THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY IN  JAMAICA – A BRIEF HISTORY

Christianity  was introduced to Jamaica with Roman Catholicism through Spanish plunderers. In 1655, the British plundered and Church of England (later called the Anglican Church) became the state church. In 1754 the Moravians landed in Black River as the first missionaries, and devoted themselves to the conversion of Jamaica’s non-white population. They were followed by other groups – Baptists in 1783, Methodists in 1789, and Presbyterians in the early 19th century.

Because these non-conformist denominations preached a message of equality for all men, they met with extreme and at times violent opposition from the slave-owning class and the state church. 
In 1860, there was intense religious activity called the Great Revival. It started in the non-conformist churches, using vibrant evangelism to spread Christianity throughout the country.
In this time of religious fervour, African elements and rituals (whuich were still entrenched in the lives of the ex-slaves) intermingled with Christian beliefs, and the outcome was a genuinely Jamaican religion called Revival. It features spirit possession, and music as a central feature of the worship experience. The two branches of Revival are known as Revival Zion and Pukumina (Pocomania).
In 1872 the Church of England was disestablished as the state church. Newer denominations such as Salvation Army, African Methodist Episcopal (AME Zion), Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Mormons and Bahai came in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The largest single denomination in Jamaica today, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, came to Jamaica in 1894. The Pentecostal movement started in Jamaica from about 1918. It blossomed in the 1940’s when missionaries from America came to the island during an upsurge in American Revivalism.
Pentecostalism appealed to the poor who had been alienated by the established churches. It encompasses many fundamentalist groups that interpret all of the Bible as literal truth, and emphasise the experience of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the late 20th century and into the 21st century, many more churches and denominations have been established. These are often movements that break away from previously established churches. Many start out as Crusades, held under a tent. 
Although the Seventh Day Adventists (who worship on a Saturday) are the largest denomination, they are far outnumbered by Sunday worshippers, most of whom belong to the Pentecostal movement.
  
NeoMakeba 

YOUR RELIGION IS YOUR REALITY.

namaste A friend of mine wrote this little thought on her blog and I thought I would share it . It speaks of religion. Yes it is a topic a lot of people run away from discussing or even contemplating. Lets face it, from birth we grew into our parent’s religion, told to go to church on sundays, participate in the annual Christmas plays and if you are like me  in the Caribbean, the experience is extended to bible knowledge in schools. We were throughly brainwashed  to believing that growing up with some faith and religion was necessary to salvation and a passport to heaven. And oh yes, the deity we are praying to and following is white. I have no offense or prejudices, but who says Jesus was definitively white? Where was it written?

As we get older we get wiser or dumber, depending on the side of the scale you hang unto, and as adults we decide if we will continue in faith  with the “whitening of our soul” or you take the chance and dive deep into whatever you consider your religion. Its called growing up. Many of us do not.

For me religion is simple- it is within me, period. Me, my body, my whole self, the way I interact, what I do daily in the presence of others determines my religion. And yes I have an anchor that I need for reflection, enjoying the calm, listening to the voice that speaks within me. I call that anchor Father, others call him by whatever name suits them. So my religion does not need the vast temples, the need for celebratory sunday worship or the so called communion with others. Call it selfish, I call it loving and understanding me.

My friend’s thought is a reminder of this simple truth- your religion is not encased in temples or pretty frocks or sunday worship. Your religion should give you faith, should give you comfort, should give you strength and should give you peace. If it doesn’t then you are only a follower of a fad, one that will only lead you where all fads take you – nowhere!

Namaste: Paul.

LUCY LEWIS on RELIGION: 

“Our conscience determine our religious realities whether they reflect reality or not…” Andy Stanley. The way your religion was presented to you when you were young basically tells you your wrong and right. So if it was presented without value, without that super duper thing called love and instead with all the fanfare of sacred space and memorized verses and the bow down, thou are holy and they are sinners, then it will be kind of hard for you to build peace at any level. Most of all, it will be difficult for you to love anyone else but yourself.

