About this Blog

This blog is for those attracted to Jesus but not to the traditional baggage often attached to his message, so it has two large centers of focus.

The first center of focus is learning who Jesus is and what he says about how we should live and how we should understand the Father. The second is examining major baggage issues that often detract from following Jesus freely.

I grew up a fundamentalist and then became an evangelical. Along the way, as I examined my beliefs, I discarded a lot of baggage that had been added to the good news of Jesus. I hope to help and support others who are on the same journey.

To access blog posts, see Top Posts & Pages (from the last 48 hours) and Recent Posts in the column to the right.

Who might be interested in this blog?

  • Do you struggle with traditional baggage that seems to make no sense and maybe afraid to question it?
  • Are you already on a spiritual journey away from traditional baggage and would like confirmation or conversation from friendly co-travelers?
  • Have you abandoned traditional baggage but have abandoned Jesus along with it and feel the loss?
  • Are you interested in Jesus but not the traditional baggage often associated with him?
  • Do you just enjoy discussion and interaction on these important topics?

If you are concerned by the unreasonable baggage (rules and beliefs) often associated with Jesus, then this blog is for you. It is a message of Jesus without baggage.


Let me make a clear statement. Many conservative believers and many atheist will disagree strongly with my views, but my purpose is not to persuade anyone to accept my perspectives on Jesus, the Father, or the Bible.

My objectives are:

  • To offer for your consideration a foundation for following Jesus without baggage
  • To offer support and conversation for those interested in Jesus without baggage or in the concepts involved

If my understanding of Jesus without baggage makes sense to you and is helpful, then I am happy. If you do not agree with my understanding, it does not bother me in the least. I respect your right to your beliefs even if you disagree with everything I believe.

What is Baggage?

Since the death of Jesus’ earliest followers, certain views have become accepted as ‘truth’ and those who disagree with these traditional ‘truths’ are often excluded from the Church and are no longer considered part of God’s family. This is baggage.

I was raised a fundamentalist, which is an extreme form of evangelicalism, and I fully embraced fundamentalism at a very early age. I accepted Jesus as my ‘Lord and Savior’ and accepted a lot of religious baggage along with that choice.

Over time, I discovered that much of that baggage I had accepted was not legitimate. I first abandoned legalism–the keeping of religious rules, and I also dealt with other baggage that came as part of my religious tradition.

What about Jesus?

However, I did not abandon Jesus. I still find the person of Jesus, as described by his earliest followers, intensely compelling. He resolves my alienation from the Father, myself, and other people, and he provides eternal life in his death and resurrection. Jesus is the most important thing in my life.

He included me in his invitation

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I accept his invitation, and the invitation comes without baggage.

Major Baggage Issues

Some of the more prominent elements of baggage I see among Christians today include:

  • The belief that the Father is an angry, capricious God
  • The concept of eternal punishment and torture in hell
  • An insistence that the Bible is somehow inerrant in every word
  • Insistence on a literal approach to creation in Genesis
  • An over-emphasis on rules and doctrinal requirements
  • Disapproval and rejection of gay people
  • Promotion of end-times mythology

We will discuss these and many other issues here. To all the groups listed above–and more, I invite you to explore Jesus without baggage.

~Tim Chastain

51 Responses to About this Blog

  1. Hey Tim. Great post. I also have left my baggage behind, and it has freed me to truly worship from my soul. Please include a RSS feed on your site so I can follow your blog. Blessings.

    • Hi Linda, I am glad you left your baggage behind! I enjoyed reading your blog. Also, I just want you to know that the RSS subscription button is in the column to the right.

      Have a great day! ~Tim

  2. JW says:

    Came across your blog via another blog. Matter o fact I believe you responded to a comment of mine but I haven’t responded back simply because I am doing my own research on the topic. I too am pushing away baggage and with your bullet points the only one I see that I don’t agree is baggage is the issue of hell.
    The end times mythology is creative lingo. I have no opinion on that matter except to tell those who are in hysteria about it to balance themselves otherwise they will turn into nutcases.

    • Hi JW! Thanks for stopping by! I have notieced you in other blogs and read some of your comments. I wondered whether you were perhaps a Jehovah’s Witness, but if you DISagree with my views on hell I suppose you are not.

      I hope you look around the blog a bit and I welcome you to comment wherever you feel like it. I will be sure to interact with your comments. Have a great day!

  3. Nikko says:

    Hi. I’m not Christian, I don’t believe in the bible but I stubbled across ur blog via another. What exactly do u believe in. Are u not associated with what u could call mainstream Christianity. I’m a curious person and wish to understand ur belief I have my own which I’m happy to share if ur interested. Thx. Nikko

  4. Hi Nikko,

    I am not much for creeds, but people ask me this question from time to time since it is expected beliefs that I don’t have that sometimes catches people’s attention. So, here are some things I believe:

    1. I believe Jesus is unique, that he conquered death in his resurrection, that his resurrection assures our eventual resurrection, and that all of us can look ahead to a time of peace, wholeness, and eternal life.

    2. Because Jesus tells so much about the Father, I believe the Father loves us and that our good is his desire for all of us.

    3. Since Jesus tells us so, I believe behavior is important. However, behavior is not measured by static rules but by our genuine love and concern for ourselves and others.

    Yes, I am associated with mainstream Christianity; I do not promote something other than the Jesus of the Bible as described by his earliest followers. I consider myself and evangelical believer, though some evangelicals might disagree with that.

    Thanks again for your question. I hope this helps and I am interested in your beliefs if you wish to share. I am also happy to clarify further any questions you have about my beliefs. ~Tim

    • nikkogilbert says:

      Hi Tim, thx for replying. From what I have read, you seem to accept people for what they are. One thing that disturbed me about Christian view was the angry and hateful god and all the threats about hell. It seems u disagree with that, which is good.
      My belief is pagan. I am not sure if ur aware but there are a lot of different pagan belief systems. Some are atheist and some are theist views. I guess u could say I am atheist as I don’t believe in a god being per say. Although I do view the sun as a god (masculine) symbol and Mother Earth As a goddess (feminine) symbol. Basically i have a nature based belief, I follow the seasons etc etc. i treat everyone as equal no matter there beliefs, sex, race or sexual orientation. My view is as long as ur not hurting anyone then believe what u want.

      • Hi Nikko,

        I did a lot of reading on paganism in the 1970s. At that time I was most familiar with Gardnerian Wicca, Druidism, Anton LaVey’s Satanism, and Aleister Crowley. However, I have not kept up with it much since then, though I am aware of some developments. What system do you follow or associate with?

        It appears that you have just started a new blog; good for you! What topics do you plan to address there? I might be interested in reading some of it when you have more content.

        You are right about the Christian view of an angry god and hell, but that does not represent all Christians, and more Christians are rejecting those views all the time. I agree that as long as you are not hurting someone you can believe what you want, but I also contend that a proper understanding of Jesus (without baggage) is different than any other belief. But you know that already since you have read a number of my blog posts.

        I hope you continue visting and commenting here, and be sure to let me know when you have written something on your new blog. Have a great day! ~Tim

        • nikkogilbert says:

          G’day tim, my belief system is unique, as I don’t follow any particular tradition. I just follow what nature does. I live in the tropics so many of the traditional sabbats do not apply here. So I do full moon rituals, solstice, and equinox ones but other then those, I just perform other cerimonies when the need arises. Eg, blessing a new animal I the household to protect him or her.

          Yes even though I don’t believe in Christianity, it is good to see more are becoming like urself. We need less hate in this world. To much hate and pain is caused due to what I call religious control. The kinda thing that involves threatening of hell etc.

          My blog, I’m not sure what ill write about as yet. Perhaps my opinions on certain topics. Plus I’m very much in to science so I may give my opinion on aspects there. Just see where my inspiration takes me. I just need to find time to sit down and right.

