Monday, December 28, 2009

Can Christians serve God and ammo?

While writing my next blog post for this site, this came across Twitter today, and I was led to set my own writing aside.

Jesus said that those who love Him, obey Him. Yet, in the face of the Prince of Peace, who not only told us to turn the other cheek but also demonstrated how to do that with His very life, how often do we as Christians believe in war blessed by -- even required by -- God?

How often do we set ourselves up as among those who cry "God is with us!" as we support and commit war, as if Jesus has anything to do with the deep, revolting evils within our hearts that we cover in gold painted bullets and bombs?

Check out Gary Kohls' article, 'Gott Mit Uns': Christians Excusing War.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A quick message from Lynne

Hello everyone!

I wanted to apologize for being away from the blog for the last month or so. Just before Thanksgiving, my grandmother passed, and now my grandfather is probably also going to pass in the next few days. 

Both were very strong in the Lord, and both are in His loving care. But of course such things come with a lot of family things to get done, and I appreciate your patience as we get things taken care of and caught up. 

Your prayers for my family, especially those within my family who are away from the Lord for whatever reason, are very appreciated!

In His love,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Clobber passage" audio teachings

We got a request to make sure the so-called "clobber passage" audio teaching files we did some time ago continued to be available, even after the site is no more.

The hard part was finding a host that would store and make these available for free (due to their size). As you may remember, we decided several months back to change over to free, rather than pay, sites. That way all this info continues to be available no matter what our income happens to be at any given time.

In any event, I found a site this morning, and I've moved the files there.

You can access these files through these links. Simply right-click on the one(s) you are interested in, and choose download to listen from your own PC (probably faster / better audio):

What does God really say in:
Let me know if you have difficulties accessing or using these.

In His love,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why I don't listen to anti-Gay Christians (& why you shouldn't either)

My grandmother, who was a Christian, recently passed after a long illness. During the time I spent with her and my Christian grandfather, through my blog I also received emails from two other Christians who are unknown to me.

Now, I've made this observation before, but it came to me again this last week: another lesson from the Lord in how His Bible works to illuminate who really has their heart on Him and who does not. Who really "gets" it, and who does not.

See, my grandparents were and are very conservative in their theology. They are truly holiness-based fundamentalists, and they've attended a holiness-based fundamentalist church for the last 70 years or so of their lives.

The two Christians who emailed me this last week are also very conservative in their theology.

Yet my grandparents have been biblically safe to spend time with, and these other two Christians are not only a waste of time but also biblically unsafe to give any time to.


It has to do with application. With what's apparent in one's heart by one's outward actions. And here's what's apparent:

My grandparents have never believed that homosexuality is ok with God. They've always believed that women should be subordinate to men. They've believed that anything not lived in strict, legalistic holiness is of the devil. In fact, the way they have seen themselves and the world has been exactly what everyone hates about fundamentalists in general, around the world.

Yet while my grandparents have always believed these things, they've lived in total, gentle, humble love, from their Jesus-filled hearts outward.
  • They've not preached at other people. 
  • They've not participated in attacking and slandering other people they don't agree with. 
  • They've simply, quietly, lived out their own belief system to the best of their ability within their own lives – preaching with the example of their hearts, attacking sin with their faith in God's goodness and rightness – and left the rest of God.
In other words, they've done exactly what Jesus and Paul and the other writers in the New Testament have said to do: answer to God for yourself, and leave how well everyone else is doing to God [See Romans 14:10, for example].

And the result of their Christian lives? People do not confuse their human belief system with God's truth, so people are not turned away from Jesus Christ because of their lives. Instead, people see and are attracted to the love of Jesus Christ through the all-welcoming and very real love for all people that my grandparents feel.

In other words, God is glorified, and not vilified, by their witness.

Now, what about these other two people who emailed me? I can't speak to their lives, but I can speak to the witness of their theology.

They obviously also believe homosexuality isn't right with God. I'm guessing they would share a number of other conservative theological beliefs with my grandparents. And from their emails, they also believe themselves to be great witnesses for Jesus Christ.

But in that they are deceived, because it isn't for Jesus Christ that they are witnessing.

See, none of us is perfect. That characteristic belongs to God alone. God understands that, and He gives us allowance to live out the best we understand of His ways. He also to a large extent judges us based on our compliance with how we understand His ways. He gives us a break, in other words, as long as we aren't by the same belief or act breaking one of His indisputable requirements (like, turn the other cheek, don't sleep around, take care of and stand for those who are oppressed, and so on) [See Romans 14:3, for example].

That's why it is vitally important for us to not only live our own lives according to how we understand God's ways, but to also avoid the sin of self-righteous arrogance wherein we try to force or browbeat our own human understanding into the lives of others.

When we commit this sin – when we try to make people live according to our own ideas as if they were God's – then no matter how much we believe we are about God, we are actually trying to take the place of God. And that alone should scare us beyond imaging!

Now, that doesn't mean we can't share our ideas and understandings. In fact, that's what people did in the early church: they gathered together and all shared their lives and understandings with each other, learning and growing as God was leading them.

It also doesn't mean we should go along with what anyone and everyone says or does. If someone is living sinfully – especially if they are living in religious sin – it's best that we don't keep ourselves in something that removes us from the Lord or tempts us to also live in the same sin. We'll always have more than enough of our own sin in our lives. We don't need to be borrowing sin from others!

I don't attend my grandparents' fundamentalist-holiness church, for example, because – despite the example of my grandparents – it's full of religious sin that trumpets God while tarnishing God's Name and distorting His message. And my understanding of God and God's Bible says that I'm responsible for keeping His REAL truth, even if it costs me. Even if it means I have to give up fellowship with a church fellowship. Jesus is quite clear on that [See Luke 9:62, for example]!

So, I work to counter some of the damage their false gospel causes amongst Gay and straight people alike – but I don't run campaigns to raise money and votes to attack or oppress them for what I understand of their sin.

I speak the truth when the Lord opens up a time for me to do that, but I don't carry signs in front of their meetings, telling them they are going to hell for their self-righteous but still lawless lifestyles.

I love them (with Jesus' help) even when they insist on being my enemy, but I don't condemn them to hell in personal emails.

See, if I did any of those things – if I acted like they do – then I would be trying to do God's work by using the Devil's tactics.

I'd be saying with my life:
  • Jesus turned the other cheek – but I know better.
  • Jesus never harmed anyone – but I know better. 
  • Jesus did things backwards, according to the world's ways of doing things – but I know better.
And that would just be sin.

It's doubtful that my grandparents and I will ever come to any agreement about a number of issues, including homosexuality, women, and so on (not in this world, in any event!). But:
  • We can keep our own lives in line with what we each personally believe, and still manage to act as much as we can like Jesus.
  • We can do and say what needs to be said, and still manage to glorify, rather than vilify, God.
  •  We can truly learn from each other, adding the strengths we each have to the weaknesses we each also have, and support each others' faith.  
  • We can be truly disciples of Jesus Christ, in other words. The ones He will count as His own, when He comes again, because we look like Him, and not like the world.
I don't listen to anti-Gay Christians any longer because they've taught me that the truth of their lives is more about the world, and not very much at all about Jesus.

They've taught me that they have Jesus on their lips but the devil in their hearts – which is exactly what Jesus said would happen, if we do religious things the world's way and not His way [See, for example, Matthew 12:43-45, for example].

They've taught me that they aren't thinking and learning – aren't using the heart and brain God gave them
. They're just memorizing and regurgitating complex human theories and assertions as if they are God's Word are the same.

And that is just a waste of my time – and God's.

I do encourage us all to pray for them, though. For whether or not they ever understand that God does not condemn Gay people, they have already condemned themselves by their righteous lawlessness.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they've only learned to speak what they understand as God's truth with their mouths, but not with their hearts.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they haven't yet figured out that a holy life is garbage if it doesn't have the real Jesus Christ in the center.
  • Unlike my grandparents, they haven't figured out that, being without real love, they are nothing more than ugly and ridiculous noise noise noise.
They are more in need of God's mercy than they believe we are – but they don't know it.

And there's nothing that should break our hearts more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Q: "What does God want from me?"

That's a very important question – and not just for Gay people!

But despite what many may tell you, it really has a simple answer – and one that applies to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, gender orientation, gender, race, and so on.

And what is that simple answer? It's:

God wants you to completely trust in Him. That's it!

But then the question becomes, how do I properly do that? Again – no worries. That’s not a difficult thing to learn either!

Trusting in God means, first of all, learning about Him.

You can't trust someone you don't know, and you can't come to know someone you don't spend some time learning about (note: you can't even honestly reject someone you haven't really learned about – though many people do that to God, every day).

Most people spend more time getting to know the woman that rides next to them on the bus each morning than they do getting to know the Creator of the Universe – and that's a shame! Because as nice as the woman on the bus may think you are, she'll never long to have a one-on-one relationship with you like God does. You see, unlike every human being on the planet, God truly already knows all about you – every good thing about you, and every bad thing about you. God even knows all the really ugly shameful things you haven't even done yet – and He still loves you more than you can humanly imagine, and He wants you to learn about that!

Second of all, trusting in God means using the right learning tools.

