Atlanta, Big Bibles, and Cussing…REALLY???

next to the hotel

By Kenneth Justice

~ “After I became a Christian I felt I needed to stop attending my College Theater classes” she said

I arrived to Atlanta 3 hours ago and got stuck in rush hour traffic so I pulled off at the nearest exit and found myself at that coffee shop with the picture of the mermaid. I hadn’t been here twenty minutes when a young twentyish woman sat down at the table next to me, and with a “CLUNK” placed her massive bible onto the little wooden table.

You’re the third person I’ve seen in twenty minutes with a bible in here” I said to her

She laughed, “Well we ARE in the bible belt!” she said in that particular Southern drawl that we all know so well, her laugh was cheerful and so I figured I’d ventured another question, “So are you in bible school or are all those notes I see on the table related to your personal bible study?

She really appreciated that question and for the next forty five minutes the young woman shared with me her ‘mini-life story’. Born to a Lutheran father from Chicago and a Catholic mother from Minnesota, “I grew up as an agnostic and never thought about god until one year ago” she said. “One of my friends invited me to a church plant in the area and when I heard the message from the preacher I realized that I wanted to be a Christian

What struck me as fascinating about the young woman’s story is that her life up till that point had been pretty…..well…..normal.

—-) She didn’t sleep around with a lot of guys during high school

—-) She didn’t drink or do drugs

—-) She didn’t go to parties

Essentially, she was a very normal, and for lack of a better word, ‘good’ girl growing up. “So I don’t get it” I said, “most people who become a Christian or find religion during college usually have some kind of back story as to why they converted. But I can’t see or understand what motivated you to become a Christian”

“You’re right” she said, “I really never did anything all that bad, and I wasn’t even looking for god, I just went to that meeting at the church plant and left there thinking that I wanted to be a Christian”

The first couple months of the young woman’s ‘new’ Christian life involved a heavy focus on changing a few things; “The one thing I did enjoy doing was cussing, especially because a lot of the parts I would play in stage shows involved a lot of cussing” she said, “and so it took me a couple months to stop cussing, but the big thing was that I had to give up my college theater major

The young woman described herself as a “theater brat” and all of her high school years, as well as her major in college had to do with the theater; “I love acting and I love being on stage. But after I became a Christian I realized I was uncomfortable with the types of things they were teaching us in my theater classes at college” she said. She wasn’t very specific about what exactly ‘offended’ her in the college classes and merely said it had to do with issues related to gender, sex, and promiscuous behavior.

After talking with the young woman for the better part of an hour I was impressed with how cheerful she was….and also the speed at which she spoke; do all people in Atlanta and in the Deep South talk so fast? I have relatives in Kentucky and I don’t remember them being such speed demons with their vocabulary.

But more importantly, I was struck with a particular chord in her story that I’ve heard so many times; her new Christian life involved a lot of don’ts. Why is it that so many people who become a Christian or turn to a new religion often spend so much time focusing on what ‘not to do’? Am I wrong to think that the God who is there is more concerned about positive things rather than the negative?

The young woman, before she was a Christian sounds like she was as close to a saint as you can get without being called Mother Theresa. She even admitted that it wasn’t that she cussed all the time in her daily life, but it had more to do with cussing when she was acting in a play.

It’s always curious to me that so many Christians focus so much on what not to do and I often wonder if this is the thing that turns people off from religion and from Christianity. Often time’s readers will write to me and say, “But Kenneth, look at the Ten Commandments, look at the laws in the O.T….there is a LOT of stuff in the bible about what NOT to do” yet the reality is that the people in the bible, despite all those laws…..rarely obeyed them; in fact they miserably failed at obeying all those laws. And the message of the bible is that God shows people grace.

Being down here in the Bible-belt is VERY different from where I’m from in the Midwest. I’m a city kid that is used to hearing the F-bomb tossed around whimsically; “How the F**k are ya doing Kenneth!” coffee shop acquaintances will say to me back home. Yet here in the Deep South, something tells me people aren’t so cavalier with their language…..and maybe that is a good thing.

