An evolution of faith

Growing up, our family never went to church. By the time I was 16, I think I had MAYBE been to church on a Sunday half a dozen times. The only reason I went those times was because I made the mistake of staying over at a friends house on a Saturday night. So pretty much, I grew up without God, and I think that was downright instrumental in the way my faith would come to evolve. Because I had never been force-fed beliefs as a child, I was able to be completely objective when my crossroads with God came to a head.

 
That happened mid-July of 1997, at a Young Life camp in Canada called Malibu. In my high school, Young Life was more of a social experience than a religious one. All of my friends went to it every Monday night, and so did I. The group leaders (one being my wrestling coach) were an entertaining bunch, and every time we were together, it felt like a rock concert. It was the end of my junior year, and going to Malibu was just something everyone HAD to do. If our weekly meetings were a rock concert, Malibu was described as Woodstock.
 
I showed up, and was not let down. Though I’m not extremely well traveled, I have seen some amazing scenery on this earth in my lifetime. That being said, Malibu will always be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. A four-hour ferry ride north of Vancouver B.C., Malibu was a log cabin paradise tucked inside in oceanside mountain range. Its architecture and expensive boardwalks teamed with its surreal aura made you feel like you were in Never Never Land. I was just waiting to see Tinkerbell tossing out pixie dust.
 
 

Not really coming there for God, I was shocked when the gospel hit me so hard. Knowing full well that this would be the biggest decision of my life, I took my time coming to it. But the message was undeniable, and the second to last day I gave my life over to Him. I came home on a high that could not be described. Still adhering to my "go big or go home" philosophy, I immersed myself in my newfound faith. I ate up knowledge and teachings with a ravenous hunger. I simply could not get enough.

 
That appetite carried over to my freshman year of college. My dorm just happened to have a solid Christian contingency, and I thrived in it. My weeks were riddled with youth groups and Bible studies. One thing that especially piqued my interest was the factual side of defending your faith, called apologetics. Being a scientific/mathematical mind, I never held a blind faith, and apologetics became my niche. I wanted to be able to argue religion with the best of them, and still remain adamant in my faith. I learned a lot, and to this day know exactly why I believe what I do. Life was great, but then I started to notice things.
 
Being a part of the wrestling team, I had many "non-Christian" friends that I spent time with. As the year wore on, I started to catch flack from people at church for not spending enough time with people of faith. I was appalled. I know the whole idea of "surrounding your self with a cloud of witnesses," to strengthen your faith, but I also recognized the Evangelical side of my faith. The whole idea of preaching to the choir simply did not appeal to me. I also found myself becoming disenfranchised with the church in general, because it seemed like every time I showed up, someone was trying to tell me where I stood with God. So after that, I sort of set out on my own for a while to to reassess my faith. I decided I needed to become more educated on religion in general to better understand what I truly wanted. Having done that, I came to a new outlook.
 
I have come to the conclusion that organized religion is not for me. Faith is. I have done enough research into the sects of the Christian religion to come to the realization that all "religions" are completely jaded. Some of the principles they have "derived" from the Bible were actually rooted in greed, politics, and overall self-preservation. People forget the history of the religions they have chosen, and how long ago they were some of the most corrupt businesses in history. If you get a chance, try looking up the real reason the Catholic Church made the priesthood celibate in the early days, and you will find it was nothing about spirituality but real estate and greed. Also maybe look into the Church’s silent consent of the slave trade, and platform of noninvolvement during the Holocaust. Pretty disturbing.
 
But history is not my main reason for abandoning organized religion as a whole. As I stated before, it was having my faith judged by members of the church. There was a saying I heard a long time ago that said "don’t point out the speck in my eye, when you have a plank in yours," basically saying who are you to judge me? It was really frustrating to have these hypocrites try to tell me where I stood in my faith, when they really had no idea where I was with Him. My relationship with God is mine, and mine alone. Only HE will judge me, no one else. I will continue on my path with Him, and be judged at the gates if need be and only then.
 
My faith is mine alone, and I’m content with what it has evolved into.

.