There are millions of books and ideas out there about who God is and what He wants. But there's only one book with one central idea that has stood the test of time and proof in prophecy-come-true – and more: the Bible. And not just any Bible, because one of the greatest tragedies of the last many centuries has been the often well-intentioned but still very sinful mistranslations and misinterpretations of one or another part of the Bible, that are then passed off as if they are God's true Scripture. That's what's been done to Gay people: people who are already prejudiced against Gay people "translate" the original Hebrew and Greek of the Scriptures God gave us, and then not only insert their own wording and phrasing instead of using God's, but then also ignore the historical, linguistic, and cultural context of God's original Scripture, so that it ends up appearing as if God condemns Gay people.

The real truth of the matter is that it isn’t God that condemns Gay people – it's people who are prejudiced against us that condemn Gay people!

Unfortunately, today there are exceedingly few English translations of the Bible that do not contain such human re-writes. Even translations that aren't bigoted against Gay people can be mistranslated on other topics, simply because of the translator's particular theological biases, for example. So part of learning about God is learning to use His Bible, and correcting the errors in it as you learn of them, so that you end up learning about the real God!

Third, trusting in God means understanding Jesus.

It may not be obvious at first, but the whole Bible is really all about Jesus. From start to end, it tells the story of why the human race came to need Jesus in the first place, how God proved that we need Jesus (and can’t rely on our own abilities to save ourselves, in other words), why God wants us to choose to trust Him (instead of just forcing us to trust Him, like biological robots), and how much God was willing to do to make sure everyone that wants to spend eternity with Him gets to do just that. The final part of the Bible story is also about Jesus. It tells what happens just before and after Jesus comes back one more time to finally rid the world of all the sickness, injury, evil, hatred, injustice, and so on that has come to drive us all crazy and make us so confused, now.

If we don’t understand Jesus – meaning, we either don’t know Him at all, or we only know Him through wrong interpretations of Him we’ve gotten from other people who don’t understand Him – then we don’t understand God. Jesus is God, you see. Not some “lesser” deity in a three-person mix. Not some really-good-guy who ran into some really bad luck at the end. Not some high-level spiritual guru who works alongside other high level spiritual gurus. Read the Gospels – John, then Luke, Matthew, and Mark – in the New Testament, and see for yourself! Know Jesus – and know God. Know Jesus – and know exactly what God wants from you, what He’s willing to do for you, and what He wants to offer you, out of His unending love for you!

Finally, we have to ask and answer: “How will I know when I DO know Jesus?”

Unlike what some may tell you, it won’t be if or when you "stop" being Gay.

But finding you’re more at peace with everything – including being Gay – is a good hint that you’re on your way to having Jesus in your heart.

It won’t be when you stop wanting Gay friends and family.

But finding that you’re wanting to share God’s love with other Gay people is a good hint that you’re on your way to doing what’s most important to God.

It won’t even be when you start attending a church, or singing along with Christian radio, or putting money in the collection plate each month (though there’s not necessarily anything wrong with any of those things, when the rest of God is in your heart, too).

Instead, you’ll know that you’re finally really knowing Jesus and seeing the blessing of His Spirit in your heart when it’s the most natural thing in the world for you to:
  • comfort people who are hurting,
  • feed people who are hungry,
  • clothe people who need clothes,
  • love people who aren’t lovable,
  • be gentle with people who don’t deserve it,
  • live in control of your body’s natural, God-given passions, and not be controlled by them,
  • find joy and peace in your heart even when things really stink,
  • appreciate how easy and great things work - when they're done God's way,
  • hang on to Jesus even when it’s really hard,
  • revere only God, and not things, angels, or even other very good people, and,
  • test everything you’re told (even by religious authorities) against the Word of God, before you go along with it (yes, that’s really in the Bible, too – many times!).
It can’t be repeated often enough that Jesus loves you, more than you will ever be able to imagine. And Jesus isn’t afraid of your questions. I know, because before I came to Jesus, I had a million of them.

He isn’t afraid of your unbelief. I know, because before I came to Him, I had boatloads of it.

He isn’t afraid of your anger at Christians. I know, because I was burning with it (and He shares a lot of it too, you know!)

He isn’t afraid of your rejection. I know, because before I came to Him, I put Him out with the trash.

What I found as I made my own starts at getting to know Him, was that Jesus knew all along that I needed to make this very long, ragged spiritual journey of questions, unbelief, anger, and rejection before I could trust in Him.
In our modern culture, where (just as the Bible said would happen) most people who say they’re Christian actually don’t really follow Jesus at all (but instead, just give Him a bad name), if I had just accepted being a Christian without going through all this questioning and so on first, I would have just become another BAD Christian! And the world already has too many of those (whether straight or Gay)!

Jesus is ok with whatever you need to do to purge all these false ideas about Him and what He wants from you. He can wait and tolerate quite a bit, actually, because He knows that once you do get all that junk out of your system, you’re going to be a real friend to Him – and not just another faker.

So, start learning.
  • Start learning why God revealed Himself as Jesus Christ just so you could spend eternity with Him in no pain, no sickness, and no sorrow, and how He wants more than anything for you to choose to do just that.
  • Start learning why you need to make that choice to be with Him with your whole heart – and why just floating along in the world’s muck, assuming that “some day” you’ll get around to it, is a really bad game plan.
  • And finally, start learning what it means to trust in God, and to follow His plan – and not one or another human plan – and why doing so will become a way of inner peace like you’ve never imagined!
It will be not only the biggest -- but also the best -- thing you've ever done in your life!

God bless you in your learning journey!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What's your denomina-sin?

Some people watch television. I listen to podcasts. The other day I tried a new one, the first topic being how to get the various denominations of Christianity talking with and comfortable with one another. As I listened, I grew more and more appalled (an emotion I just don't feel all that often!)

I've found that one of the truths of the human (and demonic) world is that our answers are only as true as our willingness to start with the right questions. Even "genius" is just so much impressive garbage, if made from a mountain of garbage.

But considering if we are truly starting with the right questions is most often the last thing human beings do. We're too busy being:
  • pleased with ourselves (how smart we are, how much study we've done, what kinds of organizations we've built, etc), and
  • protective of our own interests (which most of us disguise as caring about others' interests, especially to ourselves)
I read the other day, for example, that a favorite thing to do in pharmaceutical new drug safety studies for the last 30 years or so is to exclude from the research data anyone whose body reacts badly to the new drug, or who get little benefit compared to the problem side effects. Then – scientific miracle of miracles! – the drug is "proven" safe and effective.

So while the researchers claim to be asking, "Is this new drug safe and effective?" they are actually asking, "How do I use my scientific authority to get this new product released into the marketplace as quickly as possible?"

But neither of those is the right question to start with. What would be the right one? How about:

"Am I trustworthy enough to remain unbiased about this new product, even if it costs me (present or future) prestige, money, position, or power to let the truth of it come through?"

And because that's not the question these researchers are asking (or having asked of them), flawed, pseudo-scientific, and biased "studies" continue to cause huge amounts of damage to the people who take these completely unscientific drugs.

Well, human beings have the same faults, whether those are expressed in the scientific world or the religious world or the sports world or the (you get the picture). So it shouldn't be surprising to us when Christian people fail in the same ways. Just like these folks discussing "fixing" denominations in the podcast.


They claimed to be discussing, "How do we unify the Body of Christ?" But what they were really talking about was, "How do we continue to get the emotional, psychological, and physical goodies we've built and maintained denominations to give us, while joining forces with other denominations we disagree with?"

Neither of those are the right question either. The right question would actually go something like this:

"Am I surrendered enough to the real Jesus Christ that I will release anything that pleases me more than it pleases Him, or that brings me more glory than it brings Him – even if it costs me my friends, my family, my job, my good standing in the community, my material wealth, and more?"

That's the question that would lead them to truth, and it should be the question all Christians ask of themselves at ever available opportunity.

See, denominations are beautiful failures – seeming to point us toward God, but actually tricking and leading us astray – for a number of reasons.

First – Denominations produce, encourage, and protect Good Religious People by the many, many millions – but the same kinds of Good Religious People who either:
  • Self-righteously hunted Jesus down for not being "godly" enough, or
  • Obediently walked away and did nothing when Jesus was slandered, tortured, and murdered.
Nothing changed over the last 2,000 years. "Catholic" or "protestant" or whatever, Good Religious People continue even today to do the same evil things to hundreds of millions of human beings, and their denomination – their "group-mind" – rewards and assures them of the "godliness" of each such action/inaction.

Second – Denominations are self-serving human institutions, whereby we convince ourselves that God's real work is only accomplished via human budgets, building and other programs, seminaries, social and doctrinal conformity, and mission trips to spread our denomination. Then we "lovingly" look down our noses at what we call the "primitive" church of 1,800 to 1,950 years ago, because they "only" had the testimony of their lives healed and saved through Jesus Christ, to spread and protect the Gospel. That's sinful arrogance, at best.

When we become melded within the "group-think" of a denomination, we even come to believe that the Gospel message the early church spread, and the denomination message we spread, is the same – and that's idolatry, at the least.