For now, it’s time for me to make my way to Midtown Atlanta where I’ll be stopping by Café Intermezzo this morning hoping to meet with a few readers and fellow bloggers, and of course to have a cup of coffee,

Kenneth

If you haven’t heard I’m currently on my Drinking in the Culture Tour visiting 100 coffee houses and café’s throughout the Western World, check out my homepage for dates and locations.

 



Categories: Religion

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102 replies

  1. Fascinating post – I enjoyed the read very much.

  2. “Why is it that so many people who become a Christian or turn to a new religion often spend so much time focusing on what ‘not to do’?”
    Yup. Big turn off for me.
    I suppose it has something to do with fitting the square peg into the round hole. The millisecond you subscribe to a creed, by necessity followers must shave off the bits that “don’t”. There is a need to make order out of chaos.

    • Yea, and its not that I even hate creeds…I actually have a fondness for them, but its the ‘obey the rules at all costs without any love or grace’ that concerns me .

  3. This post is &%!&*!-ing great, Kenneth.

  4. I suppose one can choose to focus on what “not to do” rather than focusing on the one who they are supposed to “not be doing” it for. This is key- who are you “not doing” things for? God or yourself?

    But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
    (1Pe 1:15-16)

    .

    • “who are you not doing things for”

      Its a good point :-)

      The problem I see with focusing on what ‘not to do’ is it can be a discouraging way to live life; always thinking about the negative.

      Instead It makes more sense to focus on what we ‘should’ do and move forward in grace :-)

    • No doubt brother, which is right in line with

      Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
      (Php 4:8)

      and

      Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
      (2Co 10:5)

    • If we focus on these things, then all of the what “not to do’s” will come natural :)

  5. “Why is it that so many people who become a Christian or turn to a new religion often spend so much time focusing on what ‘not to do’?”

    I feel a blog coming on!

    Thanks Kenny for being a source of inspiration. I always enjoy reading your blogs.

  6. I actually feel rather sad that this girl, who loved acting and being on the stage, gave it up because of her new ‘Christianity’.

    So many people live their lives by rules and restrictions and find it hard to make the break to follow their dreams and do what they really love. There are so few people who are truly happy and find joy in their lives. Here’s one girl who loved acting – and acting IS just acting, it’s playing a role, not necessarily living that role – and yet, she gave it all up.

    Makes me wonder if formal Religion needs an ‘overhaul’.

    • Well, she didn’t give it up entirely; while she change her major from theater to childhood education; she still participates at a small little local group she found. So she seemed happy about it :-)

  7. The person who taught PG the most about Jesus was a former coworker, known here as the bully for Jesus. The man has anger management issues. Often, when he lost his temper, words like G-d, Jesus, and holy ghost would fire out of his mouth.
    The third commandment is a very underrated suggestion. It is much more than G-d’s last name. PG decided long ago that using sacred names out of anger was a violation of the third commandment. Maybe, when the need for strong language presents itself, a person would do less harm by talking about reproduction and excretion, rather than the father and son.

  8. Some background, some thoughts, some questions. All done on the run. Love your work. Enjoy your weekend.

  9. I love this post on so many levels. My choice is to never award cussing the power that your intriguing interviewee awarded it – words to be used in context for their peculiar power, for me. I can appreciate her stance, though, and I would never cuss in front of her. I love your commentary about ‘the don’ts’ the most. Thanks for this post.

    • Fatimaphat,

      Yea, it seems like words are only as powerful as we let them be….. they are simply ‘words’ and ultimately its a matter of how we use them.

  10. Well I do not think it puts you off of religion as the young lady showed. It is just that we emphasise the bad things in life to make it look better. Laws are made the same way. You can’t. You shouldn’t. You mustn’t.
    And through all that we forget to live and see what we can do and that is live while thinking of others and gracing them with a smile.
    But that is how i try to live.
    Cheers on the coffee and yet another nice coffee conversatio

    • “and through all that we forget to live and see what we can do and that is live while thinking of others and gracing them with a smile”

      Dude, well said!

