One for ‘Father’s Day’

I don’t usually stand on any kind of ceremony for ‘special’ days, especially Father’s Day, which is simply a commercial copy of Mother’s Day. I won’t go into any further details on that.

But today – which, I am told is ‘Father’s Day’ – I saw a superb piece by Lee O’Hare, whose work I have shared before but which I have not posted a lot of recently. And it’s relevant to ‘Father’s Day’. Over to Lee:


“But his father said . . .” (Luke 15:22)

There is probably no passage in scripture that reveals the true heart of God as powerfully as the story told by Jesus of the incredible father who came running to his repentant wayward son after having wasted his father’s inheritance and brought incredible shame to the name of his father. The story known as “The Prodigal Son” really is not about the son at all; it is about the amazing love of a Father who refuses to treat us as anything other than deeply loved, cherished and totally forgiven children.

I realize that everybody reading this is all too familiar with this parable, but I would ask you, do not let that familiarity keep you from receiving the glorious truth which this reveals about the love of Abba God. In seems every time I read this story something new and fresh is revealed to me about the heart of my Heavenly Father. I would like to simply share a few thoughts that have recently come from my meditations on this wonderful story.

The most obvious thing that I see is how completely wrong both sons were in their perception of who their father really is. This makes me remember Jesus’ words in the “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17:25, “O righteous Father the world DOES NOT KNOW YOU.” That is the problem. Without the revelatory work of the Holy Spirit we really have no idea who God is or what He is really like. We carry around in our hearts distorted images of Him which have been forged on the anvils of our personal past experiences of rejection, shame and disappointment. This is only exacerbated by the wrong images we receive from well meaning parents, teachers, preachers as well as our own innate sense of guilt and unworthiness. We then try to relate to God out of those distorted perceptions and find ourselves feeling hopeless, confused, weary and often times utterly burned out and even resentful towards God. I don’t know how many times I have heard frustrated Christians say in one way or another, “It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to be a good enough Christian.” We can know all about grace in our heads, but what we need is a true Holy Spirit revelation of who our Abba really is in the deepest recesses of our hearts.

So what strikes me above all else in this story is how utterly and completely different the father really was. The “prodigal” son had to go to incredible extremes in order to be brought to a place where he was able to finally experience the truth of who His father really was and had always been – including the time that he had been living in the father’s house, as well as all that time he was living far away from home in rebellion and ultimately in complete and utter shame and filthy disgrace. I could easily inject some personal testimony right here, but suffice it to say, I can very much identify with this story today. I know what it is crawl around in the filth of a “pig pen” with distorted and perverted images of who I thought God was filling my heart and mind. I know what it is to finally “come to my senses” and say, “I don’t have to live like this any longer” and to begin the journey of returning to the father’s house. I also know what it is to feel I have to negotiate with God in order to be allowed back on the father’s property.

Pay close attention to the repentance speech the son had prepared and memorized as he was heading back to the father’s house:

“I have sinned against heaven and against you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Just treat me as one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:18, 19)

I have actually read in some commentaries that this was a correct and proper understanding and attitude of repentance for this good for nothing, rebellious sinner to have in approaching his father. But, let’s look at how the father, representing Abba God, actually responded when his wayward son returns with repentance speech in hand to plead for acceptance back home “as one of your hired servants.”

Of course, everybody is familiar with this part of the story: “And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20). It is at this point that the story gets really interesting. It is while the father is “falling upon his neck” (KJV) with love and compassion and smothering his swine infested flesh with kisses of fatherly affection, that the son begins to recite his prepared speech of repentance. But he only gets so far. What so many miss here is the fact that THE FATHER DOES NOT ALLOW HIM TO FINISH HIS SPEECH. He has just confessed that he is no longer worthy to be called a son and is about to say, “Just treat me as one of your hired servants” that Jesus interjects, “BUT HIS FATHER SAID . . .” Feel the power of that. I call this the “Divine Interruption” Just as he is about to place himself in servitude as a slave in the father’s household he is interrupted by the father who then turns to the servants and says, “Quick bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet . . .” It is as if the father is saying, “I refuse to hear this nonsense about you being my servant. I will have nothing of it. I am not interested in servants. I do not want a servant. I only want a son whom I can shower with my love and affection.”

Can you feel the power in this? While we are trying to negotiate with God out of our feelings of shame and guilt, which inevitably drag us into legalism and promises to do better and try harder, He is wanting to embrace us with love and kisses of fatherly affection and to lavish upon us His own gifts of grace and mercy.

Through this story Jesus profoundly reveals the heart of His Father and shows us so clearly what it really is that Abba wants most from us, who are His beloved children. It obviously is not simply obedient and responsible behavior. He already had that from the elder son who, the story reveals, also had no idea who his father really was, nor what he was like. The returning son was prepared to sell himself into lifelong servitude to pay his father back for years of shameful rebellion and waste, but as we have seen, the father would absolutely have none of that. What the father wanted, and what Abba wants from us, more than anything else, is a loving relationship. That is what he did not have from either of his sons and he wanted it so desperately that he would spare nothing to have it.

The heart of this story, and what personally speaks powerfully to me at this time, is the fact that the father, out of his love and desire for true relationship, was willing to let his son completely go so he could come to the absolute end of his own self-sufficiency in order to find out who his father really was. Only by coming to the end of himself was the son able to finally recognize what had been important to the father all along.

– Lee O’Hare, shared with his kind permission.

10

There Is A River…

Another piece from Jamie Englehart:


Maturity celebrates diversity, and those who think, lead, believe and function differently than each other. When we try and put everyone into our paradigm and way of doing things and our way of thinking and believing it will only lead to breaches in our relationships. No one likes to be put into a box they do not belong in, and everyone wants to be celebrated for who they are and what God has graced them to do and become in His Kingdom.

David tells us in Psalm 46 that there is A river whose streams make glad the city of God. There is only ONE River, but there are many streams and if we would just flow in our lane and bring to the city the life that it needs thru the streams that we release then the river will continue to make the city glad.

However, when the streams think that they are THE River and there is no need for the other streams is when the life flow is dammed up and the city becomes sad. So flow my friends in the streams of life that God has you in and celebrate the other streams that are bringing joy to many. If another stream is not your taste or flavor, remember it is ministering gladness to those you are not.

