I've been thinking a lot about all this news and what it means to me personally. Being someone who self identifies as a Christian, I don't like being told that I am not. I think that is pretty easy to understand. Firstly, I don't think you can tell anyone what they do or don't believe. That is a sure fire way to turn anyone off. If you want to know, ask. Even if you have studied my church's beliefs, ask me what that means to me. And if what you read or heard was true. I make no claims to have authority to determine if another person follows Christ or not. Even if it's not exactly in the same way that I do. Our beliefs and relationship with God are something deep within each of us and I believe are personal and unique as we all are. As we were created as unique people by that very same God, despite by what name you call Him. And only He can judge those beliefs and the intent of your heart.
In church yesterday, the topic in the class sort of organically came up. It's been on a lot of minds. Because it's a tender thing that we are protecting here. And I am really happy with how I came away from the discussion. Despite my initial knee jerk reaction to be very angry with the Reverend for his words, I am trying to remember that just as my beliefs are very important to me, what he is saying is important to him. So much so that I would spend 18 months away from my family and life that I know to work very full time in sharing them with anyone who would listen. Enough so that I feel it necessary to make lifestyle choices that aren't always understood, or popular, or easy. And enough so that I continue to correct myself and renew my efforts and devotion as I feel myself failing in certain areas. Which isn't easy. But I believe is worth it. For me. Now, do I think what he is saying is antagonistic. Yes, I do. At least in the way he is saying it. Necessary in a political setting? No, not all. Might his intentions be less than pure? Sure. But I can not be the judge of that. He is suffering a backlash for what he is saying and at the very least I can respect his devotion to it as I would hope another would respect mine. What I can do is offer a kind explanation of what I believe and why it is seen as different from others. Why it might not be seen as someone else's brand of Christianity.
In fact, we are different.
I embrace that. We have similarities, but we are also different.
We do not believe that we are led or founded by a man, as Jeffress said (his definition of a cult). Any more than the First Baptist of Dallas is a cult because he, as a man, is it's reverend or leader. We believe in a restored church as Christ established it on the earth, with his power leading it. Through prophets and apostles just like He organized. It's okay if you don't believe that, but it is what I believe.
I also love love loved another point that was made on Sunday. That Lucifer does not care what it is that we are fighting about. Just as long as we are fighting. So fighting over who is a true Christian not only seems counter intuitive, but sort of silly. And playing into the wrong hands. I believe that. And that if we are to effectively share those things that are dear to us, that it is best done in a spirit of love and understanding and acceptance. And mutual respect. Despite differences of opinion. This is what I am going to strive towards. And I will probably not do it perfectly, but that is life, and I will keep on trying.
This attitude would be great to be applied to politics as well. Especially if our political motivations are led by our faith. I do not think that any person should be elected or not elected simply based on their faith. But I'm not getting into that. Just yet. I do think that this a good read on the matter in light of current events: The shameful bias against Mormons
This is what I believe.