Lead a snot into temptation but deliever us from weasles

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does not repell little sister vampires

Every Sunday I get they urge to expound on my spiritual beliefs. But I get over it and move on to Monday and the minutia of my everyday life. Yesterday, my oldest was confirmed in the same faith that my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and myself were confirmed into. She joined the church, reaffirming her baptism, committing to become an adult member of the church, all her own decision.

When I had her baptized in this faith, I was ambivalent. I was doing it mainly out of a sense of tradition and superstition…I wasn’t positive I believed in God, but what if I was wrong. I sure didn’t want my precious little baby to suffer because I wasn’t sure. So, just to be on the safe side, she was baptized. As she grew, so did my faith. My spirituality grew more outside of my religion. I was consistent in getting her to sunday school. I knew I wanted her to have the security that having a religion gives. But I wasn’t attending church. I was following a different spiritual path. I was exactly where I needed to be.

And then we had a series of deaths in the family which shook my faith and eventually destroyed it completely. In an effort to regain inner peace, I started attending what I lovingly called The Bible Banger Church. I was searching for answers and assurance. The religion of my upbringing was very structured and I felt so chaotic I couldn’t find sanctuary in the sweetness of the sameness. So, to the Bible Banger Church we went. I did find comfort there, in the early days. I enjoyed the rawness, the unabashed displays of joy and the message that no matter what Jesus loved us…with conditions….wait…what? Maybe I misunderstood. So, I kept going. The kids enjoyed the sunday school program. They always got candy and they had friends there. The youth group was always doing cool stuff like having dances and going on trips. No doubt there was lots of love there.

But the exclusion-ness of the message didn’t jive with the way I was brought up or what I believed. And my children were being taught a sort of elitist-ness that I could not honestly agree with. After two years of listening and learning, I was done with the Bible Banger Church. I was so very grateful for the experience and the love that I felt there. But the religion I was raised in was all inclusive, excluding no one regardless of sexual orientation, race, or current or former religion. I grew up secure in the idea that all people go to heaven. No matter what they believe. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, even the Catholics!! everyone goes to heaven. Because God loves all people, even sinners, even people who don’t believe. Everyone goes into the afterlife, into a better place. There is no hell except that which we create for ourselves.

The God I know loves me unconditionally, loves all unconditionally. God is within me and everyone. I need look no further than myself to commune with God. The darkest days of my life were the days when I was certain there was no power greater than myself. When I had no God to speak with. When I was convinced that there was nothing more than me here, alone, with no  help, no great savior to step in and alter the course of life. I brought my pain to the groups where I learned a personal spirituality which is different from my religion. One very kind man told me after I shared on the death of my faith that I could borrow his faith until my own returned. And so I did. He also reminded me that God wants us to question, wants us to test because it gives God the opportunity to show us miracles and help us to believe. He told me that the faith that would return to me would be greater than it ever was before.

That man was correct. My faith has returned and it is not the same old faith I had before. It is greater, more powerful, and much more practical. I believe what I have always believed in regard to God, but now I know what I believe to be true. I guess I could name off the ways regaining faith has changed me, but I doubt it’s important for anyone else to hear. I bet you all have stories of faith lost and regained or have reasons that faith in a higher power is not what you believe. It takes all of us with our views and opinions and our love to make the world turn.

I tried to be a Bible Banger, I tried to be an Episcopalian, I tried to be a woman with no religion and none of it worked for me. I disagreed with the Bible Bangers, I wasn’t wealthy enough for the Episcopalians and I was too needy to not have a religion. So, here we are back to being what we have always been and content. I love the hymns and the organ, I love the structure and tradition and predictability, I love the message that God loves everyone and everyone is accepted, just as they are, believers or not. My God speaks to me through people, not just through my pastor or the bible. God is within everyone I see, everyone I hear and the most powerful messages I have ever received have been out of the mouths of the most unlikely sources.

