New commenter: having difficulty with religious “systems” and wants advice

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A first-time commenter left a great comment that I’d like to open up for discussion:


Hi everyone

This is my first time posting on this site and I apologize in advance for its being off topic. I could use some help from some of you who have been through what I’m going through right now, which is abandoning Calvinism and Lutheranism (2 theologies I’ve been heavily involved in for years).

I still have a lot of “hangover fear” and I was wondering how to best get over it. Even simple things like having a few beers with friends still make me question myself and my motives in a fearful way, although I realize that’s silly. I still believe in Jesus and the forgiveness of sins that He offers, but I’m done with systems. Anyone who has traveled a similar road more or less successfully, please comment. thank you everyone in advance! 🙂


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I think this is a great question because many times the church in which we have been spiritually harmed, burned out, or becomes so distasteful, we want to run from anything that reminds us of that experience. I think our God is bigger than hurdle and we can find Him and worship elsewhere. Do you have any comments or suggestions?

JA Note: I really do not want this conversation to be a debate on doctrines/religions because that will go downhill really quickly, but instead, let’s focus on how someone can maneuver around this obstacle.  Thanks!

 

39 comments on “New commenter: having difficulty with religious “systems” and wants advice

  1. Julie, great idea for discussion.

    Commenter, I totally relate. I left the evangelical “system” years ago and had the hardest time for years just connecting with anything or anyone from traditional Christianity. At the same time, the “hangover” fear was there too. One thing that helped me is reading books on the general topic of “religionless” faith and Christianity. I also found that historically, Calvinism and Lutheranism, weren’t the only “system” choices out there. For example, more and more people are rediscovering “Universalism” as a biblically-based, historic theology from the first century on. I have found equilibrium in reading theology from the Eastern Orthodox to progressive Christianity. So reading outside the box, as far outside as you are comfortable with, is one suggestion. One place to start is Kathy Escobar’s Faith Shift–about people like you and me and our journeys. Highly recommend.

    Another is finding like minded people who are on same questioning journey as you. The groups I found actually prefer to gather around a couple beers to talk “pub theology.” It becomes a safe place where systems don’t hem you in. I even have my own books about this now. So, hang in there, you are a faith shifter and not alone. If you want to reach back off line, find me here: http://www.michaelcampbooks.com/contact/

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hi Commenter, I’ve been where you are. Welcome! I, too, am done with systems. I have found a wonderful freedom outside of that box.

    The first thing I would encourage you to do is be patient with yourself. When we belong to a system, we become indoctrinated in more ways than we even realize. It’s like a tangle of threads and strings have worked their way all through every part of us. Just know that with time all of these things will come loose and will fade away, and who you really are and what you really believe will become more and more evident.

    There is always a certain amount of fear involved in systems. We lose trust in our own perceptions and it’s hard to step out on our own and make our own decisions. It feels alien. We question and doubt ourselves. We have been told for so long that the only safe place to be spiritually is in our group, doing what our group does. Everything “out there” is dangerous. The world outside is one big slippery slope that leads straight into hell. One day I realized that I was holding my faith in Christ as though it was a fragile piece of crystal that better not ever be subjected to any strong test. I asked myself, is that really faith? If my faith is that fragile, is it even real? I stopped fearing things like going places, doing things, listening to other peoples’ viewpoints or spiritual beliefs. I realized they could not harm me, they could not harm my faith.

    So take your time and be patient with yourself. When you feel uncomfortable, remember it’s only a feeling, born of habit, left over from rules you no longer see as valid.

    I would encourage you to read your Bible, as you are able (sometimes it’s hard when you’ve just come out of an abusive system), as if it is the first time you’ve ever read it, as if you’re on a desert island with no one there to tell you what they think it means. Give yourself time to reassess and think through your own beliefs. Don’t feel like you need to rush to define a camp that your beliefs fall into. Look at the apostle Paul. After God confronted him on the road to Damascus, he spent 14 years in the wilderness, just learning from Christ, before he was ready to take on his purpose. Miles Stanford used to say that when God is in a hurry, he grows a squash. When he wants to grow an oak, he takes his time. (His book, The Green Letters, helped me a lot when I was getting free of a controlling church.) Systems seem to be all about pressuring and rushing people but God is in no hurry. He has all the time in the world.

