29 May, 2011

The Faith Entry: Random Thoughts

While looking for more information about Christian Universalism, I came across articles in regards to Rob Bell's Love Wins. Yes, the Evangelicals are out en force to discredit both Bell and his book, but at least read the goddamn book first before you do. I find it astonishing and embarrassing as a Christian at the behavior of these so-called leaders and shepherds. Actually their behavior is one of the reasons why I started exploring the ideas of Universalism and other forms of faith outside Christianity in the first place. Not only does their behavior NOT reflects Christ, but it's one of the main factors why I distance myself from Christianity altogether.

Which leads me to the next step. I've been accused of not being faithful to Christ and that I'm condemned to Hell as a result. Here's the sad situation: If my mortal self cannot stand these folks with limited finite amount of time here on earth, how the hell am I supposed to deal with them for eternity? In other words, having to choose between Hell and eternity with these folks is no different than between a rock and a hard place. The term "Gospel" is translated as "good news." If those are my two choices, what's so "good" about that???

Do you like the idea of simultaneously beginning and ending your week by being reminded of how much you're a sinner and how much you fall short, and how lost we are? If you had a choice between investing an hour or two between that or a tailgating bbq, isn't that's a no brainer? If a vegetarian and/or a vegan chooses a bbq over church, that ought to tell you something right there.

I'm sick and tired of being told what to do by other Christians. That's what everything boils down to. Everyone has an opinion, and that's all it is: an opinion. They're not prophets. My spiritual health is not predicated on what I do or what I don't do. It's about claiming and holding onto the identity of who I am: a beloved child of God. Anything I do or don't do doesn't change that status. What was needed to be done was completely done on the cross. Now that's Good News. P.S. I will not be denied by Jesus simply because I didn't change my Facebook status, so stop using that verse out of context to coerce other Christians to follow your suit. PLEASE STFU.

Having been in theater and production for over the past ten years, I'm very aware of the racist, ignorant and backward attitudes of some producers and directors in L.A. That's nothing compared to the ignorance I've dealt with by the self declared Christian producers and directors. Speaking of race, since when is marrying someone Caucasian "marrying someone more Christ-like?" Really? Now Jesus' name is being used to advocate racism and self-hatred? (The two churches I've visited in L.A. and S.F., you know who you are!)

Baptism: Honestly, I don't get it. The literal act is the public declaration of faith. Water symbolizes life, being placed under means dying to self, being brought up means emerge to new life. That, I get. What I don't understand is why someone needs to declare someone else to be "ready" for baptism before they're allowed to be baptized. Then in other denominations and churches, parents are so eager to have their infant child baptized asap, and they are. So I read in The Acts when new converts "believe" the message about Christ, then immediately find the nearest body of water for baptism. Where's the person who's supposed to declare those folks as "ready?" What I don't get is the fact that no one seems to be on the same page of standard procedures: when, where, how? Or most importantly, is there a standard procedure? OK, I'm gonna break it down to what I know:

Jesus commanded his surviving disciples to "make disciples baptizing them in the Name of Father, Son, Spirit." But

There's two elements of baptism: water or spirit.

Everyone has a different procedure on water baptism. Spirit baptism, I've seen once.

When Jesus commanded his disciples to "make disciples baptizing them..." he didn't specify water or spirit baptism.

Can anyone see why I don't fully get it? (Oh, for those of you reading this who are wondering if I was ever baptized. Yes, in a hot tub)

Gotta give props to my mentor and friend Peter who performed my baptism. Over the years no matter what I did or said in regards to how I felt and reacted to my life struggles did he ever made any judgment on me. He calmly listened to me over the years and constantly reminded me of my identity about who I am. I remembered telling him in confidence about how I wanted to just check out and indulge in all my senses. (Sex, drugs, food...didn't feel youthful enough to keep up with the rock n roll) He told me that if I decided to do that stuff for an indefinite amount of time, I'm still a child of God who's loved. (No, I didn't indulge after all)

Still in search of a Christian Universalism church in SF...

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