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  1. I have been listening to Mike Winger because I think it is good to listen to the other side, even if to understand where they are coming from. Mike is a conservative evangelical Christian, and he was talking with a woman who is on often who teaches at a Christian School. She was teaching the difference between subjective truth or opinion, and objective truth. She said that we ssy, "Speak your truth," but asked if there was only one truth. From there, there is a path that Jesus is the Truth, the Life, and the Way, The Bible is an inerrant word of God dictated to mankind. When one has a question, they look to the Word (the Bible), see what it says, and thus their interpretation is God's commandment, the opinion is God's mind. And, who are we to listen? God, and no one else, So, in a debate or discussion, anyone not agreeing with their position isn't in disagreement with them, but with God. It explained a lot, because anyone in disagreement with the conservative position is wrong, and in disobedience. The discussion you are having with the street preacher isn't a discussion. The see themselves as right, speaking for God, and setting you straight. Where is gets really troubling for me is when they were both saying a person should not: Question or use their own critical judgement Not trust their feelings Not trust their heart, because it is deceitful. I'm sure they quoted verses for each, but they are saying not to use your heart, soul, and mind. Just obey the bible, because that is the will of God. Maybe it's an issue of semantics. When I talk about listening to my heart, I mean my conscience, the HS inside me. You know when you say things out of anger? My head will justify it, say he deserved it, but my heart will gently say, "you know that was wrong, what you just said." And it will weigh heart. I will feel remorse and guilt until I resolve it. They mentioned "the answers are within you - just go within" and how the heart is deceitful, so one should never go within. My brother-in-law, a missionary, said the same thing to me, in a discussion about "New Age" thought. I explained that when I pray and speak to God, I go within. He echoed that his heart is all evil and darkness. The only good within him is Jesus. I said that Jesus lives in my heart, "this little light of mine, and so, it isn't evil or dark. I was made in God's image, so my soul is divine, it's perfect. Yes, I may make mistakes (sin), but my focus is on actively loving my neighbor. In a discussion between a conservative and a progressive, the conservative again said he is all evil, his heart is evil, and the only good in him is because of Christ. This troubles me for two reasons: The first is that if the only good in you is Christ, those who do not have Christ are then seen as evil, I remember a street preacher on the streets of Toronto saying "look at all these demons out tonight." Demons? This is what I was taught - that God sees us as sinners, and Jesus puts rose colored glasses on the Father, which cancels out our sin. So, one time in prayer, God showed me that while I loved him, he had been holding his arms out in love, but because I was raised that we are all sinners, had so much shame and self loathing, that I had never accepted his love, because I believed I wasn't worthy. And he was saying l, I love you. I died for you. Please believe me! Please accept my love. That's all you have to do. And it moved me to love my neighbor without asking anything in return as a way to thank God. Buddhism has a saying: Of someone says he is seeking the truth, listen. If he says he has found it, run away. Such a person will believe they possess the truth, so will refuse to listen to anyone else. Rather than present your understanding, listen to another's, then see if your understanding needs to be adjusted, theirs is fixed. Buddhism also says the truth is i destructible. It can be questioned, tested, put in washer and dryer and come out the same. Conservative Christianity, then, needs to prevent you from questioning the Church's view, which is God's view. in their opinion, because like Segregation, Slavery, or women not treated as equals to men, and using Scripture to declare it God's Will, the person may come to the conclusion that the church is wrong. Preventing one from trusting their heart, their intuition, their feelings, makes them negate God writing the law on our hearts. It makes them follow their leader and their translation blindly, believing they are following God's will, but not following the Holy Spirit. Comments?
  2. I've touched on this before, but I'm wanting Christianity to progress to a point where Christians are known by their love. The book Hijacking Jesus talks about how the religious right distorts Christianity and promotes prejudice and hate, which is what Christians are known for. 1. I know what the fruit of the Spirit is, display them, and know this comes from God 2. I turn the other cheek, and pray for my enemies. When I can't, I pray for me. 3. I try to treat others as if they were Christ, the Namaste "the God within me bows to the God within you." 4. I have chosen professions and positions of service - teaching, working with imigrants, people with mental illness. As a result, I don't have a lot of money nor has wealth ever been my objective. I'm happy with enough. 5. I call Christians out who abuse the bible or condemn others. 6. An atheist may start talking to me thinking we are about to go head to head in debate, but find out that I agree a lot with what they say, and more importantly, listen. And I respect their beliefs. You see the walls come down, and let them see a different kind of Christianity 7. I live by example, focusing on the log in my eye, than the dust in another's. .
