Why I’m *Really* Going to Hell (Or So I’m Told)

(I’m re-publishing this because I added an idem. Hope you like it.

Last year, I wrote a post joking about going to Hell based on a discussion thread I posted on Beliefnet.com. It was meant to lighten the mood on a normally-heavy debate board. It was mostly successful, but there were several people who didn’t appreciate my sense of humor and implied that God wouldn’t either. I *am* in the Bible Belt, after all. After reading a few responses, I figured I’d better write a something a bit more serious. According to some people, here are the reasons I’m going to Hell.

Having the wrong political views.

But Here’s 5 Reasons Why American Evangelicalism Completely Lost Me

I’m mentioning this post by Benjamin Corey because item #1 speaks directly to what I’ve experienced. The person I dated before my husband was a deeply conservative Christian. It ended for a lot of reasons, but I’m mentioning this because being with him got me sucked into the Evangelical politics Benjamin mentions. It’s very disturbing how some people would judge your faith by whether or not you supported the Bush administration and/or the Republican party. It wasn’t as creepy as the movie Jesus Camp, but it was pretty close. As a then-Democrat, I learned very quickly to keep my mouth shut lest I be accused of “helping the Devil”. I can’t explain it any better than Ben does, but what got to me the most was that there really was a time when I thought God had abandoned me because of my beliefs. Before you scoff, consider that few things make you feel farther from God than the depression that comes along with untreated bipolar disorder. Why was it untreated, you ask? Well….

Seeing secular medical treatment. It wasn’t getting medical treatment that was the problem so much as the “lack of faith” that prompted me to seek said treatment instead of relying on God to heal me. In “Prosperity Gospel” circles (more on why it’s BS in another post), that can mean anything from having somehow lost my way to (gasp!) not being a Real Christian at all. The fact that I had gone back on medication after having tried the “supernatural healing” approach made it even worse because it was thought that I got sick again because I lost faith and God had taken away the healing. How this made sense to anyone I’ll never know, but it’s thoughts like this that can make someone already suffering from depression or something like it feeling even worse. If even God doesn’t love you, you must be a piece of crap, right? I actually began to wonder if the “diagnoses” of me having an unclean spirit that needed to be cast out were true after all. Again, scoff all you want; When you feel like something else is inside of you controlling your thoughts and actions the way you would in “mixed state”, you’d believe it too.

Strangely enough, I never *did* lose faith. I still believed and sought God throughout all of this. Take that!

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Despite the fact that it comes right from the source right from the source , I haven’t heard this one as often as the others. The only reason I’m mentioning it is because no one can tell me what this actually *means*. Was it laughing when I saw, “I found Jesus-He was behind the couch” on a T-shirt? Was it playing Cards Against Humanity and giggling at some of the less-disrespectful cards? Some of them *do* mention God or Jesus. When I see a really rude one I’ll say “that’s just wrong” or “that’s sacrilegious”, but I don’t bow out of the game. Was it when I used to play with Ouija boards as a teenager? I won’t touch the damned things now; they creep me out. Was it when a boyfriend started exploring Paganism in college? Was it when my friend told God to “shove it” when her husband died shortly after their son was born?

The definition that makes the most sense to me is, strangely again, not the one I hear most often. The way my former Southern Baptist church explained it to me was that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an ongoing, willful rejection of God. It’s not something you do out of anger or youthful ignorance, nor is it related to your choice of entertainment. That’s another matter altogether. It was also said that it’s not something a Christian can do because, if someone is willing to completely deny Jesus, they probably weren’t saved to begin with.

As for the aforementioned boyfriend, he never left the church; in fact, he realized pretty quickly that nothing can take the place of Jesus. I wonder if this minor “straying” was a way of showing him that.

I’m happy for my brother. Before you say “huh?”, let me explain. My brother and his now-husband live in a state (Hawaii) that, after years of debate, finally allows same-sex marriage. They have been together for nearly 35 years but, because of their sexes, somehow their relationship is less “real” and worthy of celebration than celebrities who ask for divorce via text message or leave after six months because the “honeymoon phase” is over and it’s not fun anymore.

Some in the more conservative circles would say that homosexuality is an “abomination” and that, by being happy for my brother, I’m somehow “condoning sin” or worse, participating in it. I think this is ridiculous because even if I did believe homosexuality was a “choice”-and the hell my gay friends went through in trying to “make themselves straight” tells me it’s not-, I’m happy that someone I care about is happy. Period. It would be one thing if this happiness hurt someone else, but it doesn’t. It’s just there for him, his husband and everyone else to share in. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I’m a feminist of sorts. I think women are equal to men and should be treated as such. I don’t see why this is a big deal.