If your religion doesn’t make you feel free, you are lost. The ‘temple model’ hasn’t worked for any religion, not even Christianity!

There you have it. Thing on these thoughts for a minute. Enjoy your day.

Namaste.

namaste 1

CHURCH, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU

Thought i would share this with followers of the blog. Written by a pastor he states clearly why he thinks the church is losing its members. In essence the church has not changed . It still excludes those that are poor, dirty, hungry, forgotten, the homeless, the criminals, the ungodly, those sexually different, the drug users. In other words everyone the bible said Jesus hang out with, the exclude.

It is never easy to ask Man to be like Christ. It is too much a burden to bear. Man, that being of complexities tries and fails everyday in their quest to be like the big man. Meeting every sabbath is an attempt to muster up the faith to be like him but there are those that see this church going as a show, a big show that only the faithful are convinced that showing up weekly will somehow change them to be like Christ , while the unbelievers laugh at the comedy of errors, choosing to live their faith without the hypocrites of the good word. Interesting read. I invite your comments.

CHURCH, HERES WHY PEOPLE ARE LEAVING YOU

20 THINGS JAMAICANS DON’T WANT TO KNOW

Grunge_Flags___Jamaica_by_Brhi

It took me 5 days to put pen to paper for this piece. 5 days of thinking, wondering should I just get it out of my system. It was very easy to reach my conclusion. Yes I had to get it off my chest as I was taught if you want  to see change, say something and let the chips  fall where they may.

I follow the PM’s lead. I usually don’t  watch the local media houses as their pathetic attempt to deliver what is considered the ‘national ‘ news is watching 2 presenters sit and read boring scripts or gossiping at worst. But every now and then I check in to see what scene the clowns are acting out  on the   stage and sure enough it was a continuing comedy of errors , from the continuing Michael Dean saga to the daily bushfires and water  problems. It is incessant. We cannot seem to solve our simplest problems.

Over the past 5 days I have come to the conclusion that this comedy  started 52 years ago when our  statesmen  Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley took the country on the road to independence from the English tyrant . Some may not want to acknowledge or admit it , but Bustamante and Norman Manley failed to initiate a plan. Subsequent leaders had their own ideas, based on their political perspective  of where this country should be headed. There was no collective gathering of the greatest minds in Jamaica to map out a plan that we all can agree ,  establishing a definition of the Jamaican  Dream, that ideal that every Jamaican can buy into and work towards.

A country that fails to plan, plans to fail.   Jamaicans, all  1.6 million of them , were preoccupied with political warfare and skullduggery moving  from the brink of communism to the other extreme of outright capitalism. Our leaders were fighting each other, poisoning Jamaicans to take sides. The classic black man internal trust and struggle prevailed and who suffered, the people without wealth. And so we struggled, struggled to make the right choices: what type of government, what type of infrastructure, what  type of economy, health care, social systems, security, education and most importantly we struggled to create a Bill of Rights that every Jamaican can enjoy and use as their guiding light towards social and economic upliftment. The Jamaican Dream turned a nightmare and now the dream is to get a visa and enjoy every other country’s dream.

Through trial and error we worked, we strived, we laughed, we cried, we mourned, we fell 52 times and we stood up 53 times,  such is the resilience of Jamaica and its people. But there are only a few things in this world that irks me and turn me into a giant squid and that is when our present  leaders,  on both sides of the isle , pretend to show leadership and resilience. Collectively  they make  the actors of Laff it Off look like amateurs. Our leaders are still clueless on the path this country should take and are presently at the steering wheel seemingly heading over a precipice. It is as if we are still walking on the plantation digging and searching for a pot of Gold.

