About this Blog: Jesus Without Baggage

This blog is for those attracted to Jesus but who question the traditional baggage often attached to his message, so it has two large areas of focus.

The first area of focus is learning who Jesus is, what he says about the Father, and how we should relate to the Father, to ourselves, and to others. The second focus is examining major baggage issues that often detract from following Jesus freely.

I grew up a fundamentalist and later became an evangelical. As I examined my beliefs, I discarded a lot of baggage that was added to the good news of Jesus, and I hope to help and support others who are on the same journey.

Following Jesus without Baggage

The Intended Audience for this Blog

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

1. First and foremost, this blog is meant as a support for those questioning beliefs they have been taught as true, or even essential. This can be an extremely frightening process, so this blog is a safe place for interaction, questions, and support.

Those escaping religious baggage sometimes abandon Jesus along with it and feel the loss. We are here to say that baggage is not part of Jesus’ message to us; you can certainly follow Jesus without it.

I don’t claim to be an ‘authority’, and I certainly don’t want to become an authority figure to replace authority figures people are escaping. I believe everyone should decide issues for themselves, but I am pleased if this blog provides information and help on the journey. The regular readers and commenters also give a great deal of support.

2. The second intended audience are those already on a spiritual journey from religious baggage and would like confirmation or conversation from friendly co-travelers. Readers here interact freely with me and with other readers. It is nice to be part of a community of like-minded persons, especially when you might not have that in your local area.

3. Finally, this blog is for those interested in Jesus but not the traditional baggage often associated with him, whether or not they identify as followers of Jesus. It is also for those who simply enjoy discussion and interaction on these important topics.

Objectives

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

I am happy if my understanding of Jesus without baggage makes sense to you and is helpful; but it does not bother me in the least if you don’t agree with my understanding. I respect your right to your beliefs even if you disagree with everything I think.

The Meaning of Jesus without Baggage

Since the death of Jesus’ earliest followers, certain views have become accepted as ‘truth’ and those who disagree with these ‘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 Jesus at a very early age and accepted a lot of religious baggage along with that choice. Over time, I discovered that much of the baggage I accepted was not legitimate. I first abandoned legalism–the keeping of religious rules, but I also dealt with other baggage that came as part of my religious tradition.

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.

Six Signs You May Be Lugging Heavy Religious Baggage

Major Baggage Issues

Most issues on which followers of Jesus disagree are not alarming or destructive, but some are very harmful. The elements of harmful baggage I see among Christians today:

  1. The belief that the Father is an angry, capricious, vindictive God
  2. The concept of eternal punishment and torture in hell
  3. An insistence that the Bible is somehow inerrant in every word
  4. An over-emphasis on rules and doctrinal requirements
  5. Commitment to a literal approach to the creation stories in Genesis
  6. Disapproval and rejection of gay people

These views are not only misguided, but they create burdens instead of freedom and are harmful to our relationships to the Father, ourselves, and other people. We will discuss these and other issues, and their ramifications here.

The Good News of Jesus

The Good News of Jesus

Religious baggage is not the only important thing we discuss on this blog. Opposite to the baggage is the Good News of Jesus. As we begin to learn and live the good news of Jesus, we no longer need (or want) to hold on to our baggage.

What is the Good News of Jesus Anyway?
God is not Angry and Harsh with Us as Many of Us Thought
God’s Love for Us Takes Away Our Fear, Guilt, and Self-Condemnation
Do You Still Feel Guilt and Fear because You Fall Short of what God Demands?
We are not to Follow Burdensome Religious Rules
We are Agents for Expanding God’s Kingdom on Earth
Death is Not the End because Jesus Offers Us Eternal Life and Happiness
When the Good News of Jesus Doesn’t Sound like Good News At All

To all the groups mentioned above–and more, I invite you to explore Jesus without baggage.

