What I believe
This is a rough section because honestly, I look at a relationship with God more as a journey than a set of facts. So really I guess it be easy to start out by telling you what I don't believe.
For instance I don't believe that:
-Christianity or any religion for that matter should be just a set of rules to be followed with the threat of hell looming constantly in the horizon.
- That God takes "religion" nearly as seriously as humans do.
- that we should allow Christianity to continue to be some of the stereotypes it's become. If you ask the average non-believer what they think of the church, some of their answers might include that we are judgmental, close-minded, or hypocrites. Note that none of these words would have ever been applied to Jesus. So why should we allow them to be applied to us? Does this mean start an arguement with anyone who would say such a thing? Nope. It means let's step up and live lives that don't give anyone the need to apply these stereotypes.
-that it's wrong to ask questions. In fact many of the most important heroes of the Bible asked a ton of them, even those concerning doubt. We believe that one way to get closer to anyone, even God, is to ask them about themselves. How else do you get to know them?
- that everybody has to believe exactly the same thing. Think of a family with say ten children. What are the odds that the parents will relate to any of the kids in exactly the same way? Probably not very likely, why then should it be that God relates to all his children in exactly the same way?
- that our differences should separate us. Because we don't have time for that. We live in a very desperate time and the world needs people who are willing to let God work through them. When we stop arguing over theology and get out and start living with love, it becomes very clear who God is very quickly.
- that the church is doing enough. This may sound harsh but it is more of a challenge than a cruel remark. The bible says in James 1:27 that "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
According to research, less than 15% of the world's orphans are receiving any form of international aid. And everyday in nursing homes across our country, 1,000's of elderly people go ignored and lonely. These are only a few of the many causes that plague our world today and we think that instead of asking why God would allow these things to happen, it's time to start asking, why would we?
I do believe that it's time for the church to rise up and quit being lazy. And I don't mean by passing out tracts door to door. Rather than tell people about God or show them a verse they may not understand, it's time to get out there and show them, in a dynamic, powerful way.
-that anybody should be looked down on. Everybody has a journey, and in the end everybody will have to answer for how they spent their time here on earth. And I don't believe that looking down on anybody helps them along in their journey or brings them nearer to God. Jesus did not hang out with religious leaders of His day, in fact he often hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors (which back in the day translated basically to thieves.) Now take that in carefully, because what I'm saying is not that he hung out with people who used to be prostitutes and thieves, but indeed people who were actively participating in immoral (to say the least) behavior at the time. And what has he doing? Condemning them? Nope, loving them.
So perhaps that's a good place to start. Love. If asked what I think God is, well I think He is love. An amazing, forceful, non-judgmental love that is sometimes missed in the walls of the church. That said...let's start to explore.