  3. I was a camp counselor at a Bible Camp, and one week, had campers that told me they didn't know how to pray. I was confused. I remembwr having long talks with God as early as 4. So what I heard was, I don't know how to have a conversation. There is a strange misunderstanding that you have to say some magic words you may not understand, like "grace" or "countenance" and use old English, putting -eth on your words. None of this is necessary. I would recommend having the Holy Spirit teach you, but basically, I have a conversation, and like any conversation, speak, and then allow God to speak (usually comes as a thought). Sometimes it's a dialogue. Sometimes, I pray, "God, I know you ask me to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to pray for our enemies but if you want that love, put it in my heart, because I don't have it, and right now, wouldn't brake if they were crossing the street." There are no rules. Be honest. Be open. And listen for a response. It may come as a thought, through the words of a friend, but it will come.
  4. This is a random comment, but here in the San Francisco Bay I will see billboards, and because of the file size, couldn't post the pic, but it says Jesus is the only way to God. 555-TRUTH First of all, what is the point of the billboard? I can't imagine a nonChristian jotting diwn the number. And second if all, shouldn't it read: Jesus is the only way to the Father? Because Christians believe Jesus is God. I teach English as a Second Language, so it's like seeing "your welcome."
  5. I'm curious how many people have radically different ideas from what you were taught, and if you struggle with them, or even keep you true beliefs between you and God. A quick background about me: I was raised in a very religious Lutheran family. My brother got his MDiv and became a pastor. My oldest sister did missionary work for several years, and met her husband at a bible study group. My other sister married a missionary and moved to Peru. One brother was a bit of a rebel, but his belief in God is very important. I went to a Christian Rock retreat, and ended up being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and have spoke in tongues ever since. But because I am gay, I was turned off by the callousness of Christians offering judgement rather than empathy or calling AIDS God's judgement, and the church saying that gays should not be allowed in their church to worship. But, I spoke in tongues, i couldn't deny, and left the church, but spoke to God daily as I have since I was a little kid. And what did I find? A better understanding of God once I dared to question what I was taught, and pray about it. What I was taught: Man sinned. The price was death. The payment for our sin was Christ being sacrificed for us, and rising again. If we admit our sin, ask forgiveness, and ask Christ into our heart, we have salvation and eternal life. What I believe at this point: Christ came to teach us how to love. He taught us how to forgive, and to humble ourselves to ask forgiveness. He showed how to love a neighbor whom we don't know with the story of the Good Samaritan. Christ said that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and when we do that, we love God ("when you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me.") 1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. So, inho, if you don't love your neighbor as yourself, you don't follow Christ, thus, not a Christian. If you don't understand that none of this has ever been about sin, and trying not to, but in actively loving others - being kind, praying for your enemies rather than retaliate, having empathy, understanding, patience. It's not about sin. It's not about begging for forgiveness, unless you want to ask forgiveness from the person you harmed. You don't have to become perfect for God to love you because he already does unconditionally. Christ died to show to what length he would go, and that was death. Above all things, it is God's wish that we pray for love, and it is given freely. Christ said that all mankind will know you are his disciples by the love you show others. We aren't. We are known as modern day Pharisees, thinking ourselves morally superior, often using the bible like a lawyer to condemn others while ignoring our own imperfections, using laws to burden others, and often full of fear of anyone outside of our denomination. Even I feel like once someone tells me they are Christian, I get into a defense mode, wondering if they will sell Jesus as a used car salesman "well, if you die tonight..." or the "love you just hate your sin" folks that make your "sin" the focus. And I think Christians as a whole should be asking why we are not known for our love. I believe the Christian concept of "tough love", an excuse to abuse people and call it disciplining, is not tough at all. It's tough to forgive someone who hurt you intentionally and has no remorse. It's tough to admit you were wrong, realize how your thoughts, words, or actions harmed another, and ask forgiveness you don't deserve. It's tough to not feel superior in a world that is about being