Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

God Does Not Want To Be Served

In Deception, Everything Else, Freedom, God, Life, Politics on April 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I don’t see much of a difference between an oppressive government and the institutional Christian church system. Both enforce far too much control over their subjects, creating a system of slavery. And it becomes even more tragic when we actually pay these systems to do so.

The control comes in the form of mind slavery. A government which requires compulsory attendance to an educational system begins enslaving the mind from a young, formative age. The citizen is conditioned to believe that they are dependent upon the system in order to survive in the world. In exchange for your mind, you are promised a job or career with retirement and security benefits.

Churches also condition the minds of the young. In exchange for your commitment to a certain church denomination, you can attain eternal life. Church members are led to believe that they could grow in their spiritual vitality as long as they didn’t miss too many Sundays at church.

I have to admit that the marketing utilized by these systems is pretty difficult to beat. Who wouldn’t want job security or an assured salvation? The trade value seems fair enough at first.  But personally, I think they are both mostly a fraud.

First of all, the systems are set up in a way so that it subjects are intended to fail. This is what creates the dependency. Always striving and never achieving the highest standard of perfection keeps us on the rat wheel. Our grades could always be better (as my 4.0 GPA son would say.) And so can our righteousness.

Secondly, the hierarchy within the system works in a way so that the achievers exist at the expense of the failures. The bell grade system ensures that there are always people at the top as well as people at the bottom.  Generally speaking, if one student gets an A, another student must receive an F in the overall national system. Basically, students are graded by comparison where the top student sets the highest standard and the poorest student sets the lowest. The average student is somewhere in the middle. These labels are usually set in elementary school and based on how well a child complies with and works for the system.

In the church world, the highest grade often goes to the church leader who is distinguished as “the servant of all” and this person sets the standard for everyone else. The lowest grade goes to the worst sinner, such as a liberal, a homosexual or a heretic.

Thirdly, the promised product is mostly empty, in my opinion. While one might land a high-paying job after working their way from preschool to graduate school, the job continues to keep students entirely dependent on the economy for life and happiness. Only now they are the teachers instead of the students. Or they are the executives which pay the high taxes to maintain the system. If you are unhappy in your job, well that’s too bad, unless you want to change your major and go back to school.

Eternal life also seems to be void of freedom. In fact, there is always another law to follow which seems to appear out of nowhere sometimes. Believers must isolate themselves from the world more and more in order to avoid the pitfalls found just outside the church doorsteps. Can one know God apart from the church institution? Forget it. Serving God is now equated with serving the church and the only way to escape the servanthood is to break all the rules.

If you rebel against the conformity, you will then be rejected by those who are conforming. We then experience a great loss with an excruciating emptiness unless we fill it with something else. It’s nearly impossible to leave, and even if you do leave, it doesn’t mean you were given back your mind on your way out the door. You must now figure out how to use your own brain and function in a systematic world apart from the system. The challenge can be overwhelming and almost seem pointless. I honestly do not blame anyone who wants to remain under the heavy hand of Christianity, or at least partly so. Because of the dependency, it really could be detrimental for some people to leave it.

There are other systems which feeds on its own members in order to exist but I’m only picking on the public school system as well as the Christian institution because I’ve had the lovely honor of being enslaved by both. But we could apply the same concepts to anything.

The pop culture system has its iconic standard too and if you don’t sacrifice your physical appearance to it, then you’re a failure. Still, if you’re not rich, thin and plastic, you can always remain a worshiper of such.

Capitalism, like socialism, is another form of slavery. Money is the god that feeds on every sacrificed soul within it whether one is making all the money or spending all the money. The rich depend on the poor (and vice versa) just like the A and F students need each other, and same with the righteous and unrighteous.

I think there is a good purpose in the world for government, religion, money and glamor too. The problem only comes in when they try to take over the world or move out of their proper unique role. Even if the systems I’ve mentioned have been primarily sourced in the west, they have each spread world-wide. Power is mostly held by a discreet few while the rest of the world has no idea we are slaves to anything. Our world is out of balance, and people are miserable or they die prematurely as a result. Life becomes a living death, for all, including those at the top… because we are all slaves one way or another.