Third – Denominations grow from one or more human founders and their interpretation of Jesus Christ, usually in reaction to someone else's interpretation of Jesus Christ. There's nothing wrong with coming up with one's own interpretation of the Bible and so on. Being only human beings, we all have to do that (run screaming from the people who insist they don't interpret!).

The problem is that denominations interpret Jesus through their human founders and the ongoing traditions that followed them – rather than interpreting their human founders and traditions through Jesus and correcting their spiritual understanding as needed.

Fourth – Denominations squelch the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of God's people while encouraging them to continue seeing themselves through a religious spirit – and this is true even among so-called "Spirit-filled" denominations.

By creating and enforcing structure -- however "comforting" it may feel -- on how God's people act and interact with God, rather than letting the wind of the Holy Spirit blow where it may, people living within denominations become spiritually "stuck" within "church boxes". They lose opportunity to grow in the Lord according to how He would lead them, while gaining lots of opportunity to grow in how their denomination decides God wants to lead them. And again, people really into their denomination come to believe those two are the same thing.

Fifth – the Bible itself specifically prohibits denominations or anything like them. For example, Paul scolded the Corinthians:
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)
Today people do even worse, not only wrapping themselves around an individual but also the human institution that sprang up from his or her interpretations. Today, people essentially say, "I am of Baptist", "I of Methodist", "I of Presbyterian", or even "I of Non-Denominational"!

But if we have such a mindset, we should realize we fall under Paul's scolding: Is Christ divided? Was Thomas Helwys crucified for us? How about John Wesley? John Calvin? Martin Luther? Last report I saw said there are now 38,000 Christian denominations in the world. Which of these 38,000 human founders died to bring salvation to a spiritually dead world?

None of them, obviously. And to the extent to which we allow the cliques we call "denominations" today to cloud that issue even to a tiny degree, is the extent to which we have sinned against the God of heaven and disrespected Jesus' true body of Christ.

So, how should we understand ourselves within the Body of Christ? And what do we do about disagreements, and about other people who call themselves Christians but seem to be anything but?

First of all, we must understand the Body of Christ from God's perspective. 

People often split into a new denomination because they disagree with something someone else believes. And indeed, we are told to stay away from people who cause problems for their own benefit in the church. However, that's a far cry from creating a false division between yourselves because you don't like the worship music! Find a group to worship with that fits your own "style", but continue to understand yourselves as still all part of the same church, and act like it! Because that is indeed what you are!

More, we have to remember always that the same God who created us to have hands that are different from eyes which are different from lungs, while all are required and respected parts of the whole, is the same God who created the Body of Christ to have "parts" which serve different functions, while remaining required and respected parts of the whole.

Does that mean "anything goes"? Obviously not. We are told not to judge – but we are told to discern, as when Jesus praised His church for testing those who claim to be apostles and not tolerating those who were found false. To prevent thinking we are going towards God when actually we are moving away from Him, we have to know God's Word, and we have to make decisions about our lives according to it.

That means:
  • Taking responsibility for ourselves. I'm sorry to those who want to lump all that onto other "leaders," but you're selling out the trust given you by Jesus if you do that. Am I saying leaders are bad? No. I am saying that almost all church "leaders" are self-deluded, at best. And deciding to just go along with them because you think you can escape responsibility for the work God wants from you by doing so, just isn't going to cut it. Check out the parable of the ten talents, if you don't agree.
  • Learning to release all the "church" rules, laws, doctrines, beliefs, traditions, and so on that we don't find any requirement for in the Bible, and learning to replace those with the one's we do find in the Bible – including all the ones our Western cultures teach us don't apply to us (like, "you can't serve God and money", and "turn the other cheek")
  • Really coming to understand that being a Christian is about belonging to Jesus, first and only. The only thing that's real is your relationship with Him, and your understanding of yourself and the world, and how the Holy Spirit prompts you to live, learn, and love. No denomination, no matter how "Christ-centered," will ever do anything more than water down and corrupt the pure Spirit God wants in and from your heart.
Abandon "denomina-sins" for the untainted love and life of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is your ideology ruining your theology?

The second scariest thing happening in the world today is the overabundance of politics practiced as religion.

The scariest thing is that those doing this kind of practice rarely realize (or care to stop) the foul mix they've created.

And that leaves the world in a world of hurt.

One of the easiest mistakes human beings can make is to recreate God in our own image.

To believe we are elevating God when, in fact, we are elevating ourselves in God's Name.
  • To re-create the Gospel and God Himself according to what makes most sense to us.
  • To take God on our own terms, and not His.
Bad enough when we do that within our own spiritual lives – then we only endanger ourselves. But so much worse when we spray this kind of idolatrous anti-Christian thinking and behavior over the world around us.

Today in the United States we see, for example, so-called "conservatives" claiming to be completely "Bible-based" while reinventing the Good News of Jesus Christ to include:
  • "loving" hatred,
  • justified self-righteousness,
  • iinsertion of human hierarchy between God and those who belong to God, 
  • glorification of murder and thievery,
  • the blunting of God's message with pagan and secular philosophies, 
  • and more.
Yet God's Message to the world, expressed in the Bible as God gave it to us in its original languages and cultures, clearly is against all of these things. God is not a "conservative."

But we also see so-called "liberals" claiming to be completely "Jesus-based" while reinventing the Good News of Jesus Christ to include the removal of "troubling" issues like:
  • Jesus' resurrection,
  • God's ability to act in miraculous ways within His own creation,
  • God's promise to return in righteous wrath in the end to punish those (both outside and inside "the church") who've continued to choose and nurture evil in their hearts no matter what,
  • and so on.
Yet God's Message to the world, expressed in the Bible as God gave it to us in its original languages and cultures, clearly is against all of these things, too. God is not a "liberal."

In fact, God and the Gospel message are so different – and so much higher and better – than any and all human political and other philosophies that they can't even be considered in the same category. And that's been true for all of human history – including in regards to the "conservative" Pharisees and the "liberal" Sadducees and the "secular" Herodians of 2,000 years ago.

Yet that's what's missed by those who confuse their politics with their faith.
It's just a very tiny, tiny step between "my politics" and "God's politics expressed through me".

See, once anyone believes that they and God are on the same page, it's nothing to start forcing one's own sinful human nature onto others in God's Name.
  • That's how people who already hate Gay people, for example, come to "know" that "Scripture" says God hates Gay people – and then come to feel justified going into the political process to persecute Gays in God's Name.
  • It's how people who already enjoy living within various levels of human domination of other human beings come to "know" that the "Bible" says Jesus wants that for us in His church and world, too – and then come to feel justified in the murder, theft, and rape of political war, and the oppression of the poor, and the false division between "clergy" and "laity."
  • It's how people who already believe there is no supernatural come to "know" that "Scripture" doesn't really mean that Jesus was more than another (possibly great) human being – and then come to feel justified using state systems to persecute and block those who hold to the deity of Jesus Christ in their hearts and lives.
There is just no human political thought or process that can ever not cause at least as much damage as it repairs. And that's where our humility – our understanding of the difference between ourselves and God – is supposed to kick in.

Corrie ten Boom understood this. A death-camp survivor who lost almost her entire family to the Nazi holocaust, she'd spent the rest of her life spreading the Gospel and telling people about our need to forgive our enemies.

Corrie told the story once about having been with a conference group and recounting her own difficulties in forgiving the Nazis and Nazi-collaborators who tortured and killed even her elderly father and sick sister. She said she'd talked about how she found it impossible to forgive these people under her own power and nature, and that it was only by Jesus that she was able to do it and keep doing it.

She said that after her talk the conference leader had gotten up and told the assembled crowd how wonderful Corrie ten Boom was and that "the world would be a safer place if we would all be like Corrie ten Boom." Corrie said, "I was furious!" at this conference leader.


Because she had expressed God's truth: that she continued to be a sinful human being, unable to do any good of her own power, and that it was only through her humble submission to the power of the real Jesus Christ, and doing (ALL of) what He tells us to do, that she was able to accomplish the things of God.

But the conference leader had re-created God's truth in the same way that Official Christianity has during the last 2,000 years: imagining that human-power can accomplish God-results, if only we'll do it in the ways our very limited human hearts and minds have decided are "God's ways".

Confronted by Corrie ten Boom's righteous rebuke, the conference leader repented of his attempt to make an idol of Corrie ten Boom. He came to understand what Corrie understood:

That our actions in the world are measured success only to the degree that we humbly remember the difference between:
  • who we are, and who God is, and
  • what we can hope to accomplish, and what God can't be stopped from accomplishing.
So what does that mean to us, when we see so much wrong in the world? Does that mean we're just supposed to do nothing and wait for God to clean up the mess later? Absolutely not!

Instead, it means that we are to take the example of Jesus and the church He founded (as detailed in the Bible as God gave it to us), and mold ourselves to that and only that.

Nowhere in the Bible, for example, do we see the real church shoving themselves and their values through the political process. And when Jesus and Paul, for example, were pushed into the political process of the day, they didn't break out weapons to fight against it. They didn't try to infiltrate and take it over to make it look like themselves. They didn't lobby the Senate to pass laws for or against things. Instead, they simply spoke God's truth to it, realizing that the political process of the world belong to Satan and his followers (see Luke 4:5-6 for example) until Jesus comes again to clean house.

