Mothering Forums - Reply to Topic

Thread: Christian having doubts Reply to Thread
Title:
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Trackback:
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:
 

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-20-2012 03:14 PM
dirtyhipegirl

Yes I read it when it first came out, it messed me up, in a good way.  However, I did feel after reading it that I had some animosity towards many of the people in my church.  I don't think that was Shane's intention at all of course. It took me a long time before I could love them and see that they were blind to a lot of things like materialism.   I'm still really no closer to figuring out what to do.  Thank you for the suggestion. 
 

07-18-2012 08:58 AM
EarthyMamaofDaisy

((hugs))  Have you read The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claibourne?  It was what helped raise me out of the cloud of conservative Christianity.  I had finally found someone who else who realized that Jesus wasn't what churches teach him to be.  There is also a group on Facebook called The Christian Left.  You might find some solidarity there. 

07-03-2012 01:27 PM
dirtyhipegirl

Thank you, I will check it out :)
 

05-03-2012 04:43 AM
Nazsmum
Quote:
Originally Posted by Climbing Rose View Post

I didn't have time to read the whole thread, but from your OP, I wanted to tell you what happened to our family when we were feeling that way a few years ago.

 

Someone gave us a copy of the book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola.  It led to us attending an amazing home fellowship for about three years (until we moved away).  It was small, very family friendly, and we all just grew so much. 

 

Things really took off when we all read The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down by David Bercot. I really truly recommend every follower of Jesus read that book.

 

Really, the church (institutional church in a building today) is mostly nothing at all like the early church.  I think this is why so many people feel out of place, feel like church is irrelevant today, etc.

 

Even if you don't agree 100% with everything in the books, I think they both are eye-opening reads, that will change the way you think of a lot of things.

Pagan Christianity is a very good book.

05-02-2012 01:01 PM
Climbing Rose

Okay, me again.  =)

 

I just went back and read more of the thread, and I saw that someone recommended Mennonites.

 

Honestly, I was thinking the same thing!

 

They believe in no war (who would Jesus bomb, right?), loving your enemies (non-resistance), and a lot of other things I think are really good. 

 

There are alllll sorts of Mennonite groups, to the ones who wear cape dresses and head coverings, to ones that wear jeans and make-up.

05-02-2012 12:56 PM
Climbing Rose

I didn't have time to read the whole thread, but from your OP, I wanted to tell you what happened to our family when we were feeling that way a few years ago.

 

Someone gave us a copy of the book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola.  It led to us attending an amazing home fellowship for about three years (until we moved away).  It was small, very family friendly, and we all just grew so much. 

 

Things really took off when we all read The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down by David Bercot. I really truly recommend every follower of Jesus read that book.

 

Really, the church (institutional church in a building today) is mostly nothing at all like the early church.  I think this is why so many people feel out of place, feel like church is irrelevant today, etc.

 

Even if you don't agree 100% with everything in the books, I think they both are eye-opening reads, that will change the way you think of a lot of things.

03-24-2012 01:04 PM
ThomasL

Don't even worry about fitting in. Ultimately the journey to God is an idividual path rather than a social one. The best thing I believe in your case is to do all your praying or meditating in a quiet place where you are alone. Going within is the key to spiritual happiness. You don't need to fit into any group to achieve that.

02-16-2012 08:30 AM
dirtyhipegirl

Thanks Elizaveta, I did not know much about the Orthodox church.  It's very interesting. 

 

Jes h Thank you, I never thought about that parable from that perspective, it's helpful to think of it that way.  Yes, I read Shane Claiborne's book when it first came out several years ago and it changed my life. At the time I was living in a really small town and that book helped me so much.  I just wish I knew people in real life who felt the same way about things.  I constantly have to bite my tongue around people at my church when the conversation turns to politics or homosexuals or whatever the issue. I love Anne Lamott too.  I actually just picked up a new book called Still a midlife faith crisis by Lauren Winner.  It's been a good read so far. 

