Quitting The Church

Unless you’ve been in a cave (or sitting on a lake in a cabin with no electricity in Maine) you’ve probably read or heard about Anne Rice quitting Christianity. I can understand how Anne feels. Her list of complaints and accusations are somewhat familiar to me.  I’ve felt estranged from some parts of the Church for sometime. By God’s grace I have found a body of believers who are tolerant of diverse beliefs. For many years, I attended churches where I felt very uncomfortable and distrusting of their applied Christianity. It wasn’t their beliefs that I was leery of, rather how they applied those beliefs to everyday situations.

Anne has articulated several points where she feels that Christianity(read the Church) is not living out what Christ is really about. Her list is rather interesting, quoting from her post:

I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.

Most of her complaints are on real or perceived hypocrisy in the Church. Truth be told the Evangelical Church in America is known more for what it is against rather than what it is for. That, in itself, is a sad affair. Stop most people on the street and ask what Evangelicals believe and that person will list all of the anti- that has been espoused. Ultimately, Anne Rice’s statements might do more to solidify what the Church believes in a positive sense. The great creeds were all written in a positive style. “We believe” was emblazoned at the start of each line. If the Church wrote a new creed for today, could they embrace a series of positive statements?

Ms Rice is absolutely correct in her evaluation of the current state of some churches in America. They claim to be pro-life. However, they are only pro-life when they refer to beginning and the end of life. The rest of the time, not so much. They are quick to protest in front of a clinic that does abortions, sometimes hurling insults at those entering the clinic. They fail however, to help those who might need the help the most, the mothers. They create caricatures of the women going into the clinic without getting to know them and come beside them to help.

Evangelicals speak about having “Family Values” then their divorce rate matches the secular world. Evangelical teen pregnancy rate matches or exceeds secular teens. Despite these facts, they claim that the “institution” pf marriage will be damaged by letting  gay couples get married. Their argument would be much, much stronger, if those in the Church actually had the same respect for “Family Values” that they want to impose on others.

So, for Ms. Rice, this has become a very public protest. Some have not been comfortable with what has been said, others are claiming that Ms. Rice was never a Christian. Still others like me, support her and understand what she is going through. Public protests can develop into great public discussions and debates.What is needed is a discussion of what the Church will look like and act like in America. Hopefully, this discussion will now start.

Some other sites that have had brisk discussions

Internet Monk

Jesus Creed

Excellent post at St.Johnny.com

Excerpt From today’s Doug Paggit Show

Huffington Post

Published in: on 08/01/2010 at 7:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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Christianity in China

There’s an interesting NPR story on the Christian Church in China. Despite years of official atheism, the Church is flourishing. A good listen or read. Here’s the link.

Published in: on 07/19/2010 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A little background: On June 1,2006 I had a liver/kidney transplant. My condition is caused by an auto-immune issue in my body.  I have been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC),  The PSC deteriorated my natural liver to the point where it was barely functioning when I was transplanted. My kidney problems were caused by the failure of the liver.

When I was transplanted, I got a second chance at life.  Having a transplant gives you pause. In my case, someone had to die for me to live (one day I’ll write a post on this as an archetype of Christ).  I certainly didn’t cause that person’s death, but without it I wouldn’t be posting this.

I’ve found that I’ve had moments of incredulity when it comes to the transplant. I go through times when I can’t believe that it all happened to me. One look in the mirror solves that fit of unbelief. Although my incisions have long healed, there are still some faint scars even after 4 years.

Overall, I have no negative thoughts about the transplant operation or recovery. I did not spend any time trying to blame God for what happened.I am particularly Blessed from God with a wonderful life without whom I would not have made it. I also gained a couple of friends, one of whom I’ve become very close with.

I’ve learned a lot from the experience, trusting God, prayer,patience, and faith among them. I wish I could say that I’ve become accomplished at each one of those items, I haven’t I still struggle with each and everyone of them. The only difference is now I have a pointer. When I get too down, I think back to the transplant. If God can do that, certainly God is big enough to solve this.

If you haven’t done so, get registered to donate. Here’s a link to Donate Life. They can direct you to your state resources.

Published in: on 05/31/2010 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Worry and Faith II

In my meanderings I found this article on worry, How to Calm Your Anxiety, Stress, and Worry.

In this article Allia Nolan Zobel sets out ten ways to calm down your worry and stress. My favorite (and MY biggest problem) is  Let There Be No Crisis Before Its Time.  Zobel’s suggestions are very practical and lack the sanctimony that some articles bring to the table. Enjoy!

Published in: on 04/21/2010 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Worry and Faith

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6:30-34  The Message

There are times that I really struggle with worry. I am a worrier. I have found that I worry even when there’s nothing to worry about. I’m hooked on worry. It’s somewhat my drug of choice. If there were an Olympics of worry, I’d get the Gold. Mostly, I worry about things that are essentially out of my control. I also try to figure out how to solve the problem, even when it may not be my problem to solve.  However, there is a big down side. Worry robs my sleep, my peace and my joy. At times, it also stops me from performing other tasks in my life, thereby producing more problems to worry about.

I used to believe that the issue was a lack of faith (another worry). If I just had more faith, then the worry would go away. I’m not so sure of that now. I do believe that God will see me through whatever problem that arises, I just don’t want the hassle of going through it. I know He’ll be there,  it’s the dread of the possible pain and upset that I fear. That’s where I fall down. What I should be doing is concentrating on Jesus. That’s even when the dread disappears. when Peter walked on water, he fell in when he concentrated on where he was rather than Who was with him.

Published in: on 04/18/2010 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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