The singularity of Christianity (Escaping From the Divisions Within the Church)

Let’s just admit it in the United States right now I have never seen the protestant church more divided since the civil rights movements; which by the way is still going on. I rack my brain on over how we the church of all different flavors can come together regardless of interpretation of scripture, human rules, and dogma in which we place upon ourselves. We cling so hard to these beliefs that we would rather start a civil war than find a way to live in brotherly love with one another. So is it possible to possess a singularity within Christianity? The short easy answer is yes, we already have a singularity; we have Jesus! Yet your Jesus may not be my Jesus, and who is to say which one is right? We could look to the Bible for an answer but through our methods and biases in conducting hermeneutics of scripture meanings change to fit the desire we wish. So let’s face it, a singularity in Christianity is a tall order! Yet it is one we need to at least try to attain. First let me say that this is just a short article to help you expand you mind, this subject could easily be used to write a Ph.D. dissertation which I may consider in the future.

Why are we so divided?    

            I am not going to do a complete history on the division of the protestant church instead I will look at some issues that divide the church today. This can be a very touchy subject. People become very offended if something within their belief system is questioned. Yet one of my mottos is question everything! First, we are divided by denominations, I have a love hate relationship with denominations. While I believe that denominations certainly have their place they also cause an obvious division. Dozens of Pentecostal/charismatic denominations, mainline denominations as well as small and obscure denominations which all believe they know the will of God. Let us not forget the thousands of non-denominational churches which each hold to their own belief system. I for one love worshiping God in different denominations. I have very few fundamentals within my Christianity so I could be attending a United Church of Christ, Methodist, or many of the flavors of Pentecostalism which I am very fond of, worship God, fellowship with his people, and enjoy the diversity of my brothers and sisters.

With denominations aside let us look at a few other major areas which divide us as a church. LGBT inclusion, refugees, American nationalism, also the obsession with rules based on scriptural interpretation which enter the very core of the adherents; especially anything to do with sex. Their simply seems no room for the old saying “I will have to agree to disagree.” As you know these create the left and right, liberal or conservative world in which we live. Usually those with strict fundamental rules are rightwing conservatives and the “agree to disagree people” are the ones on the left. I do not necessarily claim a side, I do not have all the answers. Nobody does! Why do we need such labels? I for one would be considered a liberal Christian yet I would rather be called a Jesus follower. Then again many think I am a heretic! The thing is what do we really know? Fact is we know very little, trying to package our religion into an all-encompassing system which affects every area of our lives will assuredly lead to conflict. While I may offend some as a Christian preacher I must address what I believe causes the biggest division of all. That is fundamentalism, I am not talking about the basic definition of fundamentalism, that being the virgin birth of Christ, His life, death, and resurrection. In fact those are probably the only fundamentals I will say are absolutely true in faith. I am talking about divisions created based on denominational beliefs about everything from baptism, speaking in tongues, prophecy, psychology, tithing, the inerrancy of scripture and its different variations thereof, the list can go on to eternity. I have seen heated debates over whether a person would go to hell if they were not baptized even if they were a confessing Christian. I thought it was silly but the other guy was dead set on his beliefs. Where did he get them? He was taught them probably from the start of his Christian journey and anything else would be apostasy. Hey I once was a very conservative fundamentalist Christian but then I went to seminary and I learned much about scripture and Jesus that I was never taught in church. I admit I do like to have a good argument but I certainly do not wish to divide a nation. That is what is going on right now, a divided nation over variations of religious beliefs.

Four Major areas of debate amongst Christians

            A major issue within the protestant church is LGBT inclusion. As a former fundamentalist I was trained to believe that homosexuality is a sin, along with many other things in a church world obsessed with sex. I find it very interesting that Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality, it is not that he did not know people who were homosexual yet he never mentions it. Jesus does mention sexual immorality, the question is how is sexual immorality defined? Rape, pedophilia, prostitution, these are a few areas of sexual immorality I can think of that the scriptures touch on. Maybe we focus so much on sex because we in fact were created for sex? “Multiply and fill the earth” sex is normal behavior between committed couples. Ellen Page star of the series Gaycation really made it very clear in a world of hate towards the LGBT community she states “Why would anyone choose to be this way?” Well they do not choose, people are born with their orientation. As a Christian I am a believer in ensoulment, I believe that it is very likely that the brain which acts as the antenna for our soul may not be wired to attract the same sex. In fact souls with male orientation may have been placed within a female body and vice versa. I do not want to spend much more time on this issue due to the fact that it could stretch in length more than I wish to write. I do not know all the answers but I do know that this division over sex must be put to an end if we are to see healing and an eventual singularity.