My prayer for my daughter is that she continues to explore other religions and finds what she believes, what give her peace and fills her with faith. I was given that great gift by my mother to explore, unrestricted, any and all other religions, and I eventually came back to my church, with a wider view of life and a beautiful knowledge of why I personally chose to be a part of an organized religion. Let go and Let God….

Now that is not to say that when she opened her gift of a steel cross from the church I didn’t say “That’s to keep the vampires away.” and she replied with “Oh I thought we accepted vampires in our religion!” And then she  flashed at it at her little sister (whose dream currently is to become a Cullen) and said “I guess it doesn’t work.” Being funny is her other religion….

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69 responses »

  1. I could give you scripture upon scripture for a response, but I’d rather not. I’m sure you’ve heard John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that none may perish, but have everlasting life.
    God does love us, unconditionally. Every one of us. But the thing about being a Christian is that we realized He loves us enough to give us the choice to be saved. Choose Jesus, you’re in. “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.

    But God does love everyone. Every nation will bow, every tongue will confess. God’s not partial, humans are. If anyone preaches a message of hate or exclusion, they’re not preaching the word of God.

    And church…some people do go for that “religion” and structure, for routine and tradition. But I honestly wouldn’t go if that were my reason. I go to be with God.
    Church is…a training ground for Christians, a memorial service for Christ, a family reunion, a time for fellowship. It’s a hospital for the broken and a retreat for the beaten down.
    Church shouldn’t just be a building. Not just a place to sing nice hymns and listen to a sermon. It should have that structure to make us feel safe, but it should be unpredictable at the same time. A place to encounter God.

    I challenge that if you’re content with you’re religion…there’s a lot you’re missing out on.

    Love in Christ always,
    -Sketch

    • Hi. Just came across this, and I seem to be in a chatty mood. Anyway, “you’re in” whether you choose Jesus or not. God encompasses all – if (s)he doesn’t, (s)he’s not God.

  2. As a self-described pagan (my beliefs vary often, but I do not define myself as a Christian), this is a very heartening thing to read. It is wonderful to know that there are people out there that can be loving and accepting of others.
    So many religions teach such love and acceptance, but so few followers display it.
    You are truly wise. 🙂

  3. just discovered your blog and love it. If you don’t mind sharing, i would love to know what church you go to that accepts everyone. the only one i know of is the Center For Spiritual Living. and i don’t think that is christian based.

  4. Can I ask, what religion are you and have you returned to regular church attendance? I ask with interest after reading your post, because I was baptised a Catholic, and received the sacraments of Communion and Confirmation (I didn’t think about it, I went to a Catholic school and that’s just what you did, I never thought to question it at that age). I have been a lapsed Catholic for years (haven’t been to Confession since I was 12 or so, go to Mass only at Christmas time) but now, at the age of 28, I find myself struggling with my faith, or lack thereof, and am considering officially leaving the Catholic Church. The way I see it is that I have my own relationship with God, one that is not defined by the strictures of Catholocism, and I honestly don’t think that God has any presence in the Catholic Church anymore (at least not in Ireland). The recent scandal of sexual abuse, and worse, its cover-up, has me really questioning whether I still want to be a part of this organisation. Furthermore, I don’t believe that those of us who are gay, or use contraception, or have children outside of marriage are sinning in any way. On the other hand, this faith is all that I’ve ever known, and I wonder if I would miss it if I leave. I’d like to hear your take on it, if you don’t mind!

    • Ok, you have stated almost exactly how I feel about the Catholic church. I was raised Catholic, went to private Catholic school, married in the Catholic church and two of my teenage children have chosen to attend and be part of the church. I can’t do it anymore. I left about 5 years ago. Funny thing is that even though I feel like I can’t participate, I sometimes miss aspects of it. The community, the shared beliefs, the prayers and songs and familiarness of it all. The belonging to something I guess. But I also have not found something to replace it, which may be why I miss it.