02-11-2012 12:29 AM
elizaveta

I understand where you're coming from. I've been to a few of those style of churches and it just makes me glad I'm an Orthodox Christian. I'm a person who goes to church for the spiritual aspect of it and I feel spirituality there. And I'm what most in the US would consider a liberal and I would feel out of place in the average Protestant church in the US based on that alone. (There's actually an interesting article with statistics here about Orthodox Church members I found http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxnews.html) But back to the spiritual feeling: that's really what church is about: help nurturing a spiritual connection. If you can't find it in the church, then that means it's not fitting you. There's nothing to feel guilty about. But I guess that's how I look at it and some might disagree with that. 

02-10-2012 03:01 PM
jes h

I know it can be kind of annoying when people throw a bunch of advice when you really just need to vent, so I'll try to keep this short.

 

Have you read Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne?  I am always giving his book away.  He is just a super model at exactly what you are talking about;  living differently without judging and becoming bitter (plus, he is way more hardcore than me, so I bet he could totally 'judge' me for not doing enough if he was the type).   One of the pastors at an old church used to always say that if you had an idea that no one else in the church shared, it was probably wrong. Authors like Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallace and Ann Lamonte help keep me grounded - that and a hand full of out of town friends; they aren't here, but at least I know they exist.

 

My favorite parable is that of the workers in the vineyard.  A priest gave a great homily on it once.  Some work all day, some work for half the day and some only work for a few hours.  In the end the master pays them the same, and the first workers were pissed, but the master said it was none of their business how he pays out his money.  The priest's point was that in the end, we all get there.  Some of us spend more time 'working' in the vineyard, and want to judge others for seemingly doing less.  What we need to remember that it is a blessing to 'work' in the vineyard, and those who came in later, or followed paths we didn't agree with, maybe missed out on that.  We need to rejoice for the opportunity to do Jesus' work.  That is the mantra I repeat to myself when I start to think no one else around me is really doing anything; its between them and Jesus, and I am blessed to get to work in the vineyard.

 

All that isn't to guilt you;  like I said, it is a mantra I have to repeat almost daily!

 

Blessings!

02-10-2012 12:32 PM
dirtyhipegirl

Thank you for your words Jes, that is really helpful to know that someone else has been in the same situation. I attended  a Methodist University and I really like it.  I remember in a theology class I had to take we talked about how George Bush was wrong in the Iraq war and I thought that was really brave for being in a small west Texas town. I will look into getting into a ministry group.  We are currently involved in one but it is not with like minded people and I sometimes hold back from saying things because I don't want to stir up controversy. 

02-09-2012 01:59 PM
jes h
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyhipegirl View Post

Well to be honest I did feel God dealing with me about judging people.  I've only ever lived around really conservative people and every once in a while I just go crazy and think I can't do this anymore, these people are nuts.  I posted on FB in what I thought was a private page about looking for a more liberal church and turns out everyone from my current church saw it and they were asking me why would I want to go somewhere else.  As for now I am still there.  I was asked to take over our orphan ministry and try and gain support for it.  If I didn't step up and do it no one else would have.  I still don't really like my church or feel I fit in, but my husband does not feel the same so it's hard to try and debate with him about how I feel.  So for now I guess I keep going and hopefully we get orders to Hawaii soon.  Crossing my fingers.
 

I stumbled by your post from the Radical Homemakers post  wink1.gif

My husband and I have always been heavily involved in para-church youth ministries which were supported by many, many, mostly conservative churches, and he graduated from a very conservative/evangelical bible college, so we just fell in line and had attended contemporary-evangelical churches (uncomfortably) for the past 14ish years.   Before we left, people would suggest that it was 'good' for me to be 'challenged' every week.  They really thought that I was in need of re-education and if I just hung in there, maybe I would eventually 'get' their idea of Christianity.  Like I was a 'mission-field.'  It made it very difficult to not hold bitterness against them; esp. since at our last church DH and I tithed, led worship, ran the youth ministry and were often a first call for other needs, on top of our parachurch youth ministry. See?  there I go. I know that sounds very judgy.  I tried really hard not to be nasty, but it was basically impossible for me to look at the work we were doing and know that the majority of the congregants still would not recognize me as one of them till I agreed with them politically. 

