As a former Lutheran, Lent was never really a big deal. I cringe to say that. The church was decorated in lovely purple, there were palm fronds. The children did an Easter pageant, adults did special readings. We never gave anything up for Lent, I didn’t even know that was a thing until 15 years ago, when it was discussed at a spiritual retreat.
I’m not revising this blog to convert anyone to Catholicism, but I do have to say — this religion really takes apart the Word of God and applies to life. You don’t HAVE TO give up meat, or give up anything at all. But for me, after reading about Lent, what it is, why it’s lived, celebrated and taught; I learned that if something is coming between me and God – then that is what should be given up.
I have a list a mile long of what I should not only give up for Lent, but give up all together! Don’t we all? Make an effort. Pray for sanity and endurance.
I have never considered myself a particular religion. I was baptized and confirmed “Lutheran,” but haven’t attended a Lutheran church in 40 years! Spent four years with the Unitarian Universalist church, meeting amazing people who challenged my beliefs. Met a new friend who invited me to her church; Episcopalian, new to me, but also similar to the Catholic churches that I had explored, including retreat for more than fifteen years. Seems that maybe I was heading the way of Catholicism, but never felt the draw to convert and join. UNTIL NOW.
I’m on a new journey; again. Thank goodness that God honors and encourages the soul to seek. At least, that’s what I believe.
So once again I put my thinking cap and glasses on, looking toward a new future, one that saves my soul, captures my spirit, embraces my faith and brings me closer to home. Amen.
“No Religion” is the third largest religious group following Christians and Muslims.
The “unaffiliated category” covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.
Hypocrisy is keeping a lot of people away from the Christian church for a myriad of reasons. I am in no way an expert and due to chemotherapy I have a terrible memory, having memorized scripture as a child, I cannot bring one to memory. I’m not the person to have a conversation with regarding the history of Christianity, which IS one of the reasons many turn away.
But hypocrisy seems to be a big player in these decisions to not follow a particular faith.
Believing one thing, acting like or saying something different. Or vice versa.
Part of my spiritual journey was learning whether or not I could stand on the foundation of my faith. Did I believe what I felt and said I believed? It turns out I do, and I do.
Having been through ovarian cancer, a gigantic tumor removed and chemotherapy received; I feel I have been healed by faith. I love this little sentence so much, I’m having it tattooed on my wrist.
Granted, there are a lot of reasons for not being involved in a church; but my advice to you — is keep going, trying new faiths, churches, go with a friend, etc. I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran. I’m now an Episcopalian with ties to the Catholic church and socialization with my UU’er friends (Unitarian Universalist).
For me, I need to be spiritually fed, believe in my spiritual leaders and advisers, feel I could bring ANY friend of mine to the church and learn more about the magnificence of God!
In the past two days I’ve spent a good amount of time with UU’ers (Unitarian Universalists). I remain a “friend” of this community, as I had been an active participant for four years.
Some Christians would tell you “don’t converse with unsaved folks.” But that NEVER made sense to me. How are you supposed to share the love of God and the reason for grace if you only ‘hang out’ with like-minded people?
I personally don’t believe the God I believe in put His “Good-Housekeeping” Seal of a Approval on a particular church or religion.
However, I digress, this post is about community, and the importance of belonging; finding your (various types of) people and how the bible encourages it.
Acts 12:12 …..”gathered together praying…”
Deuteronomy 31:12 “Gather the people together, men, women, children, and your foreigner who is within your towns, so that they may hear and learn…..”
A core belief in the UU church is to “question everything.” I am not a Lutheran because my parents raised me to be one, in fact – I no longer identify as a Lutheran at all. I check the box for Christian for medical forms and leave it at that.
But community; is more than a group of people hanging out together, it’s being with people who respect, are concerned about and want you to live your best life (I’m channeling Oprah)!
Is your community healthy? Are you inspired and encouraged by those in your circle? Is God at the center?
I believe it’s incredibly important to research and understand what you believe; particularly if it comes from habit or “how you were raised.” For many, many years I’ve described my spiritual beliefs as a “patchwork quilt” believing a little of this and a little of that, but not committing to any one belief. And using the word “spiritual” instead of “religious” even sounded smoother, less conforming.
This is where boldness enters the equation for me. It’s a new word, one I’m not entirely comfortable with and one that exudes confidence. We’ve all know people who seem to just bleed boldness, nothing scares them, they face the world head on, they give a speech to a hundred people and nary a sweaty palm!
When the Council saw the boldness of Peter and John and could see that they were obviously uneducated non-professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!
…..telling them with all boldness about the Kingdom of God and about the Lord Jesus Christ; and no one tried to stop him.
This being so, I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you, that entered into you when I laid my hands upon your head and blessed you.
In the book: “The Pieces” and this blog, I hope to inspire and aspire boldness, the truth as I understand, the work that is being done behind the scenes and in front of me – marking a path with lights and little scraps of paper. Pieces of Truth. God’s Truth.