Tag Archives: Dialogue

Leaving (the) Church

Today I had a look at the cathedral of the Reigning King Christ at La Spezia, in Liguria, Italy. An awful huge round building only build in 2015, but already showing signs of being in ‘decay’, materially but probably also spiritually, not receiving many congregants anymore.

It is something we can see all over Europe, churches running empty. Some may find it just a sign of the present modern times, others consider it as normal, people being fed up by the false stories of those churches.

Dan Foster last month asked

Is It Time To Leave Your Church?

Image by Thidarii on Shutterstock

He compares leaving a church as kind of like walking away from a long-term girlfriend or boyfriend. In a way he has good reasons to compare it to that, because often people have grown up with a church or have been affiliated for many years with a certain denomination.

Lots of time people have a history with a certain church and have shared memories — many of them good. Foster writes

You may have raised children together. You might have decades-long friendships attached to your church as well. And there is so much comfort in the familiar.

Though for some there is some awkward feeling. The fire seems to gone out. Previously everything seemed to go nicely and you felt you could even be active in that church.

Yet, at the same time, you just know it’s not working anymore. You have grown apart. Things are not what they once were. There might be conflict — words and deeds that leave you feeling detached a cold towards your former love. You are left with a lingering question,

“Is it time to leave my church?”

This was the situation that Dan Foster with his wife faced. He writes

We walked away from the church that had been my wife’s spiritual home for over thirty years. Imagine that! It was not an easy thing to do. However, we realized in the end that we could not remain in an environment that had, for the most part, turned toxic. {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

And for him it was not as such a matter of teachings, though people should better think more about what their church teaches and what is really written in the Bible. But when they come to see there is something not right or not conform of what is written in the Bible, lots of people do not dare to step away from their church … though they better should.

Dan Foster gives eight questions one should pose:

  1. Does your church use guilt, shame, or fear to motivate you?
  2. Does the church act like it has a monopoly on the truth?
  3. Does the church speak at you or listen to you?
  4. Does the church discourage you from asking questions?
  5. Does the church try to isolate you from your non-believing friends?
  6. Does the church preference certain kinds of people over others?
  7. Does the church care most about maintaining the system?
  8. Does the church berate other people who have left?

Strangely enough he forgets the 2 most important questions:

  1. Does the teaching of your church follows the teachings of Jesus Christ?
  2. Does your church worship the same God as Christ?

Because in Christianity we find lots of churches where there is worshipped another God than the God of Christ. That God of that Nazarene master teacher is a singular eternal Spirit Being. In such churches often there exist the idea that only clerics (priest or ministers) can bring and explain the Word of God.

Foster warns people

Often in churches, the pastor, priest, or minister does our spiritual homework for us. We come to rely on them to read, interpret and deliver the word of God to us in a form that is both palatable and entertaining each week. They do this with varying degrees of success.

However, if Christ came to be the one and only mediator between God and us, enabling us to have complete, unfettered access to the divine, then that ought to change the pastor-parishioner relationship from that of teacher-student to one where both parties have equal access to the revelation of God. {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

Each person can learn from reading the Scriptures and can help others to read it as well. As such a church should promote dialogue and joint learning. For centuries dialogue was already gone in the Catholic churches, but for several decades it has also dispeared in many protestant churches.

In several churches the leaders do not want to hear questions and tell their flock when they have such difficult questions their faith is weak.

If your pastor bristles when you ask him a difficult question, that ought to set off alarm bells. Mention that you support gay marriage and observe the reaction. Suggest that the earth might not be only 6000 years old and see what kind of reception you get.

Some churches have convinced themselves that discussing difficult questions like these is unhealthy. It is almost as if they worry that their faith will fade away when exposed to the light. If it’s tested, it may just shatter.

The reality is that if our faith is that fragile, it probably was never true. If our God is so easily defeated, he is probably not really the true God. Whether we have built castles of doctrine on flimsy foundations or have metaphorically curled ourselves up into a ball around the fundamentals of the gospel, avoiding the tough questions will never lead to any real answers.

So, if you find that your church shuts down, shames or freezes out people who ask tough questions and openly verbalize their reasonably held doubts, then you are not in a place that fosters and promotes the thinking that is needed for growth. {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

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2020 Talking Points – Stuck with polemics, histrionics, and ad hominem denunciation

Continually the world turns around and time goes on. But it will not go on for ever with man being able to bring bad things to others.
There shall come a time that with a roar and fire, believers and non-believers still alive shall come to see the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The Great Tribulation will come bringing great sufferings, but it shall bring us our waiting to an end, making our hope coming into fulfilment, Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the great Reconciler of humanity with the Creator, coming back to judge the living and the dead, to allow the righteous to enter the gates of God’s Kingdom to live there forever without pain or sorrows.

