Monday, June 6, 2011

Jesus doesn't go to your church either

I certainly am not in the school of all roads lead to God. For instance, I think Islam leads God. I know it is at times more socially acceptable to embrace a Universalist mindset and just say, "It's all the same thing," but as far as I'm concerned, it isn't. I take most of the Bible literally even to the point of losing a few popularity points along the way. And Rob Bell can say what he wants to, but I think there is a Hell and I have no intention of going there (thank you, Jesus!).

That said, I've reached the point of nauseous exhaustion over arguing with people about denominational preference lately. I really want to create a t-shirt that says, Jesus doesn't go to your church either. Snarky, maybe, but I'm so tired of people knowing they're right and if my views don't line up with your views then one of us is wrong. Maybe. And, maybe not.

I can safely say I intend to spend eternity right next to my friends in various denominations. We may differ on a whole lot of things sometimes. Some of us prefer liturgical worship and others do not. Most of my closest spiritual relationships are people who walk through very different doors to very different churches and embrace a very different worship style on varying days. Some of those churches I'd be comfortable in and others I would not. That doesn't make any of them right or wrong. Turns out, I'm not the standard by which God judges. (Darn!)

I've been super hurt by some ignorant and mean spirited comments from a lot of people in my life the past few months. (My favorite was, "I'd love to tell you why you're wrong but you're not worth it." Really??) Choosing to change churches and denominations was not an easy choice for me which is why I'm not going to put on here where that is right now. True, I don't want the backlash, but I also really don't think it matters.

Salvation is by faith alone - always has been, always will be.

And as a gentle reminder to myself and some other people, if you think someone is wrong in their beliefs, church, whatever - being mean to them may not be the best way to lead them back to the truth. I'm just sayin.


Meredith Gould said...

Jesus never went to church then and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to go now. Last time I checked, he was Jewish -- something that comes as a big shock to far too many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. But this isn't even the point I want to make!

The point I want to make is this: I am deeply grieved by the grilling you've been receiving from other so-called Christians relative to what, from my perspective, looks like a spiritual journey embarked upon with great integrity and a big heart.

May the Lord bless you and keep you...(you know the rest!)

Brenda said...

You are wonderful! Thanks for listening to the craziness and for your constant encouragement. Forever grateful. xx

Cura Animarum said...

Hey Brenda,

You know a bit about the struggles Melissa and I have been having with family. I know how awful and lonely it can feel and my heart literally breaks for you!

I hope things get better for you soon...or that at least you find some comfort in the good people God has placed around you through the community you have become a part of and the friends who lend you their support and prayers.


Brenda said...

Thanks, Eric. Definitely helpful that you understand. Great comfort in all of you for sure. Glad God has you in my life :)

Sue said...


Jesus said we were to be like little children in our faith... and children don't analyze and pontificate and rant about theological differences. They feel loved and protected by Jesus. They have, as the old hymn says, "oh what a friend we have in Jesus." Jesus as confidant. Jesus as comforter.

I have an absolute faith in Jesus, I know that I know and trust Jesus, and I would not trade that personal faith and relationship with Jesus for all the churches in the world. I have been guided to attend church and not to relate to Jesus ONLY solo, but my love of the liturgical experience of church, and my love of my personal experience of Christ's presence and activity in my life, are mutually enhancing. Whether we read the Bible literally or metaphorically, whether we like liturgy or nontraditional services, whether we [fill in the blank] is an intellectual understanding. The faith that triggers God's grace is a heart felt faith, an inner confident joy that Christ is risen and has redeemed us.

I remember when one of the people at work passed away, that a woman I knew who was pretty rigid in her definition of what a Christian was, and what denominations were and were not acceptable in her eyes, actually told me that the other people she considered Christians in her area of the company were conversing about "whether he was saved." That gave me chills. They weren't talking about praying for his widow, or for the shock of the people in his department, his friends and family--and the inattentive driver who caused his death who probably still feels trauma from this.

Whether someone is saved or not is a matter of faith, and between the person in question and God. It's God's grace that has saved me. I may not care for certain churches or denominations--but I have found one that fits me so that's where I attend. I don't go around talking about how much I despise tapioca pudding--I just eat chocolate instead. Likewise, I don't go around talking about the denominations that turn me off, but about my faith and my church and my passion for Christ. I would never dream of telling someone else that they went to the "wrong" church or that they weren't saved...

Do we point people TOWARD God or away from Him? My goal is to always point toward. Voicing judgment and hostility against other believers, churches or denominations is not the way to do this.

Wishing you people who SUPPORT you in your faith, instead of tearing you down, in your life!

Brenda said...

Sue, as always you're comments are timely and encouraging. Thanks for taking the time to write that. I couldn't agree more. If nothing else, this has made me very thankful for those in my life who support my decisions and point me always to live for Him. Forever grateful!

Thanks again.