The Table

The Table

The Table is an online spiritual community, dedicated to lifting up the intrinsic value of all people.

The Table is a place for conversation and connection; a place to grow in your relationship with Jesus, and to discover your role within the global Church.

The Table isn’t a place to find easy answers, but to wrestle with difficult questions; a place to be seen, heard, and known.

We are committed to helping people find virtual community, as well as connecting them to the local faith community where they live.

Regardless of your perceived moral condition, church affiliation, life stage, race, gender, sexual orientation, or income level, you are welcome here.

Everyone gets a place at The Table.


We’re about GRACE.
We receive it and give it. We acknowledge the blessings and forgiveness we’ve experienced personally, and want to reflect that in the way we treat other people.

We care for everyone at The Table.

Every one of us has a unique story. We are products of that story and shaped by it. Our heart is to know and be known, and to learn from one another.

The Table is a place to share your story.

We’re about ALL PEOPLE.
The beauty of true diversity matters to us; not just as a word, but as a core part of who we are. Everyone receives radical hospitality when we gather.

There is no designation that trumps your belonging at The Table. 

We’re about FAITH AND DOUBT.
We realize that no one has all the answers, and that faith and doubt live side by side. No one has the market cornered on Truth and we’re OK with that.

The Table is a place to safely bring your questions and struggles.

We believe that growth rarely happens without pain. We’re committed to walking with people in their woundedness and helping them heal and to grow in faith as they do.

There is recovery at The Table.

We’re all flawed, scarred, imperfect people, and as such, we don’t spend time trying to change or perfect other people. We come with our brokenness and messyness.

No one is unworthy to sit at The Table.

Our lives need to reflect our faith. This happens when we treat others with dignity, when we meet the needs of the world around us, and when we live outwardly.

Love is real at The Table.

We’re about GOD BEING GOD.
You don’t come to a church or pastor to “get” spirituality. You are already created by God for relationship with God. We’re simply here to sit alongside you; to set the table for you to meet with Jesus.
Pull up a chair.

We will be launching soon!


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108 thoughts on “The Table

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  2. i have had a miracleous experience with God using the table to heal my fear of public speaking and using the table as a place of healing very much like how you are using it as a gathering place for conversation a place to pray and a place to gather.

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  5. Pingback: 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit About the Bible — We do God and His Word a disservice when we turn Scripture into something it’s not. | Eslkevin's Blog

  6. I am very concerned about “The Table” concept. It sounds like it might include people different than myself, possibly with differing viewpoints, or even those I might disagree with (IIGreg 5:11). And I’m not sure what the point of forming a group is if it doesn’t offer pat answers intended to reinforce the preexisting opinions of its members and further isolate and polarize them from others who are not part of the group! In short, this group sounds suspiciously like one that will challenge me to consider others as better than myself, and that’s something I just can’t tolerate. 😉

    • Funny. I get it. But let’s talk a little turkey for a second and see if you’re truly as enlightened as you’d like to think you are or may just be, or if you are just like most of the rest of us: a person who has a firm belief in the important things in his life.

      Let’s begin with Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.”

      Now if there was ever a statement or ideology that was unforgiving in thought and purpose, it was that one.

      I wonder how Jesus would be received today in this group or any other in the church? I don’t say that as a knock. It’s an honest question.

      It’s wonderful to get together with people and shoot the breeze. What isn’t wonderful is when everyone has their own version of the truth and it differs from mine. In fact, it’s intolerable.

      Let me try to explain: Once you know Christ or rather, once Christ finds you, He changes you. It may be a gradual transition or in the twinkling of an eye, as it was with me.

      In that moment, I knew so many things that I’d never even contemplated before. I knew in a microsecond that there is a God, that His name is Jesus and that I was born anew. I knew that the Mike I was just a moment ago, was dead and that I’d never be the same again.

      In that context then, what can anyone offer me that would attempt to contradict any of that, particularly since my conversion was not unscriptural?

      So what does it benefit me or you to argue (I use that word with intent) topics such as being Born Again, Jesus is the only way to heaven, and so forth?

      Now let’s assume that all of us in this thread are true Christians. I have been taught through Word and Holy Spirit and certain Individuals who share my beliefs about God. Unshakable beliefs.

      So if I can share them with you and your ears are open to those truths, then great. But should you deem my truths to be questionable, I can tell you that it will be impossible for us to come to resolution. Why? because I believe the truth I know is the truth I know.

      And I have a feeling that there is a truth that every one of us, in Christ now, knows.

      So then it might come down to topics rather than belief streams. Ok. Here’s a topic: Should gays wed.

      Here is my answer: No. But God has me giving the blessing at a lesbian wedding in a few weeks. I don’t want to even be there in my flesh. But God, who wills and acts according to His good purpose, will have me there. But my blessing won’t be upon their marriage, for that is a perversion of God’s provisions. The blessing will be however, that both women would identify not with their sexual orientation, which is of the flesh, which accounts for nothing, but in Christ alone.

      Now, if you believe differently, that’s fine, but I can tell you that we won’t eventually agree. Why? Because of the truth as I know it. My mind is open to the grace of God forgiving all of us. In fact, it’s the beat of my heart…every beat is filled with the knowledge of the grace of God in my life and the lives of every being on this planet. It is not open to calling sin, good or good, sin.

      Last thought: The sky is blue. You may argue it’s truly void of color. But I see blue and blue is the truth of what I have been shown.

      • Mike, it’s good to read what John P says in his own words about his beliefs.

        He is very clear when he says, ‘I express my beliefs, you express your beliefs, and we know that the Truth lies somewhere in-between’.

        Ugh. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is.

      • Gosh. I guess if you believe in a Higher Power but don’t choose to call her God, Jesus or whatever .. you’re doomed. Right? Or God forbid if you’re an atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc., etc. etc. Only Christians have cornered the market on salvation. What absolute ROT.

        • You state that Christianity is “Rot” because it’s basic tenets does not provide for pantheism. In order for Christianity to be acceptable to you, it would have to be stripped of its basic tenets, that God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and the only way to heaven is by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice of his own life. That is the core of Christianity. To strip Christianity of that core is really changing the faith to something other than Christianity.

          Instead of becoming angry and demanding that Christianity become, well, less Christian, doesn’t it make more sense to say – “hmm, I disagree with that assertion” and find the “truth” that is right for you?

          If the Christian faith were to be modified to say – there are many Gods and the Christian God is but one and there are many ways to heaven with Christianity being but one, I ask you – how do you feel about a God who would send his only son, stripped of all godly glory, to be persecuted from birth, to be concieved by an unwed young girl (who could have been stoned for this) and to die a horrible death on a cross, spat on, pierced, and ridiculed. If there was another way to get to heaven, what kind of a God, let alone a father, do this to his only son? And, could YOU commit YOUR life to a God like this? I cannot.

          Also, if there are other Gods, when they saw the injustice suffered by their own, as Jesus was God before he came down in the flesh, what kind of incompassionate, unjust, and unfeeling gods are they who sat back and watch all of this unfold without intervening? I could not submit to these gods as well and “heaven” would not be my idea of heaven but where self-absorbed, unfeeling “mighty” powers reside.

          Would you consider that kind of place, those kinds of beings, worthy to be worshipped? For me, they would not. And, my guess is you would not either. This is my guess because from your post I get the sense that you are the kind of person who cares about fighting injustice, helping the downtrodden, and love stray animals.

          In the end, the truth will be known as we will all “die.” That truth will not be altered or modified by what we want it to be. Thus, doesn’t it make sense to analyze each religion on what each are asserting on their own merit in hopes of ascertaining the truth rather than confuse and befuddle the religions with what we think it should be (since as I said, our desires will not affect the actual reality/truth we will experience upon death).

          Good luck on your journey. I will be delighted if our journeys converge and we end up walking the same path. However, as my God gave me the free will to choose my path, even to the point of rejecting him, I know it is not my place to force my faith on you.

      • I disagree with you on much of what you said. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate your walk in trying to live how you believe God wants you to live. I’m Christian. What that means to me is that I try, even with all of my human ways, to live like Jesus. I pray for wisdom and grace. I give my time to help others when I can. I recently heard a prayer that clutched my heart and gut. I’d like to share…

        I am no longer my own, but yours.
        Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
        put me to doing, put me to suffering;
        let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
        exalted for you, or brought low for you;
        let me be full,
        let me be empty,
        let me have all things,
        let me have nothing:
        I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
        to your pleasure and disposal.
        And now, glorious and blessed God,
        Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
        you are mine and I am yours. So be it.

        Now… this can mean completely different things to different people. To me, it’s of perspectives. Perspectives of those from all walks of life. Jesus loves his people, wether rich or poor, gay or straight, black or white, Muslim or Atheist, conservative or progressive. Shouldn’t we all try to do the same with respect and not judgment?

        Mike, I appreciate what you shared. Because it’s your perspective which comes from your life experience. Since we’re at the table, I’d like to ask you some questions.

