religious crap

Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Filed under: life | Tags: , | 47 Comments »

A friend asked me, “How do you read the scriptures and make sense of them?”

My answer is simple: Read them as though the entire thing is about Jesus. Because it is.

“Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’  – John 1-29-30 MSG

My litmus test for everything in the Christian agenda is: “What does this have to do with the finished work of Jesus?” Every sermon, every mission, every stance… What does it have to do with the finished work of Jesus?

When I read scripture, I look through the lens of Jesus and figure out where the story is on the timeline. God is sovereign. Jesus is His masterpiece. Scripture is His love story. Some of it is preparation for the need of a Savior, some of it is the promise, and some of it is the declaration. It only makes sense in light of the truth of Who God is and what Jesus accomplished.

If you’re not familiar with the nature of God or what Jesus actually accomplished on the cross, then nothing will make sense. It might teach you something. It might guide you in a polished life, but it won’t set you free apart from Jesus.

“We ought to read the scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them. Whoever shall turn aside from this object, though he may weary himself throughout his whole life in learning, will never attain the knowledge of the truth; for what wisdom can we have without the wisdom of God?” – John Calvin in his Commentary on the Gospel of John

John, in that scripture above, is excited about the fact that He could point to Jesus. Jesus “forgives the sins of the world“. That’s one huge thing. Did you catch the last part? He’s “really ahead of” him. Do you have any idea what that means? I can’t possibly cover all of that territory in one word-count-friendly blog. But, I’ll give it a start…

I hear a lot about social justice in Christian circles. People are forming coalitions to feed the orphans, the widows, and the poor. That’s awesome, but what does it have to do with the finished work of Jesus? Don’t misunderstand. I’m familiar with the scriptures and I’m on board with helping those in need. It’s just that if you’re incapable of administering the balm of the Gospel to someone you pass by every day, then you have no business using God’s name to dish out bread and fish to the hungry. You’re no different than the one who does good deeds in the name of a tax break.

These people are on Christ’s agenda because they’re in a unique place of feeling forgotten by Him. It’s the same as the one who is well fed, but crippled by their sin. They feel like Christ will have nothing to do with them. Jesus reaches out to the oppressed. If you can’t convince a maimed Christian that Jesus has justified him, then how can you convince an economically challenged stranger that God holds them in His hand? Meeting the needs of those in need is an expression of a deep belief, not an evidence of a stance of faith.

What does social justice have to do with the finished work of Jesus? When done with a Christ centered heart, it has everything to do with it. They’re too weak to fight the oppression on their own. You’re meeting someone in the midst of their despair and using what you know about the finished work of Jesus to convince them that God loves them, even though everything hurts. If you can’t apply the truth of that to a fellow Christian who has fallen, then you can’t apply that to anyone.

Christianity has a culture and that culture bends and morphs to whatever it wants whenever it wants. Some eras start a new country in the name of religious freedom (America). Some eras burn so-called witches in the name of purity (Salem). Christian culture is fickle.

I have seen people travel across the globe to hand out coloring books filled with the truth of Jesus while penning letters to old friends who sinned that denies everything the coloring book says. It’s as though the Gospel has been reserved for nonbelievers and taken away, as punishment, from fallen believers.

Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?” – John 1:38 MSG

I am convinced that God will use despair to reveal Himself. That means that He will not shield you from pain. He’ll reveal Himself within it. For those who mess up, their sin reveals their need for a Savior and it is the responsibility of the Savior’s bride, His church, to tell them that their need has been met.

What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?

People have drifted so far away from the message of the Gospel that they completely annihilate the very people for whom Jesus died. They’re more concerned about the way they live their life than about remembering why they have a life at all.

“Come, follow me.”Jesus, John 1:43 MSG

You can string a thief up on a cross of public shame, but while you’re turning on your self-righteous heel, Jesus is promising him a spot next to Him in Heaven. You can gather the roughest stones to publicly punish the adulterer, but while you’re flexing your religious muscles, Jesus is drawing a line and taking sides with her. You can refuse a seat at a table with a sinner, but Jesus will not only drink wine with him, but He’ll wash his feet before the glass is empty.

What in the world does your stance of faith have to do with the finished work of Jesus? You claim faith, but faith in what? Without keeping Him and what He accomplished at the center of your reason, it’s just religious crap and we’re better off without it.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.– 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 MSG

What does this have to do with Jesus?

