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Have you been turned off church and church life but not jesus?

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Tulip, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    I have been a christian for years and the longer I am sick the more I have been put off going to church and church life. To me it just doesn't seem to reflect real life challenges or longterm illness. Everything is just to simplistic or fake. You are expected to get over what ever is wrong with you through prayer, which doesn't reflect what the bible says..

    My faith in fellow church going christians is really low, but my faith is jesus is stronger than ever. I would love to find a church that has a realistic view of life and illness, however I don't think that will happen! - maybe an online one?.

    Has anyone else found this?.
     
    Joan of Arc likes this.
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Spiritual Wisdom On Health & Healing

    Hi Tuliip,

    I've been a long-term member of a spiritual path called Eckankar which often makes references to health and healing. I generally find these references to be interesting, refreshing, realistic and insightful, which seems to be what you're looking for.

    The following is a link to a 4-minute video which might give you an idea of whether some of these perspectives are in alignment with your own. It's certainly not for everybody, but it works well for me.

    Spiritual Wisdom On Health & Healing

    All the Best, Wayne
     
  3. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Thanks for the suggestion wayne.
     
  4. drex13

    drex13 Senior Member

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    I have issues with churches and organized religion in general. Too many questions and not enough answers. Anything they don't have an answer for is supposed to be taken on "faith". Churches and the various offshoots of each religion seem to twist the bible and other religious writings to fit their particular views, and everyone else is wrong.
     
  5. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Sorry I should clarify. I am still wanting to go to a mainstream christian church.. I know there are some out there that do "get it" but they are few and far.

    I actually think that being chronically ill opens your eyes to the true meanings of the bible, which is good!. You can read a bible verse a thousand times, but unless your eyes are truely open, you never "get it".
     
    November Girl likes this.
  6. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    I also want to go to mainstream Bible-teaching Christian church, but I have trouble sitting through services because of my MCS and my migraines and, of course, the ME/CFS stuff. I haven't pursued watching online services in the past because of difficulties with my internet service, but we just changed and it should be a bit better. I know of some leads and I'll try to chase them down and post them here.
     
    rosie26 likes this.
  7. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Yes, I have not attended church for a while due to the time thing - 9am is just too early!. That would be great if you could post the info Willow :)
     
  8. Francelle

    Francelle Senior Member

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    I guess I have missed meeting together with other Christians more since I have been unwell these last three years than ever before, however that doesn't mean I want to!

    I'm very blessed to have a Church where you can turn up late, leave early, lie down on a seat if you feel unwell, sit when others are standing, stay for lunch, don't stay for lunch and no-one blinks an eye. We're very relaxed with no pretences - very few people 'dress up'! Lots of hugs too!

    Our cell/small group has been a constant source of support and encouragement, lots of laughter and fun and good friendships. I don't know what people do without this type of supportive network.

    Also the Church I attend has quite a number of people in wheelchairs - CP's (Cerebral Palsy), quadriplegic, amputee, diabetics, MS, a disproportionate number of other CFS'ers and Fibro's (mostly young) and other disabilities. They really understand and work within the parameters of all types of human frailty.
     
    November Girl and spacee like this.
  9. Leslie

    Leslie

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    When I can get to church I always feel so much better. i am lucky in that there is a service at 1030 on sunday, an evening service on Sunday, Saturday and Wednesday. So, I can pick and choose. We also do not need to dress up. There is always a pastor to pray for us, no judgement for not getting "healing." I couldn't bear that. It is hard to have a social life with other members, but a social life anyway.....;)
     
  10. Mya Symons

    Mya Symons Mya Symons

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    Tullip, have you ever tried the United Church of Christ? They are not fundamentalists so they don't take everything from the bible so literally. They also believe in modern science and think that evolution and the teachings in the bible are one in the same. I think they would be more open to many different ways to deal with illness rather then with prayer alone (although they would think prayer is good too). I know someone who is bipolar and was told by his church (strict catholic) to get off his medicine and pray. He is now suicidal. I like the saying "God helps those who help themselves." God made man, man makes medicine and holistic treatments, why not use every avenue available to try and get well and support the person who wants to try all avenues?

    One more thing I wanted to add: They believe that Jesus practiced tolerance and emphasize not judging others. They think everyone should be allowed to attend their church and be able to become a higher up in the church, no mattter the race, gender, or sexual orientation. This, I think, is pretty awesome.
     
