What Feminists Could Learn From Priests

…Women priests that is.

By now it’s not news to anyone about the Vatican’s decision last month to place womenpriests in a latae sententiae excommunication, but the event has sparked a lot of good discussion around the blogosphere. And then there’s the not-so-good discussion that I found on Feministing. The post itself doesn’t say much, just a quick blurb about what the Vatican did, the WOC response, and the insightful editorial, “Snap!”

The discussion that follows in the thread, though, is astounding. It quickly breaks down into the perennial bourgeois-militant feminist argument that women shouldn’t be involved in the Church at all because the men are sexist and God isn’t real anyway; and some intelligent counter-arguments.

Frankly, I’ve gotten sick of having this argument. Ever since high school, when I committed myself to leftist politics and direct action, this topic has been hot on my heels. You can’t spin in those circles and not encounter the atheist-feminist-revolutionaries that will take any opportunity to take a shot at religion. I remember at 14 my anarchist friend Zach berating me for being involved in something as stupid as Catholicism. Now, as an adult, and a professional community organizer, it’s not much easier to avoid having these discussions.

It’s not that I disagree with everything they say. The Church hierarchy oftentimes is chauvinistic, bigoted and spiritually stifling. But the one thing I’ve never been terribly good at is explaining what the Church has given me, in my experience. The fact of the matter is, I wouldn’t be a leftist if it weren’t for my Catholic upbringing. Jesus was all about “troubling the waters” and upsetting the religious-political hierarchy of his time, and that’s all the preaching I’m going to do.

It’s this experience of belonging and not belonging (both in my Catholic and political circles) that led me to pursue a de facto Black Studies minor in college. When I read Nella Larsen’s Quicksand I knew…knew something of what the mixed-race protagonist was going through as she moved from the American South to Harlem to Sweden to Harlem and finally back to the South, searching for herself and a place where she could be at home. This was the experience of the entire Black American community (and to an extent still is) since the abandonment of the Reconstruction in 1876. How do you take up arms to defeat Fascism abroad and still fight the unspoken Fascism at home? How do you be both American and not American, African and not African? This was an experience I knew. I know it now, in my gut. Without the Church, there’s a big emptiness inside me. Without all of those silly rituals: Sit, stand, kneel, sit, stand, I’m lost—even if the Pope pisses me off to no end.

So, back to those bourgeois-militant feminists, and that Black Modern experience. I see the “just give up on the Church” approach being similar to (and as misguided as) the American Colonization Society‘s solution to the “Negro Question.” As more and more black Americans obtained their freedom during the days of slavery, “benevolent” white folks, such as President Monroe, had a solution to all the tensions that this situation was causing in American society: Let’s send the blacks back to Africa! And they did, by the thousands. In honor of his contribution to their liberty, the new colony of Liberia named their capital of Monrovia after the good President.

The problem was, these black folks weren’t really African. They were by birth, culture, language, and all other measures American. Their home was in America. White Americans just found it easier to make the “Negro Problem” go away (“Back” to Africa) rather than face it.

I hope it’s clear by now that there is a similar problem with telling womenpriests to “just leave” the Catholic Church. We, all of us progressive Catholics, know the pain of spiritual homesickness. The Church is our dysfunctional family, and our parishes are our broken homes. We know that there are tremendous problems, but it is our Christian ministry to reach out to the spiritually sick, and pray for Jesus’ healing touch. We know we can’t just send the problem away, and we have decided instead to face it head-on.

As I said before, this is a visceral experience for me. I love the Church and my home in it. I love the Catholic Mass. I love the rites and rituals, and the Church is where I draw my strength from so that I can go out and fight for social justice on a daily basis. And, as we moved from John Paul to Benedict, I felt more and more like a Catholic-not-a-Catholic. But I couldn’t just walk away.

So as I work with my sisters and brothers in Call to Action and try to make the Church a better place for its children, I pray that all of you feminists and anarchists and leftists and revolutionaries, whether you be spiritual or atheist or religious or whatever, see this as part of our common mission. We progressive Catholics, like you, are trying to make this world a better place to be human. You don’t have to come to Church with me, but you can’t keep me out of Church either. So let’s make a deal. I’ll support you if you support me, and together we can make this world free.

