. We have seen that money is the real ‘god’.
    We have experienced clergy more than willing to look away at the atrocities of the ‘church’ and ignore the bastardization of faith and belief for the glory of power, control and money.
    Worst of all is instilling fear into the hearts and minds of millions, maybe billions of people who now believe all the lies of punishment and/or reward.
    When the ‘church’ gets rid of punishment and/or reward and instead focuses on the real truth that no one but no one is better than or more “saved” than any other person regardless of religion, or any condition that is part of the human condition, then and only then will this mess of duplicity so present in the ‘church’ be eliminated. Only then will we see leaders of all institutions and government and families work with love and integrity toward the best possible life for ALL people.

  9. I absolutely do NOT believe in religious people anymore. What they’ve been doing to others in God’s Name is unconscionable — whether it be by commission, omission, or the righteous indignation/”sign this petition” type of behavior on social media that’s all for show and admiration among their peers but lacks substance and commitment.

    But how can I not believe in God, as I gaze daily at the wonder around me? The mountains, lake, the forests, the beautiful little city and friendly, caring people where I live? To live in God’s presence, I have as little to do with organized religion as possible. They have “organized” God out, it seems.

      • Glad to share a page with you!

        I just have to figure out how to change my handle. I live in the Pacific NW now. God’s Presence is in these mountains and waters. And kind people. 🙂

        • Lifelong New Yorker here; I grew up in the City and move upstate twelve years ago. It’s way out in the country where I live now; God’s presence is all around us and we love it.

          • I agree, Scott. I think it gets to the heart of this, and I had discussions with clergy along this vein when I walked away from church. They were dubious about how I could be a believer without their structures but they couldn’t step back and see that everything in their world was built and managed by people. Buildings, schedules, worship structure. My world is filled with the wonders of what God has given us. A simple trip to the store with those majestic mountains in view leaves me in awe, and thinking, “Oh, how great Thou art!”

            And it impels me to want to take care of what we’ve been so graciously given, in response. The earth and people.

              • I am right there with you. Live in the middle of a 10 acre woods and if I didn’t have to take the buckboard out to get supplies, wouldn’t leave. Of course I live in one of the reddest counties in a red state soooooooooooooo. Anyway, my minister husband and I walked away a number of years ago, there are more politics in the church than in politics. Didn’t leave my belief structure behind just the hypocrites. Peace,

                • Exactly Kathleen, those who assume or claim we do not have faith or do not follow Jesus if we are not in church may not understand why our faith led us to do that, but they are wrong to think it was not our faith and trust in Jesus that led us to that decision. Jesus taught much that was in opposition with the religious rulers of His day. Jesus was teaching us that he can only save a sinner who knows that he is a sinner. He was much more often rebuking religious leaders than extolling them or agreeing with them. Over and over Jesus and the church have different motives IMHO.

                  Being a church where there is an influence usurping the message of Jesus or ranking sins and only rebuking one or two, or being publicly political even against Scripture, is not a place a true follower of Christ is going to feel right in staying.

                  Jesus proved over and over that all are welcome at the Lord’s Table. Churches do not always do that.

                  • I can attest to that. Perhaps the church will wake up and realize that this bastardized version is wrong. Until then I will continue my walk, loving all, caring for all and praying for all, regardless of where they are and regardless of their religious preference.

  10. ” LGBT people should NOT be mistreated, but it does them no good to tell them lies such as there is such a thing as a same-sex Christian marriage. ”

    Spoken like the homophobic bigot you are, Joe Catholic. You can’t hide your identity behind “Anonymous;” your blog posts scream your vileness and hate.

    • The Pope says the same thing.

      So does every practicing Catholic.

      It’s a civil union and not a sacramental marriage.

      Not hate. Just the Truth.

      • Says the same church willing to annul a totally sacramental marriage, even if there are children involved, once it becomes an encumbrance to adultery being sanctified…

        No one is demanding any church accept same sex marriage as sacramental marriage, but they absolutely have to accept that it is legal marriage.

        • The annulment process does not change anything. It declares that there was something lacking at the time of the marriage for it to have been a sacramental marriage. It has nothing to do with adultery.

          Yes the state has sadly redefined marriage and some churches have allowed that to corrupt their own beliefs about marriage. That’s a sad outcome of the Reformation, and churches doing whatever they please to do without having any guiding authority. There will some day be trio weddings in these churches to accommodate bi-sexuals.

          There is nothing complementary about two men or two women in a marriage. There is no way for them to join their reproductive organs in a way that makes any sense or that is “ordered.” For the “bible only” believers there is no support for same-sex marriage. Jesus never said it was good. God didn’t create Adam and Steve. It’s not and can never be a sacrament. It’s a right in out country to have such a civil union and call it a “marriage” but it’s not a marriage with a capital M, and I think real practicing Christians ought to consider finding a new word or qualifier to separate their true marriages from those that are are false.