  11. I’m a Christian and I swear a little.
    I focus more on the character of Jesus in how we treat others, than the ‘rules’ Christians like to try to enforce.
    I find it fascinating that many Christians, can hurt people with their hard line views, legalism and Bible bashing needs, often quoting verses out of context, views that contain no compassion or wisdom….. but then get offended if you drop the f-bomb.
    I don’t fit into the flock, and won’t if it isn’t wise.

  12. She sounds awesome! You should totally get her number. ;)

    When I first moved to Texas, from Nebraska, I have to say I was completely weirded out by the amount of people who wanted to talk to me after church. I was so used to walking in having a seat going throught the important motions, then walking out and back to my life. Here, they like to actually get to know you and want to learn all about your journey. Totally unnerving! Then after a few years you realize how important those people are, the ones who pull you out of your shell. You come to terms that you are now the one stopping people in the breezeway, asking them how they are and giving them your name. Returning the favor out of want and not because you are supposed to…

    Life changing.

  13. I prefer the positive to the negative viewpoint on life. The teachings of Jesus we call the Beatitudes are guiding principles for us all. They point out those most deserving.

    The teachings are not unique to Christians, in my opinion. Other cultures and religions have teachings that compare closely to the content of the Beatitudes.

    I am no religious scholar. My observations of human nature in person, reading, art, music, etc, lead my to conclude that Jesus would be a comfortable fit to them all if he showed up in person. His message would be to ‘go and do these things’, instead of listing the ‘don’ts’.

    • Well said Jim….. yea, I think a lot of people are turned off from Christianity when certain Christians act a certain way. Of course not all Christians fit the stereotypical model of hypocrite; but sadly a lot of them do

  14. Instead of seeing her new found faith as something that focuses her on the negative, maybe we could see her simply trying to better her life. Whenever we start focusing on something new, something of the old has to go. Losing weight requires us to not eat as much, going back to school means we cannot stay out late anymore, and starting a family means we will not have the same freedoms we are used to. Maybe its not faith per se, but the new found focus of someone wanting to do better.

  15. When I lived in Atlanta, we used to call it “Cafe EmptyYourWallet”. Great place.

  16. I don’t get the impression that her life as a new Christian was spent focusing on negatives. In my experience, Christians that focus on the negatives tend to be more stodgy and not near as cheerful as you say this girl was. Being a Christian, especially a new one, is all about making positive changes in your life. She made a personal choice. The ideals expressed in her theatre major no longer fit in her life. She made a decision for herself, she didn’t make a blanket statement that everyone should make the same decision she did. And she found a way for theatre to fit into her new life, so she’s not missing out on the enjoyment that theatre brings her.

    And we have two speeds in the south…frustratingly slow and lightening fast, you won’t find much of a middle ground ;)

    • bravelittlemama,

      Well said! Your’e totally right too; I picked up on the two speeds things today because people I met either talked really really fast… or really really slow… but everyone was really nice that I met today :-)

  17. It makes me feel sad for her that she quite something she loved because she thought God wouldn’t approve. One of the things my faith has shown me is that no matter what we do God loves us, it’s the people on earth that will shame a job they deem wrong. As for cussing the only one that is wrong is taking his name in vain, so making a stance on not cussing because of the bible seems taking it too far.
    Awesome post by the way :)

  18. Sadly, I can relate to this person and her choosing to change because she thought what she was currently doing no longer represented her core values…that somehow, though acting is not “real”, portraying that part or character in some ways condoned the activity. It’s a feeling that makes one feel hypocritical. I am curious if she decided to change on her own volition (this would be appropriate) of if someone suggested that what she did was wrong (this would be inappropriate).

    Either way, for sure…her connection to this church caused her to make some serious changes in her life.
    I do agree that there is too much focus on what not to do in most organized religions…that is a turn off, to me.

    • Your question is what I tried to figure out; did she want to make the change or was it encouraged by her church….I never found out the answer though

    • It’s hard to have an opinion without knowing where her choice originated. But, thanks for answering.

