Posts Tagged ‘Church’

“A faction of church members were concerned about my speech,” he said.

ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ VIA GETTY IMAGES

The descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Rev. Robert Lee IV, has left the Bethany United Church of Christ after receiving backlash for his denouncement of white supremacy at the MTV Video Music Awards last week.

On Monday, an open letter by Lee describing the events that unfolded after his speech was published on a website for the Auburn Seminary. In the piece, Lee wrote that some members of the church “were concerned” about his speech and that the attention it brought to the church wasn’t desired.

“My presence at the church as a descendent of Robert E. Lee and an outspoken opponent of white supremacy had already attracted attention, but with my appearance on MTV the media’s focus on my church reached an all time high,” he wrote. “A faction of church members were concerned about my speech and that I lifted up Black Lives Matter movement, the Women’ s March, and Heather Heyer as examples of racial justice work.

He went on to say that “the church’s reaction was deeply hurtful” to him.

The 24-year-old pastor had served the North Carolina church for just six months and says he doesn’t want “this episode to be a distraction from the sacred work of confronting white supremacy in all its forms.”

Adding: “My calling and my vocation has led me to speak out against violence and oppression in any form, and I want to especially challenge white Christians in America to take seriously the deadly legacy of slavery in our country and commit ourselves to follow Jesus into a time of deep reflection, repentance and reconciliation.”

At the VMA’s, the fourth-great-nephew of Robert E. Lee introduced Susan Bro ― the mother of slain Charlottesville counter protester, Heather Heyer ― and said it was his “duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin,” and advocated for viewers to “confront racism and white supremacy head on.”

Since Lee cut ties with the church, he’s been vocal on social media, expressing thanks to supporters and sharing his thoughts on speaking out:

Lee ended his open letter by saying he is “looking forward with great hope to what God’s unfolding future and what God has in store for me and ask for all of your prayers and blessings for the future of my ministry.”

Following white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., Lee told HuffPost that he was deeply troubled by the actions taken in his family’s name and that statues honoring his great-great-great-great uncle, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ought to come down.

“It broke my heart to see a symbol of my family being used to allow such hate,” Lee told HuffPost. “All in the name of what my relative stood for.”

“These statues have morphed into a symbol of racism, a symbol of bigotry, a symbol of the alt-right, a symbol of white nationalist movements,” he said. “That is not okay and that can never be celebrated or honored in any way, whether you believe you should honor legacy or ancestors or not.”

By Jenna Amatulli/HuffPost

Posted by John the Revelator

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Let’s not mince words. President Trump’s recent actions are an attempt to move the United States away from being the religiously free country that the founders created — and toward becoming an aggressively Christian country hostile to other religions.

On Friday, his White House deliberately excluded mention of Jews from its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. A Trump aide, Hope Hicks, explained that mentioning Jews would have been unfair to the Holocaust’s other victims — a line that happens to be a longtime trope of anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers in Europe.

“The Holocaust was about the Jews,” former Reagan speechwriter John Podhoretz wrote in Commentary this weekend, “There is no ‘proud’ way to offer a remembrance of the Holocaust that does not reflect that simple, awful, world-historical fact.”

On Friday afternoon, of course, Trump signed an executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States. It was his way of making good on a campaign promise to ban Muslims from the country.

The order also said it would eventually give priority to religious minorities from these countries. And if anyone doubted who that meant, Trump gave an interview Friday to the Christian Broadcasting Network, explaining that its goal was indeed to help Christians. Fortunately, many Christian leaders are opposing the policy.

I expect that Trump’s attempts to undermine the First Amendment will ultimately fail. But they’re not guaranteed to fail. He is the president, and he has tremendous power.

The attempts will fail only if Americans work to defeat the White House’s flirtations with theocracy — as so many people began to do this weekend. This passionate, creative opposition may help explain Trump’s weakening of the ban on Sunday. Yet the struggle to defend American values is clearly going to be a long and difficult one.

