08 March 2014

Not Sure How to Tell This

I had an extensive conversation with someone a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not sure how to talk about it without giving out private info i've no right to share, but the conversation had a massive impact on me and how i see things.

Basically it came down to "behind the scenes" info.  How person A in my life did something that profoundly impacted the outcome of a situation for person B, but that B never knew of that until years later.  B was satisfied with that, feeling that A had his back even tho he never knew about it.  

That doesn't work for me.  I'm glad that B is reassured, but it doesn't work for me.  Because there was no joint feeling in all of this.  Person A could have drawn a group together, made this group feel like there was teamwork and caring in that group.  The people in the group could then feel reassured, loved, and that the group could pull together.  If we had felt that A and the rest of the group "had our backs," there would have been a sense of security.  We didn't know that, and at the time there was no group feeling, no sense of reassurance, of love, or anything but intense loneliness.  

It is hard to state this because of the limitations, but when being told this what i was thinking of was how often i'm told, "When it is all over, we will understand."  Meaning we will understand how God was there for us in this situation or that, situations we did not see the hand of God at the time.  There is a very superficial, hollow, rather trite email circulating.  It is someone talking about their difficult day and then God tells them they couldn't find their car keys making them late for ______ because that kept them from getting in a car accident, etc., etc.  

I do not see the world this way and sometimes it makes me really angry.  IF God works that way, how is it that bad things still happen.  How is it that children desperately pray to be saved from abuse or hunger and no one shows up?

When i think of the story of A doing this but no one knowing until later, i think of how that knowledge could have helped that collection of people pull together, feel comforted, loved, valued.  Instead, time just plodded on, the collection of people remained isolated, disjointed, unaided, until they eventually went their own way.  Learning of all of this after the fact does nothing to reassure me.  It doesn't change the sense of desolation i had at that point, desolation that has shaped my entire life.  I see missed opportunities.  In fact, those missed opportunities that had the ability to do so much good make me really, really angry.  Person A may have been demonstrating love to B or others in that motley collection, but because no one knew about it, there was no experience of love.  I'm angry about it all.

The thought that someday i'll stand before God and understand he "had my back" when this happened or that did not is not the least comforting to me, and after that conversation a couple of weeks back it is even less so.  Because i do not feel God in any way.  I don't see his hand in the way things work, except that i know if he withdrew his hand everything would collapse.  However, i don't see his finger pushing this situation or that.  I feel, as i did before, alone, isolated, forsaken and isolated.  It makes me angry to think i'll later have to hear God say, "I was there for you," when i did not feel or experience it.


54

22 December 2013

Duck Dynasty?

It seems everyone has an opinion about this, recently.

Synopsis:  Duck Dynasty is a TV program on A&E about a family that lives rather backwoods and has made a lot of money from creating a duck call thing which has sold well.  The family hunting and business is much of the focus as well as how the women manage things.  The family also is Christian and before every meal a prayer is said.  It seems to be a rather popular show.

(Duane likes the program and has watched a few while i read.  I've not actually watched an entire program, but have heard it as i focus on something else.)

There have been calls from some people to make the family stop the prayer on the program, or at least edit that out.

Recently, the father Phil, was interviewed by a magazine and he made statements about homosexuality that were not complementary.  (For the record, my understanding of what was said was simply his opinion and being confused about how a man can be attracted to another man.  That is a confusion many heterosexuals would share, i think.)

So there has been a big ruckus about this.  People who don't see homosexuality as a problem are calling for Phil to be censored.  People who do see this as a problem are calling for "support Phil."  A&E has decided that Phil won't be allowed on the program any more.  As this is a program about his family, it is doubtful the program will continue.  

Here is the thing:  This country has freedom of speech.  Or it did.  There are many things that cannot be said.  You cannot protest a president where he can see you anymore.  Protesters have to be in a "free speech zone" some miles away.  You cannot shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater if there is not fire.  You cannot make jokes about bombs in an airport.  

But overall, we live in a land that largely allows you to share your opinion.  If you don't like the opinion that is stated, you have the freedom to disagree, rebut, or to boycott a TV show or business that presents opinion with which you disagree.  

I support all those things.  I support the people who want to support Phil, who want to boycott A&E, who want to express their belief he has the right to say those things and believe those things.  I ALSO support the people who disagree with Phil.  I support their right to boycott the show (tho i seriously doubt most of them watched it).  

I hear a lot from Christians these days wanting to return our nation to being a "Christian country."  Frankly i doubt that our country ever was that, but nevertheless there is much call for it.  The truth is that our Founding Fathers gave us freedom of religion.  Whether by design or by accident that means freedom for all religions, even pagan, Muslim, Wiccan, or atheist.  

This means that all such people have the right to share their beliefs/opinions, and other people have the right to disagree, rebut, or boycott.  I am concerned that there is a tendency (or it seems to be) to be biased against Christian speech these days.  None the less, free speech is free speech, no matter the opinion and freedom of religion is freedom no matter what the style.

Christians have become so militant these days.  I really don't understand.  There is so much anger in what they fight about.  And it often seems so petty to me.  