Bill Przylucki is a community organizer in Westside Los Angeles.  He is a former Jesuit Volunteer and a graduate of Boston College.  He believes that you gotta pray like only God can do it, and act like only you can do it.

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About Bill Przylucki

I am the Executive Director of People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) in Los Angeles, where I've worked as a community organizer since 2007 (and from Aug. 07 to Aug. 08 was a Jesuit Volunteer). I'm originally from Albany, NY. I went to Boston College (BA '07). I am a drummer and love music. Anything else?

26 thoughts on “What Feminists Could Learn From Priests

  1. For the most part, I completely agree with you and so appreciate your post. I do, however, have a question. Does your initial claim separate the WomenPriests and other Catholic women from the feminist movement? In other words, are you saying that “those feminists” are other from the women striving for change in the Church? If not, what follows is irrelevant, but I felt compelled to share if you thought that radical feminists didn’t exist in the Catholic ranks.

    I was actually one of the posters on the Feministing thread arguing for the compatibility of feminism and Catholicism and our need to stay in this delightfully “dysfunctional family” (this is also my FAVORITE analogy in explaining why I am still Catholic) and pushing for change. I spent my college years (small, Catholic-run by the Congregation of Holy Cross-same as Notre Dame), as one of only 3 theology majors in my class AND the head of the Feminist group on campus. Certainly, I’ve had my fair share of discussions that broke down much like the feministing thread (the why don’t you just leave the patriarchal system? it was created to oppress you! to my response, if we leave, it will NEVER change and just because they don’t seem to budge now doesn’t mean it won’t if we don’t keep pushing it will one day!) I was even threatened with expulsion by the VP of Student affairs (who didn’t know he was dealing with one of his “prize” theology students and campus ministry employees) if I continued my current pursuit of putting on ‘The Vagina Monologues’ (“either on or off campus”) as a part of the V-Day campaign to end violence against women and girls worldwide or engage in any other endeavors that were “antithetical and inimical to Church teaching.” To make an incredibly long battle a short story, the faculty and most students rallied around me, the Oregon newspapers and several national media outlets published articles, and when threatened by the potential of a lawsuit, I was given a public apology by both the university president and the VP. The school went on in the next year to give me the university’s highest student honor for leadership, and I AM still a thorn in their side as each year I send an alumni donation to be used strictly for the “Women’s Center” and “Women’s Studies program,” neither of which exists at the University of Portland because the all male executors of the school do not see a need or place for either of these. I guess what I am getting at, is that if we feminists keep ourselves public, but aren’t necessarily militant, meaning that if we gain the compassion of the people in the Church and outside, much like the WomenPriests are doing by not attacking the Pope and asking for an all out battle, then change will happen from the bottom up and the top will be forced to answer to the rumblings of the people.

    Yes, you are right that SOME feminists could take a lesson from the WomenPriests because they are also feminists fighting the same battle. It is a matter of “how” we are going to make change.

  2. It is important to recognize that the issue of female ordination was settled in 1994 in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    I would suggest going to the Vatican website and reading the document.

    It is not chauvinistic, bigoted or spiritually stifling to ex-communicate those that promote a teaching that contradicts a part of the deposit of faith, much confusion has been caused by these invalid “ordinations”, it would truly be spiritually stifling to say nothing and allow the faithful to be led away from the Catholic Church.

    These women have not been told to “just leave” the church, they’ve in fact been asked to return, if they by their actions deny the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church then they have chosen to leave.

  3. Re: paxhominibus

    I think that’s just the point. The Church arbitrarily says that women can’t be priests, even when the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1976) found otherwise.

    But even more to the point was that this wasn’t about the “infallible” Church anyway. I took for granted that the Church was, in this case, wrong. The ones who are telling the women to “just leave” the Catholic Church are militant atheist feminists, their own sisters in the struggle. Women who stand to gain so much from each other are instead alienating one another, and the only winners are those who peddle Orthodox influence within the Vatican.

    In response to “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” and especially the reference to “brethren” in Luke 22:32, I offer “male nor female” in Galatians 3:27-28. Use the brain that God gave you, and decide for yourself which is more clear about the equality or inequality of women and men in the Church.