        What brought you to God?
        How did you feel when you accepted God into your life?
        What do you do to show people the love shown to you by your Heavenly Father?

      • I smile at the certainty of your writing. Time is a brutal partner to certainty.

        I am a retired police officer. The key to an investigation is openness to truth, as it continues to reveal itself. It is not bastardizing truth, it is allowing truth to clarify. And when I put my full weight on it, time will become a wonderful partner.

        I love finding common ground with others as a truthseeker and leave to the Spirit that which doesn’t mesh. I know more today than ever, am less certain than before, and the surfacing questions seem exponential.

        Jesus has invites “Follow me,” which I am doing, fearlessly surrendering my certainty, other than in Him.

        • I cannot possibly understand the idea of “I’m investigating and keeping myself open to the truth, yet when I find things I don’t understand, I just forget about them and continue believing what I choose to believe.”

          That is not how you conduct an investigation into the truth or seek the truth. Not at all.

      • Mike, your whole argument is based upon the belief that Jesus actually said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.” The problem is he didn’t say it!

        The Jesus Seminar, which began in 1985 with thirty biblical scholars and eventually included hundreds more, examined the four Gospels thoroughly. They concluded that most of the words attributed to Jesus were not actually spoken by him. These scholars agreed that the words you quoted were made up by the early Christian community. Jesus never said that!

        The truth you know is not the truth.

        • It’s funny that you will so readily believe what the Jesus Seminar came up with. They went into that task with a pre-determined motive, to discredit the gospels. There is no way in hell they could determine who said what after thousands of years. Now you may believe in Jesus, and think there is no way he could have said that, because of it’s implications, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t say it. He said a lot of harsh things in the bible. Look at how he felt about the religious leaders back then, do you think it would be any different now. When you look at the current state of the church, everyone making their living off of the gospel, it’s no different than the world. The money changers are still in the temple, and very little trickles down to the poor and needy.

      • Well said! There is but one truth…God’s word. If you are not teaching God’s word and salvation through Jesus Christ are you a Christian? This site and John concern me!

  7. I hear you, Greg. It is certainly counter-intuitive to seek self-diminishment, and yet, far too often I find that I am inadequate to meet the challenges and successes I encounter in life. I find that comparing myself with others either leads me toward pride and judgment, or weakness and whining. I like the idea of “sitting” at the “The Table” with folks from different backgrounds and beliefs because it may help me learn from others, provide an opportunity for others to learn from me in the form of providing another perspective, and perhaps allow me the opportunity to grow in compassion, patience, tolerance, and wisdom. I also hope that this does not turn into something it is not intended to be. In that, I think we fear the same thing. I hope to hear more from you.

  8. I’m drawn towards community, but I am so afraid of really engaging with another Christian entity after all of the horrible experiences I’ve had. I was sent a link to one of your blogs and left a few of my own words. I appreciated reading that for some there may still be hope to be accepted and not pushed away from God.

  9. Thank you for this. I know I need to bring more Grace and TIME to others.
    Whew, this “wrestling” thing is HARD!!

  10. Like many, I’ve been struggling with what this Church that has “gotten herself ready” looks like. I wrote a book of what the Lord showed me “Wouldn’t You Belong to a Church Like This?”, but am still learning more. With all the hungry people crying out, He will hear and help us so we have a wineskin that is truly new, non-suffocating, but disciplined in running hard after Him.

  11. I would like a place at the table. As a woman and a recovering evangelical, I’ve never had a place at the table before. I’m moved and refreshed by your writing, John. I love that you’re not certain. I love that you admit that you don’t have God or this life all sized up. Everything I thought I knew, I have to learn again. But instead of feeling depressed over that concept, I’m anticipatory and willing to learn.

    • Lori, I wish you the best on your spiritual journey! It’s a sacred and very personal experience. I sincerely believe that when we feel a deep need to change that experience in others to meet our own, it says a lot more about your our about our personal faith than it does about the person we want to change.

  12. Wow!!!!!!! Wow!!!!! This is exactly the vision God gave me on how our Shul (Church…I’m Jewish who believes in Yeshua-Jesus) was supposed to change into but didn’t. They rejected it unanimously and God gave me a Word for the congregation, and that Word is still happening today. My wife in October of last year received a Word from God that she believed we were supposed to move to North Carolina. I told her that I won’t move unless it is for God’s purpose, and not for a job. Awesome! awesome!! I am waiting on God, and ya know………that’s the best place to be.

  13. I stumbled across an article you wrote and it was wonderful. As a liberal, an artist, and an LGBT ally, I have often felt like an outsider, even though I was often working with youth groups and teaching bible studies. I was also born with bipolar disorder, which I’ve felt I needed to hide from my church family. I often feel more comfortable with my atheist friends, who are progressives dedicated to a variety of causes that I believe more “Christ like” than the topics I hear discussed by other Christians. I am constantly trying to encourage people to focus on the quality of the heart instead of those visible “sins” like drinking and smoking and swearing, and especially homosexuality. As your article mentioned, this is often turned back around on me. Thank you for making me feel less alone. My faith is mine, no matter how distant from the established churchy order, and I know that, but it gets lonely, and I start to wonder, and then to doubt…anyway, your article helped me to regain some of that confidence in my own faith, my own calling.
    Also, I dislike very much all the ridiculous grand standing that poses for “worship” – especially the freaking “inspirational videos” of stock photos and words. As an artist it always destroys my worship experience and leaves my cynical. So thank you also for mentioning that. Last time I complained to a Christian friend I was told that my heart wasn’t open to worship. 🙁

      • I think we all must remind ourselves that on earth Jesus accepted all EXCEPT the religious leaders of the day. Those were the people he judged. It is not for any of us who follow him to do so; not even when it comes to our president elect. God will use ALL for His good; end of story. The faith of His followers has always been tested; always will be. We are given the greatest commands to follow by Christ; love God and love others – period.

  14. John – this is the second time I have read your article on having gay children. I wish I could say I am the gay child…but alas I am the gay parent. I have not seen my children, nor met their beautiful wives, nor meet my three grandchildren…all because I am gay. I don’t know how many times I have been go to hell or f*&^ off – through the years I guess I have learned to live with it. I have not seen my sons in …lets see…I think this year 2015 is 18 maybe 20 years now. Since becoming a grandparent it has become a little more challenging. I would love to meet my grandchildren and to meet my sons wives…and see my boys. I am a gay Christian and went to college to be in the music ministry and was in the music ministry in the Southern Baptist arena…I am not longer associated with that arena. I am still however in the music ministry. I use the talent God has given to me – I play the piano and have since a child – so you see I am a vessel that God uses. He uses me by writing, composing and arranging through me. I AM SO BLESSED THAT GOD IS STILL THERE. He has never left me and never will. He loves me just as I am because He created me as I am. Thank you for all that you do. All I can say is “He Lives” Gal 2:20

  15. Dear Bro. This is definitely what is needed we need to get around the table and build bridges instead of walls… To show Gods unconditional love to all Gods children. whatever church we were raised in we are all part of The body Of Christ. Let us rise in Unity. Uniting in his love…. my prayers are with You all. let love abound….God bless

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  17. Well this looks like a good a spot as any to sit down and say hello 🙂

    I must say, and it’s been years since I said it, but the Lord works in wonderful ways. Ha… I bet you thought I was going to say “mysterious” didn’t you

    I first came to hear about your viral post last year. I remember seeing the picture of a happy family but for some reason I didn’t have time to read the article about you or what you had written but I remember the picture and the headline. I’m sure I filed it away somewhere in my technology closet but l recently had to accept what my father and grandfather had to accept before me and seek the advice of a teenager to help me navigate these tech waters. I was once amazing with a VCR and DVD players but recently my “devices” are having more conversations with each other than I am having with actual living people and I’m a bartender for Pete’s sake. The point is, where ever I filed it will remain one of the great mysteries with me and technology. But I digress…

    Fast forward to the last couple of weeks which have been very challenging to say the least. I noticed a trend in state legislative bodies that came back into session a couple months back that frightened me on so many levels. Only a couple of these , what I like to call morality bills, have been noticed by Americans in general and that was Indiana and Arkansas. I think the new count for how many bills are currently being considered in several states that will limit the rights for LGBTQ Americans is somewhere in the 40’s. It is really hard to track because many of them don’t get noticed or publically discussed until there is a vote on the floor.

    To be honest when Indiana passed its bill I didn’t notice and I am one of those “in your face kind” kind of activists. I had heard about it but I, like many other activists, are exhausted. That combined with March 25, the anniversary of the day I lost my husband in a car accident, which falls 9 days before my birthday, toss in some of the most vile comments I’ve ever heard being preached from the pulpit during the time when Christians should be celebrating Christ’s resurrection and bamo… My friends actually had me on suicide watch. Last Thursday I turned off my laptop, my phone and my and just wanted to be alone with my cat. Do a little reflection, literally pick a battle to fight, partake in a little green herbage (By “a little” I mean a lot) and form a personal plan of action.