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The retired High School teacher and an ordained Christian minister in Ontario, Canada, Vincent finds that

No one who has lived through and is old enough to remember it will forget 2020 – the “Plague Year” of a century. We tend to forget that there have been many plague years in human history, and many far worse both in absolute numbers of victims and in proportion. {2020-2021 and Hope}

He was not without hope as we ended 2020 and began 2021 and writes:

Even in dark times like 2020, and there have been many much darker in many ways over the centuries, the Creator has not departed. He remains anchored among us through the presence of a living Redeemer, a presence shared far and wide wherever those who know Him bring His light. {2020-2021 and Hope}

He is also aware that we might be coming closer to the prophesised days of the end.

It may prove true that we are quite close to or even in the last, Last Days and on the verge of the Great Tribulation. I am aware that quite a few believe that we are now seeing such signs, and they may be right. My generation thought this back in 1973. People thought it in World War 1, and in WW2 called Hitler the Antichrist.

World.V.You

Like many I know, I have been paying less attention to the swirling morass of the news these days. Most of it is glum and discouraging anyway, and, here in the “Great White North”, summer is all too brief to waste on keeping up with the latest blasts in the present mockery of “discussion and dialogue” in uber-confused Western culture. Besides, between true news (??) and the boundless volume of the less reliable variety, it is often hard to draw a firm line in the midst of all the spin and vehement opinion masquerading as considered point of view.

Everyone has a point of view, of course. But the problem is that it is now uncommon to find any serious attempt to talk about an issue. Most of what passes for commentary consists of dismissing the writer-commentator’s submission as mere strong bias or even some sort of incipient “Communism”…

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, Headlines - News, History, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Remain lovingly = No path for softies

BZN Liefdevol blijven

Remain lovingly. No path for softies.

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David Grégoire Van Reybrouck Flemish Belgian author who writes historical fiction, literary non-fiction, novels, poetry, plays and academic texts. He has received several Dutch literary prizes, including AKO Literature Prize (2010) and Libris History Prize.

Jens Stoltenberg February 2015.jpg

Jens Stoltenberg

One hears language of war here and there as a reaction to acts of terror worldwide. In his opinion column David Van Reybrouck pleads for other forms of resoluteness than war language. Immediately after the attacks in Norway the Prime Minister Stoltenberg pleaded frankly for

“more democracy, more openness, more participation“.

In this climate of violence we need this connective thinking. Violence starts indeed  where people allow themselves to be played off against each other and point at innocent people.

Only light can conquer darkness.
Last november ,’Hart boven Hard‘ (Heart above Hard) and other similar organisations have organised simultaneous “silent wakes”   in various towns in solidarity with all the victims of terror attacks and wars. Under the common motto “together against hate” the civil movement invites as many people as possible to make a gesture against violence, polarising and terrorism.
Also the youth brigade Tony! takes to the streets in order to commit hopeful attacks. In the autumn they drove through the city and projected connecting messages onto public buildings like the MAS. With this wildbeam action these young people offer a constructive counterweight. They choose for radical hope as a last freedom of the human being. The freedom to choose how we want to deal with the things thrown at us today.

An alternative for fear begins with …. YOU!
Every person who chooses resolutely every day to stay lovingly, to accept dialogue, to choose for encounter, knows that this is not an easy path to take. Resistance, disappointment, desperation are part of it. Resilience is a must. Notwithstanding this MWN summons – already for over 55 years – to choose this path. To keep trusting. Also when it becomes difficult. Because we keep believing in the silent force of many citizens who together keep delivering small , meaningful deeds. As a silent protest.

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The present and 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

The Dalai Lama has spread a similar message :

“Violence is a reaction of shortsighted people that have lost the plot. At 81 I believe that violence cannot be solved by prayers or Governments. We have to create change at an individual level and then spread this to your neighbourhood and the society”.

BzN-Mov Without a Name-Logo_EN

BZN or MWN Who we are & What we do;

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Original Dutch Version /Nederlandse versie: Liefdevol blijven = Geen weg voor softies

 

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Additional reading

  1. Muslim Grooming (Rape) Gangs and Sharia
  2. When the wind blows hard on a tree
  3. Hope does not disappoint us
  4. If you do pray you shall not be disappointed

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Further reading

  1. ‘I try to keep my hate in check. If you can’t hate, you can’t love.’
  2. Resistance (1)
  3. Resistance (2)
  4. Defiance vs Resistance
  5. ‘Let’s pull this humongous tree by the root’
  6. Goal Setting: It’s the Little Things
  7. We are Yedikule!
  8. Tout inclusif
  9. Revolutionary Internationalism Makes a Comeback in Oakland
  10. Activist hunting
  11. Thoughtful Thursdays #115 Three Wishes
  12. Day 378: Waking Up To Revenge
  13. Shards
  14. I Feel Broken
  15. What It Looks Like to Be So Happy It Hurts
  16. F.L
  17. Raw Thoughts
  18. good people
  19. New Beginnings

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