Tag Archives: faith

The Ghost Sitting In My Chair

I’m just going to come out and say this because I’ve wanted to blog about this for a while but have no idea how to put it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death. No, not that I want to die. I’ve had that before to an extent, but I’m doing pretty well now. No, I’ve been thinking about the more ‘philosophical’ questions concerning death.

For instance, I keep unintentionally reminding myself of the sign for the ‘palliative care’ unit of the hospital my mother-in-law was in when she had her stroke this past winter. You know what that is, right? Palliative care is when they can’t do anything else for you and know you are going to die, so they try to make it as easy as possible. It sounds so simple when written out like that, doesn’t it? In reality, it’s anything but. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a dying person…I have, and it’s not exactly something you can see being summed up by a few letters or words. My church also had a seminar about ‘end of life decisions’. No, I didn’t go. I already had a pretty good idea of what they were going to say. It just seemed so…cut and dried when written out like that.

DNR-Do Not Resuscitate. That was the advance directive my mom signed that was put on the refrigerator when the people from the hospice came to get her. In North Carolina, any form like that has to be put up in plain sight in the house any time you have an ambulance or similar come to get a dying person. They would probably keep something like that in her charts as well, but that’s the law. It basically meant she didn’t want to be hooked up to any machines or be kept alive by any extraordinary measures. She said that that wouldn’t really be living, and I completely agree. That’s not a life. She didn’t seem to have lost any of who she was up until she died, but how could someone really have their personality and basically everything else that makes them them if a machine is doing what their brain should be doing for them? They can’t, and that’s the point. She didn’t want to be here if she couldn’t be herself, and I’m the same way.

Here’s another thing I keep thinking of. When I walked by that sign in the hospital so many times, I kept thinking about how it would feel if you knew you were going to die. Specifically, what would be going through your mind in your last moments, or when the doctors ‘broke the bad news’. Things like, ‘what, this is it? I have so much else I want to do! It can’t just be over, can it?’ How could a person’s life be written up in a medical chart as though it were nothing? Would the world even remember I was here? I wonder if these are some of the thoughts that went through my mother’s mind before she died. There’s no doubt at all that she made a difference, at least to me.

I’m scared to death that I will die, that I will leave this world and it will be as though I was never here. I don’t have any kids, and very well may never have any. My husband is older than I am, and so are all of my siblings. Who would be left to remember me when I died, if all of them were gone and I still didn’t have any kids?

Maybe my nephew Austin would…he’s 21 and really more like my little brother than my nephew. I’m only 12 years older, and he lived with us up until he was about six or so. We used to talk a lot and be somewhat close, but not so much now. Like I’ve said in other posts, I don’t get to see my family that often and he lives up in Virginia Beach. My sister has two stepkids, but they didn’t grow up around me. She also has 4-year-old twins, but they probably don’t recognize me much. They’re still pretty little, but the sweetest little boys you’ve ever met. Sev’s sister has a child who will be seven next month…maybe he’ll remember me. He likes to do art projects and stuff with me. I have friends and their families…several of my friends from high school and college’s families ‘claim’ me as one of their own. LOL “Panda’s” dad actually jokes with me, wanting me to call him ‘Daddy’! So maybe their kids will remember me. But even if they did, would I have made a difference in the world in general? I’m sure there are some people I’m forgetting to mention, and maybe it’s not something I should be thinking about. But here I am. Maybe these questions are kind of conceited of me to ask, but there you have it.

I also wonder, how would someone know when it was time? Or would they? The show Scrubs is hardly a deep and profound series, but one episode sticks in my mind. It’s the one where JD and Turk were psyched and rambling about going on one of their ‘steak nights’. Some time before their shift was over, they found out that one of their patients wouldn’t make it through the night. He either didn’t have any family or his family happened not to have made it there in time, but whichever way, JD and Turk decided to stay with him rather than go out. They were talking with the patient-who was still perfectly lucid and knew he didn’t have much time left. He might of coughed or something, but I don’t think he had any physical breakdowns or anything. All he said was, “I’m ready to go to sleep now”. Except he wasn’t going to wake up. He knew this. He knew that closing his eyes then meant closing his eyes forever. I just can’t help but wonder, how did he know it was time to go? Or did he? When he got to the other side, would he remember that JD and Turk had stayed with him, or what they talked about? Would he have known when-I think it was a nephew or a son, not sure which-got there, even though he’d already died? I know this is a fictional character, but what if this were a real person? What if it was someone we knew or, God forbid, us in the future?