    I should also note that I’m currently writing a memoir , “Hoosier Homo – Coming Out in a Cornfield” about what is was like to be outed in high school at 14 years old in 1987. I make my friends (95% of them being straight) read bits and pieces so they completely knew how the Indiana law effected me so I get it. But nevertheless I was a little taken a back when my straight boss at the straight bar I work at was pounding on my door and when I opened it with my glassy eyes he burst into tears and hugged me for a long time. He is the reason I am writing the book btw. I was having him proof read a fact sheet for a fundraiser I was doing for LGBTQ youth and he couldn’t wrap his brain around a lot of the stats. That’s when it hit me and I promise there is a point to this VERY long winded story… I hope. I’m just kind of letting it go and feels good 🙂

    It dawned on me that even though we’re coming out, the very people that are making us don’t even know us. Our parents, our siblings, our aunts, uncles and grandparents most times are not even allowed a choice to go through our rights of passage with us. Many young gays and lesbians are terrified by fear of family rejection that they choose to go at it alone and figure it out by themselves. A first date, the high school crush we think we’re madly in love with and all the planning for our life together is done in complete silence. When they break up with the first boy or girlfriend and are mourning the loss of that relationship and can’t talk about it with their mom, the one person who should be there offering unconditional love. The first time these kids fall in love like all kids do should never be a source of shame but for many kids that identify outside the straight “norm” of society it is exactly that.

    The ripple effect of AIDS in the 80’s is still being felt today because for many years prior to AIDS there was a sort of unspoken mentorship when a new face would show up in the community whether it was at a bar, a social club or a protest we watched out for each other. I was one of the first to not have that but I hear about it from the older guys and gals. But that was lost with the loss of almost an entire generation of young people who were just starting their lives including many of my friends who were fighting for their own lives and lost that battle.

    I occasionally have a young twenty something gay kid standing on the other side of the bar from me and it kills me when they don’t even know what a Pride parade represents, or what the lives of gay people were like and what we went through so they could have a better life. Instead of listening they think I’m trying to get into their pants. (This is the beginning of my point by the way… I finally got here.) These kids coming out today don’t know their history and they can’t truly know pride without it. They don’t know how complete neighborhoods were almost and very close to being wiped off the map. How we were arrested for being in a gay bar, castrated until the 60’s and how many lives were tossed in the trash can during the 80’s and I mean that quite literally. What I remember most about coming out was how many people were there one day and the next had disappeared. They vanished into thin air because of shame and guilt associated with AIDS. Most died and if their family did claim their bodies we wouldn’t know. We were never allowed to mourn the people we had come to know as the only family that accepted us with unconditional love. Yes, I have been called a buzz kill even a Debbie Downer if you will but the harsh reality needs to be known. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I know I don’t want to return to any of that but I am not making babies that have a 15% chance of identifying as something other than straight as an adult.

    Like I said, I had filed your piece away and forgot about it completely. One of my customers from the bar sent it to me a couple hours ago while I was searching for something to do to counter the misguided and misdirected hate being launched at my community. When I was 13 years old I was the Indiana Awana State Champion and I had my heart set on being a Preacher sharing love of wonderful and merciful God who sent his son to save us from sin. Less than a year later, when I was outed, I was told not to come back to church and the reason I was given was that I had turned my back on God.

    I have repaired the damage that was done to me through activism and service to my community. But the lasting effects of the church on gay people is very real and very troubling. I’ve noticed at least that they’ve stopped talking about drug addiction and suicide rates and I’m wondering if they have finally realized that they were creating and punishing the same thing in gay people. While I don’t know the stats on addiction I do know that LGB youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to straight youth. LGB kids that come from a family that rejects their homosexuality are 8.4 times more likely to take their lives than a kid that has a family that accepts them. There is a huge elephant in the room and people need to understand that a gay person doesn’t make a gay person we’re just trying to save their lives. And for the record every single gay I know was created by heterosexuals. We have got to end this “choice” crap because we’re getting no where and kids will continue to die. That is ultimately the end result for many who are persecuted by someone who serves a God they have created in their image rather than creating themselves in his.

    Thanks for offering up the table, I truly hope no one minds that I sat down for a bit. I said I wanted to be a preacher and I think it just happened lol…Wow I wasn’t expecting all this to come out. But thank you so much for all that you do. You are an amazing man doing wonderful things in the name of God and us tired old bitter queens welcome what you’re doing with open arms. I am still gun shy when it comes to religion but should you ever need anything for your ministry please do not hesitate to reach out. I can’t promise anything but I do know that I am getting tired of the anger in myself more than others and it is so obvious that you’re coming from a place of love. I hope one day I can do the same. So I’d to end this with the last sentence from the first chapter of the book. I was five years old when I realized I was gay and this is what I thought about the picture in my head of me and my prince. Don’t judge… I was five

    “It felt very normal, because no one told me it wasn’t”

    PS… If anyone would like to know the actual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah read Isaiah Chapter 1 The sins are listed there starting in verse 21 But do read the whole Chapter to see the references to Sodom. You may be shocked 😉 And being Awana Champion pays off! Woohoo

  18. Just wanted to thank you for writing your article on homosexuality being a choice. It was probably the most grace filled response I have found to the real problem…hateful attidudes towards our neighbors…attitudes which are oddly enough coming from people who “follow” Jesus who never turned away anyone but the holier than thou. You’re 100% right that there is so much more to us and in general, it’s sad how we focus so much on the sex part but not on sexuality which is the core of who we are and very different from the act. Thank you for bringing clarity to a muddled mess of judgment. I hope God uses your article to touch every person who reads your article. God bless!

  19. I loved your articles on Isis. I have been following websites both here and in middle east. I am very saddened – grieved for those persecuted Christians. I do the only thing I know to do– and that is to pray for them. God is in control

  20. Your posts on Caitlyn Jenner, on what you would do if your kids came out and the one that is most current have moved me to tears. I sincerely believe that you should be able to be loved for who you are – by man and God. But it has been so far from my experience.

    I realized about a month ago that one of the things that I’ve been struggling with in the midst of depression is my spirituality. Frankly, I can’t feel faith or love of the divine anymore. I have beliefs about how we should act and your essays spoke to them. But, I’ve always struggled with organized religion – from trying Catholicism in the 90s (I always left church feeling worse than I went in), to Methodists after that (there were so many “Sunday Christians” there) and now with religious wars going on in our society.

    Two things finally caused my faith to fail. First, I lost a baby that I had conceived during menopause. I could not reconcile that God would give me such a miracle to only yank it away. The grief still lives in me. Second, my then husband came out a year later as a male to female transgender. We are still happily married with a love even stronger than before, but the treatment we have received from so-called Christians has been devastating. From the dirty looks to the discrimination to the “religious freedom” laws (I don’t read about this much anymore to protect my mental health) to the rejection from friends and family (many of my friends dropped me for staying with her and her mother told her that she would rather my wife be dead than transition) – I just don’t know what God and faith are anymore for me.

    I have resolved to check in here from time to time in my searching and struggling. Reading the essays I have lead me to think maybe God’s love is still out there for me. Thank you.

    • Flo R: God loves you, not organized religion. Don’t worry about what others have done. You only have to answer to God for you. I am sorry that you lost a child. My wife and I did also. God says His ways are not our ways. It is hard sometimes for us humans to understand why God allows things to happen. That is why He says…Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Ask God for His guidance on your marital situation. Seek a true Godly counselor. If you haven’t already, Simply admit to God that you are a sinner, as we all are, and turn/repent from your sins with His Help. Ask for His forgiveness and salvation, and accept Jesus’ free gift of grace and salvation that He provides through His substitutionary death on the Cross.

      • I apologize to all for a long post.

        Thank you for your kind words about the loss of my child. It has given me something to think about. And thank you for helping me clarify some of my thoughts on God’s love as it relates to my marriage. I can tell you are sincere and want to help me.

        I guess I didn’t express myself very clearly before. I could not reconcile a loving God who would take away my miracle child. So my conclusion was that God didn’t love me. John’s writings and others say God’s love is still there. And always was.

        Perhaps I misunderstood the part in your post about my marriage – but it sounds like you have said that I am living a constant sin that I should repent and sin no more to reconcile myself to God. I see where you are coming from – the bible does have a few verses about people like my wife. People have not hesitated to share them with me. And to hurt us in countless ways that just don’t seem to be according to Jesus’ teachings or God’s love. You seem caring in what you say – unlike others you do not just call us names and tell us we are going to hell and walk away.

        I wrote about my marriage because how we were treated by many Christians only served to strengthen the conclusion after my miscarriage. After all we weren’t being shown God’s love by these Christians – maybe that’s because it just wasn’t there. When I am told that my marriage is a sin that divides me from God, it makes it all the harder to believe in His love. It places me in what feels like a divine catch-22. On the one hand, I have this marriage that has the qualities of a good Christian marriage: we have caring, compassion, acceptance, loyalty, respect, kindness and love. All things that Jesus teaches us are important. If I leave, I trash this wonderful gift and divorce – a sin. On the other hand, I am being told that I must leave this behind because it is a sin. If I stay, I am committing sin. Either way, I’m screwed. Where is God’s love in any of that?

