No one Lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead He puts it on a stand, so that those that come in can see the light. --Jesus (Luke. 8:16 NIV)
---------------------------------- But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. --Paul(2Cor. 4:7 NIV)
It is through the cracks in our humanity that the light within often shines brightest -- Randy Constan
--Site Directory / Content--
--Site Subject articles--
Purpose of Website
and Why I've started this work
God's love covers everything! If you have sought or are seeking God and yet have found organized religion to be a continual hindrance, You have come to the right place!! It is my goal to share God's awesome Love and unending commitment toward all those who seek Him, help YOU to trust Him, and trust him more than you ever did before! (Don't like the 'Him' reference, 'Her' is fine if you prefer. God doesn't care).
But please keep in mind that what I am encouraging here has everything to do with your personal relationship with God, and almost nothing to do with religion. As an organized body of believers religion can do wonderful things, and certainly has always done so in areas such as humanitarian outreach. But far too many people are falling through the cracks in Christian ministry and fellowship, and the reasons could fill several books! Christian religion earnestly tries to draw people to God, but sadly convinces many people they're better off running away. And when you consider that according to Jesus this is supposed to be a faith based on inclusion of everyone (John 6:37), this is beyond unacceptable. Even the multitudes that have experienced God's wonderful presence in their lives are often discouraged, beaten up, and convinced to give up on God entirely, all because of Christian religious teachings and methodology. In fact if there is a devil at work in the world today, it is a sad but irrefutable observation that religion may be one of his greatest tools. And perhaps the biggest travesty of all is that the purveyors of this situation seldom even recognize themselves as the cause. Invariably they also claim to "hate" religion and just don't see that they themselves are part of the problem! Here are just some of the many ways people fall through the cracks:
- God brings about miraculous healings all the time and it is a joyous occasion when such miracles happen, but those that do not receive such healings are often mistreated to the point of exclusion. Like "Job's counselors", people accuse or assume wrongdoing or lack of faith as the reason for their plight. Then to add insult to injury, they are taught that they are calling God a liar if they confess that they are still sick. Eventually they leave. In like manner, wonderful teachings on the many "moves of the spirit" are plentiful. Yet those that do not experience certain supernatural events or experience God in exactly the same way are quietly ignored, and again assumed to be at fault.
- The immature and intolerant handling of many issues related to sexuality and human relationships is appalling. Divorced believers, especially those that re-marry, are often frowned upon. In some cases the church will not even welcome the new partner, as if to force a choice between an intolerant congregation or a loving spouse. Women or men who circumvent their traditional gender roles in any manner, in or out of church, are often considered everything from rebels to perverts. A whole spectrum of people whose gender identity or sexual preferences are outside the comfort zone of religion are routinely ostracized, and every conceivable effort is made to make them unwelcome. The unspoken hope is that they will simply go away, and in most cases they do. In others, they are strongly encouraged to leave, or even ordered to stay away.
- The Bible tells us to give according to our own consciences (2 Cor.9:7) and to refrain from bragging about our giving (Matt 6:2). Yet a convenient fund raising doctrine of mandatory "tithing" compels members to commit specific amounts as a "legal obligation", and routinely asks members to "testify" about their doing so. Such churches often disallow membership or any tangible involvement in church ministries until this requirement is fulfilled. The motive is too obvious to require explanation, and the results are destructive both to believers and the church's reputation in the world they wish to reach.
- Believers are encouraged to study the bible for themselves and seek God's guidance. But if after doing so, they arrive at a different understanding, revelation, or interpretation that goes against some "status quo" teaching, they are considered a backslider, rebellious, or maybe not even a "true believer".
The list goes on and on, leaving huge portions of believers to feel that they have literally fallen through the cracks in the religious system. Meanwhile the church merrily ends up seeing itself as "purified" with all their undesirables gone. God has promised to never leave or forsake his children, no matter who else does (Ps.27:2 Heb.13:6), but the problem is not God. It is simple human pride and prejudice hiding behind the masks of justification and religion!
Common Sense Christianity!
I said that my goal here is to share God's Love. Let's start with the basic assumption that actions done in love are those done with someone's growth and well being as the motivator (self love also qualifies). M Scott Peck, in his now famous book "The Road Less Traveled" described Love that way, and I believe it is in agreement with both biblical and gut level definitions. So if we believe that God indeed loves us, we can at least be sure as we seek Him for the things we need and deal with in this life, whether spiritual or material, He will not let us down (Matt.6:31‑33). Common sense also tells us if God didn't love us enough to see us through anything that came our way in this life, that would not be love at all. Jesus warned us that in this world we would have tribulation (John 16:33), and tribulation often means dealing with problems and issues that don't always simply "go away". Some problems and tribulations are our own making, and others without a known origin (except to those who claim to know everything, of course). But regardless of how or why problems, concerns, or issues come about, our job then as fellow Christians... indeed as fellow human beings, is to offer acceptance, comfort, encouragement, and help to brothers and sisters undergoing such trials. Unfortunately, Christians often choose judgment instead, driving those most in need of fellowship away.
So yes, it is high time for some common sense Christianity, and you'll hear me use that phrase quite a bit. The bible does warn against relying to heavily on our own understanding, but as we seek the lord we are promised wisdom for the asking (James 1:5), a renewed mind (Rom.12:2), and a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:18) to replace our hearts of stone. Such Wisdom and renewal means that we can trust our own common sense more and more, and recognize instinctively when the things being preached or taught to us are simply wrong. If someone with 10 years of theological training offers to explain to me why I should mistreat someone, I can say "no thanks" without any reservation at all, despite my lack of a doctoral degree. Yet we often hear wrong preaching on many issues, knowing in our heart of hearts that it should be challenged, and do nothing. We dare not even discuss it, lest we cause division in the church. Such silence is at times wise, but sometimes it is simply acting (or failing to) out of fear or laziness.