About Jesus Without Baggage

Jesus without Baggage is for those attracted to Jesus but who question the baggage often attached to his message, so it has two large areas of focus.

The first area of focus is examining major harmful baggage issues that often detract from following Jesus freely. The second is learning who Jesus is, what he says about the loving Father/Mother, and how we should relate to God, to ourselves, and to others. I grew up a fundamentalist and later became 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 a similar 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 is often 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 really 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 your 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 traditional believers and many atheists will disagree strongly with my views, but my purpose is not to persuade anyone to accept my perspectives on Jesus, God, 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 God, 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

Six Signs You May Be Lugging Heavy Religious Baggage

Most issues on which followers of Jesus disagree are not alarming or destructive, but some are very harmful. Some primary 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 God, ourselves, and other people. We discuss these and other issues, and their ramifications, in this blog.

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. Here are a few posts on the Good News of Jesus.

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. And feel free to join in the conversation. ~Tim Chastain

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1,075 Responses to About Jesus Without Baggage

  1. rod says:

    After the fall of Satan, the people split up into two groups; those who chose to believe in good (Terrestrial and Celestial), and those who chose to believe in evil (Telestial and Perdition). Adam, at that time, was given the kingdom by a majority vote of the people who chose good. Adam was chosen because he was the best “terrestrial-subvertable” person available. (The majority of the people are terrestrial-subvertable, and people tend to vote for people that are like themselves.) Adam was “God the Father” of the Old Testament. (The guy King David was always praising and worshipping; although he didn’t even know who he was worshipping.) While Adam was on the Earth (for his 930 year Earthly life), Jesus “filled in” for him (as king in the heavens). He couldn’t choose Noah because he’s even more subvertable than he (Adam {Michael}) is. That would be dangerous, because the Devil might try to take the kingdom at that time and could probably have succeeded. (Noah {Gabriel} is second in authority in the priesthood, after Adam.) After Adams death, he took back the kingdom from Jesus (in the spirit world). It was prophesied that Adam would give the kingdom to Jesus in Daniel Chapter 7 verses 13-14. This prophesy was fulfilled after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus proclaims that “all power in heaven and earth were given to him”, (Matthew 28:18) which means that Daniel 7:13-14 was fulfilled at that time. Actually, what happened was that Jesus “took” the kingdom from Adam after His resurrection from the dead, and Adam just “let” Him take it. (Colossians 2:15 confirms it.) Adam “could” have used his army to stop Jesus if he had wanted to, but he didn’t because he knew he couldn’t keep the kingdom in the long run anyway. If he didn’t let Jesus take it from him, then the kingdom would be taken from him by force by the devil and the antichrist at some future date. If the antichrist were to “fall” on Adam, he would be subverted to the devil. But if (when) the antichrist were to fall on Jesus he (the antichrist) would be broken. So Adam Can’t keep the kingdom, but he Could choose who will get the kingdom after him, either Jesus, or the antichrist. If he (Adam) had given the kingdom to the antichrist, Adam would not be condemned to the second death, but would have been the lowest person not condemned as such (forever). But if he (Adam) gives the kingdom to Jesus, then he (Adam) is only “demoted” in rank by one person, namely by Jesus. Adam is First in authority in the priesthood. So Adam chose wisely, and “let” Jesus “take” the kingdom from him. The reason Jesus had to “take” the kingdom from Adam wasn’t because He was a megalomaniac, (even though I believe He is, but this wasn’t the reason here) but because if He didn’t, He would be given the second death by Satan (after subverting Adam and getting the kingdom from him). So it was a “do-or-die” situation for Jesus, because He (Jesus) is non-subvertable terrestrial. In other words, He would not be spared by Satan, if Satan, were to get his hands on the kingdom. So Jesus is “Top-Boss” now, and has been so, ever since getting the kingdom from Adam after His resurrection. But Jesus doesn’t get to be top-boss forever. During the “Great Tribulation” Jesus succeeds in defeating the antichrist, the false prophet and the devils army; but He can’t defeat the devil himself. (Jesus defeats the devils army by “subverting” the Telestial kingdom unto Himself. The antichrist attempts to subvert the Terrestrial kingdom unto himself with his “mark-of-the-beast” system, but fails). The scripture says that the devil is “cast into a bottomless pit” at the end of the great tribulation. But this is not true. The truth is that the devil “escapes” out of Jesus’ hands, by withdrawing himself to the center of the Earth. He (Satan) can’t be taken into custody from there without destroying the whole earth. Remember the devil has not a body of flesh and bones like we, and Jesus do. But rather he has a spirit body only, at that time. The problem is that Jesus is “unwilling” to destroy the earth. Why? Everybody is almighty at one morality or another. If you were to take Any person, and cast them into the lake of fire, they would have to choose one morality or another at that time while frying in the lake of fire. No matter what morality they chose, they can’t get out of there. So whatever morality they chose, they become almighty at that morality, right? So Jesus is almighty at just that morality, where he can’t destroy the earth, because it’s His treasure, and where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Jesus also says in the scriptures that He comes to “destroy” those who destroy the earth (Rev.11:18). So He waits out the millennium without attempting to “get” the devil. But at the end of the millennium, the people begin to rebel against Jesus. Satan sees this and comes out of his hiding place and leads a rebellion against Jesus. If Jesus did nothing, He would be defeated by Satan. So Jesus is “forced” to give up the kingdom to “Iron Man”. Who is Iron Man? In Revelation Chapter 12 a constellation is given which points to a specific date. September 23, 2017. On that date the events of the next paragraph are fulfilled. What events? A baby is born in Israel who should rule all nations with an iron scepter. The devil shows up as a Great Red Dragon to devour him the moment he is born. But he is caught up to heaven, to God, and to His throne. No name is given for this person, so I call him iron man because he should rule all nations with an iron scepter. This is the person Jesus gives the kingdom to, because Jesus can’t beat the devil Himself, but Iron Man can. So Iron man sends down fire from heaven and devours the rebels and Satan again retreat to the center of the earth. But this time the earth is not spared. Now that Iron Man is “top-boss” he is going to destroy the earth so he can “dig out” the devil from his hiding place and give him the second death with the antichrist and the false prophet. When the earth is destroyed to the very center, the devil has nowhere to hide and is captured and condemned. Iron Man doesn’t get to keep the kingdom for himself either. The book of Daniel says “the time came when the Saints possessed the kingdom” (Dan. 7:22). So why does Iron Man give the kingdom to the Saints (those who belong to the celestial kingdom)? Is it just because he’s such a “nice guy”? No, he’s “forced” to give the kingdom to the Saints. How? If he were to attempt to keep the kingdom, Jesus would become a “thorn in his side”. Remember Jesus comes to destroy those who destroy the earth? And who was it that destroyed the earth? Iron man did. So what do you think Jesus wants to do to Iron Man? He wants to destroy him. Jesus will at first try to “trick” Iron Man into giving the kingdom back to Him by saying something like this; “The devil is defeated. This means good-wins, and evil-looses. And if I were in your shoes, I would give the kingdom to the saints. And you are not doing so. Therefore I am holier than you, this means you should give the kingdom back to me.” If Iron Man were tricked into doing so it would be the death of him; Because Jesus would give him the second death. Remember Jesus comes to destroy those who destroy the earth, and Iron Man destroyed the earth. And afterwards Jesus would Not give the kingdom to the saints. He was lying when he said He would, and he’s Not holier than Iron Man is. Jesus has been tricking people out of their exaltations for thousands of years. The reason is because He wants to fatten His army with them so He can beat the devils army and save Himself. (If He were to let too many people get their exaltation, His army would be too weak to defeat the devils army, and we would all lose to the devil. If you get your exaltation above Jesus, you don’t have to do what He says, and you don’t have to fight in His army.) {How do you get your exaltation? see “note 1” below.} So why would He give the kingdom to the saints now? He wouldn’t. Like I said, He’s a megalomaniac. The people would know He tricked Iron Man and condemned him unjustly. But Jesus being the top-boss couldn’t be defeated. He would “pick them off” “one’sy-two’sy”, until everyone but Himself was in the lake of fire and brimstone. Remember when Jesus said He is the “first and the last”? Well, that’s what it means. But this isn’t going to happen. Iron Man is too smart, and will not give the kingdom back to Jesus. (That would be suicide.) So what if Iron Man doesn’t “give” the kingdom to Jesus, and doesn’t give it to the saints either? If that were to happen then Jesus would gather together his followers (Jesus has a lot more followers than Iron Man does) and deceive them into thinking Jesus is holier than Iron Man (because iron man isn’t giving the kingdom to the saints, and He would falsely claim that He (Jesus) would, if He were in his shoes. And the people would swallow His lies “hook-line and sinker”.) Therefore, Jesus should be the top-boss and not iron man; and He would overthrow the kingdom by coup d’état. Then Jesus would give iron man the second death, and Not give the kingdom to the saints, and pick people off until He alone were not in the lake of fire and brimstone, as in the other scenario. But this isn’t going to happen either. Iron Man foresees All of this, and gives the kingdom to the Saints. (It’s either that or the second death for him.) After that, Jesus is unable to convince His followers that He is holier that iron man, and cannot lead a rebellion to overthrow his kingdom. The people would say He gave the kingdom to Iron Man and is not justified in taking it back now (because He’s not holier than iron man is). So Jesus ends up becoming the king of Israel (Luke 1:32) and a “high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” unto Iron Man. When the Saints get the kingdom, they have a “knowledge competition” to determine who gets to win the race, win the prize, and become Heavenly Father. (There is no Heavenly Father at this time. Jesus lied “and said there was” because it’s a “winning strategy”. Yes Jesus and Adam lie, 1 Kings 22:22 proves Adam lies.) {What makes me think there is no heavenly father now? see “note 2” below.