        I don’t expect to change your mind by what I have said. But I do want to ask something. If that person you are married to, came out to you as transgender and said that they simply could not live as they were anymore, what would you do? Would you divorce? That’s a sin to many Christians. Would you stay but refuse to have anything to do with your spouse? That inflicts a life of rejection and misery on the person you love by your hand. Would you flat-out forbid it? I would be a widow now if I did. Would you stay and provide love and support? That too may damn you according to scripture.

        I chose the last option. Maybe by staying, I have shut off God’s love for me. But the part of me that craves feeling God’s love lives along side the knowledge that choosing any of the other options would mean that this person I love would now be dead. Which takes me back to why I posted. Maybe the miscarriage and how we have been treated since my wife’s transition mean that God simply does not love me.

    • I also have lost my faith and beliefs. When my father died, I couldn’t believe that the God almighty would take such a great human being and leave all the trouble and turmoil that the world is going through. I still don’t believe, but I don’t criticize those that do have faith. I believe everyone has a choice to believe in what every they want to. I have MS, COPD, Gerd, chronic back pain, and recently diagnosed positive with Cancer. I’ve heard that God only gives you what you can handle. Well, if this is true, he overestimated me.

      • The Absent Game…Involving me and my husband we’ve owned much more MP3 gamers over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (basic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few decades I’ve settled down to one line of gamers….

  21. John: I read where you said “You’re not the one I waited on breathlessly for nine months.
    You’re not the one I wept with joy for when you were born.You’re not the one I bathed, and fed, and rocked to sleep through a hundred intimate, midnight snuggle sessions.
    You’re not the one I taught to ride a bike, and whose scraped knee I kissed, and whose tiny, trembling hand I held, while getting stitches.You’re not the one whose head I love to smell, and whose face lights-up when I come home at night, and whose laughter is like music to my weary soul.
    You’re not the one who gives my days meaning and purpose, and who I adore more than I ever thought I could adore anything.And you’re not the one who I’ll hopefully be with, when I take my last precious breaths on this planet; gratefully looking back on a lifetime of shared treasures, and resting in the knowledge that I loved you well.

    You are right. I’m not. I am the one, though, and so are you as well as all these readers on your page and blog, that Jesus died for on the cross to pay God’s penalty for our sin once and for all. This is the ONLY form of payment that God the Father will acceptor our sin. You, as a father of two, and a pastor, have a Godly responsibility to teach your congregation and your children about God’s laws, not your way of thinking. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. God clearly teaches that He loves the sinner, but detests the sin. God says in the end He will not tolerate any sin, and He says we all have sinned. Thus we have the need for our Savior, Jesus. God clearly teaches that homosexuality is sin against Him, and He says it’s an abomination. Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. You, as a father, have the God-given responsibility to teach your kids ALL of God’s laws, not just the ones you choose. If you choose not to teach your kids about how God feels about homosexuality, then this verse applies to you: Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!

    • You know, Mike, it doesn’t sound like anyone could sit comfortably at the table with you unless they held to your interpretation of the Bible. Are you just on here to set everyone else straight? Or are you on here just to be a voice for everyone getting saved? Exactly what is your point in being at a table that holds to us all being equal and equally loved. There are as many defenses of supposed scriptural passages against homosexuality as there are defenses in support. I am so grateful that those kinds of explanations of how things are is no longer a part of my life. I’m so glad that it’s not up to me to attempt to change people’s minds about these things on the grounds that the Bible says it’s one way or another.
      It is exactly because of explanations such as yours, that innumerable humans on this planet feel they have no place. For you it’s all cut and dried because you have your interpretation of what you believe Jesus is saying. You believe it’s correct.
      As a minister, I will say that the more I study about homosexuality and the Bible, the less certain I am that it makes any difference whatsoever to “God”, just men. The only references that speak loudly are about same sex prostitution, never loving, committed, monogamous relationships. There is condemnation in Romans, for those who go against their nature. I don’t happen to believe being GLBT is a choice. But if someone else believes it is, that’s okay — I can’t imagine why anyone Christian or otherwise, would choose to place themselves in an immediate place of being reviled!
      The single most important thing when anyone — you, me, John P or anyone else — begins expounding on their truth, is that it is done with total love, compassion, respect, and sensitivity to where someone is coming from that we might be speaking to.
      Jesus — as far as the totality of the New Testament goes — never condemned same sex marriage, nor being GLBT. We probably should leave it that way rather than take Old Testament Scriptures to support a very shakey platform against.
      My concern is always the way in which information is delivered. If it’s delivered as though the person speaking has the only answer and that their answer is THE right answer, then I find that hurtful, and not following in the footsteps of Jesus. These are my opinions based on my study of Scripture and years in a very fundamentalist group which I have long since left! We always had to be right and could not accept people where we found them in life. We always had to get them saved and on the right track — obviously — our track — under the guise of it being Christ’s track.
      These are just some thoughts. We need the gentleness of the Spirit as we move into this world day after day. It’s my opinion we don’t need judgement, and we don’t need the demand from people that our truth become theirs — again under the guise that our truth is necessarily Christ’s truth or the Bible’s truth.
      I wish you the best, and I wish for you to consider this: Christians think that they are right because the Bible says so. Muslims think that they are right because the Quoran says so. Mormons think they are right because the Book of Mormon says so. Whatever path people follow in their spiritual life is because they truly believe that it is the only absolute truth. But in the following I think we should possibly all remember that there are many millions of people who do not agree with us. But one thing we need and which is in great demand is compassion, love, respect, and a genuine caring for one another no matter which religion or spiritual journey you feel compelled and satisfied deep in your heart to follow. I’m just suggesting. Though I do not call myself a Christian, I am totally and completely satisfied and filled with joy in my spiritual life — at peace — have an incredible relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe almost totally the opposite of you. Hmmm.
      Maybe rather than spending so much time, as has been spent for eons, pointing out and condemning our idea of “sin”, we should spend triple the time learning to live our faith in compassionate relationship, in deep committed love to our fellow humans and other living beings on this planet, and be the walking example of our faith by our love. “By this shall all know that you are my disciples, by the love you have one for the other.” I think that was the single most important statement Jesus made about how people would know we are his disciples — by our love. Not by our judgement. Not by setting people straight with chapter and verse. Not making sure people understand what we believe God expects of them ….. nope — just by our love! Just sayin’.

  22. I just wanted to say the I’ve joined the table, and hey there. I look forward to participating in conversations about some of these issues. I pray that this community can help me in dealing with some of the every day cares of life.

  23. I’m moved and concerned about these people you speak of…people different from me. I would meet them and learn about them. Perhaps we have something more in common that we know. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. So we proclaim the mystery of faith. Peace.

  24. Pingback: No, Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason | asimplefollower

  25. I have had a very difficult 2 years that all started with my Daddy having to go on dialysis after 50 years of being a diabetic. I worried about him day and night. My parents living 45 minutes away from the Dialysis Center, having dialysis 3 days/week even in bad weather, made it worse. His color was terrible, he was getting weaker and light-headed, and fell more times than I would like to count. Then I received a late-night phone call last June from my mom frantically telling me that she was sure my Daddy had just suffered a stroke and the ambulance was on it’s way. I told her I would call my sister and we would meet them at the hospital. He had indeed suffered a stroke but with 9 weeks of PT/OT he was actually better than he was before. During those early weeks I had been walking on eggshells, so afraid I was going to lose him. I couldn’t believe how well he was doing. He was so determined, when they told him to walk to the nurse’s station and back, he did twice as far. They told him 12 weeks of inpatient PT/OT, he did it in 9. He looked better than he had in a long time. He said he felt better too. Starting in September it became very painful for me to walk and my legs would not straighten, they were bent at the knee almost at a 90 degree angle and it then became impossible for me to walk at all, I have been seen by several specialists with no answers yet but test results are pending. Still, we enjoyed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I was so happy on that Easter Sunday. I spent that whole day by my Daddy’s side. He in his recliner, me beside him in my wheelchair. I held his hand, talked with him about things we loved to do, about things we wanted to do. I shared with him how happy I was that he was still with me because I wasn’t done with him, I still had so many more things to share, that I still NEEDED him. I no longer walked on eggshells. I had let my guard down. BUT when that phone rang at 4:46am just hours later I knew….I knew….I answered to my aunt asking for my husband and I knew….I gave him the phone and I knew….I heard his voice and I knew….I said what is it even though I knew….he said….it’s Dad……..I said nooooooooooooooo nooooooooooooooooo nooooooooooooooooo and I just started screaming I want my daddy i want my daddy i want my daddy i want my daddy i want my daddy i want my daddy just over and over. My husband said it went on for at least five minutes. I have to stop here because I am still only 5 months out from his loss and can’t finish

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I can identify with you so much. It has been 13 years since my father has passed and I am still grieving and wake up in cold sweats crying knowing I will never see my daddy again.

