Category Archives: alienation

Letter to an Anti-Gay Relative

A person recently asked for sample letters to convince an anti-gay Christian that they were wrong. I don’t think that is likely to help, so I submitted this… Dear Uncle Luke, I think you know you are very special and … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, behavior, gays, Jesus | Tagged , , , , , | 45 Comments

Belief in Angry God is Perhaps the Most Damaging, Misguided Christian Belief of All

What is more central to our religious experience than our relationship with God? But some believers understand their relationships with God much differently than others do. Most of us believe God loves us and cares about us. We even talk … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, fear, hell, Jesus, legalism, love, love your enemies, Old Testament, The Father | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

5 Great Fears Believers Should Never Have

We mentioned before that many believers today are driven by fear—especially in very theologically conservative groups. This includes the fear of God, the fear of hell, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of being wrong, and the fear … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, doubt, faith, fear, God, hell, legalism | Tagged , | 93 Comments

How So Many Believers Completely Misunderstand God’s Love in John 3:16

I suppose most believers think John 3:16 is one of the most wonderful passages in the Bible—and I agree! This passage tells of God’s love for us in a very proactive way. This is why “John 3:16” is found everywhere: … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, baggage, God, hell, Jesus, love, The Father, the Good News | Tagged , , , | 48 Comments

Why ‘Love the Sinner; Hate the Sin’ is Opposite to Jesus’ Teaching

Have you heard believers say they ‘Love the sinner but hate the sin’? At least you likely have heard of them. In fact, they don’t love the ‘sinner’ at all—at least not the way Jesus loves people. As we read … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, Jesus, legalism, love, Pharisees, sin, sinners | Tagged , , , | 94 Comments

Loving Others with Empathy, Compassion, and Care this Year

A prominent part of Jesus’ message is that we should love others as we love ourselves. Sometimes, though, it is unclear how this plays out in practical terms. What does it even mean to love others as we love ourselves? … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, behavior, love, love your enemies | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

What does it Mean that Jesus Brings, not Peace, but a Sword?

Does Jesus come to bring, not peace, but a sword? According to Matthew 10 this is exactly what he says: Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, hate, Jesus, Kingdom of God | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

Are Our Sins Gone as though They Never Happened? In One Sense–No

Justified! It is a wonderful truth that we are justified by Jesus: Some believers celebrate it with this homonym: ‘It is just if I’d never sinned!’ It’s cute and it’s catchy. But is it true? Are our sins gone as … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, love, sin, suffering | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

We Do Not Inherit Original Sin from Adam

Fear, pain, guilt, shame… Misery, insecurity, conflict, alienation… Greed, hate, exploitation, violence…Death. This is the world we live in. It has been this way in all times and all places. It is our human condition. Sometimes it is somewhat bearable; … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, inerrancy, original sin, sin | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

Are ‘Sins’ Primarily Sins against God or against Other People?

Some believers think all sins are primarily sins against God. Stephen Witmer makes that very statement: All sin is primarily sin against God. Where sin is understood as merely a moral concept rather than mainly a religious one, where it … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, behavior, God, Jesus, legalism, love, love your enemies, sin, sinners, The Father | Tagged | 43 Comments

The Prophets Begin to Talk about Sin in a New Way

The Old Testament presents two major understandings about sin. Sin was primarily thought to be disobedience of the nation of Israel or transgression of God’s many detailed rules (legalism). The solution to taking away sin and guilt was participation in … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, God, Jesus, legalism, Old Testament, sin | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

What is Sin but Pain and Alienation?

[Alert: graphic photo below] We all feel the effects of sin; but the character of sin is not what many believers think it is. People DO sin, but not in the way many believers suppose. Sin has dire consequences, but … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, God, hate, Jesus, legalism, love, sin, The Father | Tagged | 31 Comments

Jesus Adds a Shocking Twist to Healing

It happens throughout history. A hero or leader arises and captures the attention and the enthusiasm of the people. His stature and popularity grow as his following grows, but then…he just goes too far. I hope this has never happened … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, authority, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Pharisees, sin | Tagged , , , | 47 Comments

When the Good News of Jesus Doesn’t Sound like Good News At All

Over this series, we explored various aspects of the Good News of Jesus—things that we learn from Jesus’ words and actions in the four Gospels. 1. We learned that God is not angry and harsh with us as many of … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, eternal life, God, hell, Jesus, legalism, love, sin, The Father | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

Prayers for Bobby: a Movie Review

Based on a True Story from the Early 1980s Mary Griffith, a very religious, ‘Bible-believing’ mother (played by Sigourney Weaver) discovers that her 16-year-old son, Bobby, thinks he might be gay. Immediately, she begins to do everything she can to … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, book or movie review, gays, hate, judgment | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

We are Agents for Expanding God’s Kingdom on Earth

The first three elements of the Good News of Jesus are so wonderful that almost anyone can embrace them: God is not Angry and Harsh with Us as Many of Us Thought God’s Love for Us Takes Away Our Fear, … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, God, Jesus, Kingdom of God, love, The Father, the Good News, witnessing | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments

God’s Love for Us Takes Away Our Fear, Guilt, and Self-Condemnation

We begin life very self-centered; as infants we are totally dependent, so we are only interested in having our personal needs met. Only later do we recognize other individuals and begin to consider their needs. However, our process of socialization is … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, fear, God, Jesus, love, sin, The Father, the Good News | Tagged | 15 Comments

Living in a World of Pain, Suffering, and Alienation

We realize it early in life. We are hungry; we become sick or disfigured; we lose our loved ones. We have pain—terrible pain, and it is not only physical pain but mental anguish. There is war, famine, and destruction by … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, Buddha, suffering | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What Does the New Testament Mean by ‘Lost’?

Among many fundamentalists and evangelicals, the word ‘lost‘ has acquired a very specific technical meaning. Used as a noun, ‘the lost’ are those on their way to hell. The state of being lost is sometimes expanded to illustrate the seriousness … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation, New Testament | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

The Parable of the Wayward Son (Part one of three)

Have you ever felt alienated from the Father and you knew it was your own doing? Perhaps it was your stubborn and self-centered actions that brought about the estrangement. I think we have all found ourselves in that place. The … Continue reading

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Posted in alienation | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments