Nate announces the need for us as Americans and people all around the globe that we need to be kind to one another. Nate then explains the Beatitudes of Jesus from Matthew 5 in a way in which you probably never heard them explained.

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The Bible still maintains the status of being the #1 best selling book ever, so the title of this article may seem misleading. Many would place books such as those written by infamous authors such as Aleister Crowley and the mysterious Necronomicon on such a list, although no other book has been as dangerous as the Bible. Yet these books do not even come close to the carnage the Bible has placed upon humanity. I say this in all seriousness; that God never intended man to use pages of history to be used to cause such harm to his own people. Like many books of history, one needs to read them in the light of their context, most of the time the Bible is never read with context. The Bible is often read as verses plucked out like a Chinese fortune cookie which the reader will interpret to better sooth their conscience and desires. The truth of the matter is most of the time the Bible is never truly read, and in this is the danger.
Before I start rattling off the heinous acts which the Bible has brought upon humanity; or a better phrase would be the carnage humanity has inflicted upon itself through its misinterpretation of the Bible, I want to cut to the core of the matter. Number one, the idea of taking the Bible literally, this is probably the most dangerous and outrages cause. In fact the early church fathers never taught to take the Bible literally. Not taking the Bible literally does not take away the power of the message in which the Bible can bring. In fact, when people take the Bible literally it is read as if God wrote every line as a divine law. Later in history the mixture of religion and government created a theocracy through which the Roman Catholic church wielded unlimited power. Life, death, heaven and hell were the keys to the kingdom and with fear and the sword the church of Rome ruled. The reformation just changed around some words and continued where the Roman church left off. Yes, the common man could now read the Bible and make judgments for themselves, but those judgments still better be in line with the powers that be or off with your head.
The church all the way up until today has never allowed freedom within the pages of scripture. Yes, I believe that the pages of my Bible are inspired words written by men who experienced amazing events. I believe the pages of my Bible can teach me how to live like Jesus, and to give great life lessons helping us to be a better human beings. Yet these page should never be interpreted upon someone else as each person interprets them differently, and without the core value of love, then all is lost. The Bible says test the spirits if love is not what is found then it is not of God. Spiritual freedom comes from removing spiritual rule. In America today, the land of the free there is a movement to create a theocracy, or as I like to call it theo^crazy a theocracy is a government in which religious law governs. Those special few who are said to rightly interpret the scriptures place rules on society based on their judgment. Like the Supreme Court and their duty to interpret the constitution against the laws of the land, so those that who are leaders of denomination damn to hell those who hold beliefs other than their own.
A Christian society must be one of choice, the Bible should be read in the context of which it was written. There was a reason the ancient Roman Catholic church did not want the Bible in the hands of the common man. This was to keep the people under their rule for fear of hell. I believe even in our modern times many leaders within church communities do the exact same thing only on a much lower level; yet still impact the people in which they serve as I will list.
How do I read my Bible? I read my Bible for what it is. Pages which people of the time shared experiencing God according to their view. Without going into a study on hermeneutics the reader of the Bible must examine the author, recipient, intent, time, language, all things must be considered and even then, we most likely fail at coming to the truest interpretation because each one can pull what they want out of it. I go back to the great idea of love. The Bible in my opinion should always be read and applied through the lens of love, for if God is love his words are love. Any words not of love are not of God. The Bible should be studied completely not just read like a newspaper. The Bible must be examined for its truest meaning and that meaning should never be taught as an absolute for no one alive today can claim the authority of God. Spiritual freedom is in doing what one wills with what they believe God has for them to do in life; this if it does not infringe upon the same freedom of their fellow man. If we as Christians do not read the Bible and practice as such we will only repeat the following. Murder, war, and the slavery of the soul of man.
The various interpretations of the Bible have allowed for the legality of murder, the theft of land, the right to wage war, to take away the freedoms of others and force people to be who they were not intended. In modern times the Bible was used to condone and legalize murder, slavery, racism, theft, manipulation, and every other evil desire within the heart of man. While to many this article may come across as church bashing let me assure you I am a man who loves God, loves people, and loves the Bible. I desire to read the Bible and not allow my sinful nature to interpret the words for me. Many of the letters written by the apostle Paul to the churches were of a critical nature. We in modern times take those words of criticism and use them to create our Christian dogma. Often, we must stop and think about were we are at as a church and what we need to change to be more like Jesus. The Bible must stop being used as an instrument of death and destruction and instead be used as what it was originally intended to be. The Bible was created to inspire and bring the example of the life of Christ to the world. Letters that were meant to bring meaning to early Christians who because of their faith were being persecuted and dying for. Today and in the years past, sadly instead of giving hope to the persecuted the words have been twisted and used to persecute. The very reason in which the Bible was created has been perverted. It is my hope and prayer that the church, our church can get back to a church which stands on the love of God, the love of people and the self-sacrificing example of Jesus.

Nate talks about the crazy and dangerous idea of theocracy and the push in which many white evangelicals feel that it is their responsibility to bring about a Christian government. When Jesus walked the earth they tried to make him king. Jesus refused and went to the mountains alone to pray. Probably because he may have been as tempted as you or I.