As for reading suggestions, I recommend that you study up on recent history. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis stood beside Trump, clapping and nodding as he signed the executive order (while Paul Ryan and other top Republicans were largely quiescent).

A year ago, however, Pence thought that calls to ban Muslims were “offensive and unconstitutional.” Last summer, Mattis said, “This kind of thing is causing us great damage.” In June, Ryan said, “I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country.”

By David Leonhardt/NYTimes

Posted by The NON-Conformist

In her book, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, author Sarah Bessey writes about the stereotypes that the word feminism carries for some within the church, particularly within evangelical traditions.

“In some circles, using the word feminist is the equivalent of an f-bomb dropped in church — outrageous, offensive,” she writes.

Although it’s been mistakenly labeled as a movement that derides motherhood, marriage, and homemaking, for Bessey, feminism is about returning to the roots of her faith — to Jesus’ ministry.

Women played an important role in the earliest days of Christianity. The Jesus of the Bible spoke directly to women and refused to treat them differently from men. The gospels portray them as disciples during Jesus’ ministry and the first witnesses of the resurrection. They’re mentioned in Paul’s letters as the leaders of house churches and missionaries in their own right.

Over the centuries, this fluidity in gender roles slowly faded away. Branches of Christianity that allowed women to act as leaders were declared heretical. According to New Testament scholar Karen King, earlier texts that showed evidence of women in leadership were eventually erased or even rewritten.

But that didn’t stop women from making their presence known within the church, and not just as saints. Christian women were preachers, abolitionists and suffragists. They wrote music and founded churches. Although they didn’t always have the support of mainstream churches, they were willing to disturb the status quo to stand up for what they believed was right.

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, HuffPost Religion asked a diverse array of Christian women to share what the word “feminism” means to them and what it could mean for the church. Some women said that they believed that Christian feminism is about acknowledging women’s equality before God, while other women chose not to identify with the term, and pushed back with the idea that the feminist movement doesn’t take the experiences of women of color into account.Full Content

carol kuruvilla/HuffPost

Posted by John the Revelator

After three months of driving around town with a burned-out left tail light on my mini-van, I finally got it repaired. I don’t know what took me so long. It was just one thing after another – the holidays, soccer games and choir rehearsal and “Mom, I’m out of clean clothes” again. No excuses really. It’s not safe to drive around with a broken tail light. I know this. But I did it anyway.

There’s a reason I’m telling you about my broken tail light. A few weeks ago my friend Shannon mentioned something in a blog post that caught my eye. Turns out, her son had been driving around with a burned-out tail light too. The difference was, his tail light was broken for less than 36 hours before he got it fixed, but in those 36 hours, he was pulled over by the local police four times. The fourth time ended with him sitting on the curb while the officers searched his car for drugs, of which there were none.

“It doesn’t matter that he’s never had a drug charge,” Shannon wrote. “What matters is that he’s black. He’s young. He has ‘that look.'”

That declaration stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I understood, in a real, in-my-face kind of way, what white privilege is and exactly how I benefit from it. That young black man and I committed the exact same infraction.

The only difference is that I drove my car for three months with a broken tail light, and I was not stopped once. I had the luxury of taking my sweet time getting it fixed. That’s called white privilege.

My friend’s black son drove his car with a broken tail light for 36 hours and was pulled over four times. He couldn’t wait until it was convenient for him to get his car fixed. He had to do it immediately, for fear of getting pulled over a fifth time. That’s called racism.

And for those of us who are churchy, religious types, it’s also called a sin. Racism is a sin.

We don’t think of racism as a sin. We think of racism as wrong, and bad, and something in which other, “bad people” participate. But most of us white people don’t think racism has really much to do with us. We don’t think of racism as a sin because that would implicate us. Defining racism as a sin suggests that we might play a role in racism too.

Reverend Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the ELCA, my denomination) recently broadcast the second live webcast in a “Confronting Racism” series.

I’m glad the ELCA is taking steps to confront racism and our role in it. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, my denomination, which is comprised of nearly four million people, is 96% white. Racism and white privilege and what we can or should do about either isn’t exactly on our radar. But it should be and it needs to be, because of this:

“You are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 & 26).

What Paul declared 2,000 years ago is still true today. We are all part of one body, the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body suffers, we all suffer.

Part of the Body of Christ is suffering badly and has been suffering badly for hundreds of years. Our black sisters and brothers are suffering terribly, and we are looking the other way. We are doing nothing. We don’t even notice what’s happening because we don’t have to — we have the privilege of not noticing.

Case in point:

My church recently broadcast the “Confronting Racism” live webcast. It was advertised in the worship bulletin for our three services the Sunday before and on the church website, and members were invited to attend a viewing of the webcast and then stay for a brief discussion afterwards.

Out of the more than 4,000 members of my church, 11 people attended the live webcast; 9 stayed for the discussion.

For the record, my church has a highly active membership. More than 600 people regularly participate in adult education opportunities such as small groups and classes. More than 650 people are actively involved in mission work in Honduras, Tanzania, and the local community.

The garden on our church grounds that is planted and maintained by church volunteers provides more than five tons of food annually to the local Food Bank. Twenty-five percent of all financial giving by members to my church supports local and global ministries. I could go on.

What I’m saying is that these people are faithful, loving, obedient servants of Christ. They do good work. They help lots of people. They make a huge impact on those in need, both in our community and beyond. They love God, and they love their neighbors.

And yet clearly, the problem of racism is simply not registering. Racism in America may be seen as a problem generally…but it’s not seen as a problem for us — for upper-middle class white people attending a white church and, for the most part, living in white suburbia.

Two years ago, I would not have been among the 11 people who attended the “Confronting Racism” webcast. I probably would have noticed the announcement in the bulletin, but I would have dismissed it as irrelevant to my world, to my family, to my personal spiritual growth. I would not have given the idea of attending that racism webcast a second thought.

So what changed?

Several factors have contributed, but one factor stands out in particular: I became good friends with a black woman. We’ve been friends for six years, but only in the last two years or so have I begun to see the world through her eyes. I’ve seen how I benefit from the color of my skin and how she is inhibited by others because of the color of hers. I’ve listened to her and heard her. I’ve begun to recognize some of my own mistakes, prejudices, and biases. I’ve begun to see not only that racism exists, but that I play a role in its existence as well.

You might be rolling your eyes at me, and I don’t blame you. I have one black friend, and here I am, ranting and raving and all in your grill on the subject of racism. It’s a little know-it-allish, I realize.

But I’m not going to apologize or feel ashamed about the fact that one friendship with one person of color has impacted me and changed me so dramatically. Because the truth is, that’s what love does. When you love someone, you want that person to have all the good things in life that you have too. I love my friend, and I want to help make the world a better place alongside her. It really is that simple.

The truth is, the problem of racism isn’t all wrapped up, not by a long shot. I’m not cool with my 96% white church. I’m not cool with 11 people out of 4,000 attending a discussion about racism. I’m not cool with a young black man getting pulled over four times in 36 hours for a broken tail light. Most of all, I’m not cool with my own complacency anymore.

By Michelle DeRusha/Huffpost

Posted by John the Revelator

This is an old article, yet the information remains relevant. Doesn’t mean I agree with the content, lets say some of it. What the Pastor said was rather egregious

Pastor Seth Pickens of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Los Angeles believes church politics are largely to blame. “They’re very turned off by the church. Some of the politics and some of the scandals and everything that happens in the church, it turns people off.” What was agreed on by Pickens and Black agnostics was the need for unity, regardless of religious conviction. “Whether you believe in God, whether you confess Christ or not, if you see someone hungry you should feed them and many of the Black atheists feel the same way. So, I don’t see why we can’t work together.”

This isn’t about dialogue of any kind, it still is about right or wrong. He is half correct about politics, but it doesn’t answer the real question why blacks are becoming non’s as I refer to myself, it is a different way of stating the obvious. I would like to give a twofold answer to why blacks have turned their collective backs on the church. 1. People look at the hypocrisy 2. We have read/studied the bible, it’s that simple, it was written by someone for a different time. It isn’t a moral or comprehensive book. If god wrote through men through the holy spirit “which makes no sense” it would have so many errors. He(god) would have preserved it. I could write a thousand more words on this subject, but you get the point.  How he(pastor) vaguely disguised his answer about politics shows he still believes we are all going to an ever burning hell, but we can work together. Which a good thing, what we have in common is our blackness…

Written by John the Revelator

Rob Bell is called an heretic as well as many other names. As I read the article and listened to the segment with Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., I come to realize both men are correct. Allow me to say this without being hypocritical. When Rob Bell says the bible is not relevant for today’s culture he’s absolutely correct. All you have to do is read the OT, most people run as fast as they can from it. Simply because they cant or don’t want to explain it or just discount altogether. The first five books cannot be substantiated by history or archaeology. All you have to do is look at the 4th commandment as well as tithing. The bible was written for a certain people for a certain time. It was used to justify slavery, in which it would have been correct in doing so. Jesus or the self appointed apostle Paul said nothing against slavery or the horrible treatment of women. Homosexuality is the hot button issue of our time. If you are a believer or pastor you can be against this. You can also be against this even if you’re a non believer. What we have to remember first is that we are a nation of laws. Our constitution says we are not to respect any religion. The constitution is the standard; not the bible! Think about marriage for a second. Look at the marriage between Bobby Christina and her man. They were married in a church, the problem is, it wasn’t sanctioned by the government, in other words it isn’t legal in the eyes of the law. This law of marriage between same sex couples is argued and is currently being looked at by the highest court in the land. I don’t equate slavery and gay marriage but they are similarities. Blacks couldn’t even get married and just recently in the 2000’s miscegenation laws were still in place in some states. I myself don’t understand homosexuality and I don’t try to either. I have my belief and it’s my belief. I could say a lot more about this issue, but I’m not trying to persuade people either way. You have your opinion, but keep the bible out of the courts. Believe me you really don’t want it there.  

Former Mars Hill church Pastor Rob Bell has been raising a lot of eyebrows for his evolving views about Christianity and the Bible.

Bell and his wife, Kristen, recently appeared with Oprah Winfrey on her “Super Soul Sunday” program, where he suggested the Bible is irrelevant to today’s culture.

“We’re moments away. I think the culture is already there. And the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense,” he told Winfrey when asked about the Church embracing gay marriage.

His wife admitted that churches across the nation are still split on the issue, but added that those who maintain an orthodox view on homosexuality are “regressing.”

“I think there are a lot of people, who as they see culture moving, their response is to dig in deeper, is to, like, hold their ground, fight against it,” Kristen Bell said. “So I think that there are both things happening. There are churches that are moving forward into that area, and there are churches who are almost regressing and making it more of a battle.”

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., host of the “Jesus Changes Everything” podcast and a teaching fellow for Ligonier Ministries, said nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, he said that by casting aside the Bible’s relevance, Rob Bell has diminished his own relevance.

“The irony, of course, is that though he is sitting next to one of the most influential women of our day, Oprah Winfrey, though he is on national television making this claim, the irony is that this is how Rob Bell has made himself so unbelievably irrelevant,” he said in a recent post.

“When we push against the Word of God which is an immovable rock, sooner or later we will find ourselves cursing the Word of God, and spitting on it. And that is where Rob Bell has found himself,” he said.