I like to think he would. It would seem to me that you can still talk to dead people and they will hear you on the other side, but they might not actually respond. I remember my friend Binky’s uncle died and she said that she hated that she didn’t get there in time because she didn’t get to tell him she loved him. I told her what I said above, that I believe that he knows how she felt, that now he’s able to know and see more than he ever did on this earth.

I’m not just pulling this out of my ass, by the way; I’m taking it from Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 12-
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.” (King James Version)

I know Paul might have been talking about something else, and there are other parts of the Bible that imply that the soul of a person who dies is effectively asleep until The Rapture comes. Even so, this spoke to me. Binky said that it made her feel so much better when I said that, even though I thought I didn’t know what to say. I know my viewpoint about people who have died still being able to hear or whatever isn’t the most conventional in the world but I just can’t bring myself to believe that there’s nothing else, or at least not for a long time.

I’m also not at all afraid of ghosts. Yes, I believe they are real, but not necessarily the horror-movie types we’ve grown up hearing about. If you think about it, you’d kind of have to believe in ghosts if you are a Christian-or at least, in one Ghost. I’ve seen my mom physically and in dreams many times since she died about twelve years ago, and I believe I’ve heard and spoken to my friend M after he killed himself three years ago.

One night I heard his voice asking me to tell his wife that ‘this is not her fault’. I just ignored it or thought I was losing my mind…it was in that place where you’re not quite asleep but not quite awake either. I put it out of my mind…until two weeks later, when I heard him again, asking me why I hadn’t delivered his message. I told my husband about this, and some of my friends, and the explanation I heard most often had to do with me being a spiritual person and ‘open to this sort of thing’. I don’t know. Once I figured out it was M’s voice, for some reason I wasn’t scared anymore. Seeing my mom the first time sent me into a panic attack, but seeing her in dreams now is strangely comforting. My sister says she’s seen Mama too.

After my accident, my cousin D told me that I told everyone that I had actually died and seen my mom…I told them that she said, ‘its not your time yet, get back down there’, and so I did. I don’t remember this, but then I don’t remember hardly anything from that time. My husband doesn’t remember it either, but it still makes me feel connected to my mom in a way I can’t adequately describe.

I’ll stop rambling and boring you now, but these are some of the thoughts that have been going through my head lately. Sometimes my mind goes crazy just when I’m trying to sleep, and wanders in weird directions. Judging from a conversation I had with a friend at church a couple of weeks ago, however, it seems I’m not the only one who has these thoughts in the middle of the night. It was just so odd but comforting at the same time that she and I had been having pretty much the same questions and thoughts running through our minds…it was good to be able to talk to someone about this without them thinking that I might be suicidal again like I was about three years ago.

Sweet dreams, everyone! Sorry this is so long, but considering the subject matter, I hope you’ll forgive me.

I’m confused now

As you probably know, I moderate religion forums. I’ve been working with a large spirituality site called Beliefnet for going on seven years now. Most of the forums I work with are Christian, although I have moderated forums debating Judaism. To me, it’s a very interesting way to learn about people-not only to learn about their faiths, although that is a very large interest. One of the most fascinating things is watching how people interact with each other and behave when talking about things that are as highly-charged as religion is. I’ve seen and participated in some rather interesting meltdowns and support sessions. In fact, I came about this job because I was seriously struggling with my faith and I found a lot of help and friendship from many people there. If anyone tells you you can’t find real friends on the internet, they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve also met a lot of people who aren’t so friendly and learned some things that caused me a great deal of pain, but I guess that’s to be expected.

I joined Beliefnet in part to try to answer some of the doubts I was having after coming out of a relationship with a man who had some beliefs I simply couldn’t accept. Some of those beliefs were completely foreign to me, but some of them are beliefs I used to share to some extent but later found not to be true. I’ve shed some light on those beliefs and explored new ones, hopefully somewhat growing along the way.

Unfortunately, doubts are still my constant companions. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I learn or who I meet, there are always the lingering questions. What does God think about ‘topic X’? What should I believe about ‘topic Y’? Do I even have to have a belief about Y at all? How should I see or read the Bible? What if I don’t understand what I’m reading? What do I make of all of the conflicting things I hear, from outside the faith as well as within? What’s really important? How much of the Bible is true?