Is there a system which exists in its natural balance? I think the human anatomy is a good example. Every body part and organ has a unique function which, if functioning in all of its unique glory, will each serve the health of the whole. If one organ begins to degenerate, the strength of the others will help to recover or heal it because the vitality of one means the vitality of all. When the body begins to attack its own self, or when some organs feed on others, every member will eventually decease.

Where am I going with all of this? I am trying to understand the proper role of religion, apart from the mind control, if there is such a thing. I have heard of small islands or tribes who live under a people’s type of republic. It’s where every citizen really does have a voice and is the government itself. The crime rates are extremely low and violator’s, usually outsiders or visitors, are most often successfully rehabilitated. If these societies exist, it would prove that freedom naturally results in, or at least goes hand in hand with, goodness as opposed to the feared evil.

In modern day Evangelicalism, enough people are leaving churches to catch the attention of Christian media. Some people are leaving churches in order to start or to join house churches. This seems to be an attempt to form a church in which every member participates, fading out the great divide between the clergy and the laity.

But like many homeschoolers who only perpetuate the same public schooling at home, house churches can potentially reproduce the system under yet another package. Religion likes to mutate into different forms. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the Hebrew old covenantal religion changed into what we now know as the Christian religion. The reformation only replaced the priest with the pastor. And now a new set of heretics is carrying on the tradition. In other words, reformations and revivals continue to keep us enslaved to the system.

And I want out. I don’t even want to be labeled as a heretic anymore. I’d like to appreciate religion and even God for whatever they might be worth and then move on and enjoy life. How important is God? Not important enough to be an idol, as far as my experience goes.

I used to think the church was a sham because it took the place of God. Now I think that God is a sham if he takes the place of life itself. If there is any God that is worth worshiping, it isn’t one that demands ultimate allegiance. It’s a God that exists by the vitality of all – all people, and all of life. He’s not just a religious God, but a scientific God, a philosophical God, an entertaining God, a poetical God, an economical God, a nutritional God and the list could go on forever. God exists just as much as anything exists. But if God only exists by feeding on the souls of his own people, our whole world collapses because it is all connected as one organism. I can’t imagine why anyone, including God, would want that.

Christians, and especially the emerging ones, try so hard to relate the religious God to other areas of life. We’ve got Christian dentists, Christian evolutionists and even pole dancers for Jesus. Meanwhile, the more orthodox Christians fuel the guilt of prostituting God with the “evils” of the world. It’s absolutely ridiculous because in either sense, it’s the religious system trying to maintain its influential control over the world, all under the banner of serving God.

In my last entry I talked about throwing out Jesus. I’d say the same thing for God. While I believe there is some value to the religious God, the only way to really discover and experience that value is to be willing to remove it completely. When it is no longer a master force with which to be contended, it will naturally fall into its proper place, along with everything else in the world.

I can’t say that I completely understand God. I only know that God is not a dictator, or if he is, then no thanks. I’ll have to pass on the tyranny. And if God is everything that he is supposed to be, the all in all, then I won’t need religion to know God. This God will be found everywhere and in everything. Like oxygen, I shouldn’t need to observe symbolic rituals, study it, sing praise songs to it or tack its word label onto as many subjects as possible. I can simply enjoy its purpose just like I enjoy the unique purpose of all things, as well as their intimate relationships with each other… as they are.

In this sense, God is no longer God. Life is now life, in which everything literally plays a vital role. Somehow I think this is what the real God intended all along. He didn’t even give himself a name. Religion did that. The holy book came from religion too, as well as every other expected standard of achievement for “knowing God.”

The mind conditioning of the system is some crazy shit. When one has attended church for so many years, it seems almost impossible to think of God apart from the Christian religion. I thought that the best way was to divorce them. But that only made me an F student, or a heretic. For me, the only way to get out of Shawshank might be to abandon the whole thing, including God altogether – if that is even possible. I can escape the institution, but it still controls my mind.