    There is a site called Lifestream.org that has some videos and podcasts I’ve found interesting, they are geared to people that have left the institutional church and the types of struggles they have.

    Anyways, all this to say hang in there, this too shall pass. Welcome to this site and I hope to read more of your posts in future. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All of us have a temptation to idolatry, to make God in our own image. (Do you see what I did there?) What has helped me a lot is seeing how much I can miss and misunderstand Scripture by doing what I call a magic trick on myself. I have done this by taking verses out of context, where I am both the magician and the observer, so the illusion is very powerful, since I am not trying to trick myself and neither is God, yet I have managed to con myself, mainly through lack of love or knowledge, etc. Be open to learning more about how to love better and how to read better. There is a lot more but that is the idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Several years ago, the president of a major Christian ministry told me that he lives by these words of St. Augustine:

    Love God and do whatever you want.

    Or another version:

    Delight yourself in the Lord and do whatever you want.

    But how do we really love God, rather than deluding ourselves we love God?

    For me, prayer and meditation provide a release from religious systems, and put my priorities in the right order. Even holy desires can become more important than God. But prayer reconnects me to God and puts everything in place. I still worry what people think about me (hence I post anonymously), but as I get closer to God, those voices aren’t as loud.

    Like

  5. When one understands the primary function of evangelical churches is to produce a reliable voting bloc for rightwing politicians, rather than help individuals in crisis, then their purpose makes more sense.

    Like

  6. Welcome to the wild and wacky world of theological deconstruction! 🙂 One of the most comforting pieces of advice I’ve received on my journey of “abolishing and adopting” is that I am in very good company – which means that you are, too. At some point on our faith journeys, for that faith to have any semblance of authenticity, it stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes, the tension is so great that we don’t know if we are going to survive it. I think the fear you mention that manifests itself in questioning everything we’re doing is simply part of this deconstruction, because we have no idea how this thing is going to look after the dust settles. and haven’t we been told from the cradle (if we’ve been raised in the church) that we’re supposed to know how this thing is going to look? Hasn’t that been the way we measure the health of our faith/belief system all along, by observing how the others in our system are “doing” faith and then adjusting our gauge accordingly?

    If you’re feeling discontented (as unsettling as it is), you’re actually in an exciting place, because it gives you a kind of permission to explore. Reading about church history is a good place to start, because you’ll see that the beliefs of the early church were all over the map and were nearly as varied as a fingerprint for the first several hundred years. Coming up with the creeds wasn’t a slam dunk by any means. Authors like Brian McClaren, Brian Zahnd, N.T. Wright, Greg Boyd, and Phyllis Tickle will tease you out of any theological “box” and set you to seeing with new lenses. Blogs like brazenchurch.com and rachelheldevans.com will open a window to a whole new world where it’s not just okay but good to question and doubt, because that, in the end, is what propels us forward on our faith journey.

    You are not alone, and it’s going to be fine. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m glad this the SSB put this on the blog… I’ve been wrestling with similar things for years and, in fact, went through some of the same thought frames you did.

    If you are still looking for some place to land, I’d suggest you land somewhere that looks like Jesus, not Calvin, Luther or any of the other systematic frameworks out there. Not that those are totally bad but they can quickly become idols…

    In addition to the websites already mentioned, one that has been a real blessing to me has been http://simplyjesusgathering.com which is (if you join – free) is filled with videos talking about Jesus… Some you may agree with, some disagree with… But with these people, it’s not about the framework, it’s about the person.

    To reply to some other posters…

    @Dash – Good advise

    @Shy1 – Lifestream and the God Journey has been a good resource for me as well.

