Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why Religion is No Longer Working for Most People

Today is the second segment of my interview with Reverend Steve Brannon. We are discussing the organized religion and why it’s not working for so many people. To read more about leaving organized religion and this interview with Steve Brannon, click the links below. Or, you may listen to the interview "Are You Spiritual.. or Religious?" here:

Part 1 -Don’t Rock the Boat Lest You Want to Leave the Church Fellowship
Part 2 - Why Religion is No Longer Working for Most People
Part 3 - Emergent Conversation about Christians Leaving the Church
Part 4 - Why Words Are So Powerful

Yvonne: We’re sharing what we’ve learned along the way, a hard lesson. I think a lot of people have become frustrated because they’re being told that they have to believe a certain way and like you said they are feeling “boxed in” or very limited. Fear is a part of the way the church controls the masses. If you don’t believe a certain way then there will be retribution or punishment. For me, I was told that I couldn’t play piano at one church, and that my husband couldn’t hold a leadership position because we questioned the authority of the pastor. They have their ways of keeping you in line. I realized in my heart that there was something much greater to be experienced and that there was truth in more than what I was hearing in the pulpit. There was truth in the Bible that was not being expressed. If you ask about the spiritual gifts that Jesus and the apostles of that time demonstrated, the Sunday School teachers might tell you, “Oh, those gifts have ceased now.” But then I would pray for people and they would be healed. I have the gift of discerning spirits and I know when there’s an entity in the room. So my experience personally was not lining up with what was being taught from the pulpit and I expected to adhere to someone else’s truth.

Steve: The gifts of the Spirit are in operation today, but the church condemns these gifts saying that psychics are “of the devil.” Yet, we can communicate telepathically with someone around the world without using the phone or computer. Spiritually, we are connected. Spiritually, we are one just like the name of this show. We have the liberty to use these gifts just like Jesus did. He was one with God and said we are too, but sadly that message has gotten lost. Christianity does not present that truth—instead, it keeps people in bondage to a separatist mindset. I encourage anyone who is looking for a faith community to ask these questions: #1: is it all inclusive? Does it include everybody? Does it eliminate anybody on any grounds? Race, belief systems, lifestyle, anything. #2: Is it grounded in love? Are they showing a divine or a true type of love toward you or are they wanting to manipulate you through fear? If you don’t believe the way they do and they make you feel guilty or shameful about your life or what you believe, keep on moving. If it doesn’t pass those two steps, stay away. Keep on searching.

Yvonne: That is very good advice. When I went through my divorce, I was excommunicated from the church I was attending. They said I didn’t pray enough and that I didn’t have enough faith in God to heal my marriage. I was praying five hours a day. I don’t know how I could’ve gotten anything else done if I prayed any more. It was time for me to move on because not only was my church affiliation limiting me, my marriage was limiting what I could do spiritually and how much I could grow. I could not expand my spiritual awareness without causing more conflict in that relationship.

Steve: When that does happen in our lives, we can still love and bless one another, wish one another well, and envision the best for the other. Letting go means believing that your partner or ex-spouse is going on their path; they are exactly where they are supposed to be at the right time, right place. Bless them and go on to whatever it is that you need to do spiritually.

Yvonne: Anytime you leave a situation or organization, whether it’s the church or a relationship, you have to forgive before you can truly move on. I stayed stuck in bitterness and anger many, many years after I left the church for good. I felt like I had been abused by the clergy and the whole system itself. But I began to work on this Oneness thing and realized there’s no us and them. Their suffering is my suffering. Religion worked for me for quite a number of years. It fulfilled a need in my heart as it still does for many people. Now that I’ve moved on and forgiven I have absolutely fallen in love again with Jesus Christ. Bible verses I memorized years ago now comfort me and I feel the Holy Spirit. Once again, I am asking to be filled with the Spirit. I am being drawn to praising the God within me, not some entity way out there in the sky that I’m going to go see some day after I die. The Spirit within me is the life force that gives me vitality, blessing, and health. Gratitude wells up in my heart—I’m so thankful I’m not in that cocoon where I couldn’t move forward, where I could never become the butterfly that I wanted to be. Through forgiveness I have become that butterfly. It’s so freeing.

Steve: Yeah, we can use life as a lesson. Every one of these intersections in life is about relationships. We have relationships with one another. We have relationships with society. We have a relationship with God. It’s on this relative plane, all it is, is relationships. Learning the lessons from each one of those, we go to the next lesson. All the events in your life are to teach us something and to help us grow into a higher consciousness.

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