– Jamie Englehart, used with his kind permission

10

The Wonder of it all…

I’m a member of a Pilots’ group on Facebook, and recently one of the other group members wrote this:

“I’m on my way to my PPL with around 18 hours and just a few more lessons before the solo…
Have you ever during your training became unmotivated or suddenly having doubts of your goal of being a pilot?

I always dreamed to fly (hundreds of hours on flight sims, hanging on airport fences, etc) and I enjoyed every single minute of the training. Just suddenly it hit me “what is after the PPL”.
Is it normal or is it just me?”

In addition to others’ very wise and encouraging responses, I of course had to add my two penn’orth. Here’s what I put:

” Well, as a Pilot you will find that you never stop learning. There’s always a new adventure, a new trick, a new lesson. Awe, wonder, freedom, solitude, seeing the reaction of others when they see the world from ‘up there’ for the first time, the technical stuff, the practice, the skills, a good precision navex, landing away at an impossibly short grass farm strip, low-level cross-country and attacking a dam at the other end of it (imagining the gust response is flak!), night flying in the pitch darkness pretending you’re looking for Lancasters, fighting down through a pernickety wind gradient and an unpredictable crosswind, seeing the ocean with the glitter of the sunset at 10,000 ft (picture)…. so many great memories and so many adventures yet to look forward to. Keep it up, bro, you have all this to look forward to as well as still enjoying your training, which is in itself a series of adventures and milestones…”

I also shared with the group the picture from the top of this post. This was the view over the Atlantic Ocean from 10,000ft up, above the north coast of Cornwall, on December 8th, 2012, at about 1600 GMT. The picture was taken not long before sunset, with the external air temperature a very friendly eight degrees below freezing, and the clouds below carrying amazing little rainbow colours of ice crystals which are not easily visible in the photo – that sort of thing is not easily captured on camera. But the sheer magnificence of it is breathtaking. It’s an entirely different world up here; the light is harsh, white and blinding in the crystal-clear, freezing air, and you can see for at least a hundred miles in all directions. It’s simply indescribable.

It’s true that my friend on the Pilots’ group has all this to look forward to…every flight is different, and you learn something new each and every time you go up. This is why we fly!

Wow! This is why I love flying so much….

00

The Great Heresy

I get accused of heresy a lot, simply because I don’t believe in a lot of what ‘mainline’ Evangelical Christianity believes in. This of course depends entirely upon the presupposition that they are in fact right, and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. But when you’re talking about an infinite, intrinsically unknowable Being, it stands to reason that anyone who claims to have all their ducks neatly in a row is by definition wrong.

But the biggest heresy of all is the huge slur on the character of God that is perpetrated by that same group. Here’s a far better take on it, from Kevin Carter:


I truly think the great heresy of the church is the attack on the character of God that began with Augustine, continued with Anselm, and was finalized with Calvin.

God became a tyrant, who saw humanity only as worthless rags, worthy of destruction… God’s holiness wasn’t something to love, but something to fear because we could never live up to it, and it’s not our fault, because God created us with that flaw, but we’re the ones to be accountable.

God, in a moment of regret, recognizes the flaw and decides to give us an escape route, but He does so by requiring the greatest, most painful and bloody death possible, then fragments the story in numerous ways, fills it with some myth, and requires you to believe a great number of ridiculous claims that work against the fabric of what we’ve come to understand to know about the Universe. And if we simply aren’t convinced by one particular sect of people who call themselves His followers, then He torments us gleefully in Hell for infinity?

I’m sorry, but that God is not Holy, Righteous, or Pure. That God is more evil than Thanos.

Luckily, that’s not who God is, nor is that what the church believed for the first 400 years or so… There is a more ancient truth of God’s love for all humanity, Gods suffering because of the sin condition, God’s desire to conquer the sin condition and offer us a way out of that system while we live, but with complete plans to fully reconcile ALL of it eventually.

That’s a God worth loving… The first is something to be feared and reviled.

– Kevin Carter, shared with his kind permission.


Header image shows three of the Monty Python team (left to right: Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam) in their well-known and oft-quoted sketch ‘The Spanish Inquisition’. No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition, of course 😉 But unfortunately the reality was nowhere near as funny: The real Spanish inquisition were a bunch of church-approved heresy hunters who began their work in the late fifteenth century and continuing for some 300 years. Nasty people they were, and of course their heirs are still in existence today. Seriously, they were horrible. Here’s a link to the the Wikipedia article on them.

20

Do Not Be Afraid

I don’t know if you know this, but the most commonly-used phrase in the entire Bible is this: “Do not be afraid”. Usually (although not always) it is used in the context of humans being scared of God or His angels.

Funny, then, isn’t it, how so much of today’s church activity focuses on fear. The doctrines, the practices, the terminology, the liturgy  – most of it is fear-based. And most of that fear is of course channeled into the idea of being afraid of God, despite the most common context of the phrase ‘Do not be afraid’.

The phrase could even be seen as the most-often-repeated commandment of God, although you won’t hear all that many church leaders preaching on that idea, because of the loss of fear-based power that would follow. So, when people trot out the inerrantists’ phrase, ‘God says it, I believe it, and that settles it’, why do they not apply it to the phrase ‘Do not be afraid’?

And given the phrase that is repeated so many times – Do not be afraid! – there really is no excuse, when you think about it, for any believer to be afraid. Afraid of God and/or what He’s going to do; of death, because it’s been defeated; of Hell, because it’s just a scaremongering idea invented by the mediaeval Church to keep people in line. No, there is no need at all to be afraid, and I would like to emphasise this by sharing below a great piece from my friend Mo Thomas on this very subject. Here we go:


Fear of Divine Punishment

Based on what I know of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, I have NO FEAR OF HELL whatsoever, for me or anyone else, EVEN IF it exists as western theology frames it. (Note: I don’t believe that it exists as a nightmarish place of eternal horror, and neither did 5 of the first 6 schools of theology in the first 5 centuries after Christ. We might be missing something?!?)

Why would I ever have any fear or worry? This is the Abba of our Lord Jesus that we’re talking about!! His Love never fails, it keeps no record of wrongs, and His mercy endures forever. I trust Him completely that it would be for our refining, that all which is not of Christ would be burned away in His holy fire.