Regardless of your belief in Jesus - whether you believe he was the Christ sent by God, or a naive dreamer wandering - one thing he preached is LOVE.  To love our fellow-man.  To do good to those who would hurt me.  To help the poor, the sick, the needy, the orphan and the fatherless.  

So much of what i see Christians posting these days seems to be grounded in hate.  Hate of gays, hate of Muslims, hate of the way Christians are treated.  I really don't understand this.

Jesus said we would be known as his followers by our love.  He also said that the world would hate us.  So, folks, where is the confusion?  Why are people surprised and baffled by the the response of the world?

(BTW, i know quite well that i am severely lacking in the love Jesus promised.  I pray for it, and i strive to love, but i know that even if i don't speak it i am often critical of others and do not possess the love i should as a follower of Jesus.)




53

17 September 2013

Horrible Incident

Yesterday there was a horrific incident at the Washington Navy Yard (D.C. area).  Thirteen people were killed, including the shooter, and eight others were wounded.  Those hurt or killed were a mix of civilian workers and military contractors.

(My commentary:  It is interesting how something like this happens so often when there are other things to distract from.  Right now the President is pushing war with Syria, and innocent people have been shot, one killed, in conflicts with the police in both New York and in North Carolina.  Also, i strongly believe that 100% of these type of shootings with multiple people shot/killed have been done by persons dosed by psychiatrists with heavy-duty psychotropic medications that really mess with people's ability to function normally.  (I have references for this belief.)  I think our gov't covers up the "legal" drug use given our military folks and uses these things to justify pushing harder for gun control.  In fact - really conspiracy theory here - it wouldn't surprise me if someone behind was coaching some of these folks to act on outrageous thoughts.)

I have a cousin in the Navy.  We are not close.  Evidently she was suppose to be stationed in D.C. for another cousin wrote this yesterday:

Hey sis, today we are thankful that God has a plan we don't understand and He made the doors to DC close and instead sent you to Hawaii.  Hope you are doing well.  Love you . . . 

I, too, am thankful my cousin was not there to be injured.  However, as always the theology behind such a statement raises too many questions for me.  If God adjusted things so my cousin would not be there to be shot, did he then PLAN for this shooting to occur and those 20 people be injured or killed?  Or if God did not plan for this man to shoot folks, why would he move my cousin out of the way, but not those other people?  (I guess that is part of the inscrutable plan i don't understand.)

I cannot live with or believe in this theology.  Which seems to put me at odds with most of the Christian community.


11 August 2013

Strange Thoughts

We went to church this morning.  We don't go all that often any more.  We were there last week and i guess Duane promised to be there this week because after the service he was going to help Tim (the pastor) with something in planning for next week.  

Tim wasn't there.

Margaret was, however.  I enjoy her services.  At the end she had us close our eyes and imagine Jesus in front of us, arms outstretched and eyes full of love.  We were to walk to him and put our cares and worries in his hands, and then see those cares and worries disappear.

Wow.

Except when i got to Jesus i found him to be a cardboard cut out.  

Can you tell i struggle to find Jesus real in my life?

16 February 2013

Post number 50

I just hit post number 500 at my other blog.

I hesitate to post here because my feelings about God are generally not very positive.

No one understands God, of course.  Reportedly God has revealed himself to us thru the Bible, and so everything we "need to know" is there.  Which leaves religion big, small, and in between, confusing, frustrating, harsh, blind, and with tons of different theological approaches.  The Bible is quite confusing, as well.  God is a god of vengeance  of war, of peace, of love, of justice, of harshness.  

Quite honestly, i do not believe that God interferes in our lives much at all, at least not on a physical plane.  I don't believe that God caused this person not to leave on time so that they are not in a car accident but they never know it.  BECAUSE if you believe that, then you have to believe the opposite and that God chose/caused the accidents that do happen.  It drives me to madness to hear people say, "Well, God must have a plan in all of that."  

In the same manner, prayer has me quite confused.  For as much as prayer seems to resolve anything, i might as well walk in tight circles in my bedroom and say that it helps.  I really, really do not "get it."

Now, i can see that everything, everything is a miracle.  

I do believe that there are numerous times each and every day that we each miss death by minutes or even seconds.  I do believe that God promises that all things will work out to his glory ultimately.  I do believe that prayer helps align us to the will of God - whatever that is.  Or changes our hearts somehow.  But do not expect me to believe that God causes every tiny thing or has it all planned in detail.  And if you tell me, "It must be part of God's plan," don't be surprised to hear me scream.

11 August 2012

Life is unfair . . .

. . . and God is inept.

At least, that is certainly how life looks to me, often.  


That is a statement that could fall into many categories.  

I started this several days ago, but don't know exactly where i had planned to take this post.


I've been reading a number of blogs recently which deal with doubt in the Christian faith.  Most are struggling with doubt themselves, or are open to doubt (as opposed to condemning it as "sin").  Jason Boyett even reported that some people are coming to think that doubt is "trendy."  Say what?  "Trendy" is the type of shoes you wear or the TV program you watch.  Doubt is definitely not so fun.  


