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« No, No and No. | Main | Missed the point »

24 July 2007

Comments

rae

Mel
I am a serial lurker but have never posted. I love the mix of topics you blog about and read daily.

This is a great post and a real challenge to me. I'll watch the comments come in with huge interest.

I wd not have guessed that T did the ALPHA course.

Drienkie

Wonderful post. Will pray for you and your family. God is all we have to hold on to. Amen!

karen

Great post, Mel. A book I've found to be wonderful for explaining my faith to NC friends and to introduce them to Jesus in a non-threatening way, is Philip Yancey's "Rumours of another world". More good books: Heaven is so real by Choo Thomas and A divine revelation of hell by Mary K. Baxter.

There's also a DVD out on "Heaven is so real" and there's no copyright on it, so the idea is that you can distribute to all your friends. I have bought it and would supply you with a copy if you want, just e-mail me.

Keep well and keep up the good work with BB. You guys are making such a difference!

Marcia

Hi
I just wanted to say that when I was involved rather heavily in 'organised religion' I did alpha and it was exactly like ecstasy like you explain it, I became a 'leader' and helped out with the actual courses - it was amazing!! I also appreciated the fact that it involved lots of different denominations (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist)
At the time my biggest fear was the fact that my parents were in my opinion 'not saved' my father grew up as a 'dopper' and my mother is a Catholic. I have posted before as to how much I bible bashed her and tried constantly to convert her...After leaving that particular church because of some rather horrible anti Catholic comments and then studying Ecumenism (a movement in the Christian Church aiming at unity between different denominations on basic issues...) I realised that this was wrong of me to do.
It is a challenge to live an C lifestyle and constantly worry that your going to lose what is so obviously the most important thing in your life at the time (I was 14/15) the fear nearly killed me (your armbands analogy exactly!!) as the more I pushed the less they listened. I desperately wanted and needed them to understand...
I now follow a very different path (Buddhism and Cat holism) and I avoid 'organised religion' which is against the teachings but in my current standing this gives me the most peace and that's what I will say when im standing before Jesus on judgment day....
thanks for the great thought provoking blog its been great to engage with the rest of the staff here on some of the topics!!
Marcia

Ingrid

Hi Mel,

Wow, I think you're so brave to be so all-out HC! I'm one too, though still trying to find my place. Lately stopped going to church (I'd rather spend sundays with a vida latte and the Sunday Times if the truth be told). I still love JC, I'm a practicing christian in all the ways that matter, except going to church. I know I've bought into the urban 30-something single city lifestyle and will change all this when I marry and have kids. Would want them to have what I had (church, sunday school, singing songs, Jesus stories, etc).

My NC friends know I'm saved, they get no bable-bashing from me, just love and stuff (and lotsa behind the scenes prayer). Hope this doesn't mean I'm luke-warm...

I DO though want everyone to wear arm-bands. PLEASE! (lost my mom recently and she taught me bout arm-bands so guess where she is right now?! YAY!)

Ingrid

Ingrid

oops, that was meant to be "bible-bashing"...loved Babel movie so won't be babel-bashing either! To Karen who commented about 'Heaven is so Real' DVD. Where is it available? I read the book and its helped me deal with my mom's passing. Awesome stuff.
Ingrid

Jazz

Non-HC (NC) here. It is late here and so I will try to put down what is in my head in a concise and clear manner...

First off - interesting topic. I find it enjoyable but as with some of Tertia's posts it is almost more suitable to have this as a discussion in a group. It would be good to see the banter.

Tone is hard to clarify sometimes. So as an intro, mine is a very interested tone and not in a way meant to cause distress or disrespect to anyone and their beliefs.

My brief 2cts:

You ask: "Have you ever questioned why the C’s want to tell the NC’s about Christ? What do you think is in it for the C’s?"

In my opinion - I think that some C's believe they may get a bigger slice of the pie when they do go to heaven for the more NC they convert. I think in some C/HC it makes them go to the extreme and become blinded by this one aim. I think in trying to spread the word, they forget to listen, believe theirs is the one and only and forget there are more religions/beliefs in this world.

I believe there is no one right one. It has to do with choice. their choice not the C/HC. Everyone has to make their own. If they believe, good. If not, not.