  11. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Tulip, I am very sorry that the churches you have attended give out the the faulty doctrine, in my opinion, that all life's problems can be solved by prayer. I am a Christian and my understanding of Christianity is that God calls us in to relationship with Him, through prayer, and prayer does not always miraclously wipe all problems away (although I do believe in miracles) and we will have an easy life. Prayer can give us strength to face our sufferings and we can call for healing, but it is not guaranteed. It's hard balance that's for sure. I listened to a sermon that said Jesus said the Kingdom of God is at hand. It's here, but not in its complete fullness, that will only happen when Jesus returns, so from that the Kingdom can break through and miracles happen, problems dissolve, but it's not a guarantee. However, God guarantees He will be with us always, giving us strength and guidance if we keep turning to him.

    I too can find some fellow CHristians hard to stomach (as they may me, ha ha) and take things far too literally and yes, naively, I have to remind myself they are human and get things wrong asI do. You are right focus on Jesus. I enjoy listening to sermons by Holy Trinity Brompton in London in the U.K. THe alpha course was pioneered there. Their sermons are available on their website. They don't say God will take all your problems away in this life..

    Mya, I like that church's message of tolerance very much....
     
    November Girl likes this.
  12. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    Ok, here's what I have so far (I've asked for recommendations and expect to get some more, but this seems like plenty to start with)... many of these I'm not familiar with (so can't necessarily recommend them as mainstream Bible-teaching), but evidently not everyone is looking for the same thing anyway

    Edit: I've included the locations so people can look at churches near them if desired (in case they like the church and want to phone and ask for fellowship visits or assistance)

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/main.asp (many churches can be accessed here)

    http://www.fbcmcdonough.com/content.cfm?id=213 (McDonough, GA)

    http://www.newheights.org/podcast (Vancouver, WA)

    http://www.narrabeenbaptist.org.au/sermonsindex (Narrabeen, NSW)

    http://www.opendoorbaptist.org/content.cfm?id=213 (Troutdale, OR)

    http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/sermons (Albuquerque, NM; Ballard, WA; Bellevue, WA; Federal Way, WA; Olympia, WA; Shoreview, WA; U-District, WA; West Seattle, WA; Coming Soon: Everett, WA; Orange County, CA; Portland, OR)

    http://www.crosswaynorth.org.au/home/index.php/get-resources-/81-download-crossway-north-podcasts (Melbourne )

    http://www2.myc3church.net/churchonline (Oxford Falls, Sydney, Silverwater)

    http://www.ncr.org.au/teaching.html (Maroondah)

    http://www.citylifechurch.com/Podcast/ (Melbourne)

    http://www.friendship-church.org/fyi/sermons.asp?campus=Prior Lake&Submit=Search (Prior Lake, MN and Shakopee, MN)

    http://www.seattlebaptist.org/index-4.html (Edmonds, WA)

    http://www.fbchurch.org/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=140003391&sec_id=140001341&nc=1294878930821 (Spokane, WA)

    http://www.redmondcommunitychurch.com/modules/audioarchive.aspx?ModuleID=28 (Redmond, OR)

    http://www.rosewoodchurch.com/app/w_page.php?id=40&type=section (Bellflower, CA)

    http://www.calvaryidahofalls.org/Sunday Sermons (Idaho Falls, ID)

    http://www.trinitymoscow.org/sermons.html (Moscow, ID)

    http://www.welcometocentral.org/worship.htm (Eugene, OR; print sermons, example excerpt: "Lives still are changed by Jesus. It is how we have come to know and love the Lord. I have seen faith strengthened in a mother with terminal cancer who had to leave her children behind, in a man with AIDS who believed that as he lost his earthly powers he was being conformed to the image of the crucified Christ.")

    http://www.saintjohnonline.org/article.php?id=24 (Seattle, WA; no online listening/viewing but will come to your home for a pastoral visit and meet temporal needs as well)
    http://stpaulsoregon.org/pastorcare.htm (Salem, OR; same as above)
     
    November Girl likes this.
  13. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Tulip, a book I am currently dipping into - and I feel has some very realistic comments to make about prayer and how it's not a case of God being a vending machine, solving all your problems - is a book called Prayer by the Amercian author Philip Yancy. He includes case stories of people who have struggled with unanswered prayer, refer to their prayer life as sometimes just being angry with God. It's balanced, realistic and gives no simple formulas to the whole subject of prayer. I highly recommend it.
     
  14. rosa

    rosa

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    Philip Yancy is a wonderful writer isn't he? I've read some of Prayer and it's very comforting as well as inspiring. I must go back to it.

    I recently found " God On Mute " by Pete Greig. He has written a moving very honest, sometimes humorous, account of his own experience with prayer in the midst of family tragedy. I come from a different Christian tradition to his, but have still found it supportive.
     
