This website is the result of a frustration I have felt for years with the modern evangelical church. I was raised a Lutheran and have gone to churches all my life, including Bible, Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Holy Roller, and a smattering of others. The experience has always been fairly similar, with variations on the standard theme of the big meeting and Sunday School, with social activities thrown in. I did a lot of thinking and feeling over those years, and the church never really addressed what was going on inside me, other than with a few good sermons or a long discussion with some friends. Sometimes the music touched on what I felt. Despite the fact that I wanted to wrestle with some deep theological and philosophical issues and deal with real needs that people have, the church always seemed to have an agenda that was more important than what I was dealing with. Maybe you'll think I was being selfish, but why does anybody go to church? Just to support the church's agenda? I had to subjugate what was important to me to the agenda: join a program, Sunday School, worship team, choir, or whatever, and help the church accomplish its agenda. So I kept busy, but I felt empty. I am tired of feeling empty, but where can I go to express what I'm thinking or discuss it with anyone? Not in church. I question standard evangelical theology and politics and I get lambasted for being a heretic. I can't openly discuss much of anything without setting off alarm bells in those who believe the standard canned theology (and political views) of evangelicalism. I'm searching for truth, and just because I question something doesn't make me a heretic. It means I want to know the truth, and I'm trying to break out of the evangelical box and find out where the truth really is. My thinking on some of these issues may seem a little caustic, but that comes from seeing corruption and egotism damage people and then seeing the damage justified with theology or appeals to "the way things really work". It upsets me to see that happen.
My spiritual journey began as a child growing up in Lutheran churches. We never stayed in one place longer than three years, so I went to a lot of different churches. Usually there were good people in the churches we went to, and they were all Biblical, in the sense that they all believed the Bible to be God's Word, but the sermons I heard went from mind-numbing boring to lively and interesting to downright strange. I spent years as a teenager puzzling about evolution and where everything came from. No matter how much I thought about it, I couldn't get around the idea that everything had to start somewhere. If you keep going back from cause to cause to cause for infinity, you never reach a cause. Things had to begin somewhere, and God is the most logical cause for everything. So I established that God has to exist and he initiated all of creation.
Beyond establishing that God exists and created things, how churches approached the Bible was critically important. everyone, of course, thinks they have a lock on the truth and the proper interpretation of the Bible. Everyone else is wrong. It doesn't matter how loving, sincere, kind, and helpful they are, if they don't agree with us, they are wrong and they are likely going to hell. I began my spiritual life being very concerned about following the truth and bought into this idea of the truth. I wanted to do the right thing and be a solid, Biblical Christian. So I had a very fundamentalist type of mentality for a long time. There is a kind of security in a fundamentalist mentality because everything is so well defined. Truth is what the Bible says (really, though, truth is what I think the Bible says), and it was fairly easy to compare statements of belief and what people did to my understanding of the Bible and know how they stood with God. A little bit of arrogance there, but an innocent arrogance.
I had a desire to know the truth, though, and I began to change my definition of truth. Truth is what corresponds to reality, and I began to find out that reality wasn't as nicely defined as I used to think it was. What I saw on the news wasn't always what was really happening. And being 'Biblical' sometimes meant being very cruel to people, or even abusing children in the name of doing the right thing. I began to question these things. There are quite a number of things that Christians must defer definitive knowledge on, one of them being "is it fair for God to send someone to Hell if they never heard the gospel?" Taking the usual Christian stand on this, one must believe that they are going to hell, or just say "I don't know". Yet, I was certain that God had a clear and loving answer for that question.
I'll eventually go into more of my spiritual journey, but at this point, I am open to anyone who can show me evidence of truth, whatever evidence that is, even if it seems to completely contradict what I currently believe. I realize that evidence can be tricky. There are people who say "show me incontrovertible evidence of it and I'll believe it", but these people do not understand what they are saying. There is some 'incontrovertible' evidence, which, if it were made public, would bring about the immediate death of whoever exposed it. Or they'd be dead before they could expose it. Asking for that kind of evidence in that situation is callous and stupid. There are many forms of evidence, and all of them have to be weighed carefully and judiciously considered before drawing conclusions. I believe what the Bible says is the Word of God, and I tend to be a literalist, but literalist only in the sense that I believe the words that are written as coming from God, not necessarily the interpretations thereof. The interpretations are where the trouble begins. I am on a spiritual journey, and I am open to the spirit of Jesus Christ no matter who knows him, or what name they know him by. He is Lord and Creator of the Universe, and he is not limited to my puny understanding.
I am working at being reasonable and carefully considering all points of view as much as possible, but this website is here to share my views, and that's what you'll find here. I question lots of so-called "Christian" theology, and politics, and if you also question these things, I hope you will join me. I care about spelling and grammar, and if you find a spelling or grammatical mistake, please e-mail me so I can correct it. I welcome sincere and reasoned comments about anything on this website.