Tag Archives: Christianity

My Thoughts On Life and a Plug For a Friend

I was reading a devotional book this morning from a pastor friend of mine who has bipolar disorder when something really caught my eye.

The book was Delight In Disorder-Ministry, Madness, Mission by Tony Roberts. Here’s a really cool website about the book and its author: http://awaywithwordsforyou.com/#

Here are some other quotes from his book: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/40808173-delight-in-disorder-ministry-madness-mission.

Anyway, I was reading one of the devotionals where he talks about his experiences with suicide attempts. In one of them, he says that he felt a strange blend of “both shame and gratitude”-gratitude that his attempt to kill himself didn’t work, but shame that he’d tried it to begin with.

Although I am doing well now, I can relate to him. I myself have never actually tried to commit suicide, but there were times in my life-both as a teenager and as an adult-where I wondered if my life was really worth living. At one point I thought that it would be easier on everyone else if I had died in the accident I got into in 2005-my husband wouldn’t had to go through all of our savings to pay for my medical bills and equipment; we wouldn’t have had to struggle so much financially because of the loss of my (meager) income; I had a lot of other medical bills later on down the line because of some health conditions the doctors couldn’t figure out…do you see a theme here? Yes, I know it’s not about the money, but as someone who’s struggled to the point of having to file bankruptcy because of credit card debt, I know how stressful money problems can be and how it can infect every other area of your life.

I remember saying something about these feelings in 2007 and got a very bad reaction-I was accused of being an attention whore because I was mad that someone else was the center of attention in the group instead of me. Let me pause by telling you one thing: Probably the worst thing you can do to a suicidal friend is accuse them of something like this. They already feel worthless and unwanted; screaming at them and calling them names will only confirm this. It’s one thing if it’s a boyfriend threatening to hurt himself if you break up with him, but another thing altogether when your friend has a known problem that has a tendency to flare up. The people who said this knew I was having problems and, while something much more serious than this had just happened to one of our friends, anyone who knows me at all knows that I would never threaten suicide to get attention. Never. Plus, if I really wanted attention, I’m sure I could find a much more interesting way to get it. Damn, at least give me some credit.

Anyway, about the feelings…a lot of them probably came because my bipolar medication wasn’t working along with/because of the other health problems I’d been having, but a lot of it was feeling worthless because I couldn’t *be* anything-I couldn’t be a mom because of some, um, physical problems the accident caused, nor could I be a career woman like I wanted to be. I’d tried to be several times, but the mental stuff always got in the way. I did not always have these problems; bipolar often sets on in early adulthood, so it’s possible to go through school and set all these goals early on and then not be able to reach them. Ditto my ADHD. I know I talk about this a lot-probably too much. It’s not who I am. It may not run my life, but it definitely has had effects other bloggers can relate to. That’s how I found most of my follow list; they wrote a post I came across on another site and vice versa. They have it much rougher than I do, so my stuff is small potatoes.

A lot of the time you don’t feel depressed so much as numb. You want to reach out to others, but you just can’t find the energy. That’s how it’s been with me for a while now.  Like a friend once said, you’re not depressed so much as bored. That’s one reason you stay in your hidey-hole and don’t talk to people-nothing interesting is going on and you don’t want to drag your friends down. You don’t speak because you don’t have anything to say. It’s not hard to get confused.

You know what’s interesting? I think I always knew I wouldn’t do it…that I always knew that there was always life, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel-I just hadn’t seen it yet. I think I knew that Jesus was still there, I just couldn’t feel Him. It’s weird how I have to remind myself that His existence and care for us is not contingent on our ability to feel Him. I’m happy for people who feel His presence a lot and I certainly have too, but I don’t want to base my entire belief or spiritual “system” on this kind of emotion the way I did before. Sometimes it feels as though I don’t seek Him because I don’t think to the way other people do, but it doesn’t matter because I know He’s always there.

My brain and I are both doing very well now, so there’s no need to be alarmed. All of this happened a long time ago, but reading the devotional made me think about it. Thanks for listening to me ramble on like a freak. Have a good day!


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

(I’m re-publishing this because I added an item. 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 citing 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 culture and politics Corey 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 still felt weird. As a then-Democrat, I learned very quickly to keep my mouth shut lest I be accused of “helping the Devil” or something like that. I can’t explain it any better than Corey 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 feel 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 , 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? When a Catholic one stopped going to confession? He said he’d been made to do the “church thing” growing up and was enjoying the freedom. 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. If you’re asking this question, you probably haven’t committed this sin because if you had, you wouldn’t care.

As for the aforementioned Catholic, he never left the church; as much as he liked sleeping in on Sunday, 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 genders, 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 they love 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” certain people 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 that, 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.


Happy Birthday…

It’s 12:19 am on Christmas, so I think it’s only fitting to say-

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!

As bad as I might be sometimes, Jesus Christ is my Savior. Yes, I’ve heard the stories about how He was probably actually born in March and we only celebrate it now because Constantine moved the date to coincide with Solstice, blah blah…that’s interesting but it doesn’t really matter because *when* He was born isn’t nearly as important as *that* He was born.

Plus we celebrate our friends’ birthdays at other dates all the time-the weekend before, the weekend after, etc. Why would it be a stretch to think someone might want to do this for Jesus? I’m probably wrong, but it makes sense to me.


Why I’m Going To Hell

I’ve been told by some people that I shouldn’t make jokes about such a ‘serious topic’. For example, I posted a joke thread like this on one of Beliefnet.com’s Christian boards, and the regulars had a field day with it. We figured that, living in the Bible Belt, we hear enough about hellfire and brimstone from guys yelling at us on street corners that we’d have plenty to talk about. This isn’t done out of disrespect for Jesus so much as making fun of the fact that the preachers are usually yelling at women in tank tops or teenagers holding hands when we see them. Of course, the street preachers and super-fundies tell us we’re wrong and shouldn’t make fun of such a “serious matter”. I think judging people for no reason is more disrespectful than anything I could say, but whatever. I’m sure He has a sense of humor; otherwise, how would He deal with us? Anyway, here’s why I’m going to Hell:

-I don’t like Star Wars, and love Spaceballs. 🙂 In my defense, I had Star Wars kind of pushed on me when I was younger, and that makes me want to push back. Plus, the dialogue stinks. Not that Spaceballs’ dialogue is much better, but I love Mel Brooks and his parodies, particularly when they star Cary Elwes…*drool*…:)

-I know all the words to “Ice Ice Baby“*. Okay, maybe not all the words, but enough to annoy the snot out of my husband.

-I stole this from my friend E and posted it on Facebook:
Gummy Bear Song*

I’ll do her one better and at least tell you to swallow before you watch it.

-I put doll clothes on my cats as a kid…and as an adult. Strangely, Slater didn’t mind the sunglasses and fedora. He didn’t like the pantyhose, though. That’s okay, Slater, neither do I.

-I’ve been known to fill out those silly email surveys and pass them on to my friends. After all, everybody needs to know that I once dressed up as a tube of Clearasil for Halloween and one of my most embarrassing moments in school involved a guy named C and a pickle…:)

-I’ve been known to get obsessed with hotties I see on TV and make up stories about them in my mind. They usually involve a version of me dating the one I have a crush on or dating someone who happens to look like one of them. I’ve done things like this for as long as I can remember, although now they don’t involve anyone I know. A lot of the latter stories take place in college to make up for the presence of a certain person I dated back then, but I only do them for fun. Sometimes this is the only way I can get to sleep at night because of some of the freaky and downright scary thoughts that come in. Damned OCD tendencies.

-Sometimes I “tickle-rape” my husband. 🙂 At least, that’s what he calls it when I tickle him to wake him up or get back at him for a silly jab he just made.

-Sometimes I do the above in public just so our friends will wonder what a “TR” is.