The ultimate freedom from the Christian religion is to disregard its power. Because God and Christianity are so intertwined in my mind, this would include disregarding the power of God as well. And the religious God does seem pretty helpless as well as non-existent when I stop and really think about it. God answers about half of the prayers of his people according to what they ask, but that could be attributed to life chance. God hasn’t yet raptured his church according to his church’s many predictions. His judgments seem to fall on the just and unjust alike. Bible miracles can be scientifically explained, if they are recorded and interpreted correctly, that is. There is virtually no difference between the Christian and the Non-christian. Both get married. Both get divorced. Both have triumphs and obstacles along the way. Both have their own issues.

It seems that if we want to understand God, we can take a good look at life. Reality can give the Bible a whole new set of interpretations. Life can give God a whole new understanding. That’s where I want to be. In life, and in reality. If God is there, then great. If not, I’m tired of missing out on life to worry about God. If God wants slaves, I don’t want to be one of them. But if God is about living life, that sounds good to me.

Now if I could only get my mind back….

  1. For a long time it seemed evident to me already after the sicko and hyper-controlling cult I came through that I should feel compassion and be non-judgmental towards those who choose to leave Christianity, the bible, and even God. I also see nothing to brag about in the fact that I choose to deal with my own struggles within the framework of my chosen holy writ, I just do.

    It is still a little shocking to me, Elizabeth, to see you spell out in such vivid detail your reasoning for doing so, and the feelings of yours that accompany such a decision. But that does not change my position at all, it just adds the gritty reality for me as concerning a position I already hold and believe to be right for me.

    For whatever it’s worth to you, I am just glad that with all this “turning away” you are doing that you seem to be willing to accept whatever new thing life brings you. As far as I’m concerned that’s enough for now.

  2. I am wondering what this world would be like if no one was ever taught about god or gods. Never taught about Christian Religion, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. etc. Do you think our humanity would “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”? Would all this hate and fear due to our different beliefs be gone? If we didn’t have to worry about an afterlife, could we just have love in our hearts for everyone because everyone is the same? Just wondering.

    • Sylvia, that has happened. I think the country was Wales. There was a mighty revival 100+ years ago and the country became a real blessing to live in, until… ‘Religion’ took over. They hated “religion” so much that they eventually discarded religion all to gather. The result – morality diminished too and man began to return to an animal like creature completely void of being civilized. Rape, animal rape, homosexuality etc all increased dramatically. So that is not the answer either…

      • Really? do you have some statistics or reputable source material to back up that claim or just your opinion and vague recollection of something maybe happening in some country that may or may not have been Wales?

  3. Elizabeth.

    I love (what a lousy overworked word, when I mean honor, respect, but not in a distant and condescending way) that you are scrapping everything about Christianity not in an angry, rebellious, belligerent “F**U”, although there is necessarily some of that, but in a deconstruct the entire rotten system and see what remains fresh and whole and ever-new.

    This was an excellent post with so many quotable bits that I can’t choose what to repost on my FB Page. I’ll probably have to link you several times just so I can include all my favorite parts.

    And, wow, do I get the “wanting your mind” back! Every time I think I’ve exorcised enough of the demons to be able to tame the rest, another hideous head of the Hydra comes roaring out of my unconscious. I may never be able to teach the skeletons in my closet to dance but being able to know the demons from the Divine is a good place to be.

  4. I have so enjoyed your posts having taken the red pill about 12 years ago (Matrix). Having been extracted I now back in to try and help those still stuck. A text with out a context is only a pretext – hence denominations and the “Christian” religion. Put in their proper context the teachings of the Anointed One – Y’shua – have all the answers you are looking for and will free not enslave. He came to reveal God as the Father He is, not the pharaoh religion makes Him out to be. His Kingdom is a mindset, as is “the world” and religion in all its guises. Be transformed (meta-morphed) by the renewing of your mind and let the same mind be in you that was in the Anointed One.

  5. you’ll find him in life, in reality, in new and astounding ways, i have.