      • Yeah, I think I would miss it too, just the community of it, the shared togetherness. When I pray, which I do sometimes, I use the Catholic prayers that I was taught as a child, because that’s all I’ve ever known, and I find comfort in their familiar words. I’m not sure if I want to find another religion – even though I am prepared to leave the Catholic Church, I feel as though I would be turning my back on it if I adopted another religion. I know that seems odd, I can’t explain it!

    • Madonna once said ‘once a Catholic, always a Catholic’. There’s nothing wrong with praying the same Catholic prayers. God hears you.

      I know what you’re saying coz I’ve been there. In the end, I’ve ‘disengaged’ myself from all religion and happy to be ‘unattached’. God loves me anyway.

    • Hi. I just stumbled upon your comment. I struggled with coming, going, returning to Catholicism for many years (I’m 63.) I have lately come to understand that God doesn’t need an organization, and the farther I get from Catholicism and church, the closer I get to understanding the teachings of loving-kindness which is all a good life is about, anyway.

  5. I wonder if y’all are gonna laugh wneh I tell you I am a Lutheran… That was the church of my childhood and the church I eventually came back to. Coming back to an organized religion, I brought with me all of the other spiritual teachings I had encountered. And my mother, a devoted Lutheran is the one who made sure I understood that God loves everyone and everyone goes to heaven. She and my dad decided that when I was baptized I wouldn’t have Godparents. Their reasoning was they wanted the entire congregation to be my Godparents and to help them raise me in faith. That included all of the family that was there when I was baptized who were not Lutheran. My parents both have/had a very strong religious faith and they passed that on to me. I didn’t apperciate it as a child (I hated getting up on Sunday mornings for sunday school and I hated sitting through church sermons and I really hated being an acolyte) But today, I am so grateful that I had that structure, it was easy to have faith. And having a faith to fall back on in times of need is a priceless gift.

    • I still feel as though I have faith, just that my faith and spirituality isn’t reflected in the Church that I was brought up to believe in. I feel like “my” God is not the God being preached about at Catholic Mass. I don’t see “my” God in the Catholic Church at all. The God in the Bible is supposed to love everyone, but being gay or having a child outside of wedlock is considered a sin. I just can’t reconcile the two. As I said, it’s something that I’m struggling with at the moment, so I guess I need to do some more soul-searching. Thanks for this post and for your take on things, it’s made me think some more!

      • hi niamh.
        i was reading your comments. i think you have some really great points. i think you are right that God is supposed to love everyone. the reason certain things are considered sin is i believe because they are not His design or What’s best for people. Having a child out of wedlock might not be the best for the child because a lot f times, there isnt any stability that is needed for the child to grow and be nurtured. He knows what is best for us.

        Having sex before marriage may be considered sin because when you have sexual intercourse your souls are knitted together. God designed it to be consumed by “married” couple because of the oneness that comes with it and the commitment to marry one another that gives it a safe foundation.

        If someone is willing to be committed to marriage and gives you the security of being one with you, your soul will not be violated. that sounds good to me 🙂 and when you have sexual intercourse with more than one, then your soul is knitted to everyone of them. It may not seem huge, per say, but in the future, you will feel like your body has been used by others and feel like not ‘whole’. the emotional baggage that comes with it, the feeling of emptiness because part of ourselves were given away to others that did not commit to us, did not honor your body and your purity nor his. why go there.. God’s plan is soooo much better.

        Now, i’m not judging. BE IT FAR FROM ME JUDGING ANYONE!! i dont even judge myself anymore because it brings nothing but bitterness. I know God can restore your spirit soul and body even you’ve gone to the deepest pit.

        while you are soul-searching, know that God is pursuing you and He is more committed to you than you are to Him. Imagine this, He LIKES YOU!
        😛

        e.primo

  6. Not believing in a church and not believing in God are two different things. You can throw away all churches and yet be theist.

    When everything has shattered or crumbled just don’t lose grip of your conscience whatever it dictates. You can’t go wrong.

    [What makes people lose faith in their religion? I think, it is because some teachings have become obsolete by time, which is casting doubts on the whole.]