} Adam was “God-the-Father” of the Old Testament, but he’s not the heavenly father talked about by Jesus. That person doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean there’s not going to be one in the future; there is. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:19) {see “note 3”) So if you know more than the person who knows the most, then you know the most. And that means you have the advantage over everyone else, which means you win the race, and win the prize. So we know that “the race” is a knowledge acquiring competition of spiritual truths. So what is the prize if you win? One; you get the kingdom, and you get to keep the kingdom from everlasting to everlasting. Two; you become owner of the whole universe, and it becomes your personal property and you can do Anything you want with it from everlasting to everlasting. And Three; you get to become Heavenly Father, and this has meaning to it. After Iron Man creates the new heavens and the new earth (another Big-Bang is coming), there is no biological reproduction allowed, except with you, or your biological descendants (however you wish to handle it). And so you get to “fill up” the Whole New Universe with your biological descendants, and that’s how you become Heavenly Father. So get your noses in the scriptures and compete to win the race. It’s worth the effort. (And more things), remember you may know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Not Jesus, sorry, He’s Terrestrial) And don’t lean to your own understanding, but in all things acknowledge goodness and truth itself, as revealed by the Holy Ghosts, and let them direct your paths. And don’t concern yourself with whether other people agree with you or not. (You will never win the race that way. If you try to be accepted in your church you will be under a Lot, of pressure to pervert the truth. It’s better either to be the least accepted person there, or just not to go to church at all. I don’t go to church at all anymore. They don’t like me.) And don’t argue with others either. (Let them win the argument. And you win the race.) The only exception is the Holy Ghost. You should concern yourself with whether He agrees with you or not, because He is the one who gets to decide “who got it right, and who got it wrong” on competition day. This is the best way “I know of” to compete successfully to win the race, win the prize, and get “you know what”; (The chicks). Good luck. Note 1: You don’t get your exaltation through a Temple marriage. Job 17:4 “For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.” How has He hid our minds from understanding? By feeding us a Terrestrial (not celestial) version of the gospel. How is it that He will not exalt us? You cannot be saved in the celestial kingdom through a terrestrial version of the gospel. The whole “Quad” is terrestrial. Jesus wants to rob you of your exaltation so He can use you in His army. He needs His army to be big and strong enough to defeat the devils army. If not so, then the devil will win, and we lose, and we don’t even want to contemplate the ramifications of that scenario. Jesus is trying to divert your attention away from how you “really” get your exaltation by saying you get your exaltation through a Temple marriage. You get your exaltation by defying Jesus, and disobeying His “bogus” commands, laws and rules. What is a bogus command, law and rule? Any command, law or rule that requires you to do evil, or says you can’t be celestial, or is against a need, both directly, or indirectly. Remember, “A good tree Cannot bring forth evil fruit.” You want an example, Right? God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Tell Him No! That’s murder! Abraham didn’t “pass” the test; he failed it. He lost his exaltation. God told Nephi to cut-off Laban’s head. Tell Him No! That’s murder! Nephi lost his exaltation also. There are other examples also. Note 2: Joseph Smith Jr. said in the history of the Church that “the notion that God the Father and Jesus Christ dwell in the heart of man is an old sectarian notion and is false. The reason is that both God the Father and Jesus both have bodies of flesh and bones as tangible as mans and therefore they cannot dwell in the heart of man.” But he said the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but a spirit body, and therefore He Can dwell in the heart of man. Now we know there is no Heavenly Father right? And that’s the point I’m trying to prove here, right? So bear with me. Joseph Smith believed there was a Heavenly Father because he was terrestrial and not celestial. Jesus doesn’t pick people to preach His gospel (or be prophets) unless they are terrestrial and will swallow His lies. But the point I’m getting at here is that “if you have a body of flesh and bones, you can’t dwell in the heart of another person.” Now for the scriptures. Jesus said, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” How can the Father be in the Son, and the Son be in the Father, when they both have bodies of flesh and bones as tangible as mans? They can’t. So what is He saying? He’s dropping a hint to those who will pay attention enough, that there is no Heavenly Father. He’s saying that He (Jesus) is taking upon Himself two (2) identities, both the Father, and the Son. He’s saying that the Father and the Son are one and the same person, Himself, Jesus. Scripture 2. Jesus said “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Get it? One and the same person. Scripture 3. Jesus said “no man comes to the Father but by me.” Get it? If Jesus is claiming the identity of the Father, you can’t come to the Father but by Him, Right? Scripture 4. Jesus said “The Father and I are one.” Get it? One and the same person. Scripture 5. In the Book of Mormon Mosiah 15:1-2 It says that Jesus is both the Father and the son. Get it? One and the same person. Note 3: If you are not a Mormon, then why should you reject it? It’s Only, another terrestrial version of the gospel. You not only need to progress in the faith To Mormonism, but also Past it. Past it to what? Past it to a Celestial version of the gospel, that’s what. The Bible only, is 30 fold. Mormonism is 60 fold. And a Celestial version of the gospel is 100 fold. (Mark 4:20.) So how do you get a celestial version of the gospel? You may know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:5.) Pray to the Holy Ghost, and ask Him (not Jesus, He’s terrestrial and lies. Sorry.) to confirm or refute all of your beliefs, views and understandings. If you are correct, He will give you a “burning in your bosom” so that you “feel” that it is correct. But if it is not correct, then you will have no such feelings, but He will give you a “stupor of thought”, so that you forget that which is wrong. And through this “iteration process”, of reading the scriptures, then studying it out in your minds, then praying to the Holy Ghost, you will slowly build up truth. And this is what is meant by the phrase “running the race”. The Holy Ghost will keep throwing out the wrong, and let you keep the right, and truth will build up. Run the race and get more truth than everyone else and win the prize. Good luck again. Note 4: The celestial understanding is this; If you do good, you’re innocent. If you do evil, you’re guilty; pretty simple, right? But the terrestrial understanding is (if you want to call it that) is a bit more confusing. It is this; if you keep (obey) the law, you’re innocent. If you break the law, you’re guilty. The problem is that the laws of the terrestrial kingdom are not designed to make you holy (celestial), but designed to make you terrestrial. They are also designed to make you guilty. Jesus wants to make you guilty so He can give you death threats and ultimatums. Why would He want to do that? Jesus needs to defeat the devils army of followers. Without that the “good guys” lose. So if He can make you guilty, He can force you into His army, in exchange for forgiveness. (His army is organized like a human body. 1 Corinthians chapter 12. I call it, “the Giant Jesus”.) Jesus Himself said “no man is justified by the law”, which means no man can keep the law (well at least not all of them). Because if you could keep All of His laws, you Would, be justified by the law. So if there is anyone who was able to keep All of His laws, Jesus would just “make-up” more laws until he was able to force you to become an offender. “Sin is the transgression of the law, and the wages for sin is death.” The only way to escape this situation is to get your exaltation “above” Jesus, and become a member of the celestial kingdom. Jesus will still try to “frighten” you out of your exaltation with death threats and ultimatums, so you need to stand firm, and fear Him not, and refuse to keep His bogus commands, laws and rules. You will not be condemned for breaking bogus laws, because they lead to bogus sins, which don’t count. The only caveat here is that you had better know the difference between a bogus law, and a legitimate one. One mistake, and Jesus might “cut your throat” (so to speak). He’s plenty evil enough to do it to Anyone. I say it’s “worth the risk”. Go for it. The rewards are too great to throw away this “once in an eternity” opportunity (chance) to become Heavenly Father.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Rod, I have not encountered this theory before and do not know where it originates. I am even somewhat familiar with Mormonism and haven’t seen this there. It seems very contrived. I must admit I didn’t read it all because it is very long and not paragraphed–making it difficult to read. Suggestion: at least paragraph.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rod, I would challenge you to test if in the faith. If you are unwilling to submit to the Word of God, then you have not humbled yourself under the mighty hand of God. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ you are none of His.