Many will respond that such a thing wouldn't work in today's world – that things are worse or more complex or more harrowing today. And to that I say – bunkum!

There was hunger and hurt 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church fed and cared for the hungry and hurt, even when it cost them all their possessions or landed them in jails or caused them to catch plague diseases.

There was oppression and persecution of Christians and many others 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church assisted the oppressed, and even went all the way to their own tortured deaths, completely nonviolently, proclaiming Jesus' power and love both through what they said and through what they did.

There was gross political evil in the world 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church remained apart from it, not soiling Jesus' real message of love and salvation with compromise with other human philosophies that encourage and please human arrogance and love of show.

Those who truly wish to follow Jesus – and not simply the human-created version of Jesus put out by Organized Religion – will do things Jesus' way.

  • Even when it doesn't seem to work (because they understand they aren't God and can't see the whole result of something). 
  • Even when it seems weak (because they understand anything they can do is weak, compared to the awesome power of God). 
  • Even when it doesn't please their own or someone else's sinful human nature (because only God's nature can save them).
If we truly wish to follow Jesus, we will act in this world – just as Corrie ten Boom and millions of others throughout the last thousands of years have acted in this world, doing things God's way.

We will learn to not waste our time and energy on human endeavors that will create as many problems as they solve.

We will learn not to be fooled into believing that any human way of understanding or being can ever compare to God's way.

We will strive to be more and more like Jesus, as He's expressed and described Himself in the real Bible.

And the rest we will humbly, lovingly leave to God.

In His love,


Monday, October 19, 2009

What IF churches closed? (Child of the Wind)

I don't remember how (I rarely do), but I came across this great blog the other day, called Child of the Wind.

Written by Les, a straight brother in Australia, it's lately been a heartfelt and personal sharing regarding how (or whether) to maintain his faith and religious life after losing his trust in "the Church", and his ideas regarding theology (and his own changing theologies) in trying to make things make sense in the Christian world. 

And you thought only Gay people went through that.

While I was checking my blog feeds at lunch today, I came across his post called "What if churches closed?" and it really got me thinking:

What if churches closed? 

My first thought (which I commented) was: 

"Closing local churches would also allow a renewal of faith among many who assume that since they don't like the garbage there they can't be christian. What an opportunity to see Jesus from our heart out, rather than from the church in."
I really understand these days -- more than I ever have in my entire life -- the difference between:
  • the human church -- which we can't not see all around us, and,
  • Jesus' church -- which we can only truly know when we give up proclaiming and living for the human church. 
It's hard for all of us to learn the difference. And the more soaked into the human church we are, the more God has to rub away before we can learn.

While He's doing that, it can feel very painful, and disorientating, and even lonely.

But it's got to be done.

It's got to be done.

Why? Because as long as we continue to imagine that God can only accomplish His plan by our action or participation, then we're batting for the Wrong Team. 

As long as we imagine that God requires us to set up special buildings and have "clergy" and hymnals and so on to do His work and be blessed ourselves, then we're fooling ourselves as much as Adam and Eve did, when they decided to do God's plan one better, by making sure to add their own "little touch".

And we're also making it harder for those around us who continue to reject Jesus simply because they are also confused into thinking that the muck and mire of human-based churches defines who God is and what He wants from and for us.

Personally, I imagine and look for the day when all churches are closed. When the idea that anyone needs anything within human power or participation in order to know the Lord, is laughed at for the silly devil's trick that it is.

When all can see Jesus -- face to face.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sick of church? Good for you! But don't stop there!

I hear a lot from people – Gay and straight – who no longer attend any church. They mention a lot of reasons, but all those reasons boil down to this:

They are tired of the garbage.
  • They're tired of "pastors" and "apostles" and other church "leaders" whose primary "call" is to pursue, demand, and soak up adoration and obedience that only belong to God.
  • They're tired of "Christians" who salute themselves as belonging to Christ, yet who resemble Paul's description of the "deeds of the flesh" far more than the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:19-23).
  • They're tired of church "services" that are full of material doo-dads (pews, pulpits, pianos, etc) but empty of Spirit.
  • They're just tired of showing up to shine for God, only to find themselves once again sitting in a hyped-up mud hole of human self-congratulation and religious pretense.
So they don't go.

And who could blame them, when all that and more is plainly true to anyone willing to see it?

Well, many of those still in the churches want to blame them, of course. They say things like, "Falling attendance is all part of the Great Falling Away!", and "God requires you to come to church each Sunday!"

But that's all baloney, too.

The "Great Falling Away," for example, refers to people's hearts falling away from Jesus – not to the numbers of people sick of showing up in spiritually evil and/or spiritually empty buildings each week.

And while the Bible requires us to continue in loving relationship with those who love and serve the Lord, it says nothing about forcing ourselves to participate in the local "hobby-God club".

So, despite what we may hear, being sick of church can actually be a good, healthy thing in our lives – like giving up a nicotine addiction, or no longer drinking soda pop.

The problem comes when we stop there, though. When we pull out the big, thorny thistle from our spiritual garden, but don't plant something good there, instead.

See, Jesus wants to grow there. In fact, Jesus is the one who sent you the message, the one who gave you the discernment to see the truth about the "white-washed tombs" so many today call "churches."

And Jesus wants you out of the false church.

But Jesus also wants you in His real one.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.

"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’"
(Matthew 7:15-23)
If you are sick of "church," be happy that you aren't being fed by a church organization that – in God's eyes – "practices lawlessness." You'd be in far worse shape if you were being fed!

If you are sick of "church," be glad that you are tired of the thorns pretending to be grapes. The first step in anything getting better is to realize that it's not working now!

If you are sick of "church," feel good about yourself and your relationship with Jesus. You're practicing the discernment that Jesus requires of us all, and listening to what He has to say.

And if you are sick of "church", find other ways to maintain your relationship with Jesus – things that speak to your spirit and that keep your faith strong and fit. And that includes if you come across a local Christian assembly that feeds your (real) faith in Jesus Christ – love and keep those wonderful brothers and sisters! But never forget:

You don't need a "temple" or a "church", or a "pope" or a "pastor," or anything else in this world to get and keep Jesus. Rather, you get Jesus by wanting Him to be there, and you keep Jesus by trusting He's getting you where you need to go.

And that's it!

Keep growing in discernment, love, and strength in the Lord!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free pamphet: "Is someone trying to steer you away from Jesus?"

We have a free pamphlet you can download and give out to your friends, or to use as part of your own local ministry outreach to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

It's a PDF, and formatted to be a double-sided, tri-fold pamphlet.

Note that it has a large area on the back where you can put your own local info on it, if you like (like a phone number or address your group can be reached at).

But you can also pass it around anonymously if that's better for you, as it has a link (in smaller letters) to this blog, so if people who read it have questions or need to contact someone they have that opportunity.

This is an easy, quick read, and uses the Bible to provide "5 Points to Peace" to being sure that God does not condemn Queer people.

And, as I said, it's completely free.

The only limitations to using it are that you cannot charge anyone anything related to using it, printing it, and so on. You cannot violate the copyright and pretend it's your own. And so on. See the copyright notice on the back-bottom for more info. And note that all these limitations are simply intended to make sure the info here stays protected and isn't used by wolves to fleece a wounded flock.

The pamphlet is currently stored at our new files storage site, at:

Let me know if you have feedback.

In His love,


Thursday, October 1, 2009

You've got God-mail

Ok – put on your imagination-caps.


Imagine that you have a great friend, but they live in another part of the world right now. I don't know – working in the Peace Corp, or in missions, or they moved to some sun-drenched holiday place and aren't planning on visiting here again for some time. Something like that.

Now, imagine that this great friend sent you some really, long letters, and another friend at the local post office has been holding them for you. You go to pick them up, but right away there's a problem. Your great friend's letters are all written in the language of the country s/he's currently living in, and you can't read them! "Not a problem!" says your postal friend. "I will read them for you." Great!

Except that what your postal friend reads doesn't sound like your great friend at all. Your great friend is very loving, humble, and gentle, for example, and a lot of these letters have a lot of angry, domineering violence in them. You're stunned.

But then it gets worse. Your postal friend reads you parts of these letters that say your great friend (or, at least you thought they were a great friend!) doesn't think much of you. In fact, in several places, your great friend seems to say you're a freak, someone who's horrible and ugly. Your knees start to feel a little saggy and the world seems to spin a bit. You really thought your great friend was your friend, and you value his/her opinion greatly! This can only mean, then, that either your great friend is two-faced and not to be trusted, or, that s/he is actually right about you. 

The first possibility makes you angry. You storm off and tell everyone what a rotten scumbag your previous-great-friend really is!

The second possibility makes you hate yourself.
You start hating who you are, just like your great-friend seems to, and your life becomes all about trying to be "better", even though there's no way you can.

But how many of us consider another possibility? That our postal friend is either
  • (a) interpreting the letters incorrectly by accident, or 
  • (b) interpreting the letters incorrectly on purpose.
Maybe what we've just heard is mixed up, only partially right, and not the message our great friend meant for us to hear at all!

We do this same kind of thing with God and the Bible, all the time.

