Updated: Feb 18
2020 almost destroyed my faith. Instead, it evolved into something better.
I decided that there is one belief I cannot compromise. Any faith that uses fear and guilt to manipulate people is not worth having. Period.
I grew up attending a Southern Baptist Christian school, although my family attended a Methodist church. I was —theologically confused.
I lived in constant fear of going to hell. I got saved at least once a week. I never felt good enough.
I threw away hundreds of dollars worth of rock albums as a teen because they were “the devil’s music.”
The fundamentalists have always been concerned with control. Keep the people afraid and they will keep attending and donating.
It is the job of the church to proclaim the gospel and lift burdens from people’s backs—not to place more weight upon them.
I stopped attending church in college but went back in my late twenties. That’s when I got involved with Charismatic Christians.
Lord have mercy. That was a whole different level of messed up.
Charismatics introduced me to “name it and claim” it theology and prosperity gospel. “Oh, you’re sick? Let’s pray and claim your healing!”
If you didn’t get well, or heaven forbid had a mental illness, you didn’t have enough faith. You didn’t dare show weakness because that meant you were not a good Christian.
The gift of prophecy is important in Charismatic circles. Prophecy can be manipulative because a person can say anything as long as it is prefaced by, “God said…”
I wondered how the Waco siege happened, but I understood after being with the Charismatics. The zeal is real with them.
I encountered a lot of genuine, but misguided people who loved God. But a lot of churches like this are one step away from being a cult.
Fast forward to the present.
I have had to cobble together my belief system out of the mishmash I have heard over the years.
I’ve decided that my faith, much like my politics, is somewhere in the middle.
Love. That’s what I believe. It’s what the gospel preaches.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37–40
Do you see? It’s simple, but not easy.
Love your neighbor.
We humans complicate faith. But it has always been about love.
I give up
I still identify as a Christian, much to my amazement. So, to strengthen my faith, I give up.
I give up:
Trying to be good enough.
Trying to do enough.
Shouldering burdens that don’t belong to me.
Love doesn’t say, “You have to.” Love says, “Believe that I already did.”
Do you want to live as a person of faith? Do you want to be free of fear and guilt? Then dare to believe what Jesus said.
“It is finished”.
Give up. You’ll be glad you did.