Category Archives: Others’ stuff

The Judgmental

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Speaking Truth to Power

 

Above is yet another excellent post by Chris Kratzer. He has a real talent for seeing through the smokescreens and calling out religious judgmentalism where he sees it. And before anyone accuses him of judging others, which he shouldn’t be doing, then remember the words of Jesus saying not to judge others because if you do then you’ll get the same back in spades (Mt 7:1-5)

Well, I’ve said this before, but sadly, and indeed damagingly for most of humanity, it seems that the sole purpose that some people exist is purely to judge others. That’s it. Nothing else. Not to eat, sleep and reproduce. Not to do works of good service. Nothing, except to judge others.

It makes me wonder if their lives are so tiny, so dull, so samey, so boring, so grey, that this is the only thing that keeps their tiny, empty minds occupied. Just to judge others.

If so, I pity them.

And it’s also likely the reason that the main things that they attack are the joyful things: people having a drink, people loving others, people enjoying themselves, people being happy. They are so deprived of the basic joys in life – probably because of religious prohibitions and hang-ups – that they hate to see others having fun.

And therefore they label it as ‘sin’. If you are happy, then you must be ‘sinning’. Or, to put it another way, the only way you can be happy is to ‘sin’. And because you’re not allowed to do that, then you are not allowed to be happy. So the only thing that remains in life is to project that on to others as well, by judging them and expecting them to follow the judgmentals’ miserable mould. Because you’re not allowed to enjoy anything else.

Oh, I should maybe mention that for a spiritual person (however you decide to define that), you can judge all things, but you yourself are not subject to merely human judgments. And yes that is in their Rulebook, at 1 Corinthians 2:15.

So, a far as I am concerned, the judgmental can all go and take a hike[1]. And when they get there, they can keep right on going.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 I was going to use a more colourful phrase, but some people might be distracted by it

Just Stop It

Dear Christian.

Have you ever wondered why it is that you believe in Hell?

I mean, who in their right mind would just assume that this is the way the universe works?

It’s likely that you were taught to believe it from when you were a small child.

You were conditioned to believe it.

Deep down inside you know that it is a false teaching, after all you are not a sociopath. That is why you can live a normal life without being haunted by the thought of billions of souls being tormented by a god who claims to be love.

The idea of an all powerful being punishing his creatures infinitely in unthinkable agony for eternity for finite crimes is not tenable scripturally, morally or philosophically.

The idea of being harshly punished for committing a crime against one higher in position than you comes not from scripture, but from medieval justice (gee, thanks Anselm and Calvin)

The concept of Hell you were taught to believe is not even in scripture. Any serious student of Koine Greek and ancient near east culture who is familiar with metaphors and euphemisms of the time can tell you this. (A couple of fantastic resources on this subject are: “Her gates will never be shut” by Dr. Bradley Jersak and “That all shall be saved” by Dr. David Bentley Hart)

Dear Christian pastors and teachers. Teaching people about eternal Hell is not gospel. It has nothing to do with the life and teachings of Jesus. It is religious abuse. I understand that you teach it out of fear as you yourself experienced religious abuse. Now is the time for healing. You can stop the cycle. You know that your teaching traumatizes, is manipulative, harmful and plain wrong.

Just stop it.

– Ryan Harbidge
Used here with his kind permission

GAN TV – Grace Awakening Network

I want to let you know about a completely free online TV channel called ‘Grace Awakening Network TV’

On this channel, you get completely free content[1] consisting of videos made by people who have experienced the Grace Walk[2]. I’m not into name dropping, and I won’t do it here. However, you may have heard of some of the people on the GAN channel, and there is a list of the participants on the first page.

