Do you check your boxes before investing your time and attention into a relationship with someone?
When I say “Check Your Boxes” most of the time means, I have certain core values that I want my significant other to share. It is 100% okay to be picky when dealing with relationships or friendships. Many relationships clash when core values do not match up. This is way more than just “Politics”, I have plenty of Democrat Friends and Family. I also have a couple in my life who are married to the opposing party! Politics is more sport than core values.
When looking at scripture, God literally lays out everything we need to know about upholding strong, loving relationships and continuing to help each other grow in faith. These kind of relationships also hold a good amount of accountability when we are tempted by the Sin of the world. Who you surround yourself with means everything! You want people in your life that will promote positive growth in your life.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Like Mama used to say, “You are who you hang out with”. Why surround ourselves with people who are negative and draining? Our souls crave to be full of life! Id much rather have a girl friend pray for someone who wronged me instead of talking negative about them behind their back.
Matthew 7: 24-27
The Wise and Foolish Builders 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The Foundation of a Relationship matters. You want your relationship to be able to withstand any storm that gets thrown your way. So build it on a firm foundation. Jesus.
“The resurrection of Christ is one of the foundation stones of Christianity. It was the seal of the great work that He came on earth to do. It was the crowning proof that the ransom He paid for sinners was accepted, the atonement for sin accomplished, the head of him who had the power of death bruised, and the victory won.” ~ J.C. Ryle
The following is a true story that was posted in the Nigerian Catholics Facebook group on 15 May 2017.
A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companions reciting the prayer Hail Mary. He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it, and would recite it every day. “Look, Mommy, what a beautiful prayer,” he said to his mother one day.
“Never again say it,” answered the mother. “It is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who adore idols and think Mary a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. Come on, take this Bible and read it. It contains everything that we are bound to do and have to do.” From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily Hail Mary and gave himself more time to read the Bible instead.
One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady. Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: “Mommy, I have found the Hail Mary in the Bible which says: ‘Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women.’ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?”
On another occasion, he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary and the wonderful canticle MAGNIFICAT in which Mary foretold that “the generations would call her blessed.”
He said no more about it to his mother but started to recite the Hail Mary every day as before. He felt pleasure in addressing those charming words to the Mother of Jesus, our Savior.
When he was fourteen, he heard a discussion on Our Lady among the members of his family. Everyone said that Mary was a common woman like any other woman. The boy, after listening to their erroneous reasoning could not bear it any longer, and full of indignation, he interrupted them, saying:
“Mary is not like any other children of Adam, stained with sin. No! The Angel called her FULL OF GRACE AND BLESSED AMONGST WOMEN. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and consequently Mother of God. There is no higher dignity to which a creature can be raised. The Gospel says that the generations will proclaim her blessed and you are trying to despise her and look down on her. Your spirit is not the spirit of the Gospel or of the Bible which you proclaim to be the foundation of the Christian religion.”
So deep was the impression which the boy’s talk had made that his mother many times cried out sorrowfully: “Oh my God! I fear that this son of mine will one day join the Catholic religion, the religion of Popes!” And indeed, not very long afterward, having made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the boy found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles.
Some time after his conversion, he met his married sister who rebuked him and said indignantly: “You little know how much I love my children. Should any one of them desire to become a Catholic, I would sooner pierce his heart with a dagger than allow him to embrace the religion of the Popes!”
Her anger and temper were as furious as those of St. Paul before his conversion. However, she would change her ways, just as St. Paul did on his way to Damascus. It so happened that one of her sons fell dangerously ill and the doctors gave up hope of recovery. Her brother then approached her and spoke to her affectionately, saying:
“My dear sister, you naturally wish to have your child cured. Very well, then, do what I ask you to do. Follow me, let us pray one Hail Mary and promise God that, if your son recovers his health, you would seriously study the Catholic doctrine, and should you come to the conclusion that Catholicism is the only true religion, you would embrace it no matter what the sacrifices may be.”
His sister was somewhat reluctant at the beginning, but as she wished for her son’s recovery, she accepted her brother’s proposal and recited the Hail Mary together with him. The next day her son was completely cured. The mother fulfilled her promise and she studied the Catholic doctrine. After long preparation she received Baptism together with her whole family, thanking her brother for being an apostle to her.