“We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love he has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. By living in God, love has been brought to its full expression in us so that we may fearlessly face the day of judgment, because all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world. Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. **Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.”** (1Jn 4:16-18 (Passion Translation))

Hear God speak into your soul, gently but firmly, with unshakable confidence in His voice…

“It is I, the One who loves you.
Trust in Me, and #DoNotBeAfraid.
Come to Me, and rest in My Embrace.”

Selah.

10

There is No Balance in God

So many people these days, ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’ alike, believe either consciously or subconsciously that God is somehow a mixture, a balance if you will, of light and dark,  good and evil, yin and yang.

He’s not. In God, there is no ‘balance’ as we understand the term.

His mercy is not balanced by His judgement; instead, His mercy triumphs over judgement.

His love is not balanced or somehow cancelled out by His ‘holiness’ (as some Christians understand it, as essentially meaning stand-offishness) or His justice (usually meaning humanity’s brand of vengeful justice); instead, His Love in fact never fails.

Instead of hanging on to these cautious beliefs that always hold something in reserve, something that is fearful about trusting that God is good all the time, it’s time we realised that in fact that which we thought was too good to be true actually is true: Yes, God is good!

In fact, He’s all good, He’s completely good, and in Him there is no darkness at all. Not one bit. God is in fact just like Jesus. Was there anything dark about Jesus? Of course not, and neither is there anything dark about God either. And He loves you with a love that will not only never end, but which will never, ever let anything separate you from that love.

And this is the completely one-sided, unfair, unearned, shockingly life-changingly wonderful and brilliant truth of the Gospel – which really is Good News. All of it.

Here’s the truth: if the god that people have told you about does not look just like Jesus, then that’s not the real God they have told you about. Period.

40

Regarding Christians Who Gloat About People Burning in Hell

Before we even start, yes, I’m sorry but there are indeed such people as I mention in my title.

I once wrote that, “[Hell means that God allows the] torment of literally billions of precious people for all eternity, all at the same time as the ‘elect’, those who are ‘saved’, are ‘living it up’ in Heaven and knowing full well that all that suffering is going on ‘somewhere else’.

It’s easy to see why this is such an easy concept for certain Christians to grasp, because it’s mirrored in the way that many Christians reject as worthless those that they despise. So ‘those people’ are suffering? Well, it must be something they’ve done/it serves them right/other such highfalutin’ statement. Because the suffering is going on ‘somewhere else’ and therefore it doesn’t matter.

I do wonder how those with such cold hearts can define themselves as ‘Christian’. I mean, each to their own, yeah, but surely Jesus’s whole emphasis was on ‘Love’? Attitudes like that are as far from Love as it gets, when you think about it. Surely their own definition of ‘love’ should be based on St. Paul’s famous description in 1Cor 13? But it’s a long way from that!

And I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who thinks like that. Here’s a superb piece by one ‘Captain Cassidy’, written in the wake of the Paris terrorist shootings in 2015. I must say that I don’t agree with everything in the essay, but I think he has encapsulated nicely many of the objections I have about Christians being so blasé about the idea of people burning forever in Hell.


I want to talk about Hell today.

There is something truly grotesque about the way so many Christians seem to get off on the idea of people burning in Hell. I’m sure you’ve seen what I have: the way their eyes glitter when they talk about it, the eager tone of voice they get when describing in lurid detail the horrors non-believers will experience there. I don’t think they even realize they’re coming off that way, they’re so desensitized to the idea by now. The idea that a huge number of their family members, loved ones, and total strangers alike are one day going to burn forever and ever and ever is so endemic to their worldview that I’m not sure they even realize what it means or what their gloating implies about them as people. Today we’re going to talk about this mindset and what it means–and why good people reject it.

[…]

[Description of interviews of people trying to help burn victims – Ed]

These interviews hit me really hard. […] All of the people I’ve mentioned here have made one fact painfully clear: out of every single way there is to die, burning is about the most horrible and ghastly one there is. If these victims they’d tried to save had survived, it would be amid years of pain; burns take forever to heal and some never really do. Clearly our species simply didn’t survive serious burns often enough to pass on superior burn-healing capabilities to our offspring in the distant past, because we are really shitty at healing that sort of injury. No wonder Christians years ago used death by fire to punish heretics and dissenters; out of all the really imaginative ways we’ve ever found to hurt people, fire’s about as bad as it gets.So gang, that’s what it’s like to watch someone burn to death. It’s not fun or funny. It’s not cute. It’s not something to gloat about or even feel smugly certain about. Someone has to be seriously disturbed to watch someone suffering fire damage and feel anything but a desire to immediately leap in to help in any way possible.

And had I … suggested that there was something these burn victims might have done to deserve that kind of death, I would not have been surprised in the least if such an encounter ended with me nursing a bruised ego–or ass. Neither of these [people] are gods, and even they would have been more merciful than the Christian god apparently is.

When Christians chirp their various singsong threats, that’s what they are saying to us: we are going to suffer and die an unending death by fire, tortured forever by burning, and they actually look forward to seeing us in that kind of agony. It’s no more than we deserve, by their lights, so there’s no point in wasting empathy or sympathy on us. They regard our rejection of their religious claims as a direct attack upon themselves, and our future torment is nothing more than cosmic comeuppance for not obeying them.

We didn’t pick the correct religion out of all the thousands in the world, you see, and from there the correct permutation of Christian doctrines out of the 40,000+ available. We didn’t manage to feign adequate belief in the utter nonsense spewed by Christian apologists and leaders. We found no reason to believe in this god who spent so much time and effort deliberately obfuscating his existence to ensure that there’d be no proof whatsoever of his existence. We figured out that there was no more reason to accept Christianity’s claims than there is to accept those of any other religion. And for our great sin of using our divinely-granted consciousness and discernment, we deserve to burn to death forever. We deserve to be set on fire after we die and tortured without any hope of mercy, redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, parole, or escape.

Most Christians don’t even think about how absolutely appalling this doctrine is–how blatantly manipulative, how openly terrorist in nature, how beyond-blitheringly cruel and evil it would be for any earthly despot to institute a punishment even half as ghastly as Hell. Even worse are the Christians who do think about it, though; they have to find some way to reconcile such a concept with that of a loving god, and the ways they find of doing that are nothing short of obscene.

