An Open Letter To The World From An Offended Christian

An Open Letter To The World From An Offended Christian

I come to you not only as a Christian, but as a scholar.
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An Open Letter to the Entire World

My name is Cherie Morse, and I am a double major in Religious Studies and English at Morningside College with a minor in Psychology. Please, do not get turned off and stop reading at the Religious part of my time here at Morningside; but it is on the topic of religion that I write to you now. I am also a practicing United Methodist and hold strongly to our traditions. It is on the topic of religion and on the topic of how lopsided our views are that I come to you and ask you to hear what I must say. Just give me a few moments of your time, I beg you. Let me come to you, both as a Christian and a scholar.

Let me start off by saying that I do not only study Christianity. That is the one thing that I get a lot of when I tell people I study religion. Religious Studies majors and minors do not simply study Christianity. We look at ALL world religions. The Abrahamic Faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have discussed as well as the different religions found in Asia such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. So please, understand, that I do not come with only knowledge of Christianity, but with knowledge of others as well.

The subject weighing on my heart is the conversation about the Muslim community. Let me start off by saying that of the 1.6 BILLION people who claim Islam as their religion less than 1% of them are the radical extremists that make up terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. With that being said, the prominent message that Muslims claim and follow is one not very far off of that of Christianity's. It is a message of peace, love, and submission to the one true god.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are called the Abrahamic Faiths. The reason? They all claim to worship the god of Abraham. Jews do not believe that their promised messiah has come. Christians believe that Jesus was that promised messiah and comes from the line of Isaac. But Abraham had another son, Ishmael. And it from the line of Ishmael that we get the Muslim people.

They all, essentially if we think about it, worship the same god; the god of Abraham. Allah is simply the Arabic translation of God. Jews and Christians in the Middle East worship Allah as well. If you and I were to travel to the Middle East, we would as well be worshipping Allah. Why has there become this negative notion of the term? It is the same god. Please, understand this. Please hear this. Please consider opening your mind to this idea.

I am currently taking a class about Religion, Politics, and Society in America. Two things that Americans never want to talk about; politics and religion. And in the two class periods that we have had, the only views I see being stated are those of Christians. We are only looking at issues through a Christian lens. I get it, we are all Christians or at least relate best and know Christianity the most. But that is not the only religion in America. That is not the only religion that needs to be heard.

I walk into class in the mindset of a scholar. When debating, and discussing very rarely do I allow my faith and my United Methodist views be shown. I do so only when asked what the Christian viewpoint is. People fail to have open minds when entering a discussion about things that are “taboo” to talk about in our culture. And it leaves me on the verge of tears.

As a United Methodist, I believe in the open hearts, open minds, and open doors policy. I believe that the world is my parish just as John Wesley believed the world was his. I do not put borders on where my ministry can go, and neither does my denomination. We are an international denomination that gathers once every four years to discuss doctrine and practice. I yet still find myself in conversation with other United Methodists that only see their side of the world. And that is the reason I write to you today.

No matter your faith preference, no matter your beliefs or your lack thereof, you need to be able to be open to different faiths. It is in the unwillingness to understand those who differ from us that we find persecution. Specifically speaking to the issue at hand today, it is in our misunderstanding of the Muslim faith that we find our persecution of them. Equally so, it is in their unwillingness to understand us that they have formed the thoughts they have about us. But telling an entire group of people, no matter the motive behind it, that they cannot be a part of something is more than you just not being willing to hear what they have to say. It’s you putting yourself as more important as them. It is you denouncing them completely claiming they are completely wrong. I’m sorry, but to my fellow Americans and my fellow Christians, I do not support that.

I, Cherie Lynn Morse, a practicing United Methodist, completely support members of different faiths. I understand that while their beliefs are different from my own, that they are not out to hurt anyone. That they are simply trying to put meaning to the world; to find happiness in a similar way that I have. I support my Muslim brothers and sisters. I support my Jewish brothers and sisters. I support my brothers and sisters of all faiths. I will always stand beside them.

Please. I beg you, take a moment to try and understand. Take a moment and think about what it would be like if they were doing the things we are doing to them to us. A moment to reflect on our world. A moment to reflect on what we have become. Because as both a Christian and a scholar I weep.

Sincerely,

The Christian and the Scholar.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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