    You are right, man should be attentive of what God is saying in modern times. And through modern revelations some of the old teachings were in fact myths. [God did not end 5,000 years ago. He lives to this day and he has not been silent all the time. :-)]

  7. Another “anything goes-We are the world” idea of religion that makes it on the Freshly pressed page of WordPress. Not surprised. People love hearing this “all roads lead to Rome philosophy” and that they can do anything they want, and God, who loves all, will gladly welcome all into paradise after a lifetime of rejecting His will and living contrary to His Word.
    I honestly don’t know what the point of going to church is if you don’t even believe the Word of God and what God states clearly about hell, heaven, salvation and sin.
    Seems like the majority of the world, you’ve made up your own religion which does not match the God of the Bible.
    “Religion” does not save. Christ saves.
    Of coure if you don’t believe in a hell, you don’t think there is a need for a Saviour. Therefore, either Jesus died in vain on the cross or you believe it’s just a “lovely little story”.
    Today’s generation (including wordpress) loves this so-called “enlightened” idea of religion in which anyone can believe anything and “I’m okay-You’re okay”.
    I’m also not surprised that you have JohnShore.com as a link. Another deluded individual that thinks interfaith is in, thereby proving that they are not born again.
    “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)

    • Well, throwing holy writ around is a futile exercise. It all comes from a book written by a bunch of guys trying to start a religion. There’s some good stuff there, but there’s good stuff all over. There’s also some pretty questionable stuff (as there is all over.) I mean, who paid the pig farmer when Jesus infected his pigs with demons and sent them over the cliff? Sounds like Grand Theft Pig to me. What arrogance to wither a fig tree. These are stories, munchkin. Some were good for their time, some haven’t aged quite as well.

      • You can just feel the preed seeping off of you, “munchin”, which is the real issue. I could explain the significance and meaning of the “deviled ham incident” and the withered fig but that would be, as Jesus said, like throwing pearls to the pigs.
        Here is your real problem: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)

  8. It is so nice to hear a story resembling my own. I too, always “knew” or felt that there is a higher power- whether it be God, Budda, or Mother Goddess, etc. But when I had children I was urged to take them to church, have them steeped in organized religion. And, I too, found that when my life was turned upside down by a death in the family, or when my husband lost his job, it was the church friends who ran for the hills- my true friends, of many different faiths were the ones who stood beside me holding me up. I do attend a large non-denominational church 1-2 times a month, and definitely on holidays, but all in all I feel as though God and Jesus know my heart, know I am true to them, and will forgive me for having the occassional “bristle” when I enter church. When it comes to the question of tything- we MUST tyth!- says the church- my husband and I have pledged a child in Africa for 4 years, we give to many charities and volunteer our time to multiple causes, SO I hope that God will accept that as tything. Thank you for a wonderful tale so many can relate to. Blessings! Heather

  9. i just looked up the luthern church and it seems that at least one faction of it supports ALL people, including gays and lesbians. hooray for lutherns!!!!! all inclusive, loving messages. gee it sounds kinda like what jesus taught!!!

  10. Out of all the content you wrote, the phrase, Let go, let God stood out the most. This phrase can be attributed to much of Paul’s references about having faith-not to worry. His mission and the scriptures themselves come from a time written in the New Testament. Not only was this the time of these writings, much is attributed to the birth, life and resurrection of Christ. All of this simply happened because of our In-finite selves. Through the cross we have redemption and a choice (free will) to understand the beauty of the earth, the beauty of heaven and yes, the presence of evil and even hell itself. God does love all of his creation. He also has done us fair justice in giving us a chance to decide not only where we wish to be after our time on earth, he also is giving us a chance to worship and praise him within ourselves, with family and potential friendships here on earth. That is the witness he ask for. His testimony becomes our testimony.

    Keep questioning and keep living. Live in his hands.