  19. “Am I wrong to think that the God who is there is more concerned about positive things rather than the negative?”

    I guess it depends who you ask. I am not the judge. What I think or feel outside of God’s revelation is of no consequence in these matters.

    The Ten commandments contain both “positive” and “negative” commands, and are almost universally misunderstood outside their proper context. God’s Word presents himself in his word as the judge not a defendant. God is concerned for the souls of men. Man is lost without hope apart from God. The Ten Commandments reveal man’s problem, sin (big negative, only revealed by God’s Law), that can only fixed through His Son Jesus Christ (big positive). All men are fallen, in need of salvation, from where God sits (totally separate, perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing). God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son as a ransom. He offers His own perfect life as a righteous covering for individuals who confess Him, and eternal separation from Him for those who don’t. Many view that as a “choice”, for me a sort of “no brainer”. A direct dictate from the Maker of the universe, who became a man to secure actual salvation, equating himself with Father God, and commanding man to repent and believe during his short ministry.

    A word on The Ten Commandments:

    God gave The Law for several reasons as I understand it. He even provided a copy (two tablets) similar to our modern day contract:

    To reveal himself as God (the lawgiver, supreme authority)
    To establish social control of his covenant people (govern) (fear)
    To indict believers (Paul’s law for the unjust not the just thing)
    To guide how one is to live in God’s world

    Generally “cussing” calls into question the third commandment, and has the intent of profaning God or some aspect of his creation such as (sex), in a vain attempt to either take His place or, drag Him down equal within his own creation, treating his separateness or otherness with vulgarity, and distinctions he has decreed as non-existent.

    It’s not surprising that a new believer experiencing the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit is grieved by thoughts and behaviors they previously had no problem with. As long as it’s the Holy Spirit doing the work things are OK. It is completely possible, and quite common however, for the Holy Spirit’s working to be corrupted by either the ignorance of God’s law, or the willfulness of man at odds with God’s law. A sterling example of adding laws to God’s law, is recorded in the new testament synagogue, whose misinterpretation of the intent of God’s law, left it little choice but to obscure it in an infinite listing of dos and don’ts.
    I understand your point about the don’ts being “turn offs” to Christianity, but only to the degree that those don’ts are construction’s of man’s mind outside of God’s law. You don’t mention whether or not this young lady mentioned Jesus Christ or the Gospel, beyond the “changes” she felt compelled to make since attending the church. Notwithstanding, I wouldn’t say that Christianity precludes one becoming an actress, but would also not be able to say that that could be the case here.

    The question is, how does one respond to Christ’s command to repent and believe, forsaking all for Him and his Kingdom, as a positive or a negative?

  20. Hehe…I know it wasn’t the point of your post, but, yes, Southern accents come in two speeds…insane-style fast and painfully slow drawl. :) (The Atlanta area accent does seem to be spoken at super-speed.) And, for the most part, our f-bombs are reserved for the privacy of our own homes…you know, we save them for those we love. ;)

    • You’re SO right the way you describe it; I met people who talked today who had the deep southern drawl and took FOREVER to say things (but they were very nice) and I met people who talked REALLY REALLY fast! blogger Deweydecimal was in the middle; she had the sexy accent but wasn’t too fast and wasn’t too slow; I imagine its because she is a high school teacher

  21. Good points, Kenneth. Being an artist myself, I wonder why she couldn’t have made it her mission in life to become an even GREATER actress while following her newfound beliefs. (She doesn’t have to take a role she doesn’t want.)

    Take care and have a fun tour.
    Rhan

  22. Even though I am Christian, I’d probably be shocked going to the bible belt since I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area!