      Forgive whatever problem you have with God and Jesus and remove your pride and don’t lean on your understanding, or whatever demonic influences you are unwilling to give up in your life.

      You were probably hurt by someone in authority in “mainstream” Christianity and bought into a deceiving spirit because of your verbal rejection of Jesus.
      Believe not every spirit but test the spirits.

      Re: middle “reject the bogus laws and bogus sins” = evil heart of unbelief, rebellion

      Jesus said he rejects those who practice iniquity and lawlessness (Matt 7:23, Luke 13:27)

      Re: last line “become Father”
      Same lie as Devil’s in Genesis: you can be like God, Satan’s desire to be like the Most High.

      God is Spirit (unseen), His image is Jesus Christ. The Shakinah glory eminates from the temple and Jesus leads His people.

      What I agree with:

      “Do good and be innocent, do evil and be guilty.”

      I would say, do good and live, do evil and be judged, according to Ezekiel 18,33

      God sets before us life and death. Choose life and live!

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  2. Chas says:

    Tim, I understand that the Mormon scriptures say that there were chariots in North America at the time of Jesus, yet we know that the indigenous peoples did not know the wheel until the European peoples arrived after 1492. This suggests that the Mormon scriptures are largely nonsense,, being the work of men who had major axes to grind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I read the complete Book of Mormon 49 years ago–Wow, that’s a long time ago! I don’t specifically remember chariots but I bet they are in there. I wouldn’t call the Book of Mormon nonsense because I think it a good fiction if one does not take it as truth. I believe it was written by Joseph Smith and, perhaps, Sidney Rigdon, and I do not consider it at all valid.

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  3. Perry says:

    I am currently about 2/3 of the way through reading the book “Fantasyland” by Kurt Anderson. It is a real eye opener about the evolution of lots of things in the United States, including how religion has been folded, spindled, and mutilated to produce a uniquely American brand of religion, especially when it comes to Christianity. When you see all the facts about it, it becomes clear how so many of us became folded, spindled, mutilated, and CONFUSED. Highly recommend what I’ve read so far.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Perry says:

    I said here when I first found JWOB that I’d finally admitted to myself that Paul’s letters are just that: letters. Paul didn’t claim they were infallible & divinely inspired. What we’ve seen unfold for decades in the Catholic Church is proof of that. It’s unnatural to REQUIRE normal humans to live lives of celibacy.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jonathan says:

    This is what I’ve been looking for i love it Jesus with out baggage is wonderful

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Perry says:

    FIRST: Tim, please delete this if it’s inappropriate for here. I was first heartened to see many of our country’s most harsh evangelical leaders pay tribute this weekend to a fallen American they often disagreed with. But I was saddened that many of their followers were angry they had anything good to say, and proceeded to pronounce hell & damnation, and say things long ago proved untrue. I shook my head and didn’t have to wonder why so much of the world wants nothing to do with that form of alleged christianity (small “c” intended). This kind of hate hiding under the guise of religion is nothing short of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Give me the loving Jesus of JWOB any day over the hateful god (little “g” intended) of hardcore fundamentalism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Perry, I too am saddened by those who feel they must condemn even a person so upstanding as our departed senator. Disagreement is one thing; hate is quite another.

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  7. Mahir Gazdar says:

    I am a Muslim and part of the WordPress community. I have an interest in comparative religion and creating better understanding between people of different communities. I have setup my page where there is a QA section about Islam so please have a look and feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you

    https://worldofarabic.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/questions-and-answers/

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  8. Teri says:

    So eternal life with Jesus is found in believing in him and what he did on the cross what about the people who don’t believe this don’t except he’s the son of God don’t except what he did on the cross where did they spend eternity

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Teri, that is a good question. Perhaps this will help:
      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/i-am-the-way-the-truth-and-the-life-is-jesus-the-only-way-to-life-yes-and-no/

      Feel free to continue this conversation.

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    • Sojourner says:

      Teri, I agree with Tim, that is a very good question. One that many people are asking. I read the article that Tim linked to his reply to you and you can read my comment to Tim about that. It’s a good start to finding some truth towards the answer you are looking for. At this moment, there is only One who knows the answer right now. What we have is a lot of opinions. So I guess I’ll throw out a little bit of mine. I believe God is good and full of mercy and compassion. I believe God would have everyone to know him and be in relationship with him as he created us to be. I believe Jesus death on the cross was God’s way of entering into our messed up broken lives to work on healing us from the inside out. I believe God is eternal and is not limited to working in our lives by the number of years that the body we dwell in on this earth is kicking as in “I’m still kicking.” I believe there will be a day for all people to stand before God and see for themselves the depths and riches of his love and what he actually did for each one of us by dying on the cross . I believe that Jesus gave his life, nobody took it from him. He submitted to the wrath of man which is in all of us. On that day which may very well be the judgment day referred to in the Bible, all people will see and experience the love and mercy of God and most if not all of them will surrender themselves to that love and enter into relationship with God and with all other people. I don’t want to get too lengthy here so let me end this for now by saying hellfire and damnation and God pouring out his wrath on those who die without jumping through the right hoops and believing the right way and having a proper understanding of God does not fit into my picture of who I believe God is. Thanks for asking that question Teri. You got my opinion for what it’s worth minus Bible quotations.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Sojourner, you said a lot of good stuff here. I particularly like, “He submitted to the wrath of man which is in all of us.” It is an excellent alternative to penal substitution’s ‘He submitted to the wrath of God for our sins.’

        I also very much agree with, “hellfire and damnation and God pouring out his wrath on those who die without jumping through the right hoops and believing the right way and having a proper understanding of God does not fit into my picture of who I believe God is.”

        Like

  9. Sojourner says:

    Great article Tim. The only thing you left out is that people, all people, will have an opportunity, possibly over and over and over again, after they die to accept Jesus’ gift of a relationship with God being Father/Mother, Son and Holy Spirit. This is something I believe and I recollect that you told me you do as well. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sojourner, I don’t recall saying that but very well could have. I know others believe that and it resonates with me as well.

      Like

  10. Maria Harris says:

    This blog was like a breath of fresh air;I was told recently by my sister that I would go to hell for not believing in all the dogmas of the cathoic church but they are man made I prefer to believe in Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lu Biemiller says:

    Love you! Thank you for this. ALL of this. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Karen Carter says:

    Hello from the UK!
    I turned my back on religion many years ago. The dogma and archaic Christian belief system just didn’t sit comfortably with me any more. In my opinion such a rigid religious structure is more to do with power and control over people. Fundamental evangelism and the like is my biggest bugbear! As for the King James version, well let’s not go there…
    I’ve heard it said that Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. That I do believe.
    Glad to have found you whilst surfing the net 😊💖

    Liked by 3 people

  13. ProAmFam says:

    On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60)
    The danger of watering down the gospels is always there.
    And the temptation to rationalize away our own sins is also, always there.
    But in a world filled with countless man made institutions, stripping away baggage that would distract us from our focus on Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is a noble cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      ProAm, I agree that stripping away baggage that gets in our way of the important objective of following Jesus is a very good thing. Do you feel that I have watered down the gospel and/or rationalized sin?

      Like

  14. David Poultney says:

    I would like to join please. I am a clergy person dismayed with organised religion

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Walt Valentine says:

    The Lakota story which parallels the story of Jesus’ coming is the story of White Buffalo Woman. She brings the Pipe to the Lakota People along with ceremony and rules to build life around. She magically eliminates a man who thinks evil and as she leaves she turns into a White Buffalo. Writer and poet, John Neihardt asked the Lakota elder Black Elk if he thought this really happened. The medicine man responded, “I don’t know if it happened. I know that it’s true,”

    That’s where I’m at with Jesus. It’s all a wonderful, awesome mystery, I don’t know what happened, but because of my relationship with Jesus, I know The Story is true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Walt, I really like that story! I believe in Jesus, but there is a lot of wonderful, awesome mystery involved.

      Like

    • tom minkler says:

      LOVE that, especially, “I don’t know if it happened. I know that it’s true,”
      I might rephrase like: I don’t know if it ALL happened…
      I wish more people could understand it like that, or at least grasp what the statement means without freaking out.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. nobodyatall says:

    December 30, 2018

    Sunday

    What has become of the presence on the internet of good old , Mainline , theologically liberal Christianity : the sort of Christianity that
    is interested in the Tubingen School of Bible scholarship and the research of Albert Schweitzer and others into the quest for the historical Jesus .? As well as research into how some of the New Testament letters may have been redacted …

    One of the threads at the present website , does mention mainline , NON -fundamentalist scholars and Bible scholars . Yet that thread , unfortunately mentions (which is a fly in the ointment) a website on Facebook called “Progressive Christians” , which is not theologically liberal/ mainline in the old historic sense , but is more Postmodernist and sexually lurid at times, and NOT the historic mainline Christian scholarship one would find in , say, the writings of Albert Schweitzer or James Barr .

    . There are some quite scholarly writings by N.T. Wright online . Yet it seemed that there was more of the scholarly sort of mainline Protestant sort of discourse online back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s .It seems like fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have taken over much of the internet in the past 12 or so years .
    Instead of mainline scholarly Christianity, one in this current decade often finds on the world wide web merely forms of evangelicalism that are more about being accepting to various sexual lifestyles, as well as junk like postmodernist narrative theology (yuck), as well as the nauseating pop culture relevant churches , all of which are NOT anywhere the same as good old mainline , scholarly Protestantism ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • newtonfinn says:

      I hear you so loud and clear that my ears are ringing. The American Baptist church I was fortunate to grow up in was certainly not a perfect embodiment of Christianity. It lacked the sharp prophetic edge that should always come with that territory. BUT, being non-doctrinal, it was able to straddle divergent theological beliefs, and most everyone got along, learned from each other, and came to love and care for each other in a friendly, welcoming, and nurturing environment. From childhood to old age, there were church groups and activities that met social and spiritual needs, and worship was enriched by those profoundly beautiful old hymns, now discarded IMHO for praise-song pablum. And my Baptist church was just one of many more like it–liberal mainline churches that graced with their handsome architectures the edges of my mid-sized city’s downtown and so many other urban centers across America. Part cause, part effect, the demise of these churches marked the point when our society began its steep decline. No other institution was able to step in and perform their crucial person and community-building function, and people and communities and society in general began to, as they now say, “deconstruct.” Why don’t we hear the mainline Christian message on the internet? Because that entire tradition, once so vibrant and vital, has gone the way of all flesh, seemingly leaving behind no spiritual children–only those of us who are aging and ailing but still remember, with gratitude in our hearts, that we lived at least a portion of our lives in a far from perfect yet better, more beautiful world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Nobody, I think, despite their differences, mainline believers and progressive believers have a lot in common. And many progressive believers who have left evangelical and fundamentalist churches have found homes in mainline churches. I, myself, was a member of a Presbyterian Church, USA until they introduced worship music projected on the wall instead of hymns and a pipe organ. I was very comfortable there as a progressing former evangelical.

      You said: “Instead of mainline scholarly Christianity, one in this current decade often finds on the world wide web merely forms of evangelicalism that are more about being accepting to various sexual lifestyles, as well as junk like postmodernist narrative theology (yuck), as well as the nauseating pop culture relevant churches , all of which are NOT anywhere the same as good old mainline , scholarly Protestantism.”

      You don’t seem to be describing progressive believers. Progressive believers are often very scholarly. I have read Schweitzer’s ‘Quest’, but there have been several quests since then. I have read my share of NT Wright, Bultmann, Barth, Berkhouwer, and others (some Barr).

      Don’t judge progressive believers by a single website.

      Like

  17. Greetings, it appears that your life story is also mine. I have been studying these issues for decades. I just stumbled across your web page today. I have not looked through everything yet , but in time. I have been reading Richard Rohr for years, who seems to have left the baggage behind as well. He does not promote the concept of substitutionary death, but sees Christ’s death as Christ’s willingness to suffer as he places his own ego aside. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the substitutionary death.
    Also, do you have a email list that followers can subscribe to?
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Edidiong Udonquak says:

    I clearly fell in love with the few articles I read here. I find your person so civil and inviting. your responds to intended criticism are pure class and convinces me of your knowledge of what you are into. I have a lot of baggage! some I even fear its impossible to drop. I hope you can help with your candid views.

    am an African, I read political science and have been taught in a philosophy class how supposedly Christianity invaded the continent. I found it very sacrificing of the early evangelist until I encountered the part this religion was offered forcefully to my forefathers. How they were taken as slaves, ( even though at a price to the early greedy & barbaric slave traders amongst them ) I feel the whole continent is going through hardship and seemingly underdevelopment owing to this early human and natural resource raid. should a Christian of my age in the Western world be judged along side an African using the same biblical parameters? how do you preach love to someone who throughout his life has historical & present day experiences of hate, intimidation, exploitation and barbaric treatment by same people who brought the gospel?

    how do you cope in a society with your religious beliefs were there is so much gap between the rich and the poor? are we expected to just love our neighbour regardless the steaming hate in our hearts towards injustice and deprivation in the society? basic infrastructures like power, accessible roads and clean water are still headline projects by politicians at this age! if Christ should return today, I personally feel it will be unfair to judge us in this side of life using the same parameters as life in your world! a child from a poor home in the terrorist battling north east of Nigeria will barely understand the meaning of God’s love because it is all but a mirage to him..it is rather a survival of the fittest in this jungle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Edidiong, First of all let me thank you for your wonderfully kind words about the content and tone of the blog.

      I can understand your concerns about Christianity based on the experience of Christianity in Africa. It was arrogant, supremacist, and colonialist. It was certainly not in the spirit of Jesus (who was not a white person, by the way, but a dark mid-easterner) though I am sure some of the missionaries were genuinely sharing the good news of Jesus.

      You ask a very good question: “how do you preach love to someone who throughout his life has historical & present day experiences of hate, intimidation, exploitation and barbaric treatment by same people who brought the gospel?” I recognize these problems–not just in Africa but elsewhere as well.

      The only thing I can say is that the good news of Jesus must be in the message you have received somewhere. Jesus points us to a God who is a loving Father who comes to us with empathy, compassion, and care–despite what has often happened from those who bring the ‘White Man’s’ version of Christianity.

      As far as loving others and treating the right is concerned, I can think of no better model than the African, Nelson Mandela. In my country, a similar leader and model was the African-American Martin Luther King.

      And as far as being judged by Jesus, I am sure that Jesus knows all about the factors that cause us to be how we are–better than we understand them ourselves. I think we must begin where we are as we follow Jesus, and we will find that we grow and improve along the way.

      How can I be helpful?

      Like

  19. sammey tjones says:

    WHAT CAN I DO TO NOT BE SAVED? BY STEVE FINNELL

    What can you do to not be saved? In order to not be saved, all you have to do is ignore the New Covenant terms for pardon. 
    The following are some of the ways you cannot be saved under the New Covenant.

    1. You cannot be saved by a whirlwind.

    2 Kings 1-11 And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven…..11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

    You cannot be saved by a whirlwind under the New Covenant terms of pardon.

    2. You cannot be saved by works of love and faith.

    Luke 7:44-50 ……47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; ….50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    The woman had her sins forgiven because she washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, kissed His feet, and anointed His feet with perfume. She loved much and had faith. Men today cannot be saved by works of love and faith. That is not the terms of forgiveness under the New Covenant.

    3. You cannot be saved by the publican parable.

    Luke 18:9-14 …..But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating  his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    Men today cannot be justified like the publican. The publican did not confess that Jesus was resurrected from the grave. There is no evidence the publican even believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Simply saying a humble prayer to God does save anyone. The publicans were Jewish tax collectors. Saying the prayer of a Jewish tax collector is not the terms of forgiveness under the New Testament.

    4. You cannot be saved under the Judaizer’s salvation plan.

    Galatians 5:1-5…..3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    You cannot be saved by blending Christianity and the Laws of Moses. That is against the terms of pardon under the New Covenant.

    5. You cannot be saved like the thief on the cross.

    The thief believed that Jesus was the Christ.(Luke 23:39)
    The thief feared God.(Luke 23:40)
    The thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
    Was thief saved? Yes.

    The thief did not believe in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead by God the Father.(Romans 10:9)
    The thief was not baptized in water. (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Peter 3:21)

    If you believe you can be saved like the thief, then you have to believe you can be saved without being baptized in water, and that you can be saved without believing in your heart that God   resurrected Jesus from the grave

    The thief died under the old covenant and got a direct pardon from Jesus. Men, today, are living under the New Covenant. You cannot be nailed to the cross today and get a direct pardon from Jesus. Jesus is not on the cross He has been raised from the dead by God the Father.

    6. You cannot be saved like Enoch.

    Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him.

