Beer Hall Banter

So a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…


If you get that joke, consider yourself a musical theater geek.

(You’re in good company here) 🙂

Clearly, I’m in a mood tonight.


This weekend was one for the books, y’all.

Let’s just say, I ended Saturday night at a Brazilian dance bar/tin roofed lean-to/shanty in the heart of Brooklyn that was cash only, blasting latin pop music, and decorated in a way that would make Bob Marley proud.

The drinks were strong, but not nearly as strong as the staunch body odors wafting through the tightly packed dance floor.

But surprisingly, that was not the most noteworthy part of my night.

Rewind about 6 hours. At a beer hall with my friends. We were with a group of about 20, but I found myself at an intimate table in the back with 3 of my friends and one of their colleagues. Three boys and two girls.

And I found myself and my gal pal ( 🙂 ) listening to a heated debate the boys were having about…religion.

“Religion is dead in America.” “It’s nothing more than organized hope.” “It’s designed to just control people.” “Full of bigots and racists.”


Yeah. It was uncomfortable. Tense. One guy was sticking up for faith, and the colleague was on the attack.

I mean, my friends are New Yorkers. They are not “religious.” I would refer to them as secular. Nothing wrong with that! I love them, they respect my faith, I don’t try to push it on them, it’s just kind of a non-issue. So I was quite surprised when this passionate argument was breaking out across the table.

I stayed out of the debate…but it definitely stuck with me.

And in the cab ride back to the city, I couldn’t help but replay that conversation in my mind.

Religion is dead in America.”

There are times – and this is one of them – that I have to remember where I live.

New York City is not a microcosm of the United States as a whole. It is an entity unto itself. A unique beast, if you will.

This really struck me – visually – as my cab was crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s like this other-worldly, threatening, mass of buildings rises from the water. The island of Manhattan is a force to be reckoned with. From the backseat of my cab, I truly appreciated how stunning it is, especially at night with the twinkling lights. Outside my window was an iconic snapshot.


But it is not a snapshot of the rest of the country.

Religion – and faith – is not dead.

I’m just living in a city where it’s harder to see.

But, I’m going to be really honest. Thinking back to how that conversation played out, I felt really convicted.

could have refuted their claims and fought back and really presented my case. I could have sent a strong message. I could have done or said a lot of different things….but I didn’t.

I just kept my mouth shut. I rationalized it in my head that, Oh, I’m not even in this conversation. They’re talking religion and politics…not something I want to entangle myself in.

But coming home, I realized…I am part of the problem.

How am I living my faith?

Sure, my friends know I go to church every Sunday and that I am a Christian. But Jeez Louise, my friend’s colleague hangs out with us for one night and proclaims that “religion is dead?!” Clearly, I am not doing my job very well.

Maybe I need to be a little more outspoken. I always say that I try to show my faith in my actions rather than tell my faith in my words. But perhaps I need to speak up a little bit.

Politeness and being quiet, that doesn’t encourage others who may also feel like they’re alone in their beliefs and therefore can’t speak up.

I don’t know where this is going…I kind feel like this is the scene from Les Mis where they’re barricading the Parisian streets singing, “Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men…”


Boy, I really am a musical theater nerd.

I’m not trying to start a revolution here. But I do feel personally responsible for this guy’s perception that faith is dead.

So I’m going to take a long, hard look at how I’m living my life. Because, Leapin’ Lizzards, if someone can literally be sitting across a table from me and proclaim that, then something’s gotta change.

Wearing a cross necklace just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Not in today’s cultural climate. Not when there’s so much at stake

Now, please excuse me as I go and listen to some show tunes and order a WWJD bracelet.



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308 responses to “Beer Hall Banter”

  1. This is truly an interesting post. And it is a topic – nay, a war – that wages in my very soul. I was raised catholic, had absolutely NO negative feelings about it, but came to a point in my life where I felt my beliefs were vastly different than what was considered “acceptable” in most monotheistic religious “systems” (for lack of a better way to say it). I struggle with the concept of a God, the concept of Faith and the concept of my….hmmm…relationships to others. And truthfully, I don’t know that I’ll ever feel compatible in a religion or according to what is typically taught about morality.
    With that being said, however, I still believe America is the absolute safest place for the freedom of religion. I believe, however, that is changing. I think there is a certain flavor of society that wants to demonize those that have a faith system. I think it becomes more and more obvious that the only people that are going to be “accepted” in society are those that deny a Christian faith. There is a definitive role people take that belittles those of faith, trashes those beliefs as “stupid” or “uneducated” and associate atrocious acts to those who practice certain religions.
    I think, it is important to maintain people’s freedoms and that means not tarnishing those who choose to practice a faith differently than others.

    • Thank you so much for this perspective. You’re so right, we have to maintain that freedom – after all, that’s why America was founded. So that no matter what you do or do not believe, this remains a safe place to do so. So well said. Thanks for sharing this part of your heart:) sending big big hugs xox

    • it’s interesting because I feel the exact same way but in the opposite direction! Making the decision to be Agnostic has been a long, mindful and wonderful experience for me. However, people do not want to discuss it. I was raised Catholic with a catechism teacher for a mother and a devout Italian Catholic father. My sister still believes exactly what we were taught growing up and I think that is wonderful. I would love to know what brings people to believe? What is positive about people arguing over who is correct in their beliefs or not? How do you know you are following the right doctrine? I personally need more than”Faith” because there are too many examples of “faith” to choose from. Faith in what? I have faith in my family, friends, myself and, to be totally honest, I have faith in humanity. It’s time we give ourselves a chance to make the differences without anything backing us up other than our willingness to work together and be an amazing country.

  2. Hmm, you’ve definitely got a good point here. I’ve been guilty of the same thing in my life and that’s something I’ve given a lot of thought and had a lot of heartache over. I’ve never been to New York, but I can imagine how that must be there. Despite what people think, the only sound in Texas isn’t the thumps of nearby Bibles.

    Thank you for your posts, it’s refreshing to read the thoughts of someone so like minded.

  3. I feel like this is so true! It’s really hard to be respectful of others and still stand your ground! Two Scriptures I really like on the subject are 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” ( I guess the part that may be key here is having an answer prepared, which we can share boldly, but respectfully. Thanks for your post! I’m going to try to do better in this area too :).

    • Hi Carlye! Thank you so much. You’re right- it’s a tricky balance, especially with friends. That’s a powerful verse. Thanks for passing it along. Speak the truth in love. And yes, be prepared. I definitely was not! Eek! Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  4. A lovely blog!! I have felt that way before as I also have my faith and have had times where I felt I could have done more. But you are right! Religion isn’t dead, neither is hope 🙂

  5. From across the pond, I see America has more of Jesus in it than most countries. Sadly, also more religion. The two are incompatible. America is great. New York, London, Cape Town, every city tends to be secular. Until you start looking around it.

    • That’s such a powerful perspective. Yeah, I find myself smack dab in the middle of one of those cities. Gotta keep looking and try to provide a speck of hope to others here. Sending big big hugs xox

  6. My perception of religious belief is that it is ultimately a completely personal organizing principle and varies enormously within any espoused system.
    I’ll leave Christianity alone and pick on a highly-placed Buddhist priest from Myanmar. He gives long fiery speeches stating that an ethnic minority deserves to be annihilated from Myanmar – and he told the 60 Minutes interviewer the same with as much unpleasantness and hatred as I’ve seen in any other faith. He bore as little similarity to the Dalai Lama as I do to Justin Bieber. On the surface, though, they are both devout practitioners of Buddhism.
    You might find the fellow that said that religion is dead in America had some similar specific examples in mind that you might agree represent your beliefs as little as (pick simile here). And that might help you reach rapprochement in a surprisingly simple way. Kind regards.

    • Hi friend! This is some really great food for thought. Thank you for that. You’re right-especially with the election, there are many an example of that viewpoint. You’re right. But the whole world cannot be defined by an extreme-either one pole or the other. So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  7. Can I claim this as my personal favorite post? One, the musical references were on point! And the entire post motivated me to reclaim Christ in everything. I’ll probably need to keep reading this every once in a while, because it is so challenging!

  8. A well timed post as I have just finished writing one based on something Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “Whoever says religion and politics don’t mix must be reading a different Bible to me.”

    As an outsider internationally it looks like politics in the US could do with some ethics and a voice of faith offering love and forgiveness in a divided society. Few of us have a chance to influence the grand stage but in the small conversations amongst friends is where we can be true to ourselves and ultimately true to God.

    I know at times we are all like St Peter and just find it simpler to keep quiet and deny that we know who Jesus is. The challenge is to be honest in who we are without imposing ourselves on others. I think that if we do this people respect our integrity and honesty even if they don’t share the same view on life. A friend of mine once decided she wanted to explore her faith as she was drawn to “what you lot have got going on” – like fire and light we can in a small way make it compelling to be attracted to finding out more on the journey of faith.

    Good luck!

  9. You go, little Gavroche! Err, I mean Caralyn. 😆

    Funny/interesting thought: They were arguing that religion is dead in America. It can’t be that dead if they are arguing about it. If they have such strong passionate feelings about it, it’s not dead. If it’s worth arguing over, it can’t be dead. After all, no one argues about the dodo. That’s totally dead and gone.

  10. I actually understood your musical theater joke! Unfortunately, quote a few people hold the view that “Religion is dead in America.” They couldn’t be further from the truth. If religion was dead, it wouldn’t be a counterargument against abortion, LGBT rights, and such. If religion was dead, all of the churches, mosques, temples and whatnot in America would be obsolete. I understand that you feel that it’s your responsibility to educate your friend but I’d caution you against placing actual blame on yourself. If your friend knows that you’re a practicing Christian, that should be enough for him to not say something so blatantly wrong. I think he may be the problem here, not you, and that’s why I say this.

  11. It’s appropriate to say where I’m coming from. I am part of a small religion with no resemblance to anything most people know, and I am ordained. On top of that, I see religion and spirituality as somewhat different and sometimes separate. I have not found it improves my spirit or my relationship with deity to try to correct people. They will believe whatever they believe. I believe religion is still very much a part of American life. Consider what happens to open atheists running for office. They get incredible negativity, and as far as I know, none has won an election. To me, that’s a better measure of reality than what someone says after a beer or two.

    • Thank you so much for this reflection! Yeah, definitely some liquid courage was part of the equation here that night! And it’s true-as much as people may not want to admit it, faith still plays a role in our lives. Have a beautiful night! Hugs and love xox

  12. Timely post. Our message at church yesterday was about “wearing masks” and being a different person based on the situation we are in. Really got me thinking about how I’m living out my faith too.

  13. So easy to bean invisible Christian and wonder about our world. You girl speak out on many issues. You proclaim your faith and the reason for that faith so well. Maybe the only thing you can add, if I can be so pretentious, is simply be ready to tell why you live the way you do. I have the feeling you will become an effective witness in a very short time if you remember what you say will come from the Word, into your heart and then to others. In 63 years I have found the best witnessing has come when I share what I know. That is being a witness. I will be praying for you and again marvelous insights. You are a blessing.