Not trying to convert everyone I meet. I’ve had friends of other faiths (or none at all) for a long time. This isn’t a problem for most Evangelicals, but I heard some pretty nasty comments about how I needed to “convert” them so they won’t go to Hell. I see two things wrong with this view: 1) I was under the impression that it was the Holy Spirit who converted people, I was just the messenger, and b) I know from experience that the harder you push something on someone, the more likely they are to push back. Harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your faith; in fact, I do it all the time. I’m not aggressive about it or bring it up in every conversation, but I love learning and talking about Jesus and religion in general. I wasn’t raised a Christian, so this is a big change. I just don’t know why I would need to be aggressive about it when the people who showed me to Jesus were anything but. They didn’t just talk about the Gospel-they lived it. Even if they didn’t say word one about God, you could see Him written all over their faces and in their lives. That is how I want to be. I want to bring people to God the way they did for me. Like I said, though, He’s the one who does the “saving”. I just want to lead people to the door. I suck at it, but that’s another post.

These are just a few of the reasons I’ve been told I’m going to Hell. I’m not saying that doing the right things isn’t important because it is, but I’m not sure if that’s really the “point” of Christianity. I don’t know; I just want to be like Jesus. Perhaps I need to be thinking more about *that* than what other people say. One day at a time.


What Anxiety Is Like In Nine Short Drawings

Yes, I know, this is just a link…but I came across it today when looking at something else and thought you all might find it helpful.

http://distractify.com/joe-white/finally-this-illustration-explains-anxiety-perfectly-for-those-who-dont-understand-it/

 

I’ve used the “raining” metaphor to describe depression before-it’s like a black cloud is following you around all the time when the rest of the world is sunny. People will tell you to cheer up or think positive but, just like the rain in real life, no amount of “good thoughts” stops it. Not for long, anyway.  Therapy, anti-depressants, prayer etc can act as an umbrella but they don’t necessarily stop the rain from coming back. People usually understand it when I explain it like this, but every now and then I will over-hear people talking about how anti-depressants and therapy aren’t “real solutions”, and what depressed people *really* need is faith in God/right belief/etc. To that, I only have one things to say:

Yes, God is the one who can ultimately stop the rain. However, you would never criticize someone for using an umbrella to help them weather the storm. We ultimately don’t know whether the rain is going to stop tomorrow, next week or next year (weathermen try but they can be wrong), so use that umbrella as long as you need to. Ignore anyone who suggests you should go without it because they probably wish they had one too.

Just to end on a happy note, here’s another link:

http://www.cheeserank.com/culture/dear-god-these-pizzas-are-straight-up-madness/


Being Led: Delight in Disorder Tuesday

theprozacqueen:

…from a pastor who also suffers from bipolar.

Originally posted on A Way With Words:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

he leadeth me beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:1-2, KJV)

To put it crassly, my family of origin was crazy. I dealt with the craziness by becoming a psychiatric patient. My sister dealt with it by becoming a psychiatric nurse.

One of the programs she has worked for was known as a Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT). Her job essentially entails getting people like me to do things that are good for them but that they’d rather not do. Things like:

  • take medications regularly (even when they’re enjoying a manic high).
  • ask for help for services from people who are either annoyed by or afraid of them.
  • get out in public when they’d much rather stay inside where they feel much safer.

Now, I don’t want to suggest that my sister…

View original 184 more words


Guest Post — The Girl Who Cried Rape

This definitely hit home.


Spitballs From Heaven

I apologize in advance if this post depresses you. It’s about the death of someone very dear to me and, while it is meant as a tribute, it’s…well, about death. You’ve been warned.

Every May you can’t help but see it-‘Happy Mothers’ Day’. Flowers. Cards. Mugs. Ads for the latest kitchen gadget. They’re everywhere. I suppose that’s all well and good for those who are trying to find presents for their moms, but it doesn’t do much for me. I know she’d hate this, but I can’t stop thinking about how I don’t have a mother. Not in this plane of existence. Not anymore. I don’t normally sit around feeling sorry for myself (well…), but sometimes it just comes.

I remember the day she died. It was December 12, 1998, approx 11:45 pm. Yes, I remember the time. I always will. She had breast cancer…she lived for about a year or so after she first got the diagnosis. For a while, she did relatively well. But then, she didn’t. I saw how the chemo changed this once active and vital woman I loved into someone who didn’t even want to move or eat. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she was in.

I guess one thing is good, though; she gained a completely new outlook on life. She stopped coloring her prematurely-gray hair. She would laugh and smile more. She stopped feeling depressed about things like her weight…yes, she lost a lot of it, but that’s not the point. The point is that she seemed to see each new day as a gift-a much more positive “lease on life”. I remember she would say that she didn’t want to color her hair anymore and if other people didn’t like it then, tough, because this was her. She did her best to instill confidence in my sister and me, even though she didn’t have much herself. I remember some of my friends were surprised to see me back at school for the semester after she died, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was my last semester of college, so I guess it would have been stupid for me to stay out when I was so close to finishing. But the thing is, she wouldn’t have wanted me to. She would have shot spitballs at me from heaven if I hadn’t gone back. To this day, that’s what I call hail-spitballs from heaven.

