a little about me

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Who am I?

Just a man with a variety of strengths and weaknesses (emphasis on weaknesses).

I work in the field of HIV/AIDS as a counselor. I work daily with people that struggle with the many issues associated with HIV/AIDS. The work is sometimes frustrating and sad but it is the most rewarding career thus far in my life.

I am also a Christian. I have been involved in the Evangelical church, first as a Baptist, now as a Presbyterian, for almost 30 years now.  I have a love/hate relationship with the church and in recent days have been questioning my involvement in it on any level. Some of the greatest pain I have experienced in my life as come from the church.

What is this blog all about? It is about the church and christianity and the interaction between those two things and the culture/society around us. There is some good, and there is a lot of bad.

This blog is also a discussion on how we might reinvent, reform “church”, and in the process restore the true focus of the Christian faith. A faith focused on Christ and on God’s amazing grace.

so read, enjoy, comment. I hope to hear from many of you

Peace and Grace,

Mark Lee (30 December 2010)

35 thoughts on “a little about me

  1. i have just read through your entire blog. it has been three years since i have allowed myself to entertain any thought of religion, christianity, God, or otherwise. i think as a protective measure my body decided to put my mind into a state of shock so that i could recover from christianity. i’m just now feeling strong enough and secure enough to venture back into the field.
    i think it’s funny that for some people your blog puts them in a place of unease, while for me it is a means of easing back into a place of spiritual thinking.
    i look forward to reading further.

    1. thank you for your comments, may you find truth and reality in your spiritual journey….and be able to set aside all the shackles some christians put on the gospel. peace and grace to you 🙂
      Mark

  2. Hi Mark,

    I stumbled upon your blog through Google Alerts. Really enjoy your posts. I’m here to let you know that you are not alone in your frustration with the mis-use and misrepresentation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Loved your post, “Help Us Jesus”.

    We have a Facebook Fan Page and a Blog. Hope we can be of support to you. We will put “Help Us Jesus” on the Fan Page. We’re sure it will resonate with the group. Email us and let us know what you think.

    Great Blog and keep up the good work.

    CToBM
    Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented
    http://www.christianstiredofbeingmisrepresented.blogspot.com

    1. I LOVE YOUR Facebook Group!
      As Sarah said above, you all have been a “means of easing me…into a place of spiritual thinking”.
      Thank you so much for letting me know that I am not alone in my thoughts:’)

  3. Love the blog 🙂 I could say a lot of things about the Church that has hurt you the most (you know which one I mean –the recent one) but I’ll say this — God has His hands on us, and I think that your family and ours — are taking some time to heal 🙂 Hope to see you, Sunni, and your daughter&granddaughter on Saturday nights coming up (you know where!)

  4. Mark, Thanks for blogging and thanks for working in the AIDS commpunity. I did a two year stint at AIDS Project Los Angeles in the mid 90’s and it was an amazing experience.

    1. I absolutely love the work that I do here, the environment of the office, and my clients. I feel that I am making a difference in some small way. Many people want to know why I stay @ a not for profit having a MS in counseling and getting low pay but I tell them that I feel some sense of fulfillment here. Sure I would love more money but I do not want to trade purpose for a bigger paycheck.

  5. Funny, weird I was about to start a blog of my own when I went to a site to show me how and yours was there as an example. I laughed, it is exactly what I wanted to blog about, ain’t God a trip? I am a born again believer who won’t go into a church, votes Dem, cannot stand listening to Fox news darlings, and a number of other things my peers hate me for lol. Good job. Btw I was a drug counselor for a lot of years, I know sincere compassion is necessary.