 

Part of the solution for me to attempt to live out Matthew 7:1 (judge not...) was to get out of the situation.   It was too easy for me to judge them - clearly this was not a good placement for them or us.

 

We recently started going to a Methodist church.  LOVE. IT.  The first service we attended was on the 4th of July (a day we normally skip church...)  the pastor (who shares pastoral duties with his wife) spoke a radical sermon on women in the bible and ministry.  We had talked about returning to a mainline church before-I grew up Catholic and still attend Mass from time to time- but DH grew up Lutheran and was hesitant to go back due to his own negative experiences as a kid. 

 

We did have a tiny little mini-group in our last church who we had more in common with.  Perhaps there is someone in your church who saw your facebook post that is feeling the same way and you can find each other.  Another thing that really helped DH and I pull through the times we were at those churches was our ministry group (outside the church).  We are closer to those people than our own families because we are 'in the trenches' together and had common values/interests in our youth ministry. 

 

Perhaps this new ministry of yours will gather up some like-minded people.  

 

I know it is really hard, but we all have our junk.  It is good that you identify God is working on you in this, but that doesn't mean you are wrong for feeling isolated.  I am sure you know this, but hang onto the knowledge that other people's acceptance of you is NOT a reflection of Christ's acceptance of you.

 

 

02-05-2012 03:01 PM
mamatoady

I am a newly declared believer in Jesus as the Son of God.  What has been most difficult for me in making the choice is that I have a very worldly view of other religons and cultures and belief systems.  What I had to understand for myself is that what is important is MY RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and that all of the believers including myself are really on their own path.  I'm learning to stand up for myself and say what I believe in a much more conservative church than what is in my heart.  I think God is the only one who ought to judge and I just remind myself of that and then feel that as long as I feel that I am living by God's Will, then I can be ok with having different understandings of scripture or world views. 

 

Our church has become really big in believing that we should all be out and serving one another--believer or nonbeliever.  We should all be serving so that others see God in us and are brought to Him by our deeds, not just words.  For you, in particular, maybe a personal ministry would be to use scripture to support your passion for taking care of the earth (or other ministry idea).  I think that living life for Jesus is not just about declaring your belief and trust in Him, but in taking care of all our brothers and sisters as He would have done. 

 

Don't be too frustrated--the church is changing and will always be changing.  Keep the love in your heart and you'll stay strong. 

 

You might be interested in checking out the Quaker church, FYI.  I am not a part of that church, but LOVE their ideas and the people I know that participate are all peace loving-nature taking care of-wonderful people.

 

Sarah

02-05-2012 07:45 AM
Annalisa

Well, I'm here a little late, but if you are looking for people to do God's work with, and are not too picky about exactly what they call themselves, the Baha'is can always use another pair of hands.  I know you said don't suggest Unitarian, but the Baha'i Faith is definitely not Unitarian.  Right now there is a focus on improving neighborhoods, so that people get to know each other, and can work together.  That means that often many of the people at Baha'i gatherings are not actually Baha'i.  They are just people who have come together in service, prayer or study.  They organize Baha'i or interfaith devotions, classes to promote spirituality in children, study classes for adults to discuss spiritual matters, or to organize youth into service clubs.  These "core activities" are always in need of people to host, to bring refreshments, to generally organize, and there is no requirement to be any certain religion.  Although training is required if you want to facilitate a gathering.  Make no mistake, they are teaching Baha'i principles and using Baha'i scripture.  Well, what else would they use?    Anyway, this website may be helpful in finding people to serve with  http://www.bahai.us/  I don't know where you are, but the Baha'i Faith is one of the most widespread religions in the world, and these gatherings are happening everywhere there are Baha'is, so your chances are good.  Good luck!

