Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Are we sinking?

"Rumors" straight from an executive's mouth that your company won't last the year are not very motivating. I have been working on a white paper but now I wonder, "Why?"

Maybe the sales will flow in during the 11th hour?

As Friend From Work #2 says, "We're on the Titanic, only there is no Leo DiCaprio."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I have been thinking out this blog post for a while so I might as well get down to it and write it.

This is going to sound terribly opportunistic, but I am going to take a leap and be honest. I have thought about going to church again, re-entering some form of faith, etc. In order to take on a new challenge, one must inevitably ask, "What's in it for me?" It sounds bad when you apply it to faith but I think the question is legitimate. What will I get out of rekindling a lost faith? It is a lot of work for me - to try to overcome my philosophical difficulties and doubts, to subdue my will to someone else's, not to mention waking up early on Sundays again. What will faith give to me that I don't currently have, and ostensibly need?

I have been struggling to come up with a good answer. I have had some experiences in my life that have led to my being a very anxious person. I was always an anxious child, waiting for the sky to start falling. So "God," to me, was a comfort. He was someone I could trust to keep me, and my loved ones, safe. This was my major faith benefit.

Now, as I look at God in a new light based on the events of recent years, I don't believe in the comfort of the church or the safety God is supposed to provide. There are many verses in the Bible that say that God protects believers, but:

a) I have found that to be untrue. Tragedies happen to Christians all the time, and if we are to follow this logic, it becomes quite easy to blame victims for not having enough faith, something that I abhor.

b) I don't quite like the implication. Are we not all God's children? Should Muslims or Jews have to suffer catastrophe because they weren't raised within a Christian paradigm?

In fact, stories of how God has spared Christians in tragedies like 9/11 when other people died just piss me off now.

I wonder if there is anything I can get out of church and religion if not comfort. I have never considered them outside of this context before, and it is strange and new. I can't help but wonder, is it even worth it if I will still have to face my vulnerability in this world?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Man, I have been having a hard time motivating myself to write here, feeling as if no one reads it anymore since you are all so silent. Logging into my counter today, however, has informed me that I had over 3,000 unique visitors in just the last month. So I guess y'all are mute. But thanks for coming back nonetheless!

(Side note: I never said y'all before I got to Texas.)

Today was a bit of a difficult day. I went to the group home for a birthday party for one of the girls. I had a great time, but while I was there I learned that three of the girls had left. One of them, age 14, went back to live with her mother, probably prematurely. Another, age 16, ran away. No one knew where she was for several weeks, though now they know she lives with her mother. Finally, an 18 year old moved out - at 18 they are free to do whatever they want - but she does not even have a place to live. She is going from friend to friend, crashing at people's places.

These kids come from broken homes and often abusive situations, and it is so hard for them to make good choices. Hell, it is hard for any kid to make good choices, but when you have issues in your life and lack the type of guidance most kids have, you are even more at risk. The organization I work with provides so much to these kids - not just guidance, but food, shelter, counseling, and a normal, healthy life - but at the end of the day, they cannot force the kids to accept it. It has been a difficult thing for me to acknowledge, the flux of children and the idea that one day they might not be there anymore, and I will never see them again.

Because the 18 year old is of age and is still located in the city, the house parents gave me her cell phone number. I should be able to reach out to her and maintain the relationship if she is willing. I hope that she is.
The night before my sisters arrived, Boyfriend and I went food shopping to buy all the things they like. Boyfriend picked up some orange lily buds that hadn't yet opened. The buds bloomed throughout the week when my girls were here. Yesterday, on the last day of the visit, they were decrepit. I will have to throw them out today.

In addition, it was sunny while they visited (yes!) but today, the rains came. It's dark and grey.

Oh, the symbolism.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What an awesome experience I just had. I started reading Sojourner's Truths from the beginning (February 2005). I only got through two months worth of posts but it has been so enlightening to look at myself from the past. It explains a lot about how I got here. It also reminds me of a different time in my life. I will probably continue to do this.

For my own pleasure, I excerpted quirky/interesting quotes from the posts. You don't have to read them if you don't want to - I am doing this for me!


Me: One confused chick.

You: Someone to offer thoughts and ideas, or just to laugh at me along the way (or is the the Way?).

The Point: To collect my thoughts as I consider different religious ideologies... To promote dialogue about them rather than just me talking to myself... To seek truth...