          • “Yes the state has sadly redefined marriage”
            No, that is patently false. The reality, and I hear you are a troll, so reality won’t matter to you, the reality is that evil people attempted to redefine marriage to exclude same-sex couples.

            ” and some churches have allowed that to corrupt their own beliefs about marriage. That’s a sad outcome of the Reformation,”

            Not at all, in fact, one of Luther’s grievous sins is that he preached anti-gay theology, as well as antisemitism. Of course, he got them both from the Roman Catholic Church, which largely created both evils.
            ” There will some day be trio weddings in these churches to accommodate bi-sexuals.”
            So we know what your sexual fantasies are.

            “There is nothing complementary about two men or two women in a marriage. ”

            Your statement contradicts reality. It is essentially black magic, witchcraft, in which you attempt to fuse your will, with words you think are meaningful, in order to harm others. My partner has one set of strengths and weaknesses, I have another, we complement each other. Things he is not good at, I am, and vice versa.

            Complementariness is not limited to, much less defined by the ability to reproduce sexually. Your theology reduces the complexity and nuance of human relationships to the level of tape worms and other parasites.

            “There is no way for them to join their reproductive organs in a way that makes any sense or that is “ordered.” ”

            Well, we know now, at least, that you have not been spying on the bedrooms of GLBTQ people, and unlike so many homophobes, don’t watch lesbian porn. Your claim is based on your pride, not reality.

            “For the “bible only” believers”
            Which Catholics are not.

            “there is no support for same-sex marriage. ”
            Actually, you are wrong.

            “Jesus never said it was good. ”
            This is the most pathetic, infantile and irrational claim that homophobes use. Your argument is ‘absence of affirmation=condemnation’.

            It is insane. But it is also damning for you, skippy.

            See, no where does Jesus ever say that the name “skippy” is good. Nor does Jesus affirm computers, the internet, the RCC, the Vatican, the adoration of Mary and the saints, the concept of purgatory, cars, trains, planes, and millions of other things that are part of your life.

            For you, skippy, these things are all sin. You made them sin. You are accountable to the standard you used to judge GLBTQ people, and you used ‘absence of affirmation=condemnation’ – so you’ve made absolutely everything that Jesus did not explicitly affirm damning sin for you. That includes posting on the internet.

            Now, if you are like most of your peers, you’ll ignore this huge and damning flaw in your reasoning, because you both incapable of understanding the flaw, and frankly, don’t give a damn if your argument is flawed.

            All you actually care about, skippy, is getting to hurt GLBTQ people so you can feel good. Your posts make that explicitly clear.

            “God didn’t create Adam and Steve.”

            So who did? Your argument is trite and infantile.

            “It’s not and can never be a sacrament.”

            Denying reality is never going to do you any good.

            • Good luck to you, Erik. So many of us have fallen down Skippy/Joe’s rabbit hole. His real name is Theodore M. Seeber. You are right he is a troll.

              • Thanks GloriaMarie

                There is no reasoning with folks like skippy, I reply for the benefit of anyone else reading, anyone not entirely enslaved by their ego.

                I was reading about Pastor Kenneth Adkins
                https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/05/antigay-pastor-gets-life-sentence-child-molestation/

                “An antigay pastor who said the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando “got what they deserved” has been sentenced to life in prison on child molestation charges.”

                And it gives me the hope that folks like Theodore M. Seeber will also eventually get caught doing some terrible wrong, and be punished appropriately. It is clear that anyone who spends so much energy reviling homosexuals is hiding some deep crime or shame in their life.

                • Ummm…. it’s not GloriaMarie, it’s Gloriamarie with only the one capital letter.

                  Something that seems to be true, when someone makes such a loud fuss over something, the more certain it is that that person is hiding something. As this is the information age, it is discovered.

                  • The most illustrious expounders of the law have often been its most notorious violaters. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882

                • I think you are right. It sure seems to be the case with a lot of these mega church preachers. The more they preach against something seems that something is in their closet. I like the way you thing Erik Zellers. Peace,

            • Jesus didn’t say anything bad about abortion, so it’s ok. That’s the reasoning the pro-aborts around here use, anyway.

            • Theo doesn’t understand bisexualism. In my case, had one of my male friends contacted me earlier than my female friend for dating, I would likely be married to him instead of her. Both are awesome people that I have known for most of my life. I chose one and we established boundaries, but the boundaries would be judged “immoral” for the likes of Theo.