02-04-2012 07:29 AM
Nazsmum

You are not nuts for wanting something else. As we grow in the Lord we will see things differently. I really hope things work out for you.

02-04-2012 05:54 AM
dirtyhipegirl

Well to be honest I did feel God dealing with me about judging people.  I've only ever lived around really conservative people and every once in a while I just go crazy and think I can't do this anymore, these people are nuts.  I posted on FB in what I thought was a private page about looking for a more liberal church and turns out everyone from my current church saw it and they were asking me why would I want to go somewhere else.  As for now I am still there.  I was asked to take over our orphan ministry and try and gain support for it.  If I didn't step up and do it no one else would have.  I still don't really like my church or feel I fit in, but my husband does not feel the same so it's hard to try and debate with him about how I feel.  So for now I guess I keep going and hopefully we get orders to Hawaii soon.  Crossing my fingers.

02-03-2012 05:41 PM
Nazsmum

How are things going? Did you do some church hunting?

01-24-2012 03:32 PM
dirtyhipegirl

I think I will, thank you.  smile.gif

01-24-2012 02:56 PM
zinemama Mennonites are one of the three historic peace churches (others are the Quakers and the Brethren). But OP, since there's a Mennonite church nearby, you might as well go and see what it's like for yourself before dismissing it. Who knows, it might be a good fit for you. And even your husband!
01-23-2012 06:07 PM
nicolelynn

Yes, Mennonites are suppose to be pacifist, and most still are. However, some branches are leaving that behind.

01-23-2012 04:24 PM
sosurreal09

Are you sure they are against war and not just stating there is no room for God in war? IDK what Mennonites are. I have found Baptists churches to be right on target for me.

01-23-2012 02:56 PM
dirtyhipegirl

Thank you sosurreal09, I greatly appreciated it.  I've thought about the Mennonite church a lot, however I know they are against war, which doesn't bother me but my husband who is in the Air Force would not be ok with that. 

01-23-2012 02:30 PM
sosurreal09

Have not read the thread but I felt very much out of place at quite a few churches. I prayed and prayed for the right church after being kicked out of my church of 3 years for Bfing my 2 y/o...

 

Well God answered my prayers! Not everyone is crunchy or anything but I kind of see it like God sent me there to try and slowly influence other people's parenting. A lot of women do BF....until a year anyway.

 

The pastor is AMAZING though he has spoken out against circ and he really preaches the truth about how the law is obsolete and we can only be saved by God's grace! Pray pray pray to be lead to the right place! I will pray for you as well :)

01-23-2012 02:24 PM
LynnS6

Oh and in addition to Mennonites, check out the Quakers. On those internet quizzes that ask you questions about which religion you supposedly align best with, Quaker always comes out really high for me.

01-23-2012 12:47 PM
zinemama OP, I think you should check out the Mennonites. (I'm not one, I'm Jewish, but I've known Mennonites and I think you would find a more kindly spirit with them than your current church.)
01-23-2012 11:35 AM
dirtyhipegirl

Thank you, you have given me a lot to think about.  I've seen that book on Amazon, I will check it out. 

01-22-2012 08:05 PM
LynnS6

First, I would do some church 'shopping' if you can. I belong to a liberal, mainstream protestant church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, if you want to know) and while we probably do more judging of the Obama-hating, SUV-driving, earth-destroying conservatives than we should, we try hard not to. We are active in ecological ministries, restoring wetlands, building for Habitat for Humanity, other outreach ministries. (We also have an awesome group of 40-50-60 something women who go out for drinks once a month of Friday! We went out last week, and I haven't laughed that hard in months).

 

One of our pastors is active in the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and you can get a flavor of what they do environmentally here: http://www.emoregon.org/earth_concerns.php You might find out if there are churches in your area that have something similar and check them out.