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  7. Sounds good Elizabeth – I like the comment about God being as pervasive as oxygen. I’m beginning to think that perhaps the notion / experience of God should not be the primary pursuit but something that is found around the edges of our caring and compassionate actions towards each other. A bonus if you will but certainly not a thing in itself to be slavishly and obsessively pursued.

  8. This is an amazing and well written essay, Elizabeth. Very insightful and eye-opening, and helps me put into perspective some of my own ponderings of late about “religion” as a “thing” compartmentalized separate from Real Life, and just how weird that is.

    One thing comes to mind just thinking about the title you gave this: “For the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) So whether you toss Him out or not, it does sound to me like Jesus had the right idea — along with all those molecules of oxygen sacrificing themselves every moment to give us life. 😉 Peace.

  9. Wonderful post.

    I’m a slow learner. If it weren’t for my experience with systems that oppress (i.e. institutional religion), I wouldn’t have learned what doesn’t work. Contrast. Knowing what doesn’t work has only served to point me to Life and Truth. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have taken a different path even if I had been given a glimpse of freedom at an earlier age. Like I said, I’m a slow learner.

    I really resonate with your comments about God existing by the vitality of all… the Jesus of religion is way too small. He is the Light of the Cosmos encompassing ALL things.


  10. Elizabeth,
    I/e your statement “All I want is my mind back” is a very ‘hands on description’ of the reality of the ‘unsettlement in your heart’, fighting for sanity amongst the ‘extreme right’ religious concepts you have allowed others to ‘seed into your life’. You will never be able to ‘get your mind back’ if you don’t satisfy the ‘demons of your past’ with truth. Truth is your only antidote leading to peace. Truth will ‘stamp out’ the error and do just what you asking for; it will give you your mind back. The rebellion you are currently exhibiting, is a natural response to your past enslavement to the ‘religious system,’ (‘religion’ being a derogatory term) and that ‘rebellion’ is part of the process to you finding truth. Realizing that there is a problem is something most deny. You are halfway there. Now you need to realize that the ‘atheistic approach’ is nothing more then the opposite extreme leading to another deceptive ‘life long rabbit trail’ which will leave you much more desolate then the former extreme. The truth is always found in the middle. You have already begun the pilgrimage to truth by realizing the error of religion and it’s millions of rabbit trails, in which you have emotionally resided (even promoted) during your life. The reality however, is found in Christ, not religion.

    In my past (when I was caught up in religion) I screamed a similar request to God, at the top of my lungs, standing on the rail of a bridge. “Lord, I was better off before I became Christian! Lord! The church is not what it was in the beginning. I was happier before I knew all this stuff.” Or something like that. I had found myself jumping thru the hoops and running on the treadmill of religion and trying to be a “good Christian”. I was guilt ridden, never good enough, and wishing I could just die and be done with it! Why? Once something enters your mind, there is no getting away from that knowledge. You are caught! Referring back to Elisabeth’s “All I want is my mind back.” Life and religion to me had become as a cruel bad joke, one of misery continually bombarding my mind. Elizabeth, you are right about that.

    The Apostle Paul’s writings led me away from religion, and led me too Christ. Religion always told me that Paul’s ‘Romans 7:14-25 stress statement’ was a theological analogy. I disagree; I think Paul was desperately describing a past turning-point in his life too. I think He was just so sold on Christ that he turned TO Christ rather then away from Him. Like we always seem to. People that are real, sincere, & honest with themselves, have epiphanies like Paul had, like I have had. Those who aren’t sincere, don’t. They also don’t have the trouble with religion as we do, because they don’t see a problem with it. They are either blind, look the other way, are in-sincere, or apathetic. What ever, they don’t see a problem, and wonder what the heck is wrong with us…

    Paul’s explanation of the gospel is extremely complex, yet simple.
    We are helpless in improving our lives. We haven’t any ability at all to be good within ourselves. When we try to be, we just shift between sins. It’s not about us being good. It’s about us being forgiven. And more then that, it’s about our sins being “taken away.” (John 1:29) He came to clear our consciences of sin. To let us die with Him (Gal 2:20) when He died, and to rise up with him when he rose up. To be as if we were reborn from the dead (John 3:3). To become a ‘new creation’ with Him (2 Cor 5:17). Metamorphous. Literally a new creature. A new species.

