Christian Era |OT| W.W.J.D

Tell us about it. What did you like? Dislike?
I liked the good feeling in the room, very positive vibe. On the other hand, I do like the actual church, even hymns, it was all quite informal. I'm sure that works more for other people, but as I say, I like the church. I also liked the leaflets we got with more modern interpretations of whats in the bible.
 
I liked the good feeling in the room, very positive vibe. On the other hand, I do like the actual church, even hymns, it was all quite informal. I'm sure that works more for other people, but as I say, I like the church. I also liked the leaflets we got with more modern interpretations of whats in the bible.
Definitely going to a more modern non denominational church had a lot with rebuilding my faith. I also don't mind hymns either, but being able to apply the Bible to my daily life
 
Hi everyone. I haven't posted in forever, but I need to tell you about yesterday!

So I got a text from a friend some time during the afternoon. We're friends, but not really best buddies or anything, so I was caught off guard when she asked to hang out. I was kind of leaning toward saying no, since I'd gotten off a busy day at work a couple hours ago and wasn't feeling up to much else. And then she said she wanted to talk about God, and I went oookay, be there in a sec.

This friend was in a complicated spot, both in her relationship with God and life in general. She's going through a pretty tumultuous time with her partner, for starters, on top of battling depression and other things. The problem was that she realized that, even if the relationship gets smoothed over, there was still this empty hole in her heart. As for God, she knew of and respected Him, but never really pursued much of a relationship with Him. When I got there, there wasn't much that we didn't talk about. Her life, my life, mutual friends. But eventually things quieted, we'd both gotten fresh refills on coffee, and she said, "So...about God."

And I realized that the most amazing thing was happening to me. I've literally never done anything like this before, but I wasn't at all nervous. The answer is obvious, of course: it wasn't only me who was there, but God who was working through me. We'd already been there for almost an hour and we must have been there for two more.

All that said, I was still scared. Like I said, I've never been on this side of the conversation before. But I let God guide me, and after some time her and I went our separate ways. She'd gotten most of her questions answered, and of course I told her she can text me anytime.

So after getting home, I got something to eat, then plopped down on the couch and texted back a mutual friend who asked how it went. I told her a bit about it, and eventually said something along the lines of, "I told her that at the end of the day, the most important thing is putting God first."

"how do you do that"

...oh.

The conversation suddenly wasn't about Friend A anymore.

So, once more with feeling, God led the way over the next two hours and helped me to answer all of Friend B's questions as best as I could. It's a remarkable feeling, helping someone grow closer to God, and I was truly blessed to have the chance to do it twice in one day. And just like last time, I wasn't really nervous at all, because I knew I wasn't alone. At the end of the conversation she said that it was a talk she's needed to have for a long time, and it made me so happy that I could be the one there for her.

And that's my little story. Definitely more productive than most of my Saturdays, haha.
 
Hi everyone. I haven't posted in forever, but I need to tell you about yesterday!

So I got a text from a friend some time during the afternoon. We're friends, but not really best buddies or anything, so I was caught off guard when she asked to hang out. I was kind of leaning toward saying no, since I'd gotten off a busy day at work a couple hours ago and wasn't feeling up to much else. And then she said she wanted to talk about God, and I went oookay, be there in a sec.

This friend was in a complicated spot, both in her relationship with God and life in general. She's going through a pretty tumultuous time with her partner, for starters, on top of battling depression and other things. The problem was that she realized that, even if the relationship gets smoothed over, there was still this empty hole in her heart. As for God, she knew of and respected Him, but never really pursued much of a relationship with Him. When I got there, there wasn't much that we didn't talk about. Her life, my life, mutual friends. But eventually things quieted, we'd both gotten fresh refills on coffee, and she said, "So...about God."

And I realized that the most amazing thing was happening to me. I've literally never done anything like this before, but I wasn't at all nervous. The answer is obvious, of course: it wasn't only me who was there, but God who was working through me. We'd already been there for almost an hour and we must have been there for two more.

All that said, I was still scared. Like I said, I've never been on this side of the conversation before. But I let God guide me, and after some time her and I went our separate ways. She'd gotten most of her questions answered, and of course I told her she can text me anytime.

So after getting home, I got something to eat, then plopped down on the couch and texted back a mutual friend who asked how it went. I told her a bit about it, and eventually said something along the lines of, "I told her that at the end of the day, the most important thing is putting God first."

"how do you do that"

...oh.

The conversation suddenly wasn't about Friend A anymore.

So, once more with feeling, God led the way over the next two hours and helped me to answer all of Friend B's questions as best as I could. It's a remarkable feeling, helping someone grow closer to God, and I was truly blessed to have the chance to do it twice in one day. And just like last time, I wasn't really nervous at all, because I knew I wasn't alone. At the end of the conversation she said that it was a talk she's needed to have for a long time, and it made me so happy that I could be the one there for her.

And that's my little story. Definitely more productive than most of my Saturdays, haha.
That's really cool! Helping people to understand their relationship with God is a blessing in itself, but even so God bless you for doing it. I'd be interested to hear the Cliffs Notes of what your reply to her question over text. It's a question that I think can be both very personal and broadly universal.
 
Hi everyone. I haven't posted in forever, but I need to tell you about yesterday!

So I got a text from a friend some time during the afternoon. We're friends, but not really best buddies or anything, so I was caught off guard when she asked to hang out. I was kind of leaning toward saying no, since I'd gotten off a busy day at work a couple hours ago and wasn't feeling up to much else. And then she said she wanted to talk about God, and I went oookay, be there in a sec.

This friend was in a complicated spot, both in her relationship with God and life in general. She's going through a pretty tumultuous time with her partner, for starters, on top of battling depression and other things. The problem was that she realized that, even if the relationship gets smoothed over, there was still this empty hole in her heart. As for God, she knew of and respected Him, but never really pursued much of a relationship with Him. When I got there, there wasn't much that we didn't talk about. Her life, my life, mutual friends. But eventually things quieted, we'd both gotten fresh refills on coffee, and she said, "So...about God."

And I realized that the most amazing thing was happening to me. I've literally never done anything like this before, but I wasn't at all nervous. The answer is obvious, of course: it wasn't only me who was there, but God who was working through me. We'd already been there for almost an hour and we must have been there for two more.

All that said, I was still scared. Like I said, I've never been on this side of the conversation before. But I let God guide me, and after some time her and I went our separate ways. She'd gotten most of her questions answered, and of course I told her she can text me anytime.

So after getting home, I got something to eat, then plopped down on the couch and texted back a mutual friend who asked how it went. I told her a bit about it, and eventually said something along the lines of, "I told her that at the end of the day, the most important thing is putting God first."

"how do you do that"

...oh.

The conversation suddenly wasn't about Friend A anymore.

So, once more with feeling, God led the way over the next two hours and helped me to answer all of Friend B's questions as best as I could. It's a remarkable feeling, helping someone grow closer to God, and I was truly blessed to have the chance to do it twice in one day. And just like last time, I wasn't really nervous at all, because I knew I wasn't alone. At the end of the conversation she said that it was a talk she's needed to have for a long time, and it made me so happy that I could be the one there for her.

And that's my little story. Definitely more productive than most of my Saturdays, haha.
Very inspiring story and God was definitely guiding you throughout that conversation. :)
 
Hi everyone. I haven't posted in forever, but I need to tell you about yesterday!