Comments

  1. We are two girls in our twenties reading your posts and dreaming to meet a man like you! You are truly amazing and certainly inspirational. Your love for Hallie is what we aspire to have in our own lives. Having something happen to you that changes your view on the world and life and then sharing it with others is how change in the world occurs. We thank you for your words, your love and having the courage to share it with us. Faithful readers and dreamers,Nancy and Melinda

  2. K~ I think I can see the pixie dust in that photo……..it IS a beautiful place! *smile*me

  3. Your thoughts continue to inspire me. Thanks for the courage to express yourself …

  4. kenny i just knew He had to be a part of your life…there is just no way you could be who you are under your current circumstance along with the loss you shared with me, that i too experienced…i am glad to see it confirmed here.i was raised very catholic…grammer school and all….and i still say i am grateful for the foundation that was layed during those early years..because I have NEVER doubted my faith….i have met some who do and i am astonished, but then it seems the common denominator of one who struggles with faith are those that did not have a good role model father here on earth….i did…so it is easy for me to accept that my Father in Heaven loves, me unconditonaly and always wants what is best for me and can use all, even what was meant by others for evil, He can use for good for those that love HIM…i have experienced it first hand.as far as my catholic upbringing i did however leave the catholic religion as for me, i do not want nor need a structure…plus when i married outside the faith they excommunicated me, then when i divorced they said that is okay now, because the church never recognized my marriage….ooookaaaay…that was not very comfortable for me.the one thing i did find on my own and was not shared through my catholic life was a Very Personal Relationship with Christ….that was the part i was missing and when i found my true identity in Him i too was on the "pink cloud"…and rode that for quite sometime….then when i walked a very dark, painful path, and prayed and prayed i was shocked that He did not answer my prayers…thought he said NO……took her from me….i was so angry…i know i shared this with you already so i will not be redundant…but only say that it is okay for me to get angry with Him…that is how very personal our relationship is….just recently, i felt the need to BE STILL….and i was…and I KNEW/Know that HE IS GOD….and once again i climbed up onto my Father in heavens lap for comfort and peace….and received it.i do not ever try to force someone to listen to me speak of my faith or condemm them if they do not…i just live my life in the Spirit of a Christian…trying to exemplify the Spirit of giving and basking in the joy that is mine as His Child… then perhaps someone might see that in me and ask how they can have what i have…and many times this has occurred……yes, even here on this earth we can experience a piece of Heaven….and some hell…but no matter what I can see the big picture and this time on earth is such a small drop in the bottomless bucket of eternity I plan to spend with Him.i do know that i could never measure up, be pure enough, without sin, worthy of entering into His Kingdom, face the Lord without my Saviour at my side…so I accept Him as my Saviour…and with that i am at peace….kay aka woman with words, wrote me that God always answers our prays:either YESor NOT NOWor I HAVE SOMETHING BETTER PLANNED FOR YOUi liked that and felt it to be the word the truth…at this i will stop as i do not wish to turn this comment into a blog of my own…so perhaps i will blog on this myself in the near future when the time is right…either way, i thank you for sharing yourself with us/me all of those that read your blogs…and again, i am glad and actually quite joyful in knowing that you are IN HIS GRIPjc

  5. Hi Kenny: Wow you have had over a half a million visitors to your site! While I\’m sure this is daunting and you get some responses to laugh at – mine could very well be included in this! for which I apologise and yet hey maybe on the flip I provide comic relief – but I would like to congratulate you on finding your own way. You have been inspiring to many which hopefully and I\’m sure that no matter what the responses that they are heart felt and coming from the fact that you have taught them all something, inspired them, and given them new perspective. But I can\’t petend to know nor have I read the responses which caused some drama, nor can I pretend to know what others think, Personally though -I wrote you this before but I know you get so many responses, but you have helped me a bit both in the stories that I am working on photographing -you have given me a bit of perspective, and also about sharing my own expereinces from my injury and giving back to the places and people that have helped me along the way. In addition and unexpectedly some brain injury folks have asked me to help them and also speak at a conference (not something I look forward to or ever thought I would do) -it feels a bit vulnerable- but it has been seven years and maybe high time. So I write this to let you know that your insights and writing have stretched beyond and led me to new things which will hopefully help others out a bit if I can or whatever. The things that they (the rehab and organizations wish me to share with families) is that there is happiness and things that people can do after injury. It isn\’t about me -rather hoping to spread a bit of hope through that period of questioning that i remember so well after getting hurt. This isn\’t making much sense but I hope you get the drift (or a laugh). I feel stupid writing but at the same time like to let you know for some reason, because well if I can help but one person – I would owe it to you as an inspiration. I hope that gives you hope in knowing that. my best to you and I am glad that you are doing so well. -patti

