In the section below marked “Leave A Reply”, I hope you will write a question of a spiritual nature that you would like our on line community to consider.
After you’ve written your question, DO NOT FORGET to hit the post comment button.
Once you hit the “Post Comment” button, I will post a response as soon as I am able, and then I will invite input from other readers. Thanks so much for being a part of our online community!
This is a trial run
Pastor Craig: In the Garden of Eden, why do you think the serpent chose to tempt Eve, rather than Adam? I have often wondered about this.
Okay I saw the suit a ? Bar, clicked on it, and only went to leave a reply–
Since there are various degrees of sins, I am going to assume there are various degrees of afterlife– or does one sin equal 1 sin no matter what? My question is– as always, in a different manner– sin is sin, yes? Forgiveness is forgiveness? What is it that motivates humans to become religious besides the social aspect? It cannot be spirituality- because I find that in my own in my heart. Is it fear? Is it the social aspect? And if it is– is that why many are excluded? Because of belief, and worship?
Last Saturday I attended a funeral. John was a well known and well respected businessman in a small town. About 400 people filled the auditorium of the local high school. I know nothing of John’s spiritual path, but I know that he was not a “church goer”.
Because they were not members of a church, the family called on a local pastor, who visited him in hospice during his last days and officiated at the funeral.
The funeral was 2 hours long. There was a slide show, a nice message from his daughter in law, and they passed the mike. Seems every old timer in town had a nice story about John. That all took about 45 minutes. The rest of the time, the pastor talked about his church and his faith, and had a call to the altar. Many folks left before it was over.
It seems to be that more of the time should have been spent honoring John. If you ask a pastor to speak, of course he will base the message on his faith. But–it was John’s last party. I almost felt as if some grand standing was occurring. How do you strike a balance, in this situation, between respecting the beliefs of the person (and his family) who has passed, and also honoring God and your faith.
Thanks, Craig, for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us.
Hey, Craig. My friend and I were discussing the meaning of “Grace of God”. Is it His Love, His forgiveness, His presence, or all these things?
It’s been a while now (nearly a month) since a question has been submitted. I’m wondering what is on your mind. Drop me a question and let’s get the group talking again 🙂
Pastor Craig, what do you think is the biggest common thread that runs among the beliefs of the major religions.
Hi! Long time no post —
I have just read a story with CNN– regarding a little girl with an incurable, painful disease– she has asked her parents that the next time she gets sick, to please not take her to the hospital– all procedures are very painful and she is afraid that she will not make it back home. She is 5.
I know that you support the “death with dignity” law, as I do. But first off, what do you think God thinks about this?? The choice to choose how we leave in the case of a terminal, painful disease– and do you think that there is a difference between a child choosing and an adult? When the child knows that they are going to die.
Not to hog the blog, but something has been scrambled in my brain for a long time and this morning it finally gelled enough to express it.
One of the things that attracted me to Catholicism was that they don’t prosthelytize. I can’t remember the correct word, but the phrase is, “We (teach by example, my words), we don’t intrude.”.
With HONEST and HUMBLE respect for faiths that do, it confuses me.My belief in God is such a powerful and personal thing. It has not one thing to do with anything anyone has told me.
I have a family member who spent years spreading God’s word to nonbelievers. What I don’t get is..if someone doesn’t believe in God, what will reading the Bible mean to them? Does the promise of Grace change them?
I ramble—-maybe it’s not as clear as I thought. Your thoughts, please.
Here is a question– kind of which came first– the chicken or the egg–
Is our life based on fate, or uncharted waters ?? Can we change the inevitable? Or was it changed because it was in excitable ? I ask this because I have cut myself off of most news– local and World because of the fear factor involved — . They instill a fear, and I wonder with or without this fear, could anything be changed? And if it is changed, was it already predetermined that it would be changed? Is our life already mapped out? Or are we in charge of our own destiny?
please fix my spelling– Not exitable, “of the inevitable”.
Pastor Craig, I have decided to disengage for awhile from some social networks due to all of the bullying , hate and controversy . I also have been encouraged by some to not give up, to let my voice be heard. My question to you is– if there is a God, why does God not intervene? Why is there such a struggle between what is right, and what is wrong? Let me just state, I do not believe in the Garden of Eden story per se’ ; it is a story of temptation and following rules– that is the moral. I want to know why good people are allowed to create hate and fear in others for control. I feel like mankind is basically set up to fail– what kind of God does that?
Hello Pastor Craig! First off I hope December finds you well.
Okay, just sitting here pondering, as I often do. Now, I am not a religious person– I do not know even how I feel about a God in the great beyond. I do believe in Jesus, but not how the Christian religion wants me to believe. My question for you, is if I understand this correctly, to be “Christian” is being “Christ”-like. Before Jesus walked the Earth, what was the religion, and what was it called?