 

My point is that there are churches with God/Jesus as their core and are more in line with your values. Have you ever checked out some of the more mainline protestant churches? All of these still focus on Godly redemption, but have a strong social justice focus in ways that newer and more conservative churches often don't:  I would recommend:

UCC (United Church of Christ)

Presbyterians

Methodist

ELCA

Episcopal

 

I've listed them in order of "central control" -- UCC churches are entirely locally controlled, the Episcopals have a rather hierarchical structure. Both ELCA and Episcopal churches tend to have more ritual in the service. Having grown up Catholic, I like that. People who come from a different tradition sometimes find it odd or hard to get used to. All of  these churches differ from congregation to congregation. So, there's a lovely ELCA church not too far from us that's too conservative for me. (Oh, and just FYI, not all Lutherans are ELCA. Missouri Synod is more conservative and the rare Wisconsin Synod is even more so.) My sister and brother-in-law belong to a moderately conservative Presbyterian church. Their son is a pastor at a somewhat more liberal one. I guess my point is that you really have to figure out what that congregation is like.

 

Second, a book that I found incredibly interesting and helped me come to terms with some of my doubts/issues about my beliefs is "Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus". It was written by a Methodist minister and he goes into the history of the term "Christ" and the centering of churches around being saved, and how the focus on Jesus as Christ takes away from understanding the rich and complex messages that Jesus gave as a teacher, healer and man who went against social norms. I found this book freed me in many ways to be able to focus on what I felt, in my core, were the important things about being Christian, and worry less about "being saved".

 

Now, I have to say, many denominations would find this book heretical. It will probably make many good, practicing Christians very uncomfortable. It may not be your cup of tea. But it may also open your eyes as to a new way of thinking about being Christian and new possibilities.

 

Finally, my question for you about staying in your church: Can you freely express who  you are and what you believe in your church, or do you have to suppress part of you? If you have to suppress part of you, then it's not meeting your spiritual needs. What kind of community would meet your spiritual needs? (Not your social ones, but your spiritual ones?) What are you being called to do?

 

01-18-2012 06:55 AM
e&tsmom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

I think it's good to talk about this though.  If you were to talk about it with friends from church they may think we're not being faithful.  Church is full of man/women... they are not perfect.  They can cause more harm than good.  Not identifying with a church does not make you less. 



I agree.  I am not saying church is for everyone, but I do think that the collective group can do a lot of good and I feel like sometimes people decide they wont go to church for all sorts of reasons and they miss out on the good they could do in a group.  Thats all.  It isnt for everyone, but one could also look at it as a way of working on your own issues of tolerance, generosity, patience, etc when in a difficult situation.  Just a thought.  I dont think I would stick with an unbearably uncomfortable situation, either.

01-18-2012 06:49 AM
e&tsmom

I am certainly not saying that I dont judge people, I think we all do, I just try to recognize when I do it and try to go a different route with my thinkging or try to see the issue from another perpective.  I hear ya though - " lets get it together, church."  We need to do better, there is much room for improvement.  And, False stuff should never fly with anyone.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazsmum View Post

I only judge the people that say things that are so far away from the teaching of Jesus. SO many times I have tried to talk to the pastor/elder/sunday school teacher and they just look at me like I'm crazy. Jesus told the religious people that they were flat out wrong. Jesus told us how to be a church under Him. In JOHN 17 is Jesus praying that we would follow Him and be ONE.

 

I'm sorry if I come across as judging anyone. I'm more like lets get it together church. LETS start following Jesus and forget about the "other stuff". The church is the people of God following the Messiah and we are to love each other. We hear the voice of the Great Shepherd and we follow. The voice of a stranger we will not follow.

 

If I judge anyone it would be the leaders that are teaching the false stuff. Even Paul/Peter/John/Jude/Mark did this in their letters.



 

01-17-2012 06:29 PM
Imakcerka

I think it's good to talk about this though.  If you were to talk about it with friends from church they may think we're not being faithful.  Church is full of man/women... they are not perfect.  They can cause more harm than good.  Not identifying with a church does not make you less. 

This thread has more than 30 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off