  6. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    Damn, today\’s my day I coulda been 3,001 commenter but heck I had somewhere to be. Crap! Oh God, now what, should I go for 4,011? Err, maybe, 5,001? Insanity rocks, doesn\’t it? Um, yeah, I\’m a bit insane, but admitting it is the first step, right? Hope you get a laugh Smalls! -Kate

  7. Patti,He who saves a single life is said to have saved the entire world!- something I live by. So You\’r ahead of the game already!Lots of love…

  8. Hi, Kenny!A comment on one\’s faith…You know what? Beautiful place in the picture! ;)Claudia.

  9. Good morning Kenny.Hate to leave yet another message on your already full comments. I\’ve been running through my fav blogs and wishing everyone a good day, so you get one too =)Hope your day is full of smiles!Suz

  10. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    I talked to my mother this morning and I asked if you had called her (since I had kinda requested that in a way earlier comment, um,#111?) She said you hadn\’t, but then again you don\’t have her number. Heck I\’m so not leaving it here, your million customers, err, fans, that are looking for a bit of Mary Poppins, might call instead. (do realize I am just joking, about giving her a call, I wouldn\’t wish that nightmare upon any half sane soul!) I\’d say something more but am afraid of the drama, and God knows I have more than enough of my own in my life. –LOL– I suppose I could apologize in advance if I happened to offend anyone, which quite possibly I may have. Not everyone has a sense of humor that\’s quite like mine! Me apologizing, hm that\’s a new one! Uh-huh, a bit more insane than the last comment, smalls! -kate

  11. Good morning Kenny, just drop by to say hi. My sunday is about to end in less than half an hour, hehe.. Anyways hope you\’re having a good day. What\’s for breakfast? Laterz!

  12. OH MY GOSH – I just read Johnny\’s blog and left a comment the size of a blog. I have been possibly totally rude without my eyes openned. i have probably asked a million inappropraite questions to you. My sincere apology. patti

  13. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    Am I 4,011 yet? God, now I am sounding like that "can you hear me yet?" guy. He\’s annoying as all hell! Hm, hope I\’m not being too annoying! –LOL– I was gonna say something else but, I better bite my toungue, err fingers? -Kate

  14. My mom is going to LOVE your comment! Not that she doesn\’t love you enough already! Now, you just have to go and pull an Eddie Haskel and suck up to her even more! 🙂

  15. EDDIE!!!!

  16. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    Geeze am I 4,011 yet? Yup, I\’m bored at the moment. Actually not, but something else. -kate

  17. Golly gee Beav Wally

  18. I believe that this one post has touched me more than any other one I have read. Reason being is because I too do not force religion upon my children. Like you, if they have gone to church its because they went with a friend. We did try to go to church a few times but like you said, seems like everyone is so judgmental and hypocritical. We felt like we didnt belong – we felt very uncomfortable. I know so many people that go to church and profess to believe in God and follow his ways but they dont. Its like they are trying to fool themselves. I feel that to believe in Him, one does not have to go to church. I want our children to choose whether or not they want to practice a specific religion. Faith is what matters. Thank you for this post. I can honestly say that I dont feel alone on this matter anymore.

  19. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    I keep finding myself coming back here. Usually with a goofy post, maybe because I hope I can bring a laugh or smile to your face. Perhaps, I wish someone had been goofy for me when I needed it most. Today, though I\’m being a bit serious, I wish for a day, I could give you my solid body and my broken soul, so you may do something on your list of what you miss the most. That\’s about as serious as I can get at the moment. -kate

  20. You put it into words just right. Wish I had half your talent. Thanks for writing because I always enjoy reading your blogs. Take care,Janet

  21. Hey Kenny!!! You know, its cool to see someone writing about this. I didn\’t grow up with any religion either. I guess that I Christian roots, but never went to church with the family…i went to a whole bunch of different places to try to figure out my faith. I know am a converted jew, but practice in my own way…i have my own beliefs…the great thing about judaism is that the people I have come into contact with are very supportive of everyone else just doing their own thing. Judaism doesn\’t try to recruit people either…i was happy to find it. ah, thats enough! maybe you\’ll get back in touch with me this time;)

  22. i enjoyed your blog.give this a chance. please. just reasearch -http://www.mormon.org/http://www.lds.org/

  23. whew!