 


47 Comments »


47 Comments on “religious crap”

  1. 1 @wendycwood said at 9:17 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Perfect timing, I needed this.

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 9:34 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Good. 🙂 (cute picture!)

  3. 3 Sam said at 10:09 am on January 28th, 2013:

    So good as usual…

  4. 4 Juliet deWal said at 10:11 am on January 28th, 2013:

    I read an atricle this morning that said it this way:

    "The idea is this: the Bible isn’t given to us so that we can prove our points, defend our doctrinal statements, and support our creeds. These things are important, but they are not our primary task, nor are they the primary purpose of Scripture.

    Scripture is given to help us imagine a new way of living, a way in which Jesus Christ rules and reigns over earth, a way in which God’s values of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness become more dominant than the ways of power, authority, greed, and control.

    The gospels were not given so that we can know and defend all the truth about Jesus, as important as that is. The gospels are given to show us what God’s rule and reign looks like in one person, and in revealing this, embark us upon an imaginative adventure where we can similarly live like Jesus in our own lives, families, and neighborhoods." • N. T. Wright

    I love it.

    Especially since we are so wired, so bizarrely and wrongly wired to protect our own, to choose the "mission field" that we feel naturally drawn to and then we say "what a joy it is to serve Jesus"
    Bullcrap. What a joy it is to stay comfortable and self-righteous!

    OR we choose something that is exactly the opposite of what kind of person we're drawn to, and then congratulate ourselves on stretching our limits.

    It's all about us when it's not even supposed to be remotely about us, except that Jesus, awesome and fan-frickin-tastic Jesus came along and loved me up. 🙂

  5. 5 Sheri said at 10:50 am on January 28th, 2013:

    I detest the religious spirit. Like I was telling someone who struggles with religion, it might come veiled in incense and cloaked in a hue of good works. It might even get you noticed. There can be such a payoff for those who want to meet God on their terms… Do not be fooled,… There is nothing good a spirit of religion has to offer. It has one mandate, to steal, kill and destroy… I appreciate your continuing to unmask that spirit from the perspective of the wounded.

  6. 6 serenawoods said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Thanks, Sam. 🙂

  7. 7 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  8. 8 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  9. 9 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  10. 10 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  11. 11 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  12. 12 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  13. 13 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  14. 14 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  15. 15 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  16. 16 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  17. 17 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  18. 18 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  19. 19 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  20. 20 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  21. 21 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  22. 22 Jeremy Walker said at 11:08 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Wow, way to light a fire, Serena! I totally agree with what you're saying here. You know, sometimes I think we're more motivated to reach out to those in other countries because let's face it, the way we Christians value things, reaching out to people in another country honestly looks better to us then reaching out to someone in our own back yard. I mean let's be honest…how do you think most Christians would respond if they found out their pastor was ministering to the well known church pariah that committed adultery instead of orphans in another country? I think if we're being honest, a lot of brothers and sisters would think his priorities are out of whack. But are they really? Now don't get me wrong, I fully support missions work and I have worked with some awesome missionaries in my life…but honestly, it's not that hard to tell who has been truly called to minister to people in a place like, Africa and who is just trying to look good in their fellow Christians eyes.

    The thing is, I think it's totally possible to help those in need around the world, as well as those in our own city…but I think it all starts a little closer to home than we think.

    Acts 1:8– "you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

    Great post!
    My recent post final words to an old friend….

  23. 23 serenawoods said at 11:09 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Awesome, deWal. 🙂

  24. 24 serenawoods said at 11:10 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Thanks, Sheri. 🙂

  25. 25 serenawoods said at 11:12 am on January 28th, 2013:

    I think you're right. 🙂

  26. 26 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  27. 27 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  28. 28 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  29. 29 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  30. 30 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  31. 31 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  32. 32 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  33. 33 Rebekah said at 4:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    Oh, how I love this!…especially that part about Jesus taking sides. 🙂
    My recent post Theology…An Idol?

  34. 34 sarah said at 6:30 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    As someone who is going through an intense doubting period……out of which I may never return. Seriously. It seems like you're banking everything on the literal Christian teachings of Jesus. I'm pretty much over religion in general….I think it's possible that Jesus existed and that He taught about love and forgiveness. However….speaking from a personal place….I really have a hard time with all the bull that is "Religion" (said in a booming, echoing voice). Sometimes I read your writings and wonder why it matters so much to you. Why do you have to get them to forgive and love you? If Jesus is real and He loves you, then what would it matter if they hate you? What would it matter? Shouldn't you just turn the other cheek? Shouldn't you give them as much grace as Jesus gives you? When have Christians ever really practiced true Christianity? I'm just at a point now where I'm like, "Who cares anymore?". Religion is a human concept. Love…..that's not something that's locked into the Christian religion.

    Anyway….just my thoughts. I was raised Christian, but……I just can't anymore. The religious elite and the religiously rejected…..it's all so confusing to me now.

    I still love God….but my concept of God is just…pure love. I can hardly go to church anymore because I can't stand all the politics and churchy church stuff. It's a giant club house filled with all the best fakers and mean hearted snots. And….ultimately….it's just human nature that people don't care about other people. It's all a big farce.

    I wish I could erase all this from my mind….but I just can't. I can't even buy into it anymore. And that makes me sad…..

  35. 35 LAURA said at 11:10 pm on January 28th, 2013:

    So very true! Thanks for putting it into words for us.

  36. 36 serenawoods said at 9:10 am on January 29th, 2013:

    Thanks, Rebekah. 🙂

  37. 37 Dawn said at 7:58 pm on January 29th, 2013:

    I agree with you sarah.

  38. 38 Dawn said at 8:03 pm on January 29th, 2013:

    Poignant Serena. Keeping Grace on the front lines in Christianity.

  39. 39 @beejaloo said at 4:59 am on January 30th, 2013:

    Solid post, Serena. 5ish months ago I inherited a position as a youth pastor & a few days ago I saw a link to your article on our youth group's fb page. I couldn't agree more with what you've said. Also, as a youth pastor, I'm encouraged to find that my students are reading articles like yours. Thank you for your raw, real, and introspective insights. Those words need to be read. And repeated.

  40. 40 @beejaloo said at 5:00 am on January 30th, 2013:

    Sarah, your post has tugged at my heart. I mean that sincerely, and not because of your doubts and confusion, or because you've expressed thoughts that aren't excepted as "normative" Christian thinking. I'm arrested because of the familiarity of your situation and frankly, I wish there was something profound I could say to satisfy your exhaustion & confusion surrounding the churchy church. Unfortunately, no such rhetoric comes to mind, nor truly satisfies the questions you have. However, If I may offer any advice, let God pursue you. You say you still believe in him (at least idealistically, I assume) and his love. Focus on that. Enrich that. Hang on to that, because at the end of the day it's all you have. It's not you and the world, the church, politics, or anyone or anything else–it's just you and Him. Let God work with that. Sit back in this phase and just let him. Whenever I got tired of church crap and wanted to leave the christianity and religion behind, it was always God that brought me back to where I needed to be; to Himself. He pursued me. And I say all of this carefully, not as some pastor "know it all," but as someone who's wandered aimlessly and hopelessly up and down the road you're on.
    Also, Sarah, be encouraged. The questions you have and the doubts that have been raised are evidence of a genuine heart. You have a very practical perception of things and when diverse human natures take precedence over the character of God (love, as you said) all this christian stuff becomes real confusing. Sarah, I'd like to believe that you've struggled over certain issues and purposes of Christianity bc there is potential in you that's so powerful that what "cuts it" for everyone else simply won't cut it for you. As candid a stranger as I can possibly be on a comment post, I sincerely pray that you receive EVERYthing God has intended for you to have. Here's to hoping that God speaks the things to you that you've been waiting to hear.

  41. 41 This ~n~ That | Are We There Yet? said at 5:01 pm on February 4th, 2013:

    […] your goods deeds have nothing to do with the finished work of Jesus, they are just Religious Crap. (not a word I use, but is sometimes applicable!) “If you can’t convince a maimed Christian […]

  42. 42 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!

  43. 43 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!

  44. 44 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!

  45. 45 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!

  46. 46 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!

  47. 47 Sharon said at 10:57 am on February 8th, 2013:

    "What do you want? What are you after? Purity? Happiness? Riches? Recognition? Or just Jesus?" Love this, just beautiful! Just give me Jesus….He is enough. IT is He that I seek, no other.

    My recent post A Day for Love and Serving!


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