UBC #4 I breathe, I praise, I live – It’s all the same.

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Still under the protection of parentel doctrine

I am convicted that my faith is imperative to my existence. There comes a time when you stop living on what you have been taught and you start living on what you know.

When I was a child, I thought like a child. I went to Sunday School and kids church and, of course, where all the kids are geared up across the nation to go right now – Vacation Bible School! I loved that stuff. I sang in all the choir’s, won my share of pageants, and learned the rules and regulations of the church right alongside the B-I-B-L-E.  I grew up to be a youth officer, a young adult officer and finally a regional young adult president and then served in as a national delegate to the highest governing body of my denomination. I was a proper C.M.E. princess.  My sisters and I all were.

We also went to Catholic school where we had bible class and were tested on minute details of the holy scripture. Although our school is  defunct, we have reunions that encompass our primary, secondary and high school classes. I’m the pleased as punch secretary for the PJ23 Reunion Board!  If that is not enough religious grounding, my extended family are either Apostolic or Baptist.

I absolutely know which Sundays are white and when the liturgical calendar calls for the changing of the pulpit linen to red. I know nobody, and I do mean, nobody is going to be walking around the sanctuary during prayer or the sermon. I know when all the conferences are for my denomination, two or three others, so they don’t correspond and Jehovah’s Witness – because some of my family worship that way too. I know what time Sabbath service starts at the Seventh Day Adventist Church and when Ramadan begins. I mean, I really know my religion.

My Dad, the late Rev. Theodore R. Sanders, and my church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, always taught that when you have a personal experience with God – the experience that John Wesley, the Father of Methodism, wrote about when he said

“Absolutely, all of the Godhead is present and operative in the Holy Spirit; functionally or redemptively the Holy Spirit is the earthly vicar of the heavenly Father and Son. The indwelling Spirit applies the work of Christ to the soul of man and initiates and administers the Christian life.” (Thomas Rees, The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience (London: Duckworth & Co., 1915), pp. l91ff. Cf. Lycurgus Starkey, The Work of the Holy Spirit: A Study in Wesleyan Theology (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962), pp. 30-31.)


“Revelation is complete, yet we cannot be saved unless Christ be revealed in our hearts, neither unless God cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of  His Holy Spirit.” (Letters, IV, 369; Cf The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., 8 Vols. (London: The Epworth Press, 1938), VI, 117.)

is when religious tradition becomes type and shadow; your real relationship with God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy spirit has just become personal.

This is the point when you are no longer just going to church- you have now become the church. The spirit that is within you has become quickened with the Holy Spirit and a change (have you ever heard Tremaine Hawkins song “Wonderful Change”?) comes over you. To put it another way – It just got real in here.

You start to seek God in a new way. One author of a text on John Wesley says ‘it is here where we see Wesley change from a student to a theologian’. You come to the conclusion that all that concerns the truth of God must line up with the Word of God and you must have that same divine revelation in your Spirit to seal it. How can you be sure that it does? God’s word will not conflict with itself. God’s word says in Corinthians Chapter 13: “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.”

He himself is love, and He will not contradict Himself.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

  • First was the word, and the word was with Him, and the word was Him-
  • First was love, and the word was with love, and the word was love –

God’s word cannot contradict itself nor can it be hate.

What is Happening?

Initially, children grow up under the doctrine of the parents. That happened to you and me, no matter who raised us – but at some point after we turn 12 we have to determine our own faith – or lack thereof.  We all have walked in religiosity – it’s kind of like apprenticeship. Someday, though, every apprentice gets bumped up to the mastery position. That experience is between us and God – and every individual must take full responsibility for what they experience in relationship to salvation. Nobody can answer my salvation question but me, and my answer is based on my full personal knowledge of God.

What Can I Do Today?

Read a little bit about from the Wesleyan Theological Journal about justification by faith or about John Wesley’s Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Think about your own relationship with God and write down how it came to be what it is today. Putting that in writing is an important step.


Father, I need my own relationship with you. I need Christ revealed in my heart that it might be cleansed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and I might be saved. Then I need the Holy Spirit to dwell with me always, but not for the satisfaction of others – for the redemption of my self.  Amen



    • says

      I was pretty much going to say the same thing Sadie did. My daughter is a follower of Christ because she lives with her father who is devout. I don’t ever stifle her faith, I think her belief is beautiful, but I’ll never give up Atheism.
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      • Elizabeth says

        Thanks, Monique! Question:Isyour daughter christian by personal choice or because she lives with her Dad? Its really great that you allow her to choose her own faith. Awesome. I have always wondered about atheism. Do you kinda have to believe in God to then take the position that he doesn’t exist as a structured anti-religion for lack of a better term?

      • Elizabeth says

        Thanks Sadie! When you say ‘this is another reason why – too many rules’; which rules are you referring to in my post? I sometimes don’t communicate clearly what it is I intend to get across. For me, He’s definitely love, period. Not conditional love, not institutionalized love, and not love with limits. All of that is man putting limits we can understand on God so that we can make him more like us, instead us operating in love and becoming more like him. I respect your right not to believe in God, I just want to make sure I communicate clearly.