    1. Thank you Diana for your support…I am sorry that you have to struggle with other believers because you do not fit the mold of a fundamentalist/evangelical. We have seen such a perversion of the Gospel in America in particular. It has been going on for years…at least since the early 1970″s when Jerry Falwell, Francis Scheaffer, and Pat Robertson took the stage. Politics and religion have become so enmeshed that the Gospel has been lost.
      Keep fighting sister…if enough of us jump into this battle things can change.
      Peace and grace to you,
      mark lee

  6. Mark,

    As liberal Christian who recently moved to the “Bible Belt,” I could not have stumbled onto your blog at a better time. Because I stand for equal rights for all, teach tolerance and compassion through literature, I constantly feel like I am under attack. I have been told numerous time that I live in “Bible Belt” and that somehow the people who follow the conservative doctrine are more Christian than I am. Thank you because now I do not feel so alone.

    1. Hi Carla and welcome to my blog. I can understand your struggle with conservativism and in the Bible Belt no less :). Believe it or not I was one of them at one point but then I started to read and study and open myself up to the glorious reality of God’s grace, and realized for the first time that as a conservative I was limiting God and His love. My advise is learn how to make people question their strongly held beliefs Those beliefs, many times, really run contrary to what the Bible says.

      Those living with a conservative mindset, my dear sister, are no more Christian than you.

      If you need to chat anytime, feel free to let me know. Peace and grace….

  7. Hey there,

    Wonderful blog! If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, it would be great to follow you there! 🙂

    1. thank you so much. I am both on twitter and facebook. My twitter account is thewriter58 and facebook is just my name. Peace to you.

  8. I am sorta new to WordPress, and just found your blog while checking around for interesting things to read. You have some great, thoughtful and honest posts here, which I appreciate very much. As a lapsed Catholic, and someone who doesn’t belong to a church or follow any organized religion, I still find the topic of spirituality interesting, and I know that there are still people out there who allow their faith to guide them without losing sight of other people’s feelings and freedoms. Though they’re harder to find these days, it’s always a pleasure when I do discover them. Thanks for writing what you do, I will check in regularly. 🙂 – Chris

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and checking out my blog, sometimes it feels lonely in the Evengelical world because I have the mindset that I do, so it is nice to hear what you had to say.

      My blog is an outlet for all the stuff in my head.

      Peace to you,
      Mark Lee

  9. As a 17 year Bible-belt Conservative veteran, your posts challenge me. I married a Southerner and we moved to the Bible belt after he left the military. I was a military brat so I supported the conservatives because of their support of the military. After getting saved and being fed the “Family values” line, I embraced the Conservative ticket even more. After a few years of sinful living, I was trying to be good and if following the party line was what it took, so be it. Their stance didn’t always ring true but it was probably because I wasn’t educated enough. After moving to a small town, I found it harder and harder to get the Bible’s teaching to line up with what our leaders were doing (as I had been taught to do). This became more difficult after my daughter,who had been raised in an Evangelical home,came out to me a couple of months after her 12th birthday. I had to reconsider whether this was a choice or if she was actually born that way. I don’t know and I don’t care. She’s my daughter and I love her. My heart breaks because the next thing she said was, “Am I in trouble?”. We were driving and I pulled over, looked her in the eye and said, “You’re my daughter. I will always love you no matter what.” I know parents who have ‘disowned’ their children because of homosexuality, or in the experience of one of my college classmates’ brother, because he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a part of the Christian Church anymore. But, while I don’t have the Bible memorized, i don’t remember the verse that says, ‘Love only those who are exactly like you and none other”
    So, thanks for your thoughtful, thought provoking blog.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Thank you to for being open and sharing some of your story. I have to be honest, I cried when I read how you pulled off the road and affirmed to your daughter that your love transcends her sexual orientation. You are a wise parent.

      The church has done much damage to the Gospel in how it approached the LGBT community and more recently, the issue of birth control. Those things have nothing to do with the Gospel yet it is what the world sees us screaming about.

      Peace to you and thanks again for readling and commenting.

  10. Mark – thanks for your challenging blog (which I will be adding to the blogroll on my own blog). Keep up the good work.

    Fr. Eric Funston
    Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
    Medina, Ohio

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and for adding me. And thanks for visiting my blog and will be visiting yours as well. Peace to you.