number 1. It's tough to feel empathy to someone begging for money or food when you worked hard for your money, and tough to have empathy, to realize you don't know someone else's situation. That is tough love. I teach English as a Second Language, and have taught many Muslims. They take their religion much more seriously, stopping class or whatever they are doing to pray at the same time in unison. I saw love from my Muslim students. I have met many atheists that have a stronger moral compass than Christians who believe, for example, that posting the 10 Commandments in school or outside the Courthouse will remind people lying, killing and stealing are bad, like you have to refer to it as a cheat sheet. So, maybe there are many paths up the mountain. When Jesus said, "I am the Light, the Truth and the way; no one comes to the Father but by me", he didn't have an asterisk that said *pending my upcoming crucifixion, resurrection, and you asking forgiveness, and for me to be your saviour. I believe he meant that no one comes to the Father but by love (for everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.) So, if you love, regardless of your religion, not only do you know God by whatever name you call him, but atheists by far deserve heaven, because in not believing in a heaven, those who live in love simply because it makes the world a better place, not expecting a reward of heaven, deserve it. I don't believe priests, nuns, or any clergy are any more close to God than any other. God is constantly trying to get our attention. I assumed everyone understood your conscience is God's voice within you. And I believe that Christians have done a huge disservice to the glbtq, harmed many of us spiritually, and will receive harsh judgement for daring to tell anyone that God believes we are an abomination, or wants us dead. It won't be pretty. I studied Buddhism, and find that Buddhists are often more in line with Christ's teaching than his followers. For example, most lay christians think saying something is bad, and doing the action worse, but see the thought as a temptation, while Buddhists believe thought becomes word becomes action, so you meditate and purify your thoughts, at the root. And comments, or radical thinking that would probably get you burned at the stake at one time?
  6. I was thinking about how Sweet Cakes would respond to someone celebrating Eid. Doesn't making a cake that says, Happy Eid, imply that she believes that Islam is an alternate and valid religion, rather then believing that Jesus is the only way to the Father? That a bar mitzvah cake means she denies Christ is the Savior? Personally, watching her have a melt down over the cake, I thought, "Karen - the wedding isn't about you. No straight couple walks in to your bakery, hoping for you to approve of their wedding and get their blessing. The just want a cake.
  7. Let me give one more example. There is a Youtube Channel where a conservative Christian wanted to ask nonChristians how they are perceived, and chooses to go to Berkeley. You hear chuckle and oooo in the audience, who must confuse it with Vegas or believe it's still 1970. People said the usual - hypocrits, fearful, judgenental... He recalls a 70 yr old gay man, who shouts out: The Enemy! The pastor didn't hear "enemy" as one constantly trying to actively fight against equality for glbtq. If the man said enemy, he must be on the side of the Devil. And what Christ said to his disciples is that all men will know you are his disciples by the love you share with one another. No one thinks that. I don't think that. Once you mention you are Christian, my self defense position goes up, because I'm prepping myself for an attack. So, what is a Christian to do? Ahhh. You blame everyone else, rather than pray and ask God. See, they are being loving, it's just tough love, discipline like you do for your kids. So, basically, Christian will be know for their. love but people won't recognize it as live. That doesn't even make sense.,Jesus called people vipers, and swine, and dogs, so we call gay people the F word because we love them, and are trying to discourage them from homosexuality. No one believes that's love, nor done i love, because regardless of your religion, everyone has some understanding of love. This is tough love - returning curse with blessing, and praying for enemies rather than retaliate; turn the other cheek. Forgiveness is tough love, because you have to extend it in mercy, as the person doesn't deserve it. Asking forgiveness is tough love, because you have to humble yourself, admit you were wrong, you harmed the other, and can only request it granted in mercy. And despite loving your neighbor being the most important law to follow, that we cannot love God if we hate out brother, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Instead, some make the focus obedience. so they can use the bible to condemn another for, say Leviticus, a book they don't follow and have probably never it. They lie to thrmselves, but now, don't even know when they do, or say nonchalantly, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven."
