I Needed To Leave the Church to Be Called Back to It

I Needed To Leave the Church to Be Called Back to It

"I was raised Catholic, so I'm an atheist now" -John Mulaney

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If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "Well, I was raised Catholic, so I'm an atheist now," I could probably pay off my student loans. If I had a dollar for every time I said it I wouldn't be eating PB&J; for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I was raised Catholic and like many other millenial Catholics, once I left for college I also left my religion. Catholicism became so synonymous to me with hatred, bigotry, and homophobia that I couldn't take it anymore. The love I held in my heart for people of all types of lifestyles was larger than my love for God.

As the world quickly changes, the Christian church has been slow to change with it. We use the bible to justify our politics. We use the scripture to judge others. We falsely believe that having a relationship with God makes us an expert on how others should look, feel, and act.

I have always had a relationship with God but not always with the Church. But the problem wasn't the Church, but the people that were within it. Never once during mass did I ever hear a homily or scripture about judging people for who they love or the color of their skin. We have always been taught the opposite.

I began to avoid God because I wanted to avoid my parents and their friends who spouted racist and homophobic thoughts out of ignorance. It was easier for me to remove myself than to try to argue with them about judging others. I stopped going to church and discussing my feelings with them because I would only be told I was wrong.

I couldn't continue calling myself a Catholic because I had begun to believe that being Catholic meant that we had to reject people who weren't like us. AKA white, straight people.

The farther away I moved from my hometown the closer I got with God and being Catholic. I was able to find different resources and hear different voices about what it means to be Christian. I learned that above all else, God tells us to love and respect our neighbors. We are born perfect because God created humanity in his own image.

I had always felt this in my heart but I was alienated by ignorance and politics that truly weren't in line with God's word.

I had to mend my relationship with Him before I could try to mend my relationships with everyone else. I still struggle with dealing with conflicts caused by differences in my beliefs with other Catholics. I hope by reading this, these people will understand why it was easier for me to shut down rather than explaining how I felt.

Many Millenials have left the church for the same reasons I did, but our passion to make our world a better place couldn't be more in line with God's word. Jesus broke bread with lepers and sex workers, so why can't us Catholics learn to love people who live differently than us?

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Christians Marched At A Pride Parade To Apologize To LGBT+ Folks, Restoring My Faith In Humanity

We can all take away pointers about acceptance, love, and equality from this congregation.

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The Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries stood in solidarity with the LGBT+ community of the Philippines at a recent pride parade in the city of Marikina, preaching messages of acceptance and understanding for the country's too often marginalized population. Attendees from the Church of Freedom were in opposition to their Christian counterparts who also took part in the parade; while they protested the celebration and gathering of LGBT+ folks, the Church of Freedom protested the widespread violation of human rights that the community often faces.

The vast majority of the Philippines island identifies as Christian - Roman Catholic, to be precise - allowing room for assumptions and stereotypes to be made. Often when we think of religion, of Christianity, and LGBT+ persons, we don't paint a picture of peace and tolerance. We think of the Westboro Baptists, discriminatory Bible verses, and excuses to deny people basic rights to happiness and personal autonomy.

This is what makes the Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries' action so commendable.

Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries members at Marikina Pridehttp://says.com/ph/kulture/this-church-rallies-at-...

According to Pastor Val Paminiano, followers of the Church of Freedom have "been attending local pride celebrations for about four years now," often wandering the grounds of the event in order to reach as many people as possible. He continues:

"We are apologizing for the way Christians have hurt the LGBT community, especially by using the Bible in condemning and judging them... God is not against anyone."

While many sects of Christianity, and organized religion in general, focus on the few verses regarding homosexuality and LGBT+ persons, they chose to focus on the many verses about love, acceptance, and understanding. They extended the love of their God to people they also believe to be God's children, and therefore, their equals. The Church of Freedom members chose to embrace and encourage instead of detest and adjudicate, transforming traditional thoughts about religion and sexuality.

In doing so, the Church has revitalized hope for thousands of people around the globe:

1. LGBTQ+ folks who struggle with being religious and/or religious folks who struggle with their sexual orientations or gender identities.

The Church's act has provided a common ground for those who fall between a cross roads of religion and the LGBT+ community, allowing them a positive example where it wasn't necessary to "choose." Religious people supporting LGBT+ people provides important representation and acceptance for queer, Christian folks, furthering individual pride in both aspects of one's identity.

2. Religious folks who aren't sure who or what to believe about specific topics.

A differing viewpoint from the common "norm" often presented about how one should act or what one should believe under any given circumstances allows the individual to think for themselves, to some extent. The Church proved to Christian folks of any sect that it isn't required to be against LGBT+ persons and their relationships in order to be a "real" Christian, nor is it necessary to dismiss it as a sin (if that's what you believe). Moreover, it's necessary to simply love without restriction, regardless of circumstances, if that's what you believe Christ would do.

3. Agnostic/atheist folks who aren't sure where they stand regarding organized religion.

I have heard plenty of people who are atheistic or agnostic who abhor organized religion, often due to the followers of said religion using it as a reason to hate, instead of love. Given this example, however, it is possible that the opinions of some of these people may be altered, just as Pastor Val Paminiano's was.

The Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries has set an incredible example for the past four years, gaining more traction with each passing pride celebration. The impact of the congregation has been felt worldwide, providing hope for thousands of people in both the LGBT+ community and religious communities, potentially sparking change for future generations of tolerance and acceptance.

I don't know about you, but my faith in humanity has been (at least partially) restored.

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