Why it’s only moving the problem one step over to claim that “people send themselves to Hell.”

The idea of Hell as I’ve outlined it clearly does make some Christians hugely uncomfortable. And it should. It’s an evil, nasty, mean-spirited, fearmongering, openly terrorist and extortionist doctrine that is 100% incompatible with the current reigning Christian view of its god as gentle, loving, and merciful.

That doctrine is fine with a lot of Christians–the sort who openly gloat about dead soldiers and picket children’s funerals, or those Calvinist sorts who seem perfectly at ease with the idea of their god being an asshole–but most Christians are part of our culture whether they like it or not, and our culture is moving away from that kind of cruelty. So they’ve evolved some two-steps meant to distance themselves from the more troubling ramifications of their own ideology.

I’ve talked before about these distancing acts. The whole “love the sinner/hate the sin” dance is one of them; it is meant to give Christians an excuse to be nasty and hateful to others. They don’t especially care if their dance fools anybody outside the tribe; it’s done for their benefit, not for ours.

The current two-step around Hell is one of their current favorites, though.

Follow along with the dancing red ball:

Assumption A. Allowing people to be tortured for any length of time is evil and monstrous.

A1. The Christian doctrine of Hell involves people being tortured forever by fire.
A2. That would normally make the author of such threats evil and monstrous.
A3. But the Christian god can’t possibly be evil and monstrous.

Conclusion. Clearly that means that the evil and monstrosity is coming from somewhere else.

Assumption B. Whenever a doctrine seems to contradict Christian ideology, it’s not the doctrine that is in question, ever, nor the ideology that is at fault; there is always a way to reconcile them somehow.

B1. So clearly it’s people’s fault that they are facing eternal torture. It is not this god’s choice that people suffer, nor his desire.
B2. The Christian god must have nothing to do with Hell, so people must be sending themselves to Hell to be tortured eternally by fire.

Conclusion. It’s totally not our god’s fault at all that people end up in Hell getting tortured forever by fire. Overall conclusion: Hooray! He’s (still) a loving and merciful god!

I’ve heard a dizzying number of excuses along these lines offered by Christians to explain why Hell is not a monstrous and evil idea:

* People choose to throw themselves into Hell.

* People don’t want to be with Jesus in the afterlife, so they do this to themselves on purpose.

* Would you want to have a rude guest in your house for a party? (I used this excuse myself.)

* The doors of Hell are locked from the inside, not the outside. People who go there don’t want the Christian god around.

* Hell isn’t a punishment; it’s a consequence for non-compliance, just like death in a car accident is a possible consequence of not following seat-belt laws.

* Hell was designed for demons, not people, so of course it won’t be pleasant for people to be there.

And some heretics even try to make for themselves a Hell that is not fiery, eternal, and physically painful–even though such a Hell looks nothing whatsoever like anything in the Bible.

All of these excuses depend on a few ideas that categorically put the entire Christian faith on its ear. These excuses all require that the Christian god be something besides all-powerful, for him to be an idiot, or for him to be malevolent enough to punish people for his own inability to provide evidence enough to compel belief in him. As Neil Carter’s so ably described, tons of Christians figure this stuff out and end up following the evidence right out of the religion. We deconvert because when we tried our damndest to find a good reason to believe, we found none at all.

Christians might comfortably and complacently believe that one or two of us “chose” to be tortured eternally, but most ex-Christians are thoughtful, caring, intelligent people who want only to do the right thing with our lives. The idea that a god might allow a single one of these precious and beautiful people to be harmed even one second repulses any compassionate mind. How many of those people do Christians need to meet before they start having questions about how loving and merciful their ideas of Hell are?

And, too, this entire “choose to be tortured” idea has the distinct smack of victim-blaming about it. It’s like a murderer telling a judge, “I told her not to scream or I’d shoot her, and she screamed! So really, she chose for me to shoot her to death!” Do you suppose any judge in the land would allow such a murderer to go free after that excuse was given?

If the Christian god designed the ideology and place itself, if he decided upon its entrance requirements and then deliberately refused to provide people solid proof of any of his religion’s claims so that there was no more reason to blindly choose his religion over any other in the world, then he is the same as that murderer who claimed that his victim caused her own death by not complying with his demands. This is not the same situation as someone not listening to seat-belt laws and then getting killed in a car accident; in our scenario, the Christian god actively inflicts this pain on others (or allows it to be inflicted, but again, because he’s omnipotent that doesn’t actually make much of a difference!) because he was dissatisfied with their obedience to his whims, and he created the entire game itself to be exactly as it is now. It was no accident that someone found no evidence to believe, nor that there happened to be a horrific place ready for that person to go to after death to suffer for not having believed.

The Christian god, if one is to take his adherents’ preposterous claims seriously, is an omnipotent being who created this realm and set it up. If he didn’t intend for any people to go there, then he needed to design somewhere else for people to go. If he didn’t want people to go somewhere like Hell, then surely he is powerful and intelligent enough to either create a more reasonable ideology or to give people overwhelming evidence and instructions for avoiding that place.

If he isn’t powerful enough to create a cosmology that allows people to see the truth either before death or posthumously, or to change their minds after death about anything, or to at least allow for rehabilitation and redemption at that point, then maybe Christians need to figure out what cosmic Truth their godling is compelled to obey and go work out what god is embodied therein so they can follow that one instead, because whoever that god is, she or he is the real MVP.

And that is the Problem of Evil in a nutshell.

Either this god is not smart or powerful enough to create a cosmology that avoids eternal torture, or he is cruel and malevolent enough to allow such torment to exist. If he’s capable of stopping fiery torture but chooses not to do so, then he is evil; if he is not capable or doesn’t realize what’s happening at all, then he’s hardly a god in the first place.

Now, obviously there’s no proof for a single bit of Christians’ claims. There’s no evidence that there’s even an afterlife, much less an unpleasant one controlled and administered by demons at the behest of an omnimax god of love and mercy, much less any god, omnimax or not, loving and merciful or not, much less a cosmology that looks remotely like the one Christians believe.