              In fact, many bisexuals marry someone from the opposite sex because of the bull-shoot storm same sex couples get, making it easier socially, and because there are more opposite sex potential partners than same sex ones.

              He also doesn’t understand that we were born this way. Being LGBT is either genetically or epigenetically coded into the DNA, occurring spontaneously or inherited. In my family it seems to be an inherited trait.

          • Jesus also never said that communicating through electronic impulses was good, and yet here you are. You might want to reconsider communicating using electronic media.

      • The Pope and practicing Catholics do not get to determine the laws of the land. The truth is that the law calls the legal bonding of a same sex couple a marriage. So yes, you wanting to call someone else’s marriage a civil union (which it isn’t) is a lie and it is a hateful one.

      • “The Pope says the same thing.”
        Which is why I do not recognize the “authority” of your precious Pope.
        “So does every practicing Catholic.”
        Which is why I am a Methodist.
        “It’s a civil union and not a sacramental marriage.”
        THAT is a matter of opinion.
        “Not hate. Just the Truth.”
        Sweetheart. You would not know the truth if someone jammed it up your arse.

      • The RCC essentially created homophobia, and antisemitism.

        Fortunately, millions of practicing Catholics reject anti-gay theology, and antisemitism, and other criminal and perverse teachings of the RCC.

        • Erik, I have to correct you on something. Antisemitism predates the existence of the RCC by some nine centuries. The first instance of it is in the Didache and the Dialog with Trypho, a Jew by Justin Martyr. Both were written circa 150 CE.

          In the Didache, Christians are told to fast on Wed and Fridays and not Tues and Thurs because the Jews fast on those days.

          Melito of Sardis also wrote around the same time and his Peri Pascha, On the Passover is highly antisemitic. Interestingly enough when I was in seminary and read this for a class on the Patristics, I recognized portions of Peri Pascha as the Good Friday liturgy of the RCC service when I was a child before Vatican 2.

          Since the Roman Catholic Church did not exist unto 1054 CE, the RC only continued the tradition of antisemitism that has so perniciously affected Christianity ever since the patristic period.

          • “Antisemitism predates the existence of the RCC by some nine centuries.”

            “Since the Roman Catholic Church did not exist unto 1054 CE, ”

            Since the RCC claims that it is directly descended from Peter, your argument, if technically accurate, would be meaningless to any “real” Catholic who believes that the RCC’s authority reaches back to Peter, the Rock.

            • And yet, my master’s degree in Church History has the weight of actual evidence and facts behind it, which the RCC cannot claim.

              Before 1054 CE, it was called the Church or the Catholic Church, with Catholic meaning universal. It was never called the Roman Catholic Church until 1054. Neither was the Orthodox Church called that until 1054. Simple basic history.

        • There is no “perverse” teaching in Catholicism. Just the Truth. The Truth hurts sometimes and those who speak it will be persecuted. Those who go against it will be praised and honored by a world that hates the Catholic Church and who will call its adherents bigots or worse.

          Practicing Catholics do not reject what the Catholic Church says about sexuality. The Catholic Church is very respectful and compassionate towards those with sexual disorders, but does not and cannot condone or encourage disordered behavior because that is harmful an is not love at all.

          • No they only covered up for years little children being molested. Gee, they only children they don’t count not like those grown up marriages your so worried about. Shame on you,

            • The sins of a few in the Church do not cancel out Doctrine given by Christ and does not excuse your support of killing innocent babies in the womb.

          • “There is no “perverse” teaching in Catholicism. ”

            Nonsense. Homophobia and antisemitism are both perverse.
            “The Catholic Church is very respectful and compassionate towards those with sexual disorders, ”

            Just characterizing homosexuality as a sexual disorders is intrinsically disrespectful, devoid of compassion, and evil. Your lies accomplish nothing.

            “but does not and cannot condone or encourage disordered behavior ”

            The only disordered behavior here, is on the part of every false teacher, every worker of iniquity, who teaches ‘homosexuality is sin’.

            The RCC’s history of torturing and murdering homosexuals, Jews and Christians who did not embrace catholic dogma, is not a secret, and it condemns the RCC and those who defend its history of demonic and destructive behaviors.

            • Erik Zellers, from my POV the people who exhibit disordered behavior are the people who shun other people and create false standards as reason to shun them.

              Homophobes are disordered because of their homophobia. They need help coming out of the closet.

              Another form of a disorder are those people who are pathologically obsessed with what adults do with their bodies.

              Another form of a disorder are those people who are pathologically obsessed with what women choose to do with our bodies.

  11. Just Another Sinner, I am having trouble making any sense of your post.

    “Firstly I see this as a bandwagon logical fallacy, attempting to say if so many proclaimed Christians aren’t really Christians then how can I believe in Christianity.” If you think John P believes this, you are very much mistaken and didn’t read what he wrote carefully.