So I got a text from a friend some time during the afternoon. We're friends, but not really best buddies or anything, so I was caught off guard when she asked to hang out. I was kind of leaning toward saying no, since I'd gotten off a busy day at work a couple hours ago and wasn't feeling up to much else. And then she said she wanted to talk about God, and I went oookay, be there in a sec.

This friend was in a complicated spot, both in her relationship with God and life in general. She's going through a pretty tumultuous time with her partner, for starters, on top of battling depression and other things. The problem was that she realized that, even if the relationship gets smoothed over, there was still this empty hole in her heart. As for God, she knew of and respected Him, but never really pursued much of a relationship with Him. When I got there, there wasn't much that we didn't talk about. Her life, my life, mutual friends. But eventually things quieted, we'd both gotten fresh refills on coffee, and she said, "So...about God."

And I realized that the most amazing thing was happening to me. I've literally never done anything like this before, but I wasn't at all nervous. The answer is obvious, of course: it wasn't only me who was there, but God who was working through me. We'd already been there for almost an hour and we must have been there for two more.

All that said, I was still scared. Like I said, I've never been on this side of the conversation before. But I let God guide me, and after some time her and I went our separate ways. She'd gotten most of her questions answered, and of course I told her she can text me anytime.

So after getting home, I got something to eat, then plopped down on the couch and texted back a mutual friend who asked how it went. I told her a bit about it, and eventually said something along the lines of, "I told her that at the end of the day, the most important thing is putting God first."

"how do you do that"

...oh.

The conversation suddenly wasn't about Friend A anymore.

So, once more with feeling, God led the way over the next two hours and helped me to answer all of Friend B's questions as best as I could. It's a remarkable feeling, helping someone grow closer to God, and I was truly blessed to have the chance to do it twice in one day. And just like last time, I wasn't really nervous at all, because I knew I wasn't alone. At the end of the conversation she said that it was a talk she's needed to have for a long time, and it made me so happy that I could be the one there for her.

And that's my little story. Definitely more productive than most of my Saturdays, haha.
Like Mariolee said, very inspiring. Cool to hear stories like these!
 
That's really cool! Helping people to understand their relationship with God is a blessing in itself, but even so God bless you for doing it. I'd be interested to hear the Cliffs Notes of what your reply to her question over text. It's a question that I think can be both very personal and broadly universal.
(Sorry, life got crazy for me.) Do you mean the "how do you put God first" question? It's been a few days now, but I think I said something along the lines of making your first thought in any situation be about God, and not try to solve things on your own. It's unfortunately anecdotal, but specifically in my case, that was something markedly easy to do once I started to take my relationship with God more seriously.

If I could slip in another related story, something else happened last week that pretty much defined what God means to me. I'm being hit with a lot in life right now. I've made some mistakes in the past, and it took them this long to catch up to me. When I was at work one day, my supervisor came up to me and said, "I'm going away for a few weeks, and when I get back we'll do your evaluation." As someone with anxiety, this just about sent me into a spiral. With everything else going on, now I need to worry about an evaluation too? After he left, I sat down to get some water, my chest aching, my thoughts swirling. As worry began consuming me, I thought to myself, "I'm going to shut up and pray about it." I asked God to cast away my anxieties, and no later than I had finished praying did my chest stop aching and my mind calm. Even now I sit back and think, if my first instinct wasn't to turn to God, I still might be terrified over it all.

All that is mostly where I got that answer from, but I recognize that someone, especially anyone who hasn't fully trusted God before, might have difficulty with that, so I also told her to pray about it and see what God Himself tells her. Like you said, it's a very personal thing; everyone walks their own path with God, so what works for me might not work at all for her. I've poked her with the subject a couple of times since then, but she's been really busy, and it's possible she's just not quite ready to take the leap of faith yet. But I know that God is with her anyway, and that's plenty of comfort for me.
 
Martiniii332. Remember having dimr decently profound talks on such a faithless (forgive me) forum haha.
Oh wow of course I remember you! Glad to see you on here, especially as another Christian. I miss VGBA sometimes and stop by (some old members are still there), but for the most part I stay on Resetera.
 
(Sorry, life got crazy for me.) Do you mean the "how do you put God first" question? It's been a few days now, but I think I said something along the lines of making your first thought in any situation be about God, and not try to solve things on your own. It's unfortunately anecdotal, but specifically in my case, that was something markedly easy to do once I started to take my relationship with God more seriously.

If I could slip in another related story, something else happened last week that pretty much defined what God means to me. I'm being hit with a lot in life right now. I've made some mistakes in the past, and it took them this long to catch up to me. When I was at work one day, my supervisor came up to me and said, "I'm going away for a few weeks, and when I get back we'll do your evaluation." As someone with anxiety, this just about sent me into a spiral. With everything else going on, now I need to worry about an evaluation too? After he left, I sat down to get some water, my chest aching, my thoughts swirling. As worry began consuming me, I thought to myself, "I'm going to shut up and pray about it." I asked God to cast away my anxieties, and no later than I had finished praying did my chest stop aching and my mind calm. Even now I sit back and think, if my first instinct wasn't to turn to God, I still might be terrified over it all.

All that is mostly where I got that answer from, but I recognize that someone, especially anyone who hasn't fully trusted God before, might have difficulty with that, so I also told her to pray about it and see what God Himself tells her. Like you said, it's a very personal thing; everyone walks their own path with God, so what works for me might not work at all for her. I've poked her with the subject a couple of times since then, but she's been really busy, and it's possible she's just not quite ready to take the leap of faith yet. But I know that God is with her anyway, and that's plenty of comfort for me.
That is what I meant, yeah. And thank you for sharing that story! Even as someone with scrupulosity I've found that God Himself has always been a soothing presence in my life in some way, even in calls to repentance. I'd say you're correct in the approach that you've taken with your friend, but that your instinct about the nature of trust in God is very fundamental when it comes to your capacity to achieve this. It becomes easy to turn your first thought to God if you keep in mind that God is merciful and that God loves you-- trust has to be the foundation of that kind of behavior, because then it can become a deeper instinct. It sounds to me like, when you decided to take your relationship with God more seriously, you already had this nailed down-- perhaps, with your friend, helping her to get to this point is important?

I've been reading the Epistle to the Romans lately, and it strikes me how as Christians our relationship to God is defined significantly by an emphasis towards joy-- rejoicing in God and in each other is important to who we are. Even while Romans is (at least so far) a work primarily concerning itself with defining a Christian's relationship to the law and to sin and how it's different to the past, it takes great pains to emphasize the positive aspects of our relationship with God as what provides us a measure of distinction compared to what came before. The nature of salvation through grace rather than works, as a concept, reinforces this. It's not through our own efforts but through God and His kindness to us that we partake of and maintain a connection to Him. The concept of righteous action, in Christian thought, is connected deeply to this subject-- the concept of being dead to sin and alive for God being a chief example of this shift. Even the apostles themselves all go through this-- it's not until the resurrection and their reconciliation to Christ that they become the saintly martyrs that are resolute in their devotion to the Lord. We don't succeed of our own power but by the grace of God-- and acknowledgement of this grace, and this mercy, is crucial to growth in our own relationship with God. So if your friend has some difficulties, maybe the place to fix them is to start with trust. Just felt like I should mention these things.
 
