Friday, August 12, 2016

Just Enough Christianity To Offend EVERYONE

I was raised in the Methodist Church, but I wasn’t saved until age 28, in a Baptist church. Solely to placate my wife, I joined that church. When we got a devilish preacher, a few years later, we dropped out of that church and joined another one. A few MORE years later, gossip got so bad there, that we quit going to church altogether. That was probably about ten years ago. Strangely, our faith in the Lord is even stronger today than it was then, because He’s made His help and presence known multiple times since then. The last few years, He’s helped us through the most financially stressful times of our life, in ways that can only be explained by His grace.

I’m blessed to have a pretty good selection of Christian friends online, and have a prayer circle of sorts. And they’re from all around the world and of many denominations. One or two even come from a denomination which thinks it isn’t a denomination!

Now I’ve always been open about the fact that I don’t agree with most organized churches. Each one has its Eleventh Commandment because, after all, God sometimes forgets things (at least that’s how I assume they would explain their addition). Then there are the “Christ based cults,” as some folks call them. This term is usually explained by saying that any denomination that puts the words of a man, or men, above the words of the Lord (the Bible) is a cult. This would include the Catholics, the Mormons, the Amish and a few others, perhaps. I basically agree with that definition. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, simply threw out the parts of the Bible they didn’t like, including Jesus.

While I don’t believe as they do, I NORMALLY resist the urge to belittle their denominations. This is NOT because I will “tolerate” anything, as some supposed Christians appear to do, but because I’ve seen that within each denomination, there are at least a few folks who appear to believe what the Bible says over what their denominational leaders say. I don’t hide my beliefs from those people; I just don’t dwell on the issues on which we disagree. After all, my understanding of the scriptures is far from perfect also. I DO have to wonder why they continue to remain in a denomination which they know is corrupt at the higher levels, as well as continue to support it, but that’s their problem.

For that reason, I find myself often not reposting “Christian” posts on Facebook. I may, at heart, agree with the post but if its main purpose appears to be simply the bashing of another denomination, I just pass on it. (I also ignore the ones that demand that I type “amen” to prove that I love Jesus, in fact, I block the original source when possible.) So, I will at times post things that you MIGHT find offensive to your beliefs but, rest assured, it’s nothing about you personally. Also, I may turn around and quote the very person or denomination I just posted negatively about. The reason? The truth is the truth, even when it appears in unexpected places.

So, “that’s the way I roll” as they say. I’ll give you the same opportunity, so I figure that’s fair. I MAY not even disagree with you if you step on my toes (but that’s not a promise). LOL  © 2016


kymber said...

Gorges - i have had many "faith" teachers in my life, was raised in the salvation army - was a junior and a senior soldier but went to a fully catholic school with communion classes until i was 7 and was so sad when i was not allowed to do my first communion - went on to read about the 7 major religions of the world and then met my "Uncle Gerald" over the internet...he was the bestest christian fundamentalist i have ever encountered and i mean fundamentalist in the most serious sense of the word. did i mention that my father was an atheist and my mother an excommunicated Jehovah's Witness?

when it comes to religion, i feel like i been there, seen that, got the t-shirt, etc.

i think the 10 commandments are the most beautiful words written. i believe that some of the words attributed to Jesus by others are also beautiful words. i believe his sacrifice is why i am where i am today.

and i think our river is one of our God's greatest creations. i thank the Lord, Jesus and Mother Nature every time i dive in.

and don't give a rat's patootie if you think i am some kind of strange pagan. when it rains, i revel. when it snows, i revel. when it's sunny, i revel. when it's foggy, i revel.

i revel in nature as i believe that is when we are the closest to what "god" must be because he created all of this.

i love my creator. and i don't need a denomination or name for what i believe. heck - i love a cranky old curmudgeon named Gorges too. yep - i am whack-job crazy.

sending much love as i always do to you. your friend,

Gorges Smythe said...

The way I see it, kymber, anyone who believes that their sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus, and sincerely tries to serve him is "good to go." I can't quite tell if that includes you, but I hope it does. If you want to discuss this privately, just email me. If not, that's fine; I still think yo're a sweetie and truly appreciate your friendship.

kymber said...