You can click the graphic below to get to the channel:

I’d suggest that if you are already walking in Grace, or you are looking into the idea, or even researching the concept, then you will get lots of information and encouragement from listening to the speakers on there. You will need to sign up for a username and password, but you will not need anything like payment details or anything like that. Not all the speakers will jive with you. I personally was watching it when a bloke came on who started shouting. There’s never any need for that sort of behaviour, so I skipped him and went on to another speaker. Plus there are some whose ideas you may not agree with, such is the spectrum of speakers on the channel. They are diverse enough in terms of opinion that the adage ‘it takes all sorts’ becomes very real. But what they all have in common is the idea of a Grace-based Gospel, not a Gospel of divine wrath and retribution and punishment. And they support their arguments with lots of Scripture, for those who might be worried that these people do not present a ‘Bible-based’ belief system.

Anyway, feel free to visit the site. I’m really enjoying it, myself.

Grace and Peace to you.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Obviously these things do cost money for someone, somewhere, so there are links on the site to let you support them financially if you wish. But the links for this are at the bottom of the pages of the site, and are not displayed ostentatiously at all. I like this. It gives the viewer the choice but only if they are looking for it,  and there’s no pressure at all. Also some of the speakers have short advertisements for their books and/or courses, embedded in some of their videos. But that’s it.
2 That is, the life of people who have walked in the Grace of God rather than legalism

No Fear in Love

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Speaking Truth to Power

This is a great piece by the superb writer Chris Kratzer, who I consider speaks truth to power. He’s not afraid to call out hypocrisy, judgmentalism and unfairness, especially in Christian circles. In this piece, Chris lays out the conflicting ideas fed to him as a youngster, and as a young Christian, and shows why these ideas are incompatible with the idea of their being ‘No fear in Love’ (1Jn4:18)[1]

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Chris’s words in this posting have been set up as a series of screenshots from his original post on Facebook. This is because Chris has recently had one of his posts pirated by some Christian thugs, who edited it so that it said the exact opposite from what he wanted it to say, then republished it while still claiming his authorship. My posting his work as a series of screenshots makes it much harder for vandals to do this; rather than simply copying and pasting text which can be modified, they’d have to do a whole lot more work on it – something such people are usually too lazy to do. This is also why he puts in that request at the end that any reposts be unchanged.

Hors D’Ouvres

Another collection of bite-sized chunks of wisdom, humour and downright inanity for my readers’ delectation.

Enjoy!

“If you find that your heart has grown bigger than your doctrine, know that it is the doctrine that needs to go, not the heart that needs to be restricted.”
– Jeff Turner

“It is far easier to lie convincingly to someone than to convince someone they were lied to”.
– Elim Garak, Star Trek – Deep Space Nine

“Alexa, why do I have relationship issues with women?”
“This is Siri…”
– Anon

“It’s amazing that people in the Bible heard directly from God but people today need a Bible to hear from Him”.
– Jamen

“…trying to hug reality with words”
– Wendy Francisco

“If you’re going to err, err on the side of love and acceptance and inclusion and trust God with the rest. And the real question here is, ‘Do you trust God enough to do that?’ Are you willing to just love and let go and let God handle everything else, or do you feel like you need to intervene? Do you trust God enough to let go?”
– Rob Cottrell

“In any legitimate and honest search for truth about a matter, one must first consider at least the possibility that one’s current belief might not be true. Otherwise, why even bother looking? Honest doubts are the fuel that propels any legitimate search for truth”.
– Richard Goyette

“But failure is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are alive and growing”
– Col. ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, United States Air Force

“I personally think, after being a church guy my entire life, that religion’s greatest fear is that the manifesting sons and daughters will discover just how powerful they really are, which will result in a total loss of religion’s manipulation and control that came through generations of convincing people of the lie that they are separated from God; worthless sinners headed for eternal torture if they don’t toe the line”.
– Dr. Don Keathley

“Don’t waste your time debating with people who are committed to misunderstanding you…especially those who just don’t believe there’s any chance they could be wrong”.
– Robert Cottrell

”  ‘….if I could imagine what it would be like to experience judgment…’
Well, we do. Every day. For some people, their sole purpose in life is to judge others; we are surrounded by judgmentalism. But God’s not like that. If there is such a thing as a final judgment (which I doubt), all we will get is ‘this is my child, with whom I am well pleased’. I know that’s how He feels about me now; why should that ever change?”
– Me

“Only an aircraft is tied to nothing. There is a complete sense of detachment and isolation in the sky”.
– Capt. Laura Savino, Jet Boss: A Female Pilot on Taking Risks and Flying High

—-

“If God created you to be you, but you being you isn’t good enough, then why did God create you in the first place?”
– Chris Kratzer

“Religion tries to get you TO a place of victory while grace has you living FROM a place of victory.”

