Or have you left it entirely?
When I left the Methodist Church when I was 16, I thought the only alternative to Christianity was to find another faith walk. So for the next 33 years, I was a seeker. I could never find a path that satisfied my longing for meaning.
When I reluctantly surrendered my life to Jesus 15 years ago at age 48, I had a thread of a hope that I could find the peace I was searching for all these years.
I found peace, but I also found turmoil because almost immediately after I made my public profession of faith, I was expected by some of the congregation to believe certain things–like how the bible is inerrant.
Now that I am a Christian Vegan, I am finding that many Christians are leaving their faith because of the issues they experience with their church, and I want my Christian animal rights activists to have some hope.
I have found the following resources to be helpful as I deconstructed my faith. I just can’t leave Jesus in the dust. And a growing number of people are finding their faith through losing their rigid, fear-based beliefs.
This blogger has inspired me with her story and her writing about deconstructing her faith. http://kathyescobar.com
One of the most important resources I found in 2014, was this website https://christianuniversalist.org The following words struck a chord in my soul. Now, after many hours of studying scripture and authors who know scripture inside and out, I am convinced that this is the truth of what the Bible teaches.
“Are you looking for a faith community that boldly proclaims God’s unfailing love for all people?, that presents Jesus Christ as a Savior who shows us the true heart of the Creator, as a spiritual leader you can follow with joy and integrity — indeed a faith that does not use the fear of an endless burning “hell” to frighten people into being Christian?
Has your heart already told you that by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, in the end there will be no one left behind — and that through this blessed hope we can truly break down barriers and bring people together in a spirit of joy and “good tidings to all”?
There is such a faith and it is called Christian Universalism. This positive and victorious message of the Gospel is not something new but was in fact a prevailing belief of the Church for many years after Jesus lived and died.”
Rob Bell wrote the controversial book, Love Wins, and in less than five minutes, he shares about evangelical Christianity in a way that is so inspiring and from the heart.
I felt very disappointed in the many Christian leaders who blasted Rob Bell because they thought he was a Christian Universalist. I started researching Christian Universalism, and I realized–this is what I believe. Many Christians, including at least one fundamentalist, have looked deeply into the Bible and have embraced the idea that a loving God would not punish people because they didn’t believe a certain way. Thus, the idea of an eternal hell is obsolete.
Rob Bell understands that Jesus teachings indicate that we can make heaven and hell in the present moment. Notice how the person who posted this video wanted to try to discredit him with scriptures. But listen to Rob’s words. What a contrast! (less than ten minutes)
Science Mike grew up as an evangelical Christian who then decided he was an atheist and still attended church, hiding his unbelief. Then he came back to his faith in a new way. I liked the way he answered an atheist who attends a Christian church who wrote him a letter.
Science Mike has a great writing on dealing with doubt from a scientist’s point of view http://mikemchargue.com/blog/2014/10/16/walking-with-god-through-doubt
If you are willing to spend a bit more time, Science Mike gives one of the most inspiring and grounded testimonies I have ever heard from a Christian. You might get hooked on these podcasts http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2014/10/14/episode-6-lost-and-found-part-1
The Liturgists podcasts about GLBTQ was so powerful that after listening, I made my final decision that I wanted to be a part of a church that welcomes qualified people of all sexual orientations to be in leadership positions and not to be viewed as sinners. http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2015/5/18/episode-20-lgbtq
Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, says, “Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We are often given a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of “Christian” countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I’m afraid.”
― Richard Rohr, Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the 12 Steps
Here is a two minute video where Richard defines love
You can find out more about him at this website
Bruxy Cavey is the teaching pastor at The Meeting House, a mega church in Canada that shares the non-violent teachings of Jesus. I love Bruxy! Once I wrote several blog posts about him, and sent them to him. He and his family left a message on my phone saying my words were like spiritual multivitamins. Then his whole family said together, “we love you!.” He is the real deal! Listen to Bruxy share in this video in less than five minutes about why there is evil in the world if God is so good.
I appreciate Greg Boyd, a scholar, author, and pastor of Woodland Hills Church. He has a lot of great teachings.
Doreen Virtue, who you will learn about on this website, is a Christian vegan who lives in Hawaii with her husband. They have an animal sanctuary. I am getting to know this delightful, loving and authentic person through online correspondence. Her commitment to Jesus is not front and center on her website, but you can scroll down and find a wonderful testimonial and meditation about Jesus by Doreen.
I found her testimony to be very inspiring and the meditation very much in alignment with how I relate to Jesus. She shares about angels, fairies, and clairvoyance–but all in a way that I perceive as being in alignment with Jesus. Doreen calls Jesus an Ascended Master in the meditation, but in January 2017 she had an experience of Jesus that inspired her to surrender her life to him. She believes he is the son of God and a member of the Trinity. She was baptized, attends church and Bible studies. She is in the process of switching things around so she can focus on Jesus.
In this meditation, Doreen calls Jesus an Ascended Master. That is what she believed for decades after having a powerful vision of Jesus when she was in her late teens. In January 2017 she had an experience of Jesus that inspired her to surrender her life to him. She believes he is the son of God and a member of the Trinity. She was baptized, attends church and Bible studies. She is in the process of switching things around so she can focus on Jesus.
An increasing number of Christians are realizing that trying to live according to their interpretation of the Bible causes a lot of division. But when we make our relationship with Jesus as our common bond, rather than doctrinal differences, we can more effectively cooperate and demonstrate the agape love that Jesus taught. This is what we want to do at Jesus Vegans Community.
What I love about Doreen is her passionate commitment to her relationship with Jesus. I am going to share her work with people who have been turned off by traditional Christianity but who resonate with Jesus and the idea that God is love.
I hope you will browse my blog. You might find some other interesting resources. Let me know if this was helpful–I would love to hear from you!