That is what I meant, yeah. And thank you for sharing that story! Even as someone with scrupulosity I've found that God Himself has always been a soothing presence in my life in some way, even in calls to repentance. I'd say you're correct in the approach that you've taken with your friend, but that your instinct about the nature of trust in God is very fundamental when it comes to your capacity to achieve this. It becomes easy to turn your first thought to God if you keep in mind that God is merciful and that God loves you-- trust has to be the foundation of that kind of behavior, because then it can become a deeper instinct. It sounds to me like, when you decided to take your relationship with God more seriously, you already had this nailed down-- perhaps, with your friend, helping her to get to this point is important?

I've been reading the Epistle to the Romans lately, and it strikes me how as Christians our relationship to God is defined significantly by an emphasis towards joy-- rejoicing in God and in each other is important to who we are. Even while Romans is (at least so far) a work primarily concerning itself with defining a Christian's relationship to the law and to sin and how it's different to the past, it takes great pains to emphasize the positive aspects of our relationship with God as what provides us a measure of distinction compared to what came before. The nature of salvation through grace rather than works, as a concept, reinforces this. It's not through our own efforts but through God and His kindness to us that we partake of and maintain a connection to Him. The concept of righteous action, in Christian thought, is connected deeply to this subject-- the concept of being dead to sin and alive for God being a chief example of this shift. Even the apostles themselves all go through this-- it's not until the resurrection and their reconciliation to Christ that they become the saintly martyrs that are resolute in their devotion to the Lord. We don't succeed of our own power but by the grace of God-- and acknowledgement of this grace, and this mercy, is crucial to growth in our own relationship with God. So if your friend has some difficulties, maybe the place to fix them is to start with trust. Just felt like I should mention these things.
That last paragraph was a nice reading, im in somewhat a bad spot these days and in troubling times its kinda easy to forget things like this. Reading this also made me remember about the books i read of christians who faced really hard challenges, like being years in prison away from their familys because of their faith, among other things. In all these books these different christians always reported the same thing: that they never were miserable, that no matter how hard or desparate things got, they were still happy and because of their relationship with God.

So uh thanks for making me remember these things
 
That last paragraph was a nice reading, im in somewhat a bad spot these days and in troubling times its kinda easy to forget things like this. Reading this also made me remember about the books i read of christians who faced really hard challenges, like being years in prison away from their familys because of their faith, among other things. In all these books these different christians always reported the same thing: that they never were miserable, that no matter how hard or desparate things got, they were still happy and because of their relationship with God.

So uh thanks for making me remember these things
I'm glad to hear this-- I'm grateful to God that something good came of my post. I'll be praying for things to get better for you-- don't lose hope! It's just like Romans says (5:3-5):

"Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
 
I'm glad to hear this-- I'm grateful to God that something good came of my post. I'll be praying for things to get better for you-- don't lose hope! It's just like Romans says (5:3-5):

"Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
Thanks for the prayers, this is another great passage from the bible! I really need to read the bible more.
 
How does the rest of Christian-ERA handle dating people who are agnostic? Or just dating in general?

I know that's a loaded question. The pre-marital sex thing has had me avoid dating for basically my entire adult life. But I think I met someone I really like who doesn't necessarily share those values. what do
 
How does the rest of Christian-ERA handle dating people who are agnostic? Or just dating in general?

I know that's a loaded question. The pre-marital sex thing has had me avoid dating for basically my entire adult life. But I think I met someone I really like who doesn't necessarily share those values. what do
Well, dating doesn't typically mean immediate sex. First, ascertain that you have the internal capacity to JAHO-- just ask her out. If you don't date much, you want to be sure that you can ask her out just to dinner or a movie or something. Step two is, after a couple of dates, if you're really compatible, ask her if that's something she'd be willing to hold off on. Honestly, agnosticism doesn't even sound like much of a problem. If it were atheism, I could see that causing problems in a relationship-- but just agnosticism? Nah, shouldn't be too big a deal. I've heard of a pretty broad range of religious relationships. Just agnosticism shouldn't be too hard.

Having rather unconventional personal relationships I'm not sure how I feel about myself, I can't give you much advice past that.
 
Well, dating doesn't typically mean immediate sex. First, ascertain that you have the internal capacity to JAHO-- just ask her out. If you don't date much, you want to be sure that you can ask her out just to dinner or a movie or something. Step two is, after a couple of dates, if you're really compatible, ask her if that's something she'd be willing to hold off on. Honestly, agnosticism doesn't even sound like much of a problem. If it were atheism, I could see that causing problems in a relationship-- but just agnosticism? Nah, shouldn't be too big a deal. I've heard of a pretty broad range of religious relationships. Just agnosticism shouldn't be too hard.

Having rather unconventional personal relationships I'm not sure how I feel about myself, I can't give you much advice past that.
Well obviously lol. I've just tended to avoid it because I was afraid of it possibly ever getting to that point.

Thanks for the advice, though. Good counsel as always.
 
How does the rest of Christian-ERA handle dating people who are agnostic? Or just dating in general?

I know that's a loaded question. The pre-marital sex thing has had me avoid dating for basically my entire adult life. But I think I met someone I really like who doesn't necessarily share those values. what do
I would go for it, for the reasons Deffers already mentioned above. Especially just going on a few dates first, you don't have to be in a relationship really yet. At least with agnosticism the partner is most likely more open minded to the idea there may be a god and thus understand your world views more (not to say that atheists can't, obviously).
 
Romans 14:14 is giving me a lot to think about. Romans 14 in general. Enough so that's all I really feel qualified to say right now.
Reading over it right now, and I like the message (if I understood it correctly) not to just our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially if it's because their faith is "weaker" than ours.

I still have insecurities about my faith, so personally I feel like I'm in the latter category haha
 
Reading over it right now, and I like the message (if I understood it correctly) not to just our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially if it's because their faith is "weaker" than ours.

I still have insecurities about my faith, so personally I feel like I'm in the latter category haha
Same, man. Same. But I think it also suggests the possibility that there are multiple ways to serve Christ. The person who does not eat, doesn't eat and thanks God-- the person who eats, eats and thanks God. The person who holds one day holy holds it holy to God, and the one who holds all days alike in holiness does so to God.

I tend to see it as a reminder to maybe consider what's good for you as well as in the broader scheme of life in Christ-- not just to regard your own faith as weak but as your own and to hold that faith to yourself. It's interesting to note that it characterizes dietary restrictions as weakness in faith rather than the other way around, if I understand correctly.
 
I dont know which thread it is, but this unfortunately is pretty common here, the off-topic forum in general is pretty toxic in my opnion.
I think it's the one about the devil? I decided to do a writeup on views of the devil from Judaism and Christianity onward to have that thread be something more substantial than some random bashing and the usual Question of Evil stuff that religion arguments typically boil down to.

Sadly, my historical knowledge feels a tad spotty and ad-hoc w/r/t the devil becoming more prominent during the Middle Ages but as near as I can tell, that's the case broadly speaking? I tried to bring in some of the Summa Theologica, but as I've heard it told me the devil didn't become a larger issue until later. While earlier saints certainly were preoccupied with battles against demons, they would often describe a battle with something like the demon of acedia rather than specifically the adversary, or so to my recollection. You look at something like the story of St. Christopher and "the devil" is just kind of some bandit calling himself that-- and churches named after him didn't start springing up until the 7th century. Broader historical takes I've heard tend to attribute that part of theology to the Middle Ages, so I went with that in my closing paragraph-- and of course "devil made me do it" is mostly just a modern invention when and where it actually happens.
 