    And a quick reply to beckyschwantes: Of course there are radical feminists who “get it,” and there are even some inside the Church. But there are many who don’t, and aren’t, and are unwittingly adding to the oppression of their sisters, and THAT’S what I was talking about here.

  4. As a feminist and a Catholic, I identify completely with the hurt and frustration caused when people tell us to “just leave” the Catholic Church if we don’t agree with it. Interestingly, I’ve received this suggestion both from a Catholic priest AND from feminists — the suggestion came from each group for different reasons, but in both cases the suggestion was unrealistic and oppressive.

    I’ve also encountered similar sentiments in regard to the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality; I’ve sifted through long rants in which folks say things like, “Well, what do you expect for adhering to a religion with homophobic teachings?”, as though the marginalized somehow deserve to be hurt by virtue of their membership with the institution. Hm, that sounds a lot like “blaming the victim” to me.

    While many progressive people accept the idea that homosexuality is not a choice, I wish that they would also realize that religion can be as deeply personal part of you as your gender or sexual orientation. It’s not something that can just be cast aside when it gets hard. It’s something you have to learn to live with, one way or another, no matter what choice you decide to make about how to respond to it.

  5. Bill Przylucki,

    I understand the frustration and the perceived injustice, but the implication that I and others wishing to remain obedient to the Pope and magisterium are not using our brains is ridiculous.
    Equally ridiculous is for a Catholic to “take for granted” that an infallible teaching of the church is wrong. I do not understand that at all.

    Women are to represent Christ, however the ministerial priesthood is reserved to men. This was not “arbitrarily” decided by the church, if you read Ordinatio Sacerdotalis it says “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” This is not an exercise of authority, it is acknowledging the limits of the Church. The example set by Jesus is binding on the Church. This issue has been settled, yet it continues to divide people, why not accept the teaching and move on in union with the Church?

  6. But it’s exactly in following the example of Jesus and other Holy Scripture that I find contradiction to the Church’s decree regarding the ordination of women. Jesus treated women with dignity and appeared first to a woman when He rose from the dead. Mary Magdalene immediately ran to tell the other disciples the good news — sounds a little like preaching the Word, doesn’t it? There are also historians who believe that the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with her tears is a priestess, as only a priestess would have the authority to anoint another (the word anoint here is very important and definitely has priestly connotations: it doesn’t simply say she “cried on his feet.”)

    Women were leaders in the early Church as evidenced by Paul’s references to the deacon Priscilla in his letters. And women were leaders in the Old Testament as well, such as Deborah in the book of Judges. These are just a few examples of places where Sacred Scripture implies or gives outright examples of women performing priestly duties. It’s in these contradictions — as well as in the stirring of my own conscience — that I find I’m unable to “accept [this] teaching and move on in union with the Church.”

  7. Lacey- You read my heart and my mind! I have another favorite example to add to your list, though I know you weren’t trying to make an exhaustive one by any means. In John, Jesus has the longest conversation he has with ANY person in the Gospels and it is with the woman at the well. One of of their primary topics of conversation is theology! Up until the 1940’s, the hierarchy also forbade women from formally studying or teaching theology, but they overturned that only to see seminaries and Catholic university’s flooded with women studying theology. In fact, many seminaries are only able to stay open today because of the women earning their M.Div’s, and it is projected that in the next ten years more Catholic women than men world wide will hold degrees in theology.

    Paxhominibus, we must also remember St. Augustine’s cry that “an unjust law is no law at all!”

  8. Lacey, I totally love the idea of suggesting that one’s religion is possibly as much a part of them as their gender or sexual orientation.

    Everyone– my question is BUT WHY?? As Pax pointed out, many believe that there was a definitive and intentional decision made when Jesus chose only men as his apostles. But WHY would God want that? Do we have any theology on that? We know what, supposedly, but WHY? Does it fit with our understanding of God?

    Bill- I don’t think its fair to say someone is or isnt using their brain. And I’m not sure if it is acceptable due to our conversation guidelines.

  9. P.S. Becky, what a story. Even shortened I can tell it was pretty intense and sounded to be very formative for you as well. Thank you for fighting the good fight. And for being an example of somoene who sticks to what they believe, and doesn’t bow to pressure. Whew. As the feminists say, that takes some major ovaries.