  15. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

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    I totally agree with what anniekim wrote:
    "I am a Christian and my understanding of Christianity is that God calls us in to relationship with Him, through prayer, and prayer does not always miraclously wipe all problems away (although I do believe in miracles) and we will have an easy life. Prayer can give us strength to face our sufferings and we can call for healing, but it is not guaranteed. It's hard balance that's for sure. I listened to a sermon that said Jesus said the Kingdom of God is at hand. It's here, but not in its complete fullness, that will only happen when Jesus returns, so from that the Kingdom can break through and miracles happen, problems dissolve, but it's not a guarantee. However, God guarantees He will be with us always, giving us strength and guidance if we keep turning to him.

    I too can find some fellow CHristians hard to stomach (as they may me, ha ha) and take things far too literally and yes, naively, I have to remind myself they are human and get things wrong asI do. You are right focus on Jesus. I enjoy listening to sermons by Holy Trinity Brompton in London in the U.K. THe alpha course was pioneered there. Their sermons are available on their website. They don't say God will take all your problems away in this life.."

    I also agree that Philip Yancey is a great writer, though I have not yet read Prayer....will definitely have to do so

    I have not attended church in awhile bc MCS and ME/CFS have made it too hard, and the thing is that the church I was going to has plenty of room that is not even used on Saturday nights (that's when I attend - cannot function in the mornings at all)....I have asked them about making a section into a fragrance free area bc of MCS....I explained a bit about it and mentioned that a lot of people do have this issue and yet they have not been willing to open up one of the sections that is roped off on Sat nights in order to turn it into a fragrance free section

    I have also struggled with people's lack of understanding; however, that is not enough to make me stay away. I really miss the services, the worship, fellowship, etc.

    The thing is that I was trying to start a chronic illness/chronic pain ministry at that church and people were very much behind the idea....I got too sick to be able to do that, though, and then when I asked for somethign so simple (the fragrance free section), the fact that they wouldn't even consider it really bothers me .....feels like they only care if I am contributing something

    I have tried to find another church but finding one that is Christian, has evening services, has a fragrance free section, and is close enough for me to be able to drive there is just not happening

    as a result of all this, I have also been struggling not to be mad at God....I totally believe that He gives us free will and so we can't hold Him responsible for people's actions, and I also believe that we are human (therefor flawed ) and that's why we need Him.....again this should mean that I shouldn't be mad at Him re the stuff that has happened re church....however, I have also prayed a ton about this and about finding some way to attend services, and at this point, as much as I know that it is not true, it feels to me like He just doesn't want me to worship Him

    so now I am trying to reconcile those feelings as well as still find some way to deal with the church issues

    I have listened to sermons online, but I have a hard time concentrating on those and I really miss the singing and human interaction that takes place at church even if sometimes people don't get it and say the wrong things

    that said, I do still believe and I also know that being sick has in some ways strengthened my faith, so I am not giving up on it either

    sorry if that seems off topic - I was just trying to say that I understand that illness-related stuff can really impact how we feel about church and God, and I hope that you are about to find somethign that works for you
     
    rosie26 likes this.
  16. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Tulip, can you email the churches within your area, and say exactly what you posted here? It might be worth a shot. Although when I emailed all the churches in my area, most did not reply to me. But the priest at an Anglican church near me took an interest in me. He visits me every few weeks. And even though he believes healings happen, he has never told me that all I have to do is pray more. All he does is chat with me for awhile, answer any Bible questions I have, and performs sacraments. I've managed to get to services at his church a few times, and made one friend there a few weeks ago. She calls me from time to time, and drove me to a doctor appointment once, which is nice. And she never lectures me on how to be spiritual or get better.

    So it is possible. And I hope you can find it. But I have a feeling it comes down to individuals within a church, not a whole congregation.
     
    November Girl and spacee like this.
  17. CAcfs

    CAcfs Senior Member

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    I am Catholic, and got lucky in the past year when I realized that a great Catholic church is close to me, one that has a lot of energy and enthusiasm (which you don't always find in Catholic churches).

    But the thing I like most (because I realize enthusiasm isn't the problem we are talking about), is that the priest who often does the homilies is very realistic. He will often say things that echo how hard life can be, such as, "I have a friend that I am struggling to forgive." Or, "This is my last mass of the day, and I am weary from trying to keep up, at my age. I am praying to the Holy Spirit for strength." Yet his "sermons" are very uplifting. I think it is good to just admit that life is hard, and there aren't always answers. We all struggle. I have come to realize that a lot of people, even people who don't have fatigue, have things that they are struggling with. The best we can do is pray to God, that He will support us through tough times. It helps to feel like you aren't alone in your struggles. It does no good to just paint over them and pretend like they aren't there. So I would say, try to find a church where you feel people are realistic.

