Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

I was thinking tonight as I was having a conversation tonight with my girlfriend. Talking about life it’s twist turns and the what if this, and what if that. After my spiritual awakening at 16 I was very spiritual, my leaders presumed I would be a young up and coming pastor.  Then some twist and turns appeared in my life and I was married and a heavy drinking U.S. Army soldier .  I still had the dream of pastoring but it seemed far away.  So tonight I wondered, what if.  Then during contemplation I said to myself I would have been one of those fundamental conservative pastors who only stayed within their culture.  I probably would have found Biblical education at a institute falling in line with the rest of my peers.  I probably would have never actually learned to think. Although I probably would have not become an ex con and substance abuser.  One thing for sure is I would never have become The Backyard Preacher.  I would have never learned to conduct biblical research earning my Masters in Religion through taking courses online; this partly because I lost my license and know one would hire me because of a felony conviction for theft.  This created a deep anger and to be honest selfish advocate for felons trying to do the right thing in life but still treated as second class citizens.  I wouldn’t know what it was like to spend time with many different cultures and ethnicities through my military service and factory jobs.  To be able to empathize with homosexuals, minorities, and others with substance issues.  Maybe all things do work out for a reason. Maybe God has led me down this path for such a time as this.   Maybe I am becoming the pastor who wants his congregation to think about what I preach and for homework come to a different conclusion other than mine.

I am wondering if some of the problems within the fundamental conservative church today is leaders who are trained not to think. Yet only adhere to the old saying “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.”  Instead to actually research and challenge the pastor to teach one another to sharpen each other.  To limit dogma take away rules that weigh each other down and truly be free as a church under Christ.  So not to be long winded this was only going to be a Facebook post but I thought it would be a bit long.  If you listen to my podcast The Backyard Preacher I encourage you to challenge me, come up with different conclusions. Do your own research we should all be willing and able to step up to the pulpit and lead.  

So all in all, I have been through a lot of self-made crap in my life. Yet through it all I have become The man and Christian I am today because of it.    

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His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  Do not allow yourself to get caught up and become a greater child of hell than the ones putting you in bondage.  Society and especially the church has a market on programming.  Hell is big money and pleasing God based on what your leader says can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.  Nate takes on this issue in part 2 of the discussion.

All of us who have been raised in the conservative Christian church then woken up from the heavy burden of theocracy and mandatory all knowing theology; rules which the teachers do not even follow, understand this journey towards freedom.  It is not always an easy way out!  We have been programmed and now it is time to be free.  Jesus said “My yoke is easy and burden is light.”

What if we could stop being Facebook bullies and instead start being kind?  What if we could actually think before we type?  What if we decided to love instead of hate?  What if we allowed God back into the Garden?  Maybe, just maybe the world would be a better place.

Who kicked who out of the garden? Did God kick out man? Or did we kick out God? Is not God here and now, in front of us and within us, above us and below us?  If so did we kick out God? Is our duty, our will to reach union with God?  We may struggle with these questions, we may struggle with the idea of having the ability to reach the divine becoming divine as the Father becoming one as Jesus prayed. “Let them be one with you as we are one.”  The final question is the same as the first. Who kicked who out of the Garden? Did you? Have we all? If so maybe it is time we let him back in.

What if anything does patriotism and church have in common?  There has been a lot of open patriotic activity within the church since the election.  Yet is this such a new phenomena? No, it isn’t we have seen it for thousands of years.  Buckle up and hold tight The Backyard Preacher Podcast is a click away!

Many of my progressive Christian friends are probably use to seeing the many articles floating around denouncing nationalism within the church and for the most part I agree. For the most part. While I am not one on 4th of July church services, there is almost a natural link between church and state regardless of the constitution. From ancient times the King or Queen ruled by divine right called “The Divine Right of Kings.” If you go back to ancient Egypt we see the Pharaoh as the god-king, the high priest of the nation as well as political ruler. It just might be in our DNA to set off firecrackers and salute our nation’s flag, all the while saying a prayer to our deity for another day of freedom.