  10. Lauren, regarding your question about why Jesus might have chosen only men as his apostles… well, I don’t have a good answer. But I do have some related thoughts.

    It occurs to me that Jesus, for the most part, never gave much attention to the long-term organizational details of this Church he was founding, leaving that to the apostles to work out later (with help from the Holy Spirit, of course!) Something maybe worth pointing out in this particular debate: Jesus didn’t choose any gentiles as his apostles, either. I know, this has been pointed out before but I’m not sure it’s been given the consideration it really deserves. Consider:

    Jesus says many times thoroughout the Gospels that his mission was strictly for the people of Israel. He even goes so far as to equate the miraculous “favors” offered to the odd gentile as scraps tossed to the dogs. I would suggest that one could make a strong case that, if Jesus wanted to ordain gentiles he would have done so, or at least given some indication that he wasn’t against the idea, and since he didn’t we can conclude that only Jewish men can rightly be ordained. Or, at the very least, only circumcised men (and how do you suppose that would afffect the current priest shortage?). The scriptural evidence is, it seems to me, as strong for that as for the no-women arguement.

    But the apostles debated long and hard about the question of gentiles within their new church. And it was Paul, the Law-abiding traditionalist, who argued strongest for the more compassionate option — let the gentiles forgo circumcision and other peculiarities of Jewish Law. Anyway. Lots to think about, so I’ll probably post more during the day!

  11. Good, can’t wait to hear more. As you may know, I believe in women’s ordination, and the evidence like you cited (gentiles being included). So, I guess my question is about the what if. IF it was such an intentional decision for a male only priesthood, why? What reason would God have for that? Because it seems the Church’s explanation of this issue points to it being a very distinct and intentional decision that God appointed, not the Church (and this is why they can’t change it they say). So, I figure in that reasoning, there has got to be some musing about why God would have it be such. I mean, we examine every nook and cranny of other things so I’m sure someone has worked on this, I just dont know.

  12. Galatians 3:27-28 has nothing to do with the Priesthood, the Church teaches women are to represent Christ, but not as Priests. Scripture is important, it is also important to remember that as Catholic’s we are not a sola scriptura religion. The scriptures need to be read with the teaching of the church in mind.

    Lauren: Maybe this will help:

    In relationship to the Church, among other things, Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church his bride. On the cross Jesus offered himself for the salvation of his bride(us), that is re-presented through the Eucharist at each Mass. Though the Eucharist we(the bride) are made one with Christ. The Priest who stands in persona Christi represents Christ in his relationship to the Church that is as the bridegroom. As JP2 stated the relationship between Christ and his church is spousal in nature. Thus it is necessary that Christ be represented in his priesthood by a man.

    I would take this as slight against women no more then I would take the fact that only women can give birth to children as a slight against men.

    The attitude Jesus shows in scripture toward women is remarkable yet no women were among the twelve Apostles, those that Jesus himself chose, as JP2 stated, the church has always followed the norm set forth by Jesus in choosing his Apostles amongst men, his Apostles did the same. This choice of Jesus, practice of the Apostles, and constant Tradition of the Church, grants the Church no authority to confer to women the sacrament of holy orders.

  13. First things first, bravo on making this thread 1,000,000,000 times more productive than the one on Feministing.

    I want to point out that I told people to use their brain, not what decision to make. And, while your at it, your conscience, spirit, heart, and all the parts of you that God has given for discernment and decision. If you decide that you MUST, as a matter of conscience, adhere to Vatican teachings on this, or any other issue, that is between you and God, and I will support you in that.

    As for me, I cannot in good conscience simply accept what the Vatican has decreed, and even the Vatican tells me that my first responsibility is to my conscience, and through it, to God.

    The metaphorical understanding of the Church as bride and Jesus as bridegroom, the way that I understand it, centers largely on an epistle in which Paul tells husbands to care for their wives, and wives to be obedient to their husbands.

    But Paul wrote that epistle with the understanding that Jesus was returning WITHIN HIS LIFETIME, and this is key. I’ve asked God many times what the point of that epistle is, and it seems to me that Paul was saying “all of this man and wife drama, revolutionary drama, and the like is meaningless in comparison with the Second Coming, and that’s where our focus should be.”