    • Hey John! Thank you so much for you kind words and encouragement. You’re right-I need to be read to answer the WHY. Hmm something to think and pray about for sure. That’s really great advice. Thanks for the prayers:) massive hugs to you xox

  14. I absolutely love your blog. I never miss a post. Speaking out in faith is becoming difficult. Christians have been silenced under bureaucracy, political correctness and fear or sticking out or being ostracized. I don’t blame you for not speaking out though, sometimes you know when saying something will make a positive impact and when it would not. One of the best ways to show your faith is to lead my example. In many ways that cries out more than words. And you have been great at doing that based on reading your blog. Great post!

    • Thank you so much Pamela! Gosh, that’s so kind of you to say. You’re right – leading by example is one of the most powerful and effective testimonies. thanks for your encouragement! hugs and love xox

  15. Caralyn! I went to Patreon but didn’t see anything there. Also, here’s a reply from last week I sent be email as Patreon wouldn’t let me comment again…?

    I have to say I am so proud of you! You reached the correct conclusion when I thought you were heading elsewhere. I was wondering how to point it out without coming off poorly. As to religion being dead in America, it isn’t quite dead yet (Monte Python, anyone), but it’s sliding into the grave. I think you would get a lot out of the book Already Gone by Ken Ham. There’s also a DVD of it if you want a simpler version.

    Penn of Penn & Teller says he thinks Christianity is hogwash, because if Christians REALLY believed the Bible and in the existence of hell, they’d be screaming from the rooftops! But no one had ever tried to talk to him -until of course he said that.

    The person who quoted Peter above about speaking gently and kindly was spot on. Very hard to do in a charged atmosphere! One way to get in there without adding fuel to the fire is to get participants to define their terms. Did the one guy mean there are NO Christians left in America? Once people discuss what they mean by their words, you can find common ground.

    I was on a night flight to Europe once, sitting next to a young lady from Norway, I think. I started talking Christianity. She wasn’t Christian, but was willing to discuss. At one point she asked me – and it almost sounded like challenge – if I thought she was going to hell. After a moment I told her that it “…pains me to say it, but yes, you are.” I let her know it wasn’t me judging her, but what the Bible says. I let her see my sadness at that prospect. Maybe it was enough to get her thinking. I’ve thought of her often over the years, wondering…

    You have given me an idea for a post for tomorrow, a story from my high school years. Tune in tomorrow for it. Meanwhile, if you want a good laugh, see my post today. Still looking to listen to you over at Patreon!!

    • Hey Jeffrey! Thank you so much for this 🙂 I always love reading your heartfelt reflections. Sorry, the podcast just now uploaded. I just got home from work about 10 minutes ago — sadly that’s one thing I can’t do from my smart phone. haha. but you’re right — that’s a hard thing to do in a charged atmosphere but that’s terrific advice. Get people talking. Defining. And that sounds like a powerful conversation you had with that girl. i pray that it made her question and ponder the existence of God. 🙂 Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! And i’m heading over to your blog to check it out right now! Big hugs to ya Jeff! Have a great night xox

  16. Very good post. Like others, I have also experienced the same thing.
    Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes holding your tongue and comporting yourself as an example is the best witness you can give. Your time to give a witness may not have been then. There are two things to remember here.
    One: you were in a bar. I truly believe that a wise man and in your case woman knows when to hold her tongue. When people are drinking is not a good time for a meaningful conversation. but… it served it’s purpose, It made you question your ability to stand up for what you believe. Matt 7:6 talks about “casting pearls before swine… that you might not get trampled”. So perhaps this was a protection.
    Two: Luke 19:40 states that “He can make the stones cry out” if need be. God gives you the words when you need them and perhaps your tongue was stifled for a reason. If the parties in question were or would have been receptive, you would have found your voice. Remember how when Moses went to Pharoah and his heart was hard over and over again? There are many Pharoah’s in this world and when the time is right, their hearts will open for them to hear what you have to say. Keep in mind too that religion is not necessarily faith. Focus on that. Religion will be threatened in the future, 2 Tim 3 speaks about “lovers of men…” and because of this there will be compromises made by religious leaders so there will come a time when even religious leaders will prove false. So concentrate on your faith. That’s what needs to stand strong. And remain cautious as a serpent and innocent as a dove. As you can see by the responses there are others like you and a time will come when we will depend on one another.

    • Hi Jolie! Thank you so much for this. You’re right-nothing “good” ever comes from an alcohol-influenced conversation. And what a powerful verses. Thank you for sharing them. I really appreciate your advice and insight! You rock! Big hugs xox

  17. I really enjoy your blog and your transparency!

    More and more I’m asking for boldness in sharing my faith, and a greater ability to listen to the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit in doing so. Who does he want me to share with? What does he want me to share? This for me means asking to be made more aware of God’s agenda and the needs of others, and less needing my own daily agenda. I think when we look at sharing in this way, it becomes far more personal – God using us to reach a person in his world with his amazing love story, personalized for them, so they can get to know him through Jesus. Even when called to contend our faith, we can be silently praying for the right words that will pierce hearts, and not just speak truth.

  18. Wonderful self disclosure and reflection. Thank you, and love how you balanced poignancy and lightheartedness. I doubt you need any instruction, but I’ll pass my experience on anyway…I find that committing to just asking sincere questions neutralizes assertions like, “Religion is dead.” For instance, “Really, why do you think that?” Then really listen to their answer, don’t try to correct unless they ask (which they never do), then ask whatever the next logical question might be, like, “So, do you think I’m dead, since I am religious?” Then listen sincerely, and keep following up with more questions. My mistake, and I think many others make the same one, is we listen to respond and win, instead of listening to learn. Thank you for letting me contribute. I hope it adds something positive to your thoughts. Greg

  19. I feel you’re doing New York City a disservice! Religion is alive and well. As a Jew, I know I can get whatever fix I need: from ultra-Orthodox enclaves (which, okay, I don’t frequent) to Chabad (which I also don’t frequent) to every shade of progressive Judaism you can imagine. (Yup, there’s my sweet spot.)

    Sometimes I go into the city with friends on a Shabbat evening just to experience the life and spirit of B’Nai Jeshurun, sometimes to Central Synagogue when I’m in the mood for a Reform service and Moorish decor, and, of course, there’s Beit Simchat Torah which is still, I believe the largest Jewish LGBTQ congregation in the world.

    I’ve been to plenty of Christian churches in the city too. There are Catholic churches everywhere, without even mentioning St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There’s an awesome Anglo-Catholic church called St. Mary’s–but affectionately known as Smoky Mary’s because, once upon a time, congregants allegedly passed out from all the incense. (By the way, there used to be a good French kosher restaurant right by Smoky Mary’s. Le Marais–I think it’s still there.)

    And of course there are mosques and Hindu Temples and Buddhists Temples and–well, the list goes on and on.

    And yes, there are plenty of secular denizens of NYC. I’m just as glad for them–they’re just as much a part of the fabric that makes up the city. But NYC is not anti-religious. Anyone who claims it is must be shutting their eyes whenever the Chabad truck rolls up.

    • Hey Jenn!oh wow that must be a lot of intense to earn that name! Haha but seriously thank you for this perspective! You’re right-it’s not dead. I just have to be aware and open my eyes. I’m so glad you’ve found such a rich environment to worship in the city! That’s so great. You’re right, my favorite church is actually in the city too. Lots to be grateful for. Hugs and love xox

  20. Religion will always be alive because God isn’t dead. Of course there will always be attacks on different religions, but that all comes because of one thing, lack of understanding. If we would all just realize that when we take time to examine religion the principles taught are good. They give us hope and teach us to improve. There will always be lairs and hypocrites within a religion, but you can’t confuse those individuals with the teachings itself.

    Thanks for being open about this topic!

  21. This is a great reminder for us to remember our Christian tenets, I think. I’m so guilty of not spreading the word, as I know I should be doing. I spend a lot of time with people whom subscribe to the belief that religion is dead, but spirituality is alive and well…..

    Another great read! 🙂

  22. Great blog! Your writing is amazing! So vivid and alive! It’s like I was sitting there with you! …like I’ve witnessed the same or similar conversation. Great food for thought. Bravo!

  23. That’s funny. Last Sunday it was sorta the opposite with me. After Mass I got in a conversation with two others that lasted almost and hour. I didn’t want to talk. But something inside told me I should. It wasn’t so much about religion being “dead” but more about theological points and approaches. Finally, at about 11 pm (it was a night Mass), we stopped talking at this downtown corner by the Cathedral, near the Salvation army, the pawn shops and skyscrapers. I love night Masses the most. Especially downtown. 🙂

    • Thanks for this! I love night masses too. there’s something about having the day behind you that just brings a sense of peace that I personally don’t get during the morning. so glad you had that experience. it sounds like a fruitful discussion. 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

      • If I happen to be up early and feel called to go I will catch an 8 am or 8:15. The sun streaming thru stained glass can be nice too. But lately it’s been more noon or evenings. I go to mass a lot. Some of my readers might be surprised at that. But God isn’t calling perfect people! Pax 😍

      • I hear that! I am *severely imperfect! Haha that’s so great that you enjoy going! And you’re right- nothing quite like a brilliantly lit up and sparkling stained glass window. I love when the sun comes out from behind a cloud and brightens up the window during a high point of the homily, or if the sun goes behind a cloud during a somber point in the readings -I almost feel like God winks at us through the stained glass/sun/readings haha Hugs and love xox

      • That’s nice that you are attuned to that. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Maybe because I converted in 2001, sometimes I get the impression that some Catholics see me as a bit unusual. So when the sun shines right thru on me, say, just after the mass, I feel like God is saying… See, this guy is okay! He’s not weird! Xxx 😊✨🌟

  24. As someone working in the Church, I hear a lot of the “religion is dead” type stuff, too. I live in the South, though, and it–like NYC–is its own world, and it’s a world where religion most certainly isn’t dead. It’s changing, sure, but not dead.

    While you and I disagree on quite a bit of how faith manifests in daily life and opinions, I appreciate how hard it can be to “out” oneself for one’s faith among non-religious friends. Prayers for courage to speak when it is necessary (and for the words to say).

    • Hi friend! Thank you so much for this. Isn’t it funny how the different parts of the country can have such different feels? That’s such a great nugget of advice — praying for courage is most certainly a good thing to do. God is good 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for your encouragement! hugs xox

  25. I’m thankful you’re giving this some thought. Godly wisdom is a rare quality these days. Worldy wisdom makes life much more comfortable. Godly wisdom requires submission and sacrifice. Two unpopular words in the English language unless there being used in an adult novel or horror movie.

    Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

    You’re not a preacher but that’s not what that word originally meant. It meant one who proclaims. Living out your Christian faith with love and respect for others is vital. If we fail at this no one will hear us. If we fail to take advantage of the chances we have to share truth with others we’ve waisted the opportunity we’ve earned by our lifestyle. I’m an evangelist (well a pastor who practices evangelism) and I still miss opportunities regularly, so I’m not judging.

    I live South Georgia. In a small town. I mean small. They recently had the entire town carpeted. (You’re too young to get that reference.) There’s a church on every corner. Yet, every time I go out to share the gospel I find more people who’ve never heard what Jesus has done for them.

