• Linda Preston

Calling Out You Christians

I have been watching and listening for a long time, and it is just too hard to be quiet anymore. I am wondering where your hearts are and what do you stand for right now? Obviously, the political scene in this country is what has given rise to this contemplation for me.

For years I stood by quietly while the Born Again Christians treated me like a heathen, putting me in a very non-Christian box because I wasn’t joining them in their perception of what Christianity is. I was subject to their preaching, their self-righteous, judgmental stance toward me because I did not agree with them politically, or did not attend their church, or seem to have that honeymoon glow of Christ that was obvious to them. I know evangelizing is your way, and what you perceive to be your Christian duty, but quite honestly it is condescending, shortsighted, and downright insulting. Especially when you are talking down to someone who was steeped in the teachings of Christ since birth. When were you born again, last year? 5 or 10 years ago? Evangelizing is often imposing your beliefs on others, and this has gotten out of hand with how people behave as citizens. A kind reminder, when you leave the church, remember you are carrying your beliefs and spiritual passions with you, but you enter the role of citizenship in a country where Christianity thrives, and we also have freedom of religious choice and practice in America. Your way is not the only way.

I was raised in a Christian home, and for as long as I can remember, I attended Sunday School and Church for my entire growing up life, every week. In summers, it was vacation Bible School. I was Born Again at the age of 14 in an Evangelical, Crusade Tent that summer, so I know that honeymoon glow. Eventually it integrates into ones entire psyche and heart, which brings one to model of a more grounded Christian example. I read the Bible as a part of my homework and studies, learned what was taught about how to live as a Christian in the world. I learned something about The Golden Rule, The Ten Commandments, and the teachings of Christ that I still live by today. I had parents who nurtured that, and the influence of two religious grandmothers, one of which was so pious, that I believe it was her 24/7 prayers that brought her two sons, my Dad and his brother, home safely from World War II. As I grew up, having a pretty strong foundation for my soul to sprout and grow with Jesus, I began to look more discerningly at churches, people in churches, and what fit better for me as I sought out more spiritual nourishment. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is the Church’s duty to help us grow a moral compass as children, and take us all to God, and hopefully teach us about the gifts of the spirit, one of which is discernment. Sometimes this is a success story, sometimes not. After all, we have all been given free will.

What I found, as I grew older, were the limitations of religion, after exploring just about every sect of Christianity that exists. I spent time in Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian, Unitarian, and Assembly of God Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and more after an upbringing in Baptist and Congregational Churches. To my dismay, when entering a Catholic Church, I was told I could not take communion! (they regarded me as non-Christian). This disappointment revisited me on the day my Mother passed away. In 2009, she was on her death bed in a Catholic hospital and wanted a clergy person to pray with her. Because she was listed as a protestant, they refused to send a minister in to be with her. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Another great awakening came to me at the spirit-filled Assembly of God Church, where there was speaking in tongues, anointing of oil, healings, and very inspirational sermons from a “spirit-filled” minister who everyone loved. I was there for two years, living the life of a newly born-again Christian, (at the age of 34 for the second time). Living a very clean life according to what was taught there. It was all so entrancing, so perfect, so seemingly illuminating until it all came crashing down. One day I was talking to a woman there who had gotten engaged to a lovely young man in the church. She was so upset because she had discovered she was not allowed to marry him in their church because she had been divorced. She divorced a man who was beating her and nearly killed her. Thank God she got away with her life, and found her way to healing and new love again. But the church would not let her marry because her divorce was not Biblically founded! In other words, the only divorce they accepted was due to adultery! Really? Seriously??? This was the first eye-opener that made me question why I supported such an institution. The second was that the myth around the wonderful minister and his perfect little family, a wife and two children, fell apart when he discovered that he was gay! Wow, the congregation loved that!! The fact of how quickly he left the church, and I am sure how the judgments flew, really did it for me. I was done!! If anyone could have prayed away the gay, he could have. But of course I do not believe in that malarkey. Pray away a tumor, or evil, yes.