The story was related during a sermon given by the Rev. Fr. Tuckwell. “Brethren,” he went on and said, “the boy who became a Catholic and converted his sister to Catholicism dedicated his whole life to the service of God. He is the priest who is speaking to you now! What I am I owe to Our Lady. You, too, my dear brethren, be entirely dedicated also to Our Lady and never let a day pass without saying the beautiful prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, and your Rosary. Ask her to enlighten the minds of Protestants who are separated from the true Church of Christ founded on the Rock (Peter) and 'against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail.’”
If my Sunday school teacher had asked me to tell them the gospel as a 6 yr old, I probably could have done it- and that would’ve been great… expect that for a long time I pretty much stayed right there. I could tell you the gospel, but if you asked me why Christ had to die, why it was essential that he rose again, or where the gospel really began all the way back in Genesis, I was stumped. It’s great to have Bible studies that go deeply into specific topics or certain books, those types of studies are essential to discipleship and spiritual growth, but if you don’t have a strong foundation in your understanding of the gospel, you are hopelessly lost.
The gospel is the cornerstone of our faith; Without it all the religion in the world means nothing. Yet, do we even understand what we believe when we recite the gospel to each other?
What about every other part of Christianity that follows? Do we understand why we go to church read the Bible, pray, go on mission trips, help the poor, or anything else we are called to do as Christians? When Christianity becomes cultural, it can be easy for us to go through the motions of doing all the outward signs of Christianity that everyone else expects, without understanding their significance, or experiencing these things in their fullness.
When we try to build on our faith without a solid foundation in the Lord and His Word, we are easily broken down by the attacks of our enemy and the distractions of the world. As soon as we face hardship, we begin to think that religion is fake, petty, and naive. Look at the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13 of a farmer (that is God) sowing seeds (the gospel) into different types of soil (our response to God’s words). Jesus said, “Some [seed] fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.” That is what happens when we don’t take time to create a foundation in why we believe what we do. We are beat down by troubles that come. Yet, hope is not lost. “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” We can truly grow in our faith and our relationship with God when we have a foundation to build on, that means hearing AND understanding.
So we’re starting a series on the wait, why? moments of Christianity- starting with the gospel, because we’ve gotta have a foundation.
You know what’s great about being a Christian is that our entire faith is built on the testimony of women. If you think about it, we are Christians because we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and who are the group of people our entire faith relies on? It’s the women who stayed with Jesus from the last supper all through his trial, who were overcome with grief, but still found the strength to follow Him through all the stations of the cross, when all the male apostles left him. Women like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna can attest to the fact that Jesus died, because they were there at the foot of the cross, and they can attest to the fact that He rose from the dead, because they were the first to see the risen lord. Their witness is the foundation of our entire faith. We owe them a great debt
He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
It is extremely cynical for people to declare the canonical Gospels and the Creeds to be elitist and racist. So incredibly uninformed and ignorant. And also fundamentally anti-Christian. The reason Creeds were written and a scriptural Canon compiled was because people were directly contradicting Christian doctrine and teaching, spreading erroneous and inaccurate theology throughout the world. This is why their function as defining the bounds of Christian faith are affirmed by the Church to this very day.
The doctrine of a literal bodily resurrection is not a modern invention or conceit. It was a central teaching of the followers of Jesus from the beginning. Within 30 years of Christ’s death, Paul was writing about a literal bodily resurrection. Within 50 years, the canonical Gospels were also proclaiming it to be so. Btw, it’s important for modern Western people to understand that ancient cultures were perfectly capable of preserving a story relatively accurately for centuries, much less a few decades. It was so central to the faith, that Paul said that Christianity without the resurrection was “in vain” (1Corinthians 15:1-20).
The actual elitism is the modern, Western “theological” conceit of certain theologically Liberal theologians that Christianity does not require belief in the resurrection. That the theological ideas and perspectives that the majority of Early Christians rejected as heretical are valid and equal if not superior to Creeds and Canon because it fits into their agenda to relativize Christianity to such an extent that the only part of Christian teaching taken as authoritative are those parts dealing with fighting injustice and being kind. Not a bad faith if you have it, but definitely not Christianity.
The idea advanced by some that all and any foundational Christian teaching can be removed from our faith as long as the persons doing the removal call themselves Christians is fallacious and unfaithful to our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church.
