We all have beliefs and those beliefs help shape and control us. With regard to theological (God, bible, etc.) beliefs, what do you believe and why? Did you arrive at those beliefs because you spent quality time researching God or the bible? How many hours a week do you spend studying spiritual things? Have you learned anything? Do you read spiritual books? After being a full-time minister for the past 16 years, it seems to me that most people in the church don’t study, but only accept what is being broadcasted from the pulpit. Here’s my issue, since studying by the lay person is a minimum (because of long hours at work, etc.), and we pay a preacher to study, to share, to enlighten, to inspire and to empower, why does the preacher get hammered with criticism, get called a liberal, or even a heretic when he shares insight that he gleans from his in-depth studies. That’s quite bizarre if you ask me. Here’s where it gets really bad. If the “man of god” persists in his newfound understanding of scriptures, God, etc., the church will excommunicate him under the charge of heresy! With so much hatred and discontent among leaders and preachers, I understand why ministers are getting out of the pulpit. Most have a family and it isn’t advantageous to them to stay in a place of insecurity. It’s not that preachers don’t love God, the people or the bible; it’s that they have grown weary in dealing with the close-mindedness of the leaders. I hear from preachers quite frequently who are making exit plans. Furthermore, the congregants are starting to leave. It’s sad! Before I left the church I had a guy in my bible class who wanted to talk about women in ministry along with several other “taboo” topics, but he was fearful to ask because of what people might think of him. After being there for a year and building a relationship with him, he finally asked in class and the discussion went forward. It was a very enlightening conversation and I wish I could’ve stayed on just to finish this study. This is what church is supposed to be, a community of love, a refuge of hope, and a place where everyone has a voice and fear has NO VOICE! If the church is going to survive we need CHANGE AGENTS to step up and to start making some changes. We’ve got to get back to Romans 14, 15 and I Cor. 13…a spirit of toleration for all people and love. If not, the institutional church will dissipate very shortly. #itstimeforachange. -obr
1. Liars are everywhere, even in sacred institutions. You’d think that a place of worship would be less inclined to lie about a person, but this isn’t the case. Sure there are exceptions, but I’m speaking from personal experience. Because of this my guard is on heightened alert. There’s not a lot of people I trust, my family and a few close friends, but beyond that, well let’s just say it’s going to be more difficult. The church has taught me an invaluable lesson….be aware of ALL PEOPLE!!
2. Loving and appreciating yourself is very important. I didn’t realize the full weight of this until I was dragged through the garbage dump. If you rely on people, you will get hurt. One minute you are a hero, the next minute you are a zero. And trust me, they will let you know how much of a zero you are and will tell others. It will become their gospel!! I had to look in the mirror and say, all will be well. Believe in your greatness!!
3. Family is vitally important. Each family has problems and issues, but when the shift has hit the ceiling and you are wondering where to go and what to do, a good family is always there for you. Don’t forget how blessed you are to have a family that loves and cares for you.
4. Sometimes life just SUCKS! Yep, life, at times, SUCKS! I’m not where I want to be in life. I don’t particularly like my job, but I’m thankful for it and the owners are people of integrity which makes the working environment good. Through all of this, I’ve learned for the second time that life isn’t fair and is MOST definitely a paradox! I’m optimistic that things will change.
5. And lastly, I’ve learned that the divine (sacred) is all around. God told Moses, the ground you’re standing on is holy ground. Not just that spot, but the world, the earth, God is everywhere! That’s good news! This is the greatest lesson I’ve learned. -obr
What do you believe and why do you believe it? How did you arrive at those beliefs? What do you believe about:
2. The Bible
7. Other paths to God
9. The Universe
Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to believe, go and do the research for yourself. It’s worth it!
Sometimes the best place to have church is in your home away from judgmental Christians. -obr
I know this isn’t true for all churches, but I’ve been hurt more by churches (Christians) than anyone else. Does this surprise you? There are exceptions, but I’m just being real. As a result of all this, I’m not the same person I used to be. Not in a bad way, but I have changed and shifted my thoughts regarding many things of which I will be writing about shortly. It’s a new day for me. I’m glad to be able to freely express myself now without worrying about the “leaders” in the church threatening to fire me if I don’t wear the right clothes or preach their message. So, I welcome the shift! I honor this day and know that the future is bright. -
I believe that God is Love. And I believe that love looks beyond the mistakes and hiccups of life and sees us for who we really are, human beings striving to make the best out of every situation even if it’s misguided. I believe that love doesn’t keep any record of wrong. I believe that grace and mercy are Christmas presents that we get to open and enjoy each day. I believe that God loves everyone! Nobody is excluded from God’s love. I believe that God desires his creation to be just like him in every way. This attitude and behavior will usher in the Shalom of God. -obr