    In effect, to be taken back in time to the Garden of Eden and given the choice of choosing between the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ as Adam chose, or the ‘Tree of Life,’ which is Christ. (Choosing the World, or Christ). I choose Christ ‘The Tree of Life.’

    Because I make this choice, instantly Christ imputes to me righteousness as a gift. Propitiation for my sin. Therefore, the old order of things passes away. All things are new. The 613 Mosaic laws pass away. God places His Spirit with in us to guide us in truth, love, etc as we renew our minds (Rom 12:1-2) to begin to act and think like He (God) acts and thinks. All while in a position of perpetual positional forgiveness & rest for our souls. Our fear of falling is gone. Our fear of judgment is gone, Christ was judged in our place. It Is Finished! What is finished? All the striving, all the stress, all the performing and acting, all the trying to keep up, the struggle over sin, the keeping of law, the gravelling at the alter, the guilt, everything. Christ fulfilled it ALL. We truly are reborn, starting our life a fresh!

    Again, why did he come? He came to ‘take away’ our sin. Not to cover it. But to ‘take it away’! That is the key statement to peace in the gospel! Jesus came to end the priesthood of Levi. (Rom 7:1-6) A priesthood of annual sacrifices thought to remove sin & the guilt of sin. Yet, was an annual reminder of that sin. Jesus (thru Mary) came from Judah. Priests have never come from Judah. Jesus’ priesthood changed the order of the priesthood when He offered Himself for sin, no other sacrifice need ever be offered again. It is over! It’s done deal! Or as he said “It is finished”.

    When you folks get a hold of the REAL gospel, you will never be the same again. Many of you are on the right track, you just stopped short of the prize.

    Gods Grace and peace to you all!

  11. “When you folks get a hold of the REAL gospel, you will never be the same again. Many of you are on the right track, you just stopped short of the prize.”

    Thanks for blaming us for our distress. Thanks for telling us that for all the decades we spent in Christianity, being really immersed in it through education and profession, somehow we missed the REAL gospel that will cure all our ills. Thanks for informing us that we just need to try harder.

    Yeah, been there, done that. You’re not helping.

    • Sandy, thats not what I said at all! Trying harder is the exact opposite of what I said. That is what I ment by this;

      Our fear of falling is gone. Our fear of judgment is gone, Christ was judged in our place. It Is Finished! What is finished? All the striving, all the stress, all the performing and acting, all the trying to keep up, the struggle over sin, the keeping of law, the gravelling at the alter, the guilt, everything. Christ fulfilled it ALL. We truly are reborn, starting our life a fresh!

      Your last comment “Thanks for informing us that we just need to try harder.” Is not what it is about at all! That is the religious gospel. The lie of doing and getting. Galations 1 speaks of this when they added the Jesus plus gospel.

      I spent 33 years in the “religious gospel.” I do get it.

      When you can make the distinction between them you will be set free…

      I spent 5 hours today writeing and re-writing this for you and others to try to help you, I’m sorry I failed you and it wasn’t clear for you…

      Try the book “Spiritual Burnout” by Malcolm Smith. It may help you.

      I’m sorry again for failing you…

      Ps Most of christianity have never heard the REAL gospel. I wasn’t trying to insult you, but enlighten you. I judge no one! I too have been involved in every doctrine on every level. And I count it all manure for what I know now…

  12. John,

    Maybe a brief description between the “religious gospel” and the REAL gospel would help. Often an insight or freedom for one person can be the same old for another. I’ve read your posts above and you obviously are greatly impacted by them but forgive me for saying that for many it is just the same old messages.

    Also, some of the your messages about not being good in ourselves but sorry that has not been my experience. I know that these messages are based on Bible verses but many people who I meet are good – good parents, good employees, good friends, kind and compassionate people, courageous, etc and often with either a different faith or agnostic and maybe atheist. Doing good to another person because one has compassion to another is not primarily to meet some celestial test for perfection but a simple act of kindness from one person to another.