I do not believe you should think it is your burden thinking there are some people you love that will not go to heaven because they do not believe they way you do. If their conscience is clear and they are at peace with themselves and their beliefs when they die, I believe they will go to and deserve to go to heaven.

Time will come when people will pass away and there may be some you have managed to convert to be a HC and some not.

It seems you would you feel guilty if they did not accept the armbands. It sounds more like a burden that has been placed upon your shoulders. It seems you may need to feel the need to prove yourself to God and JC to save everyone from drowining. I believe there is the option to surface and and climb out on the other side of the pool.

This is where perhaps there is the chance that through your excitedness and eagerness you may be become (I do not think you are right now) a little (how can I say this without being taken the wrong way) - overeager - and that may put some people at unease. You can tell someone about your experiences/beliefs and then leave it up to them to ask you for more information etc.

Curious to know - if someone had their own beliefs and were happy with them, yet you did not agree with them what would be your stance. Would you accept them and continue? Would you try to convert them?

I hope that I have not been aggressive, rude or offended anyone. These are my thoughts and beliefs only.

I think, Mel, you are indeed a splendid woman (G&D too)! You do wonders with BB. I loved the way when I went to HHH with you that you prayers were practical and actually seemed very multi-faith. I thought that was great. The mothers need the prayers and they need someone to pray for them without any strings. Hugs!

Flicka

Lovely job, Piglet! You know I agree 100% with everything you said...it's why I'm in London working the South Asian population right now. When I get back I will post a longer response here and probably talk about this over on my blog, too. Until then, keep on keeping on.

(Jazz, thanks for being respectful. I don't think you were rude or agressive at all, which I so appreciate. I'm respectfully disagreeing with you (obviously) but loving you just the same.)

Sister Mel

Jazz for president! You always make me think u clever girl!
For me it isn't about getting more pie. I don't believe Jesus dishes out various portion sizes based on the amount of people you bring in.
I am too shy to bible bash or be over eager so I pray for them quietly
daily without them knowing.
Blogging about it is easier than talking about it.
I really do wish I could believe everyone who was a good person went to heaven. Then I wouldn't feel burdened. It isn't so much a burden
as a heartache. Especially with my family. I feel alone much of the time. I promise I won't force you to wear the armbands but you know I will pray for you. U are too G & D not to!

Andrea

Hi Mel,

You sound like a nice and reasonable person and I especially appreciate how you described yourself pre-conversion and your views of HCs then. And, I admire you for going public with some beliefs that are not going to be popular.

BUT, I must agree with the previous poster who said that when you have such strong beliefs, you often cease to listen to others. Not a new argument, but how do you KNOW that non Christians aren't going to heaven? Sorry but it makes me think that you are not too smart, just because logically, there are whole swaths of the world that have never been exposed to Christianity, and millions of people who lived before Christ, and what would become of all of them? (And I am not saying you are not smart, from you're writing you sound thoughtful and intelligent, but I'm sorry the argument about only Christians getting into heaven is just stupid, unless you factor in that heaven is such an awful place you might not want to go there.

Not to mention, do you have any idea how much harm is done in the world by people of all religions who think their religion is the one true way?

I actually AM a Christian and a couple years ago in my church a couple left to minister to a poor area in Cambodia. They were clear about saying that this was not a conversion mission but rather just one to serve the poor, and that they believed they had more to learn than to teach other people.

I think our world would be a better place if we all spent more time listening and less time assuming ours was the right way.

I too have had heartbreak, and I know how that can lead to religious awakening. It did to me. But you gotta believe that whatever God is, is too big for any of us mortals to understand, so for one of us to say we know who God's chosen people are ... again, very ignorant.

Didn't Christ say Judge not lest you be judged, or some such thing? Well no matter, how you slice your argument about spreading the word for the good of others, in the end its pretty judgmental to believe that your way of life is the superior one.

Still, I admire you for having the guts to post this, I just wish you could save yourself some totally unnecessary heartache. Any God that I'd want to know is a God who values loving deeds more than a particular belief.

Carla Hinkle

Found my way over here through Tertia's blog ... a nominal C (raised one but not practicing currently, but not against it either, just not feeling any strong urge currently to go to church, pray, etc).

I am sorry, Mel, that you feel such heartache for those who you love that are NC. I think Andrea expressed it beautifully -- who are we to know who God's chosen ones are?