  23. I’m going to venture a theory that perhaps, as much as this girl enjoyed acting, she started to doubt her abilities to successfully find a career with a degree in theater. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t ensure you can support yourself with it. Instead of acknowledging her doubts she opted for the safety net and acceptable excuse of “finding” religion to justify changing her major. That allowed her to still continue to act in a non threatening way but also to change her course of study to something with better options for employment. She also gained a comforting support system in finding a church so of course she would be cheerful about her life. Again it’s just a theory, but one based on my past experience with people who suddenly found Jesus and changed their lives…they used their religion as their excuse to cut out the things they were afraid of failing in. They claimed their religion frowned on things they didn’t want to have to exert self control over, and I always felt it was a bit of a cop-out, but if that was the steps they needed to take to feel secure in who they were I wasn’t going to stand in their way. Only that lady knows the true reason for her actions, but as long as she’s happy in her life what’s it matter how she got there.

    • That’s a wonderful insight into some people’s actions. It IS possible that was the underlying reason. Of course, you are right that if she is happy, then that was the real success.

    • It was either that theory or the one where she was looking for a community to belong to and thought the theater community would fulfill that need, only to discover once she got to college that she had little in common with many of the other actors. Being a person who wasn’t all that into drinking/drugs/sex she may have started to feel outcasted and when she discovered the church it had the community of people she felt she could connect with. At church she could find people who didn’t make fun of her for not wanting to get wasted or sleep around. If the trade off was cutting back on cuss words I can see how it would have seemed more than a fair price to pay for what she was receiving in return. Again, though, all speculation. There’s a big part of me that would rather think she was running towards something instead of running away from something.

  24. This is a revealing conversation that brings to light the religiosity of traditional “Bible-believing” Christianity in America and what turns people off to it. On the other hand, the grace taught in the New Testament makes us God-conscious instead of sin-conscious. Actually, Paul called this mixture of law and grace, trying to “be good” by following the Ten Commandments, a “ministry of death, written and engraved on stones.” (2 Cor.3:7) He said the Galatians were foolish for trying to live a “what I don’t do anymore” kind of Christianity. I do think we are in for an overhaul in our understanding of God’s empowering grace, finding out who we are instead of who we’re not, and that’s a good thing. Enjoy your tour!

  25. I guess I should expect everyone to be carrying Bibles if I ever venture to the Bible belt. I’m a bit surprised at this story. I can’t think of many people who grew up with little religion who would suddenly become Christian with one church attendance. I also can’t believe that she would abandon her college major just like that. I feel like there must be far more to the story.

    That said, if it makes her happy, I’m all for it. I just hope that list of don’ts doesn’t morph into a list of people she judges harshly for thinking differently than her.

    • > I just hope that list of don’ts doesn’t morph into a list of people she judges harshly for thinking differently than her.

      And yet look at all the people here judging her. I find it quite interesting that when a Christian trying his or her best to avoid the “nots” is a hypocrite, but keeping their mouth shut to another Christian reveling in the “nots” it is considered the right thing to do.

    • TK, yea, dude, I still can’t figure out what was that girl’s story; so much of it just didn’t make sense to me…. privately I could say more but I left a few things out to preserve her anonymity

  26. I personally didn’t have an issue with less polite language (I’m still not sure if the Bible prohibits most ‘curse words’ apart from the degree to which they are rude and offensive to some) as part of a character I was playing. I think it is God-honouring and fulfilling of Col 3:23 when actors and artists portray characters and this world accurately and authentically. That doesn’t mean make porn or revel in the sinful behaviour of a character – there’s probably an issue if I’m enjoying cussing a lot or acting out promiscuous roles – but how to play a drug addict or womaniser, even one who will later in the story get saved, without representing them as they are accurately preconversion seems to me a question of excellence rather than personal holiness.

  27. 1 Peter 4:8 comes to mind (“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins”). I feel like that verse is another way of saying to focus on the positive and focus on what TO do, as that will outweigh the negatives. :)

  28. A+ as usual. Here when we see too many ppl walking with Bibles we give them a wide berth. We’re scared to bump into someone ‘wat met die Bybel gemoer is’. Roughly translated as: someone who preaches to you all the time telling you you will never be complete without the Lord in your life and you’re probably damned to hell for not doing things their way. those are people who have have been given a whippen with the bible.