From CBN, my comments in bold

Posted by John the Revelator

I came across this article awhile ago, I revisited it again after the other piece about homosexuality. This article sort of gets it right, but falls short towards the end. It however does answer questions that others have evaded.

4593On Saturday, the New York Times featured an article exploring the various measures around the world designed to outlaw homosexual acts and, in many cases, harass homosexual persons. Uganda, for instance, recently passed legislation singling out homosexuals for harsh penalties such as life imprisonment for those caught in acts of homosexuality. Moreover, the law targets those who aid or abet homosexual persons, along with anyone promoting homosexuality.

Of course, Uganda is not alone in how it treats homosexuality. Some Islamic regimes already include harsh penalties, including death, for homosexual persons. And, as we’ve already pointed out, Russia under Vladimir Putin attempts to masquerade as a “pro-family values” state because its law expresses disapproval of homosexuality, when in reality the government is accustomed to marginalizing unpopular minorities of all sorts (including evangelical Christians and orphaned children) for political gain.

So how should Christians think and speak about such laws?

As evangelical Christians, we believe what the catholic (small “c”) and orthodox (small “o”) church has always, and everywhere, believed: that sexuality is to be expressed only within the one-flesh union of the marriage of a man to a woman. Anything else is a sin against God. The church has believed this, and will always believe this, because the Bible teaches it.

At the same time, we believe laws criminalizing homosexual activity to be unjust and an affront to the image of God embedded in all persons.

Our opposition to imprisonment and execution of gay and lesbian persons around the world isn’t because we think, with the American sexual revolution, that governments have no interest in the stability of the family. To the contrary, Statecraft is quite often Soulcraft.

To this end, though, we believe a nation can teach a positive truth in its laws about marriage and sexuality without prohibiting and targeting its opposite. For example, we believe the role of the state should be to promote the stability of families and to provide appropriate incentives for children to be welcomed into homes with both a mother and a father. Our own government (along with many others around the world) has too often ignored this function of the state through failed policies emanating from no-fault divorce, among others.

Moreover, we sharply dissent from the use of state power, as we’ve seen in American life in recent days, to coerce the consciences of persons—whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or what have you—to participate in weddings or celebrations of unions we believe to be violations of our consciences.

But governments, as noted above, that single out persons for harassment and fear of their lives represent, in our view, a State that has overstepped its bounds drastically and unjustly. And in our view, repressive regimes that target homosexuals fall into this category.

Not everything that is sinful should be a crime. The Bible tells us that God has given authority to the state to maintain order and to carry out punishment of “wrongdoers” by the sword (Rom. 13:4). Clearly, “wrongdoers” here isn’t equated with “sinners.” Since we believe all of us are sinners (Rom. 3:23), the jails would be full and the streets empty because there would be none left unprosecuted, no not one.

The police power of the state is set up to maintain public safety and order according to principles of public justice. Everywhere in the New Testament, the mission of confronting personal sin is given to the church, not to the state. And the church, Jesus and his apostles explicitly tell us, does not have the coercive power of the sword (Matt. 26:52-53).

Moreover, the Bible tells us that the church must confront the sexual immorality of those inside the Body (“anyone who bears the name of brother”), but, even in the worst case of such immorality the ultimate step is excommunication, not the setting up of a police state to execute (1 Cor. 5:1-13). The Apostle Paul says, “For what do I have to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” (1 Cor. 5:12).

As Baptist Christians, our own history has shown us what injustice can happen when a state applies the Old Testament Mosaic code—a code designed to mark out the nation of Israel in redemptive history until the coming of Israel’s Messiah—to the civil state. Our ancestors were whipped, beaten, and exiled from Old England and from New England for refusing to sprinkle infants or to pay taxes for Anglican preaching. We ought then to be, of all groups, in support of limiting the power of government to see itself as a theological broker.