    Since you misunderstood what he wrote, nothing you wrote makes any sense to me.

    • Just Another… I wanted to ignore you as just another blogger promoting their own thoughts, but you are just plain wrong. Someone coming to a leader in their church and asking “How do you do it? What sustains your faith? Why do you still believe?” is not the same as someone coming to a leader in their church and asking “so many so-called Christians not living up to the tenants of the faith how does one believe in the faith?” Nor was it asking “if so many proclaimed Christians aren’t really Christians then how can I believe in Christianity.” Yours is clearly the “bandwagon logical fallacy” here and I hope no one jumps on.

      • Sandi, is that how you interpret Just Another Sinner’s ramblings? I can’t make any sense of it at all. Good for you.

        • Actually, I agree with you. Maybe since he/she keeps repeating the same thing, he/she is trying to drum up people clicking on the link. Peace and Love,

          • I did not lick on the link. If Just Another Sinner doesn’t make any sense to me here, why would I to the blog which probably won’t make any more sense?

  12. Another good commentary John P! It is helpful to know we are not alone in our bewilderment. Personally, my faith is in God not institutions, not in the church and not in man. The Bible is confusing, it is metaphorical in many places people take literally and while our faith is to be a shield, those who use it as a weapon cause people to sin, to remove from the faith community and even to doubt God. Their sin is greater than any other IMHO.

    Sins are not ranked and we do have to figure out our path, but the overall message is love. Offer love, accept, include, care for and bring to Jesus by your example. If you are not doing that, you have failed God’s greatest and most repeated message.

    Those who use the Bible as a weapon do not welcome God. “If the home is worthy, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not welcome you or heed your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.…”

    Our concern is to follow the teachings of Jesus and live to serve God in whatever way we can. Judging, excluding, denying, hurting and harming is NOT the way of Jesus.

      • Edward, I suppose “hypocrisy” would be fair if they were both facts. THE BIBLE DOES NOT RANK SIN that I can find, that is a fact. However, I find it logical that not following the command most often repeated, demonstrated and even demanded would appear to therefore be the greatest sin. THAT IS MY OPINION, because again, the Bible does not rank sin.

        • No, Sandi, you are correct, The Bible does not have a hierarchy of sin. All sin is equally heinous to God. That is what the Bible tells us.

          However, Proverbs tells us that there are six things that God hates:

          A proud (vain) look
          A lying tongue.
          Hands that shed innocent blood
          A heart that devises wicked acts
          Feet that be swift in running to mischief
          A false witness that speaks lies
          He that sows discord among brethren

          Why don’t we eradicate these things from the church in the USA? Or even from these comments because there are those who contribute here that participate in these things God hates.

          But note: nowhere in this list from Proverbs does it ever talk about sexual sins.

          • However, Proverbs tells us that there are six things that God hates:

            How can God hate if he is a God of complete love as some claim? Doesn’t that go against what many here claim?

            • No, and stop being silly. So immature.

              What we have asserted is that God loves all of humanity. Try to keep up.

          • There is one unforgivable sin: blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

            If one is a Trinitarian, this has some interesting permutations. If Jesus and the Parent and the Holy Spirit are one, then to blaspheme Jesus or the Parent, say by preaching “God hates f*gs” could very well be a case of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

            That would mean that no one who preaches “homosexuality is sin” or racist, antisemitic, misogynist theologies, will be forgiven.

            Something to ponder – maybe the repercussions for those who teach prejudice and blame it on God, are far more serious than they realize.

        • If God doesn’t “rank” sin, why do you feel the need to? Does it give you a sense of spiritual superiority?

  13. Just another sinner. Thanks for food for thought. I was at church today w 50 other worshippers. So grateful for the plain message. No gimmicks. I call it ‘brown paper bag’ Christianity. God keeps blessing us 100x…again and again. We know our position. Very very low.

  14. Thank you John. I could have used this post a number of years ago, wouldn’t have felt so alone then. I have come to the opinion that sometimes the church and some in it get in the way of faith instead of bolster faith. They are more interested in their dogma and laws and how everyone must tow the line or else you are going to hell. Well, that may be, but that would be my choice as God gave it to me, not theirs. I wish they would instead pay more attention to love and how to show and spread love in this world. The other way seems selfish to me, not giving like Jesus taught. If I spend all my time worrying about what is going to happen to me, how can I do for others. So I have decided I’m not worrying, I am doing. Anyway I veered off somewhere but Thanks again for being there and willing to put yourself out there for us. Peace and Love,

  15. The nasaties can fire off all they want, without hearing the heart of your message here, John.

    But I heard it.