  8. Re: issues of discrimination, I think it is sad that a society needs to "force" public businesses to serve all people, but Freedom of Religion Act should be called The right to discriminate. That is what it is. But the Kleins blamed the gay couple, and said the fine was for her religious beliefs. It wasn't, so why lie? There is some hardware store that has a "No F*gs Allowed" policy, and claims religious freedom. The Pizza Place claimed catering 70 pizzas for a gay wedding was against their religious views. All the couple wanted was for the restaurant to drop the pizzas off, not give their blessing or stay for cake. But if we allow that, just clearly state that in your store and be honest about it. That is my point. If you have a strong case against glbtq being able to marry, why need to distort the claims? Why lie? The Kleins could have explained that they were at fault publishing the names, address and phone number of the lesbian couple, a very vengeful move at worst, and big oops at best. Instead, they claim they were fined for their religious beliefs, and derided the lesbian couple and the gay community for an attack on Christianity. None of that is true. The couple wanted wedding cake. When they were refused, they also quoted Leviticus, implying the couple were an abomnation. The couple, bc of their foster daughters, chose to file a complaint, and thought that was the end of it. The Kleins ran to the news, talk shows, to get as much air time as possible to win favor with the public by omitting some major details, or in other words, lie to persuade. I watched a Youtube video of a Christian answering for being told Christians are hypocrits. Her statement: Everyone is a little hypocrical, so why single out Christians? I don't want to imply that I demand Christians to be perfect. There would be no need for Christ then. But, if you are going to be the light of the world, aren't we called to set ourselves apart? And especially troubling is that such people know lying is wrong. The Klein's lie made many people think the fine was excessive, that all the fears of your freedom being taken away were coming true, made the gay couple fear for their lives, and the lives of their girls, but potentially have the daughters removed from their home because the death threats put them in danger. She knows there is some truth in their story, but because of the omission of some major facts because it would make the Kleins look bad, it's not true anymore. And because they are Christian, I assume the know that lying is one of the 10 Commandments. Satan is called The Father of Lies. Even atheists oppose lying, because it breaks trust. It is the one thing I won't tolerate in friendship or relationship, and once you start, you get good at it from practice, until you don't even know when you are lying, justify it easily, until you lie to yourself. So, I have no problem calling out Melissa Klein for intentionally lying, and causing extreme emotional distress as a retaliation for reporting them for breaking the law and discriminating. When I see the video of her talking about how her body and soul into the cake for someone's special day, then gets all choked up, I wonder if she rehearsed those tears. Generally speaking, I have a belief, whether accurate or not, that conservative Christians. and conservatives, are dishonest, but justify it as the means to an end.
