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Old 02-28-2010, 09:16 PM   #11
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

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I'm in the middle of The Shack by William Young. It's a fiction book, but it's great!
totally great read!

knlrachel has great advice

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Old 02-28-2010, 09:23 PM   #12
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

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A bit long ... my apologies ...

Thank you for being so honest and for being willing to continue the search. The search for truth is the ultimate pursuit of life. Too many in our culture have given up on that pursuit and have settled for relative, universal thinking that says “everybody’s right”, “there are many ways to God”, and “all religions are basically the same”. We look and notice that all of these religions believe in love, goodness, kindness, etc. After all, they only disagree about creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, the nature of humanity, salvation, and destiny. But those are just details. Other than that, they are all basically the same

Every religion is exclusive at some point. Christianity gets the biggest blame for it, but all religions must at some level be. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Atheism, Universalism, and every other “ism” you can think of at some point needs to draw a line that says “This is what it means to be a __________.” Even someone who says “everything is acceptable” or “every faith has a little bit of truth” needs to draw a line when someone else says, “No, I don’t think every faith has some truth in it.”

That’s just a really long way of saying, keep pursuing truth. Also, good for you for not believing in something just because someone said so. My dh has a wonderful story about how his mom taught him this valuable lesson. Truth can be verified.

I am just finishing a book called Already Gone which actually seems to describe where you are coming from … people who grew up in a Bible believing church, who went to Sunday School regularly, and grew up in solid homes but who for one reason or another leave the church. Some eventually come back and some never come back. There was a lot of research done for the book interviewing these types of people, and the two big reasons they found for folks leaving were:
1. Hypocrisy of people in the church
2. Lack of belief in the Bible (that it is actually accurate and can be believed)
So that said, you are certainly not alone. Many folks are where you are, and it seems that churches are only starting to realize this and address it.

I’m sorry to hear about the poor response of Christians towards you when you became pregnant. Jesus spoke the harshest words against sin but he had the greatest love for sinners. He spoke out against stealing but embraced Zacchaeus who stole from people as he collected taxes. He spoke out against adultery yet defended the woman caught in adultery. Sometimes his followers get that confused and in an attempt to hate the sin they end up coming off as if they hate the sinner instead. So, I’m sorry that happened. It is not right.

I am also sorry to hear about the death of your BFF. Dealing with death is never easy. I lost my grammy when I was young and had many difficult questions for God. My dh lost his mother when he was a teen and had some questions for God. So again, you are not alone.

As for pursuing future study and research, here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Look to the founders – I know you mentioned not wanting to read the Bible and comparing its validity with Aesop. That’s understandable, but I’d encourage you to read the scriptures of the religions you are wondering about ... even if you read them all like stories at first. I’d read the Torah, an English translation of the Koran, and the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John … get a good readable translation … NIV and NRSV are pretty good … New Living Translation may be more readable for you). Perhaps read some of the eastern scriptures as well. What this allows you to do though is to compare religions based on the founders rather than based on the followers. Followers can mess things up but founders know what they were thinking.

2. OK, that said, I can understand wanting non-Bible resources at this point in your search. Here are some ideas for non-Bible resources:
a. When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson (this may help with your dealing with the death of your BFF … ignore what the media say about him. He’s just a Christian trying to help families)
b. Ravi Zacharias is a Christian who grew up a Hindu in India, became an aethiest, turned to Jesus Christ, and is now a preacher. He speaks around the world, has a radio program, and has published many books. He is very respectful of people from other faiths and worldviews and understands that we are all grappling with difficult issues. He wrote a book called Jesus Among Other Gods. He also wrote several books in a conversation style that deal with different figures. They include: New Birth or Rebirth (Jesus and Krishna), Sense and Sensuality (Jesus and Oscar Wilde), and The Lotus and the Cross (Jesus and Buddha).
c. Names like Josh McDowell, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel, Charles Stanley, Beth Moore, etc. will give you some good perspectives on Christianity.
d. Finally, I’d be careful with more liberal writers who talk about Jesus. They tend to have huge flaws in their thinking. A few of these folks include Karen Armstrong, John Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and other folks you might see in most PBS, Discovery Channel, and History Channel type shows when they air shows about the real Jesus. My dh has read many of their writings, and I’ve seen them on TV. It’s great to read them to understand another perspective, but so often they “reinterpret Jesus”, misrepresent His beliefs, take other Gospels at face value but constantly question Gospels in the Bible, fail to address the serious questions about other Gospels, or simply misinterpret or misrepresent.

