[This is a repost from my blog on My______.]
Here's a relatively quick exchange I had with a friend of mine in private message. In my opinion, it's a perfect exposition of how lockstep "Religion" is not what truly spiritual people want or need, and also how Christianity (the true faith, and not any single religious denomination) is fully capable of meeting those needs in anyone who is willing to look past the stigma and give it honest and thoughtful consideration on it's own merits. Note that this is not a debate like the others have been; this one is just two people chatting, and we AGREE! And me, as usual, starting a quick reply which quickly grows beyond my control... like this intro...
"I believe is that you don't have to be in a "church" to worship. To "me" that means if myself and my daughter go to the woods and say a prayer "in Gods name"...that's church to me... More so than any man made building."
I agree. You're totally right. I do that, too. In fact, you don't even need two in order to spend time with God. I spend tons of alone time with Him, just praying, thanking him for stuff, like last night I saw this HUGE, beautiful moon and just thanked Him for it. I also enjoy going to corporate church with a stack of other believers, too. I know (and you've certainly figured out) that I'm not the strongest or most holy Christian, and if I'm left to my own devices, I'm going to do things my way, not His. If I'm routinely in the company of other believers, then they can help me stay on track, and I help them. Iron sharpens iron. And you're totally right about the building. You don't need it. We can gather anywhere and chill with God: hiking in the mountains, gardening in the backyard, in bed with your lover (my personal fav!), etc…And even in churches. They just build churches to make it easier to find each other. I think, like you said, that the important thing is that you DO gather in His name. A lot of people give that old line, "I don't need to go to a church to be with God," so they don't go to church, but then they never meet with God wherever they are anyway.
"The thing I'm gonna be in trouble with the big man for is not being more forgiving. And I certainly never do forget…"
I don't think you're supposed to forget, but yeah, forgiveness is a biggie. Thankfully, He gives us His forgiveness BEFORE He asks us to forgive others. It's tough for me, too, but when I wrap my mind around how much He has forgiven me, then it's easier for me to forgive others. I'm still learning and practicing daily (*cough* ex-wife). But yeah, I don't forget either. ;)
"I suppose I try and justify my faults with "he knows my heart and that I'm basically good, soooo..it's all good"...lol."
LOL! Yeah, we all try that one. If only it were that easy. I'm "basically good” too. But I also know that I've got enough "bad" in me to keep me out of heaven IF getting into heaven was based on how good we are.
Certainly we all fall somewhere on the good/bad scale. I wonder where the dividing line would be for those who can go to heaven and those who can't.
I don't think I've ever met a "basically bad" person. I think all of us are "basically good"; it's just that we manifest our "badness" in different ways and to different degrees. Yeah, serial rapists and murderers are probably further down that scale than you and I, but I'm not sure if that means that they're "basically bad". I think it's a SERIOUS character flaw, but I also think it might be something torqued wrong in their brains that they would actually enjoy that crazy stuff. And if so, then should they go to hell for something they had no control over like having a screwed up brain? I don't think so. Surely there are people who think that you and I are further down the scale than they are, and that you and I deserve hell. Do we? Probably. Thank God salvation has very little to do with how good we are.