Apparently I’m not the only one dealing with these doubts. Here is a post from a friend of mine from the Christian-to-Christian Debate forum on Beliefnet:

I am not sure that Jesus said everything he has been credited with. I have been reading Genesis, Exodus and Numbers again and most of it still makes no sense to me. And please don’t tell me that if I had the Spirit in me, I would understand it! Whoever wrote this, I believe, put God’s name in places it should not be. Or else it is all made up. I have tried over the years to believe in the OT because I thought it necessary to be Christian. I just cannot believe this is the God I feel in my heart. If anyone can make it all fit together, I am happy for them, but I don’t believe God expects anyone to believe all this. There are some very good stories but all the killing ordered by God is nothing but rubbish.

Here’s my reply on the forum thread:

I’m so glad to read that I am not the only one who feels this way. My church has an OT passage as part of the order of service, but lately I have had a hard time understanding what is being said. I thought it was just me, since a lot of the time I can’t focus long enough to understand even the simplest things. There are not words enough to express how distressing and frustrating this is for me! However, I just don’t know what to make of so many things in the OT…ceremonial laws, why God hardened Pharoah’s heart, the destruction and death, etc. I just *don’t get it*. I keep hearing in my head the ‘if you had the spirit, you’d get it’ that you mention above, a throwback from before…but then I wonder why it is important for me to know this stuff?

Sorry to babble, but I’m glad to know I am not the only one who just says, ‘WTH???’ with some parts of the Bible.

I don’t really know a good ‘tie-in’ for this. Sometimes it’s just so frustrating to talk to other people about what you believe when you don’t know what it is! I’ve heard so many statements and cracks from atheists and agnostics about how all religion is evil because the God we believe in did some really awful things. I would normally have a good comeback for them, but I don’t really know what to say when even I can’t make sense of some of the ‘darker parts’. Most of the time I can tell myself that the stories could just be a statement of fact rather than a recommendation for the future-for instance, I don’t hear very many pastors singing the praises of slavery (anymore) or Levirate marriage. That would be quite an interesting sermon, wouldn’t it? I could also say that some things are instructions to the Jews about things that Jesus later spoke against-kosher laws, for example. He said that “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean'” (Matthew 15:10-12). That is all well and good for parts of the Old Testament, but that still does not explain why a God who claims to love us would do things like strike someone dead just for trying to keep the Ark of the Covenant from falling?

Also confusing is how there are so many conflicting teachings and doctrines…Calvinism, Pelagianism, etc. Some parts just feel wrong to me, like predestination-the idea that God chooses certain people to go to Heaven, as I understand it. But wouldn’t that also mean that God chooses certain people to go to Hell? That would be the other destination from Heaven, right? I don’t know. Then there’s the teaching that someone has to be a Christian in order to go to Heaven and avoid Hell, but then the fact that not everyone has even heard of Jesus; at least, not by that name. There’s the way that most of the world’s religions have similar teachings about how to treat people. There’s the fact that there are so many Christians who are nasty and judgmental and so many non-Christians or non-theists who live out everything Jesus taught, even if they don’t know or acknowledge it. The friends I mentioned above from Beliefnet who helped me through really rough times with my faith were mostly non-Christian and sometimes even anti-Christian, with a Luciferian or two thrown in there. Some Christians were great too, but others were kind of snotty. You’re not supposed to make the simplest and respectful joke about Jesus around some people, although I’m sure He has a sense of humor. Wouldn’t He have to, to deal with us? Look at the platypus. 🙂 There’s the way that so many Christians make such a huge deal about the gender of who a person sleeps with but doesn’t think twice about kicking someone when they’re already down. Most confusing of all, however, is the idea that the Bible is completely inerrant as written but also the idea that mostly the parts about faith and life are inerrant but the science stuff isn’t.

There are just so many things that don’t sit well, but how do I know that I’m not ‘making God in my own image’? I’ve been accused of that, along with ‘picking and choosing’, quite a bit. I’ve been so tempted to just toss it all out the window. I think the only thing that has kept me from doing that was Jesus Himself…I’ve seen Him working through people and things no one would think of, and it was unmistakable who was behind it. I can’t help but wonder if the same being or spirit that I call Jesus is present in other faiths or ideas, but called something else. Not much else about Him makes sense, but this seems to. However, I’ve heard numerous times that this is the wrong doctrine. Maybe the doctrines, which were written by people, are what’s wrong. Maybe it’s more about being in imitation of Christ than about what you know. Not that knowledge is bad; in fact, it is a very good thing. But I wonder if it’s really the only thing, or even a very important one.