    That makes sense to me within that framework. But to stretch that to mean that women CANNOT be ordained by the Church, especially when there are scriptures that speak more clearly in FAVOR of women being ordained–and when Jesus’ example was overwhelmingly one of acceptance, love, equality and freedom–irks my conscience.

    I believe that the institutional Church is partly a human institution, and that it suffers from the same interests in preserving the status quo on Earth as any other powerful worldly institution. I think the Church missed the boat on Paul’s point, and got it exactly backwards. The gender of the clergy is of no importance to a God as powerful as the one Jesus taught us about. What does matter is that the institution we build to glorify Jesus appropriately reflects His love for all of us, and we as humans are the experts in that regard, so He left it up to us to figure it out for ourselves.

  14. Pax, I appreciate your explanation but I dont know that I’m explaining my question right (and I know I’m asking a question that may not have an answer). I’m asking WHY God would have made Jesus the bridegroom and the Church the bride? What might be God’s reasoning for that relationship? I know the theology, that’s not what I’m lacking. It’s why did God choose that imagery of bride and bridegroom? God could have used any imagery.

    Good God, I’m the 4 year old in the back of the car asking her parents ‘why’ over and over again!!! As it always was anyhow. Some things never change.

  15. P.s. Pax,

    Is it really fair to say that something is a “perceived injustice”? It seems like someone telling the person with the experience that they don’t know what they’re talking about. And just saying that it wasnt meant to be an injustice doesnt make it go away. Now, its also not fair for a person to be told they are sexist when they didn’t mean to be; but perception is reality and we have a whole lot to learn about how our dominant culture is experienced by those in the ‘minority’. We have a whole lot to learn about how, even though we didnt think we were sexist for example, we really have a lot ingrained in us that is.

  16. Bill Przylucki:

    As far as Christ as Bridegroom goes I find the verses in Ephesians 5 that you alluded to the most compelling, I don’t understand how your point weakens the concept. You may also find the following that JP2 sited, of interest: Rev 9:9 Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. As well as John 3:29.

    Conscience as taught by Vatican II must be “dutifully conformed to the divine law and submissive toward the Church’s teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel”

    Jesus example toward women was certainly not the norm of the time, and his love is beyond comprehension, I believe his favorite creation is the Blessed Mother, YET, he did not choose any female Apostles. I think that the Church has answered the question of why, which takes us back to the teaching that the Church has no authority to ordain women. A sacrament is from God, it is not a ours to change to suit our preferences. I think it was Cardinal McCarrick who once stated that JP2 wasn’t necessarily against women’s ordination, but he couldn’t change the teaching, after all he’s only the Pope.

    As for your point about the church being a party human institution, I’m reminded of another story: A Priest has a protestant friend who is ready to convert, he takes an opportunity to go to Rome, and the Priest thinks that he’ll never convert now, he’ll go there and see the greed, and corruption, and will remain a protestant. Upon his return the protestant tells the Priest he’s ready to convert, the trip to Rome sealed it, any institution that can survive being run by that group must be divinely inspired. The point being that the church has sinners as well as saints, but the Church itself is divine, and it is protected by God from teaching error as dogma.

    I am new to this blog, and the thinking here both fascinates, and puzzles me. To go back to your original entry and the “just leave” element amongst people, and after reading your posts, I would suggest that it appears to these people you’ve left and not realized it. To make an analogy, most of us know somebody who is still hanging onto an ex and is in a state of disbelief that the ex has moved on. I think to the “just leave” crowd you appear in denial of what they perceive.

  17. Pax, for this blog, the moderators have decided that no one is allowed to question the validity of one’s faith or love of their Church. Although you may have disguised it, I think your last paragraph does this.

  18. Lauren:

    Yes it is fair to say “perceived injustice”. I gather you have an interest in racial culture, some Southern Whites certainly perceived an injustice against them when they were told to integrate. Telling someone they don’t know what they’re talking about sounds harsh but is not always uncharitable. I would put it this way, often our perceived needs are not what we actually needs are.