In 52 years we still cannot fix a leaking pipe that spills water for months , yet we talk about conserving water. 52 years and we still have not figured out the difference between religion and politics that never the 2 shall meet in the forum. We still have not figured out the type of education that educate our people or  the one  that turns them into collective zombies. 52 years later we have no clue of the economic engine needed to run this country  and if we do have a clue no plan to get that engine firing on all 8 cylinders. . We still have no clue of creating a country of Justice for all where the poorest of the poor know their rights.   The list is vast but the basic necessities of life is a luxury for many . in Jamaica the most popular word in all sectors is NO.  It is as if the Jamaican people are always doing something wrong to put them at odds with any government agency or local business for that matter.

What we have managed to be very good at is  expressing most vocally that we are a christian nation, whatever that means . In a country of many  religious practices some  government officials are  proclaiming Jamaicans are ‘backsliding’  hence our country is suffering because we have turned from God, I am paraphrasing here. The recent pronouncements of the junior Minister for Entertainment and Culture actually chided  Jamaicans, admonishing them to turn back to God and when a Jamaican speaks Anti- God that makes him suddenly un-Jamaican.

……..”I said that being atheist and agnostic is Un-Jamaican. I also said that it has become fashionable to make anti-God pronouncements, and those doing so should stop. I stand firmly by both statements….”  Damion Crawford.

Really Mr Minister?  a statement like that is fashioned by the people that control your mind. God , as you know him Mr Minister is a completely different person to someone else, no definition is exclusive.  When a politician speaks  like that it reminds me of another guy called Hitler whose pronouncements created the worlds first tyrant because he wanted things HIS way. In this case if you are not a Christian,  like the minister and do not recognise God ,  then  a pox on your house.

Mr Minister  when  some of us left the plantation we left behind all vestiges of manipulation and mental corruption and started to think for ourselves and guess what  Mr Minister, we are Jamaicans, free thinking  Jamaicans. I define a country of the sum of parts living homogeneously sharing a common heritage and culture, each man individually adding their own flavor to the human mix, while creating his own karma maintaining peace in the society. Your definition of a country is:

……the majority accepted norms to form a country. Jamaica is a Christian country full stop. We have Rastafarians, Jews, Muslims etc, but the accepted norm is Christianity. In the same way that some countries are defined as bi-lingual because of the high representation of secondary languages while others are simply defined as Spanish speaking or English Speaking etc because their isn’t a material number of other languages represented. …”  Damion Crawford

That’s where we differ on interpretation. You are an educated man, Think for yourself, leave your books written by those who care to brainwash you and think objectively. Jamaica has a religious heritage . It is not a christian country. There I said it. Unfortunately for you I am still very much a Jamaican.  In this country   there are many norms.  The accepted norm for you   is the norm accepted by the new oligarchy, the ones that determine what  Jamaicans think. Yes Mr Minister it suits the government  to brainwash people to think they live in a Christian country. I am not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance. Jamaica belongs to Jamaicans, not any leader, religious or political aspirant. If your navel string plant here, you belong here, whether you call God  God, Allah, Jah , El Shaddai, Ohm, whatever!

For you to say not paying homage to our slave owner’s contribution to our human development by implanting in our psyche what God is while he lashes our skin with whips and chains,  is frankly showing us that your mind is still a slave to the system. The learned gentleman has gone mad.  Sometimes I wonder if this country is run by smart people or by religious or bellicose  noises who really mean what they say. The effects of slavery is still evident. Mr Minister we need a plan  to really abolish slavery once and for all.

religion

It irks me every day. Learned, seemingly intelligent people cannot get their act together. So I have listed 20 things that I believe Jamaicans don’t want to know, pretending that ignoring them they will suddenly go away.

1.Leaders:  Jamaicans are suffering from a serious disease called Leader Madness Disease. We do not have a present leader that knows the way, walks the way and shows us the way. Along with this  there is a cacophony of jokers called Ministers of government from both side of the isle. The Jamaican  dies in the hands of politicians from political skullduggery and strangling bureaucracy. Instead of fighting to excel , the Jamaican fight daily to survive the obstacles and hurdles  placed before him. It is a constant battle.

