I went to church this morning, my 'old' church. A few years ago that statement would be totally insignificant and simply routine. I have always been a square peg in a round hole when it comes to church but I loved my church and I loved the people who went there. As a church family we had been through so much losing people we loved on the journey. Even when things were incredibly tough and my very close friends left, I stayed. And today, was awesome.
I stayed in church through all my questioning and debating and continued to be passionate supporter of LGBTQ rights while simultaneously loving Jesus. In fact it was because of my love for Christ my only response to any people group, HAD to be love otherwise what was the point of my faith?? My studies further changed my mind set and we learned about constructivism where people construct their own truth based on their perception of reality as well as the world as THEY know it. We do not have one great universal truth, we have what is true for us and find like minded people who share that truth. To tell anyone else what they believe in, their very faith and core, is actually a lie and they are deceived, is really disrespectful in my eyes and somewhat arrogant even if intentions are pure. This is all my opinion of course.
A few years ago I sat in church praying and thinking and asking a million questions as always and I felt God say Just Love. That's all you have to do. Not decide who is right or wrong or worthy or going to heaven or not. My only job I had to do as a follower of Christ, was loving people. Although I try to avoid the excessive use of hashtags, I will often do a #justlove on my posts as this is what it is all about for me. Ah the freedom that comes with that is amazing. It is God's greatest commandment and for me, negates all others. My filter is always the love of Christ. The bible for me is a book that has some interesting truths and ideas but it is still a book written by men and even the most extreme Christian has to admit no man was perfect except for Christ. So a book written in a foreign language over two thousand years ago by imperfect men cannot ever replace the truth of love for me and what I believe the spirit of God is telling me. It has been used for hundreds of years to do terrible harm to many people and to justify hate which is the very opposite of Christ. It is ironic and sad that people who claim to follow Christ will use the book over the love and kindness and common sense for their fellow human being. Actually they really do follow Him and believe vehemently they are being obedient but for me, any intolerance or hate cannot co-exist with my faith.
Apart from the gay issue, I have the death with dignity issue. I am passionate about that too. Allowing someone to die in a humane way rather than have them suffer yet many churches will use a book to justify someone suffering an awful undignified death so they can be 'right' and 'obedient.' WTF? How is it ok to let an animal go rather than watch them desperate for mercy but we won't allow people that final choice. It is NOT ok.
Trump and the church? Nope, don't get it. If the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control then how on earth are you seeing this in that man? Where is this Christian character millions and millions are proclaiming? The damage this man has done to the church is massive. He makes people want to vomit. If he shows the character of Christ then we clearly have different religions.
Science and creation? I believe in both. I do not believe the world is 6000 years old. I do not believe in a literal wooden boat and a guy who built it and somehow captured 2 of every species which then bred on this boat while everyone else drowned. No disrespect to those who do believe it and maybe one day when I get to heaven I will need to apologize to poor Noah but I don't think my belief or disbelief in bible stories is a major or particularly relevant in my life and walk with God. I believe how I live my life, how I treat people and the earth and my body is important. Gratitude, humility, kindness. Not being an arsehole. And when I am, saying sorry and then forgiving myself and trying my best not to be an arsehole again.
Two years ago I got really hurt by someone I trusted implicitly and I left the church. Everything I thought I knew felt like a lie and I could not stay. I kept my Jesus and continued my walk but I missed the fellowship. I missed my friends, my church family. I kept my bestie Mish and close friends but lost others. I have stayed away for too long. They accepted my gay loving, opinionated, Halloween celebrating, left wing theology and let me be. They long gave up trying to change my stubborn questioning mind. Basically, I have pretty much made up my own unique religion to incorporate all my values and stay true to myself and who I know Jesus to be. I loved being at church this morning, I loved seeing old friends and I loved the message preached with humour and sincerity and humility. I don't know if I will come every Sunday but I will definitely come again and that feeling of coming home is priceless. I thought I had to choose, loving Jesus my way and living it 100% or staying in church. Turns out I can do both.