  9. Remember Sweet Cakes by Melissa? The Kleins ran to the media to tell their story of how they were being fined $135,000 for denying to make a lesbian couple a wedding cake. The truth is, the lesbian couple filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries. The Kleins received the complaint and had broken Oregon Law, but posted the name, address and phone number of the couple, which led to harassment and death threats, and the possibility of losing their foster daughters due to the death threats. This one example of Christians lying. They omit the court ruling and their own guilt, and instead blame the couple, and play the victim of violation of their religious rights. During the gay marriage debate, a commercial called "Gathering Storm Clouds" used fear and misleading statements to imply including gay people in the right to marry, it would somehow harm everyone else and take away their rights. "My freedom will be taken away." You will be forced to marry someone of the same sex? No. They explain. "I am a CA doctor who must choose between my career and my religion." It refers to the unmarried lesbian a doctor refused to inseminate based on her religious beliefs, and the court ruled in favor of the lesbian for discrimination. A member of a New Jersey church group which is punished by the state for opposing same-sex marriage; This refers to a church that allowed the public to rent their pavilion, but refused a gay couple who wanted to use it for their wedding. Because it was open to the public, they were in violation of discrimination. I hear repeatedly "the bible is very clear on homosexuality." Either they have never studied it, because theologians are split, or refuse to look at it in depth. "Being gay is a choice!" When I bring up studies and their findings that don't support it, it is ignored. When someone quotes Paul Cameron's studies on gays, like the average life span is 42 years, I explain how his studies have been discredited. The way that 42 years was found was by looking in a gay newspaper, writing down the ages of the men who had died, many from HIV and Aids, and getting an average number. It doesn't take into account the ages of gay men who were alive, only those who had died during the rise of HIV. So, one can say the average age for gay men dying if HIV during that week was 42, but not gay men in general. Despite pointing out the false claim, I will watch the person claim it as fact week later. I don't understand this. It makes many people see Christians as liars, as deceptive, even pushing people away. The lies are often used to promote the right to discriminate, as Anita Bryant was infamous for, but calling the campaign Save the Children. I have seen videos of a supposed exlesbian who talked about leaving the homosexual lifestyle she had chosen for 40 some years. I have yet to meet one gay person that refers to themself as leading a gay lifestyle, so it is already in question. I have yet to meet any GL!TQ person who doesn't see Pride as a celebration for achieving quality, but say they are "celebrating their sin." No one. Why is this so prevalent, and why are people not called out for it?
  10. Hell is used by so many Christians as a threat. But here is what they hear, even when the Christian can't: My God loves you, and you have free will, so you can choose to live him back and obey, or disobey and be tortured in the dark basement. So, confess your sins now to escape hell!! Who would worship a God like that? How is that a choice? And Heaven is portrayed as worshipping a narcissist where for eternity, you will say, "You the man, God! You're the best!" Doesn't sound great at all to me. Because I am gay, people who hate gay people often hide behind the bible, and love to throw Leviticus at you, sometimes saying that if we were living by God, we would just execute all the gays - that's God's word, not theirs, they say. Then they will quote homosexuals as not entering heaven, and shrug. One Christian demanded me to say what I would answer God when God says, "why do you deserve to entet heaven?" I said, "I would tell him I don't." He implied the good people earn it, and then judges people as good or evil. A young Christian girl loved to quote Psalms 68 and tell me how she would one day bathe in my blood. That is seriously messed up. Christ leaves the 99 to find the 1 who is lost, but the 99 seem to want the list sheep to be eaten. I get it. Remember the seen in Indiana Jones where he is fighting a bald muscle man by a plane? When the bad guy get killed by the propeller, you get this "ha! take that!" feeling of revenge, of the bad guy getting the punishment you think he deserves. It's human, just not of God. So, so many people treat life as the bus stop, waiting to die and go to heaven so they can say, "told you so!" That's not love, and everyone is a child of God, so it's a huge disservice to God. I see hell as a purifying, burning off your ego, your revenge fantasies, your arrogance. There is a reference to a camel passing through the eye of a needle. I was told it's like a doorway when a city's gates are closed, but you must unload the camel, then the camel has to crawl through, and you have to pull him. He resists, and pulls back, and spits. I had a dream where i was at the gates of heaven, and a woman who was very selfrighteous and antigay said, "See? I told you so! I would never want to be in a Heaven with gay people." Jesus came up behind me, and she realized she wasn't inside, but outside looking in. She was angry at Jesus, and turned around and stormed off. Jesus said she can't open the gates or enter because her hatred and anger weighed her down. I said, "but the gated aren't locked. Well, she'll come around." For her, Heaven would be hell, but hell is just a place where she can hold on to that anger, that hatred, that superiority, but it is void of God. Christ said the Kingdom of God is within you, in your heart. It is the love inside you. I live my life, not with the hope of heaven, not with the fear of hell, but trying to live a life of love, Christ's love, for other people. It's about how I live my life. I live by example, rather than demand people obey me, or focus on the sins of others. And in my opinion, if you don't love your neighbor as yourself, you don't love God, nor do you know him. What a sad life to live, one that sees their relationship with God simply as escaping hell, the focus on sin and fear of losing salvation, and a God that would throw you into hell with a "meh, I can make more", then feeling it is now your job to save everyone else.
