Robin Williams' Top 10 Reasons To Be Episcopalian

Robin Williams' Top 10 Reasons To Be Episcopalian

My interpretation.
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Robin Williams was not only a famous actor, but also an Episcopalian—a sect of Christianity—like myself. When trying to describe this version of Christianity, one might explain that this sect is Catholic-Lite. The Episcopal church formed when Henry VIII wished to divorce his nth wife without beheading her, and therefore, founded a new sect in order to avoid doing so. Episcopalians sometimes find it difficult explaining exactly what we do and do not believe. In a 2002 HBO special, Robin Williams listed his top 10 reasons for being an Episcopalian. His list greatly sums up what it means to be an Episcopalian with witty humor and honest truth.

Robin Williams made the bullets, but I elaborated to explain each reason:

10. No snake handling.

A minute percentage of Christians believe in snake handling. This belief could have originated from several different scripture verses, but George Hensley founded this practice in the early 20th century. These Christians believe they can prove their faith and feel the Holy Spirit by handling snakes. Despite the origin and practice of snake handling, Episcopalians do not follow this mentality. They practice their faith in safe churches without handling snakes.

9. You can believe in dinosaurs.

You can believe that God created dinosaurs and no one will question your belief.


8. Male and female, God created them; male and female, we ordain them.

This reason is self-explanatory. Episcopalians do not believe that women cannot become priests. My church in Waco, Texas, currently has two female priests and had two others who left when God called them somewhere else.

7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.

The Episcopal Church does not tell you what you can and cannot think. They give you free rein on your beliefs. You can believe anything without judgment and with love and support.

6. Pew aerobics.

One service in an Episcopal church includes lots of pew aerobics. You go up and down a lot. Typically, you enter the pew (the long bench-like seats lined in two rows on either side of the aisle) and kneel to pray before service. You sit. You stand. You sit. You stand and sing. You turn in the pew to face the cross for the Gospel reading. You turn back to the front. You sit. You kneel. You sit. You stand and turn to greet one another nearby. You sit. You stand. You kneel or sit. You stand and walk to the altar and kneel for communion. You stand and return to your seat. You kneel. You sit. You kneel. You stand. You exit.

5. Church year is color-coded.

As an Episcopalian, you should not have much difficulty remembering what season of the church year you are in at any moment. Take one look at the altar and its colors will provide you with all the information you need. Green represents the ordinary days. Purple means lent. Purple or blue equals advent. Red is Pentecost and Holy Week. White symbolizes birth and death: Christmas, Easter, baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

4. Free wine on Sunday.

Unlike many churches, Episcopal churches serve wine for communion. No grape juice for you.

3. All of the pageantry, none of the guilt.

Some churches heavily emphasize guilt. Episcopal churches, on the other hand, love forgiveness. Everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes.

2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.

Baptists baptize people by dunking them into a bathtub-sized pool of water. Episcopalians sprinkle water in the shape of a cross on your forehead. People are not required to have prior knowledge of swimming. Many times, infants are baptized.


1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

Last, but certainly not least, no Episcopalian will judge or shame you for your beliefs. Episcopalians have a vast number of differences between each person’s individual beliefs unified by their belief in Christ as God. Even if you believe some extremely obscure thought, you can bet that at least one other Episcopalian will agree with you.


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God's Letter To The Struggling College Christian

Don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you
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Dear Struggling College Christian,

Life can be tough, especially in college; you’re at that age where you’re not exactly an adult but also no longer a child. You’re somewhere in between, possessing just enough freedom to do what you want while still being held responsible for the decisions you make about your future. You're always stressed out. You’re going to get hurt, you’re going to feel like dropping out or changing your mind, and you’re even going to want to turn your back on me, your God, but I want to tell you this: your suffering is not in vain.

SEE ALSO: I Am Christian Millennial And I Do Not Hate You

I want you to know that everything you are going through is a lesson. It’s all building you into a better person, a better you. The things you’ve asked of me, the things you’ve told me you wanted – those are things you have to be prepared for and you still need a bit of tweaking. The future, though bright, isn’t all sunshine and roses. The path has twists and turns, cracks are in it, fallen logs in your way, and most of the time you’re not going to be able to see straight ahead of you. The weather is going to be unpredictable. The hailstorm is going to knock you off your feet and the twisters are going to send you spinning into confusion, exhaustion and doubt, but with the strength that I am trying to build up in you, you'll find that you know exactly where to find shelter when the storms break down your door.