    @donaldbyronjohnson – I like the pun… I think it was Pascal that said “God created the world in 6 days, on the seventh we returned the favor”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Personally, I took a very long break from church. (Not necessarily for the same reasons) I am getting back now and going to a much more liberal denomination than I ever thought I would. (women pastors!!! Dogs and cats, living together)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I don’t have much advice. I have observed people who come out of legalistic or oppressive churches, though, and the healing they’ve found has always taken time. I guess my advice is to have patience and focus on Jesus. This seems to be the theme of the responses in the comments so far, too.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. “Even simple things like having a few beers with friends still make me question myself and my motives. . .”

    I try to make it a point to consume one beer every week. As a recovering evangelical, I view this practice as a discipline that aids in overcoming legalistic religious expectations and practices. However, it all gets so twisted. The discipline of “religiously” consuming beer on a regular basis can itself become a legalistic practice. Plus, for many, consuming alcohol is downright dangerous.

    I guess what I am saying is that it might be useful to identify those things one habitually does (or avoids) as a religious or legalistic practice, and just stop doing (or avoiding) them. Look instead to Jesus and follow his example and calling. He calls us to Love, not sacrifice. Love may lead to sacrifice, but I submit that we are not called to sacrifice for its own sake.

    Jesus calls us to freedom, not bondage–though I personally must be careful not to cross the line between liberty and license.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maybe because it is the obvious, no one has brought up that a ‘follower of someone’ studies them…read the Bible for yourself, critique it for yourself…not what that commenter says about it nor that pastor says about it nor that study says about it nor that religious system says and so on, figure out what the living word of Jesus says to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Anonymous, I’ll admit up front, I have not been where you are.
    But, I think Dash and Shy1 gave you some great advice.

    Most of the prophets in the Bible stood up against the “system” ……. Elijah and John the Baptist come to mind. And, there was another person ……. let me see …. now, what was that guy’s name??? Jesus, maybe?

    Take your time …. heal, study, pray, think for yourself. Seek those who are like-minded. If and when you explore other church options, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I think its normal to go through everything you’re experiencing and to give yourself time to “detox” from the whole cultural Christian mechanism.
    I had a time where I felt guilty just reading from some authors/blogs that had been deemed “dangerous”, but it was important that I read it myself and come to my own conclusions (much of the time I agreed with the “dangerous” opinions).
    You’re definitely in good company with so many others. I’ve come to realize that much of what I had experienced in some Christian churches was just more “systems” to get us right with God, which Jesus already did. He came to dismantle religious systems. So, I’ve been focusing and starting with Jesus because He is the exact representation of God. (Hebrews 1:3) He shows us what God looks like.

    A study of Galatians is always a good reminder to not add to the Gospel. I ditto the above recommendations for N.T. Wright, Greg Boyd, and Kathy Escobar.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I have rarely told anyone this: leaving church is kind of like graduating from high school–okay, some of us got kicked out of that “high school!” But then you get to take on the world in a different way. Also, I like to check out the “religion” section in 2nd hand book stores–one can find all sorts of interesting stuff there. And then there are the Christian Mystics that no one has told you about before. Their various works reveal people HUNGRY for a closer relationship to Jesus! And some of them got in trouble with the “C”hurch too–good company!! Plus I have always clung to that verse in Hebrews 11–the faith chapter–“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Even the teensiest bit of fath–wow, WHOOPIE!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The “systematic theology” is a house of cards, and it’s okay to knock it all down and turn over every piece and see if it’s got value or not. It’s okay to not be okay, too.

    I’ve found that I’m more comfortable with my doubts than any of the answers. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are also comfortable with their doubts–and we talk openly about it all.

    If we had all the answers, then what’s the point of calling it faith. It’s faith, precisely because we don’t have the answers. I think God is okay with that–or else he would have made it all much more clear.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. There are so many wonderful comments shared here. I too left “the system” several years ago and, for a time, felt guilty about it, like I was breaking some sacred rule of Christianity that translated into a nagging doubt as to whether I really loved my Lord.

    But most “systems” tend to emphasize behavior-based legalism rather than the beauty of relationship and a revelation of the heart of God toward us, His beloved. Galatians 5:18 reminds us that “Those who live by the Spirit are not under the law.” Adherence to His leading in the daily is the wonder of a very personal relationship with God. And, I still have “church” regularly – with my family and believing friends, where we open up and speak truth and encourage and pray for one another. God is there in our midst.

