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I have been all over the board when it comes to attending different denominations within the Judeo-Christian church. In high school I quasi-attended a local church that I’m pretty sure leaned on the charismatic side of evangelical, (though I don’t know that with certainty). And though it was not entirely uncommon for people leading prayers to start ‘speaking in tongues’, it wasn’t enough to scare me away from the church entirely – mostly because though I was a little skeptical of the idea that it was something everyone could do on command, it hadn’t been forced upon me personally, so I respected the fact that I simply couldn’t know if it was real or not for those who did it. Whatever.
So one evening, I went with our youth group to a larger church in the area to attend a youth conference. I’ve been to my fair share of youth conferences, and I get the pump-up idea of worship bands and clapping and testimonies from those who had been into DRUGS and OTHER DANGEROUS THINGS and that’s fine, I get it. But at this particular conference after the inspiring testimony, they told us to stand up and move our chairs and line up against the wall.
And then as one person stood on stage yelling (forgive me) gibberish into the microphone, other people started going down the line of kids, one by one. These people would put their hands on your forehead, and with eyes closed, pray to impart the holy spirit into you, with the obvious goal being you started speaking in tongues to prove that God is real and He was there.
That was the very first time I was forced to admit that this HAD to be bullshit. That I disagreed with everything that was happening.
Not because I don’t believe in prayer, or because I think something like that couldn’t happen – I’m not sure it could, but I’ll resort to my above theory that I don’t know concretely it couldn’t happen either – but because it was so embarrassingly obvious that there with enormous pressure to comply. I mean come on, every kid down the line MIRACULOUSLY started speaking in tongues? No way. It was just anxious and pressured bullshit. If the holy spirit had actually invaded the room, I wouldn’t have been the first of.. thirty? to break the chain, leave the auditorium and go home, would I? No. Because we would have all been filled with the holy spirit.
People not yet touched were already dancing and mumbling, and I was standing there in shock with every fiber of my being telling me to run.
I liked that church well enough and liked the people in it; they seemed like genuinely nice people without much personal agenda. And in retrospect I still don’t think they were anything but incredibly indoctrinated. But that conference put a very large rip into the delusional wrap of ‘faith’ that I tried to use as excuse for my questioning, and it definitely was the beginning of the end of organized religion for me.
(Was introduced to BellX1 last night and I really like the simplicity of their song “Light Catches Your Face”.)
Jack and Lorelei’s swimming lessons are going AMAZINGLY. It’s shocking to me to see my kid zoom around the pool under water like an otter. It’s truly that feeling of my heart hurting with pride for him. Aside from my nightmares of drowning being subdued, it’s just great to see him succeed in an arena that he was so far behind in.
Jack’s teacher has experience with RDI, and has given me the number of someone in Chicago to call to see about finding someone in KC. My cursory refresher on the method makes me think it could possibly be beneficial, yet I’m obviously feeling reticent because I still haven’t called and I’m not sure why. Maybe because he’s doing wonderfully and I don’t want to go through the drain that therapies like that can do to expectation and hope? Or because I’m gun-shy to shell out the money after being thoroughly swindled by that guy in the DAN! program? Not sure. Navigating the world of autism sucks.
Took Jack to the doctor today. His cough was just some inflammation leftover from whatever cold he had recently, and after the doc gave me an inhaler to soothe the lining it was voila, cough-be-gone. I feel furthering contentment with my choices regarding health and my kids; my instincts continue to work, and I’m proud of my parenting.
It will be final next week, and I think there’s more peace than people would think (though the point is that no one outside of it could know, so opinions altogether really in theory shouldn’t exist). We’re both dating, and our communication is still good. It took so much longer than I ever would have thought possible, but again, I think it was for the best as far as transitions for everyone.
And the thing is, I had talked to Jon months ago about permission to flesh out my feelings on here, but I’ve found since then that I just don’t have the desire, and in fact it feels like feeding some stupid gossip beast to do so. I’ve always been pretty candid about my thoughts, but I’ve changed a lot this last year, and though I know there is at least one person out there who reads this hoping for a kernel of information, the truth is that at this point, if we’re not friends enough that you would already know, you don’t need to. I don’t even say that snarkily. I’m just done with my life being the fodder for bored people.
I’m happy, I think Jon’s happy, the kids are more loved now than ever before – we’re doing fine, despite that the idea might shatter preconceptions of divorce.
Religion/People Who Suck:
Saw Bill Maher’s Religulous last week. My disdain for his arrogance didn’t wane with this, but I learned some history about the Egyptian religion (namely Horus?) and the coincidences of Christianity. I find it… disturbing that I had never learned this before. It appears to discredit a lot of the Christian tenets, and I think it should be researched by anyone claiming to be a Christian, not only to strengthen faith, but also as knowledge to arm yourself against a conversation with.. oh I don’t know.. a skeptic like me. Similar denunciations were found in the barely functional, unabashedly-conspiracy theoried ‘documentary’ Zeitgeist, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a fool for having had the wool pulled over my eyes for so many years.