  26. This looks like a nice, quiet spot put up my feet a moment to reflect. There doesn’t seem to be anyone here to disturb me.
    OK, so here I am with all my questions. I have been accused of having the “gift of questioning” on more than one occasion. Often my questions are not necessarily meant to be answered but to be used to force myself (and sometimes others) to think about stuff. I have always said “It is better to know WHY one believes the things they do than to only claim belief”.
    Lately my questions have been about the purpose of the Bible, what the Bible has become and why so many Christians depend on it so much.
    Is this what was supposed to happen? Are we to totally depend on a few words handed down to us from our forefathers? Is the Bible complete? Mainly, I want to know, is this all there is?
    In all honesty, I must tell you that I have already answered this last question to my own satisfaction. My answer is “NO, this is not all there is”. There is so much more to this Christianity thing than the Bible lets on (and so much less as well). It’s more of a matter of “And/also” as opposed to “Either/or”. So, the Bible is not the complete story. The complete story resides with God, and in my knowing Him better, I can get a glimpse of the complete the story. The wealth of the world is not contained in the Bible, yet so many seen to think this is the case. Why? I think I need to take the Bible down a notch and increase the volume of the Voice in my head.
    The only catch is identifying the correct Voice in my head.

  27. “They told you that the main purpose of the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross was to save you…was it?”
    If the sinner’s prayer was considered a clever subtle duplicity, you will be surprised to find out how much of subtle duplicity involved with saying that the main purpose of the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross was to save you.

    I propose to you to start by tracing back the story of the cross from the very beginning:
    There…, in the paradise, God prepared for Adam and Eve what you may call “heaven on earth” and God was like a friend to them, “the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where are you? (Genesis 3:9).
    God provided them with everything they need to make their lives wonderful, but Satan came and made them another offer saying: what you have is not the best and you have been denied the “big prize”, don’t you know that when you eat from that tree you will become like God! So, what happened after that?

    Adam and Eve let down God and chose to reject their loving creator, thus insulting and hurting God’s feeling by accepting his enemy’s offer and rejecting God clear loving instruction to them. This was an insult to God and a victory for Satan. However, God being the faithful, for “He cannot deny Himself”, ( 2 Timothy 2:13), the one “whom there is no variation or shadow of shifting”, (James 1:17) and the righteous judge, (Psalm 7:11), God, therefore, did not deny the Satan his victory, moreover, in John 14:30, we see the Lord acknowledging that Satan is the prince of this world. Yet, God had a brilliant plan to defeat this enemy and regain his lost dear creature.

    From this back-drop, you can realize a threefold blow taking place:

    – A major insult was directed to God who is also the highest authority in the universe (can you imagine?).
    – Adam and Eve were lost and were evicted from the paradise.
    – Satan, justly, became the prince of the human’s world having his way with people, deceiving, torturing, destroying and also mocking them in front of God’s thrown, ( Job 1:9-10).
    To fix this problem according to God’s wisdom, the main and the No.1 priority in the plan was to first restore God’s glory after this major insult that resulted in a victory for Satan.
    In John 12, 27-28 we read, “It was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28. Father, glorify your name, then a voice came from heaven, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”, and from John 17:1-4, “1. After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”.

    You can see here that Glorifying God came first before giving eternal life to those who will believe, and the meaning of eternal life is that they know you, the only true God. Also in Luke 2:14, in the angels’ song: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. Again, here, you can see that giving glory to God comes first before announcing the blessing that humanity can receive.

    Verse 5 reminds us of God eternal glory, that glory which was once tarnished temporarily when the Satan won the battle of the garden, verse 5: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”.
    The third main purpose of the Lord Christ’s mission is mentioned in verse 4 in the same chapter (John 17), “4. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do”. This work involved setting an example in dealing with parents, friends, religious establishment, authorities, weak, sick and marginalized people, etc.

    So, in John 13 we see the threefold accomplishment of the Lord Christ countering the threefold blow that took place in the Garden of Eden:

    – Preparing to march toward the battle of the cross where Jesus defeated Satan and won the war.
    – As a result, all prophecies about his first mission on earth were fulfilled and reconciliation was God was completed and sealed with his blood.
    – The washing of the disciples feet (in the same chapter) was one of his final acts on earth, leading by example, which was the third part of his multipurpose mission, “leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

    What are the benefits of putting God first and making him the center of our lives and our worships?

    In the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, we read, “this, then, is how you should pray:
    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”, hallowed means honor and holy, this also means that we start our relationship with God by first glorifying his name.
    When we acknowledge and glorify God before anyone else, all aspects of our lives become in a proper alignment with God and all the blessing and benefits in the Lord’s prayer start flowing our way, God also said: “I will honor those who honor Me, (1 Samuel 2:30). Honor here also means to be kind and generous toward someone.
    The sad reality is that the Lord Christ has been pushed away from being in the center in many churches replaced by the pastor who became the center of attention.

    I recall many times speaking to friends asking them: where are you going to worship this morning, their answer: I’m going to pastor’s so and so church, the churches are now named after the pastors and the talk and the discussions after Sunday morning sermon and what they claim to be a worship of Christ is mainly about how good and eloquent was the pastor (or the speaker) this morning, not how good was the speaker in bringing me closer to Christ or making him the center of my life and glorifying his name.

    So, where is the clever subtle duplicity in this picture?

    A- By pushing the Lord Christ aside and making the pastor (preacher or speaker) the center of attention, the goal is to condition you to become reliant on this person in receiving the word of God. Many have gone one step further, claiming that they have a word from God for you, or a miracle has to do with your health or finance (predicating, of course, upon sending them money), in addition to all other gimmicks that you can watch played out on TV broadcasts fitting the Biblical description in Jude 1:16, “… walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage”.

    B- By making you the whole focus and the center of God’s plan of salvation (not the glorification of God first), their devious plan is to show you how much they care about you, delivering messages about how much God cares, sometimes sounding like God is disparate to have you join his side and will do anything to make that happen (I used this expression just to illustrate the point with my ultimate respect to God).

    This watering down and distortion of the message of the gospel making people also believe that spending one hour in the Church on Sunday is all that God requires from you has led many to underestimate sin, having a little desire to change their old ways.

    C- Lord Christ, being capable of achieving a multipurpose goal has, as mentioned earlier, glorified the father and defeated the enemy, completed the work of salvation and reconciliation on the cross, and left an example to be followed.
    The preachers who focus only on one aspect of the Lord Christ’s accomplishments (the redemption aspect), are denying people a wholesome teaching providing one-legged base upon which they rest their faith and conduct their lives. Obviously, the journey with God will become very shaky (one-legged base), The Lord Christ is no longer the center, little reading of the Bible to understand his example, the result is a weak person, facing many disappointments in life and constantly dependent on those preachers for help. The crux of the whole plot is this: “They are after you, not for you”.

    The question we need to ask ourselves is: Does listening to that group of preachers make me understand clearly the Lord Christ’s multipurpose mission on earth, grasp the importance of putting God first making him the center of my life? Do they encourage me to study the Bible to understand the example of Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, or their tone and the innuendo is all about keeping me coming back, so they can continue to spoon-feed me with what they want me to believe and have me continue to support the organization?
    In Romans 16:17 we learn, “Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and obstacles that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Turn away from them”.

    • Not sure on this but feel compelled to ask for a response on my thoughts!
      I have found that everyone wants to complain that churches are loosing membership – the following is my thoughts – some of the pastors are defiantly control folks, one even told me that he was the CEO and that he would say what goes on and that was it, another was also in control, no questions.
      I thought that we went to worship God but it seems that “MAN” controls what goes on is some churches and not GOD.
      I feel that “MAN” is the cause of loosing membership – The Church is the body of Christ, we should never forget that.

      Please give feed back – I may be way off in my thinking but I Pray not!

  28. I am not sure how to connect with this…….but I am drawn to it…..I have been on a similiar journey for the past 5 years…..on this journey with God me a brother feel compelled to share this type of Faith….this type of Love & Grace with our brothers and sisters…….the only guide we have is a living God who communs with us daily……be at peace beloved……

  29. Hi everyone, I came across your site John today when I got home from church, I’m actually thinking about leaving my church of 3yrs. I was church hoping for 16 and now I feel like when I have discussions of the bible and have questions, people are offended, I auditioned twice for praise band, singing is a gift and I did say in my interview that the church very diverse but on stage only white performers, singers, and I think there is room for everyone, and why only have one lead singer every Sunday, the focus is now on them. I live in Austin Texas, known for many musicians and singers. I go home to visit, my whole family on mothers side is Christian Musicians and Secular, ask, why aren’t you singing in church, and I tell them I auditioned, but to say my voice wasn’t good enough is a lie and my Grandmother says, find another church. It’s been exhausting, and when I wasn’t going through all the church hoping, I had job, no problems in relationships, peace, I’ve had no peace in 3 years since going to a steady church! I loved what you said on diversity “everyone says they want it, until it shows up at your door, then there is no room in your house!

    Sad, Confused, I don’t know who to trust anymore besides God. And for some weird reason, I feel closer to God than I’ve ever been in my life, just seems like all the friendships I’ve made in church is in turmoil because I’m not going along to get along, and I speak my mind. My music project is called Singing Lady Revolution, I’m a Political, Community, and Animal Activist and it seems like there is no place for me at church.

    Blessing John, thank you for your articles

    • Jesus said, come to me all who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.

      What you need is rest. Let me share my version of Christianity with you. Maybe it will help. Maybe not.

      Since we are truly in this world but not of it, then activism seems out of sync with the true faith. If that’s offensive, I don’t mean it to be.

      I believe through years of bible study and with a few pastors, whose congregation numbers about 25 people, that the “church” has no clue who Jesus is, who they are, and what they are supposed to be doing.

      First, the last: We are to be doing…NOTHING! The works of God is this: to believe on the one He has sent. That’s it. And that’s everything. In this way, any work that is to be accomplished, is by God Himself through us. We rest. God works.

      “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” Rom 11:35

      Far too many churches preach works-righteousness. They focus on the flesh, which accounts for nothing. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6. 63.

      If you are a Christian, then you were chosen by God. You are also sinless, holy, sanctified, redeemed, and saved. Through baptism, your sinful nature was crucified with Christ and raised anew. Through faith you were set apart as God’s son regardless of your gender.

      Now, we who no longer live under the law, are not to live by the law, the written code. We live by faith.

      We are also aliens and strangers to this globe. In reality, we are new creations, which the world has never seen the like of before. Because where we go, Jesus goes. Where we stand, Jesus stands. From God’s point of view, it’s really where Jesus goes, we go. Where Jesus stands, we stand.

      Since we are aliens here, than this world is NOT OUR HOME. The world is the Dominon of Darkness. And we are living in the Kingdom of the Son, God loves. ” For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…” Col 1:13.

      So what does this mean for daily living? Everything should become clearer for you. You, my dear, are not to be consumed with the troubles of this life. That’s God’s job to figure it all out. Because we live spiritually, in His Kingdom, we should be about the things of the Kingdom. So what are those things?

      Resting in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, that the works we do that “count” for anything are the works that Christ provided for us before the creation of the world. We are to move by the Spirit, not by the flesh.

      Activism is a worldly endeavor. I know it seems like a great and noble idea, but if you are of another Kingdom, then what business is it of yours or mine to be an activist within the Dominion of Darkness?

      Though God has forgiven all men of all sin except faithlessness in Christ (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit), He is also bringing judgment with Him to this Dominion of Darkness to destroy it, utterly.

      There’s a lot more to discuss, but I’ll break here and wait to see if you’re interested enough to reply. If not, then the Lord be with you and I’ll see you in the air.

    • I’m sorry for this second post but I forgot to check the “notify me by email” box on my previous post. So tha’s why I’m writing this short note. Thanks.

  30. I think on the ideas of gender-neutral bathrooms, the best way to solve it are family bathrooms. I believe in some of Trump’s ideas and some of Bernie’s ideas. (Although I prefer Trump). Feminism is unnecessary in the first world currently. homosexuality is wrong but I love everybody no matter their belief, gender-fluid is false, and there are only two genders. (made to describe sex). Death sentence is sometimes necessary, and if you want my opinion on anything else I might have an answer

  31. Is it possible to submit writing for inclusion on your website? I haven’t been able to figure it out, if so. I’ve written an Open Letter to Dan Turner in response to his – defending his son and the charges against him. It’s from a Mother’s point of view. I’d like to share, if possible. Thank you for the consideration.

  32. I think you are way out of line writing any letter to Dan Turner, because there is no solid evidence Chanel Miller, the real name of the woman who is supposedly Brock Turner’s victim, did not consent to everything that happened to her.
    Per the witness reports, she danced with him at the party, and left the party with him – she skips over that, claiming not to remember – but we don’t even know that is true., the fact she passed out does not mean she blacked out.
    She claimed she went to the party to spend time with her sister – but before the party, took 4 shots of whiskey – FOUR – in one hour.
    And, after she was lost at the party, her sister did not really try to find her it seems – or call the police to report her missing – sister seems to have assumed she’d gone off with some stranger.
    Was it typical for her to do this, get very drunk and then go with a stranger? Maybe – we do not know, because of rape shield laws she did not have to answer that question – but the answer she is reported as giving is quite evasive, so much so that I believe it was her pattern.
    I don’t think you had nearly enough information to judge Dan Turner or anyone involved. Did you read the primary police reports or the trial transcript? Did you go to Palo Alto and look at the court documents, as I’ve done? Do not assume a guilty verdict means much of anything, this is madhouse Northern California – men are treated very badly here in the court system -Chanel Miller is an actress and dramatist – use Google to find her Spoken Word performance videos online – her “Everywoman” speech was just another Spoken Word performance to me, and not very honest – she was not injured as she implied strongly in that statement – being bandaged and such sound so much worse, doesn’t it? She was very humiliated of course, waking up in the hospital, but if not for being rich and/or a woman, she could’ve worken up in a drunk tank at county jail – that would be humiliating also – but either way, it was HER actions, her DRUNKENESS, that caused it.

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    • Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog through the BloggerChicks blogroll. Looks like we enjoy reading some of the same bloggers. It’s a small mommy blog world out there!I like the idea of the mom’s group. I’ll go check it out. You have a beautiful daughter by the way!

  35. Hello John –
    Thank you for your kind heart. I just found you the other day when a friend sent me your “Here’s Why We Grieve” article. It is a beautiful, is sad, piece. I am thinking that maybe something good can come out of this US election after afterall.
    So, I write you today to connect… and to offer a small gift.
    I am a marriage therapist and I have created a free newsletter for parents. You can find out about it (and me) by checking my website (see below). I am thinking that you might like to see the newsletter. It comes out as an email attachment 6 to 7 times yearly. It may be that others you know might also like it. It reflects many of the values you speak of in your work. You get on the mailing list by sending an email and asking to sign up. Simple. Free. 🙂
    Well, I will leave it there for now. Keep up your good work!
    All the best! ~ Cliff

  36. //கவிதைக்குப் பொருள் கேட்பது வன்மம் நிறைந்தது// மன்னாரு அண்ணே எப்படி எல்லாம் பொருள் கேட்கலாம் என்பது உங்க கிட்ட à®®•Ã Â®Â¤Ã Â¯ÂÃ Â¤ுகிடனும் என்ன செய்வது நானும் கொஞ்சநாள் உங்க கூட சுத்திய தோசம் செருப்பால் அடிக்க சொன்னது

  37. Gents – Dr O’Mahony makes some inrtseeting points about the vested interests involved in the war on drugs, and how whole economies are propped up by it. Always be following the money … Cheers, Dec

  38. Dear John Pavlovitz,

    I saw your article on church plants entitled:

    “Why They are Leaving You”

    I was very glad to discover this because I had read an article on Church Central entitled:

    “Reasons to Join a Local Church”

    I wrote a response to it that somewhat addresses same issue in your article : “Reasons to Flee Your Local Church”

    But my list is the biblical reasons saints should flee vs. join. If you care to send me your email I will send it to you. On a parallel front, that speaks to two dimensions of your calling:

    1. What needs to be said.
    2. Topic for your Tabletalk

    And this is the recent seizure of a local church property and bank account. A lawsuit was filed. The local church is doing a national media blitz exposing this in Feb 2017. So just wanted you to have a heads up!


    James Sundquist

  39. I wish the church would understand why people are leaving them. It isn’t what they think. Part of it is the dense “Christian speak” they use. They read to new people a book written in an archaic language and use “born again”, “name and claim”, “the story”, “traveling mercies”, “alter call”, “on mission”, “stewardship”, “ask Jesus into your heart”, “God is in control”, “hate the sin, love the sinner” (followed by hate, not love). “Lord willing”, “walking down the aisle”, “salvation”, “pray it away”, “prayer warriors”, “mark of Cain”, and “religious freedom”. Let me clue you all in, these words mean very little to me, as a Christian, and nothing to the outsider. Blasting us with entertainment, guilt, harsh judgment, unworthiness, and meaningless gibberish doesn’t help someone in the throws of grief, the teenager confused with his/her same sex attraction, the homeless person that hasn’t eaten a good meal nor showered in weeks, or someone that is self medicating his PTSD away. The church is more worried about how to tighten the grip of its people as more slip from its fingers. I simply don’t see Jesus there and neither do a lot of people. Now the church is the number one creator of atheists. These smart people don’t want to believe in a cruel, warlike, patriotic, egotistic, prejudiced, unforgiving, and punitive Jesus that speaks in code as a ridiculous test of faith in him. Such a Jesus has no place in our lives, especially when we are already hurting and beaten down. Why would anyone run to a place when their heart hurts to a place that instantly judges them or tells them they can never love anyone else ever or think that you can pray the way you are into something the church “deems acceptable” or humiliates them because of what they are struggling with ? It is too little, too late for me to go back to church. I don’t feel like I need to be humiliated, shamed, unforgiven, and neither do my friends. I have found Jesus elsewhere.