I hope this list of resources didn’t overwhelm you. I just wanted to give you a few thoughts and help as I could. Again, I am so glad to hear you are pursuing truth. If you pursue it honestly, you will find it. I’ll be praying for you as you continue to cope with the loss of your BFF. That’s never easy. Please feel free to PM me at any time.

Don't go off of what just any old book says about Jesus. If you want to know Him, read books by people who know Him.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:12 PM   #13
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I think that anything by Beth Moore is awesome.....she has some amazing Bible Studies you can do too!!
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:27 PM   #14
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

Light fiction from Tom Robbins addresses issues of spirituality in the most unique and funny way
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:51 AM   #15
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I totally agree with KNLRachel.
BTDT. I got tired of being told what to believe, asked tons of questions, got ignored and went to the source and found my answers.
Don't give up!!

She gave great advice where to start. I'd reccommend getting an NLT bible - it's got one of the best and most accurate modern translations of the Old Testament. It reads VERY well and fluidly. I'd also reccommend The Power New Testament. Awesome read, BEST - hands down- translation of the NT.

I also highly reccommend First Fruits of Zion and all of their resources. Easy to read, get into, and find ALL references to what they are talking about. I also love and highly reccommend Biblical Holidays.

Good bible, commentary and concordance program would be E-sword.
Free, easy to use and if you want you can donate and get a CD with everything on it.

I find that the Early Church Fathers, if you can find those writings at the library are a good read. I moved overseas and now have trouble finding an economical way of persuing that end of study.

In understanding what the early believers believed - I find reading the Ethics of the Fathers very enlightening. It echos the writings of the disciples and apostles - as well as what Y'shua taught while on earth.

I also find the Didache helpful, which was upheld by the very early fathers as Scripture.

There are many, many others, but those are great starts and helped me out LOADS.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:04 AM   #16
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

Quote:
Originally Posted by knlrachel View Post
A bit long ... my apologies ...

Thank you for being so honest and for being willing to continue the search. The search for truth is the ultimate pursuit of life. Too many in our culture have given up on that pursuit and have settled for relative, universal thinking that says “everybody’s right”, “there are many ways to God”, and “all religions are basically the same”. We look and notice that all of these religions believe in love, goodness, kindness, etc. After all, they only disagree about creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, the nature of humanity, salvation, and destiny. But those are just details. Other than that, they are all basically the same

Every religion is exclusive at some point. Christianity gets the biggest blame for it, but all religions must at some level be. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Atheism, Universalism, and every other “ism” you can think of at some point needs to draw a line that says “This is what it means to be a __________.” Even someone who says “everything is acceptable” or “every faith has a little bit of truth” needs to draw a line when someone else says, “No, I don’t think every faith has some truth in it.”

That’s just a really long way of saying, keep pursuing truth. Also, good for you for not believing in something just because someone said so. My dh has a wonderful story about how his mom taught him this valuable lesson. Truth can be verified.

I am just finishing a book called Already Gone which actually seems to describe where you are coming from … people who grew up in a Bible believing church, who went to Sunday School regularly, and grew up in solid homes but who for one reason or another leave the church. Some eventually come back and some never come back. There was a lot of research done for the book interviewing these types of people, and the two big reasons they found for folks leaving were:
1. Hypocrisy of people in the church
2. Lack of belief in the Bible (that it is actually accurate and can be believed)
So that said, you are certainly not alone. Many folks are where you are, and it seems that churches are only starting to realize this and address it.