2. History: We never learn from history . History has shown us that when we work together we strive together. This simple equation is still incomprehensible to the Jamaican. The effects of the plantation is evident here.

3. False Belief: We believe that politicians can change. How many times have they shown us their colors and true self and yet we continue to elect  them  as if the carousel of politics is  a rotating Wheel of Fortune?

4. Religion:  We believe God will help us if we follow our pastor and pray and when you are done praying , leave your collection. Ghandi said      “ Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics don’t know what religion is.”  It is as if unless we go to church daily and pay our tithes then we will forever be doomed.  The problem is while the people  are praying they  are stealing from their pocket books. Religion starts wars. Pastors preach hate. Beware of the false prophet. Even demons can cry out Praise the Lord.

5. Matriarch: We are a matriarchal society with a strong affinity to work overseas and send money believing being away from the problem is not your problem. Living in Switzerland or having the famous green card does not suddenly not make you Jamaican. Open you mouth and your identity defines you. The frequent words “I love my country” is as empty as the lips that utters them. Long distance love in any relationship will only work when there is plan to cut the distance.

6. Crime: Jamaicans are psychologically just as bad as the cops they resent.. Jamaicans kill Jamaicans for the same reason the police kills Jamaicans. We do not value each other.

7. Society: There are 2 societies in this country- the society of wealth who are the new slave owners and the society of workers that pander to the wealthy. Within those 2 societies, we don’t trust each other.  We have created successfully the Haves and the Have Nots.

8. Money Machine: For some people , namely the working class , no matter what your accomplishment, your home, your car or your education you are still a money machine for the government to squeeze every last bit of penny in the name of providing services for the sole purpose of financing pork barrel politics to the people they pander to for votes at election time.

9. Backwardness: We are virtually still in the year 1962 but physically in 2014,  a majority of Jamaicans are still struggling to catch up to the world’s technology and education. We feed our mind with the excuse that we are a small island so our actions make it right. The real problem is technology replaces unskilled workers. We are so behind  the Internet revolution when will we catch up?

10. Dirty State: Our reference to Jamaica as Yard is exactly equal to how a chicken lives in a yard…dirty!  This country is dirty and we claim to be a tourist  destination.

11.Values:  We claim to be a christian country and yet the least of our brothers still go hungry and homeless. We have no moral authority to call this country  a christian country any more than Israel have a right to  call Palestine their home.

12. Economy:The reason why we are in an economic problem is because suddenly we got up and hated who we are amd decided to be someone else. We stopped producing from the soil and started importing to live like Americans and now we are paying the price. The IMF one size fits all package will continue to put this country in turmoil if there is not a parallel economic performance of export, export, export.

13. Stress: A majority of Jamaicans are living with stress.  Jamaicans are so accustomed to no miracles  that any chance of celebrating an  event or person that shines in sports or otherwise provides the necessary release .

14. Police: The  Jamaica police is here to protect and serve the people of Jamaica. In  reality they have decided  to fight the Enemy of the State. That enemy is the people of Jamaica.  Justice is weighed according to the size of your pocket.

15. Trust: We don’t trust each other. As Jamaicans and emancipated blacks coming out of slavery we have never really learned to trust anyone, and our leaders have done nothing but lip service to correct this.

16. Children: Our children are lead astray and it’s our fault, no one else.

17.Weapon: The Church is the politician and the wealthy’s  greatest weapon against society.

18. Help: We are quick to call on somebody to come and help Jamaica, China, the IMF whoever is willing to hand out,  not realizing that the “somebody’ is Us, Me, You!

19 Politicians:  Our politicians , the leaders we elect to move us forward  are so passive and clueless it is easy for them to rely on the IMF  or the Jamaican people  to blame them  for their failure. No politician will lay down his life for any Jamaican. Those days of chivalry died 52 years ago.