    Do not be discouraged or afraid. Seek the living Lord, and He will surely make Himself known to you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I can empathize with your anxiety!! I was hit with the realization that I was experiencing cognitive dissonance between black and white thinking and Jesus’ teaching. At first I felt I had lost all hope in ever recovering my former faith. As time has passed, I realize I am on a journey and God doesn’t live in the small box I was taught all my life.
    God still holds you and you will discover his love in astonishing places. One writer that was helpful to me is Fr
    Richard Rohr. He writes about faith in the first part of life (black/white) and how maturity leads to a new, more compassionate understanding of Jesus and his love for us. As with anything some people find great wisdom in his teachings and others, not so much.
    Know you are not alone on your journey. There are many believers who are experiencing a fracture in their faith tradition. God is faithful and will continue to reveal himself to you in new ways. Enjoy the journey!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. My family had an experience where we learned that our church was “closet KJVO”, and the “pastor” there did some things to me that induced at least one other family to leave–berated me in public over communion bread being too big. No kidding. And after that, what we did was to emphasize what we do believe–in our case the real fundamentals (they have nothing to do with “I don’t drink and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls who do!”) and the Solas. At times it is hard to separate the cultural cues from the Biblical reality, and it’s been huge for us to look at Psalms 149 and 150 and the second chapter of John.

    We also started having a beer now and then. So consult the scriptures, ask God, and per Deuteronomy 14, enjoy the good things God has for you. Including that beer, at least if you’re not getting into problem drinking.

    Like

  19. Church and God are not the same…. You don’t necessarily find God in church, but you will definitely find him in the Bible. And bonus! Th one you find in the Bible will be the true one!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I was raised Catholic (which I loved) but married a Pentecostal and only last week made the profoundly difficult decision to leave his increasingly controlling, fundamentalist and complementarian church (I was pressured to leave Catholicism by his family) and return to what I know. All doctrinal debates aside, because I know full well the pros/cons of both denominations and in the end had to be true to myself – one thing that’s helped me a lot is reading about historical Christianity. As in really ancient, like 300 AD. Anglican/Episcopalian authors like NT Wright and Marcus Borg have helped me learn a new angle on historical Christianity. Writers like St John of the Cross (Dark Night of the Soul) helped me during the darkness of my depression. Actively reading critiques of Pentecostal subcultures helped me articulate the aspects of my former church that I sensed were problematic. One of the best things I did was go back to university – despite my in-laws’ approval. Their view was that I ought to be content in my God-given role as a wife and mother. Not that I’m not content, but rather that there’s a whole lot more to me than that. Learning about how psychological dysfunctions affect families (like narcissistic personality disorder) further helped me move away from my husband’s family’s church. Getting help from a psychologist in the mainstream medical system (in Australia) too – I refused to get “Christian counselling” through the church. I’ve since heard horror stories from friends who did undergo counselling there and the devastating psychological damage it caused some of them is terrible.

    This is a really convoluted way of saying is that if I could give advice based on my own experiences, while acknowledging it won’t work for everyone, is that I got educated. I have my sociology degree now (if you can’t afford higher education, Open Universities Australia runs free Open2Study courses online in a variety of topics and you don’t need to be an Aussie to enrol). I have a much better understanding of how historical Christianity viewed the world – and that Pentecostalism isn’t the One True Religion as some of my acquaintances insist. I have read critiques of the church I was in, to try to get external perspective. And in the end, I’ve discovered my faith in Jesus still persists. And yet I am not in a rush to sign up for any new community. I’m going to embrace the role of pew-warmer (something my previous church would see as akin to living in blatant sin, because to them if you’re not busy about the Lord’s work, you’re squandering your existence).

    One other thing that’s helped is reaching out to friends who already left the church I was in for the last 14 years. I had no idea how many of them left out of having been hurt, ostracised, psychologically harmed by pastoral “counselling” or feeling insignificant in a community that equated loud and extraverted with godliness…

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  21. Fr Richard Rohr is wonderful. Frs Thomas Keating, James Martin, and of course the great Thomas Merton… What a life saver their writings have been for me! (And their many freely available YouTube video lectures because let’s face it, books are pricy!).