In the news today there is a huge debate over refugees and illegals in the United States, we have just sworn in a new President who is desperate to wall us in and keep others out. Refugees have always been close to the heart of God. There is a vast amount of scriptures that supports the acceptance of refugees in fact the family of Jesus was forced to leave their homeland for Egypt to escape certain death. I have written an article in the past called “No Borders in Paradise” which I encourage you to read. Fact is it is hard to be a Christian if we only use the foreigner for financial gain yet keep them from safety in a time of need. Our country is filled with large overpriced church buildings which could hold millions of foreigners, members of the churches own businesses which could employ these refugees to earn their keep. This country is for everyone, it’s very foundation was established on the freedom of all people and to welcome all people with open arms. Just as Jesus welcomes all we should as followers have our arms opened as well.

As stated above we have a new President who is an American nationalist. His voters are nationalist and a great majority are of the evangelical persuasion. As if this plot of land is more special than any others. I admit I am a globalist, guess what, so is God! American nationalism is causing some of the greatest division within the country and church. We hold to our guns and flags greater than our Bibles and faith. We believe we are superior because of our citizenship and dangle it in front of the faces of the world when they are in need. Yes it is okay to be proud Americans but as the old Sunday school song goes “I am in the Lords Army.” Not the American Army or any other “country” but an Army of Christian soldiers who’s weapons are created from faith and prayer. If we can learn to control are egos, to let go of this idea that America is somehow more special than any other country on earth, to learn to look at the country through the eyes of foreigners we might just decrease some of the division within the church.

Finally I will just briefly touch on the amount of rules each denomination possesses, which probably surpasses the 613 Jewish laws found in the Old Testament. Most rules are based on the interpretation of the New Testament text. For me personally I have found that no rules, no dogma, just Spirit led Christianity is better. There are rules, but no rules when it comes to fellowship as confessing Christians. As I have said many times “we do not know.” We argue and point fingers over logs in our eyes while many of those outside of the church only have splinters. This is not a new phenomenon all you have to do is read the book of Acts to see the division in the church. Yet since the foundation of the church we have had the answer we have had the singularity but we allowed our flesh to get in the way. Remember the “Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”                       

Into Apostasy and the end of the know it all

So let us just embrace apostasy! Wait, what did I just say? Embrace apostasy! Yes the only way to get back to the singularity which can bring all flavors of Christianity back together is to become an apostate. So many pastors do not pastor they command their flock, they teach a message of “this is how it is or else.” Instead of questioning everything we follow like sheep. The blind leading the blind. In my future church plant the only dogma which will be shared is that of confession, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. The belief of the virgin birth, the human/divine nature of Christ his death resurrection and coming return. While that alone can create a lot of debate I believe that these are the basic dogmas of the protestant Christian church. So, let us question everything and learn from one another. “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.”

The Singularity

            So has I have mentioned throughout this article that Jesus is our singularity. Synonymous with Jesus is love. The apostle Paul gives the church in Corinth a wonderfully detailed definition of love. This is found in the New Testament text 1 Corinthians 13. I am not going to copy and paste the text, look it up and read it but here is the verbs that create the verb love. Patient, kindness, modest, humble, does not take advantage of others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, never delighting in evil, always rejoices with truth, protecting, trusting, hopeful, and persevering, it never fails! This is the definition of love. Okay so let us put the word God or Jesus before each one of these characteristics of love. Now let us put your name before each one of these definitions of love. The difficult part is can we live out love? No we cannot fully live out love, by God’s grace we can do the best we can. Yet we do not even do that. We struggle and fight within ourselves leaving us look like fools to those outside of the church. Our division will never bring more to Christ. The singularity of Christianity is love, but are we humble enough?

Can we be humble enough to be like Jesus?