God gave us the Bible – His letters to us – in the original languages, cultures, and contexts He meant them to be in. They – and only they – are what He truly means for us to hear.

But in Old Testament times, New Testament times, and even all the way to today, there have been other "friends" who have mistakenly or on purpose read us God's letters incorrectly.
  • They've told us God condemns Gay people.
  • They've told us that God made women "weaker" and to be "subject" to men. 
  • They've told us that power and hierarchy that looks no different from what you'd find in any business is what God wants in His churches, as well.
  • They've even told us that God wants African-descent people to be inferior slaves, that God wants the (their version of the) religion of Christianity shoved down people's throats (with violence, if need be), and so on.
And it's just not been the real message God wrote to us.

So, why are we continuing to listen to these on-purpose or accidental lies?

Why are we giving sinful human beings the trust that we should only give to God Almighty?

Why are we letting human translations and interpretations of God's Word define who we are and how we should see and understand ourselves, instead of relying only on the character and message of Jesus Christ for that?

There is no translation of the Bible that's perfect. But there is a God who's perfect, and He is on your side, whether others read you His real message or not.

Be the person God created you to be – and not the person other sinful human beings have decided for God that He should want you to be.

Use your brain – use your heart – use your hope in Jesus Christ.

Investigate and hang on to God's real message (if you aren't sure what that is, start with Jesus Christ!)

God expects nothing less!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Poem: "Heretic"

A poem sent to us recently by a young brother who's been very active in working to help straight, conservative Christians understand that the Bible does not condemn us, and who's been struggling under the weight of this huge task. 

by Christopher Cool
11 September 2009
The wolves return to the pasture once again
To feast upon their usual unwary prey --
They with their antics drive the flock insane
All while they whine that they don't have their way.

They blame abortion, liberals, and the gays --
Screaming that evil has torn this country down --
And though they swear to uphold God's holy ways
I'd bet their fathers formed His thorny crown.

How now can man know sure that which is right
With enemies hid behind a sheep's disguise?
Why am I now a heretic in your sight --
When Truth has been confounded by your lies?

We mourn attacks on country and our flag --
"Humbling" ourselves through fasting for a day --
But is our righteousness more than filthy rags
Because we cry, "God bless the USA"?

Our patriots shout, "Them hippie-types be damned!"
At us who protest our war-created void --
But what is such devotion to our homeland --
If not an idol, like those He once destroyed?

We try to justify those bloody fights --
As though our brethren needed reasons why!
Am I now but a heretic in your sight --
When you're the ones who've made the truth a lie?

And what of you smiling hypocrites in robes
Who trample orphans and widows like the grass?
Where were you to condemn the acts of homophobes?
Where will you stand, in the Judgement soon to pass?

Oh no! We're "preserving marriage" or "protecting kids"!
So that allows you to say what you will, it seems --
Well, here's a message I hope gets through your heads:
It is NEVER true that ends justify the means!

But no, you all but slaughter human rights
As though your work is sanctioned from on high --
And am I now a heretic in your sight --
When your hateful words are full of blatant lies?

I've had enough - no more will I bridle my tongue
When the very world is an enemy of the human race --
I will not look upon where my Lord was hung
And forget why on that cross He chose His place.

In a world where all around me I see hell
You cannot scare me with, "What if tomorrow He came?"
Scoff me, scorn me, call me what you will --
I will walk His path before me all the same.

And though I hope and pray you'll embrace the light --
Just know I can't ignore your works before my eyes.
I'll gladly be a heretic in your sight --
If you won't stop defending all your lies.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Art museum theology

My mother-in-law renewed our memberships to the local art museum, so we went to see the latest exhibit, entitled: “The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt”.

The place was packed with people – which it hadn’t been before when we’d stopped in to see other collections. Nicely arranged and accessible, with a lot of audio and textual learning tools, the exhibit offers an in-depth look at an ancient people who lived in the days of Abraham, Israel, and Moses.

As I traveled through the galleries, I couldn’t help placing what I was seeing in Bible context. In one room, for example, was a massive hand-carved stone statue of a man. I was amazed at how beautifully it was done – indeed, it was quite a work of art! But it was more than that, because among the words carved around its base was the command, “Pray to me.” And across its surface was the wearing away of actual stone done by thousands upon thousands of hands that did just that.

Elsewhere in the exhibit, one examined other idols – “gods” shaped like baboons, lions, falcons, jackals, and more. The Egyptians, we learned, didn’t worship baboons or other animals – but they did worship the power they associated with the animals. To them, “magic” was a way to gather and control the power they saw manifesting itself in the natural world – including in life and death.

So they mummified themselves, and worshiped gods like Osiris, who (they believed) resurrected himself from the dead each morning with the sun. They built elaborate tombs, covered with magical words and filled with magical images that promised to protect, feed, and guide the dead in the afterlife – into immortality.

I felt a great sadness, going through the exhibit. Here were the lifeless objects they’d left behind.

Here, even, was a human body – precisely
mummified by the most wealthy and powerful people 3,500 years ago – now rotting in a glass box while tens of thousands of strangers come by to stare and enjoy being grossed out by the whole silly idea. Were it not for the wealth of gold and antiquity associated with the various things in the exhibit, most of them would today be thrown into the nearest landfill as garbage. Yet every last bit of it was intended to achieve immortality – and all without having to rely on or bow to the One True God.

God rejected the ancient Egyptians, because they had rejected Him. When He freed the Israelites from Egypt, He gave them a long and complicated law that would train them not to be like the God-rejecting Egyptians they had lived among for so long:
"You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices." (Leviticus 18:3)
"Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces." (Exodus 23:24)
People often misquote parts of the ancient “training” law that God gave the Israelites – parts they then say mean God condemns Gay people. But as I walked through this exhibit, I saw no Gay or Lesbian. I saw blatant God-rejection and demon worship – things that don’t require any particular sexual orientation to fall into.

Sometimes those who want to “help” Gay people try to ignore or reinvent those Scripture passages that some misinterpret as if they condemn us. But I stand firm, as I pray we all do, in saying: “Give me ALL of Scripture, because God left something for all of us in it.” 

What would we miss, for example, if we simply ignored or reinvented the law books like Leviticus? How would we understand how horrible and anti-God the ancient pagan people were (in burning their children alive, and in women having sex with animals, and in incest, and more), if we didn’t read God’s specific prohibitions against the things they did? Some of what God prohibited has been lost to history – we just haven’t known for thousands of years just exactly what some of the prohibitions mean. But we do know that it was all about rejecting pagan practices, and the violent, lustful, greedy, anti-God hearts that practiced them.

The ancient pagans will have achieved an immortality of sorts – but nothing like what they planned on. The religious things they worshiped and bodies they mummified will continue to rot in museums and collections around the world, objects of interest to both side-show gawker and archaeologist alike.

Our own modern human attempts at immortality -- including naming things after ourselves (including ministries), building great things (including religious organizations), and putting anything between us and God (including our "church", "pastor", or Bible translation) -- will also all fail.

What will not fail?

The only thing in the universe that has never failed:

Jesus Christ:
Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." [John 4:13-14]
For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [1 Corinthians 3:11]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Q: "How can good people remain Christian?"

That’s a question many non- and ex-Christian people ask, every day (well, that or another version that isn’t as “polite”!). I used to ask it myself, years ago!

After all, how many wars have been fought by Christians (even today)? How often has Christianity been used to justify domination and exploitation of the poor? How much hatred and judgment is spewed out of the hearts and mouths of Christians – today against Gay and other sexual minority people, but in years past also against people of African descent, Jews, and others? How long was Christianity used to rationalize the enslavement of others? And – yes – just what about all that violent, ugly stuff in the Bible, too?

And there’s no denying any of this – though many Christians try, or try to explain it away as a misunderstanding or failure on the part of the questioner. But there is no doubt:

Christianity in the past, present, and without a doubt into the future has and will continue to show itself to be filled with people who may (or may not!) have very good (apparent) intentions, but who are nonetheless ignorant, arrogant, fake, intolerant, and hypercritical, and who love violence, control, prejudice, and abuse. And even worse, they always have and always will claim they are and do these things with divine authority and approval.

However, here are some things to consider!

(1) - Christianity in its “pure” or original form – the way we can find it in the Bible as GOD originally gave it to us in its original languages and contexts – has always predicted that most of its “followers” would, in fact, not be real followers at all.

To judge Christianity based on the people who claim to be Christians but don’t act like it in the way the Bible itself describes, then, is just like judging Native American people based on the European-ancestry people who claim to be “spiritual Indians.” It's also just like judging hundreds and hundreds of millions of normal-living Gay people around the world based on the few thousand Gays who prance around naked in parades or have sex in public places.

Jesus and His original followers (i.e., those who actually lived with and heard Him with their own ears – not anyone who came along too late to be included in the Bible) warned again and again that the numbers of those who not only talk the talk but also walk the walk would always be very small, compared to the far larger numbers of people who (intentionally or unintentionally) are just faking it. Jesus and His original followers also tell us we must actively work to tell the difference between those two groups, and to make sure we ourselves are only part of the group on the smaller path so that we will gradually become more and more like Jesus, each day.