Hey my friend , how have you been? I’m hoping the New Year is treating you well . I have a question– because God and religion seem so un conclusive and undemanding– does God keep score? If there is a God, does he discredit me because I said “if”? Or does God give extra credit to those who repeat his scripture? And which Scripture would that be??
Craig, What would you say is the most important thing your faith in God does for you?
I believe, when a person becomes a Christian, they automatically become a member of the Church Universal, made up of all Christians. So, my question is, why is it important to become a member of a local church?
I’ve been reading about the gnostic gospels. It has me wondering. Who decided what gospels were included when the Bible was written?
Okay, here goes– I just read a something, someone lost their 6yearvold daughter– and some body said “sorry, God must have needed her more.” Excuse my French but, “,que se passe-t-il??? “. Why would God need a child more than their family ? Why? To teach the parents some kind of lesson? It’s crud! I realize that we do not know how many days each of us has on this planet, but to actually say God needed them more? Why would someone say that? That would be a sure ticket for me to hate God if he’s really there.
Today I watched an interview with Fr. Richard Rohr, whom I know you read and respect. He said, “Religion can be the best of things and the worst of things. It can be the best place for a person to hide from God.” What is your take on that statement?
Craig, I know that I have asked the question in the past about fate or planned out destiny — I am struggling right now with a tragedy of a couple young folks– of course many of the young that have to live tragic lives– I have a problem with that– why does God let some live long lives — maybe not even appreciated good lives– and let others be taken so quickly– and do you believe God knows who is passing before they pass? Or is he just there and surprised as many of us? Thank you for your perspective on the matter.
Hi my friend– I yet have another question– or let me say something that was said to me that has been bothering me for 24 hours by someone I consider friends–not a good friends,but more than aquiaintences.
Discussing our teenagers, dating, etc. now mind you I have two kids older then these parents kids, so I always keep quiet when I hear the “not my kid”– because face it, for the most part, kids are kids– they are yearning for independence — no matter how they are brought up– then , smack– out of the blue– one friend says, ” well I want him to date a Christian, because let’s face it, anyone else has no reason to do something wrong”. And then my other friend agreed– I had to disengage, because excuse my feelings, but if that is the only reason for keeping a person to be a good human being– then I am a little scared— this really upset me, like I’ve said I’ve thought of it for 24 hours– I do kit consider myself a Christian–I don’t know what I am– but is this how a lot Christians feel? I mean you have traveled and preached to many– and I understand that here are extremes in all organized religion– I just have to ask in my heart, how can these people think anything they said is Christ like–
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” That is such a simple statement. How did it get so complicated?
“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” That sentence stands for something very big and very important. I love that.
Given that, as a pastor promising this, how do you find common ground for all in your sermons every week? And do people ever complain?
Many of us are behind you as you start this new chapter. What exactly is your field of study?
This must be a complicated, challenging, yet fulfilling time to be a pastor. What are you doing as a leader to help your church family cope, and what is the UCC doing to help bring peace to our divided land?
Oh my goodness, I do not want to sound like a negative ninny, but I swear if I read one more post from a religious person saying that that are praying to God to help this country I am going to scream!
I do believe that things will turn out how they were meant to turn out. But why do people actually think that solely praying to God without any other action from themselves will solve anything? Do you not believe God wanted all mankind to live in peace and harmony? Why do some people believe that solely praying about it, it will miraculously happen? And, I am sorry, but God, if he truly watching, does not solely care about the United States. Sorry for my frustration but sometimes people frustrate me and when they bring God into it– seems I reach my boiling point.
Sorry for the rant– did I ask a question? Why do some people feel like praying to God will navigate their ship on the correct course???
Our last discussion of prayer has been on my mind. Do many people use different kinds of prayer? I, for example, often talk to God in private as if he’s an old friend–thanking him, discussing my day, asking him to keep my loved ones safe. Then there are times I just connect with him, feeling his power and getting strength from HIm, and feeling that I get messages from him on how to do things better. Then there are times when I pray with others, feeling community. Am I weird?
You and I had a conversation recently about the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace. I’m thinking your readers may find your explanation as enlightening and thought-provoking as I.
First of all my friend, Hapoy Half of a century!! Yes, we are older than some dirt, I believe– second Hapoy 4th of July —
Now on with my question, or really what is nothing me — to use you as a sounding board and maybe to shed some reason–
Today I read about Kentucky allowing Christian prayer on school, and then on my way home I saw a bumper sticker that said “make Jesus legal” — and it had stuck with me–
Why was Jesus ever illegal? Because politics and religion should NOT mix? And second, I would NEVER categorize myself as a “Christian”– I do believe in Jesus and his teachings– but the whole rest of the religious thing has soured me — trying to control and NOT adhering to “Christian-like” ways. I guess my question is– should there be such a “struggle” to be a good person, and follow a path of life that is good for ALL mankind??
Hello My friend– I do not know if I have a question or just a statement on how religion makes me HATE religion– of course social media does NOT help the situation, it just pushes me farther away from reliigion and those who practice organized religion– I read these stories of these overzealous who preach the Bible, which was written by Man in his own words to gain power and control. They are stories to teach a lesson, and face it, control others whom are different. They call themselves Christian, test they are he farthest from what Christ was– Jesus would. It set foot in their church– Jesus hang out with the outcast– he wanted nothing to do with organized religion– and when a Pastor goes on social media preaching hate and exclusion because of one thing or another– and my friends back this preacher up, I have to wonder what kind of look aid my friends have been drinking– and I’m glad I was in the bathroom when it was being passed around.
Maybe my question is, why after so many years of this fear and control does it still go on?
Marriage is one of the most holy and sacred of sacraments. What do you want to know about a couple before you officiate at a wedding?
I just read this article about the ways in which evangelical churches have tried to address racism in their theology, and how those attempts often fall short of creating systemic change by focusing too much on individual relationships, with God and with people of color. It struck me that this analysis could apply well to non-evangelical churches also, and certainly to atheist groups (if you substitute moral philosophy for theology).
What do you think of this analysis, and what do you do in your own congregation to cultivate a theology that does not privilege whiteness or coddle white fragility?
I believe that fear is the most paralyzingly of the emotions. What do you think is the biggest fear among people, and how does it affect them?
Monday I had a time of doubt and anger and loss of faith. Please tell me you think God “gets” that. Thanks, Craig
Dear Craig, Today I watched an interview with a woman who had a 37 minute near death experience four years ago during childbirth. Her short experience was that of a pure and good spirit separated from her body. It has given her a new outlook on life. She believes that our spirits are pure, and travel into our bodies at birth and leave again at death, and that all sin and evil are earthly. I found that an interesting take. Have you ever known anyone who has had a near death experience?
I like your response, and love that as a pastor you don’t discount things just because you haven’t “been there.” I don’t know what I believe. As I’ve said to you before, my faith in general is based on my experiences, and that could be called supernatural, too, don’t you think? Very tough subject. Thank you for your usual wise answer.
Sharon’s recent question which started, “when asked about my religion…..” made me think. It made me wonder why I dislike it so much when someone asks me about my faith, especially the question, “Are you a Christian?”.
My relationship with God is so personal to me. To me, a question such as that is as intrusive as any other question about my personal life. I could never be part of a faith community where “spreading the Word” is important.
Is it part of my introverted personality…that part of me that makes the number of people I get close to small? Is it because I feel judgment from those who have asked me that because my relationship with God is different from theirs? I wonder.
Is it Faith in God? Or Faith in Prayer , that keeps Man going? To me, there is such a difference— is this a fair question to a Man of Faith?
I am unsure if you received my question, so if this is a repeat, I am very sorry—
As man of God, you may have a skewed view- but here goes— do you believe the Power of Prayer? Or do You believe that our fate is predetermined??
You spoke in your sermon today about dwindling church memberships in the past few decades. Influenced by my strong belief in separation of church and state, I truly believe that the introduction of Religion into the government during the 80s caused a big divide in this country.
So I was thinking. Did this do damage to society, or was it good that people started exploring their own spirituality and discovered that there were more paths than those they had been taught?
What do you think about this, Pastor Craig?
Dear Pastor Craig-
If I hear “It is God’s will” one more time I am going to scream! I do not understand those who consistently repeat this when confronted with the political atmosphere today— “was Hitler’s God’s will”— or when conveying their sadness for someone dying of leukemia? Especially a child who has not had a moment to live let alone to sin. I do not mean to tread on belief or faith— but to mean this is a blanket saying for that which we cannot control — and I must say it drives me nuts and pushes me even farther on a God who should be just.
Pastor Craig. I remember having faith in God at a very young age. It has built over time as life experiences have happened. I don’t know how I could live a day without my walk with God.
I understand how different religious paths can be taught to people, and lessons on right and wrong, but do you think one can “teach” a person to have faith? Thank you for your time, which is precious these days.
Pastor Craig, I have been reading in Kings. I notice there are different ways in which they were spoken of in regards to the end of their lives. One time it will say, he died, or slept with his fathers or slept with his fathers and was buried in the sepulcher of David or slept with his fathers and buried in the city of David or one was buried in Tirzah (Baasha) or one buried in his own garden or Omri who was buried in Samaria. I was wondering if there was any significance to the different ways and or places that this is stated. Was this because of how they lived their lives or is there a spiritual significance to this or were there just different places to be buried?
Pastor Craig… I’m reading a book about a man named Anselmo, born in Italy in 1033. Having spoken with God in a dream as a child he dedicated the rest of his days to proving to mankind the existence of God. In the end he went mad. I’m thinking you get that. Even I do.