It is nice that you pray quietly for your loved ones. But I don't think it is your burden to carry to make sure they all get to heaven.

margalit

This probably makes sense to you because you come from a background where christianity was a fundamental part of your life. Even when you rejected the catholic church, catholics still believe in Jesus. But I'm Jewish. I'm happy to be Jewish. I do not want to ever be anything else but Jewish. I will never ever ever ever ever believe in Christ as anything other than a jewish rabbi who preached just as many other jewish rabbi's did and still do. He is NOTHING else to me, never will be, and I resent that Christians feel that they know more than I do. Your religion is BASED upon Judaism. It is an older, and very secure religion that has lasted for over 5000 years despite being continually attacked and reputed. We do the exact same thing as jews that we did 5000 years ago. Our religion is solid and we're happy with it AS IS. We don't believe Jesus is our messiah. We do not want to hear you tell us otherwise. it is disrespectful for you to encroach on any religious person and tell them that you know better than they do. LEAVE THEM ALONE.

Jeanne

If you take out the ingrained belief that heaven is a place up in the sky somewhere - or at the very least, this "state" which has pearly white gates and a book with a list of names of those who get or don't - if you remove that presumption or belief from the picture, and you think about Jesus words that "the Kingdom of God HAS COME" and that the Kingdom of God IS WITHIN you, how would that change the burden of whether those you love "go to heaven when they die." There may not be a "heaven" in the clouds when you die with a book of names etc. Consider the possibility that "God" is a state of unity with our most essential Self from which we have never and could never be cut off because we ARE IT. Now that is for my greater Bliss than "e." Whew - nothing required at all but to wake up! Love on your path xx

wtw

Sorry, the first reason is selfish (he said we should so that WE can get into heaven), the second shows an inability to interact with others as an adult (I have my interests and they´re... wait you aren´t into that? Then lets find something else we both like to talk about. That would be how normal people run conversations) and the third is based on brainwashing.

I´ve met people convinced they were abducted by aliens and needing to tell me we were all in danger. I´ve met a man who "knew" he was the reincarnation of Merlin. People who believe in the power of crystals. The Goddess. Xenu.

And if the last doesn´t frighten you about the stupidity and inbuilt brainwashing of religions then I don´t know what will.

If you came to me as an adult telling me you believed in fairy stories, in Santa Claus, in the Tooth Fairy I would treat you as if you are delusioned, illogical and illeducated. And I don´t care how strong your conviction is that they exist, it´s a conviction based on brainwashing, the inability to think as an adult and take control of your own life and the willingness to ignore the physical world around you for the imagined supernatural being you THINK exists.

Pippa

I think everyone is missing the point somewhat. From the post, it is clear that Mel was only explaining why HC's speak about God so much, she certainly wasn't trying to convert anyone through this blog or undermine what anyone believes. She was only explaining WHY christians speak of Him........ Why get so defensive?

Andrea

Just wanted to point out that there are plenty of religious Christians who do not believe that all non-Christians are going to hell. Many of us are really quite tolerant.

These extremist beliefs give Christians a bad name.

I for one do not agree with the earlier poster who said that all religious faith is bogus, but the heaven/hell argument most certainly is, IMHO.

Ms Porcelain

Hi Mel
I usually don’t like to get involved in ‘religious talks’ because people can get over emotional and unnecessarily nasty. But I just couldn’t help myself this time around. I'm going to say some things that might have my fellow Christians up in arms (I think).

I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I 'pray' all the time; this for me is like a conversation with God. I have conversations with God when I'm walking, eating, working etc. I love God and I'm not shy to say that I am a Christian (Do I get ‘H.C Brownie Points’?... Just teasing)

That being said I am not at all against people who believe in 'other Gods'. I hate saying 'Other Gods' because I believe that there is only one 'higher being' and we all call him different things, but ultimately the beliefs are similar (peace, love, respect etc.). Just as there are different ways to say father in many languages. Different religions are the different languages of 'belief'... Am I making any kind of sense at all?

I know that you want to share ‘the light’ of your beliefs with people, but let them SEE God in you as opposed to 'preaching' to them or 'stalking them' (I'm sure Tertia can relate. Let people see the beauty of your beliefs in you and they might want to know more about it (your religion). But don’t judge people either, because that is ‘UN-Christian-like’(hee hee)

Nuff said...

karen

To:Ingrid

I got my Heaven is so real DVD from CUM in Canal walk in Cape Town for R60. that includes a CD by Bill Wiese called "23 minutes in hell" about his visions of what hell is like, scary stuff and a real wake-up call. I definitely don't want to chance ending up there!! I don't mind making a copy and mailing it to you if you want to.