  40. My stock of patience, no matter how high, can be exhausted eventually, never fear. A few more exchanges like this, perhaps three, might discover the finale of my forbearance.You seem to be under the impression that writing nonsensical accusations against my person constitutes an argument that I am obligated to answer or refute. In logic, merely identifying an argument as illogical is the sufficient and entire refutation and answer: because it shows that it is not an argument.

  41. “Dedicated to the intrinsic value of all people.” Except those evangelical Christians. You know, the ones that perhaps voted for Trump? Or more accurately, didn’t want to vote for anybody but voted republican because they believe in pro-life? Or some other issue of vital importance to them? Everybody except them. They are shitheads and deserve to be shamed. What a double standard. Do you not even see it in yourself? The evangelicals I know are selfless people who give loads of time and cold hard cash to people less fortunate and missions abroad. I’m sorry you aren’t acquainted with these kinds of Christians apparently. A public call to social justice is always proper for all followers of Jesus, but shaming? Then you’re no better than the rich Pharisee thinking that they are better than everybody. It’s circular, you see? So keep the “loving” part and ditch the “shaming” part, that’s my advice to you, my fellow image bearer of Christ.

  42. I was wondering why you have not posted in the “about me” what are your major Biblical beliefs? As a believer I think this would be very helpful.


  43. I agree with you that Trump is not a Christian, or religious in any way. If fact, I think he is probably the anti-Christ that some people believe is supposed to come.

    I’ve been encouraging people to Tweet “#Trump the Traitor should be impeached” because of his ties to Russia. Now I think people should also Tweet “#Trump the Anti-Christ should go to Hell.”

  44. John,
    I recently read your commentary in the Dallas Morning News, “Christian nationalism has a scary kinship to neo-Nazis”. I love the article and found it so incredibly insightful and spot on regarding the state of hateful diatribe that is now so prevalent in America. We have clearly forgotten the we are all the ancestors of immigrants. As a Christian, I find it devastating that those who call themselves Christian and are spouting this hate have such a platform now to do it. Christians have forgotten what Jesus wanted from us and they hide behind their country club churches. They have forgotten that we have an obligation put forth by Christ to be the missionary at all time. What a missed opportunity to brings others to Christ by sitting in the dark in fear, sniping at the very beings Christians are supposed to minister to. My ancestors came over on a boat, albeit the British invasions of the 1620’s. It doesn’t make me anymore important, valued or belonging than those that are trying to come from a war torn country. It saddens me everyday that we have become a country where so many spew hate in the name of Christianity. I pray for change, the sooner the better.

  45. Hi John,
    I just found this and it aligns so beautifully with a vision my brother and I have for the Church. I am excited to follow along and maybe someday link up somehow.
    Best regards from ATX,

  46. Pastor John:
    You are right on point my friend.
    I appreciate that you challenge us to examine our lives in light of the faith that we profess. 2nd Corinthians 13:5a tells us to “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves.”

    Here in America, Christianity has been easy — unlike much of the world where persecution of Christians is the norm not the exception. I fear that may change.

    To those who are fighting the rising tide of evil that we are daily seeing, don’t think that the battle will be a short one. Fatigue is a danger. I want to encourage you to keep in the fight. Stay strong and grow your faith by doing what’s right, always.

    I’d like to share three verses that point out how crucial this struggle is —–
    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes ( pride), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.

    Sound like anybody we are dealing with on the national level? ….and maybe even closer to home?

    Isaiah 59:14-16
    Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness can’t enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His own arm brought salvation to him (mankind); and His righteousness, it upheld him (mankind).

    We are called to be those intercessors – but it may come at a cost to us…….are we committed enough to stand true to our LORD and resist the lies, callousness and disregard for the vulnerable that seems to be the fashion of those in power.

    Proverbs 15:3
    The LORD”S eyes are everywhere, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

    The LORD knows those that are His and those who are striving to do what He called us to do.

    Don’t let discouragement take over—-
    You may find ( and some of you have already experienced this ) that some of the strongest opposition you will face will be from those in your own church, maybe even from your Pastor. They will strive to make you doubt your stance against the rising darkness. But know, as the above verses make plain, you do have the “moral authority” to resist, fight and intercede for those who are powerless, afraid and alone. That’s what Christ did for us, lets pass it forward.

    Stay strong, be encouraged and keep the faith!

  47. I am so happy to be looking at theism from a distance. What a relief it is to be free of all the angst and confusion. I am continually astounded by mental twists and turns people take to believe things that cannot possibly be true.

  48. I was “commanded” to “honor” our President by my Pastor today.

    I sent him this email. I posted this on my FB page. If this content is inappropriate, please delete.

    An Open Letter to My Pastor and Other Pastors Who Use the Pulpit to Command Us to Support Trump
    Why do you repeatedly use the pulpit to tell us to support Mr. Trump? The first time you did that I shared my feelings with you in an email and have not raised the issue again. Yet I have continued to come.
    I sing. I worship. I pray. I listen. I support the church’s good works financially.
    I grit my teeth during the continued scripture readings about our leaders being chosen by God and our need to obey them.
    Today you read from Paul, who tells his readers they must “honor the Emperor.” And to make sure we are getting the message, you bring up Trump’s name.
    What in the world would motivate a pastor, Sunday after Sunday, to, in effect, broadcast commercials for a man like Mr. Trump?
    Of all there is to pray for, talk about…of all the scripture there is to read…
    What is your motivation?
    Let our democratic process, under God’s watchful eye, run its course.
    I think God can handle this without your help, don’t you?
    Since you brought the subject up again…for the record…the facts regarding Mr. Trump as held in evidence are as follows:
    He is a pathological liar.
    He committed treason with an enemy country.
    He has put together the most corrupt cabinet in the history of America.
    You may choose to take Paul’s teaching literally and honor Mr. Trump.
    I take Jesus’ teachings literally–the ones in the Bible attributed to Jesus with quotes around them.
    As a follower of Jesus Christ I know Mr. Trump and his government are doing evil and the evil must be stopped.
    I know the difference between a lie and truth and I know that Mr. Trump and his administration’s current behavior is anathema to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
    None of this is my opinion. None of it is fake news. There is tangible evidence for every point I have made.
    If Jesus appeared before you and me with certainty I would repeat everything I have said.
    You like so many others are wrong about Trump. He is not a new David….not a new Saul/Paul. Both David and Saul/Paul came from pious families. When they sinned, they had a deep foundation of spiritual teaching upon which to draw. Mr. Trump had no such benefit. His father taught him racism and to win by cheating. Mr. Trump is amoral. He is a clinical malicious narcissist. Mr. Trump measures goodness by whether it meets HIS needs. I am not being cruel; this is a clinical truth about Mr. Trump and is clearly evidenced in his behavior.
    For a pastor to tell a congregation we should honor Mr. Trump is like Abraham telling Lot, “Sure, move your family to Sodom. It’s pretty wicked there but I have it on good authority that any day now things are going to change.”
    And as for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin’s role in end-time teachings — with Gog/Magog invading Israel before the coming of Messiah – I was taught not to obsess about the End Times…to follow God’s commandments, to live every day, loving God and loving God’s children. God will take care of the End Times. He is perfectly capable of handling the End Times Himself. I have my own job to do. I don’t need to be second-guessing who should be President so I can maneuver people in place to get the End Times rolling. Ironically, the other “religious” group that is trying to “trigger” the End Times is Isis.
    I do believe in redemption. If God performs a miracle and redeems Mr. Trump, that will be a great thing for everyone. But right now I can only evaluate Mr. Trump’s deeds. And right now they are evil…and in their evil…they are hurting—not just American citizens but also other folks in the world. They are putting the entire world in danger.
    I pray constantly. I don’t tell God what to do. I pray that Trump gets and listens to good guidance. I pray that God keeps our country safe and also the world we impact. I pray that God admonishes any wrong thinking in me.
    I love Trump as God commands us. Believe it or not I feel sorry for him. He is clinical and being used by the Russians, by wealthy fringe interest groups in the U.S., and by the Republican Leadership.
    But I do not honor him. The evil Trump is doing impacts not just our country but also the world.
    I know you love God. However much of a nut case you think I am…if any of what I have said resonates with you, please let those thoughts roll around in your head.
    There is such a thing as evil you know.
    I pray that the Trump Dynasty will be over in the not too distant future. My prediction is that Trump and probably Pence will have to resign due to the treason proven by taped FBI conversations. And that Paul Ryan will appoint a new Republican president who will choose his new VP.
    And then this broken nation needs to see if we can heal.

