I"m Tim Ware, the founder of Starting Over With Christianity.
I graduated from seminary over six years ago with a Master of Divinity Degree. My experiences in seminary, and also experiences I had after seminary, led me to believe that most of Christianity today is about church—getting people to come to church, give money, build buildings, and participate in church programs—it’s all about church.
But I don't believe Christianity should be about church. I believe Christianity should be about God and about peoples' connection with God.
Also, I saw all kinds of different beliefs out there in Christianity. Christians believe all sorts of different things. But yet each little group, with its own beliefs, points to only a few selected Bible verses and one particular interpretation of those few verses. They only talk about what supports their beliefs.
But I believe people should be exposed to a wide variety of possible interpretations and to the entire BIble.
I also found that most people don’t know what’s in the Bible. Most people, even those who have been in church all their lives, know only a few selected passages from the Bible. They have no idea of the range of things found in the BIble.
But I believe the most important thing is to know what's actually in the Bible, not what people say about the Bible.
Most people have no idea of the history of the beliefs they have been told are the only correct beliefs. They have no idea how those beliefs developed and what they are based on.
But I believe people should know how Christian beliefs developed and know what the alternatives might be.
Most people just believe what someone else tells them they are supposed to believe. But eventually, they reach the point where they can no longer blindly accept what they've been told. And then they have nowhere to turn. That's why so many people drop out of Christianity. They're not turning their backs on Christianity, just organized Christianity as it exists today. Surveys show that's happening--each year, more and more people drop out of organized Christianity.
That's sad. Actually, it's a tragedy. I believe Christianity is the way to a connection with God. But more than that, I believe Christianity is the way to make sense out of things--the way things really are. Christianity tells us who we are and how we got here. In addition to that, Christianity tells us that things are not the way they should be but--and this is the most important thing--that God is working now to make things better.
It is only through Christianity, I believe, that we can have true life. It is only through Christianity that we can face the hardships of life, knowing that they are only temporary, and knowing that what God is working to give to us is better than we could ever imagine.
That's why I felt God calling me to do what I can to help people not drop out of Christianity, to provide something that leaves behind the mess that organized Christianity has become.
Tim Ware lives with his wife, Wanda, on a farm in western North Carolina that has been in the family for six generations.