    Enoch did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. Was Enoch saved?Yes.
    Enoch did not confess that God raised Jesus from the dead. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Enoch did not believe that Jesus shed His blood on the cross so he could have his sins washed away.. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Enoch was not baptized in water. He was not immersed for the forgiveness of his sins. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Was Enoch born of the Spirit? No. The Holy Spirit of promise was not given until the Day of Pentecost. Was Enoch saved? Yes.

    Can men today be saved like Enoch? Absolutely not. Men, today, can only be saved by meeting the terms of pardon under the New Covenant, also known as the New Testament.

    7. You cannot be saved like the paralytic.

    Luke 5:18-20 And some men were carrying  on a bed a man who paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

    Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic because of the faith of friends. Can men today be saved like the paralytic? No, they cannot.

    The paralytic was saved without personal faith.
    The paralytic was saved without repenting.
    The paralytic was saved without confessing Jesus as the Son of God.
    The paralytic was saved without being baptized.
    The paralytic was saved without believing that God raised Jesus from the dead.
    The paralytic was saved without confessing Jesus as Lord and Christ.
    The paralytic was saved before the New Covenant was available.

    TO BE SAVED TODAY MEN HAVE TO MEET THE TERMS OF PARDON UNDER THE NEW COVENANT.

    The New Covenant was not in effect until Jesus died. The birth of the church of Christ was the Day of Pentecost.

    Hebrews 9:15-17 For this reason He is the mediator of the new covenant, so that , since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who lives made it.

    The apostle Peter told all men how to be saved under the New Covenant. (Acts 2:22-41)

    NEW COVENANT TERMS FOR PARDON.

    FAITH: John 3:16
    REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Luke 24:47
    CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
    WATER BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Acts 22:16, Colossians 2:12-13, Titus 3:5, John 3:5, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-7

    READ MORE AT   steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    READ MORE AT.   megaonewayjesuslove.tumblr.com

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Edidiong Udonquak says:

    Really grateful for your kind and explanatory words. I hope to be a medium of hope to other young Africans who share same anger and frustration towards the Christianity religion.

    I personally believe in Jesus owing to the testimonies I have seen and heard from close people around. I know there’s power & liberation in him.

    how can you be helpful?
    can you tell Trump not to build the wall? lol, most Latin & African kids have dreams of visiting America, I think it helps in shaping their mindset off the negative social upbringing they were subject to.

    Pray for peace in the upcoming general elections of Nigeria, there have been so much tension as provoking and inciting utterances have been made by the ruling party in their desperate bid to keep power. Christians have never been persecuted like this in the history of Northern Nigeria. all signs indicates victory for the main opposition though it might come at a very bloody cost.

    I am a photographer and graphic designer, I hold a B.Sc in political science. I am a reliable source if ever you have need for original African contents in arts, First hand briefs on social/ political activities & civil/human right policies in Nigeria.

    will be Pleased to hear from you

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Edidiong, it sounds as though you are well prepared to be a “medium of hope to other young Africans who share same anger and frustration towards the Christianity religion.” Christianity has much to live down before it becomes a clear beacon of the good news of Jesus and of God’s love. I really think you can help make that happen in your part of Nigeria.

      I am happy to tell Trump not to build that wall, but he doesn’t much listen to those who disagree with him. But I WILL pray with you for peaceable elections in Nigeria–without bloodshed. Elections should not involve bloodshed. When are the elections?

      It sounds like you are a great resource on Nigerian politics. Do you have a somewhat simple article on civil and human rights you can link?

      Like

  21. Edidiong Udonquak says:

    The presidential election is set for 16th Feb.
    Bill Clinton has been rumored to pay a visit to the country on the eve of the elections to ease tensions by meeting with the aspirants.

    On civil & human rights,
    I have a mandate by call to enlighten and educate people. I feel passionate about it. I believe Nigeria will be great when she is able to alienate her people of certain set of beliefs that constitute the general mentality of the majority.
    contemporary issues like the
    LGBT rights, jungle justice, military/para military abuse of civilians are amongst the topical issues I have been tackling in my capacity. I use every medium beginning with my social media platforms to school sensitization programs and local radio interviews.
    it is tasking for now, because of my limited income and sponsorship, but I believe in due time efforts so far made will yield the desired result in the society.

    I will love to make you a patron as am planning on launching a campus foundation in my state of origin. who knows, this could mean you taking the message of ‘Jesus with no baggage’ to this part of unenlightened world.

    I will appreciate your opinionated messages on the issues above forwarded to my email below
    eddyayaudonquak@gmail.com
    are you on whatsapp? we could chat in your free time. I feel elated to meet you
    +234 813 7025 799

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Edidiong Udonquak says:

    thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Keith McAlister says:

    Throughout my entire life, from baptism at 14 years of age, until now, I’ve worked hard to make sense of Christianity. I studied hard, holding eight degrees, from Seminary to PhD. It’s been a long, sad journey. I was a pastor. I was then an academic, lecturing in Ecclesiastical History and Hebrew Bible. I have to say that, as a pastor, Christian theology did not stack up/ make sense of the life experiences of the people I served, especially when theodicy became an issue. That troubled me. I kept reading, studying, observing. I concluded that biblical literalism was just willful ignorance; that grasping the sociological, political and literary underpinnings of the text was absolutely essential to its understanding. I saw that Jesus’ advocacy for radical discipleship had a political context, although he himself was not political. Scholars helped me to understand both the crucifixion and the resurrection, in the context of Hellenistic culture. At last, I saw the real Jesus, re-presenting the core values of his oppressed people’s religion- a transformation by the renewal of the mind. Not a reactionary political agenda such as the American fundamentalists have, displacing the Galilean; not even, at base a social agenda, but an ethical/ spiritual agenda that leads ultimately to radical social consequences unpalatable to the Churches. After a lifetime of searching, I have found Jesus. The shackles of religion have fallen away. The Churches, now in rapid decline, are not relevant to me or, it should be said, to most people. I am His, not Theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perry says:

      Powerful observations, Keith! I agree & believe many alleged evangelicals are trying to morph Jesus into a political/social image to exploit his name to rationalize their own desires. This is their new religion. And it looks nothing like Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Keith, though most believers are not as educated as you, many of us have gone through the difficult experience of re-evaluating the beliefs we were taught. I agree that the fundamentalists of the religious Christian right do not seem to represent Jesus’ teachings and actions at all. It is so sad that this has happened. And I agree that Jesus’ work had a strong political element, though he was not political.