  24. It\’s at times like these when I wish I had your email. Well, I was thinking…and I acknowlege that I might be totally out of line…but I\’m not sure so I\’m going to go ahead anyway…that since you do have this inclination towards faith that maybe I\’d send you a couple of links. Not saying you haven\’t already gone and found this yourself, but in case you haven\’t. I thought I\’d be helpful. And then I\’m going to leave you totally alone about this. The first link is from the people that I know best. The others look to be just as helpful. I just thought, well, he may not be able to do it the traditional way. I don\’t know how limited the use of your hands are. I\’m just recommending the book not the organizations behind the sites. Except of course, like I said, the first one. I\’m crazy about them.http://www.watchtower.org/bible/index.htmhttp://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/index2.htmhttp://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.htmlhttp://bible.crosswalk.com/http://bible.com/bible_read.html

  25. You are right about that… and write about that.(I guess I do not pay attention to detales.)I read something and try to transelate to the best that I can.I can only stay quiet for so long though, becouse… I can only hide in an orchard for so long…If you do not tell someone that something is wrong, then there is no room for \’continues improvmet\’… Life is a journey, and I am not there yet.But I\’m working on it.Like I have said: I am NOT, but I KNOW I AM. And \’I am\’ in the old verson of the original word was one word.And He knows that the only way to grow IS to make mistakes.I\’m sorry it could be my \’bad upbringing\’, but when I see someone who could be hurting someone I just have to speak.I wish someone would have done it for me…( long time ago…)It\’s in my nature.Thank you for bringing the picture up to my attention… Now I know. I\’m not here for the pictures.

  26. My appologies…

  27. Hey, interesting blog you got here. Just wanted to say that I agree that faith is important, and yes there are shallow and hypocritical people in Church. But you gotta understand that everyone, even Christians are hypocrites in one form or another. We are not perfect. So we have to learn to forgive the faults of others just as God has forgiven us. But we also can\’t judge in return, just give loving advice or constructive critisism. Also, no, you dont have to go to church, but the Bible does say that you should go for fellowship, it keeps the faith strong. Its like a weekly recharge for the soul. You just have to find the right Church and the right people. Not lecturing, just sharing. Hope your day is well, and maybe I\’ll hear from you soon, if not, God Bless, and good luck. Bethany

  28. I was blessed by your blog entry that I read today. I have been checking in on you once or twice a week since you were featured on MSN. I enjoy everything you have to write … I\’m sure you\’ve heard that over a million times, but it\’s from my heart and that counts.Religion stinks … you have it right … faith is the answer. Your relationship with Jesus is what matters … thanks for the reminder. I\’ve kinda fallen in my spiritual walk lately and I desperately want to get back to the closeness of a relationship with my Lord and Savior. I appreciate you ….

  29. That is part of why I stopped attending church on Sundays. As a child it was a huge ordeal. Gotta get all dressed up and look like little miss perfect in front of all the other members. Grandparents acting like different people when they were with people from church. All so stiffling. What ever happend to be yourself always? Faith is something you believe not what people think of you and how you dress or act. I feel a blog coming on. I tend to only write when I read something and I have a strong opinion of it. Maybe this has been my inspiration.

  30. My two cents, for what it\’s worth is Hebrews 10:25. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. I could preach but i realize it wouldn\’t do anything anyway. You are in a specific circumstance that probably makes this more difficult than it is for most, but consider it. I enjoy your blog. keep the thought provoking entries coming. 🙂

  31. I broke my nose! I cut and colored my hair it has a red tint that matches my nose. All about me -thought i\’d give ya a break and talk about myself -haha and my Hannibal Lector new appearance, last time I broke it they put like ten feet of guaze in it -I\’m not going back! It was like a cruel magic trick. By the way-I like art, I like books, I like a million things, and I like your writing -wait was that last one about you?? Sorta slipped. -patti

  32. oh the hannibal looking reference refers to the make-shift splint the nurse down the street put on my nose – quite the beauty!

