Close Your Bible. Open Your Mind.

To all the Christians who think people who commit certain “sins” are going to hell, well, I must tell you, I would rather be in “hell” with all the loving, accepting, free-thinking people I call friends in the “secular world” then to be in “heaven” with you.

When I read people’s scripture rebuttals to my writing, I have compassion in my heart for what they cling to and believe…because I once believed the same.  I’ve been learning scriptures since I was 5 years old. I have read the Bible beginning to end at least 7 times. I have listened to thousands of sermons in 25+ years of being in the church. I’ve read the 6 verses about homosexuality. I’ve heard countless sermons about adultery. I know what the Bible says about lying, cheating, and gossiping. I’ve listened to messages from preachers about gluttony. I have heard countless prosperity messages from pastors about the importance of tithing and giving back to God and “his” church so that I too will be prosperous. I know what it says about the inhospitable. I’ve read the stories about murder and I have memorized the parables of Jesus in the New Testament.

I ask you this; does it mean the fat guy/gal at church is going to hell because of gluttony? Does it mean a pastor who leads people astray through control and manipulation will go to hell? Does it mean a husband who falls in love with another woman will go to hell because he gets divorced? Does it mean a business man who lies on his taxes is going to hell?

I am no Bible scholar, but it’s easy for many to gloss-over some very important facts surrounding the Bible. God, the Divine, did not come down and leave a manuscript for all mankind to follow. The Bible was written BY MAN, NOT BY GOD.

I have spent most of my life believing, without question, what others tell me to believe. When I came into my mid-30’s, I started asking myself and others, outside the church, about this “one way” of thinking. As I traveled and met people outside the grip of Christ Church Kirkland (CCK), and outside the USA, I started to realize this particular way of thinking was just one way to think, one way to be, and one way to live.

That is when I started seeing HOLES.

photo credit: George Hiles

I started to see holes in this belief system and through these holes, I found Light streaming into my soul and lighting up my mind. For far too long I tried so hard to “know Jesus” and to “know the Father”.  The irony is, I didn’t even know myself…I didn’t know me.

Do I still believe in God? Yes. The Divine has never been more perceivable to me. But I do not need to limit who God is anymore. I don’t need to use a certain language in order to relate to God. I don’t feel the need to pray in order for God to listen. God knows me better than I know myself. God accepts me just as I am. No conditions. No rules. No requirements. Just love. God loves all of me just as I am. God loves my sexuality and my vulnerability, and my ability to express both. God loves my process of growing and the struggles it brings. God loves my doubts and my pursuit of really knowing myself. God loves me just as I am. This is what I believe. This is my faith.

Could it be that the Divine, God, didn’t actually inspire the Bible? Have you ever asked yourself that question? What if the Bible was never compiled (by men) as the “Word of God”, do you think you would have no idea how to live as a loving spirit? Do you think the Divine needs a resource like the Bible to show each of us how to be loved and how to love and live?

Until you separate yourself from your strongly held beliefs, it will be difficult to ask yourself questions that you don’t know the answer to. LET GO. Open your mind. I dare you. Leave your Bible on the bookshelf for a year and see what comes out of you. LET GO. See what is really in your heart. Will you be kind to your neighbor? Will you tell the truth? Will you love your spouse and children? Will you enter situations and leave them better than before? Will you be kind, patient, trustworthy, and humble? Will you be joyful and grateful?

So, you have a bunch of children and you unconditionally love them throughout their childhood and adolescence and adulthood. All the while you are warning them that at some point in their life they must repeat one sentence from the Bible in order to live for eternity with you. Think about that for a minute. Do you really think that a loving God, who created mankind, each with such great differences, is going to leave one lynchpin to spending eternity with them? Would you do that to your kids?

My open mind is not a result of Christians who hurt me in all my years of growing up in the church. My open mind is a HOLY result of being a seeker. My curiosity is the craving in my soul to be ever-changing and transforming. My open-mindedness was precisely the driving force that shattered the cage of fear I’d lived in my entire life.