  1. says

    I’m glad to read that your faith has brought such a great feeling to your life :) I never had a good experience at any of the churches we’ve gone to in my life, so while I believe in God, and have my own personal faith, I practice it privately. But it’s great to see that for some people it can lead to such great things!
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    • Elizabeth says

      I tend to separate church experiences and faith, Meagan. For me, one is about people and their institutionalization of the faith experience; the other is about a real relationship with God. I’m glad you have your own personal faith.

    • Elizabeth says

      Thanks Kallie! I’m more involved with my personal relationship than I am with my church, though. My upbringing grounded me AND left me with a lot to figure out – especially with so many theologies mixed together. Sometimes I didn’t know whether I should be have a guilt pattern (confession and methodology) or pattern baldness (guilt and burden). Good thing I have healthy hair!

  2. says

    I remember growing up I was all about church and my parents weren’t. I went to church on my own. I attended several events and loved the family feel that it had. However when I went off to college I had troubles finding a church that I truly enjoyed going to. I felt like I was being judge. It’s because of this that I don’t go to church anymore, but I do believe in god. I don’t think you have to go to church to believe in god.

    • says

      I agree with you Jacqui. Growing up, we were forced into church, but when we wanted to go, we were removed from church. I had found several non-denominational churches that I loved, but my mother was against it. Now that I’m married, I’m having religion forced down my throat and I can’t stand it. I believe in God and I have my own relationship with God that no one needs to approve of but me! :)

      I was told once upon a time, that I did not need to attend a physical building of a church – that my body was a church and that was all I needed. I believe in that today.
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      • Elizabeth says

        Awe man, Leila. It’s awful to have religion forced upon you. I’m so sad that you are going through that.

    • Elizabeth says

      I agree, Jacui; you don’t have to go to church to believe in God. I believe in God so one of the things I do is go to church. It helps me – like being in Random Bloggers. Some of the people are further along in their faith journey than I am, so they challenge me to grow; some of them are not so far and I can help them; some of us are moving at the same pace; and one or two of them are knowledgeable teachers who structure and lead the group. I, personally, would not stay at any place where I felt uncomfortable or unwelcome.

    • Elizabeth says

      I still go to mass on occasion, Diane, after all these years! My mom goes to mass on Easter and Christmas, event though we are Methodist. My great grandmother was catholic which is why us girls went to catholic school. Catholicism is not to far a cry from Methodism though. They are both conservative faiths, for the most part.

      My post wasn’t really about attending church, and I do believe God can hear our prayers anywhere. I have stopped listening to people when it comes to figuring out what I should or shouldn’t do where my faith is concerned. I have decided to let that be uber personal – I search it out and pray about it. If it’s where God leads me, that is the direction I go.

  3. says

    I went to Catholic School, but my parents “sent us” ~ they didn’t even go to church except for a marriage or baptism ceremony. The Catholic church showed me who God was, and then I got to know Him. As a child, He was my best friend, and in communicating directly with Him, I got to know Him even better. If you believe all His is, you just cannot do anything else but stand in awe.
    People have always taken what others say about Him (instead of what He says about Himself) and don’t really get to know God as they should. Each religion sees God in their own way, but that to me is their interpretation of God – not personal knowing God. Every religion has those who know and those who still don’t know God amongst their ranks.
    God has blessed me, helped me and kept me close – He has saved me from harm and heartache. He has given me everything I asked of him as a child in my life.
    It’s OK if you don’t want to know God – I chose to want to know Him more each day.
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  4. says

    I am a Christian who believes the same way you do, that it is about LOVE and a God who loves without boundaries. Sure there is a judgment day but I believe that your own personal relationship with God is what dictates what happens to you on judgment day, not what the man of earth believes about you. My husband and I met in church and had a horrendous experience at the church that we met in. He has turned away but after a few years of healing, I am back at it. God brought me to it and he will lead me through it. We moved a month ago and I’ve already visited a church. I don’t pray like I used to and I need to start because my relationship with my husband suffers when my relationship with God isn’t in tact. My husband cannot satisfy all of my needs, only He can. I am visiting a different church tomorrow but, unlike the other churches I set out to visit here, this one excites me. I cannot wait to walk into the door and breathe the breath of God. I may sometimes act like someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God but I’m still learning, and I always will be. That’s why He is my judge, and nobody else on this earth can take His place.

  5. says

    I thought your post was very good. I was raised by Christian missionary parents. Grew up in church etc…. but at some point I had to develop my own faith and live it out on my own. I made alot of mistakes til I became secure in the fact that this is all about a personal relationship with God. It is not about the RULES I follow, and His love for me IS unconditional. Yet He does tell me in John if I love Him I will follow His commandments. That done out of love and not a legalism standpoint. It is not what gets me To heaven. It is simply a return for His amazing love and grace in my life. I am not very familiar with Wesleyan beliefs. Do you believe, Jesus is the Son of God and came to earth to die for our sins, and they ONLY way to heaven is through him? Thank you for sharing your faith!
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