20. Changing: Jamaica is a changing society  yet the government’ does not recognise this. The government  is as static as a conservative trying to move one leg forward. Government’s best effort is to strong arm the people they lead  that are poor mentally and physically. The PM is in love with the poor as much as the poor is in love with her but they do not communicate with each other. They smile, they hug they even  sip cocoa tea under the coconut tree but  the government sees poor people as problems well before they are seen as people. It is in the politicians interest to keep poor people poor, after all in the Jamaica wealth is something to aspire to and the poor  is something the PM loves.

Paul Tomlinson

August 18 2014

 

 

THE WORLD’S LONGEST & SADDEST BOOK

THE WORLD'S LONGEST & SADDEST BOOK

New year begins but it is still a continuation
What is new about the new year?
A change in the number
Anyone can do that
A child does that in kindergarten
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

A world compartmentalized by economies, race, religion, color,
One world but so many nations
Each breathing their own air of justice and human rights
Do we live on one planet , the human planet Or is it just individual interpretations of human existence? Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

This place called Earth we come to know as our dwelling, our birthright Given to us by the Almighty to be fruitful and multiply
We have made it our individual playground
Creating Kings, Queens, Presidents and Chiefs
Wealthy , super wealthy and something called the Middle Class
Created a class of people marginalized and brainwashed to think little of themselves Thinking they are not worth of love, care, affection
The devaluation of man to create value for the wealthy
Man created these experiences
But on whose directives, on whose authority
What gives Man the right to claim land of the Almighty his personal prize Who tells him to carve out races and class To set nations above nations, people above people, First world, second world , third world what about One World?
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

Wars for land, whose name is written on it?
They fight for wealth race and religion They hang, they maim, they burn , they crucify
Whoever differs from an individual thought is killed or marginalized
The irony of human existence Man Kills to Live One half is obese and another half starving Some allowed to die so others can live Killed or be killed the human theme of life
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

Man has used his infinite graces
To master the fruits of life
Science, Transportation, Communication
Medical, Social, Musical, Theatrical. Urban
But still these fruits are selectively given and
Grudgingly received
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

Where is it written that life will be like this
One of contrast, sorrow, fair and joy?
Where is it written that some will live abundantly
And some will die horrifically?
By whose hand was man given the authority
To choose who lives and who dies
Who eat and who doesn’t
Who works and who doesn’t
Who is wealthy and who doesn’t
Which evil force decides the fate of man?
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed

And yet in the silence
In every Man’s heart
There lies a voice that says to him
As rich as you are or as poor as you think are Whether gluttonous or starving
As educated as you are or as stupid as you think you can be
As religious you are or a heretic as you call yourself to be
You will return to where you came
To the world of ethereal souls
Where wealth, poverty, war, commerce
And all the trappings of human existence
Does not exist
A place where in the silence of his own existence
He speaks not, he thinks not
He sings not, he dances not
He worships not, He loves not
Floating in space,
A soul that has No nation, No color
No religion, No wealth
No hate or No feelings
Great Shit..Nobody Noticed.

Paul Tomlinson(c) 2014

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHRISTIAN

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHRISTIAN

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This Pope is here to set fire to the years of hypocrisy and double standards that the Church has enjoyed for years , controlling the fickle minded and calling down abomination to the indifferent. Who gives them the right or anyone the right to cast any stone? All those preachers in the so-called churches that are jumping and pumping the so-called gospel of hate are nothing but modern-day pharisees, taking the people’s money and they willingly give them with their tongue hanging out of their head. They are creators of strife, conflict and division in society saving not one soul.

We are human. I recognise that. But frankly I am tired of those that wear their christianity on their sleeves, jumping and praising the Lord for saving their soul. If you are such a christian , save another soul but not by your method, by the one that you follow . If you say you are a christian then try this- go and eat, drink, talk and love the person that you hate the most. If you say that you love christ then give away half of your wealth to the very poor. If you say you are a church leader, dress as a dirty mad man and go to your church on a sunday and watch how your sheep treat you looking like an undesirable.

