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A "personal" Relationship With Jesus Christ


sethosayher
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It's sort of amazing how much a "relationship" with Christ figures in evangelical life. It's especially astounding because it's a rather new phenomena, born out of pietism in the 18th century. It's also kind of silly. I mean, it's a rather one-sided relationship to begin with. Besides that, I don't know of any friends or fathers who may decide to toss me into hell if I don't live up to expectations

 

Two questions:

 

1. Are there any similar understandings of God in other faiths? I know many xian missionaries/evangelists tout how only in Christianity God is your friend.

 

2. Did you have a "relationship" with God when you were a christian? What did you like about this supposed friendship? What did (or do you now) find frustrating, ridiculous, crazy?

 

Just looking to hear your thoughts.

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I grew up in the late-Jesus freak era so most any American churches were all about a relationship with Christ. However, it's funny to watch my grandparents. I live thousands of miles away from them, but when I do occasionally see them in a religious setting it's hilarious to see them squirm over the relationship with Jesus aspect. My grandfather is a very strong, stubborn, "old school" farmer guy from West Virginia. Self reliance and "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" is his philosophy in life. So seeing these other men, "in love" with Jesus is a bit disconcerting to him. It's just funny to see how culture has changed religion through the years. To him, as a depression era Christian, all the Jesus loving probably seems really hippy-ish.

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Guest wester

1. Are there any similar understandings of God in other faiths?

 

After living in Asia 8 years, I have come to see Islam, Judaism and Christianity as almost the same religion.

Although especially in Islam it seems to be more of a "relationship" with a terrifying strongman who can beat the crap out of you, same more or less for Jews, and while Christians talk about touchy feelies and luv and all that, there is always the Jewish old testament bully who might come and terrorize you at any time. Me mum has a personal relationship with Jesus, but if you look closely it is based mostly on fear and walking on eggshells. Some real people have similar kinds of relationships, but they are most always destructive and pathological.

 

I used to have similar "relationships" but they seem completely self-harming and I try to avoid them at all costs now.

 

Cheers

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I too grew up with the idea that you need to have a "relationship" with hey-zeus because he is going to be your "husband". The whole shtick arose out of the religious right movement (to get religion into government) so they figured the best way to get it across was to make it seem like Jesus has some kind of crush on you and wants you to make the first move--which is fine if the adherent is a female but not so much when you are trying to persuade homophobic men that Jesus wants to be your husband. Honestly, I have better "relationships" with fictional characters I form crushes on than this poorly written one dimensional guy.

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1. I don't think other faiths have quite the "buddy/lover Jesus" vibe that Christianity does, but I've known some pagans who felt their various deities were a real and friendly force in their lives. I think they may get that idea from Christianity, though. It's kind of an eclectic thing; reconstructionists don't usually get that touchy-feely. I don't know of any other faith systems that really get up-close-and-personal with a deity. I genuinely don't think Christianity had that idea until really recently--you read the Church Fathers and earliest writings and none of them really get all that gooey over Jesus. Frankly, I find the whole thing weirdly and disturbingly emasculating to men; if one cried his eyes out at me and said he was in love with Jesus, I'd be completely turned off.

 

2. I thought I did, but then again, I might not be the best judge of healthy relationships given that I married a narcissistic lying douchebag preacherman. Men who lied all the time, never kept up with their commitments, ignored or denigrated my needs, and didn't communicate well were just normal in my universe--Jesus wasn't a lot different. I threw myself into relationships with men the way I did with God, pouring so much of myself into them that I lost myself completely. Eventually I realized that I wasn't having a mutually beneficial relationship with either men or God and got out. If God really is a lover or fiancé, he's a piss-poor one.

 

The entire 'relationship' thing in Christianity makes me think they're busy churning out codependents for the faith. But when people's expectations of a lover-Jesus fail, the faith comes down not long afterward. You can't be friends with the boss, much less lovers--it's a false love, an untrue and rather sordid relationship between unequals to imagine differently. You cannot love that which threatens you.

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1. Are there any similar understandings of God in other faiths? I know many xian missionaries/evangelists tout how only in Christianity God is your friend.

 

I certainly don't know of any. The huge difference between Xtianity and most of the other faiths is the claim that there is an actual *material* change in the makeup of the overall person. They can carry on about personal relationships because they believe there is an actual regeneration that takes place, internally. In whatever part of us you can't see, they believe that a dead part is truly resurrected, that part of us that was made to relate to god. They believe that is brought back to life, and that therefore we are a new creation - not what we were. When you believe you are something different that you were the moment *before* you said the magic words, then how hard is it to believe the next step, that what changed has made now made you connected to the creator of the universe? I think for superstitious people in the "mission field" that this can be very believable and attractive, and that it's different than anything they're going to hear from any other faith.