    This is an American culture issue. Christians have stopped telling the truth in order to respect other people’s freedom. I’m personally thankful that someone invaded my “freedom” to share the gospel with me. We get entirely too caught up in our Americanness.

    “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

    “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)

    If Christianity represents truth then it’s evil to “respect” people so much that we allow them to continue believing a lie. A lie that will destroy them. Im glad your asking this question because God has the answer.

    Telling others lovingly what Christ has done for us is a great way to share the truth. Thanks for using your blog to do this everyday!

    • Thank you so much Robert! That really means a lot. You’re right-they’re not popular but are necessary for a life of faith. What an awesome job. Sounds like you’re really making a difference! I’ll definitely keep your ministry in my prayers! Speak the truth in love. That’s the way to go! Hugs and love xox

  26. Now all we need is for religion to die in the church. “Christians” have fallen in love with rules, fog, lights and worship Hillsong. They sing about their first love but have long since moved on from their First Love.
    It’s the church in this country that gives your secular friends the views they have. The gospel is so simple. I love it so much.
    When people say things like that, I jump in and agree and explain to them that there is an 80/20 rule in church. There are the 80% who are “church fluff” that I like to call them. They are what everyone sees walking in. Then there is the 20% that drives the church – the core people. The people that are in every ministry, tithing every week, praying on the spot for the sick and weary.
    There are 80% of churchies that think they are saved because they said a prayer that granted them some magical rite of passage into Heaven. Then there is the 20% who are truly saved.
    Maybe people will disagree, but I’ve been in church my whole life. I’m a PK and I believed for 29 years the lie that I was a Christian because I knew all the memory verses and went to church and talked the talk…even walked the walk. But I was part of the 80%. I’ve since moved forward. But I have such a strong opinion about this because I was lost in church. And by the grace of God, He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It is my calling to witness to the “saved”. To those people who are Jesus’ Instagram followers but never actually met him.
    Anyway, thanks for the read.

    • Hey Samson, thank you so much for this reflection. There’s some powerful food for thought there. I like that point about being Jesus’s IG follower but not knowing him. That definitely challenges me to really look at my relationship with Him and see where I’m truly at. Thanks for this heartfelt response. Hugs and love xox

  27. Hello this time it’ll probably make me very unpopular with your readers. It might even make me unpopular with you. The reason I say that is because you know you will notice but over the past little while I have not commented on anything you’ve written. I am not watched any of your YouTube videos recently. And there’s a purpose for that. The blog of Beauty Beyond bones it is a wonderful thing and you’re very insightful and intelligent woman however I find it hard to grasp how are you can so easily fall in with the secular crowd and you claim to be a Christian. I don’t get it it’s beyond me I’m not trying to point fingers but you make an interesting point faith in America is fading that is evident. Instead the Christian faith is being replaced by rock music an individuals with multicolored hair and tattoos. there’s no such thing as rock music in the Christian world that’s in the seat of Lucifer. Christianity doesn’t need to conform to the secular idea I’m becoming cool. Christianity should not be cool according to the secular culture. it needs to be different from the world it’s music needs to be different from the world it’s people need to be different from the world. no I’m not saying that everyone who is not a Christian should just receive Bible are you saying that the idea of Christianity in America is lost on most men who are in the Pulpit because most of them aren’t fit to be in the pulpit. now I will say this I think you’re terrific person I really deep down believe that About you. you have an opportunity used to make Jesus smile every day and I pray you continue to do that with this blog and I will continue to pray for you and that your influence will not be lost because there’s no defeat in Christ Jesus. I’m going to break normality here for a moment and I’m going to be honest with you I don’t make it a point of reading everyone’s blog that I subscribe to. I began reading yours because you have a pretty face. I kept reading your blog because I could see deep down within your heart

    • Hey there! I had been wondering why I hadn’t seen your friendly face pop up lately 🙂 I’m sorry you feel that I am not an authentic Christian. I am a very flawed person. Very flawed. And I am just doing my best to pursue the heart of Christ while being in the world but not of the world. You’ve really given me a lot of food for thought here. So thank you for that. I appreciate the prayers and I do hope that I can earn your respect, because I’m trying my best to follow the Lord in this wild and crazy world. Hope all is well with you! hugs and love xox

      • You never lost my respect. I’m just confused. I’m confused at the fact that there’s so many churches you claim to preach Christianity under different denominations if Christianity is one single umbrella why is there so many different denominations. What are churches missing? Where are the missing the mark? It’s not you that I’m angry at. I’m confused by the need to fit in. When I was baptized in water been baptized by fire of the Holy Ghost I did a complete 360. I gave up the world in a heartbeat and everything in it. I didn’t talk the same way I didn’t feel the same way my problem is with the church most people in the pump it claimed that all Christian needs these days are salvation. I’m here to tell you so make sure that’s good but the real difference the keeping power is the fire of the Holy Ghost. Most churches are backwards and confused because they’ve taken up their altars. Some don’t even preach the Upper Room. Some preach the miracles of Jesus as times in the old day. I’m here to tell you that the god of Miracles still works today. If he didn’t I wouldn’t have received amiracle yesterday for my kidney stones blood disease and migraine headaches dear Carolyn received the keeping power of the Holy Ghost and you know exactly what I’m talking about

      • I’m so glad to hear that your kidney stones cleared up and that you’re doing better! Praise God! That is truly awesome. You’re right – God definitely still is alive and working today!

      • I’m not here to judge I’m here to love you as Christ loves you. If I didn’t that would be like everyone else. And being with everyone else isn’t cool because then you can’t stand out amongst the crowd. You made an impact on my life. I’m not going to say I don’t have my flaws because I do. However I do realize that the grace of God is far better then anything I have ever experienced in my entire life. When the Holy Ghost came in my life is completely changed I didn’t live for myself anymore I lived for the purpose of God. once I receive the Holy Ghost the Bible became a new book to me. By the way thanks for saying you miss me I’ve been busy a lot in school. I should send you some stuff I’ll pray a special prayer just for you because I know how tough this world can be but I also remember the cost of calvary. Jesus loves you Carolyn

    • If I may reply to you Pen and Sword regarding some of the premise you have put forth in your initial comment.

      You state that you have difficult to understand how someone can be easily surrounded by the “secular crowd.” I do not fully understand how you intended this to be understood, but I would like to put forth a response to such a topic. The Bible never commanded us to remove ourselves from those who are not believers, nor does it tell us to condemn those who are not believers. Jesus did not take the disciples away to a place where they were free from the influences of the culture of the time. They were, in fact, surrounded by the culture of the ever changing world of the ancient Jewish occupation by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

      This is further continued by the claim that rock music is replacing or corrupting the Church. Again, I am not sure of what you mean by this, but I cannot locate where the Bible mandates the standards of musical medium. Let me put it this way. Is a stone anymore evil than a pebble? No, of course not. Firstly, God created all things, and are therefore good. A stone has no inherent evil in its nature, nor does it have ill intent. If I have an electric guitar and use it to glorify the name of Jesus, does that make it any more evil than a stone? How about a shovel? A sword? Of course not, that is illogical. Is Christian hip-hop or rap any more vulgar than the hymns of old? No.

      On the notion of tattoos and multicolored hair, I must disagree. With the sacrifice of Jesus, the law moved from being written on stone tablets to being written on the heart. Paul asserts that “All things are lawful for me…,” but quantifies the statement with “but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians 6:12). So is having pink hair inherently wrong? No. Is having a tattoo inherently evil? No. The ultimate issue at hand here is a matter of the heart. You can look and compare yourself against those of others, but you cannot looking to their heart and know where their intentions lie. You can only know the intentions of your own heart and life.

      Christianity will never be “cool.” Christianity will never be “relevant” in the eyes of secular culture because Christianity does not conform to those values. I agree with you on that, but the issue you begin to run into when you start imposing what Christians should and shouldn’t do, be apart of, be away from, is legalism. This is what the Pharisees did and Jesus responded to them as such, “Have you not read?” While I do agree with you that there are men on the pulpit who ought not to be, I must assert that there are many, many more who are on the pulpit who do need to be there. Who have the qualifications, according to what is taught in the New Testament, to lead their houses, to lead their congregations, to lead the Church.

      In looking through you later comments, you state that you are confused by the many different denominations of Christianity. Well, a denomination is merely the means in which a church operates. I, a Baptists, hold that baptism is only performed by immersion as according to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Other denominations may believe in baptism by springing, or pouring. The means are different, and I would argue against anything that isn’t immersion but I digress. What is the church missing? Nothing. You are looking at this matter as if the church as trying to “fit in” which I must admit that some congregations are doing, but that does not negate what churches do or what the church is teaching. If and should a person teach/preach (pick your own action verb) something that is contrary to the Bible, then the Bible has an explanation on how to properly handle that situation.

      You speak of your radical change upon Baptism, and I must assume that you are using this as storytelling method. Baptism does not save you, nor does it change you. It is merely a public display of the change that has happened internally. Then what you describe, the being on fire bit, is what I will refer to as seasons. Throughout our walk with God, we will go through seasons where we feel like we are on fire, and things are going well, and we’re reading our Bible everyday, praying often, being faithful. Then there are seasons where the fire is less noticeable, it is difficult to pray, difficult to open the Bible, difficult to be faithful. Does this change my faith in who Jesus claimed that He was? No. All people need is salvation! Nothing else can save them apart from the sacrifice of Christ. No amount of good works can save us. No amount of money can buy our way into Heaven. Nothing can bring us to salvation, except Christ. IF someone has met Christ and had their lives transformed, then there will be evidence of it in their lives. Jesus teaches this in the parable of the true vine in the book of John. It is clear in Paul’s epistles. We should celebrate new salvations, we should “pump” it up! However, there is a component, which I believe you are hinting at that follows salvation and baptism, discipleship. Teaching and equipping others to share their faith, to seek mentorship, to learn and grow in the faith. And if there is an area the Church needs to work on, it is that. Discipleship.

      To conclude, if a Christian rock song brings someone to a place to seek God, it is good. If a Christian rapper’s music brings someone to a place to seek God, God be glorified. If somebody’s pink hair and tattoos brings someone to a place to seek God, God be glorified. If my car brings someone to a place to seek God, God be glorified. If my life brings someone to a place to seek God, God be glorified. The issue isn’t in the Church trying to be “cool,” rather it is legalism on what is permitted and what is not. And as Paul teaches, all things are permitted, but not everything is helpful. So I challenge you to search your own heart, your own motives as you continue through life. I hope that you have some food for thought here, and do not find that I have attacked you or beaten you down. None of that is my intention, but to merely share my understanding with you in response to what I have read.

  28. This is great BBB. A quote I heard ages ago is that ‘the world will not read the Bible. They will read Christians’. What a privilege, yet huge responsibility (and struggle) we have to show the world Christ! God bless 🙂

    • Hey Jonathan! Oh wow, what a powerful quote. I LOVE that! It is so true. We’ve gotta show people Christ’s love though the way we live and speak and act. Thanks for sharing that:) big hugs to you xox

      • No dramas 😊 and for the record, the way you respond to any pushback in the comments is awesome. So full of grace. You’re just about as authentic as they come. Keep doing your thing Carolyn 🙃

  29. Dear Caralyn,

    I’m writing this 06:00 a.m. at my local commuter-train station on my small Android.