And just like clockwork, another anti-Christian thread pops-up on ERA. I doubt there's another forum proliferated with so many hypocrites.
Yeah right now I'm not in a good place mentally right now to argue (personally dealing with issues) and it takes a lot of energy to take on so many different users, all at different spectrums of anger and dislike, at the same time when there feels like there's only one of me. Though its great that there are people like Deffers to drop knowledge too. I know there are Jews, Muslims, Christians, etc. that are on here but a lot of them aren't as into the apologetics side of it as we have to be to properly debate here and unfortunately it means having to back off for our own sanity.
 
I would like to thank Deffers for reaching out and inviting me to check this community out!

Hi fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a little weird for me because I don't really think of ResetEra as a place to go for Christian Fellowship at all. From way back on NeoGAF, my policy was always to talk about religion if I need to speak up on a matter, but otherwise leave it out of a gaming forum because most members tend to be proud Atheists who are still at the stage where they love picking fights with anyone religious any it wasn't something I wanted to have to deal with. I'm also a pretty private person unless people get to know me more, but I've been working on that as I get older to not let it hold me back in sharing stuff that could help others and in the end society benefits if everyone can learn something from each other.

I'm Roman Catholic, was born into a Catholic family, and went through all the stuff most people who grew up in a Christian (especially Catholics!) household would probably relate to - church is a once a week "family" thing which we would rather spend doing something else, Sunday school/Catechism classes are a bore, being self-conscious of being "religious" in front of non-religious friends as teenagers (saying grace before meals, having to go to church, etc), going through a phase of seeking out edgy "anti-religious" entertainment because it feels taboo and unique, etc.

After Confirmation I stopped going to church. I didn't feel I needed my parents to tell me what to do anymore, and God was just a boring outdated idea that holds me back from living my life. But that's the funny thing about faith - I think if you ever had it once, it never really goes away, and not engaging with it is just our way of protesting and running away from something we don't understand fully. I strongly believe that cradle Catholics in particular growing up in a highly and increasingly secular world today are at a huge disadvantage in regards to how we understand our faith and our personal relationship with Jesus. Parents and the church at large take for granted that simply bring children to mass and forcing them to go for Catechism classes is enough to ease them into the faith, but as kids we lack the maturity to fully appreciate what it means to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We only see the rites and the process, and it becomes culture and tradition which we associate with family and obligations, rather than a personal choice to be with God. I always sort of envy friends of mine who are converted in adulthood, because they have a stronger foundation in their faith, having formed it at a point in their lives where they could appreciate and understand it best. I'm glad I found my way back to the church and even now I continue to work on my journey of faith. While I've had a good relationship with Christ, in the past year or so I've felt I wasn't really active in church even though my parents are, and I've been improving that. My sister stopped going to church entirely, much like I did at her age (she's 10 years younger), and she claims she doesn't believe in "that stuff" anymore. So I'm praying for her, but I'm not the pushy sort of brother, and she's her own person. We get along pretty well and I have to respect that it's a decision she has to make herself if God touches her at some point.

Yeah so that's a bunch of stuff I would generally never have shared online before, especially in a forum like this, but I'm certainly not embarrassed or ashamed of my faith, so why not share? I will say one thing though - I'm generally not a fan of community threads whining about other threads being made. I think it's kinda unbecoming when a sub-community sees other threads as something to complain about in a safe space without doing anything about it. If I think that a thread is problematic at the core, I would report it. Otherwise if it's a bad opinion that rubs me the wrong way, it seems helpful to engage directly in good faith, simply because clearing things up might help someone understand better. If it's a straight up troll or bait thread, I just ignore those. Lol. I totally understand there being resentment for how people talk about religion online, and I feel it myself, but channeling negative energy never led to anything good in my experience. :)
 
Thank you so much for joining us duckroll. I saw you all the time as a mod I believe on the old site and had no idea you were a Christian.

Absolutely agree on not complaining about other threads in this one just because that kind of toxic attitude can fester. However, as I posted above I can definitely understand that feeling of being tired of being "attacked" all the time.
 
Welcome, duckroll! I'm gonna say that I broadly agree with these sentiments-- it's not easy to not feel attacked with the way some people on ERA and the Internet at large talk about faith, and there's always people who are very active in that dislike, but it's still not good to hold those feelings against them. After all, if we believe in what we say we do, we hope they'll find their own connection with God some day, right? It's difficult not to be slighted, but oddly at the same time I feel like when you talk to most people one-on-one their true feelings for believers start to show and they tend to be more respectful. You just gotta stick to it.

On that topic, and especially since we're talking about Catholicism, I gotta say, the Summa Theologica raises some interesting ideas about the initial biblical fall. Aquinas is a pretty clear writer, even across translations, and his thoughts on the angelic Fall-- regardless of how or why or even if you believe it happened-- are fascinating to read about. And a cause of self-reflection, in my case. Aquinas argues that Satan didn't want to become God, since he'd know that's impossible-- following his logic, angels are impossible of the sort of self-deception that doesn't permit you to see that God can be no other than Himself and that seeking to become God is tantamount to seeking to destroy yourself even if it were possible. So wanting to take the place of God would be impossible and was recognized as such. What he wanted to do was to be as God-- to be like God in some way that was contrary to his nature. The examples given are creation by his own power, trying to attain final beatitude on his own, or commanding authority such as can only be given to God. I don't know why yet, but reading that actually struck a chord with me. I feel like in some way I've been guilty of all three things in my life at some point in the past-- trying to make my own thing apart from God, trying to be a good person apart from God, and trying to be things to people that no person really should be. The sin of the author of all sins was pride, and pride itself authors all sin. After I went through these phases of trying to do these things on my own, I'd ask for forgiveness-- but seeing them all connected together, I guess, gave me pause to see... I dunno. The depth of it? The reality of it? The connective tissue between them? Something like that. I'm grateful that I have repentance and I think of repentance as something you're given and not wholly something that you do of your own power. I think sometimes I try to think of these big Biblical sins as things that, because of their enormity and their textual status are far from us and beyond us. Whether in the fall of angels or the fall of men or the fall of Israel as a nation and the death of the One that preceded that fall. But sin, in its extremes, really only has its root in very simple impulses that almost seem innocuous... or easy to overlook as foibles, maybe, when they start.

I'm not sure I wholly agree with Aquinas yet on the fall, since I have my own theory on what it means if it happened (though it is ultimately similar to the point you could argue it is an expansion), but his writings did give me a sense of reflection and I'm grateful to God that I read them, particularly since initially I just read them to double-check what I thought I knew about Thomism (turns out I was wrong on my recollections!). So I thought I'd share because it felt like the right thing to do.
 
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Aquinas is a super deep thinker and I really should read more of his writings before going into any sort of discussion on his perspective on the Biblical fall but I have to say that for a lot of this stuff that we know is beyond our ability to really comprehend on a human level (happened way before man, not comparable to our material world, etc), it's not really about agreeing with philosophical theology but rather allowing thoughts to guide or challenge our own thinking and reflection. How do we see God and his relationship with man, the angels, and what is the nature of divinity in general beyond this world? We won't know for certain as long as we are here. But that doesn't mean we should not think about it and consider how it relates to our belief system and how we live our lives. The fallacy of wanting to see the understanding of mysteries as a "right" or "wrong" thing is a very human condition, but one that I think we should avoid. Instead it is much better to understand why people have different viewpoints on an issue and what that means for them, and then considering what it means to us and then forming our own conclusions on how to relate to those mysteries. That also helps build individuality in our thought process, and in turn makes it more valuable when we share with others and exchange ideas on the issue.
 