I recalled the time when that kind of Christianity influenced my life in my 20’s, unfortunately due to peer pressure, and I was led to marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons because I did not have enough insight or wisdom within myself to resist and listen to the still small voice within me trying to say “no, this is the wrong decision.” Here I was again, thrown into that kind of Christianity for another look, now at the age of 36. Ugh. Growth is painful. It was at that moment that I claimed and began to cherish my own Christianity, the pure teachings of Christ without the hypocrisy and glaring human imperfections of others coloring my religion, spirituality, and life. Off I went back into some of the eastern philosophies which offered more in-depth journeys for personal growth and evolution of the soul. These other approaches to spirituality taught that self-effacing, self-accountability and being still in meditation is critical to make change and evolve. In addition, they did not interfere with my Christian base. I would say the same for the many years I spent studying the Kabbalah, Jewish Mysticism, as well as Sufism, the mystical path of Islam. The roots of Christianity are in Judaism, and the heart of a Sufi is very aligned with the heart of Christ. These paths gave me a broader perspective as well as spiritual teachings and practices that fit well with my Christian base, and brought me to a career in spiritual healing/counseling.

So, Christians. How is your prayer life? I know you are very good at talking to God. I learned well how to do that….my whole life long. But it wasn’t until I learned how to meditate that I began to be quiet enough within myself to hear the voice of God answering me or guiding me.

How are your relationships when there is only a one-way conversation where only one person speaks? I also ask you, where are your gifts of Discernment of Spirits? This is one of the most valuable gifts of the spirit we need in life. I remember listening to Jimmy Swaggart on tv when I was a member of Assemblies of God Church. I recall him saying, “ You know, when Satan comes walking down the isle of your church, he will not be in full regalia of a witch doctor (which he regarded as evil at that time) or wearing horns and carrying a pitchfork. He will be dressed in normal clothing.” How do we recognize him? Did we forget this lesson? Maybe you never heard it. Looking for subtle clues, like someone holding a sacred Bible upside down, that someone who probably has never held one, let alone “get” what is inside.

Discernment gives us the power and desire to investigate, beyond the surface, look at one’s character, examine their beliefs and actions to truly know who they are. I know some of you don’t want to hear this, but I think Satan is in our midst in a blue suit, a white shirt and a red tie. My gifts of discernment show me this a person bereft of a moral compass, has no empathy, is racist,

anti-semetic, treats women badly, at best,…and has probably broken all the 10 Commandments during his life. Even if he had prayed for forgiveness, which I doubt he did, he continued to go on as usual and has never been held accountable by himself or anyone else. I know this, he breaks the 9th one daily, multiple times to fulfill his own motives. How about “Your will, not mine, Lord”??? I keep remembering the song I learned as a child, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight….” This song resounds in my heart as I watch DJT in his cruel actions abuse and continue to separate families at the border, traumatizing humans. I am not in favor of giving away free stuff, but all of us came from immigrants, and people are just trying to get away from danger, to a better place (unless you are Native American, by the way) If they have a chance to work for it, why not??? The True Christian Heart would feel this way. Change the legislation, not the way we should treat others.

On another note Christians are terrified of fornicating, yet they have voted in and continue to support a man who has been a habitual adulterer, and has probably even committed rape as well as keep company with one of the most vile pedophiles on the planet who violated 14 year old girls. He has gathered all the corrupt people around him to enable his actions of dismantling our democracy. This feels evil to me. What do you think? If this riles your Christian hide, look inside. Perhaps you have the same values at this man, where racism, adultery, lying, and cruelty to others is A okay. When someone places his will over God’s will, and creates destruction and pain in the world, RED FLAG. He does not serve the higher good for all, clearly. Only someone with a higher vision and sense of carrying out his soul’s mission to be of service to the country would do that, which unfortunately is missing in him. If you are still for him, that is okay. But own your inner values, see that you are like him. Come out of denial, Be real. Don’t hide behind your supposed Christianity. It is not becoming or a good example.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, or be perfect in any way, but I have insights that are grounded in my Christian faith, even though at this point I choose not to invest in a church home. (Been there, done that.) I have established enough of my own Spiritual Reservoir within to participate in any spiritual ceremony, receive nourishment, respect what is given in the moment, and feel completely at peace with my relationship to God. So, Christians, next time you want to proselytize to another, take a look beneath the surface. Carefully and respectfully examine your audience. You might be speaking to someone who was where you stand right now before you were even born, (physically or spiritually). And don’t paint us with a broad brush. Every individual deserves to be assessed on their own merit….and remember:

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Let’s all be like Jesus, see through his eyes, feel through his heart, and be kind to one another. Let our legislation and political actions support that.

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South Yarmouth, MA 02664
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