    I would say to those hurting, those who have been battered by the fake religion, those who even now are being lined up for more battering by the trolls on this discussion:

    Jesus spoke to people just like you, in Matthew 11:28-30. I will give the Message paraphrase because it captures the meaning beautfiully:

    “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

    Ignore those who would seek to pluck this truth away from you. You felt your heart leap for joy as you read these words? Then they were for you. Do not let those who would seek to discourage you take these words from you. Follow that leap of your heart and heed the words of Jesus, not those of mere men.

    The Lord bless you, dear hearts.

  16. I feel finally as though there IS a person of faith that understands those of us who cringe at fundamentalists who destroy the very foundation of what Christianity should truly be about. I know of a few like minded pastors and in fact just sent him one of your blog posts. He will appreciate it as he once shared with me that he refers to himself as Lutheran rather than Christian, with its current connotation as it seems to be construed.

    Thank you for voicing our thoughts and confirming them. You are awesome!

  17. “Perhaps this epidemic isn’t a sickness, it’s a rebirth.”

    Yes! This! There is growing evidence (read The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle) that Christianity is at the start of a process that has taken place roughly every 500 years since the time of Constantine and the ascendence of Christianity as the state faith of the Roman Empire. The last time produced the Protestant Reformation. This is a faith that itself dies and is resurrected twice a millennium. We are due. This is sign that the breakdown is under way. The chaos before creation. A new, reformulated Christianity is on the way. And it falls to those of us who feel as John expresses it to become active voices in choosing what we must discard and what must be upheld and elevated and preserved going forward. We are the body of Christ. Jesus didn’t invent Christianity. We did. We must reinvent it. It won’t survive if we don’t..and more to the point, perhaps it shouldn’t survive if we don’t.

    Christianity desperately needs resurrection. Let the body of Christ rise once more. Let us gather our breath and inspire the way of Jesus back into the body so it may do more than continue to live but once more guide human beings into God’s full love.

    • You cannot reinvent perfection. Jesus is the Lamb of God. but, revival is always a good thing! Revival starts with me.

  18. Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
    Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 
    Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

  19. Many go through dark nights of the soul. It is in these dark nights that we either leave the faith or go through a deconstructive process(analysis of a conceptual system by deconstruction, typically in order to expose its hidden internal assumptions and contradictions ) of sorts that gives us clarity. At times, the institutional church and faith are inextricably linked within a person’s spiritual DNA. When the church wounds, people leave the faith. In my case and that of my husband, the decision was made to leave the institutional church and deconstruct our faith. It is in that process that we found the real Jesus. The real Jesus is there in the Gospels. He beckons us to follow and teaches us how. Maybe we don’t always get it right(we are still learning in our old age), but our faith in him and our relationship with each other continues to grow. Loving others is now at the center and we are unconfined by the walls which are constructed to keep those deemed worthy in and those who do not pass muster, out.

  20. I think the reason Germany brings in so many refugees is for cheap labor. I think too the reason our government wants to bring in refugees is cheap labor. Here is why I think this: German work force is aging and labor is needed to keep the economy going. Same in U.S. According to the U.N. there are over 60,000,000 refugees worldwide. I’ve always thought it was peculiar that we focus only on 100,000 or so. What is our responsibility to the millions? Does our government want just enough for labor? Imagine this dialogue:

    Syrians to the West: Please United Nations come in and bring food and give us a safe zone. You have great armies and resources that dwarf those that oppose us. With your resources you can keep us safe until after the war so we can continue our life.

    United Nations: Well, we can’t do that. But, if you will drop everything you own and travel to a new country we will work to find you a new home. Of course you may have to learn German, or French, or Spanish or English and give up your language. You will have to abandon most of your culture, and ways we will help you find a new home. Your children will grow up as westerners.
    Syrians: But, why not help us create a safe place here?
    United Nations: Sorry. We can’t do that. Even though member nations have thousands the fire power of those that oppose you.

    To me it is peculiar that we (the world) refuses to help them remain Syrians. Same as I would want to remain an American.

    However, I do believe there are many who are sincerely heart broken for them and are used by government in the tug of war.

    One other peculiarity. I’ve not heard a plan or a word about the 60,000,0001/

  21. When Satan tempted Jesus by saying “Bow down and worship me, and all the cities of the earth will be yours”, it could be seen as a parable of how religion is always tempted to embrace political power, often with the best of intentions. The problem is that power corrupts, and at some point the religious entity becomes so corrupted that it becomes divorced from the spiritual, and loses moral authority and finally secular power in the bargain. CS Lewis would say that evil is especially happy the moment we realize that we’ve sold our souls for something not worth having.
    I am concerned that a certain strain of Christianity in the US, in its blind pursuit of political power and by embracing Donald Trump, has passed a point of no return. To endorse this man as the leader of our country in exchange for a Supreme Court justice is for that strain of Christianity to sell whatever was left of its soul. Their decision has been the last straw for many people, and will help turn an entire generation of young people away from organized religion, if not Christianity itself.