            Only by the grace of God can we actually follow in the footsteps of Jesus. It is only when we decide to let go of our ego, that is forget or at least minimize our predisposed ideas about theology, to throw away the idea that the only type of theology is one in which you were born into, found God in, or what the preachers preach on Sunday! Fellow preachers, church leaders, pastors, and priest be ready to do the same thing. We need to open up a dialogue and broaden our horizons working with each other to bring about Christ within the church. This is not easy, I came to this level of consciousness by observation the politics and arrogance of many of my brothers and sisters whom I love yet allowed me to think about my theological practice. Is this really what it is all about? Is everything absolute? What is truth? What is it that makes us so fundamental to the traditions of our various faith traditions? Many would say basic human programming and fear. Well maybe we need to deconstruct ourselves and leave our fear in the past for to fear is to sin. I honestly do not know if we can come to this singularity here on earth. I do know that prophecy tells us that we will come to this in heaven. Then I can hear it now, “well that is for heaven we must live on earth.” Yes we must live on earth, but we do not have to live like earth when the Kingdom of Heaven is within! I want to continue to write about this subject but I think that you must have the point after over 2000 words. With that I hope that this inspires you to be a person that desires to see the singularity alive and well in the church, to stop the division and bring healing to this land! Amen!

           

           

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The Backyard Preacher #72

So many times we allow the grace of God to act silently upon our lives giving us feelings of guilt and remorse, when God is saying that no matter what you do, or have done my love for you is still the same.  Today be open to the grace of God in your life, you are loved and regardless of how you may feel about yourself God loves you and understands.

Possibilities of the Impossible

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What is possible? What is impossible? If you were to ask these two questions many people would give you dozens of answers. I am here to explain in this article that nothing is impossible! I truly believe that the laws of physics are just man made labels given to our understanding of the working universe. While these labels are useful they can also prevent us from breaking the boundaries between science and faith. There was a time in history in which it was said that man could not travel faster than sound. A day will probably come when man will travel faster than light.

Take us out of this human shell and we will have the ability to travel faster than light. Everything that we think we know about existence now, we will one day realize that we knew nothing. I see this within the many Christianities that make up my faith. So many feel that they have the right theology and practice the proper doctrine. Truth is most of us are probably off center; this is another amazing example of God’s grace. One possibility that many would deem impossible would be the church being able to unite as one putting aside our differences and embrace our unity in Christ. This will probably not happen till Christ comes in glory but hey, anything is possible.

I am of the Pentecostal flavor of Christianity. That basically means that I am a continuist, I believe that all of the gifts of the Spirit that are found within the pages of the Bible are still readily available to people today. The same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the young earth found in the book of Genesis is within you. This Spirit and desires to help you accomplish the impossible in Christ. We need to believe that we possess what we know we have in God before manifest in our lives. Take hold of the things in our lives that you know that are attainable for you and go after it. Even if it doesn’t seem attainable at the present, start taking small steps towards it. One of the biggest things that holds us back from achieving the impossible is fear. Fear eats us alive, we must be fearless!  being fearless enough to know that you can do the impossible!

Do not listen to those that say it cannot be done. Or that you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. Do not let your past define you, let your actions today determine your future. Live in the now! I could go on and on but I am sure you get my point. What matters is if you are following God’s will for your life. God is a powerful, wonderful and amazing God, he desires us to do amazing things on the earth.

Some of us wish to have what we shouldn’t trying to attain what is outside of  God’s will. This in many cases is why miracles are not happening in our lives. When we are being led by the Spirit the laws of physics do not apply to us; they are just suggestions. You say you have not, I say you haven’t asked! God can and will make what is nothing into something. The Latin term used by theologians is “ex nihilo.” This is to create something out of nothing. This is what God does; it is his business. Start to believe that you are already a successful person. Your thoughts become reality when you place actions in front of them!

You may say how this is done? Let us look at the book of Hebrews the writer list many great people of faith, and how they believed God.

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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.  And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.  By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.  By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.  By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.  By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated  the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.  These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. – Hebrews Ch. 11, New International Version.

Now I wouldn’t normally place a whole chapter from scripture in my article but this is an exception. I have been inspired throughout my entire life from the verses above. These great people of faith did what seemed to be impossible. Yet through faith the impossible became possible!  They believed God, carried out the action and the results are seen. They were not out for themselves or their personal will, but for God’s will. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” This is how Jesus taught us to pray.  Not Nate’s kingdom come, Nate’s will be done. (You can add your own name).  We need to pray for the knowledge of God’s will in our lives. Most of the time we know already what God’s will is for us. Or at least we know what to do. We do what is right, what is good, and what lines up with scripture. Basically it is about doing the next right thing.  Keep it simple!

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Furthermore we cannot forget about God’s miracle working power in our lives. We may try to downplay God’s will and by doing so miss out. Remember Jesus fed the multitudes with just a small amount of food.  He healed those who were sick, he raised the dead. Jesus commanded evil spirits out of men, and silenced their lips. He walked on water, and guess what, he said we can do the same as him! Start believing in the supernatural and start making the supernatural natural in your life.

