Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Love God - Love Your Loved Ones Less

Yesterday, my brother shared an article on Facebook concerning Evangelical pastor Francis Chan's challenge for Christians to stop idolizing their family and put Christ's mission first. He asked for his readers' thoughts. After perusing the article, I wrote:
"A: Chan believes anyone who does not "have a relationship" with his god will be tortured for eternity by said god - so out the gate, I am convinced that his view of god is going to be harmful to humanity. Ergo any thought he has to add about how a believer should go about spiritual pursuits, in my view, is going to be highly suspect.
B. Chan is encouraging you to put the most important relationships of your life on the back burner so you can go out and... well, at this point it gets vague... be radical, and all out, and live over the edge! This too will probably end badly. Not for Chan, Chan will get awesome book deals and speaking engagements out of this. He will get lots of perks.
The followers of Chan? Not so much. They will probably mess up relationships, wax and wane between guilt and euphoria until something gives, and make a lot of financial and life decisions with no more consideration than a role of the dice.
My challenge to Christians... stop idolizing... period."
Then this morning, I read an article by Libby Anne over at Love, Joy, Feminism, where she shared about growing up with that evangelical mindset of near paranoia about making sure everything and everyone in your life was undervalued when compared to God.
"I also remember worrying that I loved my family more than I loved God. I was taught that this was wrong—that it made my family idols. I felt so conflicted over this, and purposed time and again to love God more than I loved my parents or siblings."
Reading both of those articles made me reflect on how real that topic was to me growing up. I regularly saw folks give up various past times and pleasures because they were concerned these things were becoming an "idol" in their life. I many times abandoned enjoyments, passed on opportunities, or sabotaged relationships because I thought these things would "hinder my walk with God". Jesus needed to be ultimate (whatever that meant) and nothing could even be a close second.

One of the musical heroes in my circles growing up was named Keith Green. I lived and worked at Green's ministry for 6 months when I was 18.  He wrote a song where he pointed out that everything in his life took 2nd place to Jesus. Keith speaks of his marriage in this way:
"As I told her when we wed, I'd surely rather be found dead, than to love her more than the one who saved my soul."
There was a time when I heard that song and that line and felt it was a powerful testimony of dedication to Jesus - now I see it as a dysfunctional mess.

Imagine a husband insisting to his wife that she love him more than the children. Contemplate what kind of mother would tell a daughter that, if the daughter loved her brother more, then the daughter was unworthy of her mother's love.

Does any reasonable person consider this jealous, competitive perspective in any way loving?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Journey to Atheism - Part 2

Here is part 2 of my discussion with my brother about leaving the faith. We talk about why I couldn't stop at Agnosticism and what effect this all had on my family. If you haven't listened to Part 1 yet, you can find it here:  Part 1

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Journey to Atheism - Part 1

I want to recommend to you my brother's podcast. Steve is a Christian believer whose faith journey has led him to ... more open pastures ... in the past half dozen years. Steve and I have both gone through a lot of changes over our decades as brothers, but no matter where we were politically, philosophically, or religiously, we have always managed to have excellent dialogue. One reason is because Steve, at his core, is a great conversationalist and that really comes through in the podcast. Be it discussions of faith, stories from his month long walk on the Camino de Santiago, or opinions about the latest Star Wars movie, his new podcast has proven to be a worthy listen on my list.

In his latest episode, Steve interviews me about my journey from a life of faith to atheism. We talk about Hell theology, life among the Mormons, and how Evangelicals respond to diversity.  We had a great conversation, in fact, it lasted over 2 hours. So Steve split it in half and this is part one. Enjoy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails