I want to live a life at the intersection of faith and reason.
It is a very narrow middle ground.
But I want to reconcile the land in the middle and expand it.
If you assert that agnostic means one who doesn’t KNOW, then the truth is we are all agnostic. None of us KNOW. We all have beliefs.
So if we can get everyone to acknowledge that all we have is beliefs and not knowledge, then the middle ground is expanded.
Even without faith, if one applies reason, one can take the words of Christ and use them as a guide to lead an abundant life full of grace.
Some of us will be stronger in our beliefs and will assert Christ as a personal savior.
Some of us will not be so certain as to the validity of some of the details, but will be able to embrace Christ’s message of grace.
So our inclusive wording that will allow us to find a middle ground and admit atheists and agnostics into our midst: we ask that you embrace Christ as a guide to live a life full of grace.
God wants us to be free.
I have to be honest. I am but a man and not omniscient. So therefore, my ‘knowledge of truth’ is imperfect.
I have beliefs and at times have felt spirit filled and beautiful. At times I’ve had disbelief.
The fundamental values that Christ taught us are so truly and inherently beautiful that they are hard to reject. The truth He espouses would set us free.
We should judge not. We shouldn’t try to control each other or punish each other’s sin. We should ask to have our trespasses forgiven as we have forgiven the trespasses of others.
Jesus brought a message of grace. The essence is to live and let live. The essence is freedom.
I believe that message is true and beautiful. I believe it is a prescription for leading an abundant life.
So let’s assume you have an atheist that is a disbeliever. A true Christian should not make an atheist feel judged. A true Christian would treat an atheist with grace.
So we welcome atheists in our midst. It’s okay for an atheist to doubt things like a six day creation, the story of Noah, the virgin birth, the ascension of Christ, or the validity of Revelations.
All we ask our members is to believe in the beauty of grace and freedom. If we do that, we can all get along, and live abundant lives in peace and freedom.
In the Bible, in the book of John, Chapter 8, we find the story of the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus. According to John, the pharisees (the lawyers of the day) said to Jesus that the law from Moses decreed that she should be stoned to death. They asked Jesus what should be done. And Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
I think this tells us that we should have a constitutional right to privacy. Consensual private acts between adults should not be regulated or punished by the mob or the state.
But we have a ton of ‘Christians’ on the religious right that clearly want to be judgmental with respect to gays. Jesus told us to judge not, lest we be judged.
Even if you feel convinced strongly that homosexuality is a sin, according to the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said we should pray to God to “forgive our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us’.
We need to be forgiving and act with grace with respect to sexual acts between consenting adults. We don’t need to be judgmental.
Let he who is without sin cast the first vote for defense of marriage.
Two thousand years ago, society looked very different than today’s modern society. If you lost your job, you didn’t run down to the unemployment office.
If you were hungry, you didn’t use your food stamps to buy food. You went to the church… and the church took care of the poor.
But now, the rich pay a lot of taxes to take care of the poor. We have a governmental social safety net. Now the contributions to the church are used to build huge edifices or state-of-the-art gymnasiums rather than care for the poor.
So we have a church that is quite powerful… and over the past two thousand years, we’ve seen clergy members abuse their power.
At WaterToWine.org, we believe we can spread God’s gift of grace more efficiently and with less corruption than the standard church. Given the social safety net that you pay for with your taxes, we don’t need 10% of your income. We ask our members for 1% of their income. We promise to try and use it wisely to spread the love and grace of God and to reject the corruption and counter-productive behavior of the old school churches.
Ours is an inclusive Christianity. We believe God wants us to be free.
If you believe God wants us to be free, feel free to join us.
Consider for a moment the Catholic church. They have a ton of beliefs. I bet the average Catholic agrees with some but not all of the church’s teachings.
In our church, we acknowledge the limit of any one individual’s understanding. No human has perfect knowledge. So we have a very limited dogma: God wants us to be free.
So, if you are a Catholic (or Methodist or Lutheran, etc.) and believe that God wants us to be free, then you can be a WaterToWine Catholic (or Methodist or Lutheran, etc.).
We want our WaterToWine members to encourage other Catholics (or Methodists or Lutherans, etc.) to live lives of grace and to reject the church’s attempt to control things.
Most conflict is created when there is a struggle for control. When the church gets paternal and tries to control sin, that turns people away from the church.
When the church gets political and tries to control thought via the school board, that turns people away from the church.
Assume for a moment, you have a new Christian… who believes in Jesus and lives in a state of grace and forgiveness and love. This new Christian is living the abundant life.
But let’s say this new Christian doesn’t believe the story of Noah is true. Do you think that this new Christian is saved? Do you think the new Christian will go to hell because the story of Noah is considered a poorly conceived myth?
John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He sent His only son to die for our sins.
In Genesis, the story of Noah basically says that God so hated the world that He sent a great flood to kill everybody except Noah and his family.
I believe the story of Noah is a poorly conceived myth. I don’t believe it is true. I don’t believe it is divinely inspired.
The story of Noah is a fear-mongering story. Jesus was sent to calm our fears.
We can embrace Christianity without the baggage of Noah. We don’t need fear-mongering in our church. We need love, not judgment.
We need grace, not control.
We don’t need to worry about other people’s sin. The fear-mongering was designed to scare and control sinners. The scare tactic: “If you don’t live right… God is going to get you!” We reject scare tactics.
Welcome to WaterToWine.org… a virtual church that celebrates Christianity without baggage.
Most Christianity is practiced using the Bible as the foundation. But this creates baggage. If you assert that all of the Bible is totally true, you have a lot of statements you have to defend.
Our virtual church is based on the teachings of Christ. We assert there is truth in the Bible. We don’t assert that the Bible is totally true.
You don’t have to believe that God created the world in exactly six days. You can believe that God designed life to evolve.
You don’t have to believe the teachings of Revelations. In Revelations, it says that your fate is pre-determined: Even before you were born your name was either in the Book of Life or not.
We don’t believe that. We believe that what you do matters, and that you have choices to make that can make a difference.
We want to make a difference in this world. Please help us!