– Don Keathley

“Both the 7th day at creation and Jesus’s “it is finished” from the cross refer to man’s inability or necessity to add to what God had done. We can neither add to, nor take away from, a completed work. Nothing is needed.

“Our response to what is finished does not make it finished. Our response makes us subjectively experience what is finished.

“Our lack of response does not make it unfinished. Our lack of response prevents us from being aware of what is finished.

“Today, rest in your completeness”.
– Dale O’Neal

“I love you more than anything you could ever do wrong”
– Maarva Andor, Star Wars: Andor, S1 Ep.12

“Most evangelical churches are built on opposing doctrines. Come just as you are and be saved by grace, now that grace saved you let me tell you the laws you must keep to stay saved…. It’s the old bait and switch. Bait with grace then switch to law once grace hooks them”.
– Don Keathley

“If leaving religion causes you to give up on God…then…you had a relationship with religion, not a relationship with God!”
– Glenn Regular

“Don’t limit the way that the Spirit of truth can bring you revelation, truth and the solution. He is much larger than the 66 books that comprise your Bible. He will come down any road to deliver what you need.”
– Don Keathley

“God doesn’t do guilt, period.

“So: if anyone ever, ever, EVER tries to guilt you into anything, it isn’t God.”
– Rob Grayson

“Having the Mind of Christ is not a big mystery. It is a mind that thinks in sync with the mind of the Father and expresses itself by saying and doing what the Father says and does…”
– Don Keathley

“The bit in Hebrews 12, about the ‘sin that so easily entangles’, is precisely about the obsession with sin. Sin (whatever it is) has nothing to do with the redeemed any more; we are dead to it. It’s obsolete”.
– Me

The narrow way is Jesus plus nothing. You will never fit through the gate carrying all your religious “I must do to be accepted by God” baggage…
– Don Keathley

“The idea that ‘it’s always darkest just before the dawn’ was clearly invented by someone who was still in bed at the time. And the bloke who said ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ always came last”.
– Me

 

 

 

Unconventional

Within Evangelicalism, there often seems to be a ‘rubber-stamp’ approach to the ‘accepted way’ to ‘become a Christian’ (whatever that means). For many, and especially for pushy evangelists, not only is there only one way to Heaven (Jesus) but there is also only one way to ‘become saved’ by Jesus, and that’s to pray the ‘sinner’s prayer’, or a similar method that is deemed acceptable to the one preaching – never mind what God thinks. And of course it has to be prayed out loud, so that the predator evangelist can hear you and make sure you’re jumping through all – all! – the correct hoops. In fact, to these people, it’s not even acceptable for you to be ‘born-in’, that is, being a Christian from birth because of the church your parents go to, because we are told that ‘God has no grandchildren’ and ‘each of us has to make their own decision for Christ'[1]. In the past, I have mentioned that I know people who are in the Kingdom, and yet never came in by human-approved methods or pathways; instead, God did it. There was no decision, no evangelism, no ‘action’ on the part of the new believer; this is likely part of what evangelists don’t like, because God did it without their help and all their formulae were irrelevant 😀 There is no ‘decision for Christ’ involved, and, well, we can’t have that, now can we? 😉

In reality, of course, every believer’s journey is different, and there is no such thing as a  ‘conventional’ ‘conversion'[2]. Here, then, I present an excellent piece by Kenn Burroughs (and used with his permission) where he describes how he ‘unconventionally’ became a Christian with no human intervention; no ‘credit’ to himself or to anyone else. It’s really illuminating; have a read:


I became a Christian thru an unusual way at 2 in the morning on December 7th 1974 in an empty Navy 4 bed barracks room.[3]

Going to church didn’t have anything to do with it.