    • The beauty of the United States Constitution is that it separates religion from politics. Any preacher who preaches politics is a ninny! There is no reason whatsoever for a pastor to enter into that. If he can’t stand the temptation he needs to leave the church and run for office.

  22. Thank you so much for being honest about the state of many church members today. Battered by hypocrisy, Pharisee-ism, bigotry, racism, xenophobia and homophobia, I hear on social media that many are–as you say–in existential crisis. I am continuing an Interfaith Gathering for Prayer on the second Monday of the month (coming May 8 at 7:30 pm) at St. Luke’s Church in Morton Grove. This is a place of welcome and safety for people battered by these hurtful -isms and -phobias.

    Yes, I have served as a chaplain in the Chicago area for almost ten years, before I came to pastor St. Luke’s Church. With you, I welcome people who are bruised, battered and bewildered by the dizzying political and existential rhetoric of the past few months. I am serious: if anyone would like to contact a welcoming, caring person with a calm and loving demeanor, I am here.
    @chaplaineliza elizajon@aol.com

  23. It’d be comical to see so many Christians in the comments demonstrating exactly why their religion is in full-scale decline at this point, except I know that they do their best to inflict their miserable, dysfunctional ideas on everyone else. I guess now it’s just a waiting game. The worst bigots and misogynists in the religion still need money to buy lobbyists, politicians, and elections. Eventually so many people will leave that churches will need to use their dwindling funds to keep the lights on instead. I look forward to that day coming soon.

    If there really was a god and he really was a loving, compassionate, merciful being, Christianity would have been torched a long time ago.

  24. All I know is that Joe Catholic or Skippy or whomever is spoiling reading the comments section for me- please let’s comment on John’s blog and not waste time responding to Joe Catholic et al.
    Commenting on John’s blog: I had a faith crisis 6 or 7 years ago when I was disappointed with some of the people in my church and was beginning to have issues with some doctrine. I “threw our” everything except the Apostles Creed and joined another church and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

    • Yes Rosie J, that happens with almost every commentary thread. They will not rest until they have dismantled the discussion or taken it onto another tangent.

    • Rosie Jepson, so many of us have said we wish people would ignore Joe/Skippy/The Authority of the Church/fighting the lies from the left/Dear Daughter, etc etc…The Dear Daughter is what he is using in the comments of John P’s post of this morning.

      But people do still engage him. I think in part it is because what he writes is so egregious that those on the side of the angels are compelled to point out how totally without love he is for anything except the unborn and the god of his idolatry, the Grifter-in-Chief.

      I offer a place where we can help to combat the people with such perniciously evil policies. I invite you any who would care to combat evil wherever it is found.

      One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

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

  25. Maybe our shared discontent is an alarm that there is something better and that we should keep seeking it.

    There is. It’s called the Gospel of Jesus Christ and if John P and others would hear the Word of God for what it really is, the cure for all humanities problems would be washed away.

    • Edward, I am sure the irony of you being right will be lost on you, but yes it is very likely that if we heard “the Word of God” the way you and many others do, “the cure for all humanities problems would be washed away”.

      • If we all heard the “word of god” like the person suggests, the action would look an awful lot like genocide. Kill anyone who doesn’t look like you, think like you or act like you.

      • Sandi,
        Then shouldn’t you be asking yourself why are you hearing differently? Are you not even the least bit curious as to how I arrived at my position?

    • And it would most certainly depend on the part of the body those “others” hear with… But certainly, you, and only you, are hearing with the correct organ. Thank you so much for putting yourself up as an example for all of us “others” Edward.

        • Is judgment an organ? Can you live without one? Perhaps an ectomy could work for you, eh? We’ll keep it in a jar so you can look at it, if you miss it.

    • Edwards wrote “There is. It’s called the Gospel of Jesus Christ and if John P and others would hear the Word of God for what it really is, the cure for all humanities problems would be washed away.”

      Here’s the thing, Edward, John P understand the Gospel much more deeply that you have yet aspired to. The Gospel includes, doesn’t exclude and the Gospel is never on the side of evil.

      There is a peculiar, American form of Christianity that is really quite heretical. I invite all to experience something different.

      One can’t help but notice the many voices of those who are disillusioned by their experiences in various churches in the USA. Hard not to be, really, if one is a critical thinker. Herd not to be when one is a caring, compassionate, tender person.