 

2. Did you have a "relationship" with God when you were a christian? What did you like about this supposed friendship? What did (or do you now) find frustrating, ridiculous, crazy?

 

Boy - I believed it. I could generate the feelings of comfort and joy and peace, and I suffered when I couldn't do it, when he "seemed far from me." It also sometimes made me feel on edge, watched in almost voyeuristic fashion. I like the idea that it was very real - everyday - right now type of faith. There's something attractive about having permanent, immediate access to god, the creator of the universe, who understands everything, blah-blah-blah.

 

It's basically believing in magic, really believing in it. It's exciting, it's intoxicating... then it's disappointing and empty when you finally realize it's completely fake.

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It's sort of amazing how much a "relationship" with Christ figures in evangelical life. It's especially astounding because it's a rather new phenomena, born out of pietism in the 18th century. It's also kind of silly. I mean, it's a rather one-sided relationship to begin with. Besides that, I don't know of any friends or fathers who may decide to toss me into hell if I don't live up to expectations

 

Two questions:

 

1. Are there any similar understandings of God in other faiths? I know many xian missionaries/evangelists tout how only in Christianity God is your friend.

 

2. Did you have a "relationship" with God when you were a christian? What did you like about this supposed friendship? What did (or do you now) find frustrating, ridiculous, crazy?

 

Just looking to hear your thoughts.

 

No thoughts. Just wanted to say I LOVE YOUR AVATAR!!! Final Fantasy 1 rules!! lol first rpg i ever played. (except maybe Dragon Warrior).

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Personally, I feel like Hethert is very close to me, like a real Mother. It's not one-way, and christians that tell me only Jesus is capable of love crack me up. My spiritual Mother is the Goddess of Love. Riiiiiight, silly christians. :P

 

Also, in Vodou, the lwa can get VERY personal. Not in the gushy "Jesus is my boyfriend" kind of way, but they possess people. They communicate directly with people. They are not distant. Their nature is varied and sometimes dangerous, however. But they relate to people, in a far more visceral way than any communication between Jesus and christians I've witnessed.

 

And finally, I never had any relationship or communication from Abraham's god or Jesus. And I tried. That's one of the main reasons I left. I don't hang around in one-way relationships.

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There is another faith that shows God as some sort of lovey dovey thing. I was a Baha'i at one point. We believed that all religions basically had it right and that God worked through progressive revelation and made things known through his different prophets which included the major prophets of just about every major religion up to Baha'u'llah. We were supposed to love ALL the prophets because they were all reflections of God. They similarly see God as a father that loves his children and only reveals relevant information to them when their society is prepared.

 

There were just too many contradictions between the different faiths they represented though that I couldn't believe it.

 

Never had a relationship with Jesus though. I tried desperately though. In the end, no one answered and I got tired of giving my everything to what I discovered was nothing.

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I grew up in the late-Jesus freak era so most any American churches were all about a relationship with Christ. However, it's funny to watch my grandparents. I live thousands of miles away from them, but when I do occasionally see them in a religious setting it's hilarious to see them squirm over the relationship with Jesus aspect. My grandfather is a very strong, stubborn, "old school" farmer guy from West Virginia. Self reliance and "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" is his philosophy in life. So seeing these other men, "in love" with Jesus is a bit disconcerting to him. It's just funny to see how culture has changed religion through the years. To him, as a depression era Christian, all the Jesus loving probably seems really hippy-ish.

 

Sounds to me as if your grandfather still has his self respect, unlike the new generation of pussified xian men. I blame that Nixon bastard Colson, who kicked off the born again trend, which evolved into the mega church trend.

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Sounds to me as if your grandfather still has his self respect, unlike the new generation of pussified xian men. I blame that Nixon bastard Colson, who kicked off the born again trend, which evolved into the mega church trend.

 

Oh he does, despite being religious, which isn't a hang up for me. He is a wise and good man. If given the sensibilities of our time, I imagine he would call the "Jesus Lovers", like Tebow, a bunch of fucking pussies. Which he has hinted around. If anyone has seen Secondhand Lions, Robert Duvall's character fits him perfectly. It's sad to watch him age.

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Sounds to me as if your grandfather still has his self respect, unlike the new generation of pussified xian men. I blame that Nixon bastard Colson, who kicked off the born again trend, which evolved into the mega church trend.

 

Oh he does, despite being religious, which isn't a hang up for me. He is a wise and good man. If given the sensibilities of our time, I imagine he would call the "Jesus Lovers", like Tebow, a bunch of fucking pussies. Which he has hinted around. If anyone has seen Secondhand Lions, Robert Duvall's character fits him perfectly. It's sad to watch him age.