I didn’t own a bible so that wasn’t involved in this dynamic life changing experience either.

I didn’t know I was supposed to “repent of my sins”, nor was I aware that I “needed a Savior”.

No one “witnessed” to me, whatever that meant; which, when I found out, I referred to it as “christian mugging.”

The current move of the Holy Spirit is “deconstruction”, but because I wasn’t brought up in any real life meaning religious environment, I was into deconstructing from the get go.

I NEVER believed in fiery torture for eternity.

I wasn’t any kind of womanizer so didn’t have sex until I got married, but never understood the “purity culture” mentality.

I always loved the example Jesus showed when it came to treating women instead of Paul’s thing about submission which I thought was beyond unreasonable.

I have NEVER talked about salvation to anyone, so I am not making it up when I say that my faith has been questioned at least once a week for over the 47 years I’ve loved Jesus.

And don’t get me started with denominations, because I don’t understand the reason, the importance, the silliness and even as harsh as it comes across, the stupidity of them. I just don’t get it and in almost half a century it still boggles my mind.

I am not much of a fan of Sunday services because I will never believe that an audience is supposed to sit in rapt attention to one guy spouting out stuff he got by preparing a sermon. I can’t believe the God I believe in works that way.

I have always believed the Holy Spirit was a “she” if pronouns are permissible.

I also believe Jesus loves us, likes us, comforts us, respects us, encourages us, cares for us, and accepts us EXACTLY the way we are regardless of anything.

I’m not much of a supporter of so called “christian” music as I personally got more from God thru “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige, “Smash Into You” by Beyonce and “1,000 Cranes” by jazz band Hiroshima, which I listen to at least once a week than anything played on christian radio.

So if you are a religious Trump Republican conservative red white and blue pro life church going every time the door opens bible memorizing women should be silent men only as pastors Amazing Grace singer come up front for an altar call repeat after me ask Jesus in your heart to be saved homophobic full of Islamaphobia going to hell if Jesus isn’t Lord believer, [then] I must be the shittiest example of christianity – but that’s okay.

Honestly, because I am loved and accepted by MY God whether you do or not.

– Kenn Burroughs


I think that’s simply excellent, don’t you?


The header picture is of a Blohm & Voss Bv-141, a highly unconventional German reconnaisance aircraft of the World War II era. You can read more about this fascinating aircraft in its Wikipedia article here.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Please allow me to apologise for all the ‘air quotes’ (there I go again!) in that passage. It’s because I am using terminology used by those who do pushy evangelism. I don’t use those phrases (nor do I believe in the concepts) myself.
2 Aaaand he’s done it again… 😉
3 The December 7th date is interesting. Kenn mentions his being in the Navy, and Dec 7th 1941 was the date the US Navy was attacked at Pearl Harbor, bringing Japan and the USA into the Second World War – Ed

Morsels

Some people will judge you for changing. Others will celebrate you for growing. Choose your circle carefully.
– Anon

Let your work and your thinking be driven by a sense of amazement at how brilliant things actually are, not by the need to be vindicated.
– Me

As I like to say, when I’m not exactly sure what I want to say, “I’m going to give the wrong answer first.”
– Josh

Me [to someone vocally judging another person]: ‘Quit bloody judging people and go look in a mirror!’
Judgmental person: ‘Ooooh! You just cussed! That’s a sin in the eyes of the LORD, that is; just you wait ’til I tell Him…’
Me: <thinking> Distraction successful. Job done (how piss-easy was that?) </thinking>
– Me

We shouldn’t conclude that someone doesn’t care about a problem just because they don’t agree with our ideas about how to resolve it.
– Diana

When Jesus said ‘Do not worry’, He was talking about daily needs like food and clothing. If He’d been at all concerned that we were not worrying enough about our ‘eternal destiny’, He would have preached a whole lot more on hellfire and damnation, rather than about us simply not worrying about where our next meal was going to come from.
– Me

