God’s plan and our free will: A Disclosure

Once, I was being evicted from my apartment.  

It was a horrible time.  

But I knew that God had a plan of good in my life, and that this could very well be part of the plan.

I also knew that God used bad times for good, and might have even allowed them to use for my betterment.  

It was a complicated time.  Still, theology is complicated for me.  For the past year, my theology has shifted so much I worry I won’t be able to recognize it a year from now.  Am I becoming Calvinist?  NOPE!  But, I do think God has a plan for our lives.  I believe he ordains a plan of goodness for our lives, which includes using bad stuff for our goodness.

God does not ordain pain.  He just allows it and uses it for his greater purpose.

When I was being evicted, I knew God has a plan of goodness for my life.  I knew he was using this as part of his plan, his teaching for me, his ultimate goal.  What is his ultimate goal for me now?  I think it is to become a pastor and chaplain, who is resilient to housing troubles and can be of help to those in the throngs of eviction.  

Eviction is a terrible experience.  Let’s face it, it’s a b*tch.  I wouldn’t wish that on my enemy.  

I’m still Arminian – I just believe in both God’s sovereignty and our free will.  I do believe we can’t mess up God’s plan for our lives – I think he just hits the “reroute” button on his “god desk.”  Plus, I’m hoping that our rerouting is God’s plan of goodness all along.  God, knowing all things from past, present, and future, uses our future decisions and upsets as part of his “plan” to help us get to a better future, one we couldn’t have imagined at all.

God does not ordain, cause, or wish the bad stuff.  Yes, the bad stuff could have been used for our good, but I don’t think God could plan bad things for us at all.  He just uses the bad for good.

What good came out of my eviction?  Resiliency, I’m sure of that.  Other than that, a positive attitude in times of trouble, because I know one way or another: God is always there helping.  No matter what, God’s got my back someway, somehow.

He’s the all powerful God and we’re semi-powerful human beings; beings that have made choices that altered history forever (i.e. Holocaust, 9/11).  

And the multiple times the Bible speaks of God ordaining believers or events before the beginning of the Earth? An explanation in hindsight that comforted the Jews and early church. To them, if God ordained all this bad stuff, then it was okay.

I imagine we are still giving ourselves that explanation – even I still do it.

But I remember: God is good, all the time.  And all the time, God is good.  Forever and ever.

Alleluia and Amen.

A Testimony of the Unknown: The Future Faith for Me

EDIT: I asked my pastor yesterday, and realized all beliefs are welcome, including Arminian. I even asked my pastor if she was Calvinist, and she said no!! She said she follows mostly Wesleyan beliefs, and that she takes comfort from each church in Christianity – United Methodist, Presbyterian, all. I misunderstood everything for York FCC! As always, I am always learning. I took out the wrong parts about my church in this essay.

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to share a small testimony of my future in faith:

While I don’t know what the future holds, I know Christ holds me in his arms.

Just this past year, I’ve moved away from works and grace theology (Catholicism-like theology) to just being saved by grace. I’ve also moved from my sacred Unitarian faith, which made me feel alienated from all other Christians, to the Trinitarian faith. There are still some days that I struggle with the Trinity, I just know that I have to press on and continue to believe. I can do this.

Now, what does the future hold? While I am and always be Arminian in faith, I’ve been looking at Calvinism. I’m still hung up on certain things, such as God ordaining the Holocaust and pain and death. I mean, even Jesus cried at Lazarus’ funeral. Although, a Calvinist could argue that Lazarus died to give God the glory (by resurrecting him). So, I’m not sure. I just don’t see anything glorious about the Holocaust happening, and the rape and murder of women of genocide in Africa. People are endowed with freedom of will, and there are times when we really screw up and abuse our free will.

I’m kind of looking for a happy medium, where God ordains all things, but also allows for freedom of will and apostasy. I know, multiple times, the Old Testament tells us of a God that ordains both good and punishment, but I know from my OT classes that that was the Jewish people’s way of understanding their situations and pains. Unlike what literal biblical studies tells us, the Bible wasn’t written by 40 men, but hundreds of authors who struggled with the terrible things that happened to them. I bet most of the Bible was written in hindsight, not by current events.

