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Charlsie Kate

That is the South for you. There is a thing in Augusta (I think they still do it, I'm not sure, they used to) that is hosted by the Catholic church called Theology on Tap. Basically everyone meets at the bar and drinks beer or whatever, and they listen to a christian speaker. Then they discuss. How fun.

Weeble

Wonderful post. I find it inherently fascinating to hear how others view issues of faith. I never cease to be amazed by what people will believe.

Bill

I try to keep an open mind, but, with all of the bigotry and ignorance perpetuated in this country by people who identify themselves as Christians, I have a hard time listening to their thoughts on a man who may or may not have existed 2000 years ago.

On the other hand, some churches do a lot of good work for the community. So hopefully it all balances out.

sidhra

Do you believe in the divinity of Christ?

I believe Jesus believed in the divinity of you.

Kat

As a Christian I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the way you handled this topic...graciously and respectfully. I read this and didn't feel put down or made to feel foolish for my faith. Thank you! :)

This issue is a very significant one to me...What makes someone a christian? I don't think it's about following rituals, or being religious. I don't think it's about being "good". My understanding of what it is to really genuinely follow Christ (the literal definition of the term Christian) is:

-acknowledging my need for salvation; admitting my inability to be morally perfect and accepting Christ's gift of mercy for that inability (sanctification)

-striving to live a life of gratitude to Christ for the sacrifice he made on my behalf, because of the love he shows me on a daily basis, because of the confidence and belief he has in me

-striving to live a life of love and authenticity out of a desire to be more like Christ in regards to his wisdom, compassion, courage, strength, grace and integrity

Some people can live like a christian better than some 'christians' I've met, but I believe that the real thing that counts is where my heart is directed. What's my motivation? Pride or love?

Faith and action should flow out of eachother.

PG

Charlsie Kate,
That sounds awesome. I wish I could pour all of the energy that goes into people's efforts to "put religion back into the public square" into the kind of real, personal discussions that people have in small groups. I feel like some religious leaders put so much effort into making sure that religion doesn't disappear from what they perceive as "public life" -- the White House lawn, the courthouse, the greetings at Wal-Mart -- that they ignore how it disappears from our interpersonal lives when it's turned into an Issue.

Kat

(can I substitute 'topic' for 'issue' in my previous comment? *grn*)

PG, your comment made me wonder what or who is responsible for the tension that inhibits discussion on matters of faith.
Is it just blundering religious leaders who are to blame...or are there other factors?

I think at least part of the problem lies in the generalisations and preconceptions that some members of the media choose to perpetuate. Based on the air time given there seems to be a belief that the public is more interested in hearing the gory details about a single fallen leader than on a small community that quietly demonstrates forgiveness.

One result I think is that Christians are sometimes lumped together as hypocritical bible bashers.

Although my faith is very precious to me, I balk at the idea of trying to push that on other people, chiefly because I believe that faith is meant to be a personal choice and everyone has the right to determine that for themselves. However, I'm also aware of the fact that for whatever reason, many people become defensive when Christianity is discussed...which makes it difficult to engage in the kind of informal interpersonal discussions referred to.

Even responding to a post on this topic can feel a lot like walking on eggshells.

PG

Kat,

I completely agree that the media bias is toward making religion into an area of conflict -- it makes for better infotainment that way, and it's the self-interested nature of the media to present things in a way that makes them seem controversial.

To be honest, though, I'm less interested in how someone portrays X than in how individuals actually experience X. I'd much rather talk to someone about how faith affects her everyday life, than about how it touches upon some hot-button topic. This is part of my dislike of religious symbols in government and commercial areas. I think religion ought to be private -- not private in the sense of hidden, but something to be shared in a personal way rather than through the impersonal, inarticulate "speech" of faceless entities.

rob

I believe in the same things Kat mentioned in her first reply, and won't reiterate it because she said it so well.

I feel like the church is at least as much to blame as the media for problems with religion. I consider myself a christian, but at the same time, I try to be extremely tolerant of others, unless they are being intolerant themselves. I don't feel like church is the best environment to pursue tolerance, because it introduces money and politics into a subject that should involve neither.

Most conversations I've had with ministers, divinity students, etc. have revolved around the necessity of "christian community" and how the church is best equipped to provide such a community. My feeling is that the church isn't really equipped to provide a true christian community because it is hindered by trivial or archaic rules of doctrine that have nothing to do with christianity (e.g. not allowing female ministers) and requires a lot of money to sustain itself (and the big contributers usually want some sort of say in how money is spent).

Kat

PG: You've given much to mull over. I'm a bit of an activist at heart (probably due to having some feisty Irish ancestors) but you make a good point...sharing an authentic, personal experience can be more meaningful than taking an impersonal soap-box stance.

Rob: I very much empathise with your perspective on the nature of today's churches...I actually wrote a post I didn't publish a few weeks ago voicing some of the same concerns. I'm still trying to figure out what the best solution is. (Hence I haven't yet posted it)

It's so easy for churches to develop into big businesses through trying to accommodate the type of large congregations as we have here in North America. As a result, I'm leaning more towards finding the kind of support and community that the early church had...small groups meeting in people's homes to share dinner and pray and discuss matters of faith and experience. Even so, there is a potential risk of these becoming cliques, or getting theologically 'off track' depending on the personalities involved.

But I guess while people are imperfect, there will never be a perfect community.

ps(my mum has recently joined my dad in preaching at their local church. They're both lifetime scholars of Hebrew and Greek and the scriptures, so we've had some awesome discussions on those passages!)


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I like your post. I believe that every religion have their own thoughts and spirituality. And i heartily appreciate your thoughts over Christianity. Thanks for sharing your views.

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I believe Jesus believed in the divinity of you.

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