I am what I call a “recovering Christian” I very often have an inappropriate sense of humor and this is one such case. I use “recovering” in the same sense that addicts do. I will always be a Christian–I am a bit of a pluralist–but for myself I will always feel a strong connection to the Hebrew and Christian holy books and the Judeo-Christian manifestation of the Divine. Unfortunately, I loathe most of Christianity in its modern, cultural, commercial, democratic incarnation.
I am strongly opposed to most modern Christian culture. I dislike the bracelet waving, t-shirt wearing, concert screaming, reductions of the most sacred elements of my faith. God should not be equated to sporting events, rock groups, and friendship bracelets. Most people screaming WWJD don’t know what Jesus would do. Jesus threw tables and helped people. He upset the status quo. He didn’t worry about hurting people’s prides or disrupting their carefully constructed self-images. Everywhere I turn people are being as bad as they can get away with and then saying it’s okay because God forgives because Jesus died. Most people stopped trying their best a long time ago, and they found expressions in Christianity to reinforce their behaviors. The worst part is that while they’re fooling each other, they’re fooling themselves into believing it. Anyone not taking part in the whole scheme is treated like the bad guy.
I left church (and to be honest the horrific town of my childhood) to avoid that. No one is perfect, certainly not me. I am passionate, with strong emotions and a powerful heart that loves and hates to degrees most people disapprove. I left church because I couldn’t get anything out of it for all the hypocrites and the bigots and the social web of validation and lies that loomed everywhere I turned. I appreciate the power of forgiveness and I am thankful for it and for grace, but I do not understand those trumping accountability and I don’t understand a “faith” culture where outward expressions are more important than inner growth. People can scream “I love Jesus!” as loud as they want, if they’re still a rotten person who doesn’t want to change, who only wants validation that it’s okay to be that rotten, then they’re not saving anyone, certainly not themselves.
I think that we are all put here to help each other. And we don’t. Fear and pride get in the way; folks don’t want to admit when they are wrong. No one wants to ask for help. People talk about everyone behind their backs and then tell them to their faces that “of course, you’re a good person”. It’s all a part of the system. If no one truly admits their flaws then they don’t have to face them, and if everyone else is playing the same game, then no one will bust them on it, because they are all terrified that someone will turn around and call them out. Too many people use their faith as a shield for being bad people, for not being accountable for their own actions. We are entrusted with the things and people in our lives. God has given us to each other to help each other, not to help each other feel good about not doing our best. And believe me, I know that doing your best is HARD.
I do not even like calling myself a Christian because words mean things, and that word has been twisted in social and political ways that make my stomach turn. I hate that the meaning of the word is such that when you claim it people immediately think that they know what that means. I revere the teachings of Christ and my interpretations of the Judeo-Christian God. God has spoken to me since I was very young, and does so every day. I’m in a bit of a Jonah place at the moment, as the books that He wants me to write are not ones I’m yet prepared for.
I may like telling people what I think, but I do not actually like telling people what to think. For one thing, I am charismatic and people tend to believe me; for another, I think we should each find our own way. But we’ll see. Lately He’s been showing me a way that will accomplish what seems so very necessary and not go against my carefully found Peace. Perhaps I just have to learn a little more before I’m ready. But that is my path; it will always be my path. I will always seek and seek and seek. I read my Bible and I pray. I meditate and look for wisdom and knowledge in other sacred texts. Just as Jesus was influenced by the great thinkers and teachings of his time, I will also look to those, but ultimately, I pray. I clear my head of worldly concerns and I pray. I let go of the hurt and anger and my own insecurities and I pray.
I pray for the people I love, especially because I cannot talk to them. I don’t understand why my age and my choices in life bring such ridicule and resentment from my family, but I am not oblivious to it even if some of them won’t admit it to themselves. I am going to do my best not to let that hurt me anymore. It’s tough. I am by nature a fixer and a nurturer, but every time I bother to try to help anyone back home, I get my education thrown back at me as if it were a great spiritual flaw. I understand that it’s defensive, that somewhere along the way someone decided that my education was why I think I’m better than everyone. That’s never been the case. I respect anyone who tries to better themselves and learn. They don’t have to go to school to do that. I am learning, so very very slowly, that you cannot help people who do not want to be helped.
I will never jump up and down about my faith. I will rejoice, always, but I will not equate my faith to Facebook games and concert tees. One of many reasons is that I believe the person yelling the loudest is usually the one with the most to hide; I’ve had that proven often enough in my short life.
I make life hard for my family. I have always been hard for them to love. I’m too much this or that. I don’t march to everyone’s favorite drum. As the illegitimate daughter of wild, late seventies youth, I’m a walking reminder of the mistakes that so many made in their past. Pasts that have been magically washed away by the Blood of the Lamb leaving no evidence that they ever existed. Only I’m still here, and I remember things that they want to forget. Worse, their shameful pasts were my mostly happy childhood. I don’t understand why they keep them secret. Many of their mistakes taught me the most, so I don’t look at them as negative, just lessons that I’m thankful for. I don’t understand why they can’t do the same. But I am learning that even though the negatives in their lives were blessings for me, they are still sources of shame for them. That shame too easily turns to fear, anger, or resentment, which they then turn on me. I steal their carefully constructed peace, just by being there.
And that is why I’m not. There.
These are my confessions, my rants, my loves, snippets of a magic and intention driven life. Over the next few days I will post and re-post old pieces about myself. I will very often be accusing, sometimes angry, but always encouraging that we look past what we are and strive towards something better. If your thoughts are provoked by my words, please, feel free to discuss: rationally, kindly, and with consideration. If you are offended, I recommend that you carefully search your heart and life and see what about my thoughts offend you. Should you decide (and you will hardly be the first) that I am in league with the Devil, please, do not read any further. If you do not have a firm grasp on true peace, I will steal it. That I promise you.