So good people can be and remain Christian because original Bible truths and the infilling of God’s Spirit into their hearts will lead them to be! When people truly accept God’s real truth (not one or more human “versions” of God’s truth) into their hearts and minds, their hearts and minds begin to change. When that happens, they change away from ignorance, arrogance, hypocrisy, intolerance, judgment, domination, prejudice, and abuse of others, and change towards understanding, humility, sincerity, tolerance, compassion, equality, love of all God’s diverse creation, and care for others (which were all the things the original Christians we see in the Bible were well known for!)

(2) - Most Christians (because they aren’t really following Jesus after all) are judgmental, ignorant, arrogant, and so on – but then, so are most Buddhists, atheists, Muslims, Hindus, pagans, Jews, agnostics, and so on!

In fact, being a “not-nice” person is pretty much the overall human condition, true of all of us no matter what our religious or non-religious beliefs, cultural heritage, gender, racial background, political stance, socioeconomic status, sexual and gender orientation, and so on.

Still, we often hold an extra measure of distaste (or even hatred) of Christianity because it’s what seems to be all around us, in our western cultures. Bad "Christianity" is always "in our face", flexing its muscles and kicking sand in everyone's face (which means it reveals itself as part of the group that killed Jesus, and not the part that followed Him). And that can be infuriating, not only for those under attack, but also for others who simply despise the injustice and harm that causes.

But reading works by and listening to those who grow up in cultures that seem to be almost all "Buddhist", or almost all "anti-religion", or almost all "Muslim", and so on, reveals that people in those cultures can feel just as tired of being so overwhelmingly “surrounded” by those, as well. So it often isn’t the actual Christianity we’re sick to death of (in fact, we hardly get a chance to see that, especially if we aren't looking for it). Instead, it’s the badly done or false Christianity that seems to permeate everything around us, that can drive us crazy.

So good people can be and remain Christian because, as they grow more and more in God’s Holy Spirit, they actually become more and more uncomfortable with and rejecting of that badly done and false Christianity – so much so that others may not even believe they are Christian, since they don’t act like (bad-behavior) "Christians"!

(3) - There is a lot of violence in the Bible – almost all of it in the Old Testament. But there is a context to it that’s often missed (I certainly missed it myself, for many years).

You see, there is a standard, mainstreamed storyline most often given for the Bible – one that many people use to justify all sorts of really ugly, violent things even today. Problem is, most of that storyline is based on:
  • bad translations of Scripture,
  • misinterpretations of Bible context and language and history, and,
  • failure to truly understand the whole Bible story within the context of Jesus Christ and what He taught.
It's as if centuries upon centuries of sinful human bias and ignorance all rested like layers of muddy filth, growing one on top of another and forming this huge idol of refuse that we're taught to believe represents God's truth. And if we don't ever see beyond the garbage idol? We'll never get to what God's real purpose was in any of this.

For example, there is the violence of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. Did God require that? Yes He did – but only for a few centuries, and only of a certain violent, evil people that He was trying to grow into a people of justice, mercy, and service in a way that their stone- to iron-age minds would understand. Nearly everyone across the whole world was sacrificing animals and even people in those days. And for a very short time – that is, between giving Moses the strict rules that the Hebrews were to follow, until the time that Jesus died on the cross – God went along with that because it was something that the ancient people (including the ancient Hebrews) would actually understand.

See, one truth that the Bible teaches is that God always meets us where we are.

And we should be able to understand that, just from normal human experience. We know, for example, that a six-month-old baby can't control her bodily functions. She must eventually learn to do so, but until then we will allow for complete inability and then accidents, helping with diapers and training things and so on, and encouraging and teaching her, until little by little she can eventually get to what's required to be a mature person.

God acts as a parent in this way, as well. He understand when we just aren't mature enough yet to do what's right in His mature eyes, and He helps us with the "baby steps" and training aids we need for now. But the Bible also shows that – just like a parent – He also leads us forward (individually and as a people) toward full spiritual maturity (if we will allow it, that is!). But just as a child not only doesn't need the diapers and training aids after a time, the parent also doesn't allow their continued use and stops tolerating even "accidents" after a time, too. And animal sacrifice falls into this category: "Ok for back then, because you had no real way of understanding why it was wrong and immature. But definitely not Ok any longer."

Things like slavery, inequality, and violence also fall into the same category:
  • Allowed in whole when humanity was still a babe,
  • Allowed less when humanity was a child,
  • Allowed hardly at all when humanity was a teenager, and
  • Allowed not at all now that humanity is an adult.
And that's one of the reasons that people who center their Christian beliefs so heavily in the Old Testament, or who understand the New Testament through the lens of the Old Testament (rather than vice versa), have such a hard time finding and living real spiritual maturity: They should be studying college-level by now, but instead they are still stuck in and preaching from grade-school readers.

So good people can be and remain Christian because – while they learn huge lessons from Old Testament stories and laws that seem very harsh today – they also understand them through the lens of Jesus Christ, who came to grow us past and set aside that very harsh, not-yet-mature way of living and understanding the world, oneself, and God – the Old Covenant way – and brought to us the gentle, mature New Covenant way to be and live, based on demonstrated love of God, neighbor, and enemy.

(4) - Finally, much of the Bible does appear to be sexist and homophobic -- but only in mistranslation and/or misinterpretation and/or misunderstanding of the original Scriptures, and only when the whole story isn't being told from God's point of view.

In a lot of the ugliness we see in the Bible, there is what we talked about in #3, above – that "allowing for now" but then progressively eliminating the acceptability of poor and even evil behavior, as humanity became "old enough" to understand that sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, and so on are not acceptable, and to be held accountable to God when those things weren't gotten rid of in our lives.

We see, for example, sexism tolerated some of the Old Testament (though not in the Genesis creation story and other places we are traditionally trained to see it). But by the New Testament times the allowance for sexism was eliminated. Jesus Himself accepted women as being equally valuable as men, and proved that God valued them for things other than their reproductive capacity even if human men did not. We also see that Paul's writings, while often misquoted and mistranslated to keep women oppressed and block their Holy Spirit potential, actually accepted and even defended women's role within the church, treating them as no different than the men, while also demanding they be helped past and defended from the sexism of the pagan culture around them. In fact, in the first 200 years of the original Christian church, women became Christian in huge numbers precisely because of the dignity and value Jesus and His early followers placed on them – dignity and value completely denied them in the pagan religions all around them.

In a similar way, Bible words and phrases have been completely invented or twisted around to make the Bible appear to condemn Gay people (as a whole – obviously there are bad Gay people, just as there are bad straight people, and the Bible doesn’t defend bad people no matter what their sexual orientation is!). Yet sound Bible study quickly reveals the huge holes in the anti-Gay misinterpretations and mistranslations. There is just nowhere in the Bible where being a godly Gay Christian still means one is condemned to hell!

The same kinds of Bible study, intent on revealing what GOD had to say in the original Scriptures as He gave them to us in their original contexts, reveals similar translation and misinterpretation errors in what the Bible has to say about the poor, the disabled, racial minorities, and more.

So good people can be and remain Christian because it’s only other prejudiced and ignorant people who make one kind of person “superior” or “condemned” in God’s eyes – and not God Himself! Good people can, in fact, gain a solid understanding of how valuable each and every person on the planet truly is to God, in the exact way that He created them to be, based entirely on the Bible!

So, if you’ve been hurting or turned off by what you thought was Christianity or the Bible, isn’t it time to take a new look at Jesus? I encourage you to consider it!

Start by reading the Gospels to learn or re-learn about Jesus – knowing that the entire rest of the Bible must be seen through the “lens” of Jesus, because the whole purpose of everything that happened before He came to earth was to prepare human beings to understand His purpose for being here. Remember that no Bible translation in English today is perfect – all have biases and mistranslation. When you come to a difficult part, don't hesitate to seek out resources that will help you get what the original writer, in his or her original historical, language, and cultural context was trying to communicate.

As you study, keep in mind that many of those who make really bad Christians focus almost all their study and preaching energy on the Old Testament (when I’ve listened to conservative Christian radio, for example, I’ve found that about 80% of their teachings are from the Old Testament, about another 15% are from the non-Gospel New Testament, and only about 5% of the time are they teaching from the Gospels). Remember we're aiming for and required to be spiritual adults now – no more tolerating or conforming ourselves to spiritually childish ways, any longer!

But also keep in mind that others who make really bad Christians put almost all their study and preaching energy only on some parts of the New Testament. The way they talk and preach, you might think the Bible consisted of just the “nice” parts, where God is all about love – but never about vengeance on evil, for example. But keep in mind that God is about love and mercy, but also about justice and making things right in the end – and both are required (unless, of course, you believe that unrepentant child molesters, war criminals, and greedy exploiters and attackers of the vulnerable should never be punished)! The good thing is that when God shows justice and making things right in the end, He won’t do it like people do it. He won’t do it in a way that is selfish, or corrupt, or even more damaging than the evil deeds themselves. When God makes things right, they will really, truly, finally be right! And that is something we should all look forward to!


I know from my own experience that in today’s world, it can seem like a very strange idea: the thought that good people can actually be or stay Christian!

