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"Don't"

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019 @ 8:31 AM
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Dr. Ray Rooney, Jr. Digital Media Editor MORE

Don’t express your faith openly.  Religion is a private matter.  God has revealed Himself to the entire world in a myriad of ways and your outward expression may make others uncomfortable. Let others find their own path.

Don’t take church too seriously. The more you go the more those people think they own a part of you. Just go enough to demonstrate your affiliation with charitableness. People who go to church all the time come off more as elitists than good Americans. 

Don’t take the Bible too seriously. Too much pain and bloodshed have resulted from those who do.  Besides, it has long been established that facticity was never a concern of the Bible.  God loves everyone and accepts us as we are.  Those who go beyond that message are responsible for the world’s pain and suffering.

Don’t even bother with the Old Testament. “Old” is just another word for “irrelevant.”  We know too much now to believe in Creationism, a talking serpent, a worldwide flood, an ancient tower built to pierce the heavens, stone tablets, angels and demons, and on and on it goes.  Besides, some of the most influential Christians today have advised us to “unhitch” ourselves from the Old Testament. 

Don’t talk about sin.  The only real “sin” is the sin of talking about sin.  Jesus was a prophet and proponent of love.  He taught that God loves everyone…just the way they are.  He prohibited us from judging anyone or making anyone feel uncomfortable.

Don’t worry yourself with prayer. Self-indulgence is all the prayer God is interested in.  Prayer assumes a personal God who actually knows each individual.  Prayer fosters a relationship but in all honesty, God values social justice on a global scale far more than any one individual’s wants and needs.  Prayer is nothing but selfishness and delusion.

Don’t speak the word ‘Jesus’ at any time or place.  He’s way too controversial. God is about smoothing things over, not ruffling feathers.  Though he was a great man, Jesus was also an incendiary figure. He had his time.  Now good churchgoers have found how to move beyond Jesus.  God wants peace; not division.

Don’t bring politics into the church. America was founded by people fleeing that very thing.  Politics is a dirty business and has nothing to do with faith. 

Don’t talk about being ‘saved.’ Salvation is only for backwoods uneducated types.  The only ‘salvation’ people need is from their own ignorance.

Don’t consider other religions to be any less viable than Christianity.  All religions are just culture-specific expressions of humanity’s need for spiritual expression.  Each religion is salvific in its own way.

Don’t embarrass yourself and other churchgoers by touting Creationism. Evolution is a scientific fact and in this day and time, only kooks suggest otherwise.  If you think God created the universe with words and that Adam and Eve were real people, well, bless your heart.

Don’t stand in the way of progress.  Whether it’s new directions in sexuality, government, or redefining the family, Christianity is about getting along with people.  Those who cause strife by their opposition to things haven’t read the Sermon on the Mount.

Don’t be overly concerned about objective truth or facts.  Cultural narratives carry far more weight than historical facts. Where we need to go as a nation cannot be tied to any document a bunch of white supremacists authored over two centuries ago.

Don’t support a preacher or go to a church that preaches that hell is real and Judgment Day imminent.  Both are fairy tales concocted by those who want to control the lives of others.

Don’t worry about evangelism.  It is no one’s business what anyone else believes.  Leave everyone else alone to find their own pathway to God.

Don’t take your religious faith too seriously.  Just take a look at what’s happening in the world right now.  Its people who take their faith too seriously that are causing most of the problems here and abroad.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Interestingly, most of those “don’ts” come from people who claim to know Jesus and follow Him.  Let me respond with a few I’m familiar with:

“[D]o not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

“Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).

I’ll take my three “do nots” over all of their “don’ts”…forever.

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