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

Testimony: This State of Grace

Hi everyone,

Today’s post, just shy of tomorrow’s lectionary sermon, is about salvation.  I’ll be talking about my faith, even though it doesn’t match the majority of the Protestant Church’s beliefs.  I’m okay with just my beliefs as a Unitarian Christian, and I hope you extend the same mercy and grace as I extend to you.

I write this as I’m on the cusp of graduate school.  I start Seminary on Monday, and classes on Tuesday.  I’m very nervous, but I’ve started some of the school work and all I can say is that I’m excited!  This is my testimony of grace, works, and salvation.

I believe that we are saved by grace, but that we must remain in a state of grace to obtain salvation at death.  As the Bible points down, whoever endures to the end will be saved.  To remain in grace, I believe we must demonstrate and continue our faith via our works (or attitudes and behaviors).  Hebrews points out that we are judged by the intent of our hearts.  I don’t believe all sins will damn us, as 1 Corinthians says that not all sins are mortal sins and hence cause spiritual death.  Like my Arminian cousins (the Catholics) point out, there are venial sins and mortal sins.  What could be considered in a mortal sin is up to debate in these times, but I know that Jesus pointed out the social gospel (how God cares how we treat others) is a big factor (Matthew 25).  I’m a very social justice oriented person, and I think God considers today’s sexual ethics, such as rape, molestation, and going against non-consent as well as the social justice aspect of Jesus’ teachings as mortally important.

But as I’d like to think of it, if we have messed up in the past, it is not the end of the world.  There is always time for repentance.  For confession of sins.  God is always there to sincerely forgive anyone is sincere about their mess-up or mistake.

But a big deal for me is that we cannot save ourselves.  It is by Jesus’ doing on the cross that we are saved at all.  So why we must remain in this state of grace, we cannot boast of our own work (Ephesians).  Because Christ died on that cross for me, I’m lucky to get a chance to repent at all!  Christ died so that I could get baptized for remission of sins and applying the atonement again and again.  It’s all because of Christ that we get to go to Heaven and obtain Eternal Life at the Resurrection.

Thanks be to God, and Christ.  Christ is awesome.

Alleluia and Amen.

Thanks, Leigh Todd