    Pax

  19. But what is at debate here is who gets to say what is or isn’t injustice, what is or isnt uncharitable. I can tell MYSELF that what I have perceived as a need is actually not a need, but I don’t think it is right to decide that for someone else. I will let the person experiencing the emotion be the expert on their own experience. And will believe them. Or try to, as this is not something that’s a piece of cake. It seems arrogant for me to decide I know whether someone knows what they are talking about or not.

  20. Lauren:

    So if I think it is an injustice that I cannot forbid Blacks from eating at my restaurant you will not object?

    There is objective truth, Pope Benedict XVI has cautioned against a “Dictatorship of Relativism”

    God is just, it was not an act of injustice that no women were chosen by Jesus to be Apostles.

    Pax

  21. I will object, but I don’t think I can tell them that their feelings are wrong. I believe that their feelings are colored by what I perceive to be racism, but there is a slight difference from what you are saying. Its a tricky issue, which is why I said I can only try to do this, since its no piece of cake.

    You’ve got the ‘God is just’ part right, but logically it does not have to follow then that there was no injustice when women werent chosen to be in the 12 apostles. We have assumed we know what it means, and what Jesus intended, etc., but we can’t know for sure, in my opinion. Which would be the difference between you and me probably.

    Moral relativism is dangerous rhetoric in my book and I think it was irresponsible for the pope to talk about without a great deal of explanation. My concern on the flipside is that we tend to have this obsession with being “right”. We want to be in the right group, the right club, and believe the right things. And so ideas like objective truth, one true church, etc. are very appealing, even to me. I’m not saying there is no objective truth, I’m just trying to make a different point.

  22. I’d suggest moving this discussion to the thread on our latest post at https://youngadultcatholics-blog.com/2008/06/11/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-now/#comments where we can shift the conversation slightly to the personal experience of Catholics who struggle with their identity and conscience and its inconsistencies with the institutional Church. There’s also a lot of really important stuff on our front page right now about the food crisis and people with mustaches. Variety is the spice of life, so enjoy all that youngadultcatholics-blog.com has to offer.

    To close, I’d like to offer a prayer.

    Dear Lord, our only Truth
    We pray for our Church
    And for the humility to recognize that You are Truth
    And only You are Truth.

    We pray that our bishops and the Bishop of Rome hear Your Word clearly
    And implement It with vigor

    We pray that our Church welcome our sisters into the vocation of priesthood
    We pray that You make this Your will
    And the will of Your Church

    We pray that our elderly priests may enjoy their old age
    And that You call our younger sisters and brothers
    To lift the sacramental duties from their shoulders

    We pray that Your Church endure and flourish in a new day of equality, freedom and justice
    We pray that our hearts not be hard to Your will
    And that You open the vocation of priesthood to all of our brothers and sisters
    So that Your Church may endure

    For our good and the good of all Your Church
    We pray this, in Your name, Jesus Christ

  23. I love your prayer. And encouragement to talk about personal experiences. The stuff of life. Thanks for the moment to pray.

  24. As long as individuals insist on their own ideas and ways, and believe “historians unprovable and uninspired beliefs”, you reject what the totality of Holy Scripture says. If you’re going to throw away what Paul says about women in his Divinely inspired word, you will be frustrated. If you’re going to selectively choose what the Bible says about one thing, what prevents you from rejecting the virgin birth, the atoning death of Jesus Christ and His bodily resurrection?
    When we pick and choose to follow some things and not others from God’s Holy Word, we get exactly what we have here. While you try to make this place (earth) a better place to go to hell from, you actually make the body of Christ fractured and therefore no body at all and therefore NOT His body at all. Therefore you make this place (earth) a worse place to go to hell from. Not exactly the vision of Christian fellowship I hear Jesus professing.

    Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”

    Are you experiencing the fruit of the Spirit or are you experiencing something else? Ask yourself why this might be.

    I might suggest that in order to be like Christ you obey this:
    “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
    make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves”

    Please don’t conform to a church full of imperfect humans but conform yourself to the perfect Body of Christ.

    May the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

  25. This is why, no matter how much pain I have being a part of the church, I still want to talk to someone of faith rather than someone who wants me to “just give it all up. Why are you even caring about God anyway?” Religion is personal and reasons why people stay are just as powerful as the reasons why people go.

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