    As long as someone doesn’t try to make me thing like them and then tell me i’m damned caus ei dont, then i dont care who or what they are. As long as they are happy and leave me out of it, we can still get along

  29. Not sure I agree with cleaning up one’s language as a negative. The young lady, when her eyes were opened to the negativity of cussing, chose to make a change in her vocabulary. I guess it is a matter of perspective.
    A Servant

  30. I can’t never see what’s in your heart, but what’s in your words. Words can heal you, words can kill you. I wish I always knew what to Do and Not to Do. From my life experience it’s not just religion that interfere in our decisions; it’s the culture, family, community that can curve our life.
    The girl you met in your first stop, nice start by the way.. 😀 she’s still too young to know what’s her future career, next decade might become a writer, might change her religion again..lol who knows..

    • You’re totally right; I even said to her, “well, you’re not even twenty two so you still have plenty of time to figure things out and change your mind if you want to”

  31. I’ve been involved in the theater for a number of years both as a writer and as a director and I can say that the concerns this woman has voiced are very real. I’ve lost a couple good actresses because of this. The theater scene for all of its sophistication is very adolescent. There is a commonly held feeling that anything transgressive is ‘bold’ and ‘groundbreaking’. There is also a consensus that foul language and foul topics represent ‘freedom’ of speech. In actual practice it is quite the opposite. These ‘transgressives’ more often than not are not only preaching to the choir – but are actually trying to inflame the choir – instead of attracting more thoughtful people to the theater. And foul language and foul themes are more often than not used to enforce a group prohibition about what can be said. Foul language is extremely aggressive and domineering. That’s why even comedy clubs have self-enforced prohibitons against ‘blue’ material. The Bible, to my thinking, suggests its prohibitions because God knows that there is more individual freedom in a disciplined life, than an undisciplined one. And He wants us to ‘be all that we can be’.

    • “the theater scene for all of its sophistication is very adolescent”

      I’m so glad you commented because you’ve given a lot of perspective on the situation that only someone with your background would understand. The young woman mentioned some of the things you’ve said here, but me not being very well versed in the whole scene, I don’t completely understand all of it.

    • I agree – it was thankfully emphasised by my teachers in college, both of stage and literary persuasions, that gratuitous foul language or smut is really only appropriate if it develops character or helps the story in some way. Even in professional circles I see people seeming to go things just because they can. It’s sad.

    • My wife was a theater tech major, and I think you’ve pegged it spot on.

    • I’ve wondered if theater in a christian academic setting is less “adolescent”? In many ways the arts in general can be adolescent because people are trying to get in tune with their feelings and what they want personally. Being an artist is often a difficult walk between unhindered self assertion and strict disciplines.

  32. Romans 6
    1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
    2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

    God did show us Grace, but that doesn’t mean we should go about sinning that his Grace may abound. We are now his servants not the servant of sin.

    Romans 6
    15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
    16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

  33. I think you hit the nail on the head…There are so many rules in Christian sects that the followers need to constantly mold themselves to fit. The rules of society are constantly changing and the Christian has to struggle to reconcile Christianity with the rest of society.

  34. “And the message of the bible is that God shows people grace.” You hit the nail on the head! There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and nothing we can do to make God love us less. That’s God’s grace.

  35. Ok, here’s the trick with the Georgia accent. The further south you get, the less southern it is (unless it’s a very secluded place). When you go above Atlanta, into the mountains, the drawls come out and they talk a little slower. I’m about an hour and half south of Atlanta and most people here speak like people from Atlanta. Hope you enjoy my home state!

  36. A couple of former co-workers were Christian, one actually headed to the US to become a minister. Both of them came across as quite selfish and uncaring of others – yet when one of them disturbed a nest of wasps and got stung a few times, he ran from the scene cursing “FUDGE!! FUDGE!!! FUDGE!!!” as opposed to the expletives you might expect.

    I’d say he had a clear case of a focus on the Christian “don’ts” rather than the “dos”.