You will not heal by going back to what broke you.
– Anon

Yesterday morning, I was so bored with the currently-playing dream that I actually smiled when my alarm went off.
– Me

Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and expecting someone else to die from it.
– Anon

What a pathetic god they believe in. Unable to get his way, he flings his image bearers into a fire forever rather than spend any of his infinite love or power trying to restore them. What a dick.
– Dave

If you have a problem with me, call me. If you don’t have my number, you don’t know me well enough to have a problem with me.
– Derrick Day

I didn’t want to bring people to my old church precisely because I didn’t want them to hear about the loving God I personally know, in such terrible terms [as one who would send people to burn forever in hell]. I see that now. I wasn’t sure back then why I was so reluctant, but this is why.
– Me

If you make someone’s suffering a bit more bearable today, and their burden a little less heavy, you will have manifested more of God than most religions and ideologies ever get around to doing in their entire life-cycle.
– Jeff Turner

[On people not wanting to be called Christians any more because of the bad behaviour of right-wing Evangelical nasties]:
I won’t let the pirates and interlopers steal my own birthright: the right to carry the Name of the One Who loves me. Come what may, and given all the negative connotations that the name carries, it’s still my birthright. Tarnished and sullied by the unclean it may be, but it still means the world to me.
– Me

These things just never look quite the way you pictured them when praying for them, because if they were exactly what you wanted, they wouldn’t be what you needed.
– Jeff Turner

No Christian should ever cause anyone to doubt that God loves them.
– Keith Giles

Judgmentalism is the root of all sin, imo.
– Me

Faith is not something we do to persuade God; faith is what happens to us when we realize how persuaded God is about us.
– Francois Du Toit

Enjoy what you know; look forward with anticipation to knowing more than you know now; and, most important, enjoy the journey of discovery! 🙂
– Me

 

The Ha-ha

It’s been a good few months now since I last shared any thoughts on my blog, which I explained at around the same time. My good friend Phil Hendry also has a blog, and oddly enough, he too has had somewhat of a hiatus in his blog posts – but today he shared his first post for some time; a piece called ‘Whitewashed Tombs’.

I liked the post so much that I thought I’d share it here, for your enjoyment and upbuilding. I particularly loved the analogy of the ‘ha-ha’, hence me naming my post with that title. So Phil and I are posting our first items in months, but it’s me who’s the pirate 😉

Over to Phil:


Whitewashed Tombs

The Church of England has begun a ‘conversation’ around the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion. The main focus at this stage is on a course, and associated supporting resources, known collectively as ‘Living in Love and Faith’. I did the course myself a few months ago, and found it interesting and thought-provoking. At the moment I am helping to facilitate another course for our deanery (a deanery is a local group of churches). It is proving, again, interesting – perhaps more so than last time, because it’s a much more diverse group.

Something has been ‘bubbling away’ in the back of my mind for a while, but really came to the boil after the most recent session, regarding how members of the church see themselves.

We seem, naturally, to identify with the characters in the gospel stories whom Jesus, rescues, ransoms, heals, restores, forgives. Understandably so, I think, given that many people in churches feel as though they have been rescued, ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. But something odd, if not to say disturbing, seems to happen then, in a lot of cases – something which I think we’re usually completely blind to.

If we aren’t really careful, we can find ourselves becoming ‘defenders of the faith’ or ‘gatekeepers’ – people who see themselves as preserving the purity of the faith, defending what is ‘right’ against what is ‘wrong’ and making sure that the message doesn’t get ‘watered down’ or compromised. In so doing, we draw ‘lines in the sand’ – we divide people into those who are good and ‘in’ versus those who are ‘out’ and who must change, or show willingness to change, before we will countenance the idea of letting them ‘in’.