So sorry about your mom. I lost my mom when I was in my teens. Reading books like these helps a lot. I also read "Intra Muros" by Rebecca R. Springer. It was written in the 40s if I'm not mistaken, is still in print and it's also a very comforting vision of heaven.

Good luck to you!

Fi

Hi Mel,
I like your analogy, Mel - I think in a similar way. I feel as if it's like being in a burning building and knowing a sure exit. You would be pretty awful not to share. You can't force anyone to use the exit, but you just have to let them know. You couldn't live peacefully afterwards if you failed to tell others and they didn't make it.
Fi.
PS My hubby (who was a fence-sitter) and I did ALPHA together. It was fantastic. Very cool that Tertia went.

Gee

Hi Mel,

Thanks for a great post. Often bad HC's happen to good people, and the result is usually negative. Thankfully you make a compelling argument, (more Alan Shore than Denny Crane), and the logic stacks up and makes sense. It's well thought out and intelligent.

Keep it up,
Gee

SarahNYC

You are a sweetheart, Mel.

The reasons you give for NC's being uncomfortable with Christians trying to convert them leaves out some important considerations, however. While you use the word "love" to describe the people you are trying to save from drowning, it also very easily translates into pity. No one likes to be pitied. I get what you are trying to say, and it's very sweet in its way, but it's also condescending.

Christians can be very very tricky insofar as "humility" actually masks a dangerous arrogance. How does someone write that "I used to think Buddhists were cool" in a post that is more about how, really, Buddhists are all drowning? It's such a disregard for an ancient and respectful and respected religion. To believe that others the world over (who believe just as strongly in God as Christians) will be condemned to hell? I would hope God is more encompassing.

I, for one, certainly pray that He is.

Louise

Bravo, Mel! :-) I like the arm-band analogy.

Andrea

Interesting, Mel, and thank you for being brave enough to write this. I know how you feel being a little shy about it even though it's what we believe.

I just got through with a week of Vacation Bible School at my church. A lot of the teenagers helped out, and the week before it started, our minister had a talk with them. He told them, and I rougly quote, "If you have any notions that there isn't really a hell, that God wouldn't really send people there, then you need to think otherwise, or don't come and help next week. Because the Bible says hell exists, and we believe the Bible at this church."

Somewhere I've heard that the translation of "death" in the Bible means "separation from God forever". So those that choose not to believe, and it IS a choice, will be separated from God forever. That is the penalty. I don't really know what that will be like. I don't want to.

I've never understood Christians that say they don't believe NC's are going to hell. The Bible says they are. I don't get the "pick and choose parts of the Bible" concept. How can you believe some if it and not all?

I understand the heartache too, Mel, I do. That's the part many NC'ers don't or won't understand. It's not about a bigger piece of the pie for US. It's about them getting a piece of the pie at all. We WANT to share our pie! Please! Take some!

Marcia #2

I understand your views totally - I am with you on the #3 reason. I also like what Andrea #2 wrote - I've watched Andrea's comments on Tertia's blog about this subject and I am with her all the way.

But I don't feel like being flamed so I'm not linking to my blog :)

Self-preservation, you know?

Julie

Hi Mel,
Great post!

We have "discussed" this via email before, so you know my feelings on being "preached at" and also that I have a REALLY hard time understanding that HCs believe that I will be judged based on not having made a concious decision to become a HC, as opposed to being judged based on the way I have lived my life, the people I have helped, and what is in my heart. I do a LOT for other people, and I try to touch people's lives in a positive way - so I don't think I should burn!

I totally "get" your armband analogy, however I just feel that for me to "become" HC would be a bit hypocritical - I'd be paying lip-service in order to get the "insurance policy", and not feel truly sincere about it - which renders the whole thing invalid anyway.

I must however say thay I may have been more accepting of the whole HC thing if my experience of it had been someone like yourself, who reflects her religion in her everyday actions - unfortunatly my overall experiences of HCs have been the overly-fanatical ones who have totaly spoiled the whole religion thing for me by their actions and behaviour over a number of years.

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