    Like

  22. Apologies for the typos. To clarify, my in-laws did NOT approve of my returning to uni. Of course, once I completed my degrees they were willing to take credit for my efforts. As you do. (Again, clinical narcissism is a fascinating thing and I strongly suspect it explains the social dynamics in my former church.)

    Like

  23. Its been the hardest, most painful, and confusing time for me. I am the opposite of others here, but Julie Anne has let me know that I am welcome, so I stay. I lost my faith because of severe abuse within the church. BUT, I found myself (YAY). I no longer live under constant guilt, and have irrational fears about things that don’t even matter in the big picture of life (like having some beers :o). Most importantly, I got to have a relationship with my family again. Something that was looked down upon in the churches I attended.
    Its a journey, but your in the right place! Just don’t let guilt consume you, its not worth it, and its not how life should be lived. One thing I know for sure, its gonna all be okay in the end! I am sure of it!
    All the best to you in your journey!

    Like

  24. I spent most of my life in church. 15 years in Catholic church and 20+ (honestly, I’ve lost count) in non-denominational Christian church. When we decided to stop going to church it was hard. We were angry and disillusioned with what had become of the church we had loved. But I remember the first Sunday we decided to stay home. I remember feeling free, not anxious, and not angry. And I remember loving it. Then came the concerns from parents, family and friends for not going to church. And the guilt for not having our kids in church.

    Then, after time, and meeting lots of wonderful folks online, I found it got easier. Really, all I can offer is to give it time. Read books that you never thought you would. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t read the Bible or pray as often as you used to. Read blogs that focus on what you need to read. Then allow yourself to grow as you need.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I tossed all of my religious books, articles, tracts, and CDs in the recycling container. I did the same with books written by my ex-pastor and his friends. I didn’t want to donate them to the library sale or to a charity where the bad teachings might fall into another person’s hands. I tossed out a Bible as well that a very abusive ex-church member gave me.

    I rested. I ate waffles and other nice foods on Sunday mornings.

    I kept one Bible that a friend gave me as a gift years ago. I didn’t read it. My ex-church had us to do Bible studies all of the time. I simply told Jesus, “I am very tired and I just can’t read it at all. I need to rest in You. Please help me.” That’s all I could do.

    I read books on spiritual abuse. The classics by Dr. Ronald Enroth, Churches that Abuse and Recovering from Churches that Abuse are now available online for FREE!
    These are classics and very good.

    I found comfort in (pastor) Ken Blue’s book Healing Spiritual Abuse as well as The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen. Other books and blogs on spiritual abuse were also helpful. I found that long-time Christians could help deprogram me from all of the bizarre beliefs, like Patriarchy, that I had been taught. I learned that it wasn’t always this way. Others knew the proponents of various teachings, their motives, their damage, and their falls in many cases. It was helpful.

    I studied mind control and high-demand groups on places like therapist/author Steve Hassan’s website. He also has books.

    I started doing things in the open that I had to hide before, like listening to The Blues, going to a movie (even like “Spotlight”), that were simply frowned upon at my ex-church.

    I am having to add in professional therapy to my journey of healing.

    I am wary of groups too. Will I get burned? It just isn’t worth it. I’m exhausted.

    I’ve had to cry, for all of the lost time and friendships, the people I miss.

