Standing Strong

I found that when I preached the actual truth of what I was reading, it conflicted with my church’s teaching. 

My son in Massachusetts has a lung infection and is at high risk in our current COVID- saturated environment. So he’s been quarantined for a month by the doctors but through prayers and good medical care, he is doing better. He had me scared there for a minute because when he called, he could barely breathe or talk. Mama was going to be on the next plane out, but an ambulance was called and got him to the ER. His friends and his landlord have been making sure he gets food and what he needs. Thank God.

On another note and the real point of this post is that I wanted to make belief statements today. In my journey to more honest Christianity, I’ve been amazed at the influence church organizations can have over how you read your Bible, how much you read your Bible and how honestly you read. I think it’s something to be vigilant about on our spiritual journey.

I used to read and preach from the Bible with my mind confined to my denomination’s teaching and not honestly reading for truth. Even though I thought I was doing just that–reading openly and honestly.

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I found that when I preached the actual truth of what I was reading, it conflicted with my church’s teaching.

Oh yeah. For real.

People would get confused and start questioning my loyalties and what I was saying. I finally realized what was wrong with that picture and finally took the step of leaving my beloved church and not trying anymore to change their system, but staying with God. When people have such a paradigm shift it’s possible that they would leave Christian life altogether, but one thing I knew was that the Lord had saved me and I held to that. Of course, to them, those two things-leaving them and staying with the Lord – could not co-exist. If you leave them, you’ve left God. But I had to get over that and move on. freedom in Christ

freedom in Christ

I Believe…

I believe God wants Christians to commune and be influenced by Him more than their Pastor or fellow Christian friends. I believe we should have our mind and heart focused on Christ and his words alone and live by them and love those principles from the heart, and I believe that is all that matters.

I believe God wants us to develop our walk with God based on his personal revelations to us from His words about our lives rather than other folks’ revelations.

blue freedomI believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is just that. One where you are not judged by the next man about your personal convictions regarding non-gospel related things. Of course, you have some that believe everything in life is tied to the purpose and goals of their church organization, but that is not what the Bible teaches. As it’s often said, God didn’t call us to church but to Christ. Having lived under strict teaching about outward things, I can say the bible is correct. This is the doctrine of the Pharisees. People create strict rules to make themselves more holy, but more often than not, those same people will tend to act fleshly in attitudes and conduct, which is the more serious offense. Those man-made rules have no value in changing or cleansing the spirit.

I believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is just that. One where you are not judged by the next man about your personal convictions regarding non-gospel related things. Of course, you have some that believe everything in life is tied to the purpose and goals of their church organization, but that is not what the Bible teaches. As it’s often said, God didn’t call us to church but to Christ. Having lived under strict teaching about outward things, I can say the bible is correct. This is the doctrine of the Pharisees. People create strict rules to make themselves more holy, but more often than not, those same people will tend to act fleshly in attitudes and conduct, which is the more serious offense. Those man-made rules have no value in changing or cleansing the spirit.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:18-23

I believe that freedom in Christ is the freedom to do as Christ leads according to his words and guidance. It is grace to live as we should and submit ourselves to the will of God as he reveals it to us.

I believe God has a truth that transcends petty differences that divide men.download (1)

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I believe it takes a long time for Christians to realize that although we have truth in Christ, it is not our job to be judge and jury. It is our job to love humanity and show God’s unconditional love as much as it is in our power. That’s a hard lesson for most of us to learn.

God does not always fit into our small box of judgment, as he has proved time and again.tiny box

tiny box

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Amen to His Word

Reasons I Moved On

serve grow happyThis post is mostly for those who might be curious about how I got to this point in my life of not working with my denomination. Primarily, the move happened because I wanted the second half of my life to be under God’s control and not the control of men. I wanted to get to know God for myself and have the freedom to obey, teach and do what he was imparting to me. Under the current system in our church, that would be impossible. I was not willing to live my one life under the ownership of anyone and least of all leaders that were simply trying to hold the status quo together for their various personal reasons and no longer interested in spiritual growth. It’s a true saying that you cannot rise above your teachings.

Continue reading “Reasons I Moved On”

And Now…Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program – LIFE

In the interest of life balance and having time for spiritual reflection, here’s a piece about life balance and social media.

