First, let me wish all of you a blessed Samhain!
Now, on to the fun stuff. I have never hidden who I am. I am a Christian who believes in the Lord God and Jesus Christ as Savior. I am also a Wiccan who believes in the Goddess and all she has done in our lives. I suppose if you jam them all together, that makes me a Trinitarian, but I hate labels.
One way or the other, I believe that God is love and Jesus is love and that He comes in all sorts of guises and ways. I refuse to believe that this God of love will just look at a person when they die and go, "He/She didn't follow me and me only, so they are going to Hell."
But, my friends, that is what the pastor of a church I went to on Sunday claimed.
and over again.
I have sung at this church numerous times and have had no issues with the new pastor at all. At least, not until yesterday.
The idea on the entire series was debunking common Christian myths, and the topic of yesterday's sermon was, "Dead people go to a better place."
He starts off by saying that he loves doing funerals because people come together to celebrate a person's life. He then says he really loves doing Christian funerals because he knows for a fact that since these people are Christians they are going directly to heaven.
Then, he states he hates doing what he considers "non-Christian" funerals because he cannot honestly comfort those who are hurting because, after all, and I quote, "I cannot say that they are in heaven with God because, obviously, they aren't."
Arrogant asshole much?
Obviously, these people who say they believe in God and go to church and tithe and sing the hymns and help little old ladies across the street are going to heaven and those who believe in Buddha/Vishnu/Goddess and don't go to church and don't tithe and sing their own hymns and help little old ladies across the street will go directly to hell because they didn't fulfill God's apparent pre-requisite of the "Believe in God and God only or else".
I have met people who claim to love Jesus and do the church thing and have a Bible that is completely covered in highlighter who are drunks who beat their children and cheat on their wives. I have met Wiccans who would give the shirt off their back to a complete stranger and light candles to bring blessings to friends. Not saying that that Wiccan won't be horrible people or that Christians aren't willing to give their lives for others.
What I am saying is that this pastor is saying, flat out, "My way or the highway", or, even more plainly speaking, "If you don't believe exactly as I do, you are going to Hell. No passing go, no collecting $200." He also stated that unless you claim Christ as your only Savior before you die, you are shit out of luck. You will pass, you will go to Heaven/judging room/pergatory/whatever, that God will look at you and say, "You were a good person your entire life, you gave of yourself, you loved and helped and even though you had hiccups in your road, you were a wonderful human, BUT, you didn't claim me as your One and Only, so, off to Hell you go." All that Jesus loves you no matter what business suddenly becomes, "I will only love you if you do exactly this this and this. Any deviation means you are hellbound."
I call bullshit.
GOD'S LOVE IS *NOT* CONDITIONAL! I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT A GOD I CONSIDER A LOVING GOD WILL CONDEMN A GOOD PERSON BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T KNOW OF OR ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR SAVIOR.
If that is a case, He is *not* a loving God, and I refuse to believe that too.
My husband was even rubbed in a massively wrong way with this pastors' sermon. Everything he said was a contradiction. In one breath he says it doesn't matter if you do good works if you don't believe in Christ, but then, in that same exact breath quoted Matthew 25:34-40
"Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
'Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothing and clothe you? When did you see you sick or in prison and to go visit you?'"
"The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Don't know about you, but I don't see any place where it says, "Unless you don't proclaim my name only." Strange...
So, needless to say, I don't really think I will be going back there again. To talk as if you know exactly what the Bible is saying and means, to claim to know God's heart, and to state that you know for a fact that people who don't follow the same ideology that you do are going straight to Hell is, to me, arrogance of the highest order.
I know what I believe. If it is going to send me to Hell, I choose to wait until God looks me in the eyes and tells me that, not some overweight pompous ass in a bad pair of jeans.
Peace, Love and (jesus loves me, this I know) Zombies \IiiI