    Regards,
    Andy Westbrook
    http://www.westbrookpublishingink.com

  11. ” I grew up secure in the idea that all people go to heaven. No matter what they believe. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, even the Catholics!! everyone goes to heaven. Because God loves all people, even sinners, even people who don’t believe. Everyone goes into the afterlife, into a better place. There is no hell except that which we create for ourselves.”
    I wonder if you could explain these statements. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t Lutherans teach that salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Scripture alone? So, if a person rejects Christ and puts his faith in Buddha or Mohammed and/or rejects the authority of Scripture, how is it that person can go to heaven? Also, according to my research on the Lutheran doctrine of the final judgment, the wicked will be punished with everlasting damnation. That sounds alot like hell to me and certainly does not sound like a “better place”. Could you please clarify what you mean with these statements? Thanks!

  12. I agree with everything that Sketch is saying so consider it repeated here. To that I will add that I was brought up Catholic. I went to Catholic schools and church twice a week. I continually questioned my faith from grade school through college. No priest, nun or religion teacher ever addressed my questions adequately so I left the Catholic church as soon as I could. I was never really in it. I attended but I never believed.

    In college, I was agnostic. I lived as if there was no God or higher being, but I didn’t argue that others might believe in God or a higher being. Basically, I thought there could be a God but I just wasn’t convinced.

    In graduate school, I majored in philosophy and later specialized in eastern philosophy. I became a Buddhist and studied with a Tibetan monk for thirteen years. Life was finally great. I was at peace and I wasn’t tormented by the existence or non-existence of God.

    Then one day, I learned my master was sleeping with many of his students. This didn’t jive with the Buddhist monk vow of celibacy and it hurt me. This alone didn’t shake my Buddhists beliefs but it caused me to question how someone could lead me in a philosophy he wasn’t following himself. I started looking for another master to study with.

    At the same time, I started paying more attention to my finances as I could see the impending disaster the American economy was headed for. I learned that a local Baptist church was offering financial classes. I decided to attend the classes with absolutely no intention of going to church there.

    Over the three-month period that I attended the finance classes, I met many Baptists. At first they scared me with their organized religion, their fundamentalist belief, and their exclusionist ways. After a few weeks, I saw that I had stereotyped them and expected them to act holier than thou. In fact, they regular people just like me. No one tried to convert me or scold me. They just loved me, for no reason at all. These were some of the best people I’d ever met.

    I decided on my own to attend the church just to see what it was like. I saw many people from my finance class and they welcomed me with open arms. They played Christian rock during the service and the pastor was contemporary.

    I requested many meetings with the pastor so I could explore Christianity again. He happily obliged. He tolerated my arguing against the existence of God and led me to read the Bible for answers. I could go on forever about the answers I found. Instead, I will just say get a Bible that fits your reading style and explore it.

    I’m going on my third year as a member of this Baptist church. I was saved and baptized about six months after I started going. It was all my choice. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior and I believe he has an unconditional love for me and all mankind. My church believes that too.

    I’m not advising you to become Baptist, as not all Baptist churches are alike. I’m just saying give Christianity another try. I never really studied the Bible until my pastor asked me if I ever intentionally looked for God. He said I would find him in the Bible and indeed I did.

    I’m not a big Bible quoter but it does say if you seek God, you will find him. If you open the door and let God in, he will come in and bless you in ways you never thought possible. I know because he’s blessed me, my husband, and my children, followed by countless others I know who’ve opened the door and let him in.

    I hope this helps you and other readers in some way, and I sincerely hope you find peace and joy in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

  13. Lorraine – By “support” to you mean condone? If so, that is NOT what Jesus taught. Jesus taught that we should speak the truth in love when calling sinners to repentance but he did not teach us to condone sin. While I agree that no one should be excluded from our churches for being homosexual, we also have a responsibility to help them recognize the sinfulness of their behavior and their need for repentance just as Jesus did with the prostitute about to be stoned and the woman at the well (just to name a couple). Touchy-feely, everyone goes to heaven, politically correct messages fail to accomplish this.