Thing is, I’m sure they connected some dots for drama, but most of this you couldn’t have made up. I mean, this is just simple history, but either I’ve never had that chapter in school, or it’s just not part of the teachings in the MULTIPLE DENOMINATIONS I’ve attended through the years. And I tell you what, but I’m basically done with organized religion. I’ve been leaning toward that for a while now, but after this last year and the things that have been said to me.. blerg.. I’m just done. Some of the meanest people I’ve ever met were Christians, and combining that with my own research on supercessionism and general irrefutable hypocrisies, and I’m just not comfortable anymore subscribing to something I think is at best flawed and at worst mythical.
So. Ok. Now that that’s out, let me amend to say I know I sound all types of dramatic, but I’m really not intending to. I’m just finally having the courage to say out loud what I’ve doubted in my mind for a long time. And even after that verbal diarrhea I’ll say that I feel agnostic about the whole subject. I don’t know what is or isn’t out there, and if in three years I’m somewhere else (or back), so be it. Shrug.
And… that’s all the semi-heavy stuff for today, I gotta clean. I’ve been craving more stimulating conversation lately, so if anything I’ve mentioned sparks a thought, please (please) feel free to comment (anonymously or otherwise), even if you disagree with what I’ve said. My commitment to the blog has changed as the catharsis of it has changed, and I’m leaning toward something that isn’t just simple updates. More topically-based, maybe? I dunno. If it doesn’t work I’ll go back to status-commenting on FB, but I’d like to see.
Let the wild rumpus start, and all that.
- Interesting story postulating that global warming is irreversible. The comments at the bottom are equally as fascinating; I’d love to have a roundtable with some Christians I know..
- Speaking of, Anne Rice has had a conversion back to her Catholic roots.
- So Brain Age said I was like.. 78? Yeah, well, suckit, Nintendo. I knew I was smarter than your silly little game.
- Mercury in high fructose corn syrup? Despite obnoxious ad campaigns suggesting how healthy it is? Whodathunkit!
- Two very thought-provoking films I’ve seen recently were Milk and Business of Being Born. Would love to have a discussion with anyone about the social issues they encompass.
- Reading this and digging it; lurve Chuck Klosterman.
- The song “Count Souvenirs” by Junior Boys has been on repeat lately. It’s awesomely Depeche Mode-y.
That’s all. Stay warm, friends~ .
Float trip recap: It was cold and wet, and the river and campground were empty: I was in hog heaven. But, to prove irrefutably that we must be old, there were 13 people – average age… 29? – and after we cooked dinner on Saturday, we were all in our tents by EIGHT THIRTY. And given that Lo still likes to poke me in the forehead to wake me up at 6:15 most days, I wasn’t complaining, but still…
Secondly, my friend Rachel wrote a great post I had been planning to link to. She’s much more defined about the constraints of her faith, but I agree with the sentiment regardless. It taps into a lot of the cynicism (and hypocrisy) I’ve always felt trying to fit into what I consider the modern ‘American Christian’ mold, and why I’ve sort of decided to be done with it all, honestly. And I suppose I should explain a bit more, considering this is (for me, at least) a pretty big departure from where I was at, but truthfully, I’m just too tired to attempt to muddle through it right now. So let’s just say this election is evoking a lot of pent up frustration, and I’m feeling more outspoken – but content – about MY idea of faith, than I have in years and years and hm… well.. ever, really.
(Huzzah for self-actualization, eh? 😉 )
So, MOVING ON, today’s YTT clip is one of the funniest phone calls I’ve ever heard. Most of the lines are used in our group’s lexicon, so if you ever hear me call myself a ‘plump Scotch girl’, you’ll know why. There are a couple cuss words (i.e., prolly not safe for some workplaces), but you have to find a way to watch it somehow, because the best is at the end* when he thinks the phone has hung up..
Woot. Bradley conference at the end of the month and I just bought my plane tickets. This time next year you will call me Professor Pregnancy muahahaha.
Actually, let’s not. That’s lame.
So. I’ve been thinking that my attempt to try and explain myself the other day may not have been very successful, which doesn’t surprise me. It’s really hard for me to approach this objectively, and verbalizing it is even more difficult. Simply put, I have been disenchanted with the majority (sadly, yes, I do mean majority) of the organized Christian churches I’ve come in contact with. And the fact that I’ve spanned many denominations and years and locations makes me think it’s not just me or an isolated incidence. I’m just really, really struggling with the inherent arrogance within the model most Christians are trying to live by. I’m having doctrinal issues, and it’s not with God or the fallibility of humans, but the church and the blind obedience many of the sheeple have. And sure, it very well may be that I still haven’t found the perfect church for me, I’ll admit that. I’m sure growing up outside of the church and coming in with a preconceived view is a challenge to that. But I’m just uncomfortable with a lot of the hypocrisy, and I can’t fully invest in role-modeling that to my kids until I come to some sort of peace with what I endorse. There are some 2,200 Christian denominations, and that seems REALLY telling to me.