    As a Christian you have a call to:
    I. To love God with all your heart and mind and…
    II…. your neighbor as yourself.

    This doesn’t nessecarily mean that you have to participate in a hopeless argument in a beer-hall. To just ignore the discussion can in fact be the best way to stand up for yourself and God!

    While young people tend to have their “Sturm und Drang” period. When you get older you can relax more, in God and in yourself.

    I hope I didn’t mess this up…



    • Hi Lennart! Oh my gosh that’s so early! Thank you so much for typing this out on your phone! This is such a powerful reflection. You’re right, a lot of times leading by example can be more powerful than any word uttered (or argued!) Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have an awesome day! All aboard!! 🙂 haha oh my gosh that’s the most cheesy thing I’ve ever said! hahaha xoxo

  30. So I’ve been waiting all day for this post 😉

    This sparks something interesting for me. I almost want to say, you’re a little late to the parade Caralyn! (in the most friendly way possible, of course 😉 ) and, you’re so right.

    But the other thing I want to say is, your revolution is already happening – three years ago I was watching it kindling on the forefront–watching my older brother valiantly spreading that’s dear to me.

    But I think another important thing is that that revolution is changing the face of ‘religion’ – as far as I’m concerned, religion is dead, and I don’t care to revive it – I know that’s getting into the fine lines of terminology, but the idea is the same; Christianity is undergoing a major shift–it has to, because there are too many people dissatisfied with the insincerity and the misinformation and the control that religious people have swayed over it for so long – it’s an awkward time for the Church.

    I totally agree with you though. Cross necklaces won’t cut it. No Christian paraphernalia will. Probably no brilliant debate will, either. But you know what will? A revelation of love coming out of a Spirit-filled and led life. Because love, and grace, and truth, changes everything.

    And you know what, I don’t know how to get there, or how to be a better display of Christianity, or how to be a part of the revolution. But I know Holy Spirit is and will continue leading, and when the Church unites, we’re going to see it reborn and it won’t be mistaken as dead anymore!

    • Wow Carson. Not to go all “millennial” but this response gave me ALL THE FEELS! Haha seriously though this is so inspiring. Yes-love grace and truth are game changers. That’s how we’re going to reach people. That how we’re going to break down walls and break through to people. It’s with love. It’s how we live our lives. That’s the true revolution. Thanks so much for this 🙂 I always look forward to your comments! Hugs and love xox

    • OK, I can’t help but jump in here!!… Carolyn, first off thank you so much for your honesty, always. You have one of the most genuine hearts and a true authenticity that is so rare to come by. Also I do agree with Carson about how religion is dead in a sense (or dying)….People are either jaded by the perceived hypocrisy that comes with ritualistic “religiosity” or drawn to people that have a true, authentic relationship with Christ, the Living God. I know that the guy that you were talking to may have meant it in the literal sense that actual spirituality is dying, but tackling it from this different perspective maybe he is right, and maybe it’s a good thing. I actually just wrote about my struggle within the church on this and how the confusion led me to my darkest times ( ). No need to read, but just in case you are interested. There is power and an attractiveness that comes when someone lives their lives in Christ. You are doing just that, ma’am. I get why you would feel that you maybe should have spoke up or said something- but at the same time, you are living your life out loud, unashamedly for Christ, beyond just words. I get those settings are difficult to speak up, but don’t beat yourself up about it. What you are doing right now is all you can do- reflect and gear up with a new fire to spread Christ’s love even greater. The Holy Spirit will give ya that courage 😉 I feel like it always sounds corny to say that but it is so true. I was a bit all over the board with this comment, but anyway, you have a mission field and God is using you BIG TIME, lady. <3

      • Thank you so much, Mack! Wow, I am just so blown away by your thoughtful and insightful comment! You’re right-it is interesting to look at it that way. Because there is some truth – by the number there has been a decline in people that identify as “religious” but I feel a resurgence coming on! People on Team Jesus. I feel it. 🙂 haha and thank you so much for your encouragement. That’s all I want to do: spread His love and His hope. 🙂 and I look forward to reading your post! Thanks for passing it along:) big hugs to you! Xox

      • Yes, girl, exactly! I keep telling my husband I feel a revival on the horizon. And other believers are expressing that same feeling. Thanks for taking the time for your thoughtful response as well. Hugs to you too <3

      • Hi Mack!
        In a few words, it’s time for the Church (not just a corporate, religious entity, not just an assembly or denomination in such-and-such place but the church, the bride of Christ, an entire generation of Jesus-lovers from every tribe and tongue) to re-emerge, to choose authenticty and truth and JESUS, and to show the love of Father to the world – that is what I’m dreaming for. And it will be sincere, authentic people with stories like ours who’ve asked the hard questions and who have found their answer in the heart of Jesus, who will (and are) stand up and bring on the revolution – because we’ve all got a little revival in us since the day Jesus changed everything (: Thanks for jumping in Friend! Happy Tuesday!

      • „People are either jaded by the perceived hypocrisy that comes with ritualistic “religiosity” or drawn to people that have a true, authentic relationship with Christ[…]There is power and an attractiveness that comes when someone lives their lives in Christ.“

        You get it, Mack 🙂

    • It’s not easy being a christian, did Jesus not wear a crown of thorns? He never promised it would be easy but He did say it will be worth it. Take the parable of the talents for example…Matthew 25:14-30 The meaning of the parable extends far beyond financial investments..God has given each person a wide variety of gifts, and he expects us to employ those gifts in his service. It is not acceptable merely to put those gifts on a closet shelf and ignore them. Like the three servants, we do not have gifts of the same degree. The return God expects of us is commensurate with the gifts we have been given and the ability with which we possess. Over the years I have been trying to build the kingdom and bit by bit I believe I am gaining ground. First I started with my immediate family, then it branched out to my extended family, then my children started helping their friends, then I started with a church group and now it’s grown to other church groups and now we run prayer and spirituality groups. You have to pray and ask God to show you how. God bless and to grow the talent He has given you.

      • Hi there (:
        You’re right, it isn’t easy being a Christian in this culture, much less easy in other cultures where Christianity isn’t largely ignored (ISIS comes to mind) but the beauty of the gospel is Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light; the weary find rest in him, the promise of salvation without the impossible work to attain it being on our shoulders.

        Daniel saw a kingdom that established itself; I know I might be getting back into those fine lines of terminology again but I don’t believe it’s on us to ‘build’ the kingdom – Jesus built and established it, we just spread the good news that it’s here and there’s no entrance exam. And when Holy Spirit lives in us and Jesus’ love becomes reality to us, that all becomes second nature; gifts start to grow and develop where we never even thought we had anything to begin with–and the Church comes alive!

        God bless you friend. In all your doing, don’t forget to rest in his love (:

      • Amen to the Holy Spirit- the one who instills us with the ideas and words.To build the kingdom I mean spread the word. If twelve could it, so can we. Thank you for your response and have a blessed day.

  31. Caralyn,

    You did everything right. So,too often we speak without listening. You sat there and listened to what was being said, and then pondered it. Keep this in mind–Proverbs 13:3 says this

    Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
    he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

    Take what you heard, think about it as you did, then next time you’re in that discussion, you can speak wisdom with God’s words and not your own. When we’re hesitant to speak in thosr situations, its usually the Holy Spirit telling us to wait.

    You did great Caralyn 🙂

    God bless and always will be praying.


    • Hey Tom, thank you so much. Wow leave it to proverbs to deliver a “one two punch!” Haha “comes to ruin”. Boy I can think of many a time when that was true! Thanks for your encouragement Tom. It truly means a lot. And I’m so appreciate of the prayers! Hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  32. I love your candidness. You make me realize that being polite and politically correct is simply creating an easy route for me to selfishly skate through life. This is a crazy world and there is a lot at stake. You make it clear that being idle and quiet is just another way to let other people fall.

    • Hey Marlene! Thank you so much. yeah, at the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can, but you’re right-perhaps we can let the quietness go from time to time and speak the truth (in love of course) 🙂 so glad you stopped by! Big hugs xox

  33. Religion & faith is not dead. Your story, your blog speaks of how alive your faith and religion is Caralyn. I suggest you have a business type card with your website to handout. Your story and present life as you share it speak volumes of God’s glory.

    • Thank you so much Mike. What a kind thing to say. Seriously. I am touched and humbled. That’s a really great idea…I’ll look into it! Hope you’re having a great week so far! Hugs and love xox

  34. I’m glad you’re pausing and examining how you present yourself and I hope you’re not beating yourself up about not speaking out- religion and alcohol Do. Not. Mix. Not sure if anyone was drinking/drunk, just something to consider. Yes, you want to stand up for your beliefs and I’m not sure what that would’ve accomplished at that time. Maybe it would’ve been fine and you’d rest in the satisfaction of knowing you did what you felt was right. On the other hand, who knows what will happen when alcohol gets involved? Take care, wishing you the best and love watching you grow!

    • Hi there friend! Thank you so much. Haha I agree! Alcohol-influenced anything is not a good idea! Except perhaps dancing. Hehe but you’re right – definitely not the time and place. “Speaking ” through action is always powerful when it comes to this. That, or a one on one convo. Thanks for your encouragement and for taking the time to respond! Have an awesome Tuesday! Hugs and love xox

  35. Hello! Wow, what an interesting experience you had, wish I could have been there! 😀 This isn’t to dampen anyone’s spirits or rain on anyone’s parade, I truly admire and encourage people to live out the faith and to proclaim it boldly, Romans 1:16 after all. BUT, its important to realise that, Christianity will be under attack by those of the world all the time. We’re meant to be under attack. Christ told the disciples to expect to be prosecuted, expect to be attacked. I don’t know what the religious hot tub is in the USA as I don’t live there but I feel like, it doesn’t matter where you are really, your faith will come under attack at various points by the Enemy but you HAVE to keep living it! Sending love and hugs from South Africa 😀

    • Hey there friend! Thank you so much 🙂 You’re so right – we should expect to be persecuted because Jesus was persecuted first. and amen to that! We’ve got to keep living it! ((And by the way, I love the term religious hot tub!) haha I’m totally going to start using that! Thanks so much for stopping by all the way from South Africa! That’s SO COOL!! Big hugs xox

  36. Religion may be death, but Jesus Christ is risen from the dead 🙂 Christ is more than any religion. Religion is a system of beliefs or a code of moral conduct (and nothing is wrong with that) but Christianity is a relationship. And your friend is right: a religious system without this relationship is death. And I passionatly agree with these words from Brennan Manning: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

    And the Gospel isn’t only a organized hope for nice boys and girls. It is a divine invitation into a Epic Story, the greatest story ever written, a story full of heroism, miracles and love.

    “Life, for most of us, feels like a movie we’ve arrived to forty minutes late.

    Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep losing heart.

    We need to know the rest of the story.

    For when we were born, we were born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, heroism . . . and betrayal. A story where good is warring against evil, danger lurks around every corner, and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you’ve ever loved―there’s a reason they stirred your heart. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young.

    There is a larger story And you have a crucial role to play.”

    Blessings to you,

    • Hey Mark, wow this is really awesome. What a powerful quote. Sadly, that is so true. We need to be living out the gospel. a lot of times that’s the only “church” people will come in contact with. And that’s so true – an Epic Story. That reminds me of Wild at Heart. John Eldredge and his wife are such great writers. i love their stuff. Captivating was another great book they wrote. thank you so much for this great perspective! sending big big hugs xox

  37. I really get you. I have had this same very experience with my work colleagues. Sometimes I will add to the conversation and at other times I will remain quiet and listen. Then I will pick the time to chat individually with that person, gently and empathetically, in a non-threatening way and make sure that I back it up with scripture and facts. I also pray to the Holy Spirit to help me pick the words. Sometimes the penny drops with people, sometimes only God can save them and then I think about how faith is a gift from God-those who will honour God’s name and His Son Jesus Christ and be Kingdom builders. Personally, I owe a lot to americans who have taught me a lot and were catalysts in others coming to God faithfuls like:- Joel Osteen, John Eldredge, Charles and Frances Hunter, Charles Kraft and more. God bless America <3

    • Thanks friend. Yeah, i think an individual chat is definitely wise. it provides a better opportunity to have an honest and -yes! non-threatening! – conversation than when in front of a group. And you’re right – tapping into the Holy Spirit and praying for His words through you – that’s the best way to go. And wow what a power house list! thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

  38. Sometimes, it is in our best interest to be quiet. It is the wisest thing. It too me a while to learn that. May I join you in listening to show tunes and where are you ordering that bracelet from? I need one.

    • Hey friend! you’re right, sometimes the best way to “say” something is through our actions. Yes! Let’s bring back the 00’s! 🙂 I’m not sure! I was going to google it….if i find out where i’ll definitely let you know! hugs xox

  39. I am very guilty of not sharing my faith, I am a very personal person so its hard for me to share, I had an opportunity to do so last Wednesday at the CU, It literally hurt my heart later that night when I looked at the opportunity I had. same with friends and family I feel its more difficult I feel sometimes we have to be a true follower of Jesus rather than a family member or friend. I know some friends wont react positively to our faith but even when the times aren’t great for us to talk to them about faith we have to continuous pray for fruitful conversations

    • Hey Benjamin! I totally feel you! Sharing that intimate part of your spirit is definitely frightening. especially when you don’t know how it will be received. I think that’s so true – gotta be fervent in prayer. for others, for the words to say, for the way to be the living gospel…You provided some powerful food for thought. thanks friend 🙂 hugs xo

      • I feel my pastors have a great way with words to help me and the rest of us in the church understand what the scripture talks about, of course the father is using them in a way where we can understand it, which is why he planted me at the church I go to, also have you seen your facebook page’s messages lately I sent you a little message 😀 mean alot if you could let me know 😀 x. sending you lots of love and hugs (AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH ICE S-CREAM HAHA)

      • you never fail to make me smile, you love and support and encouragement means more than words can tell you I love you to bits <3 (sorry that sounds such a british saying haha) xxx

  40. Excellent blog as always. Seems some good stuff is happening in NYC see
    My own view is that rather than engage in futile argument, the better approach is to give my own testimony which cannot be refuted because its my experience. I take the position that I am not religious, but rather have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Someone said that in how we live our lives, we should try to be the bible that so many will never get to read.

    • thank you so much! I’ll definitely check that out. Yeah, a personal testimony is always a powerful witness. Because you lived it. you standing there are living proof. Thank you for sharing this. Yes, let’s be the living bible! hugs xox

  41. Awesome post as always! Living and working in Rhode Island I see a lot of the same culture you talk about here. It always discouraged me and I never knew how to effectively reach out to them. Then I read a book called “I Once Was Lost” by Don Everts. I highly highly highly recommend you and anyone that is looking for ways to engage culture read this book. Little sneak peak – the most valuable thing I learned is that there are stages people go through in their journey back to God. As Christians we sometimes like to jump right into the last couple of stages, but if someone is not there we are not helping them. I can’t say enough good things about this book, its short, life-changing, and really clarifies how we could/should engage people.

    • Hey Nate! Thank you so much for this. sounds like an awesome book! thanks for passing it along. you’re right – everyone’s “walk” looks different and we should meet people where they’re at. thanks for the encouragement! hugs xox

  42. I definitely relate to this. I lived in Boston for a time and am now in DC. The only places more godless are probably New York and LA. It’s not that people have their opinions and beliefs in places like this, it’s that they can’t even imagine that people who think or believe otherwise exist, or if they do, that they’re good people.

    It’s a struggle, because you don’t want to alienate people, but if someone refuses to be friends with you because you might disagree with them about religion, so be it.

    And you are right to keep in mind that New York City is not the entirely of America…even though New Yorkers think it is!

    Again, great read. Thank you for posting.

    • Hey friend! you’re right – definitely a struggle. but i just try to live with the joy and peace that comes from Christ, and even if people may not know the blatant source, i hope that they can feel that in how i treat them and live, and perhaps they will ask or at least wonder the “why” of it all. you know what i mean? you’re right – NYC is great, but not the be all end all. thanks for your encouraging words! hugs xox

      • Absolutely! Live the way you do and people will be able to tell. And maybe they’ll want to know the “why” of it: “Why are you so happy and at peace?” “Why do things seem to work out for you?” People will wonder.

        And I didn’t mean to disparage NYC; I used to love visiting there and I hope to go again soon. But it’s definitely a “bubble.”

      • hah no worries! i completely agree. it’s quite the bubble in A LOT of ways. whenever i visit home in the midwest i am starkly reminded of that. thanks again for reading 🙂 xox

    • So very interesting reading comments about the same exact issues I am dealing with being Agnostic in the south. I am originally from NY and being raised Catholic I have received the sacraments and understand the reason behind them. However, delving into religion via the Bible, one finds that the different analogies and perspectives of this book creates more division than any other written work has ever done. How can that be a positive presence in our world?

  43. Being as vocal as I feel I need to be about my faith is something I’ve been working with myself over the past few years. I think back on a lot of missed opportunities in the past and make some resolve to do better. You hit it right on the head, just “looking” like a Christian isn’t enough. People look at the world and they see enough people looking like Christians but not acting like them (not saying you weren’t acting like one but you see my point here). They are searching for the genuine article; the real deal. Those whose faith is spurned from something real that affected their lives. This is what we can share with others. Now, being from Alabama, I get a look at more of an expected relationship or another with Christianity, but there are many other places (New York too maybe?) that it’s not quite as common place. Even more reason to aspire to be a light to the world. Jesus asked his disciples to go and tell the nations about him. We have to say something. Keep at it and you will see the power and conviction of God working through you. It’s always humbling to be part of God’s plan.
    I also loved the additional musical nerd use of “Leapin Lizzards”. I saw what you did there.


    • Hey Mitch! You’re right. i think at the end of the day, i think people really are looking for the real deal. You’re right. “Go and make disciples.” I think that’s a pretty clear message. haha yes!!! so glad you caught that one 😉 i was hoping someone would 🙂 heheh hope you’re having a great week so far! hugs xox

  44. Your life is your message and its coming across loud and clear both in a Christian way and in a life way. If others dont choose to hear it they are blind and shouting wont do any good. Prayer helps.

    • Thank you Lloyd. THat’s kind of you to say. You’re right – shouting usually doesn’t get the message across. especially not to someone who doesn’t want to hear it. i think living your faith is the most powerful example. What’s the quote about a river cutting through stone because of gentle persistence? i think that’s what our actions do 🙂 thanks for all your reading and reflections this morning! hugs xo

    • What if you are a happy, caring and good person. Your main focus in life is to help others and do what you can to live a simple and fulfilling life with no complaints. BUT….you believe this is a state of mind that only you can achieve….not from prayer..but from hard work and positive energy.

  45. If I were a rich man I would make the hills be alive with the sound of music for Him. But I gotta keep coolly cool boy and even though I’d like to see the rain in spain fall on the plain I know I’d just be singing in the rain to argue about Him.
    Seriously though, you can’t argue with deniers you can only act as an example and wait for them to ask where you get your joy (other than from musical theater…. 🙂

    • haha you’re quite the poet! A skilled linguist! 🙂 that’s so true — aside from a snappy show tune, Jesus is the One Source of true joy 🙂 thanks so much for making me smile this morning! hugs xox

    • It is unfortunate that those with faith think that those without are unhappy. I will not argue with anyone’s right to believe in a higher power because there is no way i can prove it to be true or false. I lean on the false side, but am always open to listening to what others have to say about their facts and knowledge regarding their religion. I get my joy from my family, friends, pets, and everything around me… include musical theater. 🙂

      • Absolutely, I wasn’t trying to imply that without God there is no joy. Only that it’s better to be an example of the happiness that loving God can bring and than to try to argue or force religion on someone.

  46. Great post, as always. What you describe sounds in a lot of ways to be an accurate description of our society being politically correct. We all do it. Being labeled as religious in some aspects of society has begun to take on the same nuances as being labeled unenlightened or non-modern. I’ve never taken this view, because I believe faith is the most enlightened view one can have. I’ve always felt that being secular was rather arrogant because it postulated I knew more than God, and therefore didn’t need Him. My truth is that I’ve always needed a loving Heavenly Father to listen to me, to guide me, and to comfort me in the hard times. I don’t believe religion is dead. My faith brightens my life and gives me hope, which is not a bad way to go.

    • Hey friend! You’re right – I was thinking the whole time, “I’m being so PC!” What a beautiful way of thinking. Yes, God is the ultimate guide and comfort. So glad you stopped by! hugs xox

  47. Wow. This is the first post I have read of yours, and it was beautifully written. (and I am a big musical theater nerd myself) Sounds like you had a Kairos moment there! It is difficult to have those kinds of conversations. I will be curious to know more about where he is coming from with that statement. What does he mean by religion? Organized religion? There are people even within the church that would agree there. But God is still present and alive. Maybe he is searching by having those kinds of conversations. Looks like God has put you in an amazing place to speak to others about his love, hope, peace and renewed life!

    • Hi Katy! Oh wow, thank you so much 🙂 You’re right, I hadn’t thought about that, but maybe that guy was really hungry for that type of meaningful conversation and was curious. Definitely something to think about for the future. Thanks for your kind encouragement! so glad you stopped by! hugs and love xox

  48. Don’t be discouraged. Just because someone does not believe, died not make the truth non existent.

    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me – John 10:27

    Your walk is your own. Out they have a walk, the Holy Spirit will work in them at some point so that they hear.

    But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. – Romans 8:11

    But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) – Ephesians 2:4‭-5

    Rest in His Grace. Fret not about the troubles of the world. Christianity is not dead because Christ is risen, whether the world believes it or not.

