What to say…?

Well it has been quite some time since I have posted anything here. Lots has happened — the major event being that after 37 or so years of being a regular church attender, I have stopped. Why you ask? Well several reasons really. It’s not like this came out of the blue. I have been dissatisfied / unhappy with church for some time but was too lazy / complacent to do anything about it. My wife has made the same decision, albeit for her own reasons, some of which are similar to mine. So what are they you ask? Well in a simplified form they are as follows:

  • I had a very hard time with the idea of “worshiping” a God who allows / causes such incalculable suffering
  • I found that I was unable to stay intellectually honest while at the same time trying to accept many of the church’s doctrines (science has made great leaps that the church has just not been willing / able to integrate into its world view)
  • I find that much of the church is just socially out of touch with the modern world, especially in conservative groups (woman as equals, contraception, etc.)
  • I have grown more and more distrustful of large systems (government, big business, big unions) and that includes organized religions

There are other reasons as well, but these are the ones that immediately spring to mind. I have taken a large step back to reassess just exactly what I do believe. Here is the process that my wife and I have taken so far:

  • read books, including: “The Naked Ape“, “The Christian Agnostic“, and others
  • attended a Philosophers Cafe about “The spiritual Journey”
  • watched a movie entitled “What the Bleep Do We Know
  • wrote down what we believe as individuals and then see what commonalities there are
  • revised the above list at a later date and clarified / refined the list
  • wrote down how these beliefs can play out in our daily lives

While our new spiritual journey is certainly more work, I feel it has been much more authentic and personal for me. While I am certainly not throwing out the baby with the bath water (so to speak), there is certainly an awful lot of filthy water and seemingly very little baby in my former belief system. What are your thoughts?


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6 thoughts on “What to say…?”

  1. Thanks Chris…

    I have been worshipping my God in my way for years. I do charity out of the kindness of my heart, not because I have to… and I am not pressured into AMWAY or MARY KAY from fellow ‘churchies’.

    I talk to my God whenever I feel like it (usually on my way or from work) and I abide by what I believe is right and wrong. We are all born with a conscious… if it will make me feel guilty… should I really be doing it?

    I believe that we should be looking after the earth… not just our own homes. We should be not just asking God for stuff, but praising his name and what he has done for us. Individually (when I say he or his… I know that you realize I mean she & hers!!! J)

    I could go on forever on this topic… but I want to just say that I am proud of you. Shouldn’t our religious leaders focus more on human compassion rather than the bigger/better all mighty dollar?

    How about “the new Pope… sponsored today by Nike and Pepsi”.

  2. This comment might be a little late, but allow me to suggest a couple of titles:

    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
    (this will likely get you hooked into his other books, especially My Ishmael and the Story of B).

    Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by MITCH ALBOM.

    I hope you enjoy the journey. A native elder once gave me this advice: Whatever you need will be left for you in your path. You must trust in this because if you are too busy looking elsewhere you will walk right over it.

  3. Nice post, Chris. I admire the integrity of your journey. It’s too early in the morning . . . I’m trying to think of something profound to write but my brain has left me.
    Buddhism I hear is a good religion.

  4. Well, I can say in someways I am surprised and someways I am not. I do not agree and yes I am an avid supporter of the church since the church was founded in the faith of Jesus Christ. As for the dillusion of organized religion I’m sorry if that became someone’s god. I am sorry for bad experiences and heart aches. I’m sorry for people who let you lead your hope vicariously. Believing has disappointments but where we place are hopes can also. The question of what we look at should also address question of how do we look at what we believe.

    My criticism is simple, the church since the beginning has meant to be a body of believers gathered sharing the foundation of the belief in Christ and it is to be mobile on a mission. It was never meant to be a building nor any idol being stagnate.

    A book I would recommend is Soul Survivor: How my faith survived the Church by Philip Yancy. Another one is the Missional Church(?) not sure on the title. There is also Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas.

    The risk of obedience has a flip side of being blind and on the other is possible suffering but all this was predicted and written in the word of God. Why should we be shocked by it? Maybe we all want to do is our own thing or we don’t want to suffer nor others but that doesn’t make it right if we disregard who He is and how He works. Can not good come out of suffering? And the only way to overcome barriers is to learn more about Him otherwise we conform him to our own wants/wishes/desires. In a satire of bad parenting.

    As an avid supporter, my role as one in the congregation is my participation and challenging leadership however if we picture a big boat (controlled by oars) it does not change direction by one person but all. Perseverance is a rare commodity that we need to have to hope for in a direction more biblical and prayer for those who are not ready to change their direction. Abandoning the post is like saying I have had enough of this but if you know the problem why not particpate to be part of a solution? why give because it is tough? I will not give in and I will not surrender because of what he has done in my life and the call is to go forward. Call it blind, call it naive but all this was predicted but I still have hope in his name. I have already gone the other way, been there done that. If we Educate what weu believe let it not conform because of others but own our thoughts and step forward in faith. I chose my path and I didn’t conform because of anyone but only the One who died for me gave me hope to persevere. Where is God today. Has He left? Is He absent or What can we hold to? A promise. Has He left any? The role of us in the church is much larger than outside but how you define what is or what isn’t a church does become more interesting. Leaving means you don’t support that organized religion or can it mean you don’t support your brother? Just sharing -Steve-

  5. Chris,
    You are to be commended for your decision to ‘leave’ the organized church and for re-evaluating the whole situation.
    AS one who has also left ‘the christian church’ as you read in my blog on the BLEC site, it was the best decision I ever made.
    I AM the church, and when two or more come together and agree, there He is also.
    It surely isn’t a building, it surely isn’t headed by a board of deacons or a paid priesthood. It isn’t building programs, mens programs, womens programs, kids programs et al.
    It’s when believers come together and we let the Holy Spirit direct what is to be said and to be learned.
    You can’t prepare a ‘sermon’ if you are led by the Holy Spirit…because it becomes mans will over His will and thats exactly opposite of what our Lord taught us.
    You are correct, mankind has tried to mold the Lord into OUR image and not accepting who He really is.
    Yes…lots of stuff happens that we don’t understand, but we must also remember that we are HIS creation and He can do with us as He pleases. It may not be right in mans eyes, but who are we to question Him? (take the tsunami for example)
    The Lord gives us all plenty of time to repent of our sins and to get back to Him, but only He knows how many days He has provided for us on earth, we just have to do what we can to be that ‘light’ of His truth in the time He alots for us.
    One of the biggest problems with ‘christianity’, is that it is a man made religion.
    Not once…did Jesus testify to a religion called Christianity. Not once, did His chosen Apostles testify to a religion called Christianity; they did however, testify only to the truth.
    Many people say our mission is to solve poverty. Well…that in itself will never happen, because the Lord Himself said, ‘the poor you will have with you always, but me, you will not have with you always.’
    All this ‘do good works’ are for our own glorification and not for Him.
    I think the last writer on your blog had a point on that note and was pleased to see that.
    Chris…I’m going to start some new discussion boards on the BLEC Facebook page.
    I’ve become an administrator for the page and I know there are a lot of people who have questions and concerns like your own.
    The only book I recommend to you is His word. There isn’t any other.
    I do highly recommend, and strongly urge you to read the website the Lord had us create a few years ago, that will answer so many of the questions and concerns you may have, but it isn’t about religion or religious duty; in fact, it tears it apart but leaves only the Truth.

    His word IS the Truth and cannot be disproven, but with so many things that people have been indoctrinated in, whether it be in the christian church itself or in our academic institutions, there is a lot of confusion.
    If you seek, you shall find.
    Please feel free to contact me Chris; I’d be more than happy to answer y’alls questions as the Lord gives me the answers.

    Thank you once again, for your bravery and courage for writing your comments. Lets keep the lines of communication open.

    In His Service,

    Stephen R. Leach
    Lexington, South Carolina
    formerly of Oshawa, Ontario
    prguy@alltel.net or coftlk@hotmail.com

    God Bless you and your wife.

  6. The Christian says “hate the sin, love the sinner.” I say “let’s work together to heal and train the damaged and unskilled.” Let’s move beyond the archaic ideas of sin, evil, guilt, fear, judgment, and dualism and move towards the more helpful ideas of cooperation, skill, awareness, and responsibility.

    Jesus (purportedly) said “Love your enemies.” I say “Nobody is your enemy, they are just blinded and living in fear. Let’s help them to break free!”

    The truth is that we are all partially blind and living in fear to some degree. We need to work to change this!

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