"Were I sufficiently wise
I would follow the Great Way
and only fear going astray"

(Tao Te Ching)


"Trying to get to heaven before they close the door"

(Bob Dylan)


"[W]omen should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."
-1 Corinthians 14:34-35-

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
-Ephesians 5:22-24-

You know what's strange? This stuff has actually made me consider the possibility that women really were only created to be wives and mothers. At one time, I wondered if even though we're equal, God really did only create us for that. Then I slapped myself. Inferiority propaganda is strong.


During intermission, the person I went with (my mother's best friend) asked me, "So, what's the story? Why do you hate the world?"


I went to a Christian college briefly and one of my professors said that Christianity is extremely inclusive and extremely exclusive at the same time.


"Everyone needs a God who looks like them."

(Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees)


He told me during this Heresy at Starbucks episode that he wants to pull a Thomas Jefferson and take out all the parts of the Bible he doesn't like.


Religion enables me to think outside the box, and dream bigger than this world.


You know what's funny? I write all these angry comments in this blog, and it's like a release for me. I can go to church and really enjoy it because I feel like I've left all my bitterness here. Does that make sense?


C.S. Lewis gave an analogy he got from a friend: God is like an emergency parachute that you hope you'll never have to use.


I find this somewhat sad. It makes me feel like I'm using God as an over-the-counter antidepressant or something.


The thing that got me, though, was the songs they chose to sing. What in the world has happened to worship music? Was it always like this, and I just never noticed? One song referred to unbelievers as "the perishing" and contrasted it with "but to us who are being saved." The next one actually had a line that said "We all deserve to die" while singing about God's mercy. The words We All Deserve To Die flashed on the screen and people are singing and clapping. I looked at Sister with knit eyebrows. "I don't like these lyrics," I said. "Why, what did they say? I wasn't listening," she said. She hates when you have to sing in church.

Here's my point: Me having a problem with this is either a humility vs. pride issue, or religion promotes self-hatred. Think about it.


It's like a God boycott. What a funny concept.


Then he said, "You have to learn how to handle your own shit and not rely on divine intervention."


Mother and I skimmed a documentary on hell. Gee, that was fun. It provoked some good conversation, though. After that, we were flipping channels and we came upon a woman preaching. I said, "A woman preaching? That's disgraceful," and smirked. That raised the whole Paul misogyny issue once again. She said that I have a lot of pride because I act like, "Paul's not going to talk about me, a woman, like that!" I said, "If those verses said that both men and women should or shouldn't do something and I complained, you could call that pride. It doesn't say anything derogatory about men. It's unfair." She also argued, "It's not sexist. Paul felt that way because he was raised during that time." I replied, "That's like reading KKK literature and saying that it's not racist because they couldn't help being raised like that. It's still racist."

I feel like the heathen of the house sometimes.


Maybe I should marry a Buddhist.


What's wrong with a little literary upper every now and then?

The Wrath of God

I was raised in terror of God. I don't think that this was wholly intentional, and if you asked my parents if you should be in terror of God, they would have said no. They would have explained that you should fear God as you fear a parent - with awe and respect and the knowledge of what they can do to you if you displease them. But terror is a little much.

This sent me a mixed message, as I also grew up reading the Bible, which is pretty terrifying. I grew up looking at a cartoon poster on the wall outside the bathroom that showed people's faces in the flames of hell. Their names were written neatly beneath their tortured faces - Darwin, Freud... Famous men who went against the Christian paradigm and are burning as we speak to pay for it. What a message to send to a child about going against Christian teachings. Effective, to say the least, but also psychologically damaging. (I know I have written about this before.)

I don't blame my parents for this because I think the church has psychologically damaged them as well. They lived in terror of God and his wrath, just as they taught me to. It makes me think of the Philip Larkin poem, "This Be the Verse," which goes like this:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

I think that many of us who grew up in this way find ourselves with a form of post-traumatic stress as adults. Sometimes I sincerely fear that God is simply looking for ways to hurt me. It has seemed that way throughout my life. Don't get me wrong - I am grateful for what I have and I know people have it much, much worse - but the fact remains that my life has been marred by all kinds of tragedy. Cool Aunt told me that I was immature to blame God for this. Hey, I am just going on what I have been taught.
"I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers..." Exodus 20:5

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41

"If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15

I want to believe in a loving God who is not all about hanging hell-fire over your head but it will take some time to unlearn all I have learned about him.

Wow, check out what I found when I Googled images of 'Angry God.'