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Open minded


I have been raised a Catholic and recently, because of people like you
who are closed minded and ignorant, have left the church for a more
fullfilling means of worship.  How can you so blindly say others are
wrong.  After reading your latters I have found you decsriminate
against homosexuals, followers of Eastern Religions, and even anyone
who is non- Christian.  I know your God preaches love for everyone,
but it seems that all you are interested in is raising yourselves
above others.  In my eyes, it is people like you who make so many
Americans today turned off to your religion.  Perhaps if you could all
just be open minded even a little, as your "Lord" was, you could see
that maybe you pompous old followers of a blind religion might
actually be wrong about some things.

first response


Thanks for writing the Paraclete Forum.  We are a group of 15 or so
volunteers from different areas of life. None of us have any ax to
grind against any person or group.  Our goal is to introduce people to
Jesus so that they may be reconciled to God, and, after they are
reconciled, to strengthen their relationship with Him.

What is required of a love relationship?  Is it possible to love
someone who is doing destructive things to themselves or others?  Yes,
it is.  Christ is our example here.  To love someone does one say that
whatever a person does is OK so as not to offend them?  Love is not
dependent upon not offending them.  If you truly love someone you want
the best for them.  Carefully examine how Christ dealt with the
sinners He encountered.  You will see that He had compassion but never
condoned any of their sins.  For example, to the adulterous woman He
had compassion and forgiveness.  He concluded His dialogue with her by
saying, "go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).  So we at the Paraclete
Forum try to follow Christ's example in this way.  May God grant that
we have love and compassion for those who write to us.  But may God
also grant to us the wisdom to confront the sin in a person's life
that obstructs their relationship with God.

I suppose your real question is whether or not we at the Paraclete
Forum truly understand the nature of man's relationship with God.  The
writer of the book of Ecclesiastes describes how people seek for
happiness "under the sun" (i.e., in this life) but, to quote the
Rolling Stones, they "can't get no satisfaction" even though they try
and try and try. Specifically, Ecclesiastes describes seeking
happiness and completeness in such things as learning, monument
building, and parties. And in the midst of all of this are the general
unfair situations of life and the unrelenting cycles where nothing
seems to be finalized or permanent. In all these things the writer
laments that it makes no difference what we do since our ends are all
the same anyway - the grave. Thus, all is emptiness. But he finishes
by saying: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear [i.e.,
have reverence, awe, and respect for] God and keep His commandments,
because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to
judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil."
(Eccl 12:13-14). When life is truly examined, and God is not the
center of it, then life and all that it could contain is found
severely wanting. Only when God is at the core of our being does life
have meaning.

Let me challenge you with one thing.  How do you know that our
understanding of our relationship to God is wrong and that you have
the correct view?

Please feel free to write back if you like.


second response

At the risk of seeming like we're piling it on, I thought I'd respond
to your message point by point.  But before that, please try to
understand that none of us feels that the knowledge we share puts us
above anyone or anything.  If I controlled what the Bible says, I'd
leave a million loopholes for anyone who's cool, that likes me, or who
I like.  And, there would certainly be no hell--just heaven.  I also
sense that what you've written is based in experience--and that you
write what you sincerely feel. We all respect that.  I believe that it
is very important for each and every one of us to be sensitive to what
really goes on around us.

> I have been raised a Catholic and recently, because of people like
> you who are closed minded and ignorant, have left the church for a
> more fullfilling means of worship.

Many of us have left the Catholic church, as well.  During the early
1970s, during a time some called the Jesus Movement, I was part of a
singing group; each of us had found the Lord in one way or
another.  We'd gone through years of drugs (mostly psychedelics),
mysticism, cannabis, and so on.  It used to be typical at our meetings
that the vast majority of people were ex-Catholics based on a show of
hands.  The blatant hypocrisy was just too much for some, and that was
before many of the child molestation charges hit more recently (anyone
who is familiar with church history knows that those so-called
revelations were not exactly new).

The sole remaining criterion for the priesthood (besides commitment to
the church of Rome) is to promise to remain celibate for a
lifetime.  What a wonderful gift from God is our ability to procreate,
to enjoy the intimate physical love that is woven into our
nature.  Where on earth does the concept of celibacy come from?  What
did the church do during the Jewish holocaust, the Crusades, etc.?
 Who is the pope?  How is this man chosen to lead millions, who by
blind faith (or based on the Pope's word, I imagine) trust him with
every single aspect of their lives?  Who gave the Roman church the
right to interpret the sayings of Jesus and all of His followers and
co-opt the history of Israel?  Yes, that church discriminates.  It is
plain as the nose on your face that it teaches many things that are
transparently non-biblical, and that's only the beginning.

> How can you so blindly say others are wrong.  After
> reading your latters I have found you decsriminate against
> homosexuals, followers of Eastern Religions, and even anyone who is
> non- Christian.