~Tim Chastain

605 Responses to About this Blog: Jesus Without Baggage

  1. Kay says:

    I’m very glad I found this blog, makes me feel a lot better. I’ve always believed in God and Jesus but I never identified with any religious group. I’ve always found things a bit confusing given the fact of so many religions and all of these “rules”. I always thought you can have your own personal relationship with God and Jesus without church or the Bible. I was reading some Bible verses out of curiosity and my first thought was why does this sound so scary, so again I feel confused because I don’t believe God is angry or hates anyone’s. I have been wanting a closer relationship with God and Jesus but am not sure which direction to turn, any advice? Thank you🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Kay, I am glad you find the blog useful. I don’t think God is angry or hates anyone either.

      Regarding you question of a closer relationship with God and Jesus, let me share this resource page. Let me know if you have additional thoughts or questions.

      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/how-to-follow-jesus/

      Like

    • William says:

      If some parts of the Bible seem scary and stand in the way of your creating a relationship with God, consider for a moment that you are reading someone else’s interpretation and opinion of how God operates and how you connect with him. Those words were chosen by people like you and me. Who gave them the authority to decide what God really does or is? Ask yourself, who in the whole world do you know today that you could trust to relate to you correctly and completely the spiritual experience he or she witnessed in someone else. Now go back about 2,000 years and ask that same question. The gospels describing the actions and words of Jesus were transmitted orally for decades (perhaps 40 years) before first being committed to papyrus. Add to that the changes introduced due to translation and possible “improvements” by scribes. Those type of changes are a matter of record. You and anyone can experience a relationship with God without having to quote the Bible. If that were not possible, Jesus would not have attempted to explain himself to anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kay says:

    Thank you for the link I’m looking into right now. Also would you recommend any books that give a similar view as your own?

    Also thanks for your input William, I found that helpful as well🙂

    Like

  3. susanbotchie says:

    The reality of eternal hell for unrepentant people, if this place does not exist, then Jesus was talking trash – in other words, not exactly telling the truth. In other words, someone not exactly trustworthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KR Wordgazer says:

      I suppose there’s no possibility that it might be the modern church, which at a great distance in time, place and culture from Jesus’ original audience, misunderstands what he was talking about?

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Susan, I understand your point: Jesus used two words often translated as ‘hell’ in English Bibles–especially the KJV. But neither of them refer to what many people think hell is–a place of eternal torment in fire.

      If you are interested, I have written articles about passages throughout the Bible that some believers think teach such a hell. You can find them at my resource page on hell along with articles by other believers.

      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/hell/

      Like

    • William says:

      Susan, let us not blame Jesus if there is some debate, or lack of clarity about Hell. Whatever he said is not trash. Your doubt that Hell is a tomb of eternal fire is reasonable. However, there are many, many people that hold the belief (and some go to great lengths on the internet to justify that belief) that the words they read in their copy of the English version of the New Testament are a PRECISE quote of Jesus and a PRECISE interpretation of those words. As Tim has already replied, there are words from many cultures that are translated as “Hell”, but refer to other conditions and places where we might end up after our death. Each culture has its own, very firm belief as to what Hell is like. You can Google that. The Norse, for example, believe that Hell is very cold and dank. It is not as though Jesus had a stenographer that followed him around and took dictation. What you read about Hell in the King James version of the Bible is somebody’s choice in translating a Greek word that was translated from either Hebrew or Aramaic, that was written down from a sometimes second-hand oral account, such as the gospel of Luke, who never knew Jesus. The person doing the translating only understood Hell to be what everyone else in his culture believed and chose those words that reflected that. I personally believe that the “Hell” Jesus was referring to is the state of consciousness, a state of excruciating mental agony, to which we are susceptible when we are separated from God. That can be worse than any physical pain. You don’t have to die to experience that Hell. Isn’t it tragic that thousands and thousands of people find that they can’t live with themselves and turn to drugs and suicide, when inner peace is only inches away. Jesus tried to spread that message, and I thank him for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Annemarie says:

    I have been looking for a community like this for years. I have been raised in the church, breathed Christianity all my life and currently serve as a worship leader at a church. I adore Jesus and people. However, I can’t read the Bible very long without feeling uneasy and sick about the genocide, polygamamy, misogyny and eternal torture sprinkled amongst the glory of God. Much of it seems so contrary to who Jesus is, yet I have been told all my life the Bible is without error, and has absolute authority, and to question is sin. The only way I could reconcile this misey was to get on antidepressants and not think too deeply. Of course I can’t stop thinking deeply, though I get chastised for it by fellow Christians who the anwsers flow easily from. I am so happy to know there is another way, finally. To love and follow Jesus but not have to swallow the genocide. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Annemarie, you speak of the experience of many, many believers from church circles: “Much of it seems so contrary to who Jesus is, yet I have been told all my life the Bible is without error, and has absolute authority, and to question is sin.”