  13. Ian,
    Writing on a blog such as this, is difficult. I was writing to Liz, and both you and Sylvia have responded, not Liz. But that’s ok.

    We have all walked different paths. So your perspective will be primarily based from that walk. And I am not a good enough writer to paint a broad enough picture to be “all inclusive”.

    With me religion was about jumping through hoops as payment for forgiveness. Those hoops established by the particular religion or denomination (church). Every church does this to some degree, the catholic being the most pronounced. And easiest to use for an analogy. It’s methodology for issuing forgiveness is primarily through communion (the eucharist) via transubstantiation. Meaning, The priest, has the power given him by his position as priest, to supposedly cause the elements to be magically transformed into the ACTUAL body and blood of Jesus. This gives him a unique ability to glue the congregation ‘to the church’ because they have been brainwashed from youth telling them that they need that methodology for forgiveness of their sin. Now if this were “the truth” it would be fine. But it isn’t the truth. It is all about people control. If you go thru their history, you will find that this religions history is all about manipulation of people. I call that “religion”. To me, practicing “religion” is a waste of time because if it is not based on truth, it is a game. Totally useless for redemption. And if we take redemption out of religion… Then aren’t we to be pitied for our delusion? A country club would be of as much value as church then wouldn’t it?

    I believe that there is a “truth” apart from “religion”. Even though by some, may call it religion. When Jesus was here, he was against religion too, if you look Matt 23 you will see what and why.

    The “real truth” is described above

    i/e Paul’s explanation of the gospel.

    I hope that helped.

    Now as far as your 2nd question, yes there are some people that are naturally better then others. Probably they’re up bringing mostly. But not always. But no one is perfect. We all need redemption. And that propitiation offers perfection via identification with Christ.

  14. John,

    My name is Sandra. The blog owner goes by Elizabeth. If you don’t even bother to address us by the names we have used, why should I think that you are paying enough attention to what else we are saying to have anything useful to say in reply? By using nicknames we haven’t posted, you come across as a slick used-car dealer trying to sell us something we don’t want. What you have written is full of the same buzzwords, jargon and language that we found demeaning and demanding while in Christianity. My experience of such buzzwords feels like you are simply parroting what you’ve heard, applying one-size-fits-all church to situations you haven’t understood.

    Maybe you did feel a heavy yoke of religion in Catholicism and now feel a freedom in Evangelicalism. Great–and I mean that without sarcasm, freedom for the soul is good. Now please assume the same feelings for us. The REAL Gospel as you write about it is exactly the version that we experienced as the religious yoke and we are finally breathing in some freedom by leaving religion altogether. Your original post came across to me as a long-winded sermon, reminding me of the presumed great evil in my soul, filled with heavy-handed terms like propitiation that lay like rocks on my heart, and peppered with Scripture.

    If you really wanted to help, which no one asked for, Elizabeth simply wanted to explore her own musings, then really listening–getting our names right–and using your own words to say “i’ve been there, I feel ya” would have gone down a lot better than a sermon.

  15. Never mind…

  16. I don’t sell cars.
    I’m not a preacher.
    I repair computers.
    I don’t go to church but love Jesus.
    I care about people.
    I hate religion.

    I hate pushing rope.

    I have a bad habit of thinking people are looking for truth because truth to me answers every question. When in reality, I am finding most are looking for justification of they’re actions and gather those around them who agree with them.

    Sorry if I misunderstood everyone. I thought you were asking for help.

  17. Hi John,

    Such is the nature of blogs – pretty much a free for all – totally unlike email. When I post something I expect that anyone will reply. I think there are at least two aspects to these discussions: one about what the gospels represent and the other is the culture and context of how that information is passed down to us today and how we are schooled by christian institutions on what to believe and how to believe it. The two are hopelessly intertwined. What is freedom for one group is a pox to another. You may read it yourself but Wikipedia has an entry in which it states there are over 38,000 Christian variants. Think about that for a moment. Some would have started with honest motives but many are sourced from discord and arguments over scripture.