But I’ve also come to know, to the depths of my heart, that the bad Christians in your life and in the world don’t really belong to God (the Bible itself says so!) – and that God can, will, and does reject them for the fakes they are (though He still hopes they will repent and become real Christians, someday!)

And wouldn’t it be a shame to reject God based on the bad behavior of people He rejects as much as you do?

Wouldn’t it be a shame to not explore the whole point of Jesus from God’s perspective, rather than from only the opinions of those who don’t really understand Him at all themselves?

And wouldn’t it be a shame to never really know, or truly accept, the incredible depth of love that the God big enough to create an entire universe and more, has just for you?

Exploring, despite my doubts, despite my hesitations, despite my hurts and angers and disgusts, and then coming finally to begin accepting the real truth of God as I shed the false “untruth” of mainstream Christianity, was the biggest and best thing that ever happened in my life. It healed me of things that I’d been told were un-healable. It made me finally understand love, even though I wasn’t sure I’d ever felt really loved before in my life. And it gave me peace and joy that I could never have imagined before.

All because I began to consider one day, that I might still be a good person – and be Christian – at the same time.

I invite you to consider considering the same, today! 

Don't let bad Christians keep you from a good God!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Q: "Do I have to go to church to be a Christian?"

That's a great question, and one that troubles many Gay and straight people, alike.

Here's what we have to consider before we can answer it:

#1 – An outdated and faked temple is not God's church

Almost all Christians would define going to church as:

Going to a certain place on certain days, giving certain offerings, and participating in certain rituals that are overseen and run by certain officially credentialed individuals who perform certain religious services (including teaching and enforcing the rules), so that those who attend can be right with God.

(Try removing any of those things – like seminary educated pastors, or a church building of some sort, or even singing hymns – and see how many will still honestly call it a "church"!)

But there's something immediately wrong with that
. Do you see it?

Think back to the Old Covenant – to the Mosaic Law – and to the temple that was central to that. For the ancient Hebrews living under the Old Covenant, going to temple meant:

Going to a certain place on certain days, giving certain offerings, and participating in certain rituals that are overseen and run by certain officially credentialed individuals who perform certain religious services (including teaching and enforcing the rules), so that those who attend can be right with God.

Is there any difference? Only in how things look, and not in what things are. In fact, we might think of it like comparing a 1927 Ford Model A with a 2009 Ford Explorer. The function – whether it's to get from Point A to Point B, or to perform certain required religious activities – is the same. So, what most people think of as "church" is simply a remake of the Old Covenant temple, with the same kinds of requirements for religious doo-dads and priests and rituals and so on, all intended to make us "right" with God (which is why we're told we "have to go").

Here's the problem with all that, though:

God canceled the Old Covenant (including the required "House of God" His people had to go to) over 2,000 years ago, and replaced it with the New Covenant. Completely!
So it's simply not possible to be an "Old Covenant Christian" or a "temple-bound Christian" – though millions over the last many centuries have set themselves up to try and do just that! (Exodus 26:31-33; Mathew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; John 4:21; Galatians 3:1-25; Colossians 2:13-23; Hebrews 9:3-12, 10:19-22)

So, telling you that you have to "go to church" to be a (good) Christian is like saying you have to be circumcised to be a (good) Christian, or you can't eat pork and be a (good) Christian, and so on. And despite any good motives we may have in trying to accommodate any part of our Christian faith to the Mosaic Law, the Bible tells us that doing so even in small ways is a rejection of Jesus Christ and our salvation through Him! (see Galatians 5:1-4).

#2 – You can't "go to" what you are

Another thing missed by those who insist on "going to church" to be right with God:

In the Old Covenant, God had His people create a temple sanctuary for His presence, so He could dwell among them (Exodus 25:8; Hebrews 9:1)

But in setting up and establishing the New Covenant, Jesus removed the need for that temple with His death on the Cross (Exodus 26:31-33; Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Hebrews 9:3, 8; Hebrews 10:19-20). Another 40 or so years passed, and then God allowed the temple itself to be completely destroyed – and He's never allowed it to be rebuilt even in part, even through today.

But does that mean that God has had no dwelling place among His people in the last 2,000 years?

Absolutely not!

The Bible tells us that God does still have a "temple" – but that temple is now us! (John 2:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our individual bodies – both physical and spiritual – now make up Christ's Body, and His church (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 6:15, 12:12-27). So, calling some building a "church" is like calling your mother a "garage" - they are just not truly related, according to the Bible!

Of course, many church-holders will say to this, "Of course we're all the temple of the Holy Spirit! But that's different than having to also go to church!"

Not so. And #3 answers why:

#3 – What most call "church" is NOT what the New Testament calls church

Look, for example, at this church description from the 1st century A.D. As you read, think about how it compares to the "churches" that came after that (including those today):
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. [Acts 2:42-47]
What do we see here in these Christians?
  • They were devoted to learning what the first apostles taught (the teachings we now have in the original languages of the Bible), because it was what Jesus taught. Unlike most Christians since, these first Christians were not devoted to Saint So-n-So from the 14th century, or Televangelist XYZ on TBN, or Denominational Headquarters, USA, and so on. The only truth they accepted was what had come from the mouth of God Himself! (We see that also in scriptures like Ephesians 2:19-20).
  • They were devoted to each other. Not to a church building or meeting space. Not to the pastor. Not to a ministry. Not to their denomination. But to each other. That implies that they knew each other, and cared for each other, as only hearts filled with the true Holy Spirit can do. Unlike most Christians since, they didn't just smile and shake hands with the people in the pews around them each Sunday and forget about them 10 minutes later. They didn't just hang out with their "church friends" and ignore everyone else. They didn't just drop some money in the "extra collection" plate every so often to pay for anonymous needs. And they didn't just leave it to "The Minister" to minister to others in their sickness, despair, faith issues, family needs, and so on – every one of them ministered. These people had REAL "family values": they had God's family values!
  • They witnessed (real) signs and wonders straight from the Holy Spirit, which was God's gift to them: His encouragement, approval, and guidance made manifest right before their eyes. They weren't like so many today that chase after and accept any "miracle" (even if it comes from someone who does not demonstrate the real Holy Spirit in their lives, even if it comes straight from the devil!), or who deny miracles as "primitive", "unscientific" fantasies. These were people with God's real power at work in their lives!
  • They were all one – which is exactly what Jesus prayed for! (John 17:20-23) They weren't scattered into Bible-forbidden, heretical factions that today we respectfully call "denominations" (1 Corinthians 1:12-17). They didn’t even divide themselves into different "churches". Most Christians today see each other more as very different people interested in a similar idea, but having little else in common. But the first Christians truly understood themselves globally as one people – God's People, and the Body of Christ – who just happened to live in different cities and large geographical areas. In fact, the Bible never refers to any church smaller than a whole city (see, for example, "The Church of God in Corinth" [1 Corinthians 1:2], which included every Christian in the city of Corinth). If we truly understood our unity within Christ, there would be no "Baptists" or "Methodists" or "Pentecostals" and such, no "1st Presbyterian Church" or "Christ Evangelical Lutheran", and so on. Instead, if we lived in New York City, we would just say, "I am in the church of New York City". And if we moved from New York City to Taos, New Mexico, we'd then say, "I'm in the church of Taos". (And if we moved out into the country, far from any city, we'd simply say, for example, "I'm in the church of North Dakota").
  • They didn't give a hoot about retaining any material possessions, if they could be sold to provide for someone in need, and they kept in common what they needed to get by. They didn't give money to "the church" or a "ministry" so they could get even more money back. They didn't pray for cars and houses. They didn't invest for glittery, easy financial futures. And it's a pretty fair bet that they didn't twist and remake scriptures that warn that attention to money overpowers attention to God (see, for example, Luke 16:13-14), all to justify greed and self-service!
  • They had no "church building" - they met in public spaces already set up for meetings, and they shared communion, fellowshipped, and worshipped God in numerous small assemblies that fit in each others homes (see also Acts 20:7, Hebrews 2:12, and Hebrews 10:25 – often quoted as "proof" that modern churches are biblical – but which simply describe assembled believers in public meeting areas or private homes). These Christians didn't waste their money on faked Christian "temples" that require building funds and maintenance costs, and Christian "programs" that are mostly glut and glitter – they were spending their money on helping those in need, and in helping to spread and maintain the Gospel message [see for example: Acts 11:27-39; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 1 John 3:17].
  • They didn't only see each other on a particular day of the week, or on a designated schedule. They got together for each other and for God whenever it pleased them through the Holy Spirit to do so (even daily!).
  • They "enjoyed the favor of all the people". That means they weren't despised and ridiculed as hypocrites, liars, thieves, and fools, as most of today's Christians are – even by each other! (I'm reminded of an older, straight, conservative Christian businessman I heard on Christian radio the other day who said, "When I go to do business with a non-Christian, I take one witness. But when I go to do business with a Christian, I take two witnesses.")
And because of that, other people were so impressed and even overwhelmed by the first Christians that they couldn't wait to join up! Compare that to today's churches, where most "converts" are simply Christians from other churches, or Christians who've been away from the faith and wandered back for a time.

