The second death of Christ.
I’m not a religious person, even though I was raised a Catholic and my family still are active in the Church. I drifted away because of a number of reasons, of which hypocrisy is one of the strongest. I am gay and have always been bombarded with condemnation and reasons for my worthlessness. These lessons were taught by everyone from the pope on down to the nuns in my school. They did not come from Jesus Christ!
I could relate that to helping feed the hungry and poor of our community.
I think I stayed connected to my religion not because my parents forced me to go to church and Catholic school, but because of the stories I heard or read about on the life of Christ. I can remember the story of the loaves and fishes where Jesus fed the masses. I could relate that to helping feed the hungry and poor of our community. It seemed that Jesus was always helping the less fortunate in society. I liked that. Now people can be arrested for leaving food and drinking water for poor hungry migrants at the border, who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families!
Immigrants are now demonized and unwelcome in this country,…
I remember the story of the Good Samaritan, in which Jesus taught us about expressing love for our neighbor, no matter who or where they came from. In this parable Jesus told of a traveler, much like those crossing our borders every day, and how well he was treated, despite his appearance and who he was. Now we have some good Christians who want to build a wall to keep people (our neighbors ) out of our country, because they have a darker skin color or a different religion or are poor. Immigrants are now demonized and unwelcome in this country, where every person, not of Native ancestry, is descended from immigrants!
I also learned of the “seven deadly sins” described in the Bible,…
I remember the story where Jesus healed a crippled man who was brought to him as he was preaching at the pool at Bethesda, where the sick and infirmed of the day journeyed to be cured. Today our own President publicly mocks the handicapped, and his good Christian followers applaud him! I also learned of the “seven deadly sins” described in the Bible, which include adultery, pride and gluttony. Yet our country has elected and still supports a man who embodies those despicable characteristics!
Oh how things of changed!
I remember the story, which I believe, told of the only time Jesus lost his temper. This was the story of Jesus driving the money changers from the temple. As these people were busy making money in a house of God, Jesus became angry throwing them out of the temple, and, according to the Bible, said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Oh, how things of changed! Today huge and ornate megachurches have sprung up all over the country, pastored by slick, savvy businessmen preaching God’s word and promising His blessings, for a donation. Images of empty so-called houses of God, against the background of poor homeless people sleeping in parks during hurricane Harvey in Texas, still anger me.
they give, even though they cannot afford it….
Today, with record numbers of homeless and people dying because they can’t afford healthcare and medication and children going without lunch in our public schools because they can’t afford it, we have megachurch pastors living in multi-million dollar mansions, with a fleet of luxury cars and private jets! We see pastors begging their flocks to give money so their wives may have a car that none of us could ever afford, or begging for a new private jet, because Jesus wants them to have one. Sadly there are millions of people who are so starved by a lack of meaning in their lives and so taken in in by these charlatans that they give, even though they cannot afford it.
…somehow religion has morphed into a religion based on prosperity,
When Jesus preached his Gospels of love and charity he was often preaching to crowds of the poor and less fortunate looking for a better life in salvation. Today, somehow religion has morphed into a religion based on prosperity, where people can achieve wealth by practicing their Christian faith. A Christian faith, as delineated by ruthless, conmen masquerading as servants of Christ. I’ve even seen ads on television where a minister is offering free miracle water that will not only cure diseases but will bring you unimaginable wealth after using it. Of course, a nice donation is required to receive the water!
…the church of Jesus was simply the Christian Church,…
For hundreds of years, the church of Jesus was simply the Christian Church, until egos and nationalities influenced changes. The Roman Catholic Church, the Egyptian Coptic Church, the Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox churches came into being. With Martin Luther came the Protestant Reformation, which eventually gave us the Lutheran Church and then the Episcopal, the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and a list of other denominational churches. All founded on some interpretation or other of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I grew up being familiar with these churches and had friends who were members of one or other of the churches. They were no different from me.