Gorges - one of the the main things that my Uncle Gerald taught me - that no one else ever taught me - was to remember to say every day that all of my previous sins and all of the sins that i might make in the future, have already been washed away by the sacrifice of my Lord Jesus. he taught me and jambaloney the most beautiful prayer which goes " i believe that My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, got on the cross knowingly knowing that He was dying for all of my sins and he was doing it to save me." and because of that prayer that we say several times a day...we stop each other in the middle of our work, and in the middle of a river dip or ocean dip and remind each other to say it together, but we also say it alone...we feel hearts full of love for our Lord and Saviour. we truly believe in the blood of Jesus and truly believe what his shedding his blood means. i send you our deepest love. xoxox

Gorges Smythe said...

I'm happy to know that, kymber. May God continue to smile on the both of you!

Pumice said...

As I get older I am more aware of my ignorance, not so much of what is in the Bible but of what is in people's hearts. I know there is truth. Some of it we can know without any qualifications. Other concepts are open to different understandings as long as they don't violate the truths. We are saved by grace, through faith and our sins are washed away by the blood. Whether faith is given or free will can be debated and we will let Jesus clear it up later.

You are a voice in the wilderness.

Grace and peace.

kymber said...

Gorges - can you explain why you would think that we didn't believe in the blood of our Saviour? i do believe i have explained our beliefs many times on our blog and made certain to try and explain how we feel about our Lord and Saviour, his sacrifice for us, and how we try and help people every way we can. i don't understand why you would say that you can't quite tell if that includes us. i don't want to say i am insulted by that...but i can tell you in all honesty that it hurts. forget about me...but my jambaloney is the kindest, most generous man i have ever met, he was hurt by a church in his younger years and somehow kept believing. and through our studies of the bible together and with Uncle Gerald - he is the most christian man i know. and i would just like to understand why you can take a stance of questioning us and especially him. we do not belong to any denomination as neither did jesus. we love and appreciate many of the saints like Francis of Assis and Hildegard of Bingen.
we are very educated people and have taken slurs all of our lives for being "educated" and still trusting the way of the bible. we are faithful and loyal to each other for over 15 years...but trust me, if jambaloney wanted to stray he wouldn't have to go very far! he is a rock, he prays every day, he works hard on the land and in the sea and he has taken a mom and pop lobster factory into millions of dollars in sales due to his incredible IT skills. and he listened to Uncle Gerald, learned from him, understands the 2 seeds...and i guess i have been out in the sun too long today because i am dismayed that you would ever say that you "can't quite tell" if he is "good to go".

i am sending love as always...but please don't ever question the most beautiful creation that this world tried to destroy against it's best wishes. that is my husband and partner. and i will fight to death for him, and to prove his beautiful convictions.

does Jesus, My Lord, love him? WITHOUT QUESTION.

your friend,

if you want to discuss this more - you have my email.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, pumice; I appreciate that. I do the best I can, SOMETIMES, but find myself falling far short others. I figure most folks are the same way, though some SEEM to have it down pat. I believe the Lord will overlook any honest misunderstandings and perhaps teach us a bit more in that day. Thanks for commenting. dear friend kymber - You are one of the dearest and sweetest people in the "blogosphere," and jambaloney seems to be a gentleman of the same persuasion. You are two of the last people on the face of the earth that I would wish either to hurt or anger. Your actions toward others seem to indicate a very Christian lifestyle.

Unfortunately, I seem to have missed the words that you mention, OR forgotten them. The former can happen if I completely miss a blog, or if I merely scan one and something doesn't register. The latter happens too, on occasion, and more often than it used to, I'm afraid.

The problem is that I have known some VERY nice people, some who I went to church with, and some who I've met otherwise, that lived seemingly wonderful lives, who ultimately appeared to be missing some basic part of Christianity. Some, I believe were truly Christians, but very imperfect ones (like me), others definitely believed they were Christians, but lacked some of the key beliefs that makes one a Christian. The blood of Jesus, is often a major hangup with those folks, because they don't understand the need of blood and consider it heathenish.

