Introduction to This Blog

Hello, I am Tim Chastain the author of this blog—Jesus without Baggage.

In this first entry I want to let you know what this blog is about, why I wish to share it, and whom I think might be interested.

When I was seven years old, I ‘got saved’ in a fundamentalist church. That event set me on a journey that is still unfinished, and I am now 61 years old. During that time, I have never rebelled against God or the church. However, for reasons I still do not understand, my journey involved a characteristic I do not always find among fundamentalists or evangelicals. I had a strong need to follow the truth.

Now this is not to say that other fundamentalists are not concerned for the truth; in fact, they often contend fiercely for the truth. But the fundamentalist position on most things is that they already have the truth and it is not up for consideration. Of course, this is not unique to fundamentalists and evangelicals; it is a concept shared by many religious individuals and movements.

As a seeker for truth, when I became a teen I began to examine the truths that I had accepted in the fundamentalist-evangelical package that came from my desire to follow God. Some of the truths did not hold up, and some of those were BIG ones! Among my conclusions:

  • God is not an angry God and he is not angry at us. In fact, he is the Father.
  • No one is going to be tortured in hell for eternity.
  • The Bible is a wonderful book, but it is not inerrant. It is the story of people trying to understand the Father and the story of the Father’s response to those people.
  • Jesus is the central focus of what we can learn about the Father and he is the only one I can trust with my spiritual well-being. I would give my life for him. I believe that in his resurrection he demonstrated a power over death that assures our own eventual victory over death.
  • The message of Jesus is tremendously inclusive. He gives us good news. He frees us from feelings of alienation from the Father, from others, and from ourselves; he frees us from fear and superstition; and he assures us of eternal life. This good news is without conditions.

I believe this good news is for all of us and our task as believers and followers is to share the good news with others, so that they can access it in their lives. It is not based on acceptance of ANY set of doctrinal beliefs nor ANY list of behavioral rules. Of course, behavior does matter—it matters very much, but not in the way most people think, and not in any way that one person can dictate to or judge another person. His good news is for everyone, whether or not they have even heard the name of Jesus.

The conclusions I have drawn from my journey are now my pre-suppositions. Although, as a seeker of truth, my beliefs are always open to further consideration.

As a believer and a follower, I wish to share this good news to others. We will elaborate on the many practical ramifications of this good news. I have no desire to persuade anyone to accept my views, but some may find that they make sense and are helpful in their own journeys. Among the people whom I anticipate might want to read this blog are:

  • Those who are struggling with doubts about the Christian ‘truths’ they have accepted.
  • Those who are interested in Jesus but not in the baggage they find associated with him among many Christians.
  • Those believers who have rightfully abandoned Christian baggage but who need strength from and communication with others on the same journey.
  • Those who have rightfully abandoned Christian baggage but who have abandoned Jesus along with it.

If you are interested in Jesus, but not the baggage, I invite you to join me on my journey.

This entry was posted in baggage, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, Jesus. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Introduction to This Blog

  1. sheila0405 says:

    I just found your blog from a link in another blog. I read through your reasons to reject the notion of a physical hell, which is a place of torment forever and forever. My own concept of hell has also changed over the years. I see the soul as eternal, but if the soul rejects God until his very last breath, that soul will be deprived of friendship with God forever. That way of existence–one forever apart from God–will be the torment. I believe life without God is miserable. Souls separated from God will live in misery for eternity. I have gone over your theory about annihilation, and I will explore this in more detail for myself. Specifically, does the Bible teach that every soul is eternal? Thanks for a great jump start for me,. Oh, about me: I was raised a fundamentalist who converted to Roman Catholicism. I am 58, and I left Protestantism because there are too many versions and too many interpretations in the Protestant world. I came to believe that the Catholic Church is Christ’s original Church on earth. The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, and it is the Church which rightly interprets Scripture. And, I got 7 more books in my Bible! That was a nice bonus. ::smiling::

    Like

  2. Hi Sheila, I am glad you have had a good journey in developing your ideas on hell. Though I believe in annihilation, I could be wrong. If so a scenario such as you describe could be the case, but I cannot accept the belief of eternal torment in a burning hell; it makes no sense at all.

    I am also glad you are happy about your seven ‘extra books’. I have enjoyed reading several of them myself, and I think I have read parts of all of them.

    Thank you for your comment, and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

    Like

  3. sheila0405 says:

    Tim, I assume you deleted Steve’s comment? I was going to alert you about it.

    Like

    • Thanks for looking out for me Sheila!

      The blogger has posted in comments several times. The first time, I interacted with him and looked around on his blog, but since then I deleted his lengthy comments as they did not relate to the posts at all. This time I blocked him (and dropped him an email to explain).

      I hate that. I have never blocked anyone before. It seems to be his way of promoting traffic to his blog. I have no problem with someone including an appropriate link to their blog, but it is not helpful to attach an unrelated post as a comment. Perhaps he is not familiar with blogging practices.

      Like

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