No human has the moral authority to cast any stone..NO ONE. There is only one Christian. He died on the cross many many years ago. Everybody else is trying to be like him. Lets work on that shall we? The only fire and brimstone you need to worry about is the one heading for your own soul.

 

HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT BEING A JERK

If ever there was an interesting read on this subject this is it. Elizabeth Rawlings writes a no holds bar piece on what can be considered the biggest grievance to mankind. Please share your comments. 

By Elizabeth Rawlings

 

Dan Piraro so often gets it right.

Dan Piraro so often gets it right.

A few weeks ago, the marvelous Lindy West over at Jezebel wrote an excellent post called, “How to be an Atheist without being a dick about it.” As someone who has been the target of my fair share of dickish Atheists in my life, I really appreciated it. However, the behavior of dickish Atheists pales in comparison with some of the behavior of my Christian brothers and sisters. So, ladies and gentlemen, here I give you some instructions on how to be a Christian without being a jerk and turning everyone off to not only Christians, but to Jesus. (I’m going to try to cut back on the language in the event that some Christians who need to hear this are turned off by the swears. Let’s see how I do.)

1) Stop threatening people with hellfire and damnation. Nobody likes it. It achieves approximately nothing so far as spreading the gospel is concerned.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, and I’m not going to get into my thoughts on hell and the existence thereof. I have no idea what threats of hellfire are supposed to accomplish. It’s like screaming at someone, “I think you’re ugly and awful! Date me and I’ll fix all of your flaws!” Sign me up? Not to mention the fact that most people who don’t believe in the Christian concept of God DON’T BELIEVE IN HELL. Therefore, your threats are meaningless. How does threatening someone with something they don’t believe in do anything other than make you (and by extension all Christians) look silly? That’s like telling me that if I don’t behave, Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy will boycott stopping by my home with their treasures.

“Oh, you think I’m going to hell? Well, then I’d like to be a part of your community and worship your God!” said no one, ever.

2) Stop “speaking truth in love” or whatever you call it. This includes love the sinner, hate the sin (which sounds more like hate than love every time).

Let’s be honest, the most often I see this line used is in the attempt to “correct” the gays, so that’s my primary focus here. Look, I get that for many Christians, correcting someone on their behavior can be a soul saving act. But, let me be clear: speaking the truth in love just about never feels like love. It feels like judgment, anger, hate, prejudice, bigotry, evil, immaturity and a bunch of other negative adjectives (and often times, that’s because that is what it is). Now, there may be times someone needs to be called out on their behavior, like when they are being a total jerk (see this post) or when they are harming themselves or others. Usually, it is best when someone has given permission to have truth spoken into their lives. That means they are ready for it, and what you have to say is valued. Proceed with caution and love. It is important that, in the event you feel the need to correct someone on their behavior, you ask yourself some things:

A) How well do I know this person? If the person you are about to “speak truth in love” to isn’t a close friend, stop yourself right there. Just stop. The phrase “speak truth in love” comes from the letter to the Ephesians, a worshipping community of the early church. These were people who lived in community together, not random people shouting at each other what they were doing wrong.

B) Is anyone getting hurt by this person’s behavior? And by hurt, I am not talking about the state of their everlasting souls regarding eternity in heaven or hell (which is up to God, BTW, not you or me). Drugs destroy bodies and relationships; abuse of a partner or child is life damaging and soul killing. Have the talk. Someone’s sex life (unless they are cheating, knowingly spreading a disease, or engaging in super risky compulsive behavior or their partner is not willing or not of age) is not hurting anyone.

C) Have I thoroughly examined my heart to make sure I am acting out of love, not fear, prejudice, or wrong teaching? If I am not engaged in a regular prayer practice that involves looking into my own heart and confronting my own sin, I am are in no place to correct someone else. And I don’t know about you, but I still have a lot of confronting to do. A lot. Try thinking of what love is according to 1 Cor 13: 4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Which brings me to #3:

3) STOP WITH THE JUDGING ALREADY

In the gospel of John, Jesus comes across a crowd of people about to stone a woman who was caught in adultery. He says to them, “If you are without sin, go ahead and cast a stone. If you have sin (which face it, is all of you) go ahead and stone her but make sure you throw some stones at yourself for good measure after you stone her.”

