I am a little behind on my last post on the book The Christian Atheist. I have had a really good time the last two days and haven't posted. I am trying to substitute teach at my kids' schools and I was at the middle school one day and the high school the other. I had observation both days, which was great for me learning my way around. Schools have changed so much and our system's buildings are so much bigger than they used to be when I was there! I had two good days and am really looking forward to being at both schools.
I have been home with my kids for so long that even though they are older and gone all day and our situation has changed, I still feel a little guilty doing anything that might take away from my "motherly duties." At least I will be working some, and can still be home if they are sick or need me, and I am around them rather than away and where they may not can reach me if they need me. I don't know if it is guilt as much as I don't know how to do anything other than be their mom! I think they are glad to see me get out of the house and I am glad to be getting out of the house!
I have really enjoyed reading this book and have made myself think about several things. The last two chapters discuss believing in God but not sharing your faith and not believing in His church. I think sharing our faith can be done so many ways and all of them are based on individual personalities. Some people are good at speaking in front of people, others enjoy volunteering, some get out their message in writing, and there are many other ways. I think there are so many chances during every day to share our faith. We probably do it without even knowing it. We don't have to specifically talk about God and faith in order to share our beliefs. Random acts of kindness, encouraging or helping someone, or just simply doing the right thing are all acts that represent our faith. I think a lot of people who don't believe in God probably pay more attention to those kind of things than people of faith do. What I mean is, if you are a very spiritual and faithful person you do things without really thinking about it. Someone that is skeptical probably notices when others go out of their way to help another person or make the "right" decisions because I believe deep down everyone wants to believe in God and have faith.
A lot of people aren't believers because of experience. If they have had a tough life and don't feel they have been given the same chances as others, they are negative, and don't see how God could let those things happen. Maybe I am wrong, but I just don't see why anyone wouldn't want to believe in a higher being and an afterlife. Why would anyone want to believe that when you die you are gone and game over? I think circumstances and experiences have put those doubts in their heads and they are, whether on purpose or subconsciously, looking for a reason to believe. They have tons of reasons not to believe and it could only take one reason to believe. I think that is when sharing our faith through all kinds of ways doesn't always goes unnoticed. We never know what we might do, even the simplest act, that could change a person's opinion.
The last chapter is about God's church. This is a tough one for me. I think you should go to church every time the doors are open and be involved as much as possible. I get such a sense of peace just after being in any church building. It is important to take the time to worship, be with those who share your faith, and work as a group to spread God's word. It is respectful to God to take the time to go to church. We shouldn't have church on our "to do" list. God IS our "to do" list. Church shouldn't be fit into our schedule. Our lives should revolve around living for God and everything else is just a means to make a living, be with family, etc. I believe in church completely. However, I don't think you aren't a Christian if you worship outside of a church building. A lot of people take time daily to read the Bible, talk to God, and worship in their own ways. There are also people who are the first in the door on Sunday mornings and the last one to leave only to live the rest of the week cheating others, lying, etc. I honestly don't think being involved makes you more of a Christian than someone who isn't always at church. I believe your heart and faith is between you and God and we can't judge how others are seen in God's eyes.
The biggest problem with me and this chapter is that churches have too many times become more of a business than a place of worship. This is my problem with my own church. I have my own struggles right now and have had them for a few years. My children are 5th generation church members where we go and it is the only church I have ever been a member of. I am glad that our church has grown, but with growth sometimes comes problems. We have had several issues in our church and I am not really happy with it right now. I am torn because it is "MY" church and I don't want to go anywhere else, but I have a hard time going there right now. I am methodist and there are a lot of things about being methodist I like and some I am not too crazy about. I know for any group of people there has to be leadership and people to answer to. We have some rules in our church that I think are just, to be completely honest, stupid. For example, you have a pastor for a few years and that pastor leaves and goes to another church. That is supposed to happen, for several reasons a church needs to change pastors ever so often. BUT, we have rules that say that pastor cannot go back to that church for a year. That pastor cannot perform any wedding, baptism, funeral etc, in that former church. That pastor is not even supposed to maintain friendships with members from the former church. ????? Let me get this right. If you are what I consider a good pastor and you minister to a congregation for a few years and get to know your members like a good "minister" is supposed to and then you leave have to leave and cut ties. You have had a pastor help you through divorce, illness, death, and the good things like weddings, baptism, births and then they are just gone. Some members are still going through things when that pastor leaves and he/she is supposed to just go and leave you to establish trust and a realtionship with a new pastor. I know it is done this way to be fair to the new pastor, but what about what he/she left behind. They are coming into a new place and have had to leave their former congregation family and go by these same rules. I think this is crazy. To be a good minister you shouldn't be expected to just end relationships that way. I would really like to have a chat sometime with our district superintendent. I have a lot of opinions I would like to get off my chest! But, this is what I mean by church being more like a business. I don't even want to get started on all the drama and troublemakers that can be in a church. If those people don't like the way things are done, move along. There are so many places to worship and sometimes you just have to find where you fit in. For those who seem to constantly cause problems, let this be a general rule: If you find a church to go to and you have so many things you want to change and stir up, especially things that have been in place way before you got there, and it seems you are never satisfied, maybe you should try to find a place that you don't have so many issues with. If there is that much you have a problem with, maybe that isn't the place for you. That's what I don't get. Why would you go to church, if you are going for the right reasons, and want to cause constant chaos? That completely defeats the purpose of going and that is why I have a hard time going to mine. There is always drama and that isn't why I go to church. I think it happens in a lot of churches today and that is why so many people don't believe in church. I will get off my soapbox now. I just have some very strong opinions about this chapter.
I only get numbers on my stats, but a lot of people have followed this discussion. I hope you liked it and if there is another book, maybe something fun and easier to comment on, you would like another discussion on please let me know.
I hope everyone has a good Friday and weekend. This weekend is the 9/11 anniversary so I know a lot of people will have a hard weekend because of loved ones lost on 9/11. My prayers go out to those of you and those who have loved ones serving our country to help keep that freedom and protection that is so dear to us. This is the perfect example of why it is absolutely insane that government keeps taking God out of everything when He is needed in the middle of everything more than ever.
A dog had followed his owner to school. His owner was a fourth grader at a public elementary school. However, when the bell rang, the dog went inside the building and made it all the way to the child's classroom before a teacher noticed and shooed him outside, closing the door behind him. The dog sat down, whimpered, and stared at the closed doors. Then God appeared beside the dog, patted his head, and said, "Don't feel bad, fella...they won't let ME in either!"
Wonder if those involved in the decisions to take God out of everything have thought of something. They won't let God into so many things have they not stopped to think that one day God will be deciding whether or not to let them in?