One of the biggest problems I come across when it comes to people leaving the church or the faith in its entirety is group pressure from the church society (soft-cult creation, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, to give a more extreme example) and people not being able to get answers to the questions or needs they have.

I think studying the Bible and trying to understand what typological meaning parables, objects, and people have. Because that's how God expresses His greatness. I don't go to church. I only go to a group where one preacher explains the Bible to us, referencing and reading through all kinds of verses, and even looking up the Hebrew and Greek words used in the original text and seeing how those words are used elsewhere in the Bible. Because we're so focused on the Word itself, a lot of people in our group (which is basically a collection of a lot of small studying groups across the country) left the churches from their youth, because they didn't feel satisfied with the intellectual level of those gatherings. Of course it's not all about knowledge, and I personally think sing-and-praise meetings are important as well, but whenever someone comes to me and talk about the weakness in their faith (usually from outside my own church/group), the first thing I do is asking about what they're missing in their life of faith, read all kinds of chapters in the Bible and talk about them. It's really difficult, but it can be very rewarding.

I don't know how hot this topic is on a global scale, but here in Western Europe, a lot of people left the Roman Catholic church because of sexual harassment cases from the last 70 or so years. To me, it's clear that these people leave because they joined the club mostly for the feel-good atmosphere or not necessarily for their in-depth faith in who God is and He has to say to them. Those people left because of the organisation itself, not because of the reason why the organisation exists. I think that's actually pretty worrying. How much Biblical knowledge does the average Christian have? And how eager are they to learn more about who God actually is, what he does, why he does things, why "he doesn't show up", etc.

Even without knowledge, faith can be (and is!) real. But in certain groups/churches, I think the subsistence and authority(!) of the church/group itself is more important than the Bible. I have no idea how things are in America, but the things I listed above apply on a very substantial part of the Christians in my country. A lot of people still more-or-less follow Moses' Law and a mix of judaistic law and self-made law on top of that. Jehovah's Witnesses, Reformed Congregation, to name a few. The women always wear a hat and a skirt; everyone is always in black; don't you dare to watch TV or clean your car on Sunday. Etcetera, etcetera. The institute has become more important for those people than the Bible itself.

There are still a lot of people who aren't like that of course, but in the eyes of the atheïsts, Christians are those boring old people who are always in black. I'm part of a Christian student association in the city and recently, after a formal meeting of meetings, we planned a party afterwards in the same building, hired a DJ duo for it, and they had the completely wrong idea of who we were and what kind of party he wanted to throw. They were shocked when they found out we were actually like the rest of the students in the city, especially when the entire room went crazy when the guy started playing a requested song of hardstyle, which is a genre of electronic dance music that is totally not-done in other areas of Christianity here in the country. It's pretty upsetting to see tbh.
 
Something I've been dealing with lately is death. It's so wild to me that if there is no afterlife we'll never truly know because we'll be in oblivion, which almost seems unfair. I used to have faith in such, but as a medical student currently who sees death everyday in textbooks and hospitals I am having a hard time of separating the self and the brain. Currently I am still a Christian but I suppose I just always lower my expectations in life and am pleasantly surprised. This has now infected my worldview of an afterlife.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Download "The Word For Today" if you haven't already done so. It's awesome.
Will def check it out!
 
I don't know how hot this topic is on a global scale, but here in Western Europe, a lot of people left the Roman Catholic church because of sexual harassment cases from the last 70 or so years. To me, it's clear that these people leave because they joined the club mostly for the feel-good atmosphere or not necessarily for their in-depth faith in who God is and He has to say to them. Those people left because of the organisation itself, not because of the reason why the organisation exists. I think that's actually pretty worrying. How much Biblical knowledge does the average Christian have? And how eager are they to learn more about who God actually is, what he does, why he does things, why "he doesn't show up", etc.
I'd argue this might not be fair to people. If all your life, you've received your instruction from God from a handful of authorities, and the presence and grace of God is said to be transforming, what might the resulting reaction be when you discover this authority has been tainted from the beginning? I think it's kind of reductive to say that finding out the people responsible for teaching you about God were actually either abusing children or enabling abuse is leaving because the feel-good atmosphere isn't there anymore. A lot of people leave and don't have their faith in God shaken. I believe in God-- not so much Catholicism or Catholic liturgy, but certainly the Gospels. Something had to go wrong somewhere. I wouldn't say it's wrong to walk away from the church environment under those conditions, and I don't begrudge people then left wondering-- who should I go to? Who can I trust? Who has the truth, and who's merely pretending? You might characterize it as a lack of eagerness, but perhaps a lack of knowing where to start is more accurate. I forget-- do you do stuff with numerology and the like in your Bible study? I can kinda sympathize-- I went through some rabbinical sources contemporaneous with the Second Temple era to try and understand mystical movements from the time.

Something I've been dealing with lately is death. It's so wild to me that if there is no afterlife we'll never truly know because we'll be in oblivion, which almost seems unfair. I used to have faith in such, but as a medical student currently who sees death everyday in textbooks and hospitals I am having a hard time of separating the self and the brain. Currently I am still a Christian but I suppose I just always lower my expectations in life and am pleasantly surprised. This has now infected my worldview of an afterlife.

Anyone have any thoughts?
Oddly, I kinda had similar concerns, but a Buddhist concept, and connecting it to similar concepts in Christian theology, helped me out. It's the concept of anatta-- translated as some variant of no-self, or no-soul. The latter is a bit misleading, since it's the idea that there is no soul-- but no soul in the sense that was current in Hindu religion (which is sort of this higher, perfect, blissful self that just kind of exists at all times across time-- it's weird and New Agey conceptions of the true self are the closest western approximation you'll find). The concept can be better explained longform: you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not your perceptions, and you are not your mental constructs. Oddly, Christian writers have sometimes discussed similar things. A favorite quote of CS Lewis goes like this "You don't have a soul, you are a soul. What you have is a body." This is a fascinating way of thinking about things, but as a medical student you might immediately notice a corollary left unstated. If what you have is a body and what you are is a soul, then what you have is a brain and what you are is a soul as well. It's easy for people to stop identifying with their bodies as their selves on the surface. But once we get to the interface between the body and the mind, that meaty heuristic computer we call a brain, it gets weird. Because an understanding of neurology and of the lives of people like Phineas Gage certainly lead us to the initial conclusion that inasmuch as our "selves" have a place in this world, it is in the brain. But what we think of as an immortal soul. That's part of what anatta itself points out by arguing that we are not our minds. They are impermanent, mutable, and prone to damage. Jesus Christ Himself points out that men can destroy the body-- but God alone can destroy the soul. So what is the soul? It's not our perceptions either. If you went blind you wouldn't have less of a soul. But your world is shaped by the perceptions you receive. You perceive reality a certain way, and your personality is in part based on the perceptions and impressions you've received throughout your long life. Change that frame of perception and reference and you, too, will naturally change with them. And our concepts, shaped by language and experience and physical plus emotional perceptions, give us a theory of the world and of the mind that we pattern ourselves off of. Through this we produce a series of tastes, of values, and an implicit but flawed understanding of who we are-- a conception of self. Recognizing that what God made must predate (or supercede, at least) all of these shallow impressions we are left asking the question of what the soul truly is. Of what this immortal and enduring thing which God made and God will judge actually is. It helps us to re-evaluate what endures after death-- and the concept serves a similar function in its own original religion. And I can't exactly tell you what endures after death. One of the conclusions that I've reached is that, in my opinion, it is a consequence of this ineffable thing that the world isn't deterministic. Choice is a function of this thing which is not self-- otherwise, what's the point? Typically, actually realizing that the self as we conceive of it is false leads to the state of ego death-- and it's a concept that comes up not just in Buddhism, but in Christian mysticism as well. Some describe it as a sort of positive death of the soul-- St. Theresa of Avila, if I recall correctly, uses similar language. And I could totally get that. When all these things we think we are fall away, that's when we find closeness to God coming more naturally. I guess if you wanted a trite way for me to condense my thoughts about the self, the afterlife, and death, it'd be this-- it's pretty easy to conceive of life after the death of the body once you've lived beyond the death of the self.