  14. I believe in Jesus. But I disagree with you and Sketch a bit.

    First for Sketch: God chooses whom he loves, and he gives US the ability to choose him. I know that sounds a bit Calvinistic, but it seems to be the truth. We are totally depraved and hate God. Only through his Holy Spirit do we acknolwedge his glory.

    For Sparkling: Your blog inspired me to write my first and only blog so far. I thank you for that. However, if you know that your faith in God (and hopefully Jesus Christ) reveals the Truth in life for you, why would you not want your daughter to want that life too? Check out my blog for a little more detail into pluralism and God.

    I’m excited to see how your faith grows, for mine has exploded through my life. Keep striving to find why Jesus is important in all things.

  15. God loves everyone, I believe. He gives us the choice whether we want to love Him back or not. The journey never ends. Am Episcopalian and not rich 🙂 Your post has provoked much thought … yes!

  16. LOL izziedarling!!! I was kidding ofcourse…you know the usual sterotypes!!! And I wonder if only Lutherans would get the dig at Catholics (that even they go to heaven) I have to say on a completely aesthetic note that Episcopalians have some really beautiful churches!!!

  17. Lovely. While I may not agree with every single jot and tittle you’ve written here, I most certainly agree with the grace about which you write! I also like the way you make a distinction (intentional or not) between religion, spirituality and faith. So often today people say ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’ as though that is all there is. What I’m hoping for is faith!
    And as a Lutheran, I surely got the dig at our Catholic brothers and sisters 😉

  18. Pingback: Spiritual or Religious? How about a little faith? « Shepherdess Writes

  19. The comments to the wonderful post are why I follow the words of Linus VanPelt “There are three things you should never discuss; politics, religion and the Great Pumpkin.” While I enjoyed reading about your journey it certainly didn’t take long for people to hop up on their soapboxes and preach thier own beliefs to dispell yours. It is a good thing to feel comfortable with your faith and religion no matter what anyone else may say.

  20. The Great Pumpkin? Really? I guess I can see why…LOL!!! Oh sure, I am interested in what other people think and believe. Honestly, I have gained much insight from the most unlikely places. I am not one to turn away or not listen to what others have to say just because it disagrees with what I believe. Someone else’s point of view does not invalidate my own!!! I thought it was sex, drugs and rock and roll we weren’t supposed to discuss? LOL!!!

  21. I love that you’ve gotten so much feedback and given the opportunity for so many different types of people to explore the idea.

    Catholics, episcopalians, lutherans, and baptists. Awesome 🙂 Whatever your theology, Jesus loves you, wants that relationship. God loves you, wants that relationship.

    Praying for you all 🙂

  22. How cool, I’m the first Catholic here, and even *I* got the joke. You really got some discussion going! Congratulations!

    I personally loved the title more than anything.

    I really enjoyed reading about your faith journey – a bit like mine – minus the parent intentions. We just didn’t go because my parents had “quit” their family of origin church stuff. I joined a baptist church as a kid to be able to hang out w/the neighbor kid who’s father was the pastor, then became Catholic in Jr High when my mother returned to the church at my grandmother’s passing.

    anyhoo – enjoyed your post greatly! Not sure if the comments leave a link to other blogs…I’m new at posting comments….I’d enjoy conversation if you’d like to stop by – the blog is DeepWithin –

    intentionally random, about family, spirituality…etc.

    Looking forward to reading more!!! Congrats on the front page and good work w/sparking some fun discourse!

  23. Thanks so much for sharing your religious views with us. It’s great that we still have the freedom to do that in this country.