I am far from a physicist, but I love hearing about the new discoveries that scientist in this field are finding. It has been brought to my attention that in Switzerland scientist at CERN were using the Hadron Collider and doing research into some of the smallest known particles. It turns out that they have identified particles that do not follow the “standard model” of how they should act. You can read about this here http://www.sciencealert.com/the-lhc-finds-evidence-of-particle-activity-beyond-the-standard-model

In my personal opinion science and faith can co-exist. The more science discovers the more they reveal the wonders of God. These scientists have found that certain particles do not follow the “standard model.” I do not think that we will ever be able to fully understand all of the mysteries of the universe even through modern science. Yet I am sure that we will continue to try. I bring up this article because the scientist found something that they did not think was possible. These particles basically did not follow the laws of physics in regards to gravity. The thing is our God does not follow the law of physics either. He doesn’t follow any law, he is the law. Whatever he does is law, and whatever he wills manifest. Ex nihilo takes place and we stand back in amazement and worship the God who created this universe and still cares enough to give the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, his son Jesus Christ. Today believe in the impossible, believe that there are no limits on what you can do in life. We will not always be able to understand it.  Listen to the voice of Christ and just believe!

The Thrill of the Hunt

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I am not a big fan of hunting. Not because I am against it, but because I have certain beliefs that surround the act of hunting animals. First and foremost I believe that we must eat what we kill. God has given us various livestock that have been created for human consumption. I also do not have what it takes to kill, gut, and skin an animal. I am also a huge animal lover. So therefore I am not going to be a hunter. I think you probably know where this is going. Cecil a beloved lion in Africa was recently killed by an American who has a past time of hunting trophies. Now I always try to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I am sure this man thought what he was doing was okay. We are known to justify anything that gives us pleasure. Obviously he has friends they must have known of his trophy hunting.  Many have probably been admiring his collection for years. I am just guessing but if one spends thousands of dollars for a head I am sure he had them mounted so all his visitors could view his conquest. I am also sure it is a very thrilling experience to stalk a deadly animal and kill it. Something that reaches back to man’s primal existence.

Let me make it clear, I am against the hunting of these creatures. It makes no sense to kill these animals.  God has placed them on this earth for us to be stewards of. God cares even for the sparrow, he surely cares for all of the other creatures of his creation. Switching gears a bit let me allow you to look at the hunter within. I found it very disturbing to see the hate in which many have placed on this man. Most people had no idea about this lion, until mob mentality took over.  Everything I read on social media is encouraging revenge on the dentist from Minnesota. Many are even asking for his death. How crazy is that! We humans have are priorities backwards. It is the human who was created in the likeness and image of God. It is the human who is a little lower than the angels, and it is the human in whom Jesus was incarnated in order to bring salvation to the world. So I say every person calling for the death of Walter Palmer is just as bad as he is. We humans like to seek out and prey on others. It is the thrill of the hunt. Who can we shame next? Who we can gang up on and destroy because they are doing something outside of the social norm. So who is the hunter? Who is seeking the thrill of the hunt? I am not saying Walter Palmer is innocent, but I am not saying you are either. You’re a social justice abuser. You cry over a lion no one has heard of, but no tears are shed over aborted babies. What in the world is wrong with us? I guess it is just the human condition, I really shouldn’t be surprised. Man is evil from birth. Yet does that give us the reason to persecute our fellow brothers and sisters. No, we should be able to respond in a dignified humane way instead of acting like the man we are shaming. So what would I say to Mr. Palmer? I think I would tell him that I understand that you are a hunter and have been doing this along time. For the most part you were under the radar.  Now everything is in the light. I am sure you are only sorry that you were caught. Maybe you should realize that these animals are rare and precious. If you committed a crime you should answer to the crime learn from this experience and move on with your life.