Come to think of it, that’s a good thing to do. Remember. I remember the Snickers bars. I remember that it was she who gave me my first Dr. Pepper, and I’m still addicted. :) Dr. Pepper from a can, the drink of the gods. I remember telling her when I got my period. I remember that she had depression issues, and thus was a very good help to my sister and me when we had our problems. I remember how she didn’t want people to put themselves out for her, but would do anything for anyone else. I remember our ‘agreement’ that Pierce Brosnan was gorgeous…I’ve seen some unflattering pictures since, but there’s something about a man with an accent…:)

I remember the stuffed cows she gave me. We both loved cows. I remember how she once saw a stuffed cow in Walmart and bought it for me. What made it special was that she only had the money with her to go to lunch, but instead she used that to buy me the cow. She didn’t eat lunch that day. I’m tearing up a bit…I know It seems small, but it reminds me of what I *don’t* remember. I don’t remember a single selfish act on her part in all of the 21 years I’d had with her. Not one. She devoted her life to our family in a way we may not have noticed growing up, but that made a huge difference in our lives. We truly are better for having known her. If I’m lucky, maybe one day I’ll be *half* the mother and person she was. One can only hope.

Before I forget, here’s the cow:

20150216-201455.jpg

18 years later, I still have it.
I miss you, Mama. I hope I’ve done you proud.

Oh, and, one more memory-I remember how upset I was when I was told that she died rather than being healed on this planet because she didn’t believe God could heal her. That opens up so many other doors for discussion I’m not going to go through here, but I have one word for that-bullshit. She asked us to pray for her on a number of occasions, and prayed herself. Still, despite her treatment, she died. But if you think about it, she was healed. She suffered a number of things on this planet, and now she is somewhere where she will never want for anything ever again. Her depression is gone, her pain is gone, and she is with God. If that isn’t healing, what is?

Goodnight, everyone. Goodnight, Mama.


I “Mustache” You Some Questions

I stole this idea from https://myspanglishfamilia.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/i-mustache-you-some-questions/. I just thought it might be fun.

 

Four things people call me besides my real name:

-Sha
-Sha Sha
-Moo (don’t ask)
-That girl over there-because I was so shy and retiring in high school that a lot of people (mostly teachers) never learned my name.

 

Four jobs I’ve had:
-Waitress
-Manager-in-training for a furniture store
-Sales/Promotions. I would sooner suck down an entire tube of styling gel than take another commission sales job. I am not kidding; I hated it *that* much.
-counselor at a weight-loss clinic.

 

Movies I would watch (or have watched) more than once?

-Forrest Gump
-Heathers. I was obsessed with that movie when I was a teen. I think it might have been because I had a crush on Christian Slater.
-Friday (unfortunately)
-A Knight’s Tale because…well, Heath Ledger. I’m sorry, but that man was just beautiful.
 

Books I’d recommend:

-The Shack by William P. Young. Very moving book if you’re spiritual at all. -A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan
-The Unauthorized Guide for Choosing a Church by Carmen Renee Berry…I love my church but the history and diversity of beliefs within Christianity fascinates me. Religion in general fascinates me, really.
-The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

 

Places I’ve lived:

-Oak Island, NC (outside Wilmington)
-Raleigh, NC
-Newnan, GA
I was born in Guam, but we left when I was a baby. Does that count? If not-
-Allen, TX

 

Four Places I’ve Been:

-Edinburgh, Scotland (and it was awesome!)
-Disney World
-St. Augustine, FL (our honeymoon)
-London

Places I’d rather be right now:

-I really don’t know. Someplace fun and warm.

 

Four things I don’t eat:
-cooked fish…but I like sushi. Go figure.
-Grits.
-Fried okra.
-Avocados. I don’t know why.

 

Four of my favorite foods:

-Chocolate anything.
-Cherry anything.
-Black olives.
-Pasta, esp. with pesto or garlic cream sauce.

 

Four TV shows I watch:

-Grey’s Anatomy
-Bones
-Dr. Phil (yes, I admit it…)
-Project Runway

 

Four things I’m looking forward to in 2015:

-My 10th wedding anniversary was in January.

I can’t really think of anything else specific. I look forward to life in general.

 

Four things I’m always saying:

-Tabby fight!
-Toby, stop biting me.
-Dusty, stop biting Toby.
-Don’t spit it out!

 

Four People to Tag:

1. https://myspanglishfamilia.wordpress.com (I got this from her)

2. https://justplainolvic.wordpress.com/

3. http://nonsenseshenanigans.com/

4. http://thereporterandthegirl.com/

You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. It’s up to you.


Christmas list?

(Throwback Thursday-originally published in December 2010.)

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-he can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all :P ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-he can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-he can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-he can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-he can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


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