Stumbling Blocks

I recently read the book Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. As I did not know much about the author, I did a little online research on her. Among other things, I learned that Held Evans died tragically and unexpectedly at the young age of 37 from complications involving allergic reaction to medication. I also learned that I think I would have liked her, and am now curious to read more of her writing.

As is not surprising when looking up anything remotely involving religion online, I found widely polarized opinions about her. For example, an article from a conservative religious website claimed Held Evans was leading people to hell for daring to harbor and express doubt. (To put things into context: This same website condemned contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle for NOT condemning homosexuals.)

On Goodreads, reviews for Inspired tend to be raves or rants. In the latter category, one reviewer went on at length about what he or she considered Held Evans’s flawed theology, even putting the book on a “false teaching” shelf. (The possibility that this person’s own theology might be flawed is apparently out of the question.) Near the end of the scathing review, comes this line: “I advise readers to not eat up every book they read as true, but to examine everything with care and in light of the scripture.” In other words, scripture itself is not to be questioned nor is this person’s interpretation of it. I would like to advise the reviewer “to not eat up every book they read as true, but to examine everything with care,” INCLUDING scripture! (I opted not to engage in argument in the Goodreads comments.)

This highlights a very real problem for Christianity. How does a tolerant person deal with intolerance? How does someone willing to harbor doubts and ask questions confront someone who would never entertain the possibility of their own fallibility?

If you want to find ways to weaponize the Bible, it’s not hard. Want to keep women subjugated to men? Plenty of justification for it in scripture! Want to condemn homosexuality? Got it covered! Support for slavery? Too easy! Xenophobia, genocide, polygamy, incest? Check, check, check, check. Any pet prejudice can probably find support someone in the Bible, given the proper spin (sometimes requiring very little spin at all!)

For those of us who want to follow the Jesus we hear preaching the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7), this poses a stumbling block. It is hard to support the Christian church when so many of its loudest voices are those preaching intolerance, bigotry, and hate. It’s hard to admit to being a Christian when so often the church has come down on the wrong side of history. How does one stay inspired?

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Barefoot Voosk

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One thought on “Stumbling Blocks”

  1. Great problem with North American so called Christian sites is that first of all the trinitarian sites spread a lot of hatred against those who think otherwise than them. They not only go so far calling non-Trinitarians not to be Christians but they also sent them hate mail and lots of spam. Other Christians may call themselves lucky when they are not called to be burned in hell (for them an eternal torture place after death.)

    North America can boost to have the most conservative religious websites as well as having the most creationists and flat earth believers websites. They not only refuse to accept our world evolves constantly but they also love to damn the people who according to them photo-shop views from space plus those who believe in climate change and global warming.

    Those (mostly) conservative evangelical Christians often form a very real problem for Christianity and for Christendom. They find it their task to get people away from Christianity in Christendom, but by trying to proof their god Jesus is the Divine Creator they get even more people not believing in that Nazarene man nor in God, because they present God as a cruel fool who had an incarnation to fake his temptation and death and after that still keeps mankind suffering.

    Not showing the brotherly love of Christ they are also able to get people away, not only from Christianity but also from Christendom, where those trinitarians also feel themselves not at home in such community which spread so much hatred and intolerance.

    As you conclude “It is hard to support the Christian church when so many of its loudest voices are those preaching intolerance, bigotry, and hate.”
    At the same time it has become very hard for those of Christendom also to admit “to being a Christian when so often the church has come down on the wrong side of history.” By many of the real followers of Christ, the non-Trinitarians, often called non-Christians by the Trinitarians, There is a new movement going on to take distance from the name Christian, and using the real name of Christ to indicate they are followers of that Nazarene Jew, Jeshua. Jews who found that Jesus is the way to God and our Messiah therefore prefer the Name Jeshuaist above Christian, also because they do not want to be associate with those who worship three gods (the Trinity) and not the Gdo of Jesus , Who is the unseen God of Abraham, a Singular Spirit Being.

    We can only hope that those who believe in the son of God being the son of man and sent one from God who can bring salvation to us all, that they shall continue to spread the love of Christ and show the world that Jesus is the way to God and the door, even when it might be a small gate, to the Kingdom of God.


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