I leave judgments of right and wrong to God and His word.  I was
profoundly blind, deaf, and dumb before I came into a personal
relationship with the Living God, who by grace reached through the fog
encasing my mind and heart to reveal Himself.  He loves me, the most
despicable of creatures.  As Paul (Saul of Tarsus), the Israelite of
the tribe of Benjamin--who had believers in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus,
killed for their beliefs--said, I am the chief of sinners.  We are all
sinners.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised the coming of
His anointed one, who would suffer and die for our sin.  The
prophecies of the Messiah are extremely detailed, and God Himself saw
to it that each and every prophecy was fulfilled.  He loves
indiscriminately and absolutely.  He loves homosexuals, followers of
Eastern Religions (I was a Buddhist), and everyone who is
non-Christian (whatever that could possibly mean).  God is not hiding;
He never has; and He never will.  He waits patiently as each one of us
individually comes to terms with the most profound message ever given
to humankind, summed up in John 3:16.

> I know your God preaches love for everyone, but it seems that all
> you are interested in is raising yourselves above others.  In my
> eyes, it is people like you who make so many Americans today turned
> off to your religion.
> Perhaps if you could all just be open minded even a little, as your
> "Lord" was, you could see that maybe you pompous old followers of a
> blind religion might actually be wrong about some things.

I hope all people will be turned off to religion for every one of them
is blind religion, self-serving, and based on humankind's pathetic
attempts to earn salvation, to get God's attention, and to manipulate
God and everyone else.  The irony here that I see is that by saying
that there is no truth, that one finally grasps some sort of
truth.  Truth is a person, not the property of humankind.  No human
can reason from the ground up that God exists, let alone theorize what
He's like.  That only comes from His personal revelation of Himself,
clearly stated for all to see in the Bible. Only God could create a
message that can be understood by every single person irrespective of
age, education, language, religious (ethnic, racial, cultural)
background--all the things that make people unique yet so alike. We
have the same needs for peace, hope, and most of all love.

We are all blind.  Someone said that the ground is always level at the
foot of Jesus' cross.  The rabbis have to humble themselves before the
simple truth.  It is so profound and elegant that the wise completely
miss it. It's too simple for them, but that doesn't mean it's easy to
accept.  I had to be ground to a pulp before I would accept such a
simple word as, "Jesus loves you."  Yes, He does.  The Holy Spirit
opened my eyes to how completely bankrupt my life and "search for
meaning" truly was.  I am humbled by that knowledge that God so
graciously gives to those who sincerely seek His face. And, if you
think that this allows me to be pompous, you have no idea who I am.  I
pray that He will only give me a glimpse of the love he has for
humankind--a full awareness would mean understanding just how lost we
all are without Him, and that would kill me, too.  I could never
deserve that. That's the kind of love that really hurts, the kind that
put Him on the cross.

Many of us in this crummy little forum have had the opportunity to
travel to places in South America, Africa, India, and so on to bear
witness of His wonderful and boundless love.  The condition of
humanity is beyond feeling. And, those who have misrepresented God's
truth to you and me and all the rest of humanity will have a special
place at God's judgment.

If you had a child (and I assume that you do not) who continually hurt
him- or herself, reaching into the flames and frying pans of life to
experience first-hand as much as he/she could, who ran across freeways
without looking, who defied every law on the books, took drugs to
become numb to the consequences of his/her choices, and exploited
every other human being in an attempt to fill the emptiness inside,
would you not at least try to apprehend him/her?  Would you just let
that child experience everything till he/she eventually perished?  I
think not.  I think that you, clearly a sensitive person who at least
attempts to love his brother, would have to agree that children need
parents to teach them, to warn them, to point to the dangers of life
on this earth.  They have the right and the experience to at least
teach the basics of survival and getting along with others.

That is precisely what Jesus is doing right now.  He stands with arms
outstretched to you.  He promises to teach you His word, how to love
as He loves, and how to live as He lived.  Don't you remember how much
the self-righteous, pompous, religious folk of His time criticized Him
for hanging out with prostitutes and the scum of society?  According
to them, He ate too much and drank too much.  Jesus didn't
discriminate against lepers, the blind, those of other "religions" or
ethnic groups (the Samaritan) and all the others who were just like
me, just like you.  He came so that the blind (me) could see, and to
heal the lame (also me) so that they might walk.

You can know this God, too.  All you have to do is humble yourself
before the cross, just as we have.  The lower you bow, the more you
can see.

third response

Thanks for writing to us on the Paraclete

You'll have to take your argument to God
because it is he who says that there
is only one way to him and that is through
his son, Jesus Christ. See John 14:6.

You see, the bible says we are all sinners
and all of us need to be made right in order
to know God. See Romans 3: 11, 23.

That means you, me and all people of
every country on this planet. No one is

So in reality Christians are really telling
the truth. And the truth oftentimes goes
against everything we think is true.

So why don't you spend some time reading
the New Testament? As a Catholic, you
must have a bible. Read one of the gospels
so you can determine for yourself what the
truth is.

And if you have more questions, feel free
to write again.

In Him,