I’ve been told that if a teaching or doctrine portrays God as anything other than a loving Father-type is false. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to get whatever you want, whenever you want it. This is another teaching I’ve heard that bothers me. My earthly father didn’t give me everything I wanted, and there was a good reason for it. Not everything I wanted was something I needed or was good for me. That has been my experience of Jesus too. I’ve had rough times and trials but they weren’t anything I didn’t eventually get through. That gives me hope, a lot more hope than knowing all the ‘right’ doctrines ever did.

If anyone has any ideas as to how to get through some of this confusion, they are more than welcome. However, I’ve found a tremendous amount of comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like their head is a bowl of alphabet soup.

Speaking of soup…time for lunch!

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The things that made a difference

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...
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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I was fifteen when I first heard about Jesus.  Now, I know what you’re going to say, ‘a person growing up in the Bible Belt who hadn’t heard of Jesus? How is that possible?’ Well, it is. It’s not that I had never heard of Jesus so much as that I hadn’t heard about Jesus. I knew the name, but it was like knowing of Abraham Lincoln or something-I knew the facts and the common stories, but they didn’t mean anything to me.  My family went to church up until I was about eight but, really, show me an eight year old who actually pays attention in church! I knew Bible stories, but only because my mom had gotten me a huge book of them to keep me quiet and awake during the service. Suffice it to say, I didn’t know about Jesus in any meaningful way.  It took meeting some very good and caring friends to get me to learn anything beyond what you can find on a Christmas TV special.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about them here because I don’t want to get off track, but I experienced the type of ‘transformation’ the verse above references.  It wasn’t my personality that changed so much as the way I saw everything around me and, by extension, saw myself.  Here are some of the ways my life changed when I first became a Christian:

First, let me start by telling you what didn’t change. Here’s one thing-I didn’t ‘get morals’. I had morals before, and roughly the same ones about how to treat other people that Christianity teaches. I keep hearing some people say or imply that people who don’t have a religion can’t have morals, and that is completely untrue. I had parents before, and those parents taught me values before. Also, it’s not as though the ethics of relationships are unique to Christianity! Many of the world’s religions teach similar things about how to treat other people, even if worded differently. Christianity happens to be the faith I chose, but I don’t pretend that we have the monopoly on knowledge of God. I don’t really have to be agreed with; In fact, I am often the first to defend the rights of others to live and believe whichever way they feel led, provided no one is being hurt.  Some differences might be hard to swallow at first, but they’re certainly not as important as loving our neighbor as ourselves, with everyone as our neighbor.

Besides, it’s not like I was a huge troublemaker before! I didn’t *kiss* anyone or even have a real boyfriend until I was seventeen so I didn’t sleep around, haven’t committed any crimes beyond traffic tickets and I still have never been drunk. I’ve actually always been kind of a goody-two-shoes, although I don’t like to admit that. 🙂  I’m just naming these things because they seem to be the ones I hear about most often. I do have somewhat of a ‘potty mouth’ sometimes and have definitely lied, but I’ve never really understood the fixation some people have about sexual things being more important than a person’s basic attitude toward themselves and other people. *Shrug* I guess you could say that I also struggle with not judging others…

I didn’t find a quick fix for my problems, nor did I have an assurance that I wouldn’t have trials in the future. In fact, it was pretty much a guarantee that I would.  The assurance was in that I wouldn’t be alone when I did.

I didn’t check my brain at the door. One thing I’ve been asked is how someone who’s as intelligent as I am can possibly be a Christian. Do I really have to tell you why this is offensive? 🙂 I understand how some of the anti-science, anti-academia, anti-questioning-anything-your-leaders-say things you’ll hear out of some people seem like Christians don’t think.  I completely agree, those things don’t sound very thoughtful.  However, I think you will find people who do not think for themselves in pretty much any group. It’s more of a personality trait than anything else. I have never stopped asking questions, and probably never will. Anyone who knows me knows that I won’t ‘just shut up and drink your Kool-Aid’ just because someone tells me to-in fact, being told that is likely to make me even more persistent! What’s great is, I don’t have to stop asking.  Some Christian groups do teach the sort of strict ‘uniform thinking’ mentioned above, but that’s certainly not all of them. The Bible never claimed to be a science book or complete history text anyway. Besides, there are other types of intelligence.  Faith can meet an emotional need, which IMO is every bit as important as an intellectual need.