New and REALLY different small churches began to sprout up,…
Then things began to change. It seemed to me that when people started fighting for their civil rights the churches began to change. During the civil rights movement Christian churches, for the most part, took an active part in support of the moment. Not only Blacks, but also Native Americans, Hispanics, non-Christians and gays, began demanding their rights. This is when, in my opinion, things really changed. New and REALLY different small churches began to sprout up, predominantly in the south and Midwest. Small Evangelical or Pentecostal churches espousing hatred of the LGBTQ community became quite common. Most famous of these is the Westboro Baptist Church, which became known for their church members harassing funerals of gay people and military killed in combat.
…the emphasis of the teachings of these fundamentalist churches lies not in the parables of Christ,…
It is interesting to note that the majority of the membership of these churches tends to be white, as pointed out in this article from the NY Times. To me the emphasis of the teachings of these fundamentalist churches lies not in the parables of Christ, but in the hatred of gays, or anyone who happens to be different. The fact that young Black kids are being shot and killed by some police officers who seem not to be accountable to anyone, or the fact that our children are being killed all too often in mass school shootings, or the fact that at our southern border children are being ripped from their parents and given for adoption by agencies aligned with our government, go unaddressed.
I don’t remember Jesus ever talking about schools like this!
We have an extremely religious and devout self proclaimed Christian as Vice-President of our country, who as governor of Indiana signed a bill to jail gays for simply applying for a marriage license and has opposed laws banning discrimination of the gay community in employment and housing and has become the first Vice President to speak before a major anti-LGBT group. His wife teaches at a Christians school that bans gay or transgendered students, faculty and parents. The school not only condemns the LGBTQ community, but also demands that any of their employees also not support or condone any type of “deviant” behavior, such as same-sex marriage and pre-marital sex. You can read more information regarding this here. I don’t remember Jesus ever talking about schools like this!
And I mean ‘Men” as in gender.
What happened to Christianity from the time Jesus walked on earth and the here and now? In my opinion what happened was the introduction of men into Christ’s church and teachings. And I mean ‘Men” as in gender. Women have historically been excluded from the Church since the time after Christ’s death. With the dominance of men in the church came the fight for power, at the expense of Christ’s legacy of love and charity. It would take years for me to delve into how the interference of man into Christ’s church has destroyed real Christianity, so I will avoid argument and save time by allowing others, more classically trained in religion to fight for the reason for their existence. After all this is only my humble opinion.
Everyone was boringly the same in white Christian America!
So what has happened to Christianity in our country? I hear a lot of people talk about our country being founded as a Christian country. This is not true. If anyone knows anything about the history of our country, they know this is far from the truth. Our founding fathers were anything but religious Christians, but that’s a lesson for another day and another story. When many people think back to attending church on Sunday or participating in church activities they can remember every member of their congregation being white. There were few, if any people of color and there certainly weren’t any gays (they usually played the organ at most churches though) as they were well hidden. Everyone was boringly the same in white Christian America! How many Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Asians or gays do you remember seeing on “Leave it to Beaver” or “The Donna Reed Show”?
Thanks to our country’s doctrine of separation of church and state,…
That was the America of the fifties and sixties. The America that many people thought was great. The America that some people want back again. So how do you go back to those good ole Christian days? You change the meaning of Christianity! If the main stream churches allow people of color and people with different lifestyles in as members, you change the rules or you start your own churches. Thanks to our country’s doctrine of separation of church and state, American Christianity has evolved into a business, wrapped in religion, where it is legal to discriminate against anyone who is perceived as different. Whether that difference is in skin color, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity or even political point of view. Christ no longer has anything to do with Christianity!
Christ never condemned me for being gay.
According to Religion New Service millennials are leaving religion in vast numbers because they have become disenchanted with the strictly conservative interpretation of Christ’s teaching offered by some churches. Like these millenials, I still consider myself a Christian. I believe in Christ’s teachings in regards to the poor, in regards to loving our neighbors and in regards to treating everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of any descriptive label. Christ never condemned me for being gay. I may have left religion, but I haven’t left Christ!