  11. I used to post quite a bit, but found it really frustrating. I am gay and also Christian. Regardless of the topic, someone would always go to "how can you be a gay christian? It's an oxymoron!" So, at some point, I changed my religious affiliation to Buddhist, something I studied, and is very in line with Christian thought. One day, a woman PM'd me, and pleaded with me to "repent of my homosexuality." I told her that like many people like me, remember crying myself to sleep a number of teenage nights, begging God to change me. It was way before the internet, and the message I got was that I was an abomination, and that if we followed God's law, I should be executed. So, I went from singing Jesus Loves Me to God's hates you, and wishes you were dead. After some serious close calls with suicide, I realized that was a lie. That was the enemy, and I'm unsure if people quoting it so nonchalantly even understand the spiritual harm they do to others. But God and are ok. But she begged me to go to God again. I promised I would, but then I had to address God, the Father of the Judeo-Christian faith, Jesus, his only begotten son, and the Holy Spirit, as if there might be any other god that might respond. I asked her to do the same, for us to ask forgiveness if we have disobeyed, or misunderstood, and want clarity. She refused, which was weird. I keot my end of the bargain. It was one of the few times I heard the voice of God, recognized his voice. Rather than address the issue, he told me that he had known me since infancy, but I had to have the courage to call myself his child. He showed me that my whole life, he has been holding out his arms with love, but because of shame, refused to accept it, questioned if it was there, despite my love for God. He showed me that we do good, he loves us, we sin, he loves us, his love is not conditional. And in accepting that love, was very excited, very happy, very free. I went back to the board, and changed my icon to Christian. In less than 10 minutes, one of the Christian posters demanded I change it back. I said no, because I was a child of God. They got strangely angry, demanding I denounce Jesus. Think about that - a Christian demanding someone to denounce Christ. He would tell me I wasn't a Christian. And I would say he could believe whatever he wanted, but I knew I was. It was really uncomfortable, but for the first time, realized his words meant nothing, condemning me to hell meant nothing. I then just took many years off, after having posted there daily for quite some time. There had been two major changes: Discussions about abortion and homosexuality were no longer allowed, claiming the mods unanimously saw both as sin, and saying it wasn't was considered "promoting it," which is a stretch. And as expected, with the topic no longer up for debate, many of the topics were kind of dry. It wasn't a big deal at first, tired of the gay christian question, but it also made a major social issue completely taboo. So, no discussion of gay marriage, unless you opposed it, called being gay a sin, and without opposition, have no debate. One couldn't examine "the clobber passages" and how the are often misused and misunderstood, because, then, somehow, you are promoting homosexuality, when you are simply looking at what is quoted with spiritual seriousness. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for a number of reasons, supported in Ezekial, but most lay people want to believe it was homosexuality specifically, which doesn't make even logical sense, but challenging that is "promoting" homosexuality somehow. A woman had a friend she brought to her church. He really enjoyed going to her church, but she felt that as they had been going now for almost a year, she was torn about what to do, because he was gay, and married to a man. I was really shocked at the responses by people who claim to be Christian: "Tell him he has to repent of his lifestyle choice. And tell him to get a divorce. He isn't really married anyway... Now, put yourself in his shoes. The person claims you have to go home, tell your spouse whom you love and married that you are leaving them to follow Jesus, and that is the only way they will be accepted by the church and by God. How messed up is that? I know a lot of gay people that reject Christianity because they see it as these kind of Christians - ones who know Christ didn't come to condemn the world, but save it, then condemn the world, love to quote Leviticus against gays, tell gays they are goong to hell "but doing it out of love" which is questionable at best, work hard to protect the right to discriminate against glbtq as religious freedom, etc. It's the antithesis of what Christ taught. And with a "it's not up for discussion", i don't see anyone challenged, no room for growth spiritually. Basically a great place to be if you refuse to admit the possibility that you may be wrong, no one is able to challenge you, and you can strut around just waiting for someone to protest, and laugh as it gets shut down because it violates the rules. So, there isn't a whole lot of discussion or debate, and I don't find it edifying.
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