I don’t know if you all noticed this picture flashing in multiple parts of the music video. But here is a possible connection. This is Tony Alamo, founder of the Alamo Christian Foundation which is a Christian cult. Those who wanted to join the church vowed to turn over everything they owned and in return their own needs would be met. He went through many years of legal troubles, including sexual abuse. Alamo was imprisoned in 2009 and died in May of 2017. The current status of the church is unknown.
Why has this past year been difficult for you mentally?
I basically lost my faith in Christians. Not necessarily Christianity itself, but I stepped outside of my bubble and off my foundation of the Christian church as it was pretty much a landslide after that. It’s when I became an activist and when I started to ask hard questions (in the church) that people started to alienate me. I got frustrated that no one from the church I was going to (or the Christian church at large, generally speaking) was standing up against civil injustices. Where was the church when indigenous people and activists alike being tortured at Standing Rock? Where was the church when it seemed liked every day, another person was massacred for their skin colour? Where was the church when the world needed the love and grace and compassion and selflessness that Jesus professed and commanded of the people?
If they were part of the church I went to, then these Christians were singing sensationalist worship songs about creating a place for miracles, listening to sermons that exuded white Christian complacency, and “just praying about” the issues the world was facing and failing to get active and serve and show up in their community. Prayer is great but it’s nothing if you don’t act on it. You need to stand by your wishes. Your prayers. But time after time after time after time of encouraging and trying to engage and talk to these people, eventually they just alienated me. They cut me off.
I tried to go back once, the Sunday after the attack of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. Not to take away from the significance of her actions or life, but we all know that the US pays a lot more attention and freaks out when a white person is murdered. I went to the same church, was and was immediately separated and taken aside by the pastor. He praised my activist spirit but told me that he can’t preach about the issues that concern me because “it’ll go way over [the congregation’s heads]”. The sermon he gave that day was about women submitting to their husbands. I haven’t gone back since.
I’m sorry, I’m still hurt and angry about this. It’s just, the friendships and community I had for years dropped off the face of the earth when I challenged them to be accountable for the commandments of God for his people. Like… I’m literally reciting the bible in context and still people resist. I don’t think it’s because they think I’m lying, I think it’s because they don’t want to let go of their comfort. My friend put it this way: “They don’t want to face themselves.” I think that sums it up nicely.
So yeah, it’s been really difficult, because not only have I lost an entire community and my foundation here in this city, I’ve also had some struggles with the exclusionary attitude of Christianity. I don’t think that people are going to hell for being gay. I don’t think hell is even a real thing; like many things in the Bible, I believe that as this is manmade, it’s entirely possible for hell to be a human construct created to ensue fear and encourage rule-following of whomever is in control.
I got to a point where I would hear myself answer something about Christianity but I my inner voice questioned whether or not that was true. It was unnerving and terrifying to be honest. But I think I’m getting to a place where I’m accepting that this is part of my journey and this molting and transforming is going to be impactful in all the right ways; this is happening for a reason, and I need to rest in this change and find grace and grit in it and through it.
It just feels so lonely. That’s why I asked people if they had gone from being Christian to maybe not following that anymore. I personally have become more of a universalist than anything. In general, we really will never know, so it’s best to be loving and kind and compassionate and hope for the best. Put your faith where you will, but don’t be exclusionary, and definitely don’t bash anything especially if you don’t know anything about it. Love people, find gratitude and spread kindness and selflessness.
Maybe to someone who isn’t religious this could sound like a lot of hullabaloo about nothing, but this was my life for the longest time. And now it’s like my world was flipped on its head. I’m trying to figure out life without much community. It’s hard, sometimes really hard. But I’d rather walk alone in this journey and be true to myself and my exploration than be surrounded by people who only support me and befriend me if I share the same religion and same views within a religion as they do.
So we’ll see how this goes. I’m sure I’ll keep Tumblr updated. Right now I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita and soon the Ramayana. I’ve read teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and that resounds with me just as tantra does. I’m playing with the idea that there is one God who goes by many names, for different cultures and different people. I want to learn more about other spiritualities before I cement that idea in, if cementing is something I ever end up doing. I’m fine with being wrong, I just want to explore what I can because it actually gives me peace and excitement to learn something new, and to try and gather a glimpse of the world through someone else’s eyes.
A Day in the Word is a weekly YouTube bible study for youth and people of all ages. In today’s episode on 1 Peter 2, Jon talks about Jesus being the foundation of the Christian faith, and how in times of trouble and persecution, we need to learn to stand on Jesus as our rock.