        • nikkogilbert says:

          I will say I am not a fan of mr Crowley, he was a disturbed man, not the best example of pagan faith hahaha. I cannot say I agree with sex Magick and orgies. I also did some reading up on satanism and it was nothing like I expected it to be. It’s an actual peaceful belief. Very interesting. Pop culture represents it as evil and menacing but in factors quite the opposite. I would assume as with all religions ur have the good and bad side to it.

          • You are so right Nikko: “We need less hate in this world!” Religious difference are important, but we don’t have to attack each other over them. It’s not a war…

            I am no Crowley fan eaither and you said it–he was a disturbed man. I agree that LaVey’s satanism was not what most people think; it was weird but not as scary as one would expect. It was more show than substance, I think.

            I enjoy our interaction. Come back and visit! ~Tim

  5. Marc says:

    Tim, I think you are on the right track. The Platonic and Gnostic influence that gave traction to the concept of a natural immortality, and hence the concept of eternal torment is really bad baggage. The corruption of Holy Orders in the Church by the State coercing bishops and presbyters created a clericalism separating those called to Holy Orders into a priesthood somehow more worthy that the priesthood of the laity, and is bad baggage. Making an idol out of the Holy Scriptures is very bad baggage that causes ever increasing sectarianism. Retaining beliefs that are refuted by the weight of revelation that includes sound science is also bad baggage. If one really wants to understand the truth, one has to be prepared to repent (change your mind) and turn away from those concepts that are not true, leaving the bad baggage behind. This is a painful process, yet it can bring great blessings if one remains humble and willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

    • Wow Marc! I agree with all your definitions of baggage: natural immortality, hell, priesthood vs. laity, Bilbliolatry, and anti-science. And you are right, it is a painful process to work through the baggage, but it is well worth it! Thanks!

      We think a lot of the same things. If you are so inclined, feel free to tell others about the blog.

  6. Marc says:

    Thanks for your response Tim. In an effort to understand more fully the revelations that were available, the early Christians developed an apophatic approach that eliminated what was not true (the baggage). They relied on a conciliar consensus guided by the Holy Spirt to develop understanding and dogma about what is true. Without some reliable authority providing criteria for discerning what is true, aren’t we in great danger of throwing out the baby (truth) with the bath water (baggage)?

  7. Man! You sent me to school on this one, Marc! I had to learn what ‘apophatic’ means. And I like the term. I think my concepts of God fit quite well within the definition of apophatic, but it seems you apply it more broadly than just to ideas about god. I will have to study this more when I have time.

    Regarding reliable authority, I am not sure our views are the same. I read as widely as I can and I respect a lot of the work that has been done. I share much of what I believe in common with other believers both past and present, but I cannot appeal to authority. I follow Jesus and would accept his ‘authority’ if I knew his position on things, but I do not. The best I can do is draw careful conclusions from the memories of his earliest followers as presented in the Gospels.

    What reliable authority do you accept and what truths do you think we might have thrown out with the bath water?

  8. Marc says:

    You ask some very important questions Tim. You are correct in accepting the authority of Jesus as the criteria of Truth. I believe there is a great weight of evidence to indicate that this authority, Holy Tradition, has been preserved in the Church through conciliar Church governance. No one individual can decide these matters, only the collective leadership of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit. This has been normative since the first Council of Jerusalem held in c. AD 49 to decide whether one had to become a Jew before becoming a Christian. The Great Schism of 1054 happen because the bishop of Rome rejected conciliar governance because he thought he was above it. The reformers were mostly inclined to follow the papal model rather than embrace the conciliar governance of the early Church. This is why we have thousands of denominations and sects today. I believe the Ecumenical Councils of the first eight Centuries speak with the authority of Jesus, so the dogma of the Holy Trinity is settled.

    • The Church Councils were important and I have respect for them, but it seems that most of their work had to do with the nature of Jesus and his relationship to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. They did not do much detailed work on other issues. In addition, they were influenced by the currents of the times that included philosophy and politics, so I do not see how that leads to ‘tradition’ being authoritative for our time.

      I do not consider the councils authoritative; they were men trying to make sense of things that were unclear. One negative aspect was the lack of consensus. The majority was not satisfied to go on record with an agreement; they went further to declare the minority heretics and drove them from the church.