    • Hi Nathan! thank you so much for this great perspective. so true. Christ is risen – not dead. and that is where our hope and joy rests. and thanks for passing along those powerful verses. a lot of food for thought here. big hugs xox

  49. I would agree with him. Religion is dead, but Jesus isn’t. Actually, He came to announce the end of religion. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the memo. 🙂 Don’t mean to be clever, but the reason people reject “Christianity” is that it hasn’t looked much like Jesus. Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.” Now, that’s a problem! But, good news, what I think is actually happening is Christianity is currently in a “molting” process (shedding its old skin) and, hopefully, becoming more like Jesus.

    There’s a good book by Brian McLaren about this titled, “The Great Migration.”

    Btw, I agree with other comments. Just be you, unafraid, unapologetic about your faith, but also considerate and graceful to those who don’t share your views. In that regard, you’re doing great! Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”
    Loved the theater references, too!

    • Hey Mel! thanks so much for sharing this. some powerful food for thought here. you’re right – Jesus is definitely not dead. That’s what we need to be living out. I’ll definitely have to check out that book. And yes! i love that quote! Our actions definitely should do the “preaching”! hugs xox

  50. Religion: A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: eg: Christian religion, Buddhist religion etc.

    This isn’t only a New York problem, I’ve been hearing this a lot where I live also, and I’m not in the USA. Nobody wants to hear about God, religion, christianity etc. God said that the end of time would be like the days of Noah. No one wanted to hear or believe what Noah had to preach…..if we are not there yet, I believe we must be pretty close, and just like in the days of Noah, more will be lost than will be saved……Great post!!

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for this reflection! Yeah this I think is a pretty widespread issue. Pretty scary to think that we’re living in the end times but you know what, that might not be so far fetched. Thanks for stopping by! Big hugs xox

  51. I got all your theater references. (Hi-five, backstage, behind the curtain, with the hand that isn’t smeared with make-up on the fingertips.)

    I’m curious about the “organized hope.” That’s a great phrase. I could agree with your friend if he was saying that “organized hope is dead” because HOW can we possibly try to organize the lavishly over-abounding hope we have in Christ? You can’t organize that. But I can see how religion ends up taming it down. Too bad it’s all so interwoven.

    On a personal note, I’ve been to the Brooklyn Tabernacle–just to receive prayer–and that experience was full of hope.

    I’m guessing that your friend might be looking for hope that feels alive. I know it’s hard to talk sometimes (I’m a better spontaneous listener than spontaneous speaker), but you may be the link he needs to finding the unhindered hope. I’m reminded that we don’t have to “preach” in order to speak.


    • Hey Dave! Woo! Yay musical theater references!! Hehe I’ve never been to the BK tabernacle but it sounds awesome. I’ll have to check it out on a free weekend! But you’re right- I think he was perhaps looking to talk about something meaningful. Maybe he was looking for someone to challenge that and give him some answers. Lots of food for thought. So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

      • Answers… maybe, sure. I recently took my son to a healing service because I wanted him to experience “looking for hope.” Sometimes we hesitate from going places with our friends because we can’t predict what will happen. But if we can find a place that regularly provides hope, we’ll feel it too.

  52. “If I speak, I am condemned.
    If I stay silent, I am damned!”
    ― Victor Hugo

    I worked for some time in the middle east on a project, before leaving my sisters asked me if i was nervous, never having been there.
    I paused and thought yes I am, but my shadow is the same in that sunlight as it is here, I am no different, just my location is new.

    Great awareness on your part. I would say let your light shine, let that be what draws them to you, and within your strength of what you believe, is how you will make your message clear.

    Respecting their space and opinions does not make you a bad Christian, just a great human and friend.
    Seems pretty clear, you don’t get lost in spin of the room during those conversations.
    Good on you.

    • Wow there couldn’t be more truth in that quote! Thanks for sharing that. That’s beautiful about your shadow. Lots of great food for thought. Thanks for stopping by and for your encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  53. Great food for thought in your post, again, again, again. So often, in situations like you were in, the enemy of our soul attempts to pour guilt on us because we didn’t speak out, or at times because we did speak, and what we said.
    This could all work in a positive way, in a couple different situations. One of your friends, perhaps you may even meet the questioner again, may ask your thoughts on that discussion. Since your life reflects the Light of the world, interest does get piqued.
    Secondly, Holy Spirit will work in you and through you, from this experience, what you have learned and thought of since then. Some thoughts you had after the fact, when your mind was twirling, will be perfect for another encounter, while they didn’t quite fit this previous one.
    Anyhow, all that to say this–your Christ-like life shines through your written words, as I am sure they are in daily life and speech also. Luv. George

    • Thank your so much George. That is such a kind thing to say. I really appreciate your encouragement. You’re right, after that encounter, I definitely feel more prepared should the opportunity arise again. I will just need to pray for the words. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  54. You are absolutely correct! Religion is not “dead!” Far from it actually, because it would be very difficult to have a relationship with Jesus if He were dead. Your friend (?) is not inherently wrong about religion being “organized faith,” however he is not looking as broadly as he ought to. The religious hope for salvation, as the sick hope for healing, as the poor hope for sustenance, as the stadium of fanatics hope that their team does well, as the lost hope to be found, as those in captivity hope to be freed, as the scientists hope for understanding. I’m not sure where this person lies in their walk in life, but there are things they hope for. It is without a doubt a system built into the framework of the mind, the soul. Even the most pessimistic of people have some glimmer of hope in them, albeit not evident.

    While I do not share a similar perspective with you and your New Yorker friends, as I find myself in the middle of Bible Belt, I do see this as a widespread perspective held by people across the nation. Religion, is seen as backwater, as outdated, as manipulative, controlling, a system of regimented order. While there is some ground for reason in this logical assumption it is not widespread. I’m not going to push too deeply into politics, but what truly exerts more control and systematic order? Religion or Laws? I know of only two ‘rules’ if you will in the Christian faith. Love God, and love others as yourself. IF we love God, we will obey His commandments. In doing so, we will love others as ourselves. Yet this is where I must leave this tangent.

    I do a see a fundamental issue within the Church. Laziness. We have people who flock to church or mass on Sunday (or whichever day is chosen), to ‘check off’ that they have done something good. They do not want to think about the nature of the relationship between the Church and Society. They do not want to ponder the nature of God, or the inerrancy of Scripture. On the other hand, we have religious schools filled with intellectual scholars of all things religion who do not want to go out and share the gospel with the nations! I must admit that this is not indicative of all people, or all congregations, but it is a generalization of the Church as a whole. The Church has decided that going out and following through on the Great Commission as being optional. This is in stark opposition from the two commands God gave us. Love God, and love others. If we truly loved others as we loved ourselves, then we would share with them. We would tell them of the good news, of the hope found in Christ! I think about those who came into contact with Christ as He walked on this Earth carrying out His ministry. Look at Mark 5 and how people hoped for something, and how Christ responded, then look at how the people responded! If we truly, honestly have had an encounter with Christ that has led to a radical change within our lives, then we ought to freely and willingly go out to tell the nations of what Christ has done! To tell all people who Christ is!

    Sharing our faith with others is, admittedly, nerve racking. It is scary. We never know how the encounter will go, what opposition we might face, what objections they may have. Yet the Church MUST go out and boldly share the message that is found in Christ. To share of the good news! To share the hope that is found in Christ. As I previously said, everybody hopes for something. What separates the religions from the secular, is where we place our hope. Particularly Christians, from which is the only perspective that I can fully place myself, but their faith elsewhere. It is not easily seen, nor is it easily understood, but the hope that Christians hold is not hidden! While some place their hope in money, in success, in their sexual prowess, in their bodies, in the health, in their jobs, or in their friends, but Christians have placed their hope in Heaven.

    While you are not responsible for your friend’s (?) perspective, you have an opportunity before you to share the hope that is only found in Christ, and to share the joy that is only found in His sacrifice and His resurrection! I want to encourage you to continue to be bold in sharing your faith with others, and to know that our God is sovereign! He is in control of all things! You cannot, no matter how much you may try, hinder the Kingdom of Heaven! God will continue to send His Spirit out into the world, stirring in the hearts of His people to bring them back toward Himself. In being faithful in following Christ, you may not be comfortable. Things may be tense, or unpleasant. It may be difficult, but God’s provision abounds. Mercy abounds! I am not throwing away my shot at sharing with others, testifying of God’s mercy, grace, and love upon my life. Perhaps, in dreaming a dream of time gone by, we may see the people of the nations singing. Not a song of angry men, but a song of repentance. Ultimately this starts with you and I and all those who call themselves Christians. Those of us sitting in the pews every week, hearing of what God has done for us and the rest of creation. But instead of hearing, we ought to listen, and apply what we have heard. May we increase in boldness! May we ask the Lord to send His Spirit out into the land before us. May we ask for more opportunities to share our faith with others. While God does not need us to do His work for Him, yet He has chosen us as a means by which to spread the good news of the hope found in Christ.

    I personally love to use this method of sharing the gospel with others when the opportunity arrises: I do hope that you have more opportunities to share with others, and want to encourage you to adopt prayer walking into your normal routine. Pray for the city of New York, pray for the state, pray for the nation, pray for the world. Ask God for boldness, ask God for the words to speak, ask God for the direction to head toward. I’ll step off of my soapbox that has metaphorically appeared under my feet.

    Also, major props for the Les Mis usage!

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for this thoughtful reflection. Amen to that! Love God and love others as yourself. Those are absolutely the keys. You do those and then everything else falls into place. And you’re right-I definitely need to work on laziness! Oooh boy do I ever! And thanks for passing along the clip! I look forward to checking it out. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    • I would proffer a slightly different/additional perspective. My last girlfriend, bless her, summed it up better than I ever had heard…”Love God. Don’t be a schmuck” She had it pretty succinctly stated.
      I think my concern/opinion is that too much of the church has devolved into a Pharisee approach of following rules,and excluding grace, which does nothing (IMHO) to fulfill either of the requirements. IT has focused on single issues, or filled lives with rules and policies and stuff that drives people away and doesn’t show them the love of God or of the church. And the rules have become what many worship, following them almost as religiously as the Law and the Prophets. And the Joy of the Lord… totally absent from their lives.

      Just another perspective 🙂 But a well written response on your part

      • Absolutely! We should most certainly no be “schmuck[s]!” I have tried my best to distinguish between the Church, the bride of Christ, and the church, or the local congregation. While the focus on singular issues or concerns is not inherently negative, it can easily move into a habit which shifts into new forms. Now, let us be truthful with ourselves, structure and order is good. Rules and policies are good. The Bible is full of order, the universe is filled with ordered structure. Let us not hinder ourselves by moving toward a relative or post-modern perspective, but let us also not be like the Pharisees who took the order to the extreme.

        I appreciate your perspective and openly welcome it. The way we understand something is by discussing it with others. This is the same with the Scriptures, in as so long that we approach it appropriately with the proper context, meaning, and purpose as is found in the text. This also means that we should have some understanding of what the ‘secular’ world is saying about the Church, God, and Christianity. Being informed is the only way that we the Church can address the objections and concerns and misconceptions the world has toward it. Now, by no means am I suggesting that the Church move to be more relevant or politically correct as it will never be relevant, we must lovingly and appropriately address their concerns.

