reply to post by Pistoche
Okay, let me start this by saying that I am a practicing Christian, who was raised in a Christian home, so I can relate to the experience of realizing
one day that you have to choose whether or not you'll follow/believe in God for yourself. And because of my background, I don't encourage you to
meditate, and I don't claim that God/consciousness/reality is the same thing, like some members on here are doing. Those are their beliefs, but their
beliefs are not mine. John 14:6 says that "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" He
didn't say that he was one way, or one truth. He said "the way" and "the truth". As in: the one and only. I believe that Jesus is the only true
way. Some may disagree with that, as is their right. And they can have their say based on whatever their personal beliefs are. This is mine.
Now, onto your problem. As best as I understand it, I think you simply have trouble with having faith. Nothing unusual there. Sometimes, having faith
is hard. Now, I don't know if you've done it or not, but I'd encourage you to go and visit different churches. I think that going to a church
might help your apparent difficulty with faith.
If you do decide to go to a church, here's my thoughts on some of the things I think you should know. These are for everyone thinking about going to
a church. Many of these are things that I think many Christians don't think about or simply don't talk about if they ask people to attend a church.
1. Dress is important. Unfortunately, some churches DO tend to judge newcomers based on their appearance. It breaks my heart that so many believers
allow themselves to get sidetracked by this, but it does happens. For a new person thinking about attending church, I'd suggest maybe jeans, tennis
shoes, and a presentable T-shirt. For people who have piercings (like the nose/lip/etc.) I'd suggest a small stud or something like that, not
anything large or gaudy that would attract unnecessary attention. This should let you realize if dress is a problem in that church. If you notice that
you are getting funny looks because of your appearance, I'd probably suggest looking for another church for the evening service or for the next week.
2. Size matters. There are different ups and downs to the size of the church. On the one hand, you may feel more uncomfortable at first in a small
church. After all, a newcomer will stick out a lot more to church members in a congregation of 100 than you will in a congregation of 10,000. On the
other hand, IMHO it's harder for a large church to match the family atmosphere that a smaller church can provide, and that can make you feel right at
home very quickly.
3. Offering. Some churches will be cruel to people who are in difficult financial times. Unfortunately, too many people have had experiences with
churches that have gotten distracted with this. This very often scares people away, and poisons their minds against Christians in general. Other
churches can be incredibly supportive of people who are struggling. If money is a distraction in one church, look at another.
4. In some churches, experiencing God's presence is a very special, but not unusual, occurrence. That's good. Others can be starved of God's
presence, because they're getting too distracted by other things (money, appearances, etc.). That's very BAD. God's presence is important in a
church. And I think that a church with God's presence could open your eyes to see what He does in our world and open your mind and heart to having
faith in Him.
5. Different denominations have different beliefs. Some place more emphasis on baptism or confession than others, some are more tolerant of gay
marriage, etc. But it's important that they don't flip-flop in their beliefs, that you can learn what a church believes, and where/what the biblical
basis for that belief is. If a church believes that gay marriage is wrong, they should stand firm, and someone in the church (like the pastor) should
be able to tell you about the scriptures that talk about it. But don't expect them to be able to quote chapter and verse out of thin air. We don't
memorize the Bible cover to cover. But they should be able to give you the general idea.
6. You may have some bad experiences with one church. But there ARE good churches out there. Keep searching and find one. Sadly, too many people give
up after an experience with one church that judges someone's appearance, or is distracted by money. You wouldn't characterize all 7/11's based on
one bad experience at one location. But sadly, that's what people do all too often with churches. One bad experience and they decide that ALL
churches are bad, and ALL Christians are judgmental, bigoted, hypocritical, etc.
Okay, that's it. I got a little sidetracked, I know. But I don't care. God bless you.