So while within the Christian faith I think it is important not to go so far as to force feed people a religious diet. We do live in the United States in which the founding fathers had a brilliant and beautiful idea of separation of church and state, we also do not want to leave God out of the government and act like he will not enter the chambers of congress because we will not invite him in, or within the courts because we take down the ten commandments or a statue of Baphomet, as if God was so inferior and able to be stopped by our human measures.

I believe a more centrist approach is needed. I personally think much of this backlash against celebration of the state within a religious context comes from the recent election of Donald Trump. I do not support Trump, but nonetheless I will not be one of those “He is not my President” people, because he is my president as a citizen of the United States. Both sides, liberal and conservative have an opportunity to allow what is going on in today’s government to bring us together. Let this be an opportunity to get back to the basics of Christianity. Let me remind you that Christianity is not a religion of any state, but rather faith in Jesus, unlike the religions of the ancients we do not allow the state control over us. Yet we kind of compromise as Jesus said, give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s.

I believe both liberal and conservative Christians are engaged in what amounts to rebellion. Conservatives want to create a government of the church and by the church, and liberals are moving so far away from the church into the realm of Unitarianism. As a progressive Christian I am not going to sell out my faith and bash everything churches around the country do. Just as I do not want them to bash me and my progressive theology. I believe we can unite once again and agree to disagree.

So many times we are held back by our minds because what we “Think Others Will Think of us.”  This is the great hindrance of many of our dreams and passions. Let Nate’s message help set you free with the power of the Spirit of God.

It is so good to be back!  Nate gives an interesting message on faith while giving some opinion on the current political environment along with; what people do want to hear and what they do not.

Living in a fast paced world, demanding expectations both professional and social takes a toll on the human spirit. We forget about our days in which we were connected to the natural world around us. Instead we are constantly connected to the internet in some form. Yes we can use technology to find many great things about the supernatural, but you can never find the supernatural experience within technology. Information yes, experience no. So after you are done reading this short article go take a walk, meditate, go feel the earth and allow the Spirit of God to speak to you.

We can become more in tune with God the more we become in tune with ourselves. The less we stress out over money, work, and even our social lives. The more we let all of that go as hard as it is. The more we just allow ourselves to accept, to accept who we are, faults and all. Yes we can intentionally strive for manifestation of wealth, prosperity, health, happiness and all that will be revealed in time. Yet at the moment we may not have that. We may just be lying to ourselves trying to find what we think we want when we really have no clue.

Jesus did not deny his struggles, he was not all that keen on going to the cross, he didn’t enjoy spending 40 days and nights in the wilderness, probably not having a home and constantly being given death threats was not all that he was looking for. We can be the greatest of Christians, Jesus himself, and if we do not accept ourselves and the situation in which we live in nothing can change. It is what many call “being real.”

How can we be more real in our lives? To be real is to first be honest. That is the first step; honesty with ourselves. It takes doing some soul searching. Maybe like Jesus spending time in the wilderness. Looking our demons straight in the eye and begin to understand them so that we can defeat them.

Second, we must forgive. Forgiveness is powerful. It releases us from the torment that we or others have caused in our lives. Forgiveness breaks the chains that binds us to others negativity. You do not even have to talk to the person you hurt or the person who hurt you. One example in how to release the emotions of forgiveness by yourself is to write down your feelings, once you have done that recite a prayer then burn the paper as the paper is burning so is the past transgressions.

Finally allow the Spirit of God to surround you in love and light as you were intended to be. You may not have much, you may just be you. That my friend is enough. You are a special divine creation who has much to offer the world, you also have much to offer God. After all He created us for both His and our pleasure.

This is about keeping it real with yourself, your fellow human beings, and God. I think that you have a lot to offer and look forward to seeing your progress.