Nate talks about Memorial day. Nate also talks about a lot of issues in which the church has decided in many different ways to take a stand. Education, immigration, the cult of Trump, and how this all falls into memorial day and our desire to remember those who died in service to our country and those who have passed on who served our country.

Nate talks about the new proposed Farm Bill which was recently rejected in the House. Nate looks at the atrocities committed by the government and big corporations which for all practical purposes practice slavery in the United States.

Nate talks about hell in this episode. Has hell been a tool for manipulation and control of the people by the church for thousands of years? What does the bible really say?

Can you be pro-life and pro-choice? Maybe not, although the definition is not always black and white. At The Backyard Preacher Ministries, we are pro-choice, but in every way possible our pro-choice stance could be looked upon as pro-life. I took it upon myself to clarify my stance and write about the abortion from a progressive Christian perspective. I find it particularly ripe to bring about this topic once again as here in the state of Iowa the powers that be, governor Kim Reynolds took it upon herself to sign into law a very quickly pushed law spear headed by religious zealots without consideration of the ramifications. My friend Jon Alexander of the Quad City Times writes a more in-depth editorial here.
My purpose is to enlighten and explain the matter of life from a Christian perspective. A rational Christian perspective, which has long since been abandoned by Evangelicals in the United States. Do I like abortion? No, I do not like the act of abortion. After talking to several women and listening to views from both sides of the debate women do not like abortion either. I will also not overstep my bounds as a man and claim to know what is best. As a Christian do I believe that abortion is murder? Truthfully, I do not know. There is something called the transmigration of souls, this is a belief which the early church and religious scholars such as myself have wrestled with. When does the soul of a person enter the fetus? Many Evangelicals would say that life starts at conception. While biologically this is true life does start at conception; that is cells are alive. The question that more Evangelicals should ask is when do those cells become a human, and when does the spirit of a person, “their true self” enter into a fetus? No one knows, and when you do not know something, it is wise not to demand. While I do not support abortion, I would prefer that women choose life, but I am not walking in their shoes, I do not know their situation and will not speak for them. There are many complications that will come about from the new Iowa law. Alexander speaks to the financial, I am speaking more to the social. Will this result in women going out of state to have abortions? Will women have “back alley” abortions? Will women carry the baby even when they cannot afford another child pushing women and the new child into a greater cycle of poverty? I do not know, but these are things to think about.
As I said I am pro-life, in every sense. I am against the death penalty, against war, I support strong gun control. I desire for people to prosper and live life to the fullest. It amazes me that Evangelicals who have pushed the abortion law in Iowa have no problem sending young people to die in senseless wars, strap people into death chambers, and arm themselves with weapons of war which are responsible for children killing children in public schools. I want to remind my Evangelical friends that we do not know when the spirit enters the fetus, we do however know that existing people are alive in every way. There is also the cycle of poverty which is prevalent within the United States. The church conducts overseas mission’s trips but often neglects the people who live within their own borders. In the wealthiest country in the world many condemn the poor as weak and lazy, yet do nothing for them but call them murderers and fornicators. Women have abortions which more than likely would be prevented if she was financially capable of raising the child. The whole situation is sad. I preach life, a life in which all people have choice. I nor any other Christian knows when the spirit of a person enters a fetus. I nor any other Christian can walk in another’s shoes. The new abortion bill makes abortion essentially illegal before most women even know they are pregnant. Let me let you chew on these concluding thoughts.
Evangelicals stop worrying what a small percentage of women do with their bodies. If you want to stop abortion push laws that will lift people out of poverty. Pass laws providing affordable education, so people can find jobs which will pay for a family. Let us start teaching sex education not only in school but in our churches. Thinking that our kids are not having sex before marriage is absurd and not teaching about safe sex practices leads to possible abortions. Pass laws restricting weapons of war in the hands of citizens, I do not think that it is responsible to be able to possess the same weapons I used in the military, which only purpose was to kill another human. Speaking of the military let us stop getting into senseless conflicts and supporting the death of our children. I know that this message may not be popular with my Evangelical friends, yet it is a message which I felt compelled to bring as I have observed the recent cries of the people on both sides of this debate. Can we be both pro-life, and pro-choice? Maybe? I do not know but what I do know is it is more important to protect the lives of the already born, this includes the women who choose abortion.

 

Picture Credit: Nick Anderson

Nate takes us on a journey out of the bondage of fundamental religion and into spiritual freedom. True Freedom is not found in what you do, true freedom is found within. Knowing God is something that is only grasped through the acknowledgment that you cannot know God.

 

A hypothesis of the fall of man:

In the book of Genesis we witness the fall of man. Before the fall Genesis records man ability to walk with God person to person.

Man chose to break away from the light of God and then find themselves out of the range of God.

What I am I getting at? Light vibrates at the highest frequency. We are created beings of light to share in fellowship with God. We chose then the base things and denied the light. This sent humanity down to a lower vibration then God placing us in a type of hell on earth outside of the realm of God.

The fall then is not a fall into what many Christian’s think of sin, it is sin in the definition itself as missing the desired goal. Essentially we lowered our frequency giving us the inability to see God as we once did in the garden.

So then this great work, this alchemy, this transformation through Christ is to regain as much as possible the vibration closer to God, then reunite with God upon death.

What if there was no failure or success, just doing? Positive or negative, just being? Right or wrong, just love? Doing, Being, Love.