      I too was raised in this environment. But it is misguided and harmful. I am glad you are happy to find another way. Are there any concerns you would like to ask about?

      Like

      • Annemarie says:

        Hi! Thank you so much for responding! I am sure you’ve already answered many of my questions in previous blogs, so I can begin reading more of your blogs. I know it’s probably been answered before, but is it normal to feel terrified to doubt? I’ve been told all my life that the Bible is inerrant. To doubt this is sin. Can I be a Christian and love Jesus without believing every word of the Bible? Can I still function in a church, and even be a worship leader, if I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant? I fear that if I dared to express doubts, people would be horrified… I could lose my job, my reputation, and community. All because I don’t think that God would condone genocide, stoning, rape and polygamy. But the truth is, I think many people secretly feel the same way, especially in my generation. They love Jesus but are weary of the baggage. Thank you again for helping me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Perry says:

          I sure identify with you, Annemarie. It’s been hard for me making the transition to more truth, yet having trouble overriding the old programming to feel guilty. Thanks for your transparency.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Well said, Perry! You are right on target in describing many of us who have abandoned harmful, misguided beliefs we were taught–we go through a period of guilt. And I think you have also identified the reason–the old guilt programming.

            Like

        • William says:

          Annemarie, there is truth in the bible, but you must not be caught up in those words that are either mistaken interpretations or those words generated by people over the centuries who were presumptuous enough to believe they knew the mind of God. Stay with the specific words of Jesus and think about what he said in light of your own experiences, those moments when you could sense there was an incredible mystery in the universe that created you and brought you to where you are. He experienced the miracle that was unfolding in his own life, but the human language cannot convey that experience of god-consciousness any more than you can explain the taste of an avocado to someone who has never eaten one. There are thousands of people, no smarter than you or I, who are self-appointed authorities on God’s intentions. For example, this phrase by Jesus that appears in all Christian Bibles, is stated this way in the King James version: “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The question arose: Can a person be saved who has never heard of Jesus? Now, do a search of that question on the internet. You will find countless websites with answers by people who believe they know how God handles that question. The answers are very elaborate, but I have yet to find a “yes” or “no”.

          Liked by 2 people

          • tonycutty says:

            Beautifully put, William

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            William, you said a lot of good stuff here, and I really think you shared the most important advice of all: “Stay with the specific words of Jesus and think about what he said in light of your own experiences.” For believers, the words and example of Jesus should be our overriding guide to everything.

            If the Old Testament sometimes portrays an angry, violent, vindictive god, and Jesus tells us instead of the loving Father, someone is mistaken–and it isn’t Jesus.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Annemarie, you ask: “Is it normal to feel terrified to doubt? I’ve been told all my life that the Bible is inerrant. To doubt this is sin.” My answer–it is absolutely normal. This common religious environment you describe is steeped in fear–fear of angry God, fear of hell, fear of getting things wrong; but God does not want us to be bound by fear.

          So, yes it is very normal to be terrified when we begin to doubt. But if we cannot question what we have been taught and cannot think for ourselves rather than accepting the unfounded authority of others, then we being asked to be compliant zombies (as our teachers likely are). And that is not what we are meant to be.

          Thinking and questioning is not ‘sin’!

          I wish I could say that you can express yourself in church and continue your current relationships and functions, but in most such churches this is unlikely. Many of us have lost our church jobs, reputations, and community; and it isn’t easy. However, there are other churches that will accept your questioning and your journey away from misguided beliefs.

          On inerrancy, you might be interested in some of the article on my resource page on inerrancy and reading the Bible:

          https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/inerrancy/

          Feel free to share other concerns or questions you might have. The primary objective of this blog is to assist and support those who are questioning what they have been taught.

