Category Archives: Approachable

Introduction to Approachable Christianity

Introduction to Approachable Christianity

For the most part, this series is written for me. I’ve had these nagging thoughts and questions for many years. When answers couldn’t be found, well, I got started. Consider this a “conversation with myself” that you are welcome to listen in on, and also, contribute to. If you have better answers, especially in everyday language (no deep theology please), jump in!

So many Christians, so many view-points. That just can’t be right! Did Jesus set out to confuse us? That doesn’t seem possible. We are told the Holy Spirit is our counselor. Counselors help explain things. How have we missed it all these years?

Have we been misled? OK, maybe, sadly we have a long history of that. Or … have we just been complacent? I think that’s my situation. To avoid conflict, or to not be embarrassed for not understanding, I just drifted along in the Christian mainstream and flowed along with the crowd. That just doesn’t seem to be what Christ called us to!

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve been lazy. Or God may have us waiting for his timing. Moses was called by God, then God “delayed” him for 40 years! What was on his mind all that time?

Compare to science. Forget the phrases like “trust the science.” That’s never been the scientific method. The scientific method is to always TEST the theory.

I offer all this very open-handedly. This is for me. And all of it is offered with the simple idea that “I could be wrong!”

Worth Wrestling With?

“A good theology doesn’t just come by hearing and accepting it. When you get into the deep truths of the scripture you have to wrestle with it. You have to earn a good theology.”

— Randy Pope

I enjoy wrestling with Christianity’s awkwardness. How about you?

New to Approachable? Start Here <Previous: Awkward Christianity> <Next: Just What Is A Christian??

Awkward Christianity

Awkward Christianity

Do any of issues resonate with you?

  1. Far too many people, including friends and family, feel the church is irrelevant in their lives. (My paraphrase of Jeff Henderson)
  2. I know I’m supposed to share my faith, but I just don’t know what to say. Worse, I fear my attempt could push people away!
  3. I see people who call themselves Christians who don’t seem to fit, even a little, what I expect. Am I wrong in my expectations? Am I judgmental? Are they as messed up as it seems?
  4. I have friends, family, who I’m pretty sure are far from Christianity. Do I really believe they will go to hell when they die? What am I supposed to actually do?
  5. In Christian circles, we hear phrases like “keep repeating the gospel,” or “preach the gospel to yourself.” Am I supposed to know the whole book of Matthew (or Mark, or Luke or John)? Or is “the gospel” somethings shorter and simpler? I’m not sure I can describe what “the gospel” is?
  6. How can we have so many Christian denominations that have such different beliefs? Is there an essence to Christianity we can agree on?
  7. I know people — nice people, helpful people, people who are involved in serving others — “Good people.” No claim of Christianity; sometimes claims of something else. Are they going to hell?
  8. What is the fundamental basis for Christianity? The Bible? (can it be trusted?) Tradition? (How well has that ever worked out?) My feelings? I’m embarrassed that I just can’t quickly, clearly, explain what Christianity is
  9. People speak of being “Led by the Holy Spirit.” I have no confidence I’ve ever heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me
  10. Following Jesus. Friendship with Jesus. Sitting at the feet of Jesus. These all sound very physical and tangible. Do you have this experience? Do you know others who do?
  11. Who are your models of real Christ followers? How often do we see Spiritual Leaders who miss the mark a little? Does that turn you away from Christianity?
  12. What is worship? What is praise? What is it to give glory to God?
  13. Who created hell? Who “administers” hell?

<New to Approachable? Start here> <Next: Introduction>

Approachable Christianity

Approachable Christianity

Overview

Does Christianity confuse you? 2000 years ago, when Jesus walked on earth, He invested three years with a handful of guys, and He confused them all the time! Since then, somehow, Christianity has survived, and sometimes thrived, but it’s also splintered and fractured into so many groups who seem to be at odds with each other. Do we all have the same basic beliefs, or are we as different as the different church architectures we see? What is going on? How can we be so vastly different? Are there any core beliefs where we can agree?

Do Jews and Muslims and Christians all worship the same God? If so, how can there be so much animosity amongst us? Are Catholics Christians? How about Mormans and Jehovah’s Witnesses? Seventh Day Adventists? Christian Scientists? With all this division and confusion, it is any surprise that Christianity is on the decline? Where does Scientology fit in?

One of the most confusing things of Christianity is that there’s not anywhere [obvious] a short list of the basics. There is almost an attitude of “you get to choose what matters.” If we all get to choose our own path, is it any wonder that there are so many different paths?

Maybe, just maybe, there are some good answers to be found. That’s certainly my hope.

If it were simple, would you be more inclined to believe more?

If there is a simple part of Christianity that disagrees with your personal long-held belief, are you willing to adjust your belief?

If it’s hard, are you willing to work for it?

Do you really accept that your eternity is at stake? If heaven and hell exist, then it matters where you end up, and despite popular media views, death is not an automatic ticket to heaven.

What can we do, together, to make Christianity more understandable, more inviting, more approachable?

<Next: Awkward Christianity>