  37. As a fellow southerner, I was born and raised in Southeast Georgia, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walking around with their Bible and cussing like a truck driver ( I can that because I am one lol). It never ceases to amaze me. Several years ago I watched as two young ladies sitting in a booth with their Bibles open, apparently having bible study, call their waitress a stupid b**ch because she brought the wrong soda to the table. It truly was a facepalm moment.

    • I have tons of stories like this. I’ve spend my entire life in the Bible belt. Maybe I should write a book lol. BTW..Im one of those people with the southern drawl. I was a guest on a popular podcast and when I listened to the episode I thought “Dang, that’s how I sound?” The only thing missing is a shrimping boat named Jenny lol.

    • Ha ha too funny! Gosh I always love Forest Gump references…I know they are clichéd but every time I flip the channels and its on TV I can’t help but watch it :-)

  38. I am agnostic. Having said that, we Hindus don’t have ‘a holy book’. We have holy and philosophical books, which we don’t actively follow. Having said that, I think most religions are very prescriptive

  39. The answer to your reoccurring question in this post is very simple. While people have tried for years to live by the ten commandments and failed miserably, people who become Christians thru faith in Christ, have a change of heart. In other words something in them changed and they want to do better. It’s not them trying to work their way into God good graces, It’s that they actually want to plz God. Though they may fail miserably at it, they still try, even if they don’t know the bible that well.

  40. “It’s always curious to me that so many Christians focus so much on what not to do and I often wonder if this is the thing that turns people off from religion and from Christianity.”
    –I think that when someone becomes a Christian there are a lot of questions and stuff that is ‘up in the air and unsure of yet’. For myself, I didn’t know anything about being a Christian and didn’t even really understand the cross. I just knew that there really was something to this ‘Jesus’ and the Bible and so I made a conscious and rational decision. I knew soon after that my immoral and party lifestyle had to change, but it wasn’t like ‘emotional repentance’. I just somehow knew in my conscience. Then I became super legalistic with all sorts of don’ts. I even got rid of all my so called ‘secular’ music. I’ve been a Christian now for 20 years and I’ve grown a lot and learnt a lot. I’ve also been through the wringer, but thank God for that. It’s what’s made me who I am, as a Christian, as a person today.
    At any rate, I really believe that it’s only through an intimate relationship with God that we are able to start living in true freedom. And when I say true freedom, I mean not living by the ‘don’ts’ and yes, living in relationship. Through that relationship I develop a conscience that drives me to do what is right. Not because I have to, but because I want to and really believe that I need to. And that intimacy isn’t ‘automatic’ like our ‘microwave’ instant world is accustomed with. Like in marriage or children. I don’t treat my husband or kids the way I do, or do this or that for them because I have to. No, it’s because I want to. And even when I don’t want to ‘love’ them, I still do because it’s the right thing to do.
    Have a great trip.
    =)

  41. Yes, “What not to do” and the “rules” seem to be what many people think the religion is. I try to make a discussion about values rather than rules, when I find people who think in this way. I think that everyone is religious, everyone has values that they share.

  42. So glad to see many people reading and commenting on this worthy post. I have fallen behind, sorry to say, on my commenting. I played ‘catch up’ today on a few blogs. Yours is always a pleasure, I like the biting sarcasm and doses of reality! Smiles, Robin

  43. I disagree with Maggie Wilson. The Word of God is not a rule book; it’s a guidebook. Jesus taught that if the law gets in the way of bringing new people to god, the law is wrong. He also taught that blindly following the religious laws made those laws into a god that its followers have placed before the true god–a clear violation of the first commandment.

    Jesus taught that god loves us just the way we are, now, today, sin and all. So when someone decides to change something about their life after accepting god’s gift of grace, they should only do so because they have prayed about it and feel that is what god wants them to do. They should not “have to” change to fit in.

Trackbacks

  1. Profanity Free Post | Chamblee54
  2. What to do or What NOT to do? That is the Question but Whose Question is it? | thethinkingofthoughtsblog

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