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By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we
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On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro

I can fix ignorance; I can't fix stupid!

By Bob O ~ I 'm an atheist and a 52-year veteran of public education. I need not tell anyone the problems associated with having to "duck" the "Which church do you belong to?" with my students and their parents. Once told by a parent that they would rather have a queer for their sons' teacher than an atheist! Spent HOURS going to the restroom right when prayers were performed: before assemblies, sports banquets, "Christmas Programs", awards assemblies, etc... Told everyone that I had a bladder problem. And "yes" it was a copout to many of you, but the old adage (yes, it's religious) accept what you can't change, change that which you can and accept the strength to know the difference! No need arguing that which you will never change. Enough of that. What I'd like to impart is my simple family chemistry. My wife is a Baptist - raised in a Baptist Orphanage (whole stories there) and is a believer. She did not know my religi

Old Seventh

By David Andrew Dugle ~ I n an era long before televangelism and megachurches, before the Age of Muscular American Fundamentalism, my grandfather made sure that all of his grandchildren had a Christian upbringing. Every Sunday he drove us all the way across the county to his church, Seventh Presbyterian . Seventh was built of Ohio’s bedrock in 1849. Not as big as some, it was however equipped with a powerful pipe organ and magnificent stained-glass windows, especially the rose window, enormous and multi-hued, above the main entrance. Its grandeur was awesome, in the fullest sense of the word. The first time I went there I was only a few months old, being baptized. After adding a couple drops of water (Poof! Instant Presbyterian!) I was taken to Seventh’s stately services weekly. Stately? Our church didn’t try to be entertaining as such. In fact, our services were relentlessly bland – there were no snakes, no speaking in tongues, no miracle healings, not even an incense censure. Bu

Why do bad things happen to good people?

By Webmdave ~ W hen I was Christian, one of the paradoxes that I pondered was the question of why bad things happen to good people. The unsatisfying (at least to me) explanations from many true believers included statements such as “God’s ways are not our ways,” and “We will understand these things when we get to heaven.” Right. Got it. You guys don’t know the answer. So, why do bad things happen to good people? For that matter, why do good things happen to bad people? The thing is, Jesus supposedly answered that question in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically in Matthew 5:45. However, most clergymen and Christians gloss over this important aspect of what he is reported to have said in the “love your enemies” section of that historic sermon. Matthew 5:45 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. The rising sun and the falling rains are the effects of natur

The Christian Guide To Ultimate Wisdom and Love

By Carl S ~ D ear readers: This was composed over a period of several days of re-writing, revising, adding and subtracting entire paragraphs, etc., in order to convey my thoughts and conclusions as honestly as possible. I hope you feel as free reading it as I do after writing it! I was born in 1937. At that time, Adolph Hitler was in power. He and I had something in common: Both of us were raised in societies which accepted the daily sight of a Jewish corpse, predominantly displayed, as the highest symbol of love. Read that again.   In parochial school we were told an invisible god's pre-determined PURPOSE for our lives: "God wants you to serve him on earth and to be happy with him in Heaven. All you have to do is obey his will." Don't worry, WE will tell you what his will is for you and your parents for the rest of your lives. Trust us. (All those "anointed authorities" are STILL making up shit.)   On my own, over decades, one way I tried to fin

Prophecy Strikes Out

By Merle Hertzler ~ J eremiah steps to the plate. Here’s the pitch. Jeremiah swings–“After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place”–and he misses. Strike one! It was not looking good for the home team. Yes, the inning had started with hope. The home team, the Jews, were basking in great promises. The prophet Nathan had told David, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ( 2 Sam 7:16 ) Forever! But, in spite of this promise,  the northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria  in 740 BC. One out. Then  Babylon deported  the southern tribes in 597 BC. Two outs. Jeremiah And that is when Jeremiah came to the plate. The kingdom had not lasted forever. The people were defeated. Now what? Jeremiah writes: For this is what the LORD says: “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to y

I had to reconstruct my own reality

By Dr. Marlene Winell ~ L eaving my faith was a very slow process. I was raised by missionary parents and was devoutly religious for my entire childhood. Journal entries from my college years reveal swings between anguished frustration and renewed faith. I heaped blame for the problems on myself, looked to God for help, and thanked him for any improvements in my life. In my everyday life, I lived with enormous guilt and frustration over not being the person I thought I should be. Good things were always due to God, and failures were always mine. Looking back, I can see that self-respect was a near impossibility. Like a lost child, when I left I had to reconstruct reality. I had to examine and recreate so many assumptions: about the meaning of life, the world, myself, others, the past, present, and future. I eventually became a therapist, and it has been my great joy to help others to recover from the harm they experienced as a result of religious upbringing. After years of