Day I Was Thrown Out of Church

The greatest gift God gave you is the gift of choice. The Bible says we’re made in God’s image. I know some of you don’t want to hear this but here it comes.  Your dog may be your best friend but the Bible clearly teaches that he is not created in God’s image. As much as I would like to believe otherwise, I would be shocked if “Joe” or any of my other dogs come running to greet me when I come sashaying through the pearly gates.  Animals do not have a free will.  Human beings do.  That’s how we’re like God. But our freedom to choose is a double edged sword. It can be used for either good or bad. God in His wisdom has given us some help that should guide our choices: The Ten Commandments, the Bible and our consciences are some of the primary ones.

Over the years religions have expanded on the Ten Commandments until, as a rule, they pay more attention to their plethora of self-concocted, man-made rules than God’s original ten. So what are we to do in areas of life where God has neither said, “Yes, you can do this”, or “No, you absolutely cannot do it”.  When there is no clear direction how do you know? Here is a clue. Romans 14:14 (NLT)  If someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong.  Circle “believes” that is a critical word. When I was in college we used to go to the Kentucky Derby each year. In the whole time I never saw a horse, but we sure did party in that infield. And the girls were quite cute too. Since Derby was on Saturday we usually spent the night in Louisville.  The next day being Sunday, a couple of us, who were Catholic, always went to church while the others slept late. One of those Sundays is etched into my memory because, on that particular bright spring morn, we were asked to leave God’s house by a couple of ushers, not because we looked hung over, but because we were wearing Bermuda shorts. Unfortunately, that was all we had to wear.

Why did the two of us go to church in the first place? Was it to worship God and sing His praises? No that was not the reason. We were covering our bases. We went out of fear. We had been taught since first grade that to skip mass on Sunday was a mortal sin (worse of the worse). As I got into my late teens and twenties I started to doubt a lot of what I had been taught, but I was not sure one way or the other about skipping church. The principle: When in doubt, don’t.  If I can’t do it with a clear conscience, then I shouldn’t do it.  It is always wrong to violate your conscience, even though you may have been taught a lie.  Hope I’m wrong about Joe.

Something to think about.


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