Often, it takes being around someone for a long time, before you spot these problems. It's far harder to tell when we have only the written word to go by, since we don't see their daily actions, see their facial expressions or hear the inflection of their voice. Since I've taken up writing for a hobby, I've become increasingly aware how limiting the medium is, and how prone to being misunderstood that it can make you.

As you know, I can be a bit blunt in my writing, but rest assured, that my attitude was solely due to my loving concern that all was well with you and the Lord. There has been no action on your part or jambaloney's for me to think ill of either of you. I'm sorry I missed, or forgot the words that you wrote that would have clinched my confidence on this matter.

It bothers me deeply that I have caused you pain in any way. I hope you will forgive me and accept my apology for being lax in my attention. (For what it's worth to you. your previous reply is a GREAT testimony.) -sincerely, Gorges

Caddie said...

I have one question: What is your full definition of "a cult"? I don't consider myself a bad human, yet am made to feel that way for my beliefs....all my life! Of course that makes for 'very sad' on my part. Living in the physical appears to be just a mish-mash of opinions (so often strong opinions) from other human beings, most often ones that denigrate their fellow man. Do you think that may be the reason for our experiences today of living in a totally chaotic world...everybody floating about with 'his truth' and ready to spout it out and 'be damned' with what others think or KNOW. This physical life is only a tiny speck of our eternal journey, full of lessons to be learned, so to grow on this infinite path toward perfection? The ego too often blocks the ability to see the real truth of it all.

Today, after many decades of living/experiencing the many joys and woes of this physical life, I find a most revealing truth when I sit quietly and ponder the truly amazing beauty of a twig or leaf. While observing my puppy touch 'noses' with a butterfly for a full, very long, minute, I tear up and realize I'm seeing our Creator's hand in the all of life and that every life is conscious of it's own existence - even that of the butterfly! Of this there is no doubt or reason for me to doubt what I've lived and learned. Observation, a silent tongue and non-judgment outside oneself will prove to be of such great benefit to the soul. It is a 'hard row we hoe' as we travel the earthly/physical path to Godliness. Yet each day I see those little 'impossible' miracles of the revealing Show of which we each are participating. As far as I can observe, only mankind questions the why of everything.

Gorges Smythe said...

Caddie, my "full definition" of a cult is simply when the words or traditions of man over-rule the teachings of the Holy Bible.

The Catholics have their pope.Yet, I believe that there are saved people in that sect that fully realize that he does NOT always speak for God and chose to go by scripture instead.

I had relatives that were Mormon for a number of years that were taught that when the Bible and the Book of Mormon disagree, they were to go with the Book of Mormon. Yet, I once had a Mormon instructor that considered that book merely a history lesson and put all his trust in the blood of Jesus. I believe that man is saved.

The Amish have all their ridiculous rules that they think keep them safe from worldly desires, yet they keep relaxing those rules when they interfere with staying financially competitive with their non-Amish neighbors. Also, when you hear of a shunning, it's almost NEVER over biblical matters, but because someone did something in violation of the rules of their ELDERS, not God. Still, I believe that there are Christians within that sect as well.

What I don't understand, is once someone realizes that their denomination is in serious error, why do they continue to support it?

All-in-all, I believe that anyone who trusts solely in the blood of Jesus for their salvation is saved. I don't know if this answers your question adequately, but if not, ask any new questions that arise.

buddeshepherd said...

If I were Amish I forgive you and pray for you.
I'd have to have the fellow who drives me in the van text for me so it would be a little complicated to communicate with you.
Also, I'd be right there to rebuild your house when the tornado hits it...

Gorges Smythe said...

lol - They are a paradox, Budd!

Ed Long said...

Don't be surprised to learn that God has replaced the visible (socio-political) church with the True (invisible) church. He promised to do it all-along, just as He did with His arrangements with Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, and David.He replaced the Old Covenant (The Law) with the New, Everlasting Covenant (Grace). Today, He has taken the Holy Spirit out of the visible church. All believers, and only believers, are now members of the eternal church with Jesus Christ himself as their Chief Shepherd. A thorough study of the Scriptures proves this to be true.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think you may be right, Mr. Long. I run into a LOT of good decent Christians, but more than half of them are totally fed up with "organized religion."