  55. Religion, through the influential energy of the ophidian spirit, was initiated by the Eden Woman when she pronounced the addendum of the infamy of Genesis 3:3, “….neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die”. It’s on that very day religion died. As voluminous as God’s corpus of revelation, the Bible (His protocol) is concerned the word ‘religion’ does not appear for more than six times and once of its inflection, ‘religious’. The scriptural anomaly, “neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die”, is the birth of superstition. The condemnation of and curse on the serpentine intrusion is its suspended death.
    The first time religion appears in scripture is in Acts 26 (also in James 1:26, 27 & Colossians 2:18 -as ‘worshipping’) it’s the Greek thrēskeia (thrace-ki’-ah): ‘ceremonial observance, religious worship especially external, that which consists of ceremonies, religious discipline’.
    In James 1:26 ‘religious’ is threskos (thrace`-kos): ‘ceremonious in worship (as demonstrative) i.e. pious; it’s probably comes from throeo (thro-eh’-o) ‘to clamor; (by implication) to frighten’. In the Book of Galatians 1:13, 14 the Ioudaismos (ee-ou-dah-is”-mos’) is the Greek for ‘religious’, meaning: “Judaism”, i.e. the Jewish faith and usages. Religion, (man’s own way of going to God), cannot last the test of time. “God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth”, Jesus taught in John 4:24. If Christianity is what the guys are beefing about, that can’t die. Christianity is the way of life, not a religion. BBB, you shouldn’t have let them go without giving them a taste of Jesus.
    Call me a bigot, I don’t care a hoot, if you find me guilty of not tolerating religious syncretism. It’s Jesus, Jesus and nothing but Jesus! Christianity has not failed man. God has not, will never fail us. HE has a calendar. America should pray hard, send an s.o.s. to the Saviour like the Israelites did of old. Did the American settlers of the eighteenth century not call upon the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26)? Did I indict you for not showing them Jesus, bbb? I love you all the same! Keep the good work going!

    • Thank you for this. I appreciate your call to action! I agree – God has not and will not fail us. And we must must must pray hard for our country and its leaders. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • Exactly so. Non-believers do not share the glorious initiation that makes us God’s property. We know the truth that has set us free. Religion of Satan is a spiritual opium.

      • It is a way of life for the agnostic also Give positive energy to others and you attract positive energy to you. We just give credit to the people around us for making our lives happy and wonderful. I like to think it is up to us to take full responsibility for all the good and bad that happens in our lives and appreciate when things are going well and accept the balance when things are not going well. Makes for a really happy existence!

  56. I truly believe prayer for this individual would be very effective. The neat thing is God see’s all and hears all. So he heard him say religion is dead the other night. So my place would to become a intercessor for this gentleman . This is what God is waiting to see. Are we as his children grieved by his statement. I assure you the Holy Spirit was. The deal is Jesus loves him as much as he loves you and me. He is either lost to God or spewing things out of his mouth he doesn’t really believe in order to get attention maybe. Usually across the table conversations in a bar about politics and religion don’t go very far in making any sense . Still being a person that would intercede for him is a good response .
    How to and when to respond to someone about christianity ,is where a life lived closely with the Lord gives us the edge. We pray for decrement and wisdom also clarity to see what is going down around us. Jesus in his loving way responds by giving us these abilities when we live right and follow him.

    In closing I would say you used all those gifts and responded appropriately. However there is times we certainly need to be bolder and more aggressive in our responce. I enjoyed your story and your thoughts and questions. Regardless where we live God is in us and will work through us. Even when it feels uncomfortable and odd.

    Blessings to you and God speed

  57. I think feeling like you want to speak up is a good start. It can be difficult to figure out how to insert yourself into those discussions, can’t it? At times like that, I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the right words.

    • Hi Rose Marie! Thank you so much for this. So difficult! You don’t want to be overbearing or say something to offend the other person. You’re right. Praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance is the only way. Hugs and love xox

  58. I believe this is a common dilemma for people of faith. You are not alone sister in trying to understand when to speak and to share faith and when to allow faith to speak on its own. Perhaps God was opening a door for you to walk through later.

    • Thank you so much for this, Ilyas. You’re right, perhaps this was a dress rehearsal, preparing me for the real deal at a later date. Thanks for your encouragement. hugs and love xox

  59. I Always feel like u cant win a discussion on religion bcos ppl against it always have their comeback. Like they’ve prepared themselves for war..but what i believe u could do is give a testimony. A way Gods helped u, a way u could have died but God saved u, a way where if it wasnt for God u would have had no hope..! If it dsnt resonate with them in that instance, trust me one day it will come back to them, perhaps when they need hope..! Its like a seed..

  60. Great post. Unbelief in God is everywhere in the UK also. As true Christians it’s our job to proclaim the gospel and help people to believe. The ‘faith is dead’ person you encountered in your day, I feel you did the right thing. Sometimes the more you try the more they say ‘faith is dead’. Jesus will guide you I’m sure. God bless.

  61. You know what? I used to be one of those that railed against religion. I was what they call and anti-theist. I thought that all religion was plague on society and damaging to all. Why do people like your friend, like me, say obnoxious things like that? Because, consciously or not, they hope that some of it will sink into people like you and make you doubt your faith, simply put.

    I refer to that time as being an “angry atheist”. I was severely damaged from being trapped in a cult for 5 years: a christian based cult.

    Then I got into AA and had a transformative experience in the process of developing a higher power, of my own understanding. Religion may, in fact, be dying. That is not a bad thing in my opinion. It’s spirituality that is growing and that is a far better thing. Spirituality creates growth, humility, compassion, and a willingness to help others as well as oneself while walking in faith.

    I would advise to not bother sharing any of this with your friends. You will only become the enemy and target for ridicule. People must follow their own path even if it is atheism, secularism, etc. By the way, I know many people who live secular lives and are happy “and nice”.

    Your life example is a bigger testament that anything you can say. I am not a christian but I walk with God, an undefinable loving, caring presence that carries me through the day. He humbles me, right sizing me, but also lovingly helps me… all toward good so that I may help the next person along. I don’t talk spirituality with people, outside of my meetings, unless they bring it up or are open to reflections, and then I only talk about it in relation to the changes in my life. How I live is a reflection on God. Nothing I can say will ever change anyones mind or conceptions. period. Either God comes into their lives or he doesn’t, period. It’s not my place or my responsibility. To think I can convert anyone is arrogant on my part. I can, however, offer suggestions if they are asking questions.

    I was seeking something different in my life in order to find recovery. The person helping me suggested I simply get on my knees in the morning and say “thank you” (to whatever), and then observe the day. Do an experiment of sorts. I eventually couldn’t deny that my life got better. I am no longer alone. No one witnessed to me, no one preached faith to me. I saw peoples lives change, I saw something in their eyes. I wanted that, I yearned for that peace. But I didn’t even see that part of it until I was ready.

    Does any of this make sense? I hope so. Ultimately you have to decide what you want to do. It’s really between you and God. We can comment and say whatever we did, i.e., our experience, strength and hope, but in the end, it is your decision.

    I wish you well on your journey.

    • Hi Lexy, thank you so much for sharing this an for sharing your journey. I am so happy for you that you’ve embraced recovery and are living a full and abundant life and that you found that peace with God. There’s a lot of powerful truth here. People have to come to believe on their own terms. Living by example is the most powerful form of witness. Big hugs to you friend xox

    • This makes perfect sense to me, as it should because I found spirituality through 12-Step recovery. Religion took another ten years to show up in a form I could use, and “organized” religion is still not for me. I have no quarrel with anyone’s beliefs or their way of living them out (so long nobody tries to impose theirs on me), but I have seen too much human failure associated with mixing trust of individuals with either personal authority over others or money. Your God may be perfect, but people are still subject to the usual failings.

  62. Ah I miss those youthful, highly opinionated debates! I wouldn’t put too much stock in what people say in a bar. 🙂 Christians on the news say that religion is under attack and secularists say that there’s too much religion in the governments. Neither side is correct, of course. The truth is always a grey area. I don’t see why it matters. If you’re Christian, be a Christian. Who cares if the rest of the world isn’t?

  63. I have been doing prayer and meditation a lot over the past year. Yea I pray and have that time with God but sometimes I don’t take time to listen. So that’s what I have been doing listening more and WOW the things God has opened up to me are awesome. Thats the reason I haven’t posted much trying to hear what God has for me. I do know people with that attitude I deal with them weekly and it is sad the way they think even when we are doing our best to let God shine through. So have prayer and meditation and listen to what God tells you. Remember you are God’s special one. Thanks for sharing.

  64. I’m certainly not the best one to talk about whether religion is dead or not. I have known many who use “religion” for their own selfish purposes, and that deception makes their “religion” dead to me.

    But to me there’s a difference between religion and faith. I mean, politics can be my religion is that’s all I focus on and learn about and spend my time delving deeply into it. My Dad would religiously beat me every day and I believe beating me was his religion because that was what he focused on and delved into every single day until he died.

    But faith is different. Faith, to me, means there’s hope beyond the religion. There’s more! There’s got to be! That’s the faith I have right now and want it to grow.

    • Hi Timere. Thank you so much for this perspective. I’m so glad you have that hope. It’s a truly beautiful thing. And you’re right-everyone’s journey with God is personal. I appreciate you stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  65. Reading this, I am reminded of an incident with Flannery O’Connor that she relates in “The Habit of Being.” She was at a small dinner (just a few people) which was followed by conversation the whole night. She hadn’t said anything because there wasn’t anything for her to say “in such company.” Toward morning when the conversation turned toward the Eucharist, someone asserted that it was just a symbol. Flannery O’Connor “said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’” That was her sole contribution the entire night and a brilliant contribution it was. Concerning that contribution she said, “That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

    God bless you, Caralyn, and thank you for all your wonderful posts.

  66. God Bless you now and everyday! Yes, its hard to be around people who condemn either Religion itself, or as I have been in, groups that condemn my particular practice of Religion, which is the same as yours; Catholic. I am not a religious pusher or show it out like many people do. I don’t take literally that we have to go around and save others the way some of the more Pentecostal or other sects do “Bible Pushers” as I called them in college. Its hard I know, when you are in such a crowd. I don’t condemn them. I do pray for them. I just don’t put my presence among them very often either. I love your photo at the top of this article!! Stay YOU Stay what YOU believe. Stay BEAUTIFUL in your heart you mind your faith, and what YOU believe! Stay beautiful as you are on the outside too!! xoxo

  67. You may not feel like this applies to you, but I’ll give you some Islamic advice – from a religious brother to a religious sister: our duty is to convey, not convince. Tell them, show them your message, but don’t beat anyone over the head with it. The situation you described (a debate without an audience) would most likely have been nothing more than an opportunity to figuratively bruise your friends’ heads. Trying to “win” and “refute” does more spiritual damage to the “victor,” and possibly has more negative repercussions, than are readily apparent.