Without realising it, we are in danger of becoming just like the people whom Jesus railed against in (for instance) Matthew 23:13:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

How dare we judge? Did Jesus not say, in Matthew 7:1-2 for instance :

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“

Having thought about that, I had a quick read through many of Jesus’ interactions with those excluded by the religious of the day – the sinners, tax collectors, lepers, cripples, blind, etc., – all those seen, at the time, as ‘unclean’ and therefore excluded from temple and synagogue. Jesus doesn’t go in for any of that, at all. He excludes no-one, on any grounds (except, possibly, those who seek to exclude others). He makes himself ‘ritually unclean’ by touching lepers; He heals the sick, forgives sinners, makes the blind see and the lame walk… All things which would ‘pollute’ Him in the eyes of religious. He doesn’t demand repentance (change) before He heals them or forgives them – or even, usually, afterwards – though repentance frequently follows as a sign of gratitude at being accepted and treated as truly human.

It strikes me that, every time the Law of Moses gets in the way of Jesus loving someone, He sets it aside, ignores it, or changes it. With Jesus love trumps (the letter of the) law, every single time. If we are to follow him, and be truly Christlike, we must, surely expect to do the same?

We may believe that ‘the Bible clearly says’ that homosexuality is sinful (there is actually a good deal of scholarly debate about that – clear is one thing it does not appear to be!), and use that as an excuse to exclude those particular ‘sinners’ – but ask yourself – is that truly what Jesus would do? Or would He find a way, instead, to set that aside, so as to allow Him to love them instead of excluding them?

And it isn’t just LGBTQ+ people either. We have also turned against our own, bullying and excluding those who dare to believe different things from us. How is that Christlike? Jesus told us to:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Matthew 12:30-31)

He also said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.“ (Matthew 5:43-45)

What excuse do we have, therefore to abuse those who disagree with us on matters of faith, let alone those we see as ‘sinners’?

And to those who excuse themselves by saying:

‘I’m concerned for their immortal souls – I’m just saying it to warn them’,

or:

‘I’m saying it in love because I’m concerned for them’,

I would say that you are deceiving yourself. It isn’t your job. You are not a judge, and you’re fooling yourself if you think you won’t be perceived as sitting in judgment. You are told to love them… Which absolutely doesn’t include telling them they’re wrong, even if you ‘know’ they are. Have some humility: ultimately, you might actually prove to be the one who is wrong – even when, as far as you’re concerned, ‘the Bible clearly says’.

We must be so careful in our dealings with those whom we perceive to be ‘outside’ God’s grace – in whatever way that is, be it because of their gender, sexuality, theology, ethnicity, or whatever. Paul said, in his letter to the Galatians:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

If we believe that, we must treat everyone the same – in the way we ourselves would like to be treated.

We went and stayed at Lee Abbey in Devon during the summer; and I found that it has what I think was once a ‘Ha-ha’.

What on Earth, you may ask, is a ‘Ha-ha’?

Rather than being, as you might imagine, a somewhat cynical, entirely feeble, attempt at humour, a ha-ha is a wall. It’s a rather special sort of wall. From one side (which we’ll call the ‘inside’ for now), it and the field beyond look just like one open field. It appears as if the animals grazing in the field are free to wander wherever they like, even right up to those on the inside of the ha-ha.

However, all is not as it seems. From the ‘outside’, if you do try to wander towards the ‘inside’, you encounter a ditch, and inside the ditch is one face of a wall (entirely invisible from the ‘inside’), preventing those ‘outside’ from coming ‘inside’… (And preventing them pooing on the areas where people walk.)

I expect you can see now where I’m going with this.

From the inside, church appears to be or, rather, wishes to present the appearance of being, ‘open’ and accessible to anyone. But…

BUT…

If you are on the outside, or if you leave and try to come back in – then you’re likely to meet a ‘Ha-ha’ – a fence which those on the inside insist is nonexistent, but which seems all too real, and insurmountable, to you on the outside.