Refuge is offered in the Facebook group ”Celebrate What Christians Have in Common” where a daily buffet is spread of Asceticism and art, cartoons and quotes, comics and contemplation, memes and meditations, music and musings, photographs and prayers, just about anything that is one of the many voices from the many flavors of Christianity.

      There is one discipline required of all who join: one must not utter a negative word because this space is a refuge, a respite, a place of peace and quiet. If one chooses to engage in discussion one may only write about one can affirm in the selection. No arguments, no vitriolic words, no spammers and trolls will be tolerated,

Please come and celebrate what Christians have in common and let us together remember our faith is based upon God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and not the actions and choices of frail, sinful human beings.

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



      • Here’s the thing, Edward, John P understand the Gospel much more deeply that you have yet aspired to.

        How do you know this for sure? Maybe I’m wanting others to experience something “heretical”? Maybe I’m reaching out to those who are disillusioned, to those who thinking is just a little more critical than others. After all, there are “many flavors of Christianity” from which to choose, correct? But I should think that even you would not want to question my version as I offer a safe space of refuge to those who seek it. Surely you don’t want to deprive anyone of this opportunity?

  26. Your spirit speaks to my spirit in these incredible messages. We must hold fast. We must continue to stand to speak and act in the mind of Christ . A fellow Christ the Lamb follower. Mary

  27. We lose faith when people — who say they speak for God– attack and accuse us of things we did not do and tell us we are wrong or mentally ill or broken or satanic or deep deeply evil or any accusation that makes us less than them– rather than show love. It doesn’t matter what side you are on when you beat up your fellow man/woman for what he/she believes— because despite how damaged or wrong they are (in your eyes) you are further damaging them.

    We cry out to God for justice and nothing happens to bring justice and we feel our faith slipping because of a human being– yet our disillusionment should be with horrible people who beat and scorn and despise others– those who think they are better than the person next to them and who think they are on the right side– who judge and put people on the wrong side, rather than show them grace.

  28. There is no Problem , it is God Testing the True Believers of america to see who really Trust, and believes .
    God is sifting the souls to purify the saints.
    It does not matter how many do and don’t as I believe and trust God .
    Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow . God Does not change for man.
    YOU must seek after, Turn your heart to , Trust in with all your heart. Jesus Christ

    • I think Jesus is testing us to see who loves, makes peaces, and fight for social justice; and those that scream “Lord, Lord, Lord” in public and burdens the people with laws, rules, and duties to an authoritarian church. We are losing faith in the “Jesus of the American Authoritarian Christian Church” and actually finding Jesus among us outcasts.

      • this will happen as the bible predicts , A Great falling away, teaching of abominations , teachings false religeons,
        Only 2 forces at work
        God – holyness- good- salvation thru cross ,blood of jesus

        Satan – lies, deciet, false religeons of works, with out God, With out jesus christ, with out accountability. Fairness, I am ok , Your ok mentality. no need for savior, no need to repent, no need to change and trust in christ.

        YOU o Mankind will suffer Judgement for this False Ideology. Repent , change, turn To Christ , Today is the day of salvation .

  29. Sandi, In Germany they must take classes in German. Syrians speak Arabic which as time goes will no longer be their language just as my people no longer speak German but English. The immigrants are a branch of Islam called Alawis which is closer to Iranian Shia. They are at war with Sunnis who are trying to overthrow Assad. There are possible restrictions about marrying outside Islam. For a woman to marry a Muslim man she must convert to Islam. Nothing wrong with that if it is her choice. I could go on – but in many ways unless a person makes a decision to assimilate they will be very miserable. A friend of mine said she was mocked and scoffed at the Mosque for wearing nail polish. Some Sunnis consider western music evil. I’m not being critical – I am just saying there is a huge cultural difference. If we bring them in without a frank discussion on this we are not true to our compassion. Some Muslim men would interpret certain dress of a western woman as a invitation to moral looseness. Over all the Syrian people are as anyone else. A marvelous part of the world mosaic. My point is I think our government is exploiting them for cheap labor without due consideration of allowing them to maintain their culture. When their children want to date outside the faith, or the girls want to dress in tight genes and wear make up etc. it will hit the fan. Why we deny them a safe place is beyond me!? I have been to the middle east and I love the Arab people. They have a rich history of art and literature.

  30. Sandi, Please be specific. I don’t know everything. I am very open to any point I have made being changed in my mind. Also, in Shia Islam in some families your spouse is chosen and it is a cousin. This culture. I had a Syrian friend who was M.D. who couldn’t practice because she was female. (except with limitations). I am not being critical here. I hope I don’t sound that way.