 

Robert Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance discussed the strong silent cowboy type narrative in his book Lila. He argued it evolved out of the American Indian culture and was adopted by the old cowboys. Growing up in Idaho, I ran across this same culture amongst the older generation rancher types from the rural communities. I have a lot of respect for it.

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Numerous neopagan religions have fairly personal relationships with their gods, especially since, in our view, deity constructs may initiate contact on their own. For me, it's more of a business relationship. There are things I can do far more easily being human, and that can be traded.

 

One way to look at it: the thing that formalized my departure from Christianity (10 years ago now that I think about it ) was effectively getting a better offer.

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I too grew up with the idea that you need to have a "relationship" with hey-zeus because he is going to be your "husband". The whole shtick arose out of the religious right movement (to get religion into government) so they figured the best way to get it across was to make it seem like Jesus has some kind of crush on you and wants you to make the first move--which is fine if the adherent is a female but not so much when you are trying to persuade homophobic men that Jesus wants to be your husband. Honestly, I have better "relationships" with fictional characters I form crushes on than this poorly written one dimensional guy.

 

thats was very well put.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Doesn't this whole idea of a "personal relationship with Jesus" sound kinda creepy and stalkerish to anyone but me? Maybe I've just become crazy and paranoid. But this onesided love and adoration for a man, seems like the antisocial behavior exhibited by pathological stalkers.

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If Jesus wants a personal relationship with me, the beard is gonna have to go.

 

What about his other male characteristics? Even when I was still an Old Order Mennonite it occurred to me that this emphasis of Jesus as the bridegroom works fine for us women, but what about the men?

 

There's an intimacy factor with Eastern Orthodoxy; but I wouldn't exactly equate it to the US Evangelical strain of "personal relationship with Jesus" the way that they understand it. I can't explain it better; maybe someone here knows what I mean?

 

In my opinion, there's something bold and aggressive about the evangelical assumption that Jesus wants this personal relationship with each individual person--that each human is so special in his or her own right that Jesus would condescend to neglect the entire rest of the universe just for "me." That is simply not the way I was raised. It does not seem meek and humble and submissive to me like a Christian is supposed to be.

 

I don't know too much about Greek Orthodoxy. But I think a lot of ancient traditional churches are more community oriented, such as striving for purity of church, or perhaps they see the fellowship of communion with saints as a sacrament. Evangelicalism seems very individualistic to me. I don't know if this gets at the essence of what you are referring to.

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Some great perspectives on this issue. I'm loving these comments.

 

The more I think about it, the more I think that the preoccupation with a "personal" relationship with Jesus is a little selfish. It's definitely reassuring sometimes and even beautiful, but it seems to make a lot of Christians think about themselves.

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My relationship with Jesus was kind of like Luke's relationship with Ben Kenobi, certainly there was a feeling of love, but Ben was never Luke's girlfriend.

 

I made a decision to get saved the same year Empire Strikes Back came out.

 

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter!"

 

Now I'm learning to accept that there's nothing wrong with being crude matter.

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Two questions:

 

1. Are there any similar understandings of God in other faiths? I know many xian missionaries/evangelists tout how only in Christianity God is your friend.

 

2. Did you have a "relationship" with God when you were a christian? What did you like about this supposed friendship? What did (or do you now) find frustrating, ridiculous, crazy?

 

Just looking to hear your thoughts.

 

1. Yes. Quite a few neo-pagan sects encourage deep meditation and communion for personal relationships with the Goddesses and Gods.

 

2. I did. My relationship with Jesus was a very deep emotional connection. A sense of love and acceptance that was always there for me when I was sad or down. I felt like I had someone who loved me more than anything unconditionally, no matter how badly I messed up. I thought Jesus really knew me because he knew my intentions and knew when I did badly, I wasn't a bad person.

 

It frustrated me that my experience of Jesus was radically different from what Christianity was telling me. Jesus wouldn't throw somebody into Hell for being homosexual or whatever, and didn't consider non-belief or non-worship as a damnable offense at all. "Jesus" told me that was silly.

 

Of course, I eventually I came to realize it was just myself that felt that way and Jesus isn't real and wasn't talking to me.

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I felt like I had someone who loved me more than anything unconditionally, no matter how badly I messed up. I thought Jesus really knew me because he knew my intentions and knew when I did badly, I wasn't a bad person.

 

 

 

I really really wanted to have that kind of relationship, but I couldn't ever attain it though. At its best, there were feelings of strong admiration and wonder, and a fascination with the depth of his sacrifices and willingness to forgive the people that hurt him.

 

But knowing he and God the father were the same, and there being a judgment, and having lots of unsaved friends and family members, my good feelings were always perpetually tempered with horror.

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Now I'm learning to accept that there's nothing wrong with being crude matter.

 

Nothing wrong at all with it. Dualism has done more to fuck up human society than any other philosophical movement I can think of offhand.

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