    I was surprised to see that you have not heard of the more inclusive ideas concerning forgiveness for those who have not heard about Jesus. I wrote an article on it at this link:

    http://jasonbrophy.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/a-harmony-of-the-biblical-doctrines-of-free-will-and-god%e2%80%99s-sovereign-election-with-an-examination-of-what-happens-to-those-who-never-hear-about-jesus/

    Here’s an excerpt from it:

    In A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell had this to say about those who have never heard the Gospel:

    The Bible is very clear that no one can come to God except through Jesus Christ.
    Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, MLB). The only basis for forgiveness of sin and life everlasting is the way made by Jesus. Many people think this implies that those who have never heard about Jesus automatically will be damned. However, we do not know this is the case.
    Although the Scriptures never explicitly teach that someone who has never heard of Jesus can be saved, we do believe that it infers this. We do believe that every person will have an opportunity to repent, and that God will not exclude anyone because he happened to be born at the wrong place or at the wrong time. …
    We also know that it is God’s desire that “none should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). This indicates that God also cares for those persons who have not heard the gospel. He had demonstrated this by sending His Son to die in their place. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, KJV).
    The Bible teaches that God is going to judge the world fairly and righteously. “Because he hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31, KJV). This means that when all the facts are in, God’s name will be vindicated and no one will be able to accuse Him of unfairness. (p. 416)

    If the view above were incorrect however, and those who do not hear about Jesus cannot be saved, the following would be my view of election. I would suggest that based on God’s fairness/righteousness, the Lord would have performed an evaluation of every soul prior to assigning them a location on Earth.
    Ephesians 1:4 says regarding the time of God’s choosing, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
    After this evaluation, in which God can see what a person would choose to do in all situations, I would suggest that He chose those He decided to save for His reasons. It should be pointed out that if a person would do good or evil in a particular situation, this reveals something about who that person is presently or would be if they existed presently, because it is they who would do it. There is something about them – they – who they choose to be, and on this basis, it would be they who are judged, not merely the possibility of their actions.
    If I would steal your hat if you walked into the room with me, that says something about who I choose to be, who I am, regardless of whether you enter the room with me.
    So whether God gives everyone the fair chance to be saved through the Gospel (John 3:16) or the law written in their hearts (Romans 2:15), or whether God gave everyone the same fair evaluation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and chose who would hear and be drawn to Him, God is perfectly fair.

  24. Hi. You are not alone. I was just like you. I went a full circle and came back and just like what you’ve said “My faith has returned and it is not the same old faith I had before. It is greater, more powerful, and much more practical.” Exactly. Now I’m happy and at peace. I doubt anyone can fully understand till one goes through this whole experience.

  25. Your spiritual journey sounds much like my own. I was raised Catholic, left organized religion for a while, tried on Episcopalian for a bit, and then again stayed away from church until I found Unitarian Universalism. I wrote about it on my blog – there are 2 posts about my spiritual journey.

    http://gumballgirl.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/on-being-unitarian/
    and
    http://gumballgirl.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/filling-my-dash/

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  26. I would have guessed you were a Unitarian Universalist. We believe there is some Truth in all religions, that all are received into God’s kingdom and that hell is something we create.

    blessings to you and yours.

  27. I really enjoyed your post. I like to say to anyone who puts a limit on what God can do, like accepting anyone and everyone into heaven, that “you’re god is too small.” Humans put up barriers. God breaks them down.

  28. hi i like your blog Im so inspired with your blog.
    for me no matter what are your religion important thing is you believe in God, Jesus Christ our savior., its like me i can relate your blog, before im searching where i belong and i don’t know were i could find my church or religion., its up to you to find your place where you are comfortable and you understand about their belief…..

    NICE BLOG….
    http://www.wennzkie.wordpress.com
    http://www.roynacastillo.blogspot.com

  29. Great post. You can only find your way on your own. In a scriptural saying “work out your own salvation in fear (reverence) and trembling. No structured religion can do that. I came to realize after thirty some years in a non-denominational church that even their structure can’t fulfill what I am looking for. I’ve been searching such as you did. I find God is much like nature as it was made. It happens naturally. It has a structure, in a sense, but it freely flows it’s path as if there were none. It’s the most natural way of understanding God to me. You see, I was a deacon, care pastor and preacher. When I was a young man sitting in my little country Baptist church God showed me something. He opened the heavens and showed me there were people that were His in EVERY church. No one church has it all. To each his own and where He places you, shine. In all these churches God has someone that others will look up to. You may well be that person where you are. The easiest way to know if you are doing what God wants you to do is to search yourself. What do you want to do the most in this world to help people? That’s God’s way of telling you that’s what He wants you to do. He gave you that desire. Follow it. This blog and your attendance in the Lutheran church is where you are supposed to be. So shine as you are doing. Someone will come to your light.