    • James, I did not say you were being “critical” though you clearly were, I said you were being ludicrous. We are not taking in refugees because we need the labor and neither is Germany or the other nations who have done so.

      Cultural, religious, ethnic differences are allowed in many nations because that is part of freedom. Even when you do not agree with it.

      Any immigrant who does no know the language of the country they immigrated, migrated or were resettled to needs to learn the language. You are not being genuine in your “concern” for them or for America.

      And you are far from understanding Islam or the refugee issue. Like I said, this is all ludicrous.

  31. Sandi, my only point is that we don’t hear anything about the other 60,000,000 plus who are refugees and displaced due to civil war, catastrophic conditions, etc. Not sure why we don’t help everyone. I would like to see a more involved United Nations. Islam has a Holy day called Ramadan. You have to fast and can’t eat and drink from dawn till sunset. After sunset you never have seen such delicious food. You may disagree with my view on our government. I respect your view. We can agree to disagree!

    • works of the flesh , doing what you or I think will make him happy.
      NOT thru Jesus Christ , or obedience to Gods Word , but thru Works, Gestures, things we see fit .
      Only 1 God, Only 1 way, Only one salvation , thru Jesus Christ and his Blood of atonement on the cross of calvary for the sin all sin of mankind

      • No, not through faith alone.

        14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

    • James, your points are from a deep lack of understanding and they are not going to be welcomed by me.

      If you seek, you will find plenty on the refugees all over the world and what groups and nations are helping them, including ours.
      Until the war ends or a peace is brokered, they cannot go home, but millions who want to, are being housed and kept safe in refugee camps. Most do not want to migrate, they want to go home and hopefully they someday can. So far “the total U.S. donation since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 to $4.5 billion, more than any other country.” This is “humanitarian aid to assist Syrian refugees and the countries that are hosting them.” We are helping everyone we can, not just the fraction of refugees we take in. So is the United Nations.

      Islam has a Holy MONTH called Ramadan, this year from Friday, May 26 thru Sunday, June 25 in which they fast from dawn till sunset every day. They are also to refrain from smoking, and engaging in sexual relations, they are to avoid any “sinful behavior” as that negates the reward of fasting. They may eat and drink before dawn and after sunset (unless they are ill, elderly or pregnant). Ramadan usually requires increased prayers and recitation of the Quran as well as increased giving and charitable work.

      I am well aware of the delicious food and many Muslim customs as I have Muslims in my family.

  32. A fetus is not a baby. Your own bible even gives instructions on how to abort a fetus. What in heck is wrong with you bible thumping pro lifers? Do you even read the thing??? If you did then you would know it is a sin to be a self righteous judgmental windbag.

    • I love Jesus Christ as My only God, Only Savior, Only one who can save me. I realize I am the bottom of the barrell and want all to see THE TRUTH only the TRUTH . God is Holy, and Humble, and Hates Pride.
      So when I am exalted , he cannot work thru me.
      He ( God needs loyalty, humility, servitude )
      God the True God will have no other s (people, Idols, Theologies Before Him. ) for the Ten commandments of life show me that He is a Jealous God and Judges the hearts of people. all people. God s Love will super cede his Judgement to save people from themselves.

    • Wrong, The Bible is very clear on life, judgement , consequences for what we do, actions we take, directions we go.
      We are accountable for what we think, actions we take, deeds we do.
      Repent, Turn to god, cry out for forgiveness so he can restore you to him. and have a relationship of love and trust, obedience

  33. Lonnie, thank you!!! Please tell me where that is in the bible so I can make copies and hand it out to crazy pro lifers. I dont read it do wouldnt know. Thanks so much James

  34. Having been disenfranchised by weaponized “Christianity” for the very reasons stated in the article, I’ve been going it alone as a church of one for decades. The chickens have come home to roost and the wheat will be separated from the chaff, hopefully soon. Evil rules this planet and it’s not the petty sexuality crimes that a few of the chief harpies here tend to elevate. Thank you for saying what I have experienced.

  35. Dear Friends and John Pavlovitz:

    Just tried to open up another window and got the message,

    You are banned.

    I’ve no idea why this happened. I’m hoping that this was just a temporary glitch, and that I’ll be able to continue posting.

    But in the event that I truly am ‘banned,’ may I say that it has been a tremendous privilege to interact with you all. I can’t begin to recall the number of friends I’ve met in the past few months.

    I wish you all the very best in life.

    Go with God!

    Blessings!

  36. The problem is that we are trying to find The Lord through religion. The Lord IS in every being – every living created thing – even rocks. The Lord is in your heart and is the true self. Quieting the mind (a tool that is not really you) will reveal how the Lord is in you.

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