If you'd like to read up on a Christian writer who took the concept of no-self and applied it to Christian mysticism, I would recommend the late Bernadette Roberts. I'll likely always remember her since I found out who she was within hours of her death. She puts forth a lot of unconventional conceptions of Christ as well, but for many years her specific and particular focus was on the relationship of no-self to Christianity. Some of the more classic mystical writings describe similar moments of ego death, though-- and if you can find some time to pursue that experience, I'd recommend it. It's not exactly easy to attain, though, for a Christian or a Buddhist or... anybody really. Some atheists like to make it central to their own doctrine, leaning hard on the no-soul aspect-- but I'm not certain they get it or got it.

Anyways... that was wild. Hope it helped.
 
Wow thank you so much Deffer that's really interesting. So you're saying that what we typically think of the soul is actually defining the self and that the soul is something deeper than that that continues after we die?

I suppose it's just because I have been suffering from a lot of death anxiety lately and have become an entirely different and more depressed person, and so I've been contemplating all of this for a while now.
 
I'd argue this might not be fair to people. If all your life, you've received your instruction from God from a handful of authorities, and the presence and grace of God is said to be transforming, what might the resulting reaction be when you discover this authority has been tainted from the beginning? I think it's kind of reductive to say that finding out the people responsible for teaching you about God were actually either abusing children or enabling abuse is leaving because the feel-good atmosphere isn't there anymore. A lot of people leave and don't have their faith in God shaken. I believe in God-- not so much Catholicism or Catholic liturgy, but certainly the Gospels. Something had to go wrong somewhere. I wouldn't say it's wrong to walk away from the church environment under those conditions, and I don't begrudge people then left wondering-- who should I go to? Who can I trust? Who has the truth, and who's merely pretending? You might characterize it as a lack of eagerness, but perhaps a lack of knowing where to start is more accurate. I forget-- do you do stuff with numerology and the like in your Bible study? I can kinda sympathize-- I went through some rabbinical sources contemporaneous with the Second Temple era to try and understand mystical movements from the time.
It's a hard situation of course. I don't mean that anyone who leaves "the"/a church is bad, or whatsoever. In fact, I'm not part of a church myself, in the traditional way. Your point of tainted authority is exactly my problem: a lot of groups have created their own traditions and rules that I personally feel only cover the essence of the Bible. God is consistent; the Bible does not contradict itself; which means its authority can't be tainted. The fundamentals of these uproars lie outside God's Words. That's so frustrating to me.

I'm glad that only a small amount of the 'church leavers' are actually leaving the faith. I hope they'll find a new home, and find new incentive to research what God has said. Of course "a lack of knowing where to start" can be a big problem, but there's so many groups to only preach in public, there's so many resources online, so many message boards where people talk about faith, so I hope and think that they'll find a new place if they want to.

As for the Bible studies I attend, yes, there is some numerology in there, but I think it's less than 20% of all time spend. It's just something we add to the mix when we're researching texts and certain words come up. It's not something we specifically study.
 
Wow thank you so much Deffer that's really interesting. So you're saying that what we typically think of the soul is actually defining the self and that the soul is something deeper than that that continues after we die?

I suppose it's just because I have been suffering from a lot of death anxiety lately and have become an entirely different and more depressed person, and so I've been contemplating all of this for a while now.
That's about what I'm going for, yes. What we think of as the soul is probably different from the true and enduring component that's at the heart of a personal journey with God. Death anxiety is hardly uncommon to our species either-- it's a frightening reality that every fiber of our flesh strives to escape while simultaneously being something we can't escape-- neither the evidence of it nor our personal experience. All of us die somehow, even if it's just the body. So you shouldn't feel bad about having it, but you should reflect on your life and those things which you consider you-- and try to break through to the reality of it.

It's a hard situation of course. I don't mean that anyone who leaves "the"/a church is bad, or whatsoever. In fact, I'm not part of a church myself, in the traditional way. Your point of tainted authority is exactly my problem: a lot of groups have created their own traditions and rules that I personally feel only cover the essence of the Bible. God is consistent; the Bible does not contradict itself; which means its authority can't be tainted. The fundamentals of these uproars lie outside God's Words. That's so frustrating to me.

I'm glad that only a small amount of the 'church leavers' are actually leaving the faith. I hope they'll find a new home, and find new incentive to research what God has said. Of course "a lack of knowing where to start" can be a big problem, but there's so many groups to only preach in public, there's so many resources online, so many message boards where people talk about faith, so I hope and think that they'll find a new place if they want to.

As for the Bible studies I attend, yes, there is some numerology in there, but I think it's less than 20% of all time spend. It's just something we add to the mix when we're researching texts and certain words come up. It's not something we specifically study.
I don't necessarily disagree-- the main issue is that it's hard to know who's pushing an agenda with regards to the word of the Most High-- particularly when it comes to, say, somewhere in the US where religious affiliation is so politically pointed and basically everywhere you look there's someone out there trying to push an agenda through faith organizations. At least, in my mind, Scripture gives me hope. In the Gospel of John the Good Lord says that He won't lose even one of those who was entrusted to Him (except for Judas, of course, and this for the fulfillment of the Scriptures). Maybe that only counts for the original Apostles, but it's my hope that maybe that holds true to this day. Maybe the flaws and sins of man can drive people away from one institution or another, but I'm confident that God can't be denied those He wishes to call His own so easily. Someday, somehow, I hope they'll all come home-- whatever that home may be represented by on this Earth.
 
In the Gospel of John the Good Lord says that He won't lose even one of those who was entrusted to Him (except for Judas, of course, and this for the fulfillment of the Scriptures). Maybe that only counts for the original Apostles, but it's my hope that maybe that holds true to this day. Maybe the flaws and sins of man can drive people away from one institution or another, but I'm confident that God can't be denied those He wishes to call His own so easily. Someday, somehow, I hope they'll all come home-- whatever that home may be represented by on this Earth
John 10
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

Everyone who is a sheep of Christ (verse 27) will be given eternal life (verse 28), and noone who has chosen to become a sheep of Christ will lose that eternal life ("neither shall any[one] pluck them out of my hand.").
But who is qualified a sheep? Well, that's everyone who believes in Him. Verse 26 points out that believing in Him is the key identifier for His sheep. Everyone who believes is a sheep of Him; everyone who does not is not. Trust/Belief/Faith in Him is key.