  33. Hey Kenny,Too right. Remember as a kid I got dragged along to the "sick" day at Catholic church (don\’t remember what it was really called now, who gives a toss though??). Every month the priest would annoint me to "heal" me. I grew up thinking maybe my disability was a "slight" in God\’s eye. I mean, pfft, what does the bible know about us all being perfect in God\’s eye?Spent awhile in my youth trying to come to terms with my faith, varying between hating God for my situation, and not understanding churches that seemed to not want to accept me for the imperfect body I had.Don\’t go to church anymore for similar reasons to you. Why is my relationship with God anyone\’s business but my own? Had a mate who once couldn\’t believe I talked to God like I do my mates, hell I swear at the bastard when I\’m angry and frustrated, but also remember to thank him for the small things he gives me each day to appreciate being a part of this mortal coil.Keep up the good work on your site, love reading your ideas on life.Lisa

  34. Hey Kenny…so I have never commented before figured I would just get lost in the masses with the "wow your amazing Kenny" stuff which really wow you are amazing but don\’t get a big head about it or anything…ha!ha! OK well i just wanted to recommend a site if you still like to study apologetics and such its http://www.carm.org …good brain food!! I have spent many of hours glued to this site soaking it up. Anyways man, thanks for sharing your heart with us i kind of feel like a stalker sometimes or something…ha!ha! its weird. ~ God Bless Meredith*

  35. Loved your blog on this subject. I was raised quasi Catholic. My parents made me do the whole communion, confirmation thing and as soon as that was over it was the last time I attended church. Why? Well if found that the said fact is most churches are full of people who go around sticking it to one another all week long and then on Sunday go to church to make themselves feel better. Now not all churches or people that attend are like this but more than less. I\’ve had my share of heartache, my only brother was killed in a motorcycle accident at 23, both my parents died six months apart when I was 16 (and having no family I ended up living with "friends" till I was of age), and my only daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3 (I\’m happy to say she is now almost 12 and still in remission). I went thru the feeling sorry for myself phase numerous times, the why me god, blah blah. But the long and short of things is you have to find the strength in yourself to carry on and not think your weak when you get to a point you just can\’t deal with it anymore. Hopefully when you reach that point you\’ll have family/friends to help you thru. I\’ve been very lucky in that my friends have always been there for me, family hasn\’t but such is life. I\’ve been told "I don\’t know how you survived" and frankly looking back neither do I but I did and I will continue to do so. Someone once told me that I\’m a "survivor" its just what I am and what I do and no matter how bad things are/were I just deal with it and move on. I have my faith, I don\’t need a church or a bunch of other people to tell me if I\’m a good christian or not. I don\’t need a church to organize donations or helping of those less fortunate than myself. I do what I can for those I can. For those who enjoy churches and other religious organization I\’m happy for them but they aren\’t for me.

  36. Hey Kenny – Preach it brother! I once again am amazed with you! I am glad you have found faith – which, without, is the dealbreaker! I just heard an interesting thing on the news (Christian Radio) about how the trend for the "new church" is basically, not going to church, because they weren\’t being fed, and were tired of hypocrisy, and "playing church". So, you\’re a trend-setter in the "non-religious" world. I happen to love my church, but there are times….Hey, I was thinking, speaking of radio, how good you would be at talk radio. (I\’m sure someone has mentioned this to you already 🙂 ) I know I\’d tune in! Have a good one!

  37. Hey Kenny………I was just reading some of your new stuff on here and read what you wrote about Malibu. Wow, that brought back some memories! I went at the end of my junior year, I think the year after you. Young Life in high school was so fun, and our leaders were so motivating and funny that I just HAD to go to Malibu with everybody. I agree, the sight coming in is one of the most beautiful things you\’ve ever seen in your life. It literally takes your breath away. I went with an open mind of the things I was going to learn and accept into my life. And while it was a great experience and truly a wonderful vacation, I left feeling…….unsure. When they ask you at the end of the trip to commit your life to God, I wasn\’t ready. I didn\’t know enough and wanted to understand and learn more before I made that commitment. And when we got back, I really felt snubbed. The leaders weren\’t so excited about me anymore, they didn\’t sit with me at my lunch table anymore, didn\’t really talk to me at meetings. I stopped going after awhile. I was letdown that because I didn\’t "join the club" at Malibu, they just gave up on me. I don\’t know why I just told you all that, I guess its just bothered me for all this time. Kudos to you for sticking to what you believe in your heart to be true. And for not letting anyone dictate how you should practice your faith.I hope you are doing well. Allison