And, well, let’s see you try to get through the book of Deuteronomy-most of the Old Testament, really-and still think Christians are brain dead…:)

Here are some things that did change, that were added to my life:

I finally had a connection to something outside myself, and larger than myself and the world I can see around me.

It was finally beaten into my head that ‘it’s not all about me’.   I had concern for and connection to the rest of the world’s people before, but this bond became even stronger. That doesn’t mean I liked everyone or everything, but it does mean that I began to see the whole world as my neighbor as opposed to just my ‘inner circle’ or those I could see around me.

I finally stopped having to know absolutely everything.  Growing up, I couldn’t stand the idea of something being beyond my comprehension or not being ‘kept in the loop’ .  I guess you could say I was a typical teenager, thinking I knew everything and that my reasoning was flawless. I put tremendous pressure on myself in this way;  I always did very well in school but didn’t think I had much else going for me. Proverbs 3:5 says to ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.’  I don’t take this to necessarily mean that we shouldn’t try to make sense of things, but that we should understand that there are going to be things that are not for us to know at this point in time.  This might sound simplistic, but it really brought a relief. For someone who was as strongly driven by academics as I was, admitting that it is okay not to know something is a major feat. Even now, sometimes I drive myself insane trying to understand things…why people are how they are, etc…but then I remember the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. “Now we see things imperfectly, as in a poor mirror, but then we will see in perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God knows me now.” (1 Cor, 13:12). Now, I know what you’re going to say…’how do you know the Bible is even true? There are so many contradictions in it, so many things have been found to be false.’ But like I said above, the Bible is not a science book.  There is a difference between ‘truth’ and ‘fact’, as the parables and mythology that has been passed down through the ages will show. Even if you put no stock in the Bible or Paul at all, what he says still makes sense.  There are some things we just aren’t going to know in this life…and anything that can drive that through my thick skull can’t be all bad!  That leads me to the final (and biggest) realization:

It seemed as though I finally had a name for an essence, a spirit, that I had known was there all along but couldn’t identify. I think I always felt that there was some sort of higher power ‘out there’, that there was something that kept the order in the universe. I can’t emphasize enough how comforting it can be to believe that it’s not all up to me and that there is some sort of pattern, some sort of reason to the the world and our lives. It certainly has not been smooth sailing, definitely. I will be the first to say that I’ve had it rough at times and that I’ve considered tossing it all .  I’ve had some times when I felt I’d be better off without my faith or thought God deserted me. I seriously thought He hated me; few things will make you feel farther from God than depression, especially the kind that comes with mixed bipolar states.  However, through the caring of some good friends, I began to see again that He never left me.  Just as I originally came to know and believe, I was shown the way God cares for me through the care from other people. There are too many people to thank, so I guess they’ll just have to know who they are.  On this tip, I will end this essay with one of my favorite Scriptures:

‘And now abide in faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’ -1 Corinthians 13:13

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Inspiration Courtesy of SNL

In honor of Epiphany, here’s a bit of fun that also contains a bit of truth. I was in church yesterday when I thought of this cartoon, specifically the first part. It’s from a series of Saturday Night Live cartoons called ‘Saturday TV Funhouse’. I’m a pretty big SNL fan, and have been for a long time; this was IMO one of the funnier running sketches. You’ll have to go to the site linked to see it, though, as I’m not able to upload video from that site and I couldn’t find this on YouTube. Enjoy!

Fun With Real Audio-Jesus and Christmas

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Lord, Remind Me…

Lord, remind me…

When I complain about being cold in my house, remind me to pray for those who have nowhere to live.

When I complain about having nothing nice to wear, remind me to pray for those who don’t have many clothes at all.

When I complain about being fat, remind me to pray for those who do not have enough to eat.

When I get angry about stupid people on the internet, remind me to pray for them, if only so that they might get smarter. 🙂

When I complain about missing my friends and family, remind me to be thankful that I have friends and family to miss.

Remind me that however bad things are, they could be worse.

Remind me that however bad things are, You are still there with me.

When I feel far from You, remind me that your presence and caring for me is not contingent on my being able to feel You.