    We had a reading from the Bible not too long ago in church (and forgive me, I am not sure which book from the New Testament it is from)......about a women, a Gentile, who needed something from Jesus. And she nagged him repeatedly while He was out with His followers, yet He ignored her. Finally, after she continued, He addressed her, and said something like, "Blessed are you," etc etc, and took care of her request. The moral is that sometimes Jesus wants us to push harder and strive more for Him, even when we feel we are being ignored, and it's that struggle and persistance that eventually will make us blessed. He didn't just address her, he praised her (if I recall, you'll have to look up the story, but he basically singled her out). And this is considering that she was a Gentile, who were considered to be "below" the Jews at the time. Sometimes things don't seem fair, and we feel like we are striving but getting nothing, and that is the point that Jesus lets us know to continue seeking Him, because it will eventually pay off. If Jesus wouldn't have ignored her, she wouldn't have had as big of a "pay off" in the end. He wanted her to keep persisting, as strange as that sounds. So that is what keeps me going, learning from the Bible that struggle is a natural part of seeking God, and it is something that God rewards (at least with affirmation).

    I am not saying (with the story) that you should persist in going to church, but moreso that struggle is one of those things that just happens, and Jesus does recognize what we are going through. Sometimes gratification is not instant, but the fact that we keep seeking God/Jesus despite that is a good thing.

    I really think your personal relationship with Jesus is what will carry you through. It isn't as important to go to church (in my opinion) as it is to have a great bond to Jesus and God. Anyone can go to church, but not everyone strives for that relationship, and not everyone is that willing to open up their life/thoughts to Jesus. Church can help bring you even closer, but it will not build that relationship for you. So it is a good thing that your soul is still seeking Jesus, despite the challenges. It is actually very encouraging and touching to hear about how much someone's (Tulip's) heart is seeking and benefitting from God's love. He is calling us all to be closer to Him. So it is good that you are opening your heart, in my opinion. I have also really benefitted from surrendering my heart over to Him lately. It is really one of the things carrying me through this, and helping me to become a better person along the way. I have been leaning on God, and in turn, He has been challenging me to grow as a person.
     
  18. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Its great that you have a strong closeness with Jesus. This is the most important thing. Going to church can be helpful, because its good to have support and fellowship with other christians.

    However, there are many different churches under the banner 'christian' and some are better than others.

    Many arent that strong when it comes to dealing with people who are sick. Which is shame because it was such a large part of Jesus' ministry.

    Most churches will pray but then not follow through with actions, as Jesus would have done. This isnt because they arent nice people, its usually because they are not very strong in faith and in doing what the bible says about these things.

    I can understand drex13's issues, but that isnt my experience of every church. Plenty are willing to tackle the difficult questions, and sometimes it is appropriate to say "i dont know why", but without answering that its about faith.

    To give you an example, i believe God will heal me, but it hasnt happened yet. I dont know why, but it isnt that i have a lack of faith, actually the bible makes it clear that faith isnt such a big issue, you can have plenty of unbelief. so anyone who says its about faith, probably has it wrong.

    Also to tackle Drex13's other point, i would point out that alot of these different religions do have different views for various reasons, but most share a common set of beliefs. its the stuff that is less clear where they have different views. I dont see a problem with that. Then there are those religions who have very different views, and these might be best to avoid.
    Also, one baptist church will have differences from the next, because although they are all baptist churches, they are each independant. same for many denominations, baptist is just an example.

    In general, its best to go to a church that is a member of the evangelical alliance: these share a common core view, and make up most christian churches.

    I also find it hard to get up for church, so christian fellowship is something i am missing a bit. But like others have said, my relationship with God and my understanding of the bible has actually grown through my illness.

    The church i go to now is the closest one to me. When we moved here my wife and i tried it, but didnt think it was right for us. we then went further afield and tried several but still didnt find one that was right. one day we went back to the local one, and that day was different (maybe someone different was preaching?) and we knew we belonged there. So it can be trial and error.
     
  19. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins PJ Princess

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    I hope you find what you're looking for, Tulip :hug:
     
  20. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

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    I just want to add that Christians are a part of the overall culture in which they live. Our culture does not deal well with chronic, disabling illness. They don't know what to say, and subconsciously they don't want to admit it could happen to them.
     
    SaraM likes this.

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