As an on-fire teenage Christian, I knew the importance of shouting my faith to the world. So I emblazoned the trunk lid of my rusted Ford with a bumper sticker that did the trick: bright green, huge type, and the words from an old hymn -- I have decided to follow Jesus.
I hurt for those who are sitting in the pews, baptized as teenagers, and now barely holding on. I am crushed for the Christians seeking sanctuary on Sunday morning, who instead find one more obligation they must meet. The Christians who need a holy place to come, lay down their burdens, and simply rest.
No other religion or worldview considers salvation as 100% gracious in this way, and yet that is precisely what makes them
One of the more harmful teachings of fundamentalist families is to interpret children's normal behavior as sin.
Most Christians claim that Jesus cannot be both sinner and savior. Yet when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, Luke tells us plainly that this baptism was for "repentance for the forgiveness of sins." Why would someone without sin undergo a baptism of repentance?
Once you begin a relationship with God based on fear, it takes years to unlearn the image of the punitive God. It was true for me. If we are really honest with ourselves, we plant fear into our children's hearts because we have not yet uprooted fear from our own.
All my life I've been driven by an insatiable urge to know things -- things that have always been simply dismissed as "mysteries". I displayed early symptoms of this sociological defect when, even as a small child, the plain facts were never quite enough to thrill me.
Divine consciousness is simply transformation. It is to know a salvation that is real...that is now...that is connected to the very real, and sometimes, very harsh realities of your life. Like your past you can't forgive or the future you worry about almost constantly. And, the present which you miss too frequently.
A ticket to heaven, but if you refuse you'll be thrown in the eternal torture chamber, but it's your choice. Is such an offer free will? No. That's duress.