  38. Wow. Another great post.Forget that. As far as I\’m concerned, they\’re all great!:)I have come to the same conclusion myself about faith. Seems it too often is run by a bunch of bullies who fear anyone having any brains of their own. I will always be spiritual, but never part of a church again… Seems anything organized is really disorganized, if you know what I mean! :)Take care,Amber B

  39. Wow! Many people I know are like you and they have come to terms with what they believe by looking at other faiths. Many people have started to look towards Islam. If you research, it\’s not a terrorist extreme religion. Check it out leisurely with an open mind.http://www.islam-guide.com/

  40. Great blog! I wish you could come to my church. Our main services are devoted to reaching the unchurched. Our "sanctuary" is painted black with great acoustics, a band (our music pastor has released his own CD), great audiovisual equipment, and refreshments. Our pastor is 33 and his passion is evangelism. He freely admits that our church is not for everyone, but I have to say I have never felt closer to God than at this church. From past experiences at churches though, I can understand edging away from organized religion. Sadly, another thing my pastor says is true "The number one thing that keeps people away from Christianity is Christians."www.bayareafellowship.org

  41. Good evening Kenny! How is your Sunday so far? It\’s already monday here :/ I hate going to work, its a dirty job but someones got to do it! Lol! Ohh its not really dirty, don\’t get it wrong 😀 Anyway this is definately not the right time of the day for me to be here…lol! It\’s wayyyy to early to be blogging… (6.13 am) hehe.. Well take care my dear Kenny. Hope the rest on your night will be peaceful and full of joy. ~Hugs

  42. that girl says:

    MALIBU ROCKS! I grew up in a christian home and attended all the youth groups and such. I never missed a sunday until many years into my adult hood. I became disenchanted with the "corporateness" of the church and so I drifted away. I never lost my faith though. Recently, God has begun softly wooing me back to his house. I have come to realize that people are just that, people. They are human and make mistakes just like me. I don\’t go to church for them, I go to church because God wants me there. It helps that we have found a place that is so accepting and loving to attend. It is funny because it is a HUGE church, but it feels like the small church I grew up in. Maybe that\’s why it is so huge. People feel God\’s love. Don\’t give up on finding a place of worship. TTFN!Ronna

  43. Kenny, A girl at work got me started reading your blogs and I have come to really enjoy them. As I was reading them I was curiouse to know if you were saved or not. When I fould this blog I was happy to know that you were. I was born in to a church basically. My father is a pastor at the church i have been to all my life and I have found that there are many diffrent churches out there of all denominations and styles. At times in my life I have hated the church and I have loved the church. I have been hurt the most by the church and also cared the most about from the church. But one thing I learned is that there is nothing like a church family, there disfunctional at times but they know how to put the fun back in disfunctional. I just wanted to encourage you. To me church is a kick in the butt when my relationship with God is failling. And for me its were I find God. People will always judge you no matter what, its not right and its not fair but there judgments should be taken with a grain of salt because there judgment is not the one that matters.

  44. Angélica Katherine says:

    that\’s true! only God will judge us!

  45. I am really interested in your blog. Recently I have been talking to my grandmother on the topic of religion. We were discussing one of my good friends and old roommate who is a member of a nondenominational Christian congregation. When I left home for college I went to church with her since I was unable to locate where my faith met on such short notice. I had an overall positive experience. After the service, I was surprised to hear her say, ‘oh this group doesn’t worship the way I did in my old congregation.’ It took her the next few weeks to get settled into a church that offered the most similar belief system. Being raised in a church that is very structured, although it growing at a rapid pace and is found in almost every country in the world is very steadfast in its doctrine. I went on a trip to England and had the same lessons on Sunday my mother had back home half a world away. When I questioned my grandma about this she simply asked me, “If Christ were to come to the earth on Sunday, and had to choose a church to go to, which one do you think he would attend?” In my mind this raised a good point, how could any faith with such conflicting beliefs among its own leaders let alone its members be the most correct? Am I looking at this irrationally? Maybe I am. During his earthly ministry, Christ set up his church. He only had one, and he asked his apostles to teach only what he taught. The ‘church’ in that time didn’t even recognize the truth when it walked among them. After the death of Christ and his apostles it seems religion became a bit corrupt, I agree. I think that every religion has its good points, but I can’t help but suspect there has to be something more. Why would God hold back his gospel in times like these? What are your thoughts on what I have said, am I way off? By the way, that saying is a scripture found in Matt. 7:3 and Luke 6:41) You probably already knew that.Jessica