I don't see why that can only be applied on the apostles. I'm confident that it holds true for everyone between His rise from the dead and the second coming, when the Ecclesia (translated to church in a lot of English translations, unfortunately) is completed. Whether they're part of an 'official' church or not doesn't matter. Internal, personal faith is key.
 
Regarding the topic of church leavers, I want to share something I have been discussing with church mates about over the weekend. There was a pretty solid sermon in a local parish that addressed this issue.

A preamble: Here in Singapore the issue of the decriminalization of homosexual intercourse is a hot talking point again, and it is also an issue where I disagree with the ultimate stand of the church on because I feel strongly for the separation of Church and State, and having prayed about it I continue to feel more strongly about basic human dignity, love, and understanding, than ideological doctrine about protecting some vague "slippery slope".

So the sermon itself wasn't about pro or anti stands about the law itself, but rather that the priest shared how parents have approached him about their children leaving the church over the church's stance on such issues, and how to address that. The powerful part of his message was that ultimately it is not exactly a bad thing if someone decides to leave the church over something they feel strongly over in a moral sense. Because it means they care. Young people caring and feeling strongly about something means they are thinking. If they are thinking and caring about something, it's a positive because apathy is so much worse. And he highlighted that someone leaving the church over a moral issue does not mean they stop believing in God. It simply means they cannot reconcile their moral compass with the church's. And that means it is something that can be bridged if there is better understanding on both sides and more dialogue. It is important to engage, and failure to reach an understanding is what separates people within a community. I don't necessarily agree with every single point in the sermon, but the main intent was so positive and resonated so much with me that in the next month I hope to find time to seek him out to have a more personal discussion about these issues. The division between communities and even between churches (Catholics and Protestants, various denominations, etc) is something I have been reflecting very strongly on lately and I feel God has been speaking to be on these issues and pointing me in a direction where I need to explore how I can help in regards to this in my local communities.

I hope that this is useful for anyone thinking about these issues. If anyone is interested in the sermon in question, shoot me a PM and I'll share the Youtube video. I'm not going to link something like that on ResetEra just in case. Haha. ^^;
 
That's about what I'm going for, yes. What we think of as the soul is probably different from the true and enduring component that's at the heart of a personal journey with God. Death anxiety is hardly uncommon to our species either-- it's a frightening reality that every fiber of our flesh strives to escape while simultaneously being something we can't escape-- neither the evidence of it nor our personal experience. All of us die somehow, even if it's just the body. So you shouldn't feel bad about having it, but you should reflect on your life and those things which you consider you-- and try to break through to the reality of it.



I don't necessarily disagree-- the main issue is that it's hard to know who's pushing an agenda with regards to the word of the Most High-- particularly when it comes to, say, somewhere in the US where religious affiliation is so politically pointed and basically everywhere you look there's someone out there trying to push an agenda through faith organizations. At least, in my mind, Scripture gives me hope. In the Gospel of John the Good Lord says that He won't lose even one of those who was entrusted to Him (except for Judas, of course, and this for the fulfillment of the Scriptures). Maybe that only counts for the original Apostles, but it's my hope that maybe that holds true to this day. Maybe the flaws and sins of man can drive people away from one institution or another, but I'm confident that God can't be denied those He wishes to call His own so easily. Someday, somehow, I hope they'll all come home-- whatever that home may be represented by on this Earth.
Maybe we dont have a "home" in this earth, Jesus himself said so if i remember correctly. Paul also mentions that this world belongs to evil. I believe that even if someone left a earthly church but believed and stayed true to Christ teachings he will have a home with Him in heaven.

John 10
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

Everyone who is a sheep of Christ (verse 27) will be given eternal life (verse 28), and noone who has chosen to become a sheep of Christ will lose that eternal life ("neither shall any[one] pluck them out of my hand.").
But who is qualified a sheep? Well, that's everyone who believes in Him. Verse 26 points out that believing in Him is the key identifier for His sheep. Everyone who believes is a sheep of Him; everyone who does not is not. Trust/Belief/Faith in Him is key.

I don't see why that can only be applied on the apostles. I'm confident that it holds true for everyone between His rise from the dead and the second coming, when the Ecclesia (translated to church in a lot of English translations, unfortunately) is completed. Whether they're part of an 'official' church or not doesn't matter. Internal, personal faith is key.
I agree with you, i always believed that a true christian is a person who believes and practices Jesus teachings in this world. I came to this conclusion based in reading the bible (like the verses you mentioned) itself and also from reading this from some books of pastors i trust. My previous pastor said as much "The only thing you need to receive salvation according to the bible is accepting and believing in Jesus and that he saved you from your sins by sacrificing himself"

Regarding the topic of church leavers, I want to share something I have been discussing with church mates about over the weekend. There was a pretty solid sermon in a local parish that addressed this issue.

A preamble: Here in Singapore the issue of the decriminalization of homosexual intercourse is a hot talking point again, and it is also an issue where I disagree with the ultimate stand of the church on because I feel strongly for the separation of Church and State, and having prayed about it I continue to feel more strongly about basic human dignity, love, and understanding, than ideological doctrine about protecting some vague "slippery slope".

So the sermon itself wasn't about pro or anti stands about the law itself, but rather that the priest shared how parents have approached him about their children leaving the church over the church's stance on such issues, and how to address that. The powerful part of his message was that ultimately it is not exactly a bad thing if someone decides to leave the church over something they feel strongly over in a moral sense. Because it means they care. Young people caring and feeling strongly about something means they are thinking. If they are thinking and caring about something, it's a positive because apathy is so much worse. And he highlighted that someone leaving the church over a moral issue does not mean they stop believing in God. It simply means they cannot reconcile their moral compass with the church's. And that means it is something that can be bridged if there is better understanding on both sides and more dialogue. It is important to engage, and failure to reach an understanding is what separates people within a community. I don't necessarily agree with every single point in the sermon, but the main intent was so positive and resonated so much with me that in the next month I hope to find time to seek him out to have a more personal discussion about these issues. The division between communities and even between churches (Catholics and Protestants, various denominations, etc) is something I have been reflecting very strongly on lately and I feel God has been speaking to be on these issues and pointing me in a direction where I need to explore how I can help in regards to this in my local communities.

I hope that this is useful for anyone thinking about these issues. If anyone is interested in the sermon in question, shoot me a PM and I'll share the Youtube video. I'm not going to link something like that on ResetEra just in case. Haha. ^^;
Being a "church leaver" and knowing others in the same boat i agree with this sermon, it is kinda hard accepting that churches in general prefer to judge and accuse others of being sinners instead of welcoming these people. It takes courage to leave the comfort of your church for your ideals.


All of that being said, i have a really hard time coming back to churches in general, just a example, a couple days ago my previous pastor said he will vote in a candidate who openly exalt a know torturer here in my country, and has a politics based on spilling hatred toward everyone, he is the complete opposite of Jesus. I though this was just ignorance but then this same pastor also posted the following on his facebook "I really hope this candidate eliminates human rights in the country, if anyone agree type amem!" and so a bunch of people typed amen to this... How can a christian pastor and its members openly support hatred like this? From my understanding most of the churches pastors and members are supporting this person in my country.

This along with everything else really makes it hard for me to come back, although i miss having a christian community somedays...
 