I’m sorry to hear about the poor response of Christians towards you when you became pregnant. Jesus spoke the harshest words against sin but he had the greatest love for sinners. He spoke out against stealing but embraced Zacchaeus who stole from people as he collected taxes. He spoke out against adultery yet defended the woman caught in adultery. Sometimes his followers get that confused and in an attempt to hate the sin they end up coming off as if they hate the sinner instead. So, I’m sorry that happened. It is not right.

I am also sorry to hear about the death of your BFF. Dealing with death is never easy. I lost my grammy when I was young and had many difficult questions for God. My dh lost his mother when he was a teen and had some questions for God. So again, you are not alone.

As for pursuing future study and research, here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Look to the founders – I know you mentioned not wanting to read the Bible and comparing its validity with Aesop. That’s understandable, but I’d encourage you to read the scriptures of the religions you are wondering about ... even if you read them all like stories at first. I’d read the Torah, an English translation of the Koran, and the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John … get a good readable translation … NIV and NRSV are pretty good … New Living Translation may be more readable for you). Perhaps read some of the eastern scriptures as well. What this allows you to do though is to compare religions based on the founders rather than based on the followers. Followers can mess things up but founders know what they were thinking.

2. OK, that said, I can understand wanting non-Bible resources at this point in your search. Here are some ideas for non-Bible resources:
a. When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson (this may help with your dealing with the death of your BFF … ignore what the media say about him. He’s just a Christian trying to help families)
b. Ravi Zacharias is a Christian who grew up a Hindu in India, became an aethiest, turned to Jesus Christ, and is now a preacher. He speaks around the world, has a radio program, and has published many books. He is very respectful of people from other faiths and worldviews and understands that we are all grappling with difficult issues. He wrote a book called Jesus Among Other Gods. He also wrote several books in a conversation style that deal with different figures. They include: New Birth or Rebirth (Jesus and Krishna), Sense and Sensuality (Jesus and Oscar Wilde), and The Lotus and the Cross (Jesus and Buddha).
c. Names like Josh McDowell, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel, Charles Stanley, Beth Moore, etc. will give you some good perspectives on Christianity.
d. Finally, I’d be careful with more liberal writers who talk about Jesus. They tend to have huge flaws in their thinking. A few of these folks include Karen Armstrong, John Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and other folks you might see in most PBS, Discovery Channel, and History Channel type shows when they air shows about the real Jesus. My dh has read many of their writings, and I’ve seen them on TV. It’s great to read them to understand another perspective, but so often they “reinterpret Jesus”, misrepresent His beliefs, take other Gospels at face value but constantly question Gospels in the Bible, fail to address the serious questions about other Gospels, or simply misinterpret or misrepresent.

I hope this list of resources didn’t overwhelm you. I just wanted to give you a few thoughts and help as I could. Again, I am so glad to hear you are pursuing truth. If you pursue it honestly, you will find it. I’ll be praying for you as you continue to cope with the loss of your BFF. That’s never easy. Please feel free to PM me at any time.
Thank you so much....I appreciate all your advice as well as candidness
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:28 PM   #17
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

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Have you checked out Unitarian Universalists? http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

I love going to UU services b/c they discuss ALL religions. One days the service may be about a Bhuddist story, the next Muslim, the next Christian, etc.
http://www.uua.org/visitors/6798.shtml
I was going to make the same suggestion.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:15 PM   #18
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I love C.S. Lewis (hence the quote in my siggy). If you were going to read one book on Christianity I would suggest Mere Christiany by Lewis. It covers a wide range of topics and his writing style is very conversational and witty.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:46 PM   #19
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:57 PM   #20
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I second that- good for you for not following the pack like many others do without giving a second thought to why they are doing it!
God loves a truthful heart!
I really liked "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. It's a non-fiction book that explores basic proofs of God in an exciting way. It's not a dry read like a lot of other "proof" type of books.
Your story is a good reminder that we need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Thanks for that.
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