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I Give Up--Stop the planet and let me get off...

By Klym ~

Dear Ex-C,

I write this article with a heavy heart. I posted a comment on FaceBook that I knew would be controversial, but I never expected one of the replies I received. The reply was not posted on my FB page---my "friend" sent me a personal email this morning. I should have expected it---I don't know why I am so surprised and so deeply hurt. This friend was, after all, a Baptist missionary for many years in China. In our twenties, we were best friends---soulmates, really. He was the nearest thing to a brother that I ever had and he helped me through some horrible times in my life. I have a great deal of love and respect for this man, but his email made me cry. It seriously hurt me in the deepest part of my soul.

So, I post it here and welcome your insights; in fact, I need your insights. And keep in mind that my "friend" is not a bad guy---he just honestly believes that my post was "dangerous" to the message of Jesus. ME and my thoughts are DANGEROUS?? I can't even wrap my mind around that.

Here is the email I received that includes my FB post:

"I saw your post on Facebook recently, and I wanted to reply to you. I don't plan to unfriend you, because you have meant too much to me as a friend, I have loved you as a friend, for too many years to let a political difference be a wall between us. I disagree with several of your statements, and I do feel strongly enough about them to point them out. I've quoted your post below to make it easier for me to refer to it.

___POST___

I'm going to get political & when I'm done, some of you may want to unfriend me. But that's OK because I am passionate about this "issue". I am a liberal progressive Unitarian Universalist & I can't logically understand how ultra-conservative Republican Christians can claim that their politics follow Jesus' teachings. The fact is that Jesus was a socialist. He told the rich man to sell everything & follow him. Jesus advocated for the marginalized in society--that's who he hung out with. He healed people's illnesses & did not ask to be paid for it. He was the furthest thing from a capitalist as is possible. He was anti-war, respected women, & said to love your neighbor as yourself. Immigrants are our neighbors; LGBTQ people are our neighbors; people of all religions or no religion at all are our neighbors, right? Jesus practiced a radical hospitality that got him crucified. So, how can true followers of Jesus be conservative capitalists?

It just isn't logical, to my thinking.

___END___

If Jesus had come for political purposes many of your conclusions would be right; but Jesus did not at all come for any secular reason. He told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world." [John 18]

The conversation with the rich young man was not about economics, it was about the heart. Jesus told him to sell everything, not because He wanted to redistribute wealth, but because it was a test of his heart. He had just asked Jesus how he could have eternal life, and claimed he had done all of the commandments in the law. (We know that was actually false, because the whole point of the law is that no one can keep the law in his own strength.) Jesus told him there was one thing he lacked. He told him to give up his possessions because He knew that was an idol to him, that it was more important to him than God; and the young man left sad, because he saw his own heart too. [Luke 18] Conversely, when Zaccheus said he would give half his wealth to the poor, Jesus was overjoyed, not because “socialism has come to this house,” but because “salvation has come to this house.” [Luke 19]

“Jesus advocated for the marginalized in society--that's who he hung out with.” He certainly hung out with them, but His reason for doing so was spiritual, not societal. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Luke 5] In fact, on at least two occasions that I can find Jesus ate with very rich people [Levi the tax collector, Luke 5; Simon the Pharisee, Luke 7]. In both instances Jesus talked to them about forgiveness and repentance.

“Jesus practiced a radical hospitality that got him crucified.” Again, it wasn’t Jesus’ hospitality or politics or socio-economic policy that got Him killed. It was His claim to be equal with God that enraged the people in power so much that they wanted Him dead; and they stopped at nothing to make it happen. [Luke 20 - 22]

I don’t know about “ultra-conservative,” but I am a conservative, a Republican, and a Christian. I’d be glad to discuss with you how I reconcile those positions, but that’s outside the scope of what I wanted to say this time.

It’s really dangerous to take the words of Christ and make them say something He didn’t intend. Jesus came to earth in obedience to His Father’s will, to take the punishment for the sins of men and to give His own righteousness to them, and to demonstrate how one can live in obedience to God. To make His life about social causes cheapens His life and His death, and directs men’s attention away from issues of eternal significance in favor of things that will not last.

OK, I’ve had my say. If you want to dialog about these things, I’d be happy to do that; you know how I love to talk. If not, please know that we love you and hope to see you again next time we come down to Texas, whenever that may be."

Here is my reply to him:

Dear friend,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. You know I love you too, and always will.

You might as well know that I am no longer a Christian or a believer in Bible God. I have changed a lot through the years. Please don't think I stopped believing on a whim. Being a Christian was always difficult for me, but I hid it pretty well because I wanted so badly to fit in with my friends & with the culture around me.

As I have told my husband, who is still a Christian--I no longer believe in a God who would create a place of eternal torment for ANY of his creatures to spend an eternity in. I no longer believe in a god who requires a blood sacrifice to make us acceptable to him. The Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation--you know I have read & studied it all my life. I can no longer do the mental gymnastics required to reconcile all its contradictions, etc.

Even as a little girl it didn't make sense to me. When I asked probing questions, my Sunday School teachers would chastise me for thinking too much, not having enough faith, blah, blah, blah. I was demonized when I divorced my first husband, even though he abused me in every possible way. I was told I would go to hell for not staying with him & "suffering for righteousness sake."

Anyway, I am now a Unitarian Universalist, which means so much to me. My friends at church are atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Pagans, Mystics, humanists, & liberal Christians, Jews, etc. There are many, many lesbians & gay men among my best & closest friends. You can google UU principles & sources to get an idea of what I believe & live out as my core values & principles.

One more thing-- it's always deeply disturbed me to think that millions of people who came before and after Jesus are going to hell. IF there IS an afterlife, which I highly doubt, based on my personal experiences (especially with the deaths of my parents), then I believe in UNIVERSAL salvation--that Jesus died for every living being--not just Christians.

I told my husband that him being a Christian, he must believe that I am now going to hell, based on fundamentalist Christian doctrine. He has a hard time with that because he loves me & thinks I am a good person. He thinks being "good" counts for something. He wasn't raised in a fundamental thinking church, BTW.

Anyway, I know all the above is probably a shock to you. I have no interest in further "debate" because I'm sure nothing you say will change my mind & nothing I say will change yours. We need not think alike to love alike.

One more thing--after 17 years of counseling abused & neglected children, & sometimes spending hours on my knees praying to God to protect them--& then watching as they continued to suffer year after year after year--I began to wonder if there really is a personal God watching over them. There didn't seem to be.

Ok, I'm done.

Love always,

Klym



After I wrote the above, and had a good cry, I felt like I wanted to move away---out of the USA and to someplace where religion no longer creates division among people. But, there doesn't seem to be a place like that on this earth, hence the title of this article. So stop the planet and let me off. I'm tired of all the hate spewed in the name of religion. Since the attacks in Paris, it seems people have gone off the deep end. I went to get my hair cut this morning and my hairdresser told me she had gotten her CHL license and had a loaded gun in her purse now. I almost walked out of the salon, and I'm debating whether to ever go back. I'm just altogether sick and tired of it all. (Cue the song "Imagine" now---John Lennon, you were a genius!)


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