But if one of them tells me with a perfectly straight face that their infinitely loving, powerful, merciful god is not only okay with the idea of anybody burning in this life or the next but designed things to be that way, then I am going to think that either the Christian in question has never really thought this one through (as indeed I hadn’t, back then!), or is an immoral person who is okay with hurting people for non-compliance.

Moving the Problem of Evil to humans’ laps only moves the issue one step over; it does not resolve the actual problem at all because ultimately, their god (according to them) designed all of this nonsense in the first place. All they’ve done is add some victim-blaming to the mix.

And I’m not so sure that it’s that far a jump to think that if it’s okay to hurt someone deliberately and cruelly in the next life, then maybe it’s not so bad to do it in this life if it’s for a good cause. We already know that right-wing Christians regard themselves as mini-Jesuses, fully invested in the right and ability–even the obligation–to dispense divine justice upon other human beings in the name of the greater good. They already think that they should be given the right to control the rest of us because non-Christians are just too damned stupid to run our lives correctly. They already scare the bejesus out of non-believers because of the over-the-top aggression they display when they’re challenged–even to the point of issuing death and rape threats to an underage girl who objected to the way Christians in her school district were muscling into her education.

If Christians can’t have cooperation through happy consent, then they have demonstrated repeatedly that they will take compliance given only out of fear–and will consider either one evidence of divine blessing upon their endeavors. And our culture is starting to reject this mindset–in large part because we’re finally starting to empathize with and understand the people who are getting hurt by these ways of thinking, and we’re starting to understand how interconnected we are to each other.

It’s hard to stomach the idea of hurting someone we know very well and consider part of our group. It’s even harder to be okay with the idea of eternal fiery torture for non-compliance when we start really thinking about how terrible it is to burn.

Any religious system that relies upon force, violence, or threats to gain compliance from anybody is not one worth following.

People are right to reject any religion that tries to gain power and influence through threats, and to reject such such behavior as incompatible with the idea of a loving deity of any kind even on the metaphorical level. People use fear when they don’t have a good case to make otherwise. The bigger the threat, the weaker the case generally is. And Hell–burning to death forever and ever–is about as big a threat as anybody could ever concoct.

But fear requires darkness in which to operate. It can’t stand daylight in the form of questions and open dissent. The more people question the doctrine of Hell, the more Christians will get the permission they need to contemplate the unthinkable questions: What if the two-step they’re doing about Hell doesn’t actually solve any of the problems the doctrine has? What if the violence embodied in Hell taints everything about Christianity?

And even more unthinkable: What would their religion even look like without fear being any part of its doctrines and ideologies, and without threats being considered a perfectly acceptable and viable marketing tactic? If they refused to use fear or threats of any kind to sell their religion, then how would they market it?


Here is the link to the original article

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Redefining Language

Nowhere does Jesus mention that anyone should try to save others from Hell. You’d have thought if it was that important He’d have told us? You’d also have thought He’d have told us how important it was that we pluck the souls from the brink especially in the context of those parts of His teaching where the meaning is traditionally ascribed to being about Hell.

Furthermore, if the hell-fire doctrine is true, and if Evangelical Christians claim that a loving God still lets people go to Hell ‘because He is so loving that He will not override their free will’, then it follows that they have to change the definition of Love so that it bears no resemblance to that found in 1Cor 13.

In fact, much of the traditional ‘Hell’ doctrine relies on somehow making it look as if god is being ‘loving’ as he sends people to Hell. This simply has to involve the twisting of the meaning of the word ‘love’ out of all recognition from its normal use. In fact I would go so far as to say that only Religious people (and maybe politicians) can twist a word so that it means the exact opposite of its true meaning, and that usually in order to make it fit with their own twisted ideas.

Here’s a great post by my friend Rob Grayson, and shared with his kind permission, where he examines the concept of language, how it gets twisted like that, and what to do about it. Enjoy:


Redefining language

Whatever your views on evolution and the origins of the human species, you’ll probably agree with me that one of the main characteristics that sets humans apart from any other species is our capacity for rational thought. And this capacity is closely linked to our ability to communicate using language. (Indeed, without language we would certainly not be able to express our thoughts; whether we could even think in such a sophisticated way without language is debatable.)

As a member of the human race and a daily user of language, however, you’d probably also agree with me that language, as powerful as it is, is fraught with difficulty. It seems that, no matter how much care we take in communicating what we think, there’s always room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

In a recent blog post, my theologian friend Michael Hardin puts it like this:

What if language is not divine? What if language is a purely human phenomenon? What if language is not neutral, but is a bent, broken and distorted means of communication? Is it not the case that we are constantly being misinterpreted or that we find ourselves explaining ourselves to others in simple conversations? Language is not straightforward is it?

The very least one can say is that language is imperfect. Even with the best of intentions and the greatest of efforts at clarity, misunderstanding is rife. In fact, in line with Michael’s linked article, I think we can go further still.

We humans are prone to think in a way that judges and separates people into in groups and out groups – with ourselves, of course, usually in the in group and our enemies and those we do not care for or value in the out group. We define ourselves over against others. And we tend to excuse behaviours in ourselves and the groups with which we identify that we would condemn out of hand in those we consider other than us. This kind of thinking – most of it non-conscious – seems to have been deeply entrenched in us ever since the Garden.

Given how closely language is associated with thinking, it follows that our language is also subject to the same non-conscious tendencies. We use language to structure the world according to our innermost thoughts and perceptions. As we think, so too do we speak.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to talking about God.

First, we’re faced with the problem of the inadequacy of language. How do black-and-white characters on a page (or sound waves transmitted from our mouth to another’s ears) begin to convey God’s divine majesty, love and power? Even the most imaginative and evocative metaphors fall short of the task. But, the inevitable insufficiency of language aside, a still greater problem awaits us.

As I outlined a few paragraphs ago, the language we use has evolved to express the skewed way in which we think. And so, when we use it to describe even a being as wholly good and perfect as God, our descriptions are tainted in ways of which we are rarely aware.

For example, I spoke of the challenges of using human language to convey God’s love and power. Because of the way we’re programmed to think about such things, we often do violence to the character of God by forcing him to fit the contours of words whose meanings are largely pre-determined, often at subconscious levels.

Take the word love – surely one of the highest, most noble words in the English language. From the Apostle Paul to Shakespeare and beyond, love has been the impetus for endless creative expression. It seems quite right and safe to think of God as a God of love.