Our forebear Isaac Backus rightly noted that Jesus told us that we have no business setting up structures to pluck up “tares” from the “wheat-field” of the world, a dividing up that will happen at the Judgment Seat, not in the courtrooms of authoritarian regimes. The state is not in the tare-pulling business—or even in the tare-inspecting business—Backus argued, but should only punish “such as work ill to their neighbors.” We agree. And that’s why we ought to stand up for those unjustly hounded by state power, even when we don’t agree with them on theological and ethical principles.

But the primary reason we oppose this unjust persecution is because of the gospel itself. Yes, we believe that all sexual activity outside of marriage (defined by Jesus, not by the Supreme Court) is wrong. We also believe that the answer to this sin is found not in some police state, but in the good news that God reconciles sinners like us to himself through the shed blood and the ongoing life of Jesus Christ.

Our mission is not to imprison and persecute those who are walking contrary to the Scriptures, but instead our mission is to love and to persuade. We are, with Jesus, to call all people everywhere to repentance, knowing that all of us, left to ourselves, are hiding from God behind something. For some of us, our hiding place is sexual immorality; for some of us it’s covetousness or envy or self-righteousness.

Our mission is to be ambassadors of reconciliation—a mission that necessitates both defining sin and offering mercy (2 Cor. 5:18-19). That cannot be done by coercion or threats of a police state, but only by the persuasive power of the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The devil has come to kill and to destroy. We follow a different way, one that has not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it (Jn. 3:17). The American “spirituality” that pretends as though sexual immorality has no spiritual consequences isn’t recognizably Christian at all. The jailing and execution of people for consensual sexual immorality, in contexts like we see in many places around the world, isn’t Christian, either.

That’s why the global Body of Christ should stand faithful both to a biblical vision of sexuality and at the same time decry laws—whether in Africa or the Middle East or Russia—that would mistreat homosexual persons.

By Russell Moore and Andrew Walker

Posted by John the Revelator

This story is problematic in so many ways. First I have to say “more atheist were created by Steven Anderson”. This is why so many people are joining free thinking communities. In defense of Steven, he is correct, well sorta. As he reads these scriptures is he wrong? Don’t answer the question. Allow me to cut to the chase. The Apostle Paul gets a bad rap, he entrusted women within his ministry. Has Steven read 1Cor 11:4-6, Phil 4:2. Enough cherry picking already. The question should be, did Paul write write this book? Their so many inconsistencies and theirs good reason for this. These books were written in Paul’s name. Notice 1 Tim 2:11, enjoyment isn’t for you, but for the man. Stop listening to these idiots and find a quiet place. 

On Sunday, a pastor in Phoenix, Arizona implored his female congregants not to say “amen” in church.

Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church garnered national attention in 2009 when he told his followers that he prays for the death of President Barack Obama every night. After being contacted by the Secret Service, he insisted that he “didn’t say he wanted his parishioners to attack the president, he did say the country would benefit from Mr. Obama dying.”

Pastor Anderson first attempted to justify the silencing of women by quoting 1 Timothy 2:11, “[l]et the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
He then asked the congregation to flip to 1 Corinthians 14, which says “[l]et your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, as it is commanded to be under obedience as also sayeth the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is shameful for women to speak in the church.”

“Now obviously,” he continued, “before the service begins, there’s chatting and talking going on, that’s perfectly legitimate. When we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices.”

“But when it’s learning time,” Pastor Anderson said, hammering his lecturn, “it’s silence time.”

“So what it’s saying is that they,” the women, “are to learn in silence.” He then quoted 1 Corinthians 14 again, saying that “when the learning is going on, they are not permitted to speak. When the preaching of God’s word is taking place — and first of all, it’s not for a woman to be doing the preaching, and second of all, it’s not for women to be speaking.”

“Even the Bible’s really clear on this,” he said. “Even if they were to have a question, they’re not to ask that question in the church, number one. Number two, even if they want to ask that question to their husband, they should wait until they get home.”