    We may not share religion, but we share faith, and it’s encouraging to see your sort of Christian doing well in my homeland. Keep it up 😊

    • Hi Abu! Thank you for this powerful perspective. That’s very true. Beating someone over the head with anything will never solve anything. We’ve got to show them through the way we live our lives. Yes! So glad you stopped by! How beautiful to come together in faith:) Hugs and love xox

  68. To not believe in God you still have to agree there is a God to not believe in. Most Atheists groan over ritual practice but can agree on the moral philosophy of religion. Don’t kill, Don’t steal, only sleep with your wife these are pretty good principles that true Atheists don’t have to believe in. That’s fine, because hearts hear what they want to hear and that’s where your strength comes from. It takes a lot of strength to remain silent against those that tear you down. Speak love to those who will listen.

    • I am agnostic because I do not know if there is a higher power. I am a logical and moral person, not because of God or the Bible, but because I believe that when you give positive energy and happiness to the world, you will get it back. In situations where conflict is uncomfortable, my best response is “If your beliefs leave you content and a better person, then keep believing and spreading that happy energy.”

      • I agree with you. My take on the Bible is a guide for understanding life. The Bible is so old that anything after seems allegorical. Not to say one way is better than the other. I can respect you and your way without compromising my own. I can also, see similarities in New Age ideas that are supposed to transcend the “hopeless limitations” of current state religions but, are just as conflicted and religious in themselves. True belief does not require money. It is a happy conflict one that does require much participation between one that believes and one that does not believe. Even belief itself is a happy conflict because that’s why we’re here to always ask because we never know. We can only have faith that answers appear without harming ourself or others. That is my religion.

  69. Hi Caralyn….As might be obvious from a partial comment above, I’d suggest not being too hard on yourself. There is a LOT to be gained with learning from it, but not beating yourself up over it. I’d suggest using it just as an opportunity to decide why you didn’t enter the discussion — lack of relationship depth, caught off guard, concern that by speaking up while being there might be viewed as hypocritical (which I would say isn’t the case, but that’s me) or some other reason. Figure that out, learn from it, and move along to know what you would say in another setting if this comes up again.
    And you never know who is watching your life and your blog and is seeing God’s love and your relationship with Him played out, and starting them to ask, to journey.
    go girl 🙂

    • Thank Jeff. This really means a lot. Yeah, there were definitely a lot of reasons at play as to why I didn’t speak up, but yeah one of the main ones is that I had just met the colleague! Haha but yeah this definitely was a trial run for next time the opportunity presents itself. And that’s very true. Thanks for saying that:) God is good and He can use even the most broken of vessels to do His work! Big hugs xox

  70. We attended church for the first time together as a family this past weekend and it was such an enlightening experience. My kids are not unaware of religion, and they have always had questions. It was so heart warming to be able to take them and to see them singing along and speaking to people they had never met before. On their very first visit. It’s as if we had been drawn to it after all these years. But like they say, there is no such thing as coincidence, just God working in mysterious ways.

    It’s such a freeing experience to be able to believe in something bigger than yourself.

    Keep doing what you are doing. You are spreading His word through your blog. Which is loved and shared by many.

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing this. What a beautiful experience. You’re right, there is freedom in faith. I think there’s a misconception that it’s the opposite…that you become bogged down with rules and strict “commandments” but the truth is, it just leads to freedom. I’m so glad your family experienced that together. Thanks for stopping by! hugs xo

  71. This is the tough one. Or as Yoda puts it, “Real the struggle is.”

    You’re right that our collective silence is problematic. Equally problematic though, is some of the noise that Christians of some faith traditions put out.

    Where’s the balance? I’ve no idea.

    Okay, that’s not true. I have lots of ideas.

    You’ve got a huge audience with Beauty Beyond Bones and your witness there is pretty strong and crystal clear about your faith. Not in a bombastic declaration but as an integrated part of your life, your recovery, and the world around you. Or so it would appear from your writings. (I’ve waited a long time to use the phrase bombastic declaration!)

    The old model of faith (and current model in many contexts) was Believe, Behave, Belong. Believe correctly, behave properly, and then we’ll ask you to belong. I think a better approach is Belong, Behave, Believe, where we invite people into our lives (Belong) and then by our Behavior they’ll want to know what we Believe. THEN we can have some great discussions!

    It’s not quite that linear but you get the idea. I’m not sure anyone has ever been convinced of too much by the bold frontal proclamation of anything. But people we have an actual relationship with, an actual connection with, can certainly see things differently based on how we live our lives as people of faith.

    Thanks for your witness and encouragement!

    • Hi Lance! Real the struggle is indeed. Thanks for this perspective. The balance is definitely hard to decipher in this one. Haha and I love that: bombastic declaration! Woo! I like your three B’s. Thanks for sharing this. Hugs and love xox

  72. You raise and interesting question. “Religion is dead in America” is obviously not an empirically accurate statement. Even “Religion is dead in New York” would not be accurate since you were sitting right there and you are a religious person.

    But there must be some reason why this person is saying this. Does he really believe his statement? If so, why? I find that a lot of times it is helpful to ask a person to explain what he means. Sometimes it is possible to have a conversation.

    If a conversation is not possible. Then sometimes a very short statement is worthwhile, like, “Personally, I don’t think religion is dead because, I am religious.” Or even, for you personally, you might say. “I can’t speak for religion at large. But personally, I believe in God, and even more, I believe that it is because I believe in God that I am still alive.”

    Thanks for challenging me to think.

    • Hi Alex! Thanks for this. Lots of great food for thought here. Yeah those simple statements offer a powerful counter argument without a lot of snarl if that makes sense:) something to remember for next time. Hugs and love xox

  73. Unfortunately, yes. I wish I could share my easy button, or even my simple button, with you. I seem to have misplaced it. I stopped talking as much because I felt I was so bad at living it, and now it’s so hard to be vocal; perhaps it’s because I’m afraid I’ll come across as a hypocrite? I just don’t know, but I know how you feel. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks Doug. Yeah I have that same apprehension too. But then no body is perfect. That’s the beauty of faith is that we are loved even in our imperfect state. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  74. I have a lot of experience with this because my sons are atheists. Me! Atheist sons! Lol!!!!

    The best approach, when outrageous and denigrating things are said, is to simply ask (with a genuinely curious and concerned tone of voice) “Really? Why do you say that?” And then to say “Oh. But that’s not how I experience it…” and fill in with your positive experience of religion. So when told that religious people are against science, we might say “Well, I find that my friends are really curious about the great gift of this creation, and do their best to understand it.”

    It’s also the case that much of the negativity attached to religion is attached to all of our institutions at this point. So when they say something irrefutably true about religion (such as the money-grubbing of pastors that preach the “gospel of wealth”), we can ask “What institution doesn’t that apply to?” or “Is that unique to religion?” Institutions collect power, and every institutional form (religion, government, corporations, even families, for heaven’s sake) has been coopted by people that want that power for themselves.

    We’ve also had some comments here about “spirituality” vs. “religion.” I did a “Hope or Hoax” post on this a while back. I tried to end it on a positive note.

    • One more thing – and I apologize for the shameless plug: If they actually know something about scripture and attack its validity by cherry-picking from Deuteronomy or Leviticus, tell them to read The Soul Comes First.

    • Hi Brian, thank you for sharing this part of your story. That’s a really great way to engage someone without being overbearing or aggressive. Lots of good food for thought here. I’ll have to check out your hope vs hoax post. Sounds really interesting! Hugs and love xox

  75. That was an awesome read. Speaking up is definitely something I need to work on myself. I’ve never been one for confrontation, but when it’s something as important as my faith I think I need to make a change.

    • Thank you so much Jess! I’m glad t resonated with you. Yeah same here. I hate confrontation too. But maybe we can pray for the words so it’s not so much a confrontation as it is a loving dialogue 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  76. I myself am an ambivalent fence sitter.

    There are forces that defy logic and some logic that defies forces.

    Therefore am inclined to inquire when someone makes a declarative that needs questioning, if not for them, for me.

    A rebuttal opinion, usually puts said on the defensive. Then, in my experience gets you nowhere. Either in conveying your experiences as a better way that you wish to share of yourself and your understanding.

    Anyway, great blog.

  77. The best way to show Christ is to live it as He would. Sometimes arguing isn’t the answer. People like that can be VERY closed minded and will just continue to argue just to prove you wrong. I know plenty like that. We can’t argue with people to change their mind. I think had they asked your opinion in the matter, you could have put in your thoughts and leave it be. Sometimes it’s best to stay on the sideline when you know you’ll be talking to a brick wall. But you’re right, I think in other cases, we could all be a bit more vocal about God. Which is why every morning before we leave our home, we ask God to gives us the strength, wisdom and courage to be His soldiers and to speak for Him when He needs us to. I’m sure when it’s time, He’ll nudge us to do so. 🙂

  78. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospels always and when necessary use words.” (You need to get his book.)

    I think the greatest thing we can do is be as Christ-like as we can be, in our daily lives. “Words” are not always the best thing. Pick your battles. There are times we are called to “defend” and times we are not. St. Peter said something like this, “When called to defend, be ready.” Now he did not say “not to defend,” he said, “when we are called or placed on the defense.”

    There were many who came against Christ and a lot of the times He said nothing and let them go. There were times He did not. We have to let the Holy Spirit guide us on when to speak and when not to. If one knows all it is going to lead to is an argument which leads to nothing, that is the time to stay silent.

    I will usually wait until someone ask me. I will give to them how I believe and why, then it is up to them and God from that point on. Being Catholic I would be arguing many hours daily if I joined in on every conversation such as this. I do not have the time for it.

    I believe the words of St. Francis and how we live our lives, are actually our best defense. Love you and God Bless, SR

  79. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospels always and when necessary use words.”

    Honestly, this is the worst advice anyone has ever given a follower of Christ. If the disciples took it after Jesus’ ascension there would be no Christianity. Instead they went out and told everyone they could everywhere they could about Jesus. Why? Because He saved them and He told them to tell others!

    If you look at the life of Paul, he appealed to those who were around to look at his life as evidence of the gospel of Jesus, not as His teaching. He said very clearly Jesus is the Messiah and King to those who wanted to kill Paul for saying that and despite the threat he then lived a life testifying to it – He got up after being stoned almost to death and went back into the same town that stoned him and preached some more. Paul was before Kings who could have killed him and he spoke the Gospel.

    There are plenty of moral, clean living people who don’t know a think about God.

    I know New York says keep it to yourself or just live a clean life and people will pick it up somehow through osmosis – trust me, I justified myself with that for years – that is simply not the message of Jesus though.

    We are called to love a life that is holy – set apart, different from the world around us and testify to Jesus. Honestly, it is a simple question am I living holy set apart and am I testifying to Jesus.

    If i am not, then God’s grace covers all and move forward even more grateful for what He did for us. If kind of, then get rid of the areas that are compromise, and again God’s grace covers. If yes, then praise the Lord.

      • Just to add – I am from NY originally and spent many years in the bars and clubs of NYC. It is not impossible I suppose but it is really hard to follow Jesus while also living the party life in the city.