Ex-Denominationalists

Ex Denominalists!

Luke 18:9-14

Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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    During the writing of the dissertation for my doctorate several years ago, I interviewed approximately one hundred and fifty people including teenagers seeking to find out how church denominations affected their lives, only five had a positive response, and the remainder had no response.

    In asking each to share their different journey and yet similar, one could hear the Pharisee speaking to each one:‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

    They left or were kicked out for a number of reasons:  in an evangelistic church they disagreed with the theology; several were lesbian or simply female and called to professional ministry; others came out as Queer, and some for refusing to vote for Donald Trump. For all of them: their churches raised money for their building, and simply ignored the poor.

    In talking with street youth and adult homeless, churches ignore them, reject them, and for many were sexually abused by ministers, priests, or church members.

    Overall the denominational church has no meaning in their world. In fact, Christianity has no meaning in their lives.

     Looking into the eyes of each one, seeing their pain, one can hear the words of Jesus:

I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

    And the Divine One stands  with a smile, that radiates across the wounds of each one, with his wounds visible, not from dying for our sins, but as the healing accepting Abba saying: “How I have wanted to gather you together as a hen gathers her children under her wings.” Safe in the arms of Jesus and our Mother God with their wounds healed. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

———–

Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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