Three thoughts from his post with which i agree (tho i think these are from somewhere else):


Never trust anyone who hasn't wrestled with doubt. Why? Because Jesus is an equal-opportunity offender, and if his words don't cause you to ask hard questions, you're not hearing them right. Totally agree.

Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Citing Os Guinness, Ray says doubt shouldn't be confused with unbelief, which springs from the will, but instead is something that springs from honesty or confusion. Bingo.


The object of faith is a Person, not a proposition. Am I doubting my understanding of God, or am I doubting God himself?

From one of the other blogs i read i found:  Outside The Box.  I've only just begun to explore this blog, but what i've read so far is mind blowing.  It will take time to read and digest. 


07 May 2012

Matthew 6


But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.   Matthew 6.6


I’ve become friends with someone here on the Mountain.  We spent a lot of time together over the winter because she didn’t have a vehicle, and so i was often giving her a ride.  I didn’t mind.  I remember so clearly the 18 months (just over 10 years ago now) i was using public transportation, and i remember, too, what it was like to have a very limited income.

She and i see things similarly as far as medical intervention and eating healthy.  For some time when we were together we would talk and talk, often talking over each other as we tried to get it all in. 

But talking over someone else is rude and a very bad habit, so i’ve been trying not to do that any more.  Of course, it occurred to me when i realized i needed to stop that i might not ever get to say anything. 

No person is 100% anything, but i have found that, yes, now that i don't force myself in the conversation, i'm not talking very much.  And i rarely feel like i'm being "heard."  There are exceptions, but most of the time i feel like she doesn't hear me.

Because of this, i didn't share my recent loss with her until a couple of days ago.  When i did say something, her response was, "Oh that's too bad - " and then she went on to tell me about the hours and hours she's spent at a prayer ministry this past week.  I don't think she even heard that i just told her someone significant in my life had died.  

A few weeks ago i also shared with her that i'm really, really struggling with some food cravings that are causing problems for me.  Her response was, "Now, you just pray about it!  Take that directly to the Holy Spirit and ask for help."  Then she went on to tell me something else.

I've decided that if this happens again in the future (and it probably will), i'm going to take a second (if she gives it to me), look a little bit puzzled, and then say, "That implies that i don't pray about these things.  I'm rather offended by that."

This person talks about prayer over, and over, and over again.  I'm starting to feel preached at but not heard.  I take the verse i quoted at the top very seriously, as well as the other admonitions in Matthew 6 - to not make a big deal about giving alms and about fasting, as well as trying not to "lay up treasures" here on earth - a challenge for me.  Jesus says clearly not to brag about the alms, the prayers, the fasting.  

I don't think this person is consciously trying to say she is better than the rest of us.  I think she sees talking about prayers to be a measure of spirituality and a form of witness.  I think she is very excited about her prayer life and being in touch with others who believe as she does.  Since i don't talk about such things, i think she believes i'm lacking in my spiritual life and i need a push, or a reminder.  

But people don’t like to be preached at, or have a push or a reminder.  I do not feel that i need to talk about prayer all the time.  That is not how i am used, how i work, or in my comfort zone.  God may use her to reach some people, but i know God is using me to reach others.  

And, whether she realizes it or not, it is a form of bragging about spirituality when you tell people you attended a prayer meeting three times a day, three days last week and plan the same this coming week.

It seems to me that a lot of people are quick to admonish others to pray.  I'm sorry, but to me this is a pseudo form of spirituality.  We are called to be a community of believers.  When we admonish each other to pray, it sounds like we are being spiritual.  But often i think it covers up the fact that we don't want to deal with the uncomfortable - death or loss of jobs or addiction or alcoholism or children in trouble or serious illness.  It is uncomfortable to recognize that we are not able to "fix this" for each other, and since we can't "fix it," it is uncomfortable to have to listen to the pain another person is feeling.  So telling that person to pray is a quick and easy "fix."  Then we can walk away patting ourselves on the back that we were properly Christian about the whole thing.  

I feel like i'm being highly critical in writing this.  I don't want to be.  I know this person means to be caring and loving and sincere.  And relationships are hard.  But it is getting old  for me.  She is using the "Christian hot spots" - words from my childhood that i avoid because of the painful memories they bring.  It is not that i don't believe the words (admonishing to pray, and the words "born again," the belief that God directs each and every moment in the world, and other things Christians like to talk of) but that the words/concepts hurt me and so i try to phrase the same concepts in different words.  I'm tired of feeling like i'm being preached at.  Let me live to honor Jesus the way i feel called to do so, and i'll let you do the same.  I do feel like God will use her to reach some people, but i also see in some of the groups we attend her words are pushing folks (not just me) away.  

Of course, i'm in danger here of implying that i think my way of talking/sharing, etc. is "the right one" ! ! !

47



Followers

About Me

My Photo
Wife, wanted to be a mama - not going to happen, massage therapist, child of God. I can be emailed at: 4Kat2009@gmail.com