          Like

  5. Michele says:

    Thank you for writing this! I love God and I love Jesus. I’ve also been miserable under that “legalism” and feeling further AWAY from God while entrenched in it all. Please write and do more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Michele, as a former legalist I can understand your feeling about legalism. Legalism is a crushing burden to believers who should be enjoying a life of joy and freedom in Jesus. Legalism also creates an army of religious judges, and fosters an environment of fear.

      Like

  6. MsGranger says:

    I was raised in a very strict, conservative Christian home. I have seen very little good come from this “literal Bible” idea, in fact, it ruined many things for me. As a married adult with a child of my own, I cannot understand a loving god who is supposedly all-powerful, but chooses to let his children suffer and punishes people who aren’t believers.
    I also think aside from the words of Jesus, the Bible is pretty messed up. I was raised to study the Bible, never question what it said, and that every single person who didn’t believe as we did was going to be brutally tortured for ETERNITY. How messed up is that, if you think about it? I seriously don’t think I’d ever have chosen Christianity if I hadn’t grown up in it. I am starting to question so much of what I thought I believed, and it’s scary! I don’t want to give up my Christianity because 98% of everyone I care about is a Christian and my own parents would probably disown me if I told them that I don’t really believe the Bible is inerrant AND that I’m bisexual. Their world views are paranoid, biased, and chilling to anyone who isn’t a believer, as are the views of many in the church. I love the teaching of Jesus, but I don’t love the church.
    I actually took an in-depth quiz that matched your views and ideas with the way different religions believe, and I got 7.1% Christian. 7.1%! Apparently, I would make a better Buddhist or Wiccan than I would a Christian. -_- Not that I think an internet quiz should decide what I believe, but it was just so shocking to me. It was my whole life as a child. I hate how we alienated and made fun of people who didn’t believe or were gay, etc. I can’t believe I used to think that God made women more or less to be assistants to men. I don’t know what I really believe anymore, but this site is very helpful. Thank you for putting this out here for people like me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi MsGranger, When we are part of a rigid, authoritative belief community it is VERY scary to question what we have been taught! We are constantly warned not to be enticed by the devil to think for ourselves. But this is misguided. If we don’t think for ourselves, then we don’t even have real beliefs–we have somebody else’s beliefs.

      I have articles that deal with some of the common misguided beliefs you mentioned. Let me know if you want links to them.

      God punishing people and torture in hell
      Gays and the church – same for bisexuals
      Men dominating and subjugating women
      Bible literalism (inerrancy)

      I will share with you now a link about God allowing suffering:
      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/original-sin-or-original-self-centeredness/

      Please let me know what you think and how I can help in your journey. This is the primary reason why this blog exists.

      Like

      • William says:

        When you mentioned that it is scary to question what we have been taught, a thought came to mind. With all respect to the fact that this blog is for the benefit of Christians or those interested in Christianity (who may worry that they are not 100% in compliance) I feel I must repeat this advice by Siddartha Gautama (the Buddha).who also recognized the anxiety and doubt created when others try to dictate what we should or should not believe. He said, “Place no other head above your own.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          William, I have high regard for Gautama Buddha; some of his teachings have really impacted my life (though I do not think he is equal to Jesus or that both paths lead to the same place).

          I was not familiar with his quote about others dictating our belief–but I really like it: “Place no other head above your own.” Thanks for sharing it with us!

          Like

  7. Perry says:

    Tim, you might have missed my question the other day about whether you have written about tithing?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christy says:

    Following Jesus is about your heart, not the rules. It’s about LOVE. Jesus said the Law (the rules) can be summed up in 2 commandments – love God and love your neighbor. You cannot compromise the final authority of the Bible, but it is a process. The Law was holy and just and right. But it is impossible for man to follow all the rules. That’s ultimately why Jesus had to come and die in our place! The point of the Law was to prove that we are in need of a Savior, so Jesus came to save us, to redeem us, to die in our place so that we can have freedom. Freedom from the Law. Freedom from our sin. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, the Law and all the ordinances were nailed to the cross with Him. We are free from it!