Whatever I forget, remind me. Just…remind me.

An Awesome Way To Start Your Day

I know we don’t all believe the same things about, well, anything, but I was going through the Daily Office this morning, and this prayer was featured. It’s one of my favorites. It’s attributed to St. Francis-

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

This and other prayers like it can be found on the Daily Office.
I am nowhere near as disciplined about praying or anything else as I probably should be or as some people I know, but sometimes I just feel the need.

5 Things I Just Don’t ‘Get’

I’m sure we’ve seen or heard a lot of things we simply don’t understand, no matter how hard we try. Here are some of mine, I want to hear yours:

1. New World Order, government conspiracies or all the other theories. Sorry, but I’ve never been able to understand what is meant by ‘government is bad, bad, bad’, ‘the EU is a sign that communism is coming back’, ‘don’t use electricity or anything else that is public because then The Man will be able to spy on you’ or some of the other ‘slippery slope’ arguments I’ve heard. No, I’m not making this up. I understand the fear to a point since no one wants to lose their freedoms or private lives, but some take it a bit far. When I was getting married, I was told over and over again how I shouldn’t register my marriage with the state because then the government would have access to us and do all kinds of stuff to take away our freedoms and generally screw with our lives…what could they really do that would cancel out the benefits of marriage (joint taxes, hospital visitation, power-of-attorney, inheritance, etc)? I appreciate their concern but they need to hang up their foil hats. I got married in the state of North Carolina and it’s on record. No brain-wave hijacking yet. I’ll let you know how it goes.

2. The fascination some Christians have with the Rapture or the End Times. No, I don’t think Obama is the Antichrist. I don’t really want to look forward to the destruction of 2/3 of humanity, despite the gleam in some preachers’ eyes when they talk about it. That part actually makes me sad…I don’t really care about the ‘signs’, and I was under the impression that Jesus didn’t really want us to anticipate it. I could be wrong on that, though. ‘Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again’ is really all I need to know.

3. Why people like the Kardashians or Paris Hilton are even celebrities. They don’t seem to really *do* anything, and yet I still see headlines about them on magazines in the checkout line at the grocery store. Somewhere a family of trees is mourning the senseless loss of their ‘son’ or ‘daughter’, because the paper to print them had to come from somewhere. My condolences.

4. Why some people enjoy being mean just for the sake of being mean. I guess they do that so they can tap into their own misery and spread it around, or maybe pour it out and serve it at parties like a cheap keg. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

5. Why people can do so many awful things to each other in the name of a religion. Truth is, none of us really knows for certain what’s on ‘the other side’. We have beliefs, but still all see through a glass, and darkly. The day is coming for each of us when we will have a clear view, but not yet. Until then, I’d like to live my life doing what Jesus said when He asked us to love our neighbor as ourselves…or ‘try’, I should say, since I will never be as good at this as I should or would like to be.

[eta 11/16/09] Okay, I’m going to cheat and add a sixth item that has been bothering me lately-

6. Why some people are more concerned with being ‘right’ than with being loving and caring toward other people. I don’t give a toss what Scripture or anything else says about…well, a lot of things. Actually, that’s not true; I’m a Christian, so by definition I find a lot of value in Scripture.  It’s a way (among others) we learn about Jesus, for one. It’s more the negative twisting of Scripture to make it say what one wants it to (esegesis, sp?) and make God in one’s own image I have a problem with. Sorry, but the Bible isn’t a weapon against people you (generic “you”) happen not to like. That’s what I see some people using it as-a weapon to beat people down rather than lift them up the way it should. I think that’s wrong and is much more likely to push people *away* from Christianity than bring them in, which is supposedly their goal. It is much more important to me to be compassionate toward other people and to treat them as I would like them to treat me.  That’s what He said to do, after all. To me, that is a lot more worthy of my attention than what some text said about things that are constantly taken out of context and are referring to something entirely different from what we think it did.  I’m no scholar, but I can’t for the life of me find the section where Jesus tells people what movies they should watch or who they should date. I *do* remember where He talks about loving our neighbor as ourselves, not being judgmental, taking the log out of our own eyes before trying to get the speck out of someone else’s, and feeding/visiting/caring for ‘the least of these’…a category I believe most of us will fit into at some point in our lives.  Some of us already have.

I welcome any enlightenment you might be able to offer. What are some of your things you just don’t ‘get’?

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