Things I Learned About Myself, When I Wasn’t In Church

33496411294_898d69b221_zPerhaps this sounds like a strange admission, but there have been times in my life when I had no church home. While I believe those were legitimate absences, upon reflection, I may have learned more about the need to be part of a church when I didn’t have one than the many years I did.

When I first moved to Washington, D.C., finding a good church was a challenge. It took many visits to find and settle in a church I thought was committed to the truth. Then, after roughly a year there, God opened my eyes to some serious false teachings entrenched there. I was devastated. After trying and failing to make any headway against the teachings, I left.

It was painful and discouraging time in my life. I missed the fellowship, the community, I missed hearing the Bible taught regularly. I missed singing praise aloud to God with other people. But church visit, after church visit, I kept spotting the same problems. And it wrecked me. The discouragement got the better of me and I gave up for awhile.

I was judged by some Christians during that time, which made it even harder to want to find a church again. I want to be clear – I never gave up my faith in Jesus. I didn’t somehow lose my Christianity because I wasn’t attending church on Sundays. During my absence, I also read my Bible and listened to podcasts and sermons when possible. Thankfully, that season did not last forever, and I eventually found churches I could regularly attend again and eventually even consider my home church.

But I learned some things during that season that I think are important and sharing them could help others. Continue reading

One of the Most Essential Messages I’ve Ever Heard

Estimating conservatively, I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts and sermons in my life. Many have edified me, convicted me or taught me. But the sermon/lecture in the latter half of this episode of Fighting for the Faith is one of the best and most important I’ve ever listened to. I hope many of you decide to listen to it. Continue reading

Idol “Christianity,” My thoughts about “Faith, Doubt and Other Lines I’ve Crossed” by Jay Bakker

If you haven’t read my other post today about truth and doubt, you’ll find it here.

This review took me a long time to write for a number of reasons, but mostly because I was so grieved by the false teaching in “Faith, Doubt and Other Lines I’ve Crossed” by Jay Bakker.

Bakker is the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and he writes a lot in his book about his upbringing. Reading the many unChrist-like things people did to him over the years and about the toxic teachings he was raised under saddened me. I am sorry he saw the Bible used to abuse and control people, to generate fear and to hold them hostage, and that some people wrongly used the church discipline guidelines laid out in Scripture. I’ve personally witnessed similar abuses and know what pain they can cause. Continue reading

Hindu American Foundation wants to “Take Back Yoga”

The New York Daily News recently reported that the Hindu American Foundation has launched a campaign to “Take Back Yoga,” “not to convert Westerners to Hinduism or urge them to cease practicing it altogether, but to remind people that yoga is rooted in Hindu philosophy.”

I hope they succeed in reminding people that yoga is in fact an Eastern spiritual practice because perhaps it will finally wake up some of the Christians who think yoga is a merely neutral practice, or one that can be Christianized. After all, Christians serve the Almighty God, the God that declared in the 10 Commandments “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And who reminds his people throughout Scripture that he is a jealous God and idolatry is not permissible.

The Daily News quoted Sheetal Shah, senior director at the Hindu American Foundation, who said he wary of “Christian” adaptations of yoga because “yoga teaches pluralism, ‘the idea that there are multiple paths to the Divine (or God.)'”

“I believe that at some point a person with an exclusivist mindset (i.e. the idea that my God is the only God, my way is the only way, those who don’t believe in my God cannot be ‘saved’, etc.), who is deepening his/her yoga practice will eventually realize there is an inherent contradiction between his/her belief and the path of yoga,” Shah said.

That is precisely what concerns me about Christians practicing yoga, that it will eventually lead them down the path of pluralism and ecumenism.

H/T Challies.com

Other resources for Christians on the subject of yoga:

Christian Yoga: An Oxymoron? an article by Marcia Montenegro

Yoga and the Body of Christ by Dave Hunt

Out of India by Caryl Mastriciana