All throughout my growing up years, I went to an Assembly of God church. Ya know those, hellfire, and brimstone types, where getting loud in the spirit and speaking in tongues was the normal behavior in any given service. And while I went to that church and followed those teachings, I believed every little thing our preacher told us … up til about the time I hit 17 and began to ask more questions than anyone had answers for. The typical and consistent answer I was given from anyone I chose to bring my thirst for answers to was “read your Bible, you’ll find the answer there”. Yeah, not so much.
But, because I was a good little church girl and I really did want to find the answers I’d been promised, I DID read my Bible, cover to cover, numerous times. I even bought a study Bible and a copy of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to help me at least find the clues that would point me in the right direction for finding the answers. Even though, after all that cost and effort and still not finding the things I had been looking for, I didn’t leave the church until after I had passed my 45th birthday.
Before I began this entry, I went to the closet and got out the Bible I had bought for Jimmy when he wanted to go to the Christian church and read a Bible. I got him a good one, the Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, Red Letter Edition. I wanted to make sure the things I say here are actually as I remember them from reading my Bible, and not just what I wanted to remember. Any guesses where I’m going with this? Here, I’ll make it easy…
Over on Facebook, there’s an article going around written by one of the contributors of Patheos. It’s title is: Pastor Looks Up in Tears,”I had No Idea“. After reading this (along with so many more things being posted about Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin), I went to the New Testament of Jimmy’s Bible and made sure I had something to back up the thoughts and words of so many of the people in organized religion that are condemning love. There is nothing in the New Testament (which is supposed to be what God and Jesus gave people to live by after God sacrificed his Son to wipe out the sins of man) that tells anyone to hate the sin. In fact, the number one thing Jesus told to everyone was “LOVE thy neighbor”. And he didn’t add any caveats like unless they piss you off or don’t follow the same religion as you, or unless they are gay. Jesus said, “LOVE everyone even as I have loved you”(John 13:34 NLT).
Unfortunately, the church has become more and more political, most (not all) of the members attending on a regular basis are members of the overzealous conservative party and choose to blindly follow man (their preacher). They believe without question the things they are being told are actually coming from God or Jesus, instead of READING and studying the word of their God they are so quick to quote when they want to condemn an action they have been brainwashed into believing. Yes, I know, the Bible is a work of fiction, written by man MANY years after Jesus may or may not have walked the earth. I know it has been translated and changed to suit whichever monarch or ruler wanted to do something that was different than the current teaching of their day.
I really have only one problem with those who follow the Bible and the things it contains. When you profess to be a child of God and a disciple of Jesus, you are supposed to live in the manner set before you through those teachings. Jesus was humble, he was merciful and he was loving. Yes, he could also be a bad ass, just ask those merchants in the temple. But for the most part, he lived as he was directed by his Father, he taught about love and compassion, he taught about humility and he taught about caring for your neighbor in everything. I believe and also have been told by many men of God, that the teachings in the Old Testament were put forth for a different time than we are now living in. That the New Testament is the “code of conduct and honor” the people today are supposed to be following. If that is the truth, then the scripture from Leviticus is not only outdated, it no longer applies.
That’s probably a good thing cause I know a LOT of people who eat shellfish, wear blended fabrics and play football…