Alleluia and Amen.

Love, Leigh Todd

The Priority of the Church: A Testimony

I hate it when the same church that preaches “love all” and “love God” also talks crap on minority groups, immigrants, and queer folks.

This isn’t how church is supposed to be.

Church is where the minority are elevated, because Jesus cared for the poor, the outsiders, the weak. Who are the outsiders in our communities, in our hearts, in our speech today?

I cannot stand the universal church preaching about a loving God, and having a relationship with him, if we judge those who are different and still cherish their relationship with Him.

Jesus died for all.

This includes our non-binary friends, our refugees, and those with piercings and tattoos. Christ did not just come to redeem white, middle-class, conservative folks. He came to redeem all, because we all fall short of the glory of God.

Remember, a church is not museum of perfect people, but a hospital of sorrowful sinners. Those who fall short every day of loving God and neighbor, and valuing ourselves above the Almighty and his creation.

So, welcome the tattooed, the sinners, the agender, the they-them-pronoun-people, the drinker, the swearer, all of us. All of us from the wrong side of the tracks, and let us be as our Maker helps us become more loving like Him. Because Christian perfection is not about becoming more white, more conservative, more American. It means loving God and neighbor so fully that I think of myself less.

And to remind you guys, Jesus is not even white or American. So please drop this American Gospel-is-the-real-Jesus bullshit.

Remember this this Eastertide.

Alleluia and Amen.

God Is Good: A Poem

A Testimony,
Of God and How GOOD He is.

God is good,
Not because he loves me because I am good,
But because He IS GOOD.

Nothing, as we learned in church today,
Is by coincidence.
All is planned about by the Lord.

The good is a perfect gift from above.
The bad are consequences from our actions and others’ actions.
The ugly are lessons from the LORD.

The LORD is good, the Lord is good.
The Lord is so good that he came to the cross to save me,
A sinner who could not become perfect.
I was a terrible sinner,
Full of hatred in the past for my God,
Full of hateful, horrible, hurtful language,
Immoral thoughts,
serious rage,
And I could never repent enough for all of these sins.

Not to earn grace,
But as a thank you,
I try my best every day.
First at church, I watch my foul language,
And hope to teach my children to stay clear of immoral thoughts and live righteously.

Live righteously as a thank you to the Lord,
For all He has done.

Alleluia, he has Risen. He has RISEN INDEED.

Amen.

Tiny Testimony: What Does Easter Have to do with Progressive Christians?

A Tiny note:

We are forgiven, from a past, present, and future sins.  This does not give us an excuse to do wrong, but to use our freedom wisely.  To do good for all.

What does being forgiven mean for progressive Christians?  It means all the hate we’ve spewed, whether on purpose or by accident, is not held against us by God in Jesus.  It means the racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia that is rampant in our country, while it will be discussed between sinful folks and Jesus at judgement, does not curse us from God’s reign.  It also means, as we celebrate Easter this Sunday, that racism and all other horrible things against others and our Earth are not the last act.  They do not have the final word.  While there is trouble, Jesus overcame the world and all its troubles, and will endow and has already endowed us with God’s Kingdom on Earth, in Heaven, and in the Resurrection.  We can never escape God’s reign if we are believers.  

If we are believers, we can have a surety of hope that death is not the end.  Death due to hatred is not the end.  Our Earth, while falling apart, will be renewed as the city of the New Jerusalem will come down.  Love has the final word.  

Love has the final word.

Happy Easter everyone! As I’ve still discovering the Trinity, I’m learning more about having a relationship with Jesus and am building my own testimony of Him.

I’m so sorry I’ve been so flip-floppy on the Trinity vs. Unitarianism, but I think I’ve made up my mind.

Alleluia.  Christ is Risen Indeed!

Amen.