    To be straight up with you your original blog post is something I and most probably many others know full well – and have heard repeatedly. In my case I’m in my 50’s and became a believer at 9 – primarily through an affiliate of Billy Graham and I can still remember the message being based 1) God’s love and 2) failure to comply would result in hell. Big stressors for a small child from a fractured and violent home and within a fundamentalist faith community.

    I won’t extrapolate and assume other’s have had the same experience but for me the discrepancies between the example of Christ while here on earth distilled into two crystal clear statements: love god and love your neighbour in no way resembles Christianity as I’ve experienced. It appears you have experienced something totally different – fantastic. In order to make a little sense out it all my personal choice has been to withdraw from those institutions and doctrines that foment discord and to explore those two simple statement mentioned above.

    Your reply to my response above about goodness in people was interesting and, sorry to say this, but typical of what I met when attending a weekly congregation. You stated “some people are naturally better than others” and “but no one is perfect”. If you wouldn’t mind please read the last sentence of what I wrote above again – I mentioned that these compassionate actions are NOT done in order to be perfect but because someone cares about another. You see the whole dynamic changes from grading someone on a scale on their performance to simple caring. To be honest how horrid to pervert caring actions to something used as a test or scorecard for one’s own personal salvation.

    I could say more but this is already to long. Peace John and I’m glad you are enjoying your faith journey.

  18. Ian,
    I appreciate your civilized dialog. Thank you.

    You are getting closer to me, but you have still missed what I meant. I have been in several churches and my experience with church was awful. In all of them except the first year and a half in the first one.

    What happened first, was I got saved in a REAL revival at age 23. 200+ kids in a town of 2000 did. It was awesome. You could just feel / wear the warmth of the Holy Spirit for about a year and a half. Many tears, many miracles, much love! (Until religion showed its face and ended it.)

    A group of us (six couples) became real close, and now 33 years later we still are. Even if we haven’t seen each other for 2 years, I feel just as close to them w/no awkwardness at all. They are the “lay down your life for” friends.

    If I hadn’t seen / felt the presence of God like I did in the beginning, I would have walked away years ago. Religion has treated me like a baby treats a diaper my whole life. And still is.

    But, Jesus hasn’t! Jesus has saved my life (literally), spoken to me, warned me of danger, stopped storms, warned me to slow down, etc. over and over and over.

    What I have been trying to say, and doing a poor job of it, is there is a distinction between religion (church) and Jesus. The way Jesus spanked the church leadership in Matt 23 is a great example. He loved the woman at the well who was shacked up with her 6th man, and didn’t care. Religion judged her, He loved her. That’s my Jesus. That’s my friend.

    Under Elizabeth’s heading “my story” I have a description of religion and a definition I wrote describing my disgust for it. Religion takes, and takes, and takes. Jesus loves.

    I do feel you-all’s pain. For 30 years I contemplated drastic measures to free myself “in my mind.” No one can live like that. It is just too much. Too much weight to carry. I cried myself to sleep many a time. Believe me when I say, “I get it.”

    And I will present my case 1 last time. Screw the church, search after Jesus with your whole heart. The secret to peace is found in Paul’s writings. Paul found and understood the “mystery” of the gospel. I call it “the real gospel” I don’t think all of the apostles understood it. I don’t think hardly any of the evangelicals get it. Why? Because they are still striving. Striving for what? To be good. To obey. To “impress” God so he will be indebted to then. To try to impress each other! NOT! They are trying to earn what he has given us for free.

    I found my peace in Christ in 1985 and the church stole it away from me. They said what I believed was in error. I found it back again in February a year and a few months ago. And I will never let it go again!

  19. Hey John,

    Thanks for the reply – good to hear a bit about your life story and about the revivalist beginnings – I have read about them but never personally experienced one. You are doing a good job with your posts but we all have our hot buttons and sometimes respond accordingly. Cheers mate – it’s nearing the end my work break and I just wanted to reply before getting back into the daily grind.

  20. […] God Does Not Want To Be Served Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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