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The glitter covered black hole we call social media has slid its way into our hearts and homes, and we have welcomed it with open arms. Well, most of us, anyway. It introduced itself as something fresh, exciting, and full of potential. It became our communication, entertainment, relaxation, our eyes into parts of the world we couldn’t see; even a source of income. It was everything we needed in our new found relationship.

Then like any relationship, the true colors and intentions started to reveal themselves. Now there’s a decision that needs to be made by us. Do the negatives outweigh the positive? Are we willing to give our whole beings to this entity? Have we done so already?

You were born an original, Don’t die a copy – John Mason

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.– Aristotle.

The understanding and meaning behind these philosophies have died with us. In this day and age between Instagram, reality tv shows, and going “viral,” everyone is becoming everyone else. We need to all have the same bodies, the same mindset, the same clothes. If you god forbid dare to be different, you’re not “in”; you’re lame, primarily, you’re not enough according to the younger population. A lot of people are generic while screaming authenticity. All while shaming and gossiping about those who are so bold as to just live, being themselves.

Social media has pulled the curtain over our eyes and told us the lights were off. There have been several cases where based off of what people have posted or said on Facebook or Twitter, someone else has ended up fighting, dead, or in the hospital. It was supposed to be an outlet for us to express ourselves without criticism or hate. Yet, the world we live is has turned that dream around and twisted it into something we can’t get rid of.

Everyone is watching everybody else and forgetting about loving themselves.

The negative side of social media has shown its horns while convincing people
that it simply comes with the territory. Humans are already fickle, to begin with, so we begin to make excuses. We have become slaves to what we see and hear. The way that we all in some way or form depend on our phones and apps as ways to escape our everyday reality is disheartening, but it is honest. With the media and social media, we are rarely given the opportunity to make a truthful decision for ourselves. Although I believe social media has its perks, it also can pit us against each other. It can pit us against ourselves and who we truly are. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and what we’re seeing is tainting us.

There should be a balance, we can’t let this outlet for communication and connection destroy our communication and connection to those around us. Social media has rudely interrupted our regularly scheduled program called “ Life’. It’s not just going to go away, but sometimes it’s good to put the phone or laptop away and read a book, go outside, talk to a stranger. There’s more to this cycle that we’re living. It’s time to live our lives, and not from behind a screen. Besides, it’s just social media.

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Written by Guest Contributor

Sydney Milton

Sydney profile PIC

My daughter Sydney is a professional stylist, a mom, and a student at Harold Washington College.

Be sure to share your comments below!

Be Yourself

download 5Life’s journey is not always comfortable. Sometimes it’s challenging to learn about who we are, but it’s one of life’s highest goals.  

 Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,

“to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to turn you into someone else is one of life’s greatest accomplishments.”

I’m taking a short break on this blog from talking about dysfunctional religion and the damage it can do to children only for a moment.  I just want to stop and celebrate my journey.  Recently, I got an opening to write a guest post about children in dysfunctional religious homes for the Child-Friendly Faith Project website. This organization works to help children who have suffered religious maltreatment.  I will continue to interview and research this subject and the results I see in my own religious circles.  I am glad that I’m able to help others whatever way  I can with my experience. Continue reading “Be Yourself”

The Silence is Broken…Again

How many times does it take for people to speak up before those in authority do something about wrong in their midst? Silencing people through intimidation and warnings to be obedient to church leadership are all symptoms of a dysfunctional religious organization and it is apparently very effective. When members feel they are better off not knowing what is wrong, there’s something very wrong. When church members have the attitude that they wish they didn’t know and cry “ I just want to go to church and be left alone,” there’s a serious problem. When people close their eyes to sin and wrong on one hand, and on the other hand, claim to hold up the blood-stained banner against all wrong in the name of Christ, again, something is seriously wrong.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke.

A few weeks ago, I was harassed on social media by someone from my former church organization. It had to be. Who else would care that much? For about 4 weeks, whenever I shared from this blog on Facebook, the person or persons would launch a complaint to FB that it was “ objectionable content.” FB in their attempt to err on the side of the complainer banned all links and information from this blog.

Continue reading “The Silence is Broken…Again”