“This is why I don’t believe women should say ‘amen’ during the preaching either. Because ‘amen’ means ‘truly’ or ‘verily’ … it basically means ‘that’s true.’ So when I’m preaching and I say something that you agree with and that you believe in, and you say ‘amen,’ you’re saying ‘that’s true.’”

“So here’s the thing,” Pastor Anderson concluded, “when I’m preaching, women should not express their opinion, even if it’s a positive opinion, even if she agrees with me.”

However, he added, “I was preaching one-time, and a woman actually disagreed with me in the middle of preaching. She said I was wrong, and you know, I kind of blew up at her.”

By Scott Kaufman

Posted by John the Revelator

Great post from a strong black progressive, secular humanist, female voice

Although it doesn’t bother me that I haven’t set foot inside a church in years, I’m somehow made uncomfortable by the question “What church do you go to?” when I meet new people. The assumption that I even go to a church assumes that I am Christian, and that assumption is inherently based on me being black.

Why not ask what mosque or synagogue or temple I go to, or start with “Do you go to church?” when asking a question like that? Oh right; because certainly there are no black Jews, and no black person would choose to be Muslim or Buddhist, and you know black people don’t play with “evil spirits” and black magic spells like those Wiccans do.

No, if you’re black, you must be Christian.

Christianity seems to be a generational thing in the black community; the child is raised on it because her mom was, and she was raised on it because her mother was. That’s fine, but why does that way have to be the right way for everybody else too? It’s a choice to stick with the religion you were brought up with; but why are the rest of us, who have chosen a different path to God/enlightenment, or perhaps have decided there is no higher realm to enlighten one’s self to at all, condemned for thinking differently?

The path to spiritual enlightenment is a deeply personal one and should be treated as such. Not only is it imposing to declare that there is only one “correct” way to enlightenment/Heaven/whatever, it is arrogant to think that your way is the only right way. If there were only one correct way to establish a relationship with God, there wouldn’t be a need for different religions. To declare yours as the “only” way or the “right” way leaves no room for others to find their own path to their higher power, whatever name they choose to call it by.

A close friend of mine is very deep in her Christian faith and in a conversation once, she mentioned that she prays for all her friends to find and accept Jesus into their lives. I know she meant well, but all I could think to myself was how arrogant that comment came across.

I remember thinking, what if that’s not what I want for myself? Why not just pray for your friends to find peace in their lives? Why not pray for them to find the path to God/enlightenment that’s most ideal for them? Why is the most ideal situation that they come over to your side? Is it so hard to fathom that there are (black) people who don’t want to follow a Christian lifestyle?

The implication in that kind of statement is that anything other than accepting Jesus means you’re lost or on the wrong path, and as someone who is still searching for the spiritual fit that’s right for me, I find that viewpoint very limiting and off putting.

I’m happy for those who have found contentment in their religion. All I ask for is the same freedom to discover my own spiritual path without being made to feel like I’m “wrong” because it’s not the same as “everyone else’s.”

By Sikivu Hutchinson

Posted by John the Revelator

What Is A CULT?

Posted: June 30, 2013 in Religion
Tags: , , , ,

noquest3

What is cult? Everything that Christianity says it is. Anything that differs from Church dogma is abhorrent and irrelevant. The Dictionary of CULTS, SECTS, RELIGIONS AND THE OCCULT reads-A relatively small, often transitory religious group that commonly follows a radical leader. A cult, unlike a SECT, espouses radically new religious beliefs and practices that are frequently seen as threatening the basic values and cultural norms of society at large. Therefore, people who are involved in cults frequently exhibit antisocial and neurotic behavior. In recent times, orthodox Christians have used the term to describe those religious groups that deny the TRINITY(see trinity in statement of faith) and specifically the deity of Jesus Christ. Their teachings are contrary to historic Christian ORTHODOXY. The three dynamics of a cult are sociological, psychological (behavioral), and theological. By this definition could Christianity be a CULT?

Written by John The Revelator