    Go easy. Don’t do anything because someone else tells you to, or not do something. Just be gentle with yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I respect the choice made by those who no longer want to step inside a church. In spite of all the abuse I have seen and also experienced personally from within churches, I desire to be a part of a local gathering. Until one year ago, I had been wandering in a wilderness of disappointing and empty groups for 20 yrs; with varying doctrines. I was involved to varying degrees, but attended most Sunday’s, somewhere. Now, for this last year, I feel at home in a church that I never would have considered attending prior. Obviously, my doctrine has shifted. I am willing to listen to others with great curiosity. I am not willing or forced to agree with their ideas about God or Scripture. I enjoy the weekly Bible studies. I enjoy getting to know the people. One of the last evangelical churches I tried to be a volunteer in and was devalued and disrespected explained to me “They were not responsible for the spiritual lives of people, they simply facilitated their learning”. What is that about! This was a mega church. I have quietly read and studied the Mystics for decades. This is a source of quiet solice amidst the loneliness. For the last 2 years, reading the teachings of Richard Rohr online daily has expanded my capacity to love more deeply; God, others and myself. Unfortunately, I have not found any person to dialogue personally with about his teachings.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Velour mentioned reading books on spiritual abuse is good. “Toxic Faith” and “Faith that Hurts vs. Faith that Heals”, by Stephen Arterburn was great therapy. Some people need therapy if they have gone through abuse, so finding a good counselor that understands it helps. I want to highly recommend Kathy Escobar again. She has a ground-breaking book that is perfect for faith shifters:

    Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe Is Coming Apart
    Hope for spiritual refugees, church burnouts, and freedom seekers.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/03/16/new-commenter-having-difficulty-with-religion-systems-and-wants-advice/?c=319229#comment-319229

    Liked by 1 person

  28. To: fikalo [Fiona]
    March 17, 2016 @ 4:29 PM

    You wrote:

    Fr Richard Rohr is wonderful. Frs Thomas Keating, James Martin, and of course the great Thomas Merton… What a life saver their writings have been for me!

    I agree 100%. This is something Protestants need –> Christian mysticism. It’s the cure for over-analyzed anemic faith that has no bandwidth for grace and freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. I hear you for a long time I couldnt listen to any thing that resemble that time period.
    I started listening to catholic radio (Im not catholic) but I just needed something different than what Ive heard before….

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Thanks for all your replies everyone!

    I’m genuinely scared to step out–scared it’ll mean I’m abandoning the true faith and am lost. It can get me into a panic. So bible many passages sound like the calvinist have it right…but others tgat they do not. I always feel like I’ll lose my salvation by my sin, but also that I can’t do anything but sin because I’m a sinner. Even my gooD deeds are tainted by sin . Uggggggh.

    I’ll keep plugging away. Thanks again!

    Liked by 3 people

  31. @Anonymous 7:02 p.m.

    Join the club. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t scared too. But these churches play lots of mind games with us. And as I’ve sat back and pondered, I realize that Jesus NEVER played mind games with people.

    Just breathe. Even that may be hard.

    And believe it or not, depending on if you get depression/anxiety, professional therapy and medication to help may be necessary. You’d take care of your arm if it got broken. Sometimes our spiritual well-being needs tender loving care too.

    Please keep us up to date with whatever is going on. Really. You are not alone.
    Some are further in the journey than others. But we do know what it’s like.

    Hugs.

    Like

  32. @Anonymous-

    You are most certainly not “abandoning the true faith.” You are choosing to leave a toxic environment that is surely killing you with lies and falsehoods about the nature of God.

    Luke 18:
    9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
    10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    http://biblehub.com/luke/18.htm

    Go your own way and rest safe in the knowledge that if you ask for salvation, you are saved.

    Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
    39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    http://biblehub.com/kjv/romans/8.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Welcome New Commenter! I was in one “reformed” Calvinist church for ten years, and left after some severe spiritual abuse heaped upon my daughter. I got right back into another church that had fewer visible problems, but left because they denied me using my gifts. I took a year off, and started going to a couple of different churches, and stumbled into an American Baptist church by accident. What a change from the legalism I’ve experienced! However, I still ache from accepting abuse as normal, and I’ll probably always be wary of the organized church. My advice: take some time off, connect with people inside and outside the church, do some research, and figure out who you are. Then tread lightly and go slow, know what you want and don’t want.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Praise our Father in heaven for His perfect redemption plan thru His son Jesus! Praise Jesus for His finished work on the cross! Praise Holy Spirit for He helps & show us all true!
    Love our God with all and love one another as ourselves. Pray for one another and our enemy. May all when see Him face to face hear Him say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    JESUS, COME SOON!

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