I hear Christians all over the media assuring their audiences that people don't listen to them because these non-Christian hearts are too hard to hear the Good News. Truth is, most people today don't listen because they look at what's expressed in the lives and hearts of most Christians today and go, "Ugh! No, thanks!" That just wasn't a problem for the church that God set up in the 1st century A.D. They were people who had sincere Holy-Spirit-led hearts, loved each other as a big but close family, and truly walked their – and Jesus' – talk. Who could resist the real thing!

#4 – The gates of Hell have overcome what most call "church" (so that "church" just can't be God's church!)

Jesus said that the gates of hell would never overcome His church (Matthew 16:18). And many "churches" through the last nineteen centuries have quoted that to "prove" themselves God's real church simply because their version of the "church" is still around.

Yet the New Testament's description of the kinds of things people do when they are ruled by their sinful nature (instead of by the Holy Spirit in their hearts) very closely describes almost all the "churches" that overtook Christianity after the last apostle had died. And that just proves that these "churches" have been overcome!

Even secular histories (and modern newspapers) abound with disgusting and horrifying stories of churches, church leaders, and church members who participate in and even protect each other from the consequences of doing things like:
  • Making up new "rules" and then passing them off as "God's" rules (i.e., "tradition" and "new revelation" not backed up by the original Scripture languages and contexts
  • Rape, sexual contact and abuse of children, fornication, orgies, prostitution, and adultery
  • Cheating on God by mixing His worship with other or self worship
  • Using magic, astrology, consulting spirits, and so on
  • Hatred, jealousy, bickering, attacking others, raging, forming factions, murder, war, jealousy, ego-rages (and church "leaders" are too often among the worst at all these things)
  • "Climbing the ladder" to the "top" of what's not supposed to have a top (aren't you also tired of those who claim to be the lowest of "servants" yet run everything as if they were royalty?)
  • Remaking "church" into a religious "club" or clique of "in's" and "out's"
  • Greed and materialism, gross indulgence in sense pleasures and greed
  • Tranced-out "worship" that uses the same rhythm and repetition techniques seen in pagan circles (both modern and ancient)
  • Drug and alcohol use and abuse
  • Lying, slandering, and cheating others
  • Pretending to be God's people, but having anti-Christ hearts
  • Being religious for the goodies they get (being thought "righteous", being honored, getting a career out of it, etc)
  • Putting themselves and their wants above God, and then teaching people that that's how God means it do be
  • Making themselves completely ineligible for heaven, and then also convincing others to abandon any thought of even trying
  • Obsessing on nitpicky religious things and ignoring larger (and even easily understood) New Testament requirements and ideals
  • Pretending they are "above" the religious evil of their spiritual forefathers and foremothers, while practicing the same evils (or even worse!)
  • Persecuting those who speak and hold to God's real truth
  • "Converting" people to a level of religious evil even worse than what they themselves practiced
  • And more
(Examples for all the above pulled from: Matthew 6:7, 15:3, 15:6-9, 23:4-38; Mark 7:6-13; Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 2:8; and Revelation 22:15. How many more examples can you find by continuing through the rest of the New Testament?)

Jesus tells us that we will know the real spirit of something or someone by the fruit they produce. He also tells us that if we intend to do things His real way (and therefore get into heaven), we must always be vigilant against being deceived by things or ideas or people that appear to be godly and righteous, but which are, in fact, ungodly and unrighteous (see Matthew 7:13-23 for one example).

So just doing godly things – including big godly things like casting out demons, prophesying, and performing miracles – is not in and of itself doing the will of God, and it in no way proves someone is right with or doing the will of God!

Does this mean that people aren't Christians unless they are "perfect"?

Absolutely not!

But it does mean that people who are truly part of God's real church show it in ways even pagans can recognize. Filled with the Holy Spirit, God's real people strive and become more and more like Jesus – instead of like Judas, or Herod, or Pilate, or Caiphas, or...

So, what about finding and being part of a real godly fellowship?

There is no "right" church we are supposed to "go to". But there is a church all believers belong to, as soon as we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
  • No human being can kick us out of it.
  • No human being even gets to make up rules for it.
  • Everyone who belongs to it is an equal, and,
  • the real leaders are those who make sure everyone else gets the "1st Place" ribbon, while they themselves literally come in forgotten and last.
That church is God's church. The one He set up from the beginning to be part of and a visible demonstration of the New Covenant.
  • It requires no "priests". Just faith in Jesus Christ.
  • It requires no "holy days". Just love of God and enemy.
  • It requires no creeds or offerings or special religious objects or ceremonies. Just study of and adherence to God's Word (as He gave it to us).
  • And it requires no other human being – but you!
Yet real Christianity is not a religion that can be practiced in isolation from the world. It's also not one that's easily practiced by oneself. While it can be frustrating and painful to belong to a wrongly-led or bad church, it can be lonely and even brutal to go it completely alone.

Though we have to watch for hidden pitfalls finding them, we do need good Christian brothers and sisters to help keep us out of spiritual hot water (something the devil is constantly inviting us to get into!). And that's what the writer of Hebrews was talking about when he encouraged us to keep getting together (Hebrews 10:25): it's going to be tough to go it alone, so find, keep, and lovingly care for a good, REAL Christian fellowship.

And here are my thoughts on that:

Though as a Christian you do already belong to God's global church, and to the church grouping of all Holy-Spirit-filled believers in your geographical area, you would still greatly benefit from being part of a group small enough that no one gets "lost in the shuffle". That local group could be as small as just you and one other person (that still puts you together with Jesus! [Matthew 18:20]), or as large as you and 150 other people (many people-studiers point out that any group larger than 150 people quickly loses the ability to maintain stable social relationships and such).

As part of that group, you each need to be active in ministry to every other person in the group – in humble, loving, maturity, you each need to keep each other accountable to the Lord, and you each need to encourage and support each other in your Christian walk. Those with other giftings (like prophecy, healing, pastoring, and so on) are supposed to help everyone else get to ministry work – not just do all or even most of the ministry work themselves!

You also need to work together to make sure none of you has unmet needs (and we're talking real needs here. Wanting to sponge off of others, not wanting to work for one's living as everyone else has to, somehow exaggerating a "disability" to live off the government or someone's kind heart, or just not doing one's fair share are in no way real needs. In fact, they are sin we are not to cooperate with [2 Thessalonians 3:10])

You need to meet together on a regular basis that works for all of you, sharing a simple, prayerful communion meal, remembering and honoring Jesus and worshipping together (which can be as simple as singing along with a CD), enjoying each other's company with godly manners, and so on – all without letting the devil convince you you're not a "real" church because you're not pretending to be a "Christian" version of the Old Covenant temple.

You need to share the Good News – and the opportunity to join your group – with all you meet. Be an apostle, pastor, prophet, evangelist, and teacher to everyone you meet in every part of your daily life.

You need to study the Bible together – and that means together. In the original Greek, Bible passages (like Acts 20:7) most often translated as if they justified one "expert" person talking while everyone else just passively listened, actually describe more an organized group chat where people discussed and debated others' ideas. Studying together means that everyone is to be active in sharing and learning the Bible, bring what they have to the discussion.

Use sound Bible study techniques, and tolerate no insertion of pagan ideas and such into your understanding of God's Word (allowing them in is like cheating on your spouse – not good!). Keep in mind that even those with advanced seminary degrees can be (and often are) severely wrong in their understanding of scripture because they've simply memorized other people's mistakes. Allow discussion and debate to challenge your assumptions and discover new ways the Holy Spirit may be leading you to see things. But remember that while disagreement can be confusing, even frustrating, it should never be bitter or divisive. If it is, you're doing it wrong!

You need to actively protect yourselves and each other from false and neurotic apostles, pastors, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and others who will (and I guarantee at some point they will) try to overtake and even destroy your fellowship at some point. If you do well by the Lord, the devil will show up to try to mess it up. Spend a good deal of time teaching each other not only how the Bible describes true and false ministers, but also how the Bible says to deal with them!

What if I can't find a fellowship worth attending in my geographical area?

It can happen! In fact, as we get closer and closer to Jesus' return, it will continue to get harder and harder to find truly God-centered Christians no matter where we live or who we are, because more and more will be deceived into following the False Prophet and Antichrist. And that's just as true for Gay Christians as it is for straight Christians.

If it happens that you can't find a good fellowship where you are, then consider:
  • Try starting one yourself! Jesus said it takes only two people gathered in His Name for Him to be there with them (Matthew 18:20). Two! That's just you and one other person, getting together to talk about your spiritual lives, study the Bible together, share a communion meal, and so on.
  • You may be tempted to join a "so-so" or even bad church or fellowship. If you think you might meet sincere others like yourself there, then it might be wise and worthwhile. But be careful that your faith in the real Gospel isn't warped by your time there!
  • You must always remember that you do belong to the church – God's church – even if you can't find real fellowship in your current city. You are not alone, even if you are sometimes lonely!
  • Check out the internet for fellowship resources, but keep in mind that the net isn't real life. It should never be a substitute for a local fellowship, if you have access to one. The internet alone is just never going to be what God intends you to have, but it may be what helps fill you, in the meantime.
  • And finally, hold on to Jesus, no matter what! It isn't any church, fellowship, teacher, pastor, denomination, and so on that saves you – but only faith in Jesus Christ, and adherence to His Word!
God bless you!