I’ve been trying to work through my doubts for years now (Really. I remember having these exact convos with Jason 7 years ago.) and so far I’ve just never really actively tried to figure it out. Partially because I knew it would mean learning a lot of history of the Bible, and that’s daunting. Secondly, and more importantly, I knew that to honestly address my reservations may force me to admit some seemingly heretical thoughts, and that scared me to think about how the majority of my Christian friends/family would react. But I can’t expect to raise kids who want to discover their beliefs if I can’t bother to discover mine. And I know I’m not the first person to have these doubts, obviously. Nor am I the first to have no question of the truth of a God, just the methods of practicing faith. That’s comforting to me to know that maybe I’m not just a black sheep.
But having issues like this is only a small section of a huge spiderweb for me (meaning my thoughts are numerous and intertwined and dependent upon each other for structural support, if that makes any sense whatsoever). In fact I really think the Big Guy would prefer I wrestle through these things and be stronger for it, no? And as cynical as I may appear towards the average Christian (and/or church) I can assure you that I’m by far not the only one (nor do I feel that about every Christian I know personally). In fact I honestly think the common stereotype of this hypocrisy is an incredibly legitimate issue if we address ‘evangelism’, so really my reticence was just admitting it publicly.
I’ve attended classes on the history of the Biblical canon at a local synagogue, and the history is so freaking complex and awesome. And like I mentioned, some of the books I’ve been reading are addressing the issue of Supersessionism, and the Christian church’s view of the new covenant of Jesus vs the covenant God had with Israel. It’s a paradigm shift, lemme tell you, and something to chew on.
So that’s where I’m at. I hope that maybe explains slightly more (but probably not). And if this weren’t already so v-e-r-y long, I’d launch into why it’s imperative to me that I try and expose my kids to so much more culturally diverse worlds, b/c I think that’s another problem in the Church, and I am really uncomfortable with my own ignorance.
But that will be tomorrow. 😉
This is one of those journal-posts where I’m just trying to work out my thoughts. Please feel free to discuss if you have an opinion, but please be serious (that means you Church of Sam) and respectful, if’n you don’t mind.
I am in a weekly mom’s group at my church. Currently we’re reading a book by this guy George Barna who runs a research company (and happens to be a Christian). The discussion that followed today pushed to the front of my mind two of the biggest issues I’ve been mulling since parenting forced me to grow up and figure out what I believe: cultural diversity vs raising a spiritual Christian. I had an incredibly obvious epiphany that I realize has summed up my wariness of my views on faith and what it means in the current American Christian church. I am simply unsure about the inherent absolutism within that model. (And this is not limited to this point. I’m sure I’ll write a whole other post someday about my wariness of replacement theology, but I’m trying to stay on task.)
My experience with religion started as a child in Catholicism, and then as I got older and older ping-ponged between Fundamentalist, Southern Baptist, Charismatic and finally Evangelical Non-Denominational. Some of these churches I found on my own, but others were introduced by family or friends. They’re all fine, whatever, but what I discovered after so many years is that these sects focus on HUGELY different things, and there is an inherent sanctimony that comes with everyone believing they are right and everyone else is wrong. Sometimes it’s subtle, or more likely subconscious, but it’s there. It’s all absolute. And this makes me uneasy – it’s illogical. And I don’t think religion must be logical, but this is just contradictory. If everyone truly believes they are right within the constraints of Christianity then everyone must be wrong, because they cancel each other out. Right?
So some of you are saying, of course Jen, that’s the point. Toss the whole idea. But I can’t, because I believe in God, and for many reasons I feel I’ve been validated I have the ‘right’ one. And if not, then whatever It is is lenient with me believing otherwise. Either way I need to figure out where to go from here.
So in reference to today’s discussion, it’s important to me that I raise my kids to not be one of those segregated, narrow-minded, sanctimonious, self-righteous asshats that I’ve met so many times in my life. (Wanna meet some mean kids? Find a couple preacher’s kids. I tell you what, my experience is about 2-15 with that lot.) I want my kids to listen to Mos Def and read Nietzsche and watch American History X – and Malcom X for that matter – because to isolate yourself from people that are different is not going to make you an empathetic person, but an ignorant one. And this all seems so obvious, but I must be missing something, because the theme in the church is always about avoiding a poisonous culture for fear of negative influences. And I do get that. I don’t advocate my kids doing anything I just mentioned now, obviously. But as a preteen or teenager? I just see it as a disservice to isolate my kids from diversity, especially if I want to raise loving, empathetic adults.
And to me I feel that the Christian church model is counter-intuitive to that. And the epiphany really became clear when I realized that among all my competing schools of thought (Non-coercive attachment parenting vs boundary parenting or natural healing vs Western Medicine) the journey within faith is the only one set up so unabashedly as absolute.
And that makes me uncomfortable. But so does the fact that I feel uncomfortable, because that makes me wonder if I’m negating my own faith. I feel like it’s not supposed to work like this. What am I missing?