Back To My Religious Roots?

I have let it be known here on RJsCorner that I am disappointed in most Christian Churches. So many of them are now dominated by those who act very contrary to their founder’s words. I know not every one of their members are in that camp, but the majority of them probably are. The last time I was in a church was in 2011. That was when I was told that I didn’t believe the right things, so I was no longer a member of their church. I dared to say that the earth was more than 6,000 years old and God will save more than just Lutherans, if he saves any at all. I don’t regret that happening as it was as much an epiphany as it was a denunciation.

I have done some serious reading about the 35,000 versions of the Christian church over the last couple of decades, and have come to the conclusion that there are just two that are less polluted than the rest. The first is the Catholic Church which is the church of my roots. The other is Quakers.

I was heartened by the fact that a Franciscan priest would be the next Pope. The words on the plaque above from a church in Santa Fe is what he based his life on. Those beliefs are very much my own. But then again, I know there is a significant part of American Catholics who almost despise what this pope is doing. That saddens me greatly and in my mind puts a serious tarnish on the American version of even that church.

But, at least the Catholic Church still puts a stronger emphasis on “acts” rather than beliefs. Has the church done some tragic things in past centuries? Certainly, it has, after all it is an institution that is based on men (I mean that literally), who even if they think they are saying God’s words, much of what they pronounce likely comes from their own life experiences and internal prejudices.

Because my wife wanted to get married in a Lutheran Church, I became a very active Lutheran Evangelical for 20+ years. During all that time, I was never comfortable with the foundation of Luther’s teachings which were based on his belief that “works don’t really matter”. It is what you believe that really counts to them. Lutherans generally believe that the Bible is inerrant, but then I read Luther’s words about the Epistle of James (Jesus’ brother) when he said that it is an “epistle of straw.” i.e. it is not worth the parchment it is written on. I was almost relieved that they finally kicked me out of the church for questioning such things. But since that expulsion stripped away my wife’s social life which she depended on so much, it was a pitiful thing they did that I will never forgive them for. Especially since all our Lutheran “friends” immediately dropped by the wayside because of that expulsion.

In closing this post out, if I ever choose to join a religious body it will likely be the Catholic Church, even if it is steeped in traditions that I don’t care much for. At least they got the fundamental part right. As a famous Lutheran Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Faith without works is Cheap grace”. Why didn’t they listen to him?

2 thoughts on “Back To My Religious Roots?

  1. When I married at 19, I had been teaching Sunday School in a Southern Baptist church, but my husband was an ardent Catholic. I agreed to marry in the Catholic church, a decision that meant my parents might not attend the wedding. My church’s adherence to that belief that good works are as “filthy rags” if not done in God’s name is one that bothered me, too, as did the pamphlets stating the exact steps one had to go through to be saved. In counseling before our marriage, I asked the priest about the idea that a couple of another religious belief might raise a child and that child, inculcating his parents’ religious beliefs, might be doomed to Hell. The priest answered that such a child, rejecting Jesus, was rejecting a flawed idea of Jesus presented by someone else and he would not be condemned. At least that was my understanding. It was the kindest, most ecumenical statement I’d ever heard from a religious leader. Now, so many Christians and Christian churches have embraced a flawed idea of Jesus rather than the new covenant we were taught.

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    1. Linda, it seems we do share some common experiences in this area. Catholics don’t put the emphasis on the bible nearly as much as evangelicals. I have come to the belief of universal salvation. If God wants us all to come to him, he can certainly make that happen. No one, especially children should go to eternal suffering! A God that demands that is not a god that I even want to know.

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