n your world, you are the most important person you know. What happens
to you and how you feel about yourself determine everything for you.
What is happening to other people in other places might be interesting
and even inspiring, but what is happening in your life is what matters
Many churches are accepting and affirming gay people, but has that made
you more confident in your own spiritual life? At the same time that
our society is experiencing a surge of religious acceptance of GLBT
people, we are also seeing the growing impact of the "ex-gay" industry
in "Exodus," "Love Won Out" and other discredited homophobic religious
How the world, homophobic fundamentalists, religious ignorance and
various mildly accepting religious denominations see you does not
determine your value to God or your own self-esteem. Your
self-acceptance of yourself as a child of God in the image of God with
equal value to every other person in the eyes of God and in your own
eyes is determined within your own mind. You think for yourself because
you have to. Nobody else can really decide who you are for you.
Too much information
Sometimes I tell my best friend too much about something, and his
response is: "too much information!" We can absorb and use only so much
information from outside ourselves. We are bombarded with news,
reports, articles, research projects, reliable and unreliable facts,
opinions and propaganda. The Internet now offers contradictory opinions
and detailed information on every subject imaginable and some that are
unimaginable in literally hundreds of millions of web sites! Travel the
search engine "yellow brick road" at your own risk!
I am convinced that your truth and your best source for your own
self-acceptance and self-esteem are already within you as God,s gift to
you in your basic humanity. The old saying that: "God don,t make no
junk" is really true! You are not a mistake. You are not a problem
that somebody needs to fix. You are not trash or spiritual garbage.
You are already God's beloved accepted and affirmed child. You are "the
child of the King," so act like it.
Religion wants to change you
Religion wants to tell you who you are and change you into what culture
and society have decided you should be. God has other plans. God in
Jesus makes clear the fact that you already have eternal value to God.
You are important and have a unique mission in life that fits only you.
Discovering the real you and acting on God's mission for you is the most
exciting and affirming experience available to you. Being yourself and
realizing your potential as a child of God should be fun. Religion
usually is not, unless you are the one in charge and enjoy ordering
other people around!
The churches have failed to communicate the self-affirming inclusive
unconditional love of God in Jesus for all people. "Miserable sinners"
continue to plod wearily to the altar for one more religious fix that is
as addictive as it is spiritually futile and unhealthy. The churches do
not own God. They do not even know what God is really like because they
base their whole sense of mission on a flawed view of what people are
like and what creation in the image of God means in the first place.
Everything in church is still built on medieval images of "The Fall,"
"Heaven" and "Hell." Remove misinformation about the fall, heaven, and
hell and the entire ecclesiastical system collapses into oblivion, where
it belongs. When this happens, what will take the place of traditional
churches? Jesus, I hope!
Jesus plus nothing
Jesus still calls you to follow him. No elaborate confused religious
system of dogma, clergy, polity, political pecking order or anything
else can separate you from the love of God which has been revealed and
demonstrated in the Jesus of the Four Gospels and the Spirit of Jesus
already within you. Knowing and following the will of God in your life
has never been as obscure and complicated as the churches have tried to
Jesus stood a little child in their midst and said: "Here is ultimate
greatness in the will of God." How scandalous! Yet how profoundly
true! Religion is always the enemy of objective truth and honest
objective logical realism. The emperor and the church are both naked.
Only one with childlike vision can see the truth about either.
Jesus is your real leader. Abandon everything else but Jesus, and Jesus
will never abandon you. If you follow Jesus, you have the promise that
nothing can demean, control or destroy you. Following Jesus sets you
free from becoming the prey of misinformed religious abusers, who
presently control the ecclesiastical systems of our world.
Freedom in Christ
Freedom in Christ is freedom from religion. How far along the road to
real freedom have you come so far? What really matters to you is your
own sense of self-worth and your confidence that God accepts and
sustains you in every moment of your life. You don't have to know
anything in particular about God, who dwells in unapproachable light and
mystery. You can, however, know and follow Jesus.
Jesus is simple, plain, and real. Jesus is like you. Jesus struggled,
was misunderstood, abused by religion, and rejected by his own people.
Make the clear separation between religion and Jesus that will allow you
the freedom that Jesus enjoyed and celebrated in a life that did great
good, led to the crucifixion and concluded in the resurrection. Jesus
lives today in you because Jesus was not willing to be bound by
religion. You too can soar above the confusion and contradictions of
religion if you follow Jesus.
Above all, Jesus teaches and demonstrates how to love. Love costs
everything. Love also gives everything. Love really is
thing in the world." Because God loves you, you also ought to love
yourself and others. Love is painful, joyful, hopeful, faithful,
satisfying, and reflects the presence of the Spirit of Jesus within
you. Love is life.