  30. I wanted to thank you all for your comments. I just love that there were so many different ideas expressed here, lots to ponder. Lots of experience, strength and hope. Thanks again for the feedback and different points of view!!!

  31. My journey was similar to yours but unlike you there’s no turning back for me. But, live and let live.

    And ‘unconditional love’ is as it says, ‘unconditional’. There’s no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it.

  32. Great article! It’s nice to find other people out there who are open to exploring spirituality and aren’t ‘locked-in’ to one, elitest, vision of God.

  33. Very nice!! I too have been searching most of my life. Born a Catholic,later explored Baptist, Methodist,Bahai, even Judaism. Being half Native I finally went to a nature based belief, with Grandfather at the head.
    But last year I found my spiritual home and Lord. I started attending a temple of Krishna, and knew within a month that this was what I had been searching for my entire life. My God is loving, playful, and there is no hell. Reincarnation is your “punishment”, as we would all like to go to Krishna’s home and be there with all the happy, dancing, singing devotees. A religion that is 6,000 years old must have the truth behind it, as it has lasted SO long.
    Hare Krishna,Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

  34. Most of the people responding are the so-called opened minded ones…So open minded that their brains are in danger of falling out!
    Most of you approving of this anything goes, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to God concept will find out far too soon on Judgment Day when God means when He says, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 24:14)

      • You, Mr. Richard Wells, are the one who seems so full of himself. And by the way, your poetry totally sucks, ha!ha!

      • Andy, if you have to resort to childish responses like that then I’m afraid that your original argument can’t be up to much in the first place.

      • Niamh,
        That might be your illogical conclusion but I don’t care much for your opinion nor for that of Mr. Wells. Of course I wouldn’t think too much about what the Bible says either if I were living with my boyfriend in a very sinful, doing whatever you want to kind of lifestyle.

      • Ah, I see you read my blog! 😉

        Personally, I believe your kind of closed-minded piousness to be far more damaging and sinful than my “kind of lifestyle”. See you in hell!

      • Niamh,

        No, I do not read your blog but I knew enough to check out your blog as I have the experience to know that people who write the kind of stuff you do tend to have a lifestyle to match their godless philosophy. What you see as a “closed minded piousness” is simply the fact that I believe God and his Word rather than make Him out to be a liar as you and most people commenting here do. YOU may be in hell someday (unless you repent which would be nice!), but sorry to disappoint you that I won’t be there. You see I have an incredible Saviour who took my place!

      • You’d do well to pay as much attention to my comments here as you did to the personal information on my blog – I clearly said that I feel like I have my own relationship with God, albeit one that is not defined by a particular religion. How you surmised that I live by a “Godless philosophy” from that is beyond me.

    • That’s the difference between you and me, Richard. You comment in order to “bait people on”. I commented because eternity is a mighty long time and it’s sad to see so many brushing God and His Word aside to create a god of their own making knowing that they’ll spend it in the lake of fire. By the way, blood pressure’s great, ha!ha! No worries there, thank God (that’s the God of Israel and the Bible to make that crystal clear for you “universitarians” out there, and there seem to be many, who read this blog!)

  35. Well well well, I turn my back for a couple of days and when I turn back I find THIS!!! A heated discussion of religious principle!!!! Was this “God directed” or completely “Man driven”? Either way, I am glad to see all of the comments with all of your beliefs. Personally, I enjoy learning what other people think and believe and I am not threatened by what others believe as truth. I see many posters here aren’t either….what a lovely world we live in 🙂

  36. I am curious how the Santa Claus version of God jives with the written word. Romans 9:13 comes quickly to mind. God chooses some, and not others. Seems to be an inescapable conclusion based on the texts. “I will have compassion on whom I will…”

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