It is very easy for us, quite unknowingly and unintentionally, to erect barriers to people we perceive as being ‘outside’. Someone I know is fond of saying that God loves all of us just as we are, but that he loves us too much not to want to change us. It’s sincere and very well-meant. But to someone hearing that, it can be hugely threatening. I have had people say similar things around me and to me. I’m not bothered by it now, because I know now how gentle and loving God is (far more so than almost any Christian I know!) . But, ‘back in the day’, words like those made it feel as though God wanted to ‘take over’ and change ‘me’ into someone else – it felt as though I was going to lose ‘myself’, my identity, and be subsumed into some nebulous, alien, ‘otherness’, and that I’d no longer be me, and no longer know myself – that I might even become one of those terribly sincere, self-assured, Christians who actually made me feel profoundly, inexplicably, uncomfortable. That actually held me back, for decades, from truly ‘opening myself up’ to God and God’s people.

These sort of ‘barriers’ are essentially invisible to those ‘inside’ – ‘we welcome anyone and everyone’ we say. But to those outside, it doesn’t look like that. There is a feeling that if you don’t/won’t/can’t ‘conform’ with what are seen as the ‘expectations’, you won’t be welcomed – or that, if you do come, sooner or later, you’ll have to either conform in order to become ‘someone different’, or find yourself ‘outside’ – whether it be for reasons of gender identity, sexuality, doctrine, theology, colour, etc.

So have a care that you aren’t, inadvertently, whilst believing that you are simply doing what’s right, acting as one of those whom Jesus referred to as ‘whitewashed tombs’.

 


Header picture shows the ha-ha at Longleat, near Warminster, Wiltshire. This shows the view from ‘inside’ the ha-ha. The ha-ha itself is the grassy line across the picture just below half-way down, although it isn’t this obvious for its entire length.

Here is the link to Phil’s original article

Elevenses

“Jesus: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, love your enemies.’ For the 1st century Jews, the effect was the same as if a preacher stood up today and said, ‘The Bible says……but I say to you…..’”
– Brian Zahnd

Deconstructing our faith is letting go of any part of whatever you believe that does NOT tell you that you are absolutely, unconditionally acceptance, included, loved and beloved. It can be scary and feel overwhelming.  But it is one of the most beautiful things you will ever do. What remains is real and pure and celebrates who you are, without condition.
– Susan Cottrell

When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try and control those around you, and how those around you perceive you
– Sacha DeSouza

If you love, and love well, I don’t really care what you call yourself. You embody my faith, which, so said Paul, counts only when expressing itself through love.
I know a great many people who, in silence and anonymity, better flesh out the faith many claim to have than most (including myself) who insist on labeling what they have.
– Jeff Turner

Religion: You have to understand an ancient Jewish text correctly to have knowledge of God.
Spirit: No, you don’t. Realize it was the story and descriptions of their experiences, centuries ago and create your stories with your own descriptions of your own experiences today.
– Ken Etter

Troll comment [talking about brother Christians who don’t believe the same as she does]: “And they will also be going to hell for their sins against God/Jesus”

Me: “Nah, God says ‘I will remember their sins no more’. It’s right there in your Rulebook, with no conditions attached”
– Me

Everyone fails at being who they’re supposed to be. The important thing is to succeed in being who you really are.
– Sue

Grace does not close your eyes to sin. Grace opens your eyes to your identity as righteous, and behaviour always follows identity.
– Don Keathley

“Love Me or burn”. Put like that, it’s easy to see that God just isn’t like that.
– Me

[commenting on incorrect apostrophe use in a ‘credible’ video] It seems like people put in extra work to look less intelligent
-Anon

Grace teaches that the Father gives gifts, not merit badges.
– Don Keathley

[To a judgmental person on a forum] Is it your entire calling in life to judge others, or is it just something that you do in your spare time?
– Me

I’ve decided to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the New Year in, but to make sure this one leaves…
– Graham

To believe God cannot look at sin is anti-biblical.
Habakkuk states otherwise.
Jesus being with sinners states otherwise.
Jesus becoming human states otherwise.
Jesus becoming sin for us states otherwise.
Be careful what you believe and have been taught.
– Dale

“Christianity is like a swimming-pool. All the noise comes from the shallow end.”
– Quote from a US theologian.

Do you know why old men study the scriptures? it is because they are cramming for final exams.
– Richard Carlin

[In response to a really wise statement] “I am tattooing this to my soul.”
– ‘Lace’