That’s enough for now. I’d better stop before I have to add, ‘Made fun of the idea of going to Hell’…oops, too late.

What about you? And I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. I’m just feeling like a bit of a smartass today.

 

 

*Opens in the same window. Guess I’m going to Hell for that too.

 


What if they’re right?

This post was inspired by one from my friend Steve:

http://newwhine.blogspot.com/2014/10/what-if-i-am-wrong.html?showComment=1413422547445#c3372567103006826529

I’m afraid I don’t have any wise words for him since he’s been at this whole “Christian thing” a lot longer than I have. I presume so, anyway. The only thing I can think of to say is that I ask a lot of the same questions. For instance-

I’ve heard a lot of talk in my time as a Christian about ‘standing up for God’. Specifically, speaking up for Him and publicly denouncing sin. Lately I have been part of a lot of discussions about things such as sexual orientation and tolerance where I spoke and acted against the stance presented by many conservative evangelicals that these things are ‘sin’ or ‘wrong’. That I and those like me who say that sexual orientation is not chosen and present arguments that the Bible is not inerrant and that people should tolerate homosexuals are ‘lukewarm’ or ‘compromising God’s truth so that the world will like us’, ‘ashamed of the truth,’ etc. I usually pass it off, but last night I had a thought*:

What if they’re right?

What if the stancse the fundamentalists or conservative evangelicals take on this subject are right, and that I really am ashamed, afraid to stand up for God, or pandering? On other things, what if the Bible really is inerrant? What if I really am ‘lukewarm’, whatever that means? What if Christianity really is the only way? I know what Jesus said about no one coming to the Father except by Him, but I’ve wondered whether or not it’s possible for someone to know Jesus but call Him something else. I remember when I first came to Him, it felt like I finally had a name for something I’d known was there all along.

What if I really am doing wrong by not talking about my faith or trying to ‘witness’ to non-Christians? I don’t have a problem with telling others what I believe, but I don’t always go out of my way to discuss those things with people I know aren’t interested. I talk about those things a lot online and in church, but those are places specifically dedicated to those subjects; as much as I admire those who do, I’m a bit shy to go up to strangers in a parking lot and hand out fliers the way a very nice Jehovah’s Witness once did for me. I like to think that I’d be able to do that if I were so led, but I don’t find myself in such situations very often-only when around other religious people. What if I really should be trying to convert them, though, rather than agreeing to disagree and accepting their having another religion, or not having one at all? I love learning and talking about other people’s beliefs, but I don’t usually find myself wanting to try to convince them to turn from their way onto mine.

What if my choices in entertainment and things like my continually indulging in sins like my bad language and lusting really will put my soul in jeopardy?

What if I really do believe the wrong things, and it is believing the right things that makes the difference in salvation? What if my study of other religions and the intricacies of our faith and the Bible (like meanings of particular words or context or how it came to be) is distracting me from my faith and just believing? What if I really am being overly critical and judgmental to my former coreligionists, or if I talk badly about them too much? I wonder if I really have lost my salvation, or am in jeopardy of that, from my ‘straying’ or worldly views?

I would never suggest to another person that their salvation may have been lost because of changes in thinking, so why I am doing that to myself?

I don’t know if I am just being paranoid, over-thinking, etc, or if this is God telling me to adjust my ways. I know I am a work in progress, and that there are things in my life that I need to get rid of and repent of. I’m just confused sometimes, and I get so many different ideas. I am very offended a lot of times by the actions of some of my fellow Christians and beliefs about things like homosexuality being sinful or that I am thinking the wrong way…I just wonder sometimes if perhaps I wandered too far from my evangelical/fundamentalist past and unknowingly threw the baby out with the bathwater. I haven’t really changed my belief about the major things such as who Christ is and the Cross. That’s probably the important thing, but I don’t know.

I’ll stop babbling now. I am a master worrier, and this might just be an example of my mind over-wandering.

 

 

*Yes, I do have ideas. Just not that often, and most of them suck.


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