  46. I don\’t beleive in organized religion myself. I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. Theres a difference.I Love your blog, by the way.J

  47. Hello Kenny 🙂
     
    I am a christian…and I was raised that way. I grew up in a more charismatic church, but in my life, I have seen…everything. I have seen all types of churches, all types of people. I have seen people (including my own sister), walk away from God because of church-hurt. Unfortunately people run churches and do things their way at times, instead of listening to the leading of God. I know the whole "plankeye" syndrome well…I myself have been very judged and misunderstood at times.
     
    Through life experience outside of the church, I have learned how important it is to embrace those who don\’t know God\’s love yet. He has made such a difference in my life that I have a strong desire to show that love to others as well. He healed and restored me and made me into the woman I am today…I am imperfect, but yet He still loves and accepts me as I am and somehow uses me in the lives of others.
     
    I have run into those who believe that you should only surround yourself with those of similar belief, but Jesus came for the broken, the down-on-their-luck, the oppressed, the sick and the rejected. His apostles gave their lives to spread the message of His sacrifice and amazing grace and unending love…how dare I sit in my comfy, cushy little sanctuary and ignore the rest of the world? Any church or individual promoting that you do that has obviously not read the Word very thouroughly…even the great commission alone is against that way of thinking!
     
    All I could say is, don\’t ever give up on God…though people aren\’t always the best example of His love…He is good.

  48. Don\’t ever give up on God…. you are completely right when you say that God, and God alone will judge you.  Don\’t worry about those other hypocrital people…
    Hugs~April

  49. Catherine says:

    Religion is easy; it\’s a to-do list and a rulebook.  Faith is hard.  It requires daily surrender and self-examination and careful study.  A lot of people never put the time into truly studying the Bible or into learning about the history of the religion with which they align themselves.  Their lack of study often results in an utter and destructive misunderstanding of the nature of the gospel.  They try to treat "religion" like a private club, for members only.  Such an approach runs completely counter to the truth of Scripture.  We are not called to live in a bubble — we are called to go to the ends of the earth sharing the truth that has changed us with people that haven\’t experienced the same thing.  And it isn\’t a hierarchical thing, either.  We are not superior people for having faith… in fact, if we understand God\’s words to us in Scripture, we know that we are to be humble in light of the knowledge that we could not have saved ourselves.  In humility, we serve others and spend time with them and love them so that we can demonstrate the love Christ has for us.  We can\’t do that from a distance.  Your "Christian circle" meant well by trying to keep you close, I\’m sure, but they were immature in their understanding of their calling.  I love that you have studied and read and researched, and I have shared your sadness at the discovery of the atrocities that have been committed by people who were "religious" instead of faithful.  But I do hope that a congregation somewhere gets the benefit of your faithfulness someday… because I think that God could use you to inspire change in the complacent there like He has here.  You are articulate and gutsy, and you have been gifted with an unusual ability to speak to the hearts of strangers, and I believe that He will use (and likely has already used) your continued faithfulness in amazing ways wherever you are.

  50. Unknown says:

    I\’m right there with you on that one! I was raised Catholic (read:force fed) and have tested out a few others. If the churches\’ most failthful attendees are the first to talk smack on somebody, that should tell you right there. It\’s all about the image.

  51. Some times the "people of faith" who tell you not to hang out with the "non-christians" are those who are not strong enough in their faith to be able to hang out with those who don\’t believe in what they believe. They feel if they can\’t that you will be "led astray as well". They probably really mean well just can\’t understand that a person can walk in the world but live in faith.
    Organized relgion is run by people doing their best in serving God. Not all perfect. Some do down right stupid things. At least they are trying. Give them credit that they are trying. There are too many Christians, like myself, who don\’t get involved and sit back and watch.
    Just wanted to give you possibly different perspective. Glad to hear you are a Christian!
    W.

  52. "I have come to the conclusion that organized religion is not for me. Faith is."
    It doesn\’t get any more succinct than that.
    Religion is all of ours, we don\’t need a formal church to intercede. You put it well, Kenny.
    Abe

  53. Well said and very true.

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