I absolutely love reading this thread. I feel like God has continually placed me in very secular, even anti-religious environments and communities, with only small pockets of respite in between, so it's always incredibly refreshing to see other people discuss the things I believe and think about on a regular basis. It's like finding an oasis in the desert. Actually, I have music that describes how it feels regarding my earthly journey: Resident Evil save rooms, baby. No better analogy.

Anyway, I've been struggling with something relating to this. God and Jesus are the crux of my life. I've put my entire life investment in the Kingdom to come and in doing God's work here on Earth and on contemplating the word of God and in accepting my suffering here as a way to learn and grow and become closer to Him. But I spend so much time in secular communities that I often feel like my real self is always clogged up inside of me. I can never talk about what I'm really thinking about. I'll often relate an event to scripture in my mind, only to have it silenced before it can come out, because nobody in my group will want to hear me talk about religious stuff.

I think my job here is to make people understand God in a more organic way, to understand how to live in his Love, in a way that comes from the heart before it comes from the church. But it is so hard at times. I know this sound INCREDIBLY egotistical, but I often wonder if this is how Jesus felt living among the people of his time. What's that line? "I have so much to tell you, but you aren't yet ready?" He said it after his ressurection, I think, and I think about it all the time. How patient was he, how much did he hold back so that we would understand him better with where we were at the time? How frustrated did he feel, not being able to tell us things more plainly, because we wouldn't understand what he was talking about? I'm obviously no Jesus, and my situation is quite different, but like many things I've read in the bible, I see its echoes in my everyday life.

I also worry I am actually too afraid to talk about God and Jesus with the people I'm around, because I might lose them as friends. It leaves a big hole in my heart, and I feel it tugging at my soul. I feel like I'm always caught in vortex tugging me between the world and between God's kingdom.

Ok, that's enough rambling for now. God bless you all.
 
God bless you too, Sol. All I can really say is this-- when it comes to your friends, your real friends, don't ever be afraid to talk religion with them. If they're people you can count on and depend on they'll listen to what you have to say because they love you-- and love's a big deal we put a lot of hope in, broadly speaking. Even talking Scripture directly with atheist friends hasn't really gone wrong for me. It's helped people to maybe see the Bible isn't quite what they think it is, and in the case of a certain friend of mine who's well-versed in linguistics, helped me to attain deeper understanding of the Word as a whole.

Trusting in your friends and reaching out to them to help be who you really are can be one of the major ways we put the Bible into practice! Don't forget that!
 
I absolutely love reading this thread. I feel like God has continually placed me in very secular, even anti-religious environments and communities, with only small pockets of respite in between, so it's always incredibly refreshing to see other people discuss the things I believe and think about on a regular basis. It's like finding an oasis in the desert. Actually, I have music that describes how it feels regarding my earthly journey: Resident Evil save rooms, baby. No better analogy.

Anyway, I've been struggling with something relating to this. God and Jesus are the crux of my life. I've put my entire life investment in the Kingdom to come and in doing God's work here on Earth and on contemplating the word of God and in accepting my suffering here as a way to learn and grow and become closer to Him. But I spend so much time in secular communities that I often feel like my real self is always clogged up inside of me. I can never talk about what I'm really thinking about. I'll often relate an event to scripture in my mind, only to have it silenced before it can come out, because nobody in my group will want to hear me talk about religious stuff.

I think my job here is to make people understand God in a more organic way, to understand how to live in his Love, in a way that comes from the heart before it comes from the church. But it is so hard at times. I know this sound INCREDIBLY egotistical, but I often wonder if this is how Jesus felt living among the people of his time. What's that line? "I have so much to tell you, but you aren't yet ready?" He said it after his ressurection, I think, and I think about it all the time. How patient was he, how much did he hold back so that we would understand him better with where we were at the time? How frustrated did he feel, not being able to tell us things more plainly, because we wouldn't understand what he was talking about? I'm obviously no Jesus, and my situation is quite different, but like many things I've read in the bible, I see its echoes in my everyday life.

I also worry I am actually too afraid to talk about God and Jesus with the people I'm around, because I might lose them as friends. It leaves a big hole in my heart, and I feel it tugging at my soul. I feel like I'm always caught in vortex tugging me between the world and between God's kingdom.

Ok, that's enough rambling for now. God bless you all.
God bless you too, i often talk about God and the bible with my atheists friends and we have nice productive discussions, but i dont think i ever managed to convince any of them of God existence or Jesus sacrifice that saved them. But i like the fact that they say that Jesus was a good person at least.

One thing they all mention to me are questions like "Why God ordered kids and women slaughtered in the old testament?" "Why God allow war, famine and all manner of evil in the world?" one close friend even asked me "Why God allowed a adult person to abuse me as a child?" i try to answer these to the best of my abilities, though i dont think im wise enough to answer these questions.
 
One thing they all mention to me are questions like "Why God ordered kids and women slaughtered in the old testament?" "Why God allow war, famine and all manner of evil in the world?" one close friend even asked me "Why God allowed a adult person to abuse me as a child?" i try to answer these to the best of my abilities, though i dont think im wise enough to answer these questions.
It's always the personal ones that are hardest to answer. Why personal prayers to God went unanswered. Even if I knew, even if I had the silver bullet, how would you tell someone that truth. My big moment with this involved a friend who lived through the Bosnian genocide and suffered severe bullying-- to the point of being beaten-- by religious kids in the immediate aftermath even after he prayed for it to stop. I had... nothing for him except the vague idea that maybe his prayer had been answered some other way. And "couldas" are not really satisfactory when talking about severe trauma.
 
I also worry I am actually too afraid to talk about God and Jesus with the people I'm around, because I might lose them as friends. It leaves a big hole in my heart, and I feel it tugging at my soul. I feel like I'm always caught in vortex tugging me between the world and between God's kingdom.
When I was in my 20s I worried about that constantly. What would others think of me being somewhat serious about faith? Should I say grace before a meal if no one else at the table is religious? If I talk about spirituality or religion a little bit to share something I really care about, would they think I'm weird? Thinking too much about stuff like that made me self conscious and probably contributed to me distancing myself from God as well because -I- perceived that others would perceive that it wasn't cool. It's all projection.

The reality is that as an adult in my 30s now, I'm more confident about my faith than ever, and I've learned that decent people who we can actually call friends respect each other, and most people don't have something against religion. Not sharing the faith or not knowing much about it does not equate opposition. At worst it's usually a neutral thing. Even those who are against religion as a concept, tend to value personal relationships more than that feeling they have, if they are reasonable people. What this means is that if you are a good friend and you all respect each other, simply by being a witness to Christ and living your life as you do, when you share about your faith others will listen. This doesn't mean going around telling people they have to go to church with you to be saved. This means showing them first and foremost what you have gained from having the grace of God, and how that shines through your person. Testify for your faith by living it, and people will see and respect that. If there are negative experiences from doing so, it is on them not on you. By be afraid of that though? In a way, if you think that your friends might leave you because of your faith, you aren't giving them a lot of credit. That seems a somewhat negative way to view your friends and if there is no evidence for it, very unfair. By sharing who you are more, you are also giving them the chance to show you how valuable the friendship is to them as well.
 
Thanks, everyone, for all the salient responses. You're right. It's probably mostly projection on my end. I'm too worried about "fitting in," I guess. Which, in a way, makes me feel like a bad Catholic at times.

Anyway, you've all given very good advice, and I appreciate it a lot. Next time I stop in here I promise it will be to contribute to discussion and not ask for help with something, haha.
 
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