    The rules and the Law can not give you freedom, but Jesus can. If you read Romans chapters 7 and 8, Paul talks about this issue exactly. So many people think it’s about the rules but it’s not. The more time you spend in prayer and reading the Bible, (I would start in the New Testament), asking the Lord to show you the Truth and give you understanding, the more His Spirit becomes active within us! Jesus fills the gap. He GIVES us the POWER to overcome the things against God that we do. We can’t do it of ourselves. We HAVE to lean on Jesus. It’s baby steps. I believe that every word of the Bible is true. But mankind focuses on the wrong things and thus religion and legalism is born.

    When Jesus walked the earth during His ministry, His main critics were the ones who taught the Law! His whole ministry went against all the rules that man added to God’s Law of their own accord. Men add unnecessary burdens. The only thing that matters is getting your heart right with God.

    Jesus says to follow Him. Not, quit smoking and then follow me. Not quit this, quit that, do this, do that, then you will be worthy to follow me! He says come as you are! His burden is light. All we have to do is accept His love and salvation and spend time with Him, get to know Him. Follow Him, and everything you need and desire in life will be added to you by Him. It’s His job to turn you into something beautiful. Not yours. You can’t and He knows that. If you have accepted salvation, it is a gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that salvation cannot be EARNED by the things we do. If that were true, how many “good deeds” would it take to get to heaven? How could it be measured? God loves us so much that He took away the burden of making ourselves righteous, because it’s not possible, and instead declares that we ARE righteous. Why are we righteous? Because He says so. If we have accepted Jesus sacrifice for our sins, then His blood covers our every imperfection. In Romans chapter 5 it talks about how we are justified through Christ. That means that because He died for us, we are made righteous. Even though we don’t deserve it. That’s the beauty of it! No more guilt! Complete freedom comes when we begin to believe these Truths! You don’t have to feel guilty, because it’s God’s job to change you through the power of the Holy Spirit! He already says you are righteous!

    Dive into the Psalms and ask the Lord to reveal His love to you in ways you’ve never experienced before and He will! If you desire to know God, you will find Him. The Law isn’t irrelevant or bad. It’s just unattainable without the Lord’s intervention on our behalf. Our job is to submit to the Lord and allow Him to change us. All we have to do is follow.

    Psalm 56 says that the Lord fashioned and knew every day of your life before you were ever born. He knew you would question these things. He wants to draw you into a relationship with Him so that He can pour His love into every area of your life! He wants you to bring your questions to Him so that HE can give you understanding. Only changes made by God are eternal. You can try to change yourself all you want, but it will not last unless God steps in to help.

    The Bible does not lack authority, but rather we lack understanding. We cannot have understanding until we begin to lean on God and ask for understanding. The Holy Spirit will give you understanding in all things if you seek the answer from God and not man.

    I hope this helps someone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy says:

      I meant to quote Psalm 139. Lol. Anyway all I was trying to say is that the Law and no set of rules can save us, only the person of Jesus. But how can one follow Jesus without studying the Bible? You can’t pick and choose what you’d like to believe or you are exalting yourself and yourself only. Jesus points us to God the Father over and over again. The Bible has survived longer than any other writings. And although it may have been about 40 years before the new testament got recorded, that is significantly sooner than most ancient writings which are considered infalliable in accuracy after being recorded a few hundred years later. Jesus is the key. You can serve Jesus right where you are. One of the most life changing discoveries I ever made was that Jesus is the One who changes us. Follow Him and He will carry your burdens. But any who think they are above change are mistaken. Jesus will always lead us into deeper relationship with Him and in the process we become more like Him.

      Like

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Christy, you ask: “But how can one follow Jesus without studying the Bible?” I agree that it is in the NT that we learn about Jesus and are able to follow him. You said in your earlier comment that we should start with the NT when reading the Bible; I think you are right on target. Many people reading the Bible for the first time begin at the beginning and are almost immediately into the violence of the flood, and before long they bog down in Leviticus.

        I cannot say that every word in the Bible is true, as you mention in your first comment. The Bible was written by people who felt a connection with God, but they wrote from the limitations of their own eras, cultures, and understandings of God. What we can do is learn about Jesus from the gospels and what he says about the loving Father and how we can participate in reconciliation by loving others. To me, that is the foundation of everything.

        Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      “Following Jesus is about your heart, not the rules. It’s about LOVE. Jesus said the Law (the rules) can be summed up in 2 commandments – love God and love your neighbor.” Christy, I totally agree! You have excellent insight on the misguided teachings of legalism.

      And this statement is an absolute jewel: “Jesus says to follow Him. Not, quit smoking and then follow me. Not quit this, quit that, do this, do that, then you will be worthy to follow me! He says come as you are! His burden is light.” Sometimes it IS very much baby steps, as you say. I think you comments will help someone.

      Like

  9. Mel says:

    My problem is not with Jesus, but with Christians. I have been a Christian since I was 6 years old. (I am currently 42.) In that time, I have been abused, hurt, and abandoned by people who call themselves Christians so many times…

    I spoke to my pastor (a Jesus follower), and he basically believes that it is impossible to say you love Jesus but hate the Church because the Church is Jesus’ bride.
    He also says that anyone who turns from Christ because of other Christians put too much faith in humans rather than in Jesus.

    I am feeling pissed off and turned off from Christianity in general because of how the Church has treated me — and other lovely people — with such hate and disdain. Non-believers treat fellow humans better than people in my church treat one another.

    The worst part of all this is that I am a regular worship leader at church. I honestly have a gift that burns in my veins when the Spirit of God is in me. I cannot deny it. I have been made to worship. However, due to the lies, hypocrisy, and church politics of the board members, I feel unable and unwilling to worship in spirit and truth. When I lead worship, I feel as if I am performing to give the congregation the “show” they are used to. I am not worshipping as the Spirit desires. It makes me feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.

    Should I step down?
    Should I find a new church?
    Should I just quit altogether?
    I am tired and weary.
    I do not know what I believe anymore.

    Like

    • William says:

      Think about this: Jesus could have written some of the same parts as in your message, But he never would because his faith in himself and in God allowed him to ignore the “the lies, hypocrisy, and church politics” that existed in his time. In fact, many people not only disregarded him, they wanted him disposed of. Jesus would say you are following in his footsteps if you simply go ahead and conduct your worship services as you believe. Don’t worry about those that don’t listen. You have pointed the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        William, thanks for sharing such good advice with Mel. I think what you say is sound and a good way of responding to his situation depending on other factors he has not shared with us. Thanks again!

        Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mel, you are in quite a difficult situation. Unfortunately, this is not unusual in the church; it happens far too often. I cannot advise anyone on what they should do in such a situation, but I once had to make a decision: should I stay and try to make this congregation better, or should I find another church that is a better fit for me?

      I was heavily involved in leadership positions in the church and knew that I would have to start over elsewhere. I chose to find a better church fit, and I never regretted it. Had I stayed at the old church, I would not likely have had much positive impact on its character–they were just too ingrained in their ways.

      This was my decision in a similar situation–but it was not exactly the same as your situation. I cannot advise you at all, but I feel you are working through it and can make your own decision at the right time. Just don’t be intimidated by people who say you have to stick with it; whatever you do should be your thoughtful decision.

      I am not sure quite what the pastor meant about not being able to love Jesus while being disappointed in (hating) the church because it is the bride of Christ. But I would say that the bride of Christ, in Paul’s mind, is the universal church–the kingdom of God on earth–not the local, institutional church, especially if it is out of synch with Jesus’ teaching on loving others.

      Like

  10. Perry says:

    As I’ve been following you all here, I’ve found the courage to think more about what’s real and what’s not, and to seek truth not dogma. I’ve also taken more notice of how some folks live in total, constant fear of God…like they’re afraid what he might do if they make the slightest misstep. Such an ungodly view of God, but one I used to share. I feel such empathy for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Perry, I used to believe in angry god as well. This creates a relationship of fear and subservience. It causes an emphasis on legalism which creates an army of judges and condemners. This is no way to live–especially since Jesus came to tell us about the loving Father and taught us to live in freedom, love, and reconciliation.

      Angry god IS an ungodly view of God. Like you, I also feel great empathy for those still trapped in this world of fear. My heart goes out to them.

      Like

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