But we need to realise that our conception of even something as wonderful and laudable as love is structurally tainted. Most of our experience of love – whether given or received – tends to be limited and conditional in nature, so that even when we think about the perfect love of God, deep in the recesses of our hearts lurks the suspicion that that even this love will run out on us, that what is today a source of comfort and delight will transmute into judgement and condemnation if we fail to live up to its requirements.

So, whether we’re aware of it or not, as soon as we think about the love of God, and as soon as we use the word “love”, we risk colouring God in a way that distorts his essential character.

The same can be said of our notion of power. That God is supremely powerful seems obvious beyond question, so we happily speak of God’s power. But we do so without realising that power has a terrible and special place in the human psyche and experience: it’s often what defines the relationship between the privileged and the downtrodden, between the abuser and the abused. We tend to think power is good when it’s exercised in our interest and not so good when it’s used against us. Above all, power is what shapes and orders the world; and it does so by making people conform to its will.

Describing God as powerful, then, while accurate on one level, is also problematic, for such a description carries deep within it the notions of coercion and force. Indeed, these notions are so ingrained in our worldview that we struggle to see why they’re even a problem.

What the problem boils down to is this: in using our words to describe God, there’s a real and present danger that we subtly distort God to fit him into our mental paradigms, without even realising that we’re doing so. In short, we often unwittingly redefine God according to our language.

What’s the answer to this conundrum? Given the limitations and distortions of language, how are we to faithfully speak about God at all?

I’m not sure there’s any simple answer, but I do have three suggestions:

1. Be aware of the problem. It’s often said that awareness is half the battle. If we practise the art of being conscious of the inadequacies and dangers of human language when talking about God, we’re perhaps less likely to carelessly and thoughtlessly abuse or distort his character.

2. Work hard to communicate well. Rather than simply speaking of God’s love or power and assuming that these are clearly understood attributes, even among longstanding believers, use explanations, comparisons, metaphors and stories to clarify what they mean. (The Apostle Paul, whom I’ve already mentioned, dedicated a whole chapter of his letter to the Roman Christians expanding upon what he meant by the word love.)

3. Allow what we know about God to redefine our language. Thankfully, God didn’t leave our understanding of him to chance or to the vagaries of human language. Instead, he took on flesh and showed us in the person of his son exactly what he’s like. Jesus vividly demonstrated for us that God exercises power from below rather than from above; God’s power is the kind of “weak power” that refuses to coerce or force but chooses instead to invite and to woo. And Jesus showed us that, far from being conditional or limited, God’s love is recklessly self-giving. As an unknown author wrote, “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ And Jesus said, ‘This much’. Then He stretched out His arms and died.”

Rather than forcing God into the pre-cast moulds of our limited and distorted human language, let’s offer our language – and the thinking that underlies it – to God and ask him to reshape it according to his paradigm. Rather than struggling to define God according to our human notions of power and love, let’s ask him to fundamentally change our understanding of power and love.

Perhaps this is something of what Paul meant when he urged the Corinthian church to be transformed by the renewing of their minds.

[ Header Image: John Keogh ]


Here is the link to the original post

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What If You’re Wrong?

My regular readers know that I strongly disagree with the idea of a Hell of eternal conscious suffereng, where a supposedly loving god sends people who, for whatever reason, fail to jump through the right hoops in this life.

I personally sometimes have difficulty in articulating exactly what I want to say on this subject, partly because my mind works so fast and with so many ideas that it’s difficult to get it out onto my laptop. Because of this, it comes as a great relief to me whan I find an article where someone else has articulated exactly what I wanted to say, only they have done it so much better and more thoroughly. And in addition to it being quite humbling (hehe) I also find it really encouraging, because it means that others like me have thought about the concepts too, and I am not alone in my thinking.

Here is a very good example of this. In this piece, Chris Kratzer says so much that I have wanted to say, and he says it with clarity and conviction.


Hell-Believing, Wrath-Preaching, Fire-Breathing Christian—What If You’re Wrong?

Chances are, it’s a belief you’ve grown up with all your life—God loves humanity so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross in order to save us from His eternal punishment of sinners who don’t love Him back in return through believing in His Son and repenting of their sins. As the story goes, through His crucifixion, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment from God that we deserve for sin. God required the death of Jesus in order to forgive sin, and personal faith and repentance are how we benefit from that event. Otherwise, the work of Jesus isn’t applied to our account and we are doomed to spend eternity in a place of unimaginable suffering where our greatest wish is to die, but by God’s design we are prevented from doing so—it’s hell, and it’s forever.

For those who might find this storyline of human redemption difficult to stomach with its dark portrayals of God, the Gospel, and Jesus. For those who wonder how God could claim to be so loving and yet act so sinister in not only imagining this kind of hell, but creating it and making the brutal murder of Jesus the only way out of it. For those who dare to look ahead towards the psychotic duplicity of what it might feel like enjoying eternity in the bliss of heaven while your loved ones scorch in unbearable suffering. For those this whole damnation-thing strikes their conscience as being a bit unsettling, unnerving, and confusing—we’ve been taught a simple fix. Hell is a necessary and natural manifestation of God’s divine holiness and justice. In heaven, we will encounter these attributes so completely and fully that any doubts we might have about God or people suffering eternally will somehow no longer haunt us, but rather rest peacefully and easily upon our souls. So much, that in the presence of God who allows for, created, and sustains hell, we will be forever desiring to sing His praises as millions of others suffer unimaginably.

In short, the brutal, violent death of Jesus and a hell of eternal pain and suffering have been handed down to us unquestionably as the ultimate reflection of God’s character and His best ideas for how to extend and make real His deep abiding love for humanity.

Maybe for you, these popular teachings regarding God’s narrative of salvation are a comfortable fit and central to your faith understanding. In your mind, if people go to hell, it’s their fault, not God’s. God can do whatever He wants, and if Hell is the setup, so be it. Besides, the Scriptures are clear, people have been warned—believe or burn, that’s the Gospel. If one rejects Jesus and refuses to heed His commands, they’ll get their just reward—an eternity of torture. God is holy, just, and sovereign no matter how vicious and brutal things play out—for His ways are not our ways, who are we to cross-examine the Divine? Therefore, you proudly and boldly declare the reality of a flaming eternity and the glory of God in sending (or allowing) people there who reject Jesus or live disobediently—thanking God, it’s not you, of course.