    • Wow Victoria!! What a well written letter ..I am right with you.
      I hope you have received a lot of support as a result of this letter, you deserve it.

      Light and Love

  49. Wondering if you all would take a moment to help me? Could you take a moment to respond to this question?

    What does “renewal of the church and transformation of the world” mean to you?
    I appreciate your time

  50. Satan is a liar and The father of lies, The Anti-Christ.
    John Pavlovitz distorts and corrupts The Truth, a liar.
    John Pavlovitz is a son of The Anti-Christ.
    REPENT for your Redeemer draws near!

  51. Dear John:

    I’m a 30+ year Bible student, who in recent years has moved from a standard semi-“Dispensational” style of view to a form of preterism, and this shift has also made me see the issue of homosexuality in a different light. I was rather disappointed in the recent “Nashville Statement”, which included nearly every major evangelical leader (including a few I liked, such as Michael Horton for his writings on the culture wars), in a show of unity not seen anywhere else, against Homosexuals, and even those who support them.

    I had liked some of your articles I’ve seen on Patheos. I myself believe that the Gospel is that God is no longer judging people by the Law. This is premised on a preterist view of eschatology that says the “World” or “Age” that was ending in the NT was the age of Law itself (not an end of the physical universe, and thus still in our future). In this period, there was an overlap of covenants, where Grace was being introduced, but they were still under the threat of judgment, and so they had to “run the race” in faith and partial obedience to the Law.
    The Law was summed up in “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12), and with homosexuality, it’s a private, hopefully consensual matter.

    I myself outlined a statement in response, since there needs to be a more biblical answer to the homosexuality issue than its defenders are offering (which is more emotion driven than anything else, and further justifies the harsh condemnation in the mind of the critics).

    The current condemnation of gays stems from:
    •A confusion of Law and Grace (the purpose and duration of the Law, and how it is “fulfilled”)
    -Evangelicals always recite the correct protocol on this, but in practice get sidetracked by apparent contradictions to a full unconditional grace in scripture (such as commands to “repent”), and try unsuccessfully, to harmonize them, leading to an inconsistent admixture of Law and Grace. Also tack on faulty arguments, on “nature” or denigration of institutions such as marriage, or “humanity” itself; and the ultimate infusion of political agenda into the matter (focus on “the nation” or “civilization” being saved or destroyed), to prove it’s still wrong.

    •This in turn stems from misunderstanding of scriptural terms like “world”, “age” and “flesh”, and what their “end” (as the hope of the Gospel) and the associated “judgment” were (along with the contexts of scriptures like Romans and who is being described).

    •Misunderstanding or assumptions of what the “power of the Spirit” is and does (this is ultimately what gays are being condemned [and their experiences dismissed] over, so it is most important, and yet is not being questioned).

    Here is the statement summing up all of this:

    1) Romans 1 (and 2) are referring to Israelites (who had received divine revelation; i.e. God “showed them”), and preached it to others, yet did the same things themselves (thus “knowing full well the condemnation”); not just any person at any time, who happens to do things contrary to the Law (other NT passages have also been answered, hermeneutically).

    2) Much of the NT’s use of “clear terms” [used against gays] such as “sin” (as something we can supposedly ‘not’ do), “holiness”, “righteousness”, “sanctification”, “washing”, etc. (that one cannot be “saved” without) are positional, not behavioral.
    Failure to understand this is what has caused much confusion over “faith vs works”, even within ‘orthodoxy’.
    “Walking in the flesh or spirit” likewise is not “indulging in sinful pleasures” versus restraining them with what’s being called “divine help”, as is commonly assumed; but rather about whether a person is trusting in their own efforts, or in Christ’s righteousness imputed to them.

    3) The lynchpin of the whole issue is the whole “impartation” of “power” concept, which pervades Christian teaching across virtually all denominations and sects, and is seen in terms of transforming our behavior supernaturally (upon a regiment of prayer, meditation and Bible study, which would then gradually change our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and finally desires), leaving gays, (or potentially anyone “struggling” with anything), “without excuse”. (And the “faith” and “prayer” part of it is also the basis of the “prosperity” or “word-faith” gospels, which are rejected by serious apologists. It’s the same claims extended to health and wealth).
    But righteousness is imputed, and the “power” of the Spirit was the “right” to be called children of God, which bore witness with their spirit. It is not about better behavior, which in practice only results from a “growth process” brought on by self-effort (that is not even exclusive to born-again Christians, and is basically faulty and subjective when used as “proof” for what others should do). “Growing” in character is of course good, but to confuse it with “sanctification”, “conversion”, “salvation”, mandatory for “passing from death to life”, etc. turns “grace” back into bona-fide works-salvation!

    4) Humanity and God as Creator are being wrongly defined in terms of humans’ sexual behavior

    5) The argument from “nature” is totally inconsistent. On one hand, gays are accused of violating God’s “holy creation” by not living according to its sexual assignments. Yet on the other hand, when dealing with the issue of pain and suffering, sin, evil, violent natural instincts in animals and manifesting in men, and even things totally beyond man’s control, including the existence of homosexuality or genderfluidity by birth (starting to be actually granted as genuine but still “sin” by many condemners), then “creation” is said to be “corrupted”, and God promising to destroy it (and replace it with a new kind of existence totally devoid of sex), and man being condemned for being “natural” rather than “spiritual”.
    (“Nature” and even “creation” were apocalyptic symbols referring to the Old Covenant system.To be “spiritual” was to be covered by Christ and our efforts or “inheritance” were what were “natural”. Much of Christianity has reversed this. The “marriage” of Christ to the Church is also, of course, not a literal physical union).

    6) The Law was directly said by Christ to be SUMMED UP in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is why killing, stealing, etc. are still “sins”, and even recognized as such and punished by secular societies. All of the other points of the Biblical Law (that did not involve public morality) were “added” because man fell into “sin” (Gal.3:19), from taking upon himself the “knowledge of good and evil” (which then became the standard God held man up to), and then violating even the basic moral laws; but this, only until “the Seed” should come.

    7) Marriage “covenants” between two people are not affected by what other people do between themselves.

    8) Since the discussion of homosexuality is about intimate and consensual acts, this is why they are not the same as the obvious “sins” of killing, stealing, pedophilia, etc.
    Also, Christians usually recognize that relationships should not be reduced down to just sex, but this is what they are doing when focusing on gays.

    9) In comparing the LGBT conflict to scriptural conflict over the coming of Christ and the “sword” of disunity He brings, gays are the ones who end up “losing mothers, fathers, houses, etc.” and opposers of their lifestyle are the offended authority figures applying the pressure. So they cannot appeal to the “sword of truth”, as Christ was actually referring to a “sword” of opposition toward Himself and anyone who stands in the way of “traditional” religious establishments. Those holding His truth, while defending it, do not need to resort to such oppressive measures, for “My Kingdom is not of this world”. And most of these people are not enduring all of that just to engage in some “sinful pleasure” or to spite God.

    10) Christians claim to be acting in “love” toward gays, but the premise is a goal of trying to change them, based on what is ultimately the coercion of a fear premise (condemnation) unless a “give and take” condition (become willing to “change”, or else) is met. Unbiblical secular political agendas such as “saving” or “taking back” the “nation”, “culture” or “Western Civilization” (through outward “righteousness”) are also usually involved at the bottom of it.
    This really compromises the notion of “grace, not works”. It is the same exact error of the apostate Israelites who opposed Christ and the apostolic Church, in the name of the Law, and national “righteousness”. “True love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

    11) [This one is based on an uncommon view of eschatology and so will be the hardest to argue]. Deviations from sexual norms assumed by the Law may have possibly still been seen as a “perversion” in the NT, but there was an overlap of covenants where the Law was still partly in effect. The “blessed hope” was the “SOON” end of this “age” when God’s “wrath” would be “complete”, and redemption fully realized. That is what they were “running the race” to, and it was something within their lifetimes. This “waiting period” of mixed Law, Grace and remaining condemnation (the “travailing of creation” or “old wine in new wineskins”) has been extended indefinitely in conventional teaching and used for unbiblical control (by fear) along the way. (e.g. it’s not scriptural to force a homosexual into a lifelong “struggle” against his preference, and then justify staking salvation on it by calling that “running the race” [or any other difficulty anyone else suffers, for that matter], for the end of that race was redemption itself ⦅1 Cor.9:24-27; “castaway”=reprobate⦆, and this would be clear works’ salvation, and shows the overlap of covenants).

    12) Even if one thinks these understandings of scripture are wrong, one cannot honestly claim “the issue is rejection of scripture” or even “revising of scripture”, “explaining away the truth so people can freely sin”, etc. (in order to bolster the argument). It has to be shown from the scriptures (in their original contexts, and not through “church tradition”, majority consensus, seniority, or manmade, spur of the moment doctrinal statements, which are sources that have been wrong before) where they are wrong.

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