  11. I find your blog incredible. You have echoed many of the sentiments I feel now, having just graduated high school and leaving behind an evangelical church to go to an evangelical Christian college. So much emphasis seems to be put on indoctrinating the young and “winning souls” – as if conversion just increases your score in the “game”. Not only is such a Christian life uncomfortable and unnatural, but it is off-putting. I admire the lavish freedom you find in Christ – I’m trying to do the same myself.

  12. Have stumbled o
    nto your blog! Looking forward to exploring it! Raised Baptist (like you) and have also become Presbyterian! Still floundering quite a bit in “organized religion”…….Glad I don’t have to figure everything …it’s not my job!
    In Christ, Margo

  13. I can so relate to your love/hate relationship with the church. I grew up in evangelical churches myself but strayed from God because of of the judgement that comes from the church. I have found my way back and I love the new relationship I have with Jesus. I took me years to figure out that thats what its supposed to be about…not the dos and dont’s that I was taught as a child through the church. I want to get involved with a church and feel it would be good for me however I am scared to death of getting close to anyone in the church out of fear of the judgement I might face once they find out who I am and the things I have done. I am so happy I stumbled on your blog. So many things you say touch home for me and its nice to know that there is someone else out there who sees beyond the rules and looks at the main issue of unconditional love that Jesus has for us and the rest of the struggling sinners out there.

    1. Thank you for reading and thank you for your comments as well.

      I encourage you to continue to develop your intimacy with Jesus as you seek out a gathering place of worship. Take your time and ask a lot of questions. Just because a “church” looks friendly and accepting, there may be things that are under the surface. Asking questions will either threaten those you ask, or give you a good understanding of the direction of that church.
      I also want to recommend a couple of books that have helped me tremendously in developing my relationship with Jesus, The author of the first book has been instrumental in helping me walk in the freedom of God’s grace and his name is Steve Brown and he wrote Three Free Sins. The second book is by a former Catholic Priest who struggled with many issues, including alcoholism the majority of his life and his name is Brennan Manning and he wrote The Ragamuffin Gospel. I think both my help you in your journey.
      If I knew what area of the world you live perhaps I could recommend a church?
      Peace to you and may God continue to grow you into the person He created you to be.
      Mark Lee

  14. I live in Portland Oregon.Thank you for the book recommendations, I plan on seeking them out. I have struggled with alcoholism my whole adult life so I’m pretty interested in the second book but I want to read both. Thank you so much for your encouraging words…..

    1. I hope that they are helpful to you. You are in my prayers. I will look into seeing if there may be a good church there for you to check out as well. Peace to you.

  15. I will give you a chance. I do not attend church, because the churches in my country (the United States of America) have become politically charged tools of hate in the past 30 years. I will read your blog a few times, pay attention to your views, and compare them to my own. We’ll go from there, if you’re agreeable.

    1. Thank you for giving me a chance, and I am sorry that you have experienced the one of the negative parts of Christianity. By the way I live in USA too and have seen the politicization of the Gospel too, Much of my blog seeks to address this “other gospel”.
      Peace to you,
      Mark Lee

  16. Thanks so muich for your post yesterday. I’m from an evangelical background myself, now calling myself a “free-lance Christian.” Keep it up and I’ll keep reading. You might enjoy taking a look at my blog as well–I think we are kindred spirits.

    1. Thank you for your comment, and I will definitely take a look at your blog as well. Peace to you

  17. Hi,
    I just found your blog today, somwewhat accidentally. I have enjoyed the ones I have read so far. I can relate with your love/hate relationship with the church. We currently attend a traditional church, although I have a pentecostal/full gospel background. The Lord has been my Constant and my best friend for as long as I can remember. I tend to believe Christians often make the gospel so complicated. The Lord has really been honing my attention to that of His unconditional love that we are to extend to others. I know that if we truly walk in love then His Holy Spirit will do in another what we are not called to do…such as judge or convict.
    I also write a blog and would love for you to check it out if time permits. I signed up for your blog so I would not lose track of how I found your site in the first place. Many blessings to you.

    ~Jenny

      1. Sorry for the late response….thank you for liking my post and I will be sure to check out yours as well. Peace to you.

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