A Warning From A Christian Friend About My Faith Shift

I received a text from a Christian friend that was rather ominous. When I told her I thought we could agree to disagree, her final words were:

What we are is DONE. I am no longer going to throw my “pearls to the swine” Patricia. Yes, you have made your choice.”
Thus, I am going to respond to her text later in this blog post.
I really do believe that the person who wrote this text cares about me. In fact, if my Christian friends and family really believed I was going to hell and was going to suffer greatly because of my faith shift, I would hope that they would all be begging me to reconsider.
And as much as I appreciate the sentiments of this writer, her beliefs really do reflect much of why I have left the Christian religion.
Jesus never told anyone to make a religion out of his teachings. It was Paul who wanted to get everyone organized and said, “do not forsake fellowship with the body” which many Christians interpret as meaning, “whatever you do, don’t stop going to church.” I do think that it is essential to have friends who can encourage me in my spiritual walk.
An increasing number of Christians are saying, “focus on Jesus, not religion” but they still demand that to follow Jesus you need to believe certain things–mainly that Jesus died for our sins and unless we accept him as Lord and Savior, we are going to hell.
That sounds pretty religious to me.

When I took the plunge about 4 years ago and studied Christian Universalism, I was already opening myself up to criticism.  They believe that all people will somehow get to know  Jesus in spite of his bad reputation which the majority of Christians give him. And then, they could go to heaven.

But they still believe in the Apostles and Nicene creed which are pretty standard beliefs of Christians.  Also, don’t you think it is rather arrogant to think that all the really good people in the world who are not Christian will somehow come around to the truth that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.

Many people leave the church and they leave Jesus behind because they never developed a relationship with Jesus that was nurturing. All they experienced was Jesus who said, “Come to me or go to hell,” along with other Christians who were crazy about Jesus but not so crazy about treating people in ways that were truly nurturing.
I feel grateful that I did develop a personal relationship with Jesus that was so strong that I could feel confident that he was the one who told me, “Get out of Christianity because you are not doing me any good by staying.”
So many Christians believe in a similar way. Progressive Christians and liberal Christians don’t buy into the creeds and beliefs. They don’t even believe the most of the bible is historically accurate. But they want to remain in the realm of the Christian religion for reasons which I frankly do not understand.
I honor that they think they can redeem Christianity, and I honor that I have given up like an increasing amount of ex-Christians are doing.
Now I want to answer this text from my friend. Her words are in italics
Friend: After many days I have come to a conclusion. There is only one answer for someone to Denounce Jesus as their Savior and Lord
That is if that person never had the 18-inch conversion
You received Jesus into your head. But never let him into your heart

If you had opened your heart to Jesus, there would be a profound transformation, an amazing, life-changing freedom that you, Patricia have yet to experience.

 

Trish: I’m confused. How much have you experienced me in the past four years? What do you know about the state of my heart?  And how do you know my life has not been completely changed by my decision to say that Jesus is my friend and guide rather than Lord and Savior. I have felt more peace, joy, and freedom since that decision on Feb. 1 than I have in my entire life.
Friend: And when that day happens, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ Yeshua is the Son of the most High God and he is Savior to those who ask him into their HEARTS.
Trish: I am banking on my experience. I feel more connected to Jesus and more loved by him than ever before.
Matthew 10:33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Wow. If he is disowning me, he sure isn’t doing a very good job since I am feeling more love for people, myself, and God, than ever before. I am experiencing blessings beyond measure.
Friend: My heart is very sad for your choice.
I am guessing that when someone like myself leaves the Christian religion, you see this as some kind of betrayal, and perhaps that we no longer can be friends?
I hear that you really care about me and that you are sad for my choice, and concerned about where I will spend eternity. I will take my chances. I feel connected to Jesus and he does live in my heart.
I believe he loves me no matter what my beliefs are. I feel his love and guidance.
 Friend: Yes, I do really care about you, Patricia. Yes I am sad about your words. I believe that you are confused about the Son of God. And about the absolutes of God’s word. You have chosen to “create” your own form of “god” to your liking.
Trish: I feel confused once again. I am doing my best to focus on following the teachings of  Jesus which are really clear. Things like, “Love your enemies, forgive others, don’t worry, Love God, yourself, and your neighbors, and if you even think someone is upset with you, before you worship, go reconcile with that person.”

It’s weird. These basic teachings are rarely taught in sermons, especially the sermons I listened to at the local church we used to attend together. I’m doing my best to focus on the universal laws that I believe our Creator wrote on our hearts.

Friend: I know that God is very clear about eternity. 
Trish: God is not clear about eternity. Some ex-fundamentalists who knew the Bible inside and out have figured out that it is not clear that there is an eternal damnation for anyone. Do some research on Christian Universalism and you will find tons of evidence for this.
Friend: How could you feel connected to Jesus when you have denounced Him? 
I haven’t denounced them. I am actually following his teaching where he says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Can you tell me where Jesus actually says, “I am your Lord and Savior?” And that I have to call him that in order to have a connection to him?
Friend: The Jesus that lives in your heart is not the same Jesus that lives in my heart.
Trish: That’s fair enough. I can’t prove to you that I am connecting to the real Jesus, and you can’t prove to me that you are connecting to the real Jesus. So we can give that up right now. 

Friend: And God’s word is very clear. I respect your choices. But they do not line up with the God of the Bible.
Trish: I appreciate that you respect my choice. And remember, there are countless bibles that have different interpretations.  The God of the bible is not always so clear, especially when you look at the Old Testament compared to the New Testament. And with thousands of denominations–I would say that God’s word is pretty muddy in a lot of places.
Okay. Sounds like we need to agree to disagree. Does that sound okay with you?
Friend: Yes, if we were having a philosophical discussion, perhaps. But this is NOT a discussion. It is a warning from me, and the word of God concerning your confusion in the matter of who the Son of God truly is. In fact, I think you prefer to disagree with all of God’s word.
Trish: No, I don’t disagree with all of God’s word.   I just cherry pick the parts that I resonate with like all Christians do.  I feel a bit uneasy about you feeling a need to warn me. I just don’t see Jesus warning me about this.
Jesus did say, after all, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21.  Seems like he makes it pretty clear that I don’t have to call him Lord to be part of the kingdom of heaven. Or have some particular interpretation of who he is in order to be connected. 

Friend: I do love you though. Or else I would just let you slip off the cliff without throwing you a rope. Consider this to be the ONLY rope you are going to receive from me.

Trish: I really appreciate that you want to help me out. You are acting in alignment with your beliefs. I respect you for that. 
 
Friend: What we are is DONE. I am no longer going to throw my “pearls to the swine” Patricia. Yes, you have made your choice.
 
I really don’t want you to waste your time on me because it is a hopeless cause. I have made up my mind. I have been moving in this direction ever since I reluctantly committed my life to Jesus 17 years ago. 
 
I think you are right. I never did swallow the Christian teachings hook, line and sinker, and thus I never believed as you and many others do. When I first committed my life to Jesus, I  yearned to believe as you do 100% so I could feel a sense of belonging and acceptance from other Christians. 
But I realize now that my need for community was never being met within the Christian world, and that I was trying to believe something I couldn’t for reasons that were not healthy. I wanted approval and love at the expense of being true to my values and what I really believed. I deeply regret that. 
I studied Christian apologetics so much because I wanted intellectual proof that my spiritual beliefs were valid. But now I see the holes in those arguments. I still love Christian apologetics and most of the people who teach these logical arguments for the validity of the Bible are really smart and sincere. But they are missing a lot of points that I won’t go into here.
 
I trust in a good Creator who loves me and wants the best for me, and who loves you and wants the best for you. A beautiful, wonderful, powerful, omniscient, omnipresent Creator that wants to co-create with all of us a world where everyone is happy, safe and free, including the animals, is the One who I am believing in. 
I trust that Jesus knows my heart and that he is helping me on my new path.
I’m trying to do those things which I believe Jesus sees as beneficial which includes being a vegan.  I sense his support as I continue working on the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage (formerly Jesus Vegans Ecovillage) where we can demonstrate Garden of Eden principles and share this with the world so that all of life can thrive.
………..

I would love to hear your comments. Have you had similar experiences with Christians before? Or are you a Christian and concerned about my salvation?

2 thoughts on “A Warning From A Christian Friend About My Faith Shift

  1. I am proud of you. You seem very clear and express it well and lovingly. I applaud you for your courage to make this public, especially since you have a community that you have been a part of for a long time. There are many spiritual seekers in this area and I would encourage you to seek out those who align more with your experience. I revoked Christianity when I was around 12 years old. It is an interesting story perhaps I will share with you someday. I would like to see your Christian friends study the history of the Bible. If they believe this to be the true word of God they may be awakened.

    Liked by 1 person

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