      As I work through my beliefs, I consider tradition, but I cannot subject myself to tradition. I don’t think I mentioned the trinity, but I will say that I disagree with Rome’s move to insert filioque into the creed. I enjoy this excellent discussion. Thanks!

  9. Marc says:

    The traditions of men are often baggage as you have pointed out Tim. However Holy Tradition is the continuing presense of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and the Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth (1 Timothy 3;15). Even though the leadership of the Church has often included scoundrels as well as saints, by maintaining collective conciliar governance the errors and tyranny of an individual leader have been avoided.

    • You said, “Holy Tradition is the continuing presense of the Holy Spirit in the Church.” How do you support this? It does not bother me for people to think this, but it does not seem persuasive as an argument; it is an appeal to authority without substantiation as far as I can see.

  10. Marc says:

    I support this Tim because in Matthew 16:13-20 our Lord Jesus Christ explains to His Disciples that they will be given authority to build and lead His Church. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Disciples became the Apostles as the Holy Spirit empowered them to lead and build the Church established on that very day. This Apostolic authority has been preserved in the Church by the same Holy Spirit that established it. It is often referred to as Holy Apostolic Tradition.

    • I understand and I respoect your belief about this. No matter how similarly two people think, there is always something they think differently

      • Marc says:

        I am ok with this Tim. I respect your love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and firmly believe that we will enjoy communion with Him and the saints in the Heavenly Church either when we repose, or when the Lord returns. I think the focus of your blog regarding the baggage that so many are saddled with is a very sound endevour. May God bless you and guide you as you grow in grace and knowledge.

  11. Adeline says:

    Hi Tim,

    Stumbled upon this by accident, and I haven’t read the blog extensively, but what you said about hell intrigues me. I tried to find what you say about it and not quite sure where you stand on that. So if there’s no hell, why bother with heaven?

    Personally my belief is that God is good, and heaven is being with Him and all that is good. I can think of at least one passage where Jesus said He’s preparing a place for his disciples in His Father’s house.
    Whereas hell is being apart from God, and hence being apart from all that is good.

    But you seem to say there is no hell, full stop?

    The other question is, do you believe Jesus is God, or just a very good man?
    Thanks ^^

    • Hi Adeline, I am glad you found my blog and looked around!

      I think Jesus is much more than just a good person; I believe he is the son of God. I agree with you that heaven is being with God and all that is good, but there are some perhaps that do not feel that being with God is good, so they will not be forced. Therefore, something else happens to them. I think it will most likely be that they just cease to exist, but I do not believe that the Father will punish them for choosing to reject his offer of eternal life.

      I hope you come back and explore some more. Feel free to make additional observations or ask more questions!

    • amelia says:

      I look forward to your response to Adeline.Tim, Please tell us WHO you think Jesus really is, Why He came and what Heaven is.

      • Amelia, I believe the following:

        1. Jesus has a unique relationship to the Father as the son of God, and I believe Jesus existed before he became human.

        2. Jesus came to tell us about the good news of the Father’s love for us and of eternal life, which eliminates the alienation we feel from God. He also frees us from a life of keeping religious rules to one of loving the Father, ourselves, and others.

        3. Heaven, or the kingdom of God, is the community of the Father. This community has both a present and future expression. We will live in eternal happiness with the Father.

        Let me know if you want other clarifications.


    The proponents of salvation by faith alone state that water baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace. Faith, confession, and repentance precede water baptism. Water baptism is the point of forgiveness of sins.



    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi Steve, Thanks for sharing your perspective. It sounds consistent with non-instrumental Church of Christ teaching or of some related restorationist group. You seem to imply that I do not believe in the salvific character of water baptism, and you would be correct. In fact I believe that we are all covered by the Father’s gift of eternal life unless we choose to reject the Father’s gift.

  13. Jeff Craft says:

    Interesting concept – Jesus without baggage. Looks a lot like Jesus without Bible. Mind you, I’m not sure if there’s anything wrong with that . Reading the Bible is how I became an atheist. Is this just you choosing the positive aspects and leaving out the negative (the angry capricious God, for example, is Biblical)?

  14. lotharson says:

    Hello Tim this sounds very promising.

    As you have probably already read, I consider myself a progressive Christian
    that is neither as a liberal nor as a conservative.

    I think that the Bible is not, in principle, MORE INSPIRED than other religious texts.
    But I have no real problem with Jesus divinity and the supernatural.

    As I exlain here:

    I believe that love stands at the very center of Christ’s ministry on earth. He is to my mind the best candidate as an embodiement of God among us.

    On my blog I strive for defending an intellectually honest and morally and rationally acceptable form of progressive Christianity against many critiques.

    Lovely greetings in Christ.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  15. Theodore A Jones says:

    “My (our) sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck. La. 1:14

    “Take my (that) yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is is easy and my burden is light.” Mt. 11:29 & 30

    When Jesus Christ was murdered by crucifying him all infractions of the written code of law were violated. Then upon his ascension back to his Father all of the infractions of the written code of law evidenced by his mared body were consolidated into a single sin by making a change of the law, Heb. 7:12. The yoke that is referenced in La. 1:14, and Mt. 11:29 & 30 is actually a law but unlike the written code of law this law is easy to obey. However, unlike infractions of the written code which are forgivable sins; disobeying this law is not forgivable and only it carries the penalty of eternal death. So heed the warning do not disobey this law.

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 The Way of obeying this law is simple and easy as the Lord says. Confess with your mouth directly to God that you are truly sorry Jesus’ life was lost when he was murdered by crucifying him and be baptized into that confession for the forgiveness of your past sins. For the temple’s veil was torn from top to bottom by God allowing each individual the grace to approach to God make this confession of faith in regard to the sin of Jesus’ crucifixion. Which is why he said “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” and “When he comes he will convict the word of guilt in regard to sin. The Acts 2:38 command is the two edged word that is the sword of God’s spirit. On its gracious side it is a command, but on its punitive side it is the unforgivable law. Don’t put God to the test by disobeying this law.

    ps. Tim C. post this on that upstart’s blog who erroneously thinks he is greater than God.

    • Hi Theodore, I read your comment twice, and I am not quite sure what you saying. It sounds as though you disagree with me, but I am not certain about what. In particular, I am not sure who you mean by that ‘upstart’s blog’. Is that me?

      I know not everyone will agree with me, and I am okay with that.

  16. Theodore A Jones says:

    1.The upstart’s blog is where you said you didn’t get time to know me.
    2. Since you admit that you do not understand what I’ve said in my post to you you can bet your sweet bippy that your perspective of salvation is a disagreement with the Scriptures.

    • I feel like I know you better already!

      • Theodore A Jones says:

        Perhaps. But his command is “Give to the one who asks you and the one who wants to borrow from you do not turn him away.” Send my post to that upstart, but the flip side is if you refuse to obey him you ain’t one of His. Understand? I’ll deal with your soteriological errors at a later time. They are the same ones the upstart has.

  17. Ashley says:

    Iv’e started a journey with interest in Jesus – having never been raised in a christian family. Just wondering if someone may be able to suggest a good book or two that aren’t too “heavy” to help my journey to finding faith

    • Hello Ashley,

      The first book I would recommend is Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. It is a very good introduction to Christian faith and is easy to read.

      If you can tell me what issues you are facing right now, perhaps I can recommend something to address your specific questions. You are also welcome to dialog with me privately at my email address at jesuswithoutbaggage@chastaincentral.com. I look forward to talking with you further!

  18. arkhaz says:

    You should read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensation_(period) or study Theology at least before implying God in OT not being the same God from NT or denying inspiration of the whole. While many people follow what churches tell them or believe in the Bible but have never felt God’s presence it doesn’t mean God has changed, but it is our understanding which has been renewed, transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.

    • Arkhaz, thanks for the comment! I read the article you suggested and it has an excellent chart of the various ideas on dispensations.

