Most of us know a bit about first-century Christianity, since we're probably familiar with the writings of the New Testament. The Acts of the Apostles and Paul's letters, for example, show a fledgling church confronting its first challenges and controversies—all the while giving us a peak at early Christian beliefs and practices. But what happened after the Apostles left the scene?
While it may be true that many traditional communities are not openly hostile to the LGBT community, one may nevertheless feel out-of-place simply for being gay or trans. Many churches simply do not offer opportunities for their LGBT individuals to flourish and offer their own gifts. In other words, many churches do not encourage their LGBT members to be, well, church. But it shouldn't be like this. All churches should welcome, appreciate, and care for LGBT persons—regardless of whether they approve of same-sex relationships or not. Here are six reasons why.
I’m just not getting anything out of it!" may be a common cry for many who find church boring. But I’m willing to bet much of this boredom stems from ignorance: We simply don’t know what church is all about! At least, that has been my experience. The fact is, the more I have learned about church, the less boring it has been. I have encountered four points in particular that have made me less bored—and even more excited—about going to church.
I'll be honest. The Bible is not always my favorite. Often, I'll read it and end up with even more questions. Sometimes, it has even scandalized my faith. The text is complex, dated, and sometimes just plain archaic. It seems so human. How can this be the Word of God, I think. What makes it worse is that there are SO many approaches to the Bible, both inside and outside the church. This makes it hard to nail down the exact nature of the book, to begin with.
Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, but one of the chief takeaways from his life can be appreciated every day of the year. From this fifth century saint, we see the transforming power of suffering at work. I admit it sounds a bit off to uphold suffering as a good, especially nowadays, when we run from pain in all its forms. But Patrick's life is a story that only makes sense if we grant suffering's essential part in the plot. And though it might seem inconceivable for now, our own suffering has the capacity to make our life stories much, much greater than they would be otherwise.