The whole blogging experience has been more enriching than I ever imagined. I have made new friends. I have had personal glimpses into other's lives. I have seen how other's worship their God(or choose not to). I've read the opinions of right-wing and left-wing. I've commented to people all over the world and others have commented here. It's been GREAT! Now it's time for a little info on ME.
I've NEVER been a black and white person. I always see the "shades of gray" and can argue both sides of practically any subject. My husband is this way and more. We've raised our children to always look at both sides(much to my parents dismay).
I am a Christian. I was raised in the Lutheran church, as was our daughter. My husband was raised Catholic, sort of. We now live our lives without the benefit? of any organized religion. Why? There's a lot of reasons. We don't like the way all churches divide the family. Women go to their meetings and groups, while the men and children do likewise. You're never together, as everybody's different group, retreat, meeting, etc, is on a different night. What do all these groups and meetings accomplish? NOTHING; it's just a bunch of like-minded people gathering together and patting each other on the back. It's all glorified "busy work" that does nothing to make the world a better place to live.
Our second gripe with organized religion is the money. For example; the Lutheran church requires that Xamount of dollars be handed over to the synod, each year, for every confirmed member of the congregation. What is this money spent on? One year the synod spent $2,000,000 on a laser light show at their annual convention! In addition, all religions are getting carried away on their buildings. A local evangelical church recently built a $1,500,000 meeting hall/gymnasium. The purpose; a place for after church coffee, wedding receptions, baby showers, etc. Whatever happened to "wherever two or more are gathered in my name"? How are they possibly making the lives of their neighbors better with these expenditures? We, now, personally choose where our charitable donations go. We fervently hope that our money goes to better use than a light show!
Our biggest gripe with organized religion, is the religious right. I find it offensive when someone demands that I be "born again". Why? I've never lost my faith. The only "born again" experience I plan on having, is when I die. I also can't stand their stance on EVERY WORD in the Bible coming straight out of God's mouth. Yes, I see the Old Testament as a history of the people of God, passed down for generations, by word of mouth, before it was ever written. The Old Testament is these ancient people's documentation of what God said to the select few. You need to read it as a whole, in the historical scheme of things, and not pick individual verses to live by. The New Testament is the story of Jesus' life, and the events following his death, as seen by his followers. Why do you think there are 4 Gospels? So we can see how each of these people witnessed these events and reacted to them. This leads me to another one of my gripes: Who made certain church leaders God, and let THEM choose which Gospels would be included in the Bible? There are many more books to the Bible that "God's editors" decided to leave out of the finished product. I resent this!
Our family embraces all religions. How do we know that God didn't appear to different cultures at different times in many different ways? Maybe he did this because he knew that other cultures would only understand him on their terms. I personally like the idea of reincarnation. I don't think it's right that someone like Ted Bundy, who found God at the end of his life, should be able to shoot straight to heaven with someone like my Grandma, whose faith never faltered. Maybe God uses things like reincarnation, maybe he doesn't. We don't know. I don't have an inside track to God and neither does ANYONE else! That's where FAITH comes into play.
I don't know how God created the earth. Maybe it was the Big Bang, maybe it was evolution, maybe he zapped everything here, as is. Does it really matter HOW he did it? Have FAITH that God created the world as he saw fit. Why is science so threatening to the religious right? God created all the marvels of science and gave certain people the ability to "discover" his gifts.
Why do so many fanatics create hate in God's name? God is about LOVE!! I don't need to concentrate on fire and brimstone and the depths of hell. I'm not going there, I have FAITH. My mission from God is not to prosletyze and cram my beliefs down people's throats. My mission is to raise my children in the LOVE and FORGIVENESS of God. My mission is to TRY to live by the example of what LOVE and PEACE can be found through God.
I respect everyone's beliefs. If you find comfort in going to church every Sunday, good for you. If you believe that you have an inside track to God and that you'll get your own planet when you die, good for you. If you think you won't go to heaven if you celebrate religious holidays or birthdays, good for you. All I ask, is that you respect my beliefs, and don't try to convert me to yours, cuz it ain't gonna work!