Or perhaps for you, as much as you dislike thinking about hell and are even inwardly perplexed by its reality in contrast to a loving God, your understanding of the biblical witness and teachings of Jesus seem to leave you no other choice but to conclude that hell is real and real people will be spending eternity in some kind of suffering existence that affords no hope and no way out. It’s not how you would draw it up, and the whole idea is secretly unsettling to you. When it comes to God’s wrath, burning in flames, and the brutal crucifixion of His own Son, you’d just as soon focus on something else and hope it all comes out in the wash. You have your doubts, a lot of questions, and significant uneasiness with it all, but that’s about as far as you’ve taken it.

Wherever you are on the spectrum, chances are, without a hell for unbelieving sinners, the foundations of your faith understanding make little sense and largely comes crashing to the ground. In your mind, if there’s no hell, there’s no purpose for Jesus. If there’s no hell, there’s no purpose for believing. If there’s no hell, there’s no purpose in being a Christian. If there’s no hell, what’s the motivation? If there’s no hell, what’s our message? If there’s no hell, what’s the Gospel? If there’s no hell, what happens to all the effort I’ve put into my righteousness?

So, as difficult, foundation-shaking, and faith-unraveling as this question could potentially be, I’m still going to ask it—what if you’re wrong?

What if hell is nothing like you think?

What if hell (if a place at all) is actually just as Jesus alluded, a literal place (Gehenna) located in Jerusalem associated with the valley of Hinnom that was used as the city dump where a fire was constantly kept to burn up and consume all of the city’s unwanted junk? In fact, the word Gehenna occurs 12 times in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament, each time being mistranslated to mean “hell” in several versions of the Bible, even though Jesus used it as a clear reference to a city dump.

What if it’s an embarrassingly huge stretch of theological abuse to determine in one moment that the admonition by Jesus to, “pluck your eye out” is certainly not to be taken literally, but yet in the next moment, His literal use of “Gehenna” in the same sentence should somehow be unequivocally understood to refer figuratively to a real place in the bottom of the earth where people are tortured by the wrath of God in eternal flames? Really?

What if the other three biblical words traditionally interpreted as referring to a “hell of fire and eternal torment” actually are grossly mistranslated and don’t actually mean “hell” at all? In fact, Sheol occurs 65 times in the Hebrew Manuscripts of the Old Testament, and it simply means “the grave” (the place of the dead) or “the pit.” Hades occurs 11 times in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament and it is the direct equivalent of the Hebrew word Sheol. Thus, it also simply means “the grave “or “the pit.” Tartarus occurs only once in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament in this verse: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” Notice that God casts the angels (not humanity) who sinned down to tartarus and chained them in darkness, to be reserved for judgement.

What if the single word “hell” we use today and associate as “hell” (a place of fiery, eternal torture) is actually not found in the Bible—nowhere, and in no manuscripts? It’s true.

What if, in fact, much of modern Christianity’s convenient love affair with a hell of flames, wrath, and demons comes much more from the influence of Dante’s “Inferno” than ever could be derived from the true words of Jesus?

What if hell is actually a reality experienced in the presence of God, not apart from Him like commonly taught? In fact, two writers in Scripture describe this very notion: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb,” and “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”

What if hell is not the result of God doing something contrary to His nature (love), but rather doing more of it? In fact, the Greek word for “wrath” in the New Testament is the word “orge.” Unfortunately, the way this word has been translated has been shaped greatly by our pre-existing concepts of God as being angry, temperamental, and hell-bent on punishing. The word “orge” actually means “any intense emotion.” It’s from where we get words like “orgy” and “orgasm.” At its core, “wrath” has to do with a very strong passion—not even associated to anger. In fact, the root of “orge” actually means “to reach out in a straining fashion for something that you long to possess.”

What if the wrath of God is not Him pouring out anger, vengeance, or retaliation, but rather His furious love—grasping, reaching, shaking to possess every person that they might experience His Grace?

What if hell is the experience of religious-hearted people who despise the pure Grace of God and His unconditional love and inclusion of all people into Himself and the Kingdom? In the eternal presence of the white-hot love of God forever flowing out as a river from His throne (Daniel 7:10), their souls are scorched with frustration, rage, and torment as their self-righteousness, conditional love, and religious arrogance, bigotry, and intolerance are exposed—stripped, and rendered powerless and evil. All of it deemed as filthy rags fit for the lake of God’s all consuming fire—the blistering flames of Grace. The presence of all people of every color, gender, orientation, stronghold, sin, and creed sends them into legalistic episodes of uncontainable protest and rage—how can this be, how is this fair, how dare the cross include all of these? Resigned to spend an eternity in the presence of pure Grace, the only way it becomes heaven for them is to do what many will refuse—to repent of their demonizing of God, their worship of the Scriptures, and their own legalistic understandings of it all to the exclusion of truly knowing Jesus and His heart. For the same Grace and love that will be experienced as heaven by many, will be a sure torturous hell for some. Jesus forever flips over the tables yet again, and those whom religion joyously sends to the curb are given a prized seat of bliss, and those whom religion gives elite privilege are found to be pouting and wallowing forever in religious disgust.

What if Jesus didn’t die to save us from white-bearded, angry, and vengeful God, but to save us from a fear-driven faithless life of believing He is?

What if Jesus didn’t die at the hands of a God who required His blood-soaked death in order to forgive, but rather at the claws of the religious and their diabolical systems of evil whose chief desire is to murder pure Grace and all its self-righteous destroying, all-including implications?

What if, in the hands of a world dripping with oppression, Jesus, through the cross, chose the way of nonviolence, sacrifice, service, forgiveness, inclusion, and unconditional love to model and manifest the Kingdom that was already eternally established by His Grace?

What if Jesus didn’t die to forgive us, but to manifest to the world that God already had, long ago outside of time in the realm of eternity?

What if God isn’t schizophrenic after all—harboring unconditional love for humanity one moment and eternal hate the next?