      I was raised a dispensationalist, and we generally followed a 7-dispensation model. However, I did an intense study of dispensationalism in the early 1980s and concluded that the entire construct was misguided. I am no longer a dispensationalist.

      During that time I read extensively among dispensationalists, but the leading authors I studied were Walvoord, Ryrie, and Pentecost. I have not kept up with the development of dispensational thought in the last 10-15 years, and I would be happy to hear your additional comments on the subject. I don’t even know who the leading dispensational writers are today.

  19. esbee says:

    I just found your blog and find it very interesting. I really like the title, especially the without baggage part. Man is so good at adding all the extra junk.
    so here are some of my thoughts—
    Jesus left just 2 real commands “Love God, Love your neighbor.”

    And I heard a TV preacher say ” not everything in the bible is truth, but everything in the Bible is truthfully stated.” So many atheists claim all the rape, murder, etc in the Bible show a blood thirsty God they cannot follow or believe in, when in actuality, it is a historical record of the good, bad and ugly of God’s people the Jews in the times they lives and the culture and peoples around them. If someone is trying to push an agenda, such as a false religion, do you think they would tell all the bad stuff behind the scenes?

    and my own little concoction of what I feel God’s rules sum up to—any of God’s rules can be followed in any time period, any climate, any time of year, by anyone. for instance, the Gothard/Quiverful rule of no birth control, based on an OT scripture of a man’s quiver full of arrows representing a large family, would not be practical for a woman in Ethiopia wondering how to feed the few children she already has. So therefore, that rule is not a real rule or law of God to be followed by every Christian woman. But some would make it to be a MAJOR rule to follow and that God will only bless you if you follow it.

    I was friends with a very wise Christian lady who had been through much spiritual trial and Christian growth because her husband survived 12 bullets in a store robbery told me God does not make “cookie cutter Christians”, meaning each Christian has to follow the individual path God has laid out for them….It is a personal relationship and we do not always follow closely, sometimes not at all. The problem is that sometimes we think that what God wants in someone else’s life that He must want for us and then we mistakenly try to put those ways of living on ourselves as being the only way. And the results of following God’s will for other people can often have bad results.

    Isn’t it interesting how God does not repeat Himself? Here are a few examples of the many One-Time-Only Wonders….It started with one man and one woman, whom I suspect, neither had belly buttons. There was only one Abraham who by faith believed God’s promise to make him a nation (and he had only one son from Sarah), only one Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt and witnessed the one and only parting of the Red Sea, only one Noah who rode out the flood with all the animals on the one and only ark, just one David who using only one stone, brought down a giant. And one Mary who was visited by the one Holy Spirit to become mother of the one and only Jesus who proclaims that HE is the only One by whom salvation can be had. And God has made only one YOU and one ME…an incredible distinct personality found lost and wandering that He will paint and frame into one masterpiece! And that masterpiece will look like no other!

    • Hi Esbee! I am glad you found my blog to be interesting. I hope you continue to visit and that you comment whenever you like.

      I am sorry I have not responded before now, but I have been ill and incapacitated. However, I really like your comments. You are so correct about many statements in the Bible not being ‘rules’ for every person in every place and every time. Your quiverfull example was perfect.

      Thanks for your contribution and I hope to see you again on the blog.

  20. Michelle says:

    You have richly blessed me with a comment about the at-one-ment you made on another blog. I have the same perspective that you have stated on this page, only you have done so much more eloquently, and with less evidence of lingering bitterness, than I am able to do. Off to check out the rest of your blog. :-)

  21. dbrabble says:

    Great post. I am quite happy to have found your blog and will be reading it regularly!
    Like many who have already posted here, I started out as a fundamentalist, believing everything that I had been taught since a young age. It has only been in the last three years of my life
    that God has led me on a path to discard some of these doctrines.
    My life with Him is richer for it! God bless!

    • Welcome to the Jesus without Baggage, Dbrabble! I am glad you found us; many of us are from conservative backgrounds, as you have already noted.

      Feel free to enter the discussion anytime you wish.

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