      I am glad you found Jesus! It sounds simple, but it wasn’t for me; it was painful, frightening, and filled with anguish until it happened. If you are interested, I talk about my experience of finding Jesus–REALLY finding Jesus in this article:
      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/about-tim-chastain/my-spiritual-crisis/

      Like

  24. I don’t comment too often on this website because I only repeat myself. I am extremely thankful that this website exists; otherwise, where and with whom could you hold a reasonable conversation about what Jesus really said, apart from the interpretations and analyses that have been added over the centuries. I don’t pretend that my opinions fall strictly within the boundaries intended for this website, but I am grateful that am allowed to share them here. The point of this (my) comment is that it is the nature (perhaps call it the weakness) of the human mind to want to assign meanings to everything. I have observed that when I relate a dream to someone, they jump to tell me the possible “meaning” of a simple dream. Jesus gave a limited number of words of advice to his disciples and anyone who would listen, but today we have a thousand and one explanations of what Jesus “meant.” I can’t prove that every description of God’s nature can be blamed on Jesus; perhaps some were simply invented. There is a divine mystery that created the universe and us that Jesus referred to as “my Father”, but people have turned that mystery into an entity that has human characteristics. It is common and surprising to hear mortal humans tell about “God’s plan”, “what God wants”, “God’s anger”. Why not simply follow in the footsteps of Jesus and leave it at that? Why not try accepting things as he suggested? The Buddha preached how to attain the peaceful life. He may have secretly thought about a divine creator, but he was smart enough not to bring that up, knowing it would muddy his message. However, some Christians may be offended by the mention of Buddha in the same breath as Jesus. People often knock on my front door to hand me a religious tract from their church, to share their beliefs in Jesus and God. One couple, a man a wife, came to my door, offering to tell me the “good news”. When they were done, I asked, as a matter of personal interest, if they knew about Buddhism. The man said, “Yes, that is an obscure Asian religion that worships demon gods.” I did not reply. I thanked them and closed the door.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wow, William! For one who does not like to comment much, this comment is very insightful! I agree with you about some people’s need to find ‘meanings’. But I think dreams are more influenced by random thoughts, and perhaps even last night’s dinner, than being meaningful messages. I DO get an occasional insight from a dream, but I don’t consider it a message or meaning.

      People often say similar things about death and suffering–that they have meaning. But they don’t; they just happen to us.

      I agree with you about Jesus and God. And I love this: “I can’t prove that every description of God’s nature can be blamed on Jesus; perhaps some were simply invented. There is a divine mystery that created the universe and us that Jesus referred to as “my Father”, but people have turned that mystery into an entity that has human characteristics. It is common and surprising to hear mortal humans tell about “God’s plan”, “what God wants”, “God’s anger”. Why not simply follow in the footsteps of Jesus and leave it at that?”

      I totally agree! And, in fact, you anticipate me. I plan to write a series in a couple months or so on ‘What is God Like?’ I think we ‘know’ far too much detail about God than is really possible. The best we can do is follow Jesus’ teaching and behavior; he is the closest thing to God we know.

      I have liked the Buddha since I was a teenager. And I recognize that calling Buddhism ‘an obscure Asian religion that worships demon gods’ reflects either strong ignorance or strong bias. How do you reply to that? I think you did well in just shutting the door.

      Liked by 1 person

      • William Vietinghoff says:

        Thanks a million for accepting my comments. I pray that anything I write in the future aligns with the purpose of your website. I can sum up my appraisal of the gospels in the new testament this way: if we could meet with Jesus today and talk with him, I believe your reactions and understanding of what he had to say, would be the same reactions people had about two thousand years ago when he lived, but after his passing in the years that followed, the story-telling that took place and the “interpretations” of his message got carried away.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          You are very welcome, William. But your views do not have to align with the views of the website in order for you to comment here. We try to be accepting and civil even if we disagree. And I, also, would love to know precisely what Jesus said and how he said it–it would be great to have been there with him.

          Liked by 1 person

  25. Susan Jackson says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could just go right back to basics?! No, we don’t have the privilege of having heard the words of Jesus first hand, from His very mouth. However, we DO know that God and Goodness are interchangeable. Anything from God is Good and, I believe, anything Good is of God. Those who think they can completely write off all other faiths are throwing the baby out with the bath water, destroying the opportunity for “religious” harmony or just plain harmony. The Christian faith should be, simply, a love relationship with our Maker and not a religion. I find that I’m very happy to talk about my faith with others but reluctant to introduce them to Church – how sad is that? Actually, the church that I attend is very loving and accepting but many are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Susan, YES, that would be great! It is a sad thing that many cannot feel comfortable introducing others to their churches, but I am glad you have found a church that is loving and accepting. That makes a HUGE difference! And I mean HUGE!

      Like

  26. Perry says:

    I am currently touring in Germany. In every city I visit, I seek out a tour guide. Unprompted, I must tell you that on every city tour, a large portion is about how various perversions of Christianity have been used as political weapons of exploitation to control minds of the masses for the benefit of powerful people. This realization of the undeniable weaponization of religion not being anything new then or in our country has been somewhat depressing, until tonight. I’m having something of a resulting epiphany that Jesus was and is NEVER about mind control. And that anything otherwise, including even some scripture after Jesus’ earthly life, runs counter to Jesus’ mission and message. BUT I know this will be a continuing battle for me. It is so opposite to much of my religious indoctrination/brainwashing tells me and guilts me with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Perry, I agree with you that Christianity is often used to control and manipulate others and also that Jesus was NEVER about mind control. I know what it is like to be indoctrinated and controlled by fear, but it sounds as though you have begun your journey out of it. It might be difficult at times but freedom will come, and you will be thinking for your self instead of following the thinking of others.

      Like

  27. William Vietinghoff says:

    There are people, regardless of whether their intention is honorable or not, who use Jesus to persuade you to think or act as they believe. To me, the message of Jesus was “when you still your mind and learn who you are, you won’t need anyone to tell you what to think or do.”

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jennifer Nyffeler says:

    I think it is very healthy to question the belief systems we’ve believed or have been fed… especially when we look at the cross and what was done there. The biggest question I believe we need to look at is… was and is Jesus enough to save us? Was his life, suffering and death only a partial payment, or a full one? Then if a full one… then everything we do to try and earn our salvation tells God that His Son’s life and horrendous death on the cross was not enough and so it needs our help.

    Yeah, right! Our help! Ha! It would be like if you ran into a burning building to save a child and nearly died yourself… and the mother reaches into her pocket and gives you a 5 dollar bill as payment. As tho the child’s life and your life was only worth 5 bucks.

    We could never ever begin to even attempt to pay back or add to the cost of the salvation that we’ve acquired. Jesus life and our salvation was so “expensive”/costly that it was only God Himself that could have paid the price.

    This means that everyone’s salvation is fully paid for… if they take it. Then AFTER they are saved and have the Spirit of God in their hearts… it is THEN that they have the power to grow and become who God wants them to be. It is THEN that the saved person has a Heavenly Father who will work in their heart to do His will. It is between God and His child.

    Like

    • Chas says:

      Jennifer, What you have said is based on words written by men, but there is another way to look at it: from God’s side. Since the whole universe, including the earth and everything on it, is separated from Him, it is open to the actions of destruction. These are the source of all suffering on earth, both physical and mental. What has traditionally been termed as sin is the wilful action of someone to do something that they know might lead to suffering. However, if we have been damaged by the action of destruction, we might not be able to resist doing such things. It is only when we know of this separation from God, and accept that Jesus was His Son, that we can begin our own individual journey out of separation.