You’ll find that the lessons you learn from trying times are exactly what you need to fulfill my plans for you. You’ve read Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28, and heard them hundreds of times, but there is a verse in the Bible that you may have never paid attention to: Ephesians 2:10. It reads: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The most important part of this verse is one simple word: beforehand. So while you’re crying and stressing about what job you’re going to land after you graduate, if you’re going to marry that person you’ve been with for years, or if you even want to be majoring in what you’re currently majoring in, I already have a plan laid out specifically for you. You are my child, my creation and you have a purpose.

However, while knowing these things is great, it is all pointless if you don’t do. So here’s what I want you to do: do not give up. Have faith in me. You believe in me, so why not believe in me in your darkest moments? That’s the reason you became a Christian, right? Because I'm the one person you know that won't forsake you. You know that I love you, and you know that I’m here for you, so prove it. I know it can be hard when you’re pulled in a lot of different directions by your social life, your academic life and your extracurricular activities not to mention your family life and your own personal sanity, but take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to talk to me. Tell me your fears and your desires. Remember that you can ask me for and about anything. I'm always going to give you an answer, whether it's a yes, no, or not right now. After that, I want you to stop worrying and fight on through the darkness. You are stronger than you think.

My Child, enjoy yourself while you are young: don't stress over the things that you can't see. Don't give in to the depression, the anxiety, or the stress; things that are not of me. Don't let yourself forget about me or believe that I'm not there when I am and know that my plan is set in place for you. All you have to do is walk in it. Trust that this is all for your good. But most importantly, remember that I love you unconditionally–at your worst and your best. Life can be tough, but you are tougher simply because you are mine.

I’ve got you,

God

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Atheists, Come Out Of The Closet

The world will be a much better place for us all if you just come out.

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Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of the American Atheists organization, once called atheists the "last minority." To me, it is incredibly easy to understand what she means. Long after African-Americans, gays, and other minority groups have been largely accepted into society, atheists are still incredibly distrusted in general society. In fact, atheists continue to be the only group that it is socially acceptable to discriminate against, and worse yet, this makes so many atheists reluctant to even consider admitting their true beliefs.

Atheists are still incredibly discriminated against in society. When I first tell people this, they usually scoff at the idea that atheists can even be a minority. Additionally, people find it perplexing at the idea that atheists are even discriminated against, to begin with. I find that there are multiple reasons for this. For one, atheists are an "invisible minority." By this, I mean that, unless someone asks, they will not immediately know your religious beliefs. Unlike the color of someone's skin or the gender of the person that someone is marrying, religious beliefs happen at a mental level and someone has to actually communicate those beliefs to another person. This makes people less aware of the number of atheists there actually are in society, and so it begins to seem like a group that, relatively, does not matter. In addition, because of societal stigmas against the word "atheism," people that really are atheists shield themselves with titles like "agnostic," "spiritual," and "secular." This spreads out understanding of the movement and helps to reinforce the stereotype that atheist is a dirty word. Atheism simply means the lack of belief in God. No matter what title you choose, if you do not believe in God, you are an atheist. Accept and embrace that title.

Another issue is that people do not realize how atheists are discriminated against. There is a societal standard that deems that religiosity is not only expected but admirable. People think that the religious are superior morally and that the non-religious are lacking a fundamental part of them. Because of the nature of atheism, discrimination does not happen in the same sense that it happened to African-Americans. Rather, the main form of discrimination comes from micro-aggressions that most people do not even realize they are making. This would include things like encouraging a room to pray without considering those that do not believe in God or asking someone what church they go to when first meeting them. These practices reinforce the idea that religion is normal and non-religion is abnormal. Because people don't physically see this discrimination because no voices arise to call attention to it, this discrimination persists.

The only path forward is for more and more atheists to come out of the closet, embrace the title, and let the world know that we are here. Just like with the LGBT community, once people realize how prevalent we are, the stigmas begin to break down. Atheists make up a larger percentage of the U.S. population that Jews and other groups with intense lobbying power, and yet we have no openly atheist representative in Congress or in any high government office. When we begin to speak up, we can proudly tell people that we are here, we have issues, and we are everywhere. Atheists may be the last minority, but with continued perseverance, we can become a minority no longer.

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