Wait, that’s not the story.

All too often I hear people talk about other’s sins, convict others of sins, then add at the end, “But, I mean, I’m a sinner too, I know that.” Dude, that’s not what Jesus said to do. Jesus said to stone her only if you were without sin. How about instead of stoning/judging each other, we love each other? Real, deep, compassionate love that sees the brokenness and aches to see it healed with love.

4) Stop saying that God is acting in destructive ways because of the gays, feminists, abortionists, communists, socialists, Obamacare, liberals, pornographers or whatever. I’ve already written about it here. These storms are happening at an increased rate not because of our private “immorality” but our corporate sin of degrading the environment and acting like we’re just gonna get another one.

5) Get right with science. I don’t even know how to explain this one. Climate change is a thing. Evolution is also a thing. The ancient people who wrote the Bible would have looked at us like we were nuts if we told them we were taking their stories as actual fact. The United States is falling behind in global education ranking because of our math and science scores. Kids from very religious households are going to college unprepared for intro science classes because they haven’t learned about evolution and they think the Earth is 6,000 years old. There are plenty of scientists who are people of faith and believe that there is an unmoved mover behind all of this. In fact, many people believe that knowing more about science actually makes God all the more wondrous.

If you can’t get right with science, try to understand that there are very valid reasons to believe in science (I really can’t handle that I just typed believe in science, like it is a choice). We would do a better job of spreading God’s love and salvation if we listened and loved instead of shouted and judged.

6) Understand that there are people who are never going to believe, to whom the idea of God makes no sense whatsoever. Faith, according to the Bible, is a gift of the Spirit. Some people don’t have it. Be cool about it. Be friends. Love, laugh, chill and talk. Have conversations about ultimate things, come to understand why a person wouldn’t believe in God. Even for those who have been given faith, it is a hard thing to sustain in this world. Know someone who doesn’t believe in God? Love her up. Be salve to his wounds. And let up on the witnessing.

7) Empower women. Paul had women working with him. The woman at the well (who had many husbands yet was not slut-shamed by Jesus) brought her village to belief. Women are smart, strong and equipped for leadership at home, in the workplace and in the congregation. Our bodies are not made to be ogled at, commodified or make medical decisions about. How someone else feels about my body is not my fault. I will show others respect and Christian love. I don’t owe anyone fielty or subservience disguised as complementarianism, and I don’t have to wear long skirts or cover my head, TYVM.

8) If you know someone is being molested by a church member/leader, report it. That’s just a big old duh.

9) Stop trying to legislate using the Bible as your main argument. The Bible can’t be used to make public policy. It can certainly influence reasoning for supporting or opposing a policy, but it must not be the sole reason. Evidence, studies, cost effectiveness, and constitutionality — these are reasons to make or take down laws. Not because the Bible said so. Even in situations when we must allow out moral compass to guide our way to end an injustice, we must (as people living in a democracy, not a theocracy) find reasons to supplement/complement our Biblical reasons for legislation.

10) Focus more on corporate sin than personal sin. Care more about racism than whether a person is being slutty or not, get more outraged by war and poverty than something scandalous and/or titilating on tv. Worry more about the melting glaciers than who is marrying whom.

When I was going to church camp, we used to sing a song with the refrain, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I want that to be the truth. I want to know that when I tell people I’m a Christian, they will think of all the work my people do on behalf of the poor and outcast. I want to be proud not only of my God, but of my people. But that’s really hard. Because, right now, our public image is more like, “They will know we are Christians because our leaders say weird things about AIDS and storms and we yell a lot about who can marry whom.” So, let’s cut that shit out, shall we?