What comes to my mind when people hunt big game for no other reason but a trophy is their decreased sensitivity to life in general. On the flip side do those who throw stones especially through social media also have a disregard for life? It is certainly easy to run your mouth online, yet I doubt 90% of these social justice warriors wouldn’t dare speak to this man’s face. This guy kills lions with bows and arrows, I am sure that he also has plenty of high powered rifles laying around. Also Lions and big game are not necessarily innocent creatures. They are not my kitten who is sleeping next to me as I write this. A lion will kill you. Bears will kill you. They will have no remorse, and social media wouldn’t make a sound. These animals will even cannibalize their offspring. People talk about humanity being violent and humans being the destruction of the planet, the animal kingdom is much more ferocious. I am sure you have watched the lion killing dozens of gazelle on TV. I am not saying this to justify the actions of Mr. Palmer, I am saying it because there is always two sides to every story. God desires us to be good stewards of the world in which we live. We have majestic creatures in which we should protect if possible. Yet in reality many of the endangered species will go extinct just as the many before. Dinosaurs once ruled the planet and nature took its course, now only bones remain. So when I woke up today to notice social media going nuts over this dentist in Minnesota, my first thoughts were not about the lion it was about the cruelty that our fellow man shows to each other. This man didn’t kill another human, he may have broken the law but nothing deserving of death. So just think about it next time you’re out and about and maybe do something that could leave you shamed. I guarantee we all have been there. Or think of your past and the little secrets that you wish to remain hidden. Being aware that we are human, and giving each other grace will be a major step in helping your own life find peace. I have found that people who like to cast stones have some kind of issue which is putting their life out of balance. I could understand if this man killed another human being, but he did not. I am not defending his actions, but defending him from the absolutely crazy responses from our social media warriors. So speak easy and with reason, or don’t speak at all. Blessings!

Path of Least Resistance

hfdhgszThe path of least resistance for many Christians seems like a foreign concept. Many American Christians desire to be at friction or war with our neighbors who happen to be different than us. Many, when thinking of “the path of least resistance,” will think of taking the easy way out, this is far from the truth. In fact the path of least resistance is the much harder path.  Now I know that many can and will quote scriptures that seem to be contrary to taking the path of least resistance. So let me tell you what the path of least resistance is, ready for this “To trust God in everything, to be at peace within yourself knowing that God is in control of all, to follow Jesus through the knowledge of the scriptures, becoming less associated with the self-will and increasingly transformed into God’s will.” Ultimately the goal is to rid one of self allowing one to enter into God. Jesus said For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:30) Jesus also states Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34) So forget yourself! If you want to read a book about the path of least resistance start with the book of Acts. The Apostles especially Paul followed this path he suffered shipwreck, prison, beatings, and finally death all while singing praises to God. Paul knew the secret which is not a secret at all. Paul did not have self-will he had God’s will. We do not have to force people into God’s will in fact it cannot be forced or bought it must be received.

Today in America we try to change people so much that we can end up forgetting that there is a God; who actually does the changing. We create resistance only to drain ourselves and make Christianity look like an ugly stain on society. We protest Gay marriage, guns, drugs, crime, abortion, and every other moral objection that comes out of our ten thousand plus denominations. Don’t get me wrong there is a war on Christianity yet our fellow man is not waging this war, the war is being waged by Satan and his fallen angels. Paul writes to the Ephesians telling them “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Instead what do we do, we damn our fellow man to hell because they happen to be different than us or believe in a different political opinion, dress differently, come from a different culture or have a different type of theology. God loves these people too just as much as He loves you and me. Being in opposition brings irritation, only to makes you irritated, discontent, and unsatisfied with life. While you are thinking you’re on the road less travelled your actually taking the broad road of irritated, angry, and frustrated people. This is not the road to the kingdom this is the road of the fundamental Christian based on outdated American theology that came about in large part due to the Civil War and the argument over slavery. (That’s another article)

Let me show you a better way, or let me let Paul show you a better way.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13)

Paul understood that we can be annoying, irritated, and angry people, but these attributes will not win anyone to Christ.  Yet faith, hope, and love the three attributes that make up our true selves are used by the Spirit to draw all men unto Him.  When we step out of ourselves and into Christ we see that there is not a war on Christianity in America there is a war within us that becomes enraged when we see the country going the way in which we don’t agree with.  Let me finish with a proverb.

There was a man who won a car in a drawing, all of his friends were happy for him and expressed how lucky he was for winning such a nice car.  The man didn’t smile or frown just simply said “well maybe”

The man decided to take his new car out on a Sunday afternoon for a drive. While driving his car he was involved in a terrible accident that destroyed his car and landed him in the hospital. His friends came to him and said, how tragic that you have been injured and your new car destroyed. The man said again with the same attitude “well maybe”

While the man was in the hospital a storm came upon his town and a tornado demolished is home, again his friends visited him telling him how lucky he was to be in hospital during the storm. I am sure you know his comment.

Often we do not know the beginning from the end, but if we trust God for the outcome in all things we will be exactly where we need to be. At the center of His will.