      Like

      • Jennifer Nyffeler says:

        Chas, I am not sure where you get that the words I said are from men and yours are from God. What I said is that Jesus is the Savior, not us… although I used more words to explain it. It is from men when they say that they do not sin or cause suffering. It is from men when they say that sin has not separated them from God… so it is from men when they say they do not need a Savior. It is also from men when they say that certain people are not eligible for salvation… when every single person is. Jesus is the only one that can save us. His grace is free to us because it was expensive to Him… because of HIS great love.

        Like

  29. adam g says:

    is there a church or a denomination with these beliefs? if so I would like to go

    Like

  30. Jennifer Nyffeler says:

    I truly believe that the original writings are inerrant. I think it is man’s translations, which stem from their beliefs, that are faulty.

    I believe the biggest reason for this is because man has put their own biases, fears and etc ahead of Jesus… who is the Word become flesh – the walking, talking Word of God. Meaning, if Jesus did not do it, say it, live it… then any translation or bible teaching that goes against what He said or did has been translated or taught wrong.

    Jesus is the measuring stick. It is His life that every teaching and translation must be measured up against. All translations and all teachings are in error when they point us to something or someone other than Jesus. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life… and no one comes to the Father but through Him.

    For instance, the teaching that certain people are exempt from being excepted by God. But how can this be?? Jesus said that whosoever will may come. This means that whosoever will may come. Which means that who-so-ever will may come! So if you are a whosoever, then you may come and take freely!!

    There are a number of other major teachings that are taught over the pulpit that are not biblically sound as they do not line up with Jesus’ life, teachings and mission. Some of these are – eternal hellfire, homosexuals are not acceptable within the church, divorce is a sin and is unforgivable, transgender people are unacceptable to God and the church is a place we attend on certain days.

    Rev.22: 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let whosoever will may take the free gift of the water of life.”

    Like

    • Chas says:

      Jennifer, How could Jesus be the Offspring of David (the Son of David as this concept is known in the Old Testament), when that required him to be a direct descendant of David by an all-male line? If that were true, he could not be the Son of God. As it may be noted in all three Synoptic Gospels: Jesus asked the teachers of the law, “Why do they say that the Messiah is the Son of David? David, speaking by the Spirit, said: ‘Yahweh said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’ If David calls him ‘lord,’ then how could he be his son?” So the three Synoptic Gospels show that Jesus could not be the Son of David. So these three gospels contradict Revelation, and that would apply if you used another translation. Hence it can be shown that the bible is not the word of God, since the words of the bible are imperfect, while the word of God would be perfect, as God is perfect.

      Like

      • Perry says:

        The most important realization I’ve come to is that whatever is, is….and is not swayed by what any of us believes. So I seek truth not spoonfed dogma.

        Like

      • ad says:

        Chas is there a way to connect with you and discuss these things further? I am devastated that Tim has passed away. He was a huge blessing in my deconstruction process. How does one follow Jesus without believing that the NT is the word of God?

        Like

        • Perry says:

          I had no idea Tim has paddy. When did this happen?

          Like

        • Chas says:

          ad. You can contact me by e-mail at cc.picker@ntlworld.com

          Like

        • Chas says:

          ad, one doesn’t follow Jesus, one hears and obeys the Almighty One. It is also possible to receive what the Almighty One wished you to hear through reading the bible, even though it is not the His/Her word. It is what He/She has had us believe was His/Her word until this time, but now He/She had revealed that He/She exists through the existence of DNA (you would have to believe this came about by chance if He/she did not exist; the probability of this is infinitesimally small).

          Like

      • Jennifer Nyffeler says:

        Chas,
        Firstly, everything about the Messiah is different from what was expected. – The Jews expected the Messiah to lavishly come as a king and sit on a throne and rule so as to make their lives better. But He didn’t. He came in an opposite manner by being born in a stable… then walked among the outcasts and lowest of the low… showing God’s mighty love and power to those around Him. Then submitted to being hung on a cross to die for you and me.

        As far as the word goes, Jesus IS the Word made flesh. He is and was the walking, talking perfect Word of God.

        Here is a good article that explains pretty thoroughly the dilemma you spoke of concerning Jesus and the line of David…

        https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v05-n06/the-genealogy-of-the-messiah/

        Like

        • Chas says:

          Jennifer, the writer of the book of John used the word ‘logos’, a Greek word that referred to the philosophical idea of a Universal Reason, an impersonal force that caused change in the world. ‘John’ chose to apply it to Jesus, perhaps to represent the words of Yahweh, when he supposedly said in Genesis, ‘Let there be……..’ He also developed the idea that Jesus was with God in the beginning, and was also involved in creation. In doing that, he supported the erroneous idea, that was already present, that Jesus, the Son of God, was part of God himself. With that came worship of Jesus, instead of the worship of God, and directing attention onto a man, rather than putting it on the Almighty One, with capabilities far, far greater than anything man will ever be capable of.

          Like

          • Jennifer Nyffeler says:

            Chas,
            Amazingly, this Logos came and lived among us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

            John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” as a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to note that what they would have considered just “divine reason or thought” came alive! That what was an “it” to them has became a Him! The word (logos) became flesh! Then John went on to talk about the many attributes of Jesus… 

            Like

  31. Rosie says:

    Hello…
    Orthodox christianity is agreement that theres no hell as a lot of churches agree..
    Why do you think orthodox christianity is not the truth ?

    Like

  32. Sojourner says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Tim’s passing. Happy for him. He was a wonderful man, full of God’s grace. He helped me a lot in my journey. What’s going to happen to Jesus without baggage without Tim.?

    Liked by 1 person

    • newtonfinn says:

      As we know, all good things come to an end. Will this be true of JWOB, now that its heart and inspiration has gone on to greater glory, or will Tim’s family make a decision to allow this unique and significant blog, loved by many, to carry on as an internet flock under the guidance of a new shepherd? Only time will tell, but I suggest that those of us who found JWOB to be a welcoming and liberating spiritual home check in from time to time, in this thread and also in the most recent post, for a communication from Drew, Tim’s son, concerning the future of JWOB. It would be wonderful to simply leave it up as-is, since it is full of riches to re-explore, but perhaps a way can be found to extend the uplifting journey that Tim began and so generously took us with him.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        Newton, I agree it would be nice if the blog continued, either as a free-standing resource, or under a new leader. It has been a place without rancour, or attempted intimidation that is surely unique.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sojourner says:

        Well said Newton. Tim left us a rich and encouraging resource as JWOB stands today. Your comments on this blog have also been an encouragement to me and I am sure many others as well right along with Tim’s. I pray God raises up another much like Tim with so much grace and patience to carry on. I would think it is nearly a full time ministry. Very much needed in these times we are living in.

        Liked by 1 person

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