What if the truth is, you can’t reject Grace—you can’t stop its presence, pursuit, favor, or blessings over your life or that of any other, you can only love it or resist it? Loving, believing, trusting Grace fills your life with heavenly rest. Not loving, believing, and trusting Grace fills your life with a hell of frustration, self-righteousness, bitterness, religiosity, judgementalism and angst—as long as you desire, even for eternity.

What if God isn’t an insecure, limited, and codependent parent, whose capacity to save, love, and forgive are restricted to and governed by the obedience (or disobedience) of His children—thus, making them the Lords of the future, not Him?

What if God never changes—He is love through and through, forever and always, no matter what or who?

What if the presence of alternative biblically-faithful interpretations regarding ones understanding of hell and God’s connection to it back you into an interpretive corner, so much that if you believe in an eternal hell of torment and torture for the unbelieving and a God who would author it, you are doing so solely by your own choice?

For the results are in—history paints the picture. We Christians have been drastically wrong before—wrong about racism, wrong about equality, wrong about violence and war, the list keeps on growing.

Hell-believing, wrath-preaching, fire-breathing Christian—what if you’re wrong, yet again?

If I’m wrong, then God will most certainly go ahead, around, and over me in a divine full-court-press to scare the hell out of the people I’m misleading—literally. For there’s nothing about me or my message that the Holy Spirit is powerless or unwilling to usurp. Any wayward guidance on my part can easily be reversed by the omnipotent leading of the Father. I would boldly stand before the Throne having exaggerated the goodness, love, and Grace of God—if ever that could be a thing.

But, if you’re wrong, you have participated in nothing less than the evil demonization of God and the sheer blaspheming of His Spirit. You’ve allowed your spiritual laziness, vulnerability to religious brainwashing, and twisted comfort with the notion of people going to a torturous hell and a God who would create it, to win over your heart, mind, thinking, attitudes and actions. You have leaned on your own understanding of the Scriptures to the spiritual abuse of others—imprisoning them into a life of fear as they are raped of their capacity to know the joy, freedom, and peace that comes from awakening to God who is love, Jesus who is Grace, and the Gospel that is truly good news for all.

Hell-believing, wrath-preaching, fire-breathing Christian—what if you’re wrong?

Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness… I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. For what is so bitter and vehement as the punishment of love?” -St. Isaac the Syrian

The flames of heaven will be hotter for some than the flames of hell could ever be” -Dallas Willard

Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world.” -Robert Capon

Grace is brave. Be brave

 – Chris Kratzer, shared with his kind permission.


I was also particularly impressed by a comment in the discussion following Chris’s article, which I thought was absolutely beautiful:

I read your post shortly after it came out. It moved me so deeply that I emailed it to my father, a messianic rabbi. And, just today, I happened back across it when going through my archived emails.

You have summed up a journey that my mind and soul have taken over the last decade. I began as a conservative evangelical and now I describe myself as a near universalist (those who are excluded will be excluded by their own decision to reject Grace and refuse to enter the Kingdom; which is in some ways to the important and passing point Dante makes about how the gates of Hell are left unlocked).

Grace is a powerful thing and it is too often a stumbling block for those who can’t accept something so radical. It always amazes me how people use phrases like “cheap grace.” It isn’t cheap, it’s better, it is offered for free (the meaning of Christ’s life and death; the depiction of God’s great love for all of us acted out in life and death). Still we demand vengeance, justice, etc. and can’t accept the idea of people we consider unrighteous or somehow less than us (they didn’t perform the work of saying the sinner’s prayer, right?) sharing in the same eternal reward.

Thank you for bearing your heart of writing this. God bless and keep you.

Well, I think that just about wraps it up for today. I am so glad that there are others out there who articulate things so well, and are also getting the Good News message across. And I am so grateful that these guys agree to let me reblog their excellent material.

Thanks again, Chris

Peace and Grace


Here is the link to the original article

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More Sound Bites

Here’s another post continuing my series of ever-popular ‘brief thoughts’ – style articles, featuring interesting ideas and thoughts from around the Internet and beyond.


“What you know about God changes nothing. Knowing what God knows about you, however, changes everything”. – Jeff Turner

“I realised last night that when Jesus called His disciples, He simply said ‘Follow Me’. He didn’t set any conditions, name any essential doctrines, set any boundaries, make any rules, say anything was forbidden. He just said ‘Follow Me’. How simple is that? It makes me think that anything other than simply ‘follow Me’ must be largely superfluous”. – Me

“No matter how big or small your goal, no matter how motivated you are or what drives you to achieve your goals…. You can only do it ONE step at a time!! My steps are small at the moment but I’m putting one foot in front of the other, moving in the right direction…. Whilst trying to also be in the here and now…. As that is the only moment that truly exists!” – Helen

“The Gospel is not that you can receive Jesus into your life, but that Jesus has already received you into His Life” – Wm. Paul Young

“I really don’t see why we shouldn’t major on the restoration stuff rather than the destruction stuff. People talk about not diluting the Gospel, and about not watering it down. This harsh stuff is not giving it undiluted, it’s giving it polluted with evil. Nobody will respond to a gospel like that, at least not positively”. – Me

“The point of the Abraham-and-Isaac story isn’t that you should sacrifice your kid but that you can leave behind any notion of a god who demands that you sacrifice your kid. Do you see how huge this is?” – Rob Bell

“HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom” – Dr. Arnim Zola, Captain America: The Winter Soldier…*

“The concept of God as an angry, unforgiving parent – and his church as a domineering grown-up issuing threats to wilful kids – is bad news, not Gospel. Such concepts inculcate only fear: fear of God, and then fear of our own freedom. They lead not to liberty of the children of God, to the freedom with which Christ has set us free, but to a servile mentality that kills courage and breeds resentment.” – Robert Farrar Capon, The Mystery of Christ… & Why We Don’t Get It

“God always backs the underdog” – Emma Higgs

“I’m kind of done with you telling me what I can’t do.” – Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel

“The only record of your sins is in your own mind. There is no other copy”. – David Neal

“I [do] get frustrated, though, when people would prefer to spout the bad news rather than the good. If the gospel begins with ‘god hates you’, then it’s not a gospel anyone would listen to any further than that”. – Me


*[Is it just me, or does that perhaps sound like some parts of the modern Evangelical church?]

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