Seth Godin writes about a pastor who “runs a congregation” who admits it’s “just a job” on many days. Godin turns to his readers and admonishes them to do whatever they do with passion, whether doctors, lawyers, salesmen, etc. (it strikes me his audience is a bit highbrow). He says they each have callings that are important, potentially.
Or fake it, whatever.
Godin may be shocked by the pastor (I’m not). What gets me is that people in the secular world are increasingly free to talk about spirituality, passion, and calling. This is a very good thing. It’s great that Godin is bothered, and I’m glad he doesn’t leave spirituality to the professional religionist. We aren’t living in two worlds: secular and spiritual. There is just one real world that we’re often too distracted or simply afraid to see. Anyone who wants to live with genuine passion and calling will begin a journey that leads to truth. It’s difficult but worth taking. I don’t have to argue with you about where it leads, because if you pursue it honestly you’ll find out. I’m happy to share thoughts and experiences as one fellow traveler to another though. Meanwhile, people living by …
I looked up an article by Kenneth Minogue in which he discussed “politicized compassion.” Consider this quote (italics mine):
It is a politicised virtue, which means that it is focused not on real individuals but on some current image of a whole category of people. Correspondingly, it invokes hostility towards those believed to have caused the pain and misery of others. Public discussion thus turns into melodrama…. Further, our sympathy for the oppressed is a demonstration to ourselves of our own benevolence. The fact is, of course, that political exponents of niceness may or may not be personally generous and benevolent. Doctrine is not character.
That last line got me. You have liberals and conservatives advocating compassion and justice who are not generous in their own lives. Then you have things like “born again Christians” having a 27 percent divorce rate, compared with 21 percent among professed atheists. Doctrine is not character; it doesn’t change a person. Change comes from the inside out. Love, though, can really change people.
Greg Boyd writes compellingly about the catastrophic failure of Christianity. It’s a long article that’s worth reading. Here’s an excerpt (with some parts highlighted in bold letters by me):
A recent Letter to the Editor in my local newspaper went as follows:
When I read letters sent in by Bible thumping Christians telling us how sinful we are and how right they are, how God is on their side, not ours, how God hates gays, liberals and other evil people, I close my eyes for a moment and say a quiet prayer. “I thank thee oh Lord that I am not and never will be a Christian.”
I confess that I am entirely sympathetic to this editorial comment. In my own life, and in the lives of multitudes of people I’ve come across, the best and strongest argument against the truth of Christianity has been the Church…Just recently a young man responded to my invitation to faith by telling me, “I admit I feel the need for a savior, but I honestly just can’t stand Christians!” While he has perhaps not had a well-rounded exposure to Christians, I completely understood where this young man was coming from. Indeed, I’ve
Are you shedding your religion but holding onto your faith? There is a significant and documented trend of Christians in the West distancing themselves from the religion but still following Jesus. Many say separating from religion has reinvigorated their journey with Jesus. They want to follow Jesus in reality and live beyond pretense. They reject being labeled, manipulated by controlling leaders, used politically, etc.
Some even reject the label “Christian,” because it has been loaded with so many connotations that have nothing to do with following and trusting Christ.
Are you one of them? Or does this touch an itch you’ve been wanting to scratch.
Jim Palmer describes some symptoms of moving off the religion reservation. Maybe you can relate to some or all of them.
1. You don’t go to church anymore.
2. You are reading some really weird books.
3. You are in danger of going off the deep end.
4. You can’t give a straight answer.
My favorite is #4, since I’m prone to being perceived that way. Here’s a taste from point #3:
Perhaps one of the most annoying things (to those who judge them) about people who are shedding religion is that they begin thinking