Tag Archives: faith

London 2017

I have friends in London and thankfully they are all safe after yesterday’s terrorist attack. I felt strange but for some reason, not as strange as I was after what happened in Ottawa, Paris, Brussels and …

I am not getting used to this. I read about the resilience of the people of London, and the UK as well, which does give me some comfort. What does cause me concern is the rise of hate coming from everywhere. Yes, my dad is still on the rampage; in case you are wondering. My heart aches to see loving Muslims automatically apologise for the actions of this British-born man who chose to cause destruction and murder people – a police officer, a mum and four others (five dead 3.45pm). I am not going into the philosophical discussion as to the cause of homegrown extremism; I’ll let the experts do that.

I may seem a bit cold-hearted for not reposting the call for prayers – those badly constructed memes that popped up seconds after the reports came out. Look, most of us are praying already, you don’t need to make this an official command. Our non-theist friends, they too are hoping for peace and a some calm. I will not be one to post a flag on my profile picture, as I have done once before, I have become a supporter of humankind, not one country. Oh, please do not dislike me for this – do not, ever! You have no idea how horrible I feel for the people I know who work in the area of Westminster.

I have picked an odd time to go back to my Christian roots. God does not like what is going on, from all sides. I do not want to hear the comparisons of the Christian God and the Muslim God. My goodness, give it a rest. I also do not like people bringing up the Crusades as an example of Christian violence. No, Christians are becoming more subversive in their treatment of non-Christians, or even Progressive Christians, to be honest. We take this as “okay” and “well, it could be worse”.

It is getting worse. It is also getting better.

I can talk about loving our brothers and sisters until forever, and most do understand. We all know there are those who choose to be hateful and take steps to act out this anger. This has been going on since humans (and their prehistory ancestors) discovered feelings. The weapons and modes of inflicting pain have changed (I will not say improved) but the underlying element has not. Standing up to this anger with anger does not work. Governments will make decisions in which may cause more disparity and uncomfortableness; that is part of protecting their citizens, unfortunately.

I am a ball of emotion. Going through bodily rehabilitation has made my anxiety disorder a bit more sensitive. PTSD is a bastard. Events like the terrorist attack yesterday just hit me hard. I have always known I cannot control the after effects of these events; yet, my brain says I have to try.

Again, my heart and my thoughts (these are allowed) go out to all my London friends, their families who worried, the survivors and especially to those who were lost; their families have a piece missing from their life.

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Filed under Good Parents, Mental Illness, Progressive Christianity

Missionary Positions – Round Two

Last night (1 December 2016) I treated myself to supper at the café in town. Richard had to go to Québec for a family matter, so I have been left again on my own.

I ordered soup with soy dumplings; interesting taste, but not something I would keep on my Favourite Food list. Whilst eating my soup I overheard two young women (mid-twenties?) discussing the power of the Lord. In Waldheim, that is not unusual. The conversation was loud, emotional, yet 110% positive, something that is also not unusual for Waldheim.

I had a shitty day yesterday, and honestly, the part of the conversation I heard last night made we ANGRY. One of the young girls, after having a massive Jesus moment (the breakdown happen in Laird, but Waldheim MB is her home church), declared she will be going on a worldwide Bible study. Basically, there is a program that lets participants learn about the places of the Bible in real time: Peter wrote a letter to the Corinthians, you can go to Corinth, Greece (it still exists). Jerusalem, Turkey, Ephesus (which, technically, is in Turkey) and the whatnot. Not knowing who this opportunity is through, I found a site offering the same travel experience: Bible Land Tours.

The squeaks of delight from the young lady geared up to go and her friend made me sense something was not right.

Funding for the trip. Yes, that is what I was thinking in the back of my cryptic crossword mind. It brought to mind a pamphlet Richard brought home this past Sunday. One of the locals is going on a mission trip to someplace that is home to some strange people (unbelievers, I think). As per the ritual, it began with an introduction of this young person’s lineage, the moment of blessed realisation, the plan, then ended off with the plea for spiritual and financial help.

The missionaries from Richard’s church all have the drive, but not so much the money. Richard, like this Sunday, refused to even consider giving money to this young man. “Who’s going to help us pay for the brakes on the car? The people at church?” We did not have to answer that. I bring this up every time this subject comes up, but the goodly church folk don’t get it, or don’t care. In fact, when the Missions Conference is held in the Town of Waldheim, Richard does not to go to church on those Sundays, out of pure protestation.

The group this chap is with has a “training” centre in Jamaica: YWAMDP. If you a choice between learning how to steer people to the Lord in a makeshift meeting hall on 20th Street, Saskatoon or a seaside hut in Jamaica, the choice is an easy one, especially when you are twenty. Do not get me wrong, there are young people willing to dispose of their selfishness and replace it with self-fullness through Christ, no doubt.

Not knowing the status or the purpose of this young man’s trip does not change the fact that asking for money in such a way undermines the purpose if the Great Commission:

Mark 6: 7-12

And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil[a] spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveller’s bag, no money.[b] He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes. 10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” 12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. (Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.)

Oh, you did not know this is part of the plan, did you? I called up the wrong quote. Well, Matthew was not the only one talking about letting it all go to spread the glory of the Lord.

Okay, this is 2016 and a person cannot enter a country willy-nilly and all that. Proper documents are needed, shots are required, language lessons may be necessary, and yes, money is now needed to get anywhere. I understand. A former co-worker quit his job and one Sunday spoke at Richard’s church outlining the monthly needs to keep his mission plan running and the amount of funds needed to support him, his wife and six children. Richard walked out. Though I was still attending church at this time, I did not go because the whole cast of MMFI were there to show support. I would have needed good dope to attend, just to kill the need to tell my former boss to f-off.

But, I digress.

You see, there are just too many missionaries. How many souls does God really need? How many points does a denomination get for each person “saved”? From my experience, letting someone know about God and Jesus through conversation can be enough to light a fire. I know there are groups in out local areas that are mission minded, Richard and I give graciously. You know I am no longer part of the Christian group, but money given from Richard comes from his pocket, money we could use to fix our house and fix our car. Local missionaries don’t seem to respect this.

Sorry young lady, I know you will be putting your plan through the churches in Waldheim and Laird, but guess what, you’re going to have to make due with help from others.

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Filed under Ethical Treats, Fretting Muchly, Progressive Christianity, Vacation

For Fear

I had a great conversation with my brother on Thursday. My brother and I talked about the toll on the mind leaving the church takes. Though I did not get into my depression, I feel the separation from the church may actually help in my treatment. The conversations I have also had with a far-away friend may have also been a stepping stone. Prior to my decision to leave the church, I thought my two advisers come from different planets (one is a pagan and one is an atheist), but they do revolve around the same sun.

image

Colouring page courtesy of http://www.AactivityVillage.co.uk – Keeping Kids Busy. Markers courtesy of Crayola. Coloured by Wendalynn P. Donnan

Are aliens green? I don’t know. My marker collection consists of 50 colours (49 in this case, as one has dried out). Oddly enough, the range really is not diverse enough.

Kris and my friend told me that I am to focus solely on my own spiritual well-being. I cannot feel that I am letting anyone down. Both also told me to support Richard in his faith walk – I have never stopped this, not once. Richard’s faith is strong and I do not belittle it. My own questions are mine alone. My relationship with God is mine. You can chastise me for letting this go, that is fine. You have your own relationship with God, with Jesus, with the church. You need to deal with that on your own terms.

I have posted videos asking for people to comment on why they believe in Jesus even if he does not exist. I have only received two responses from my Christian brothers and sisters. My non-believer friends were the only true responders. They did not ridicule, hate, or demonise. I love them. I am now like them. It is something I am coming to terms with, and Kris told me it is going to be tough.

As Jesus is to be the Son of God, and for a man to be God he had to be knowledgeable of the beginning, middle, and end. In turn, he should have realised there are decent people in the world. Did he not notice the one-off Pharisee that may not have supported the other 99%?

Jesus, if real, seemed to me to be rather sarcastic. Maybe I feel that way because I have a tendency to be the same. For a man to be God, knowing the inner workings of his own creation, you would expect a bit more compassion. Yes, he did associate himself with the undesirable, the unwanted, the unclean (metaphorically and literally), and the unrighteous; people just like us. Not everyone understood what he was trying to say, he should have known this. He did know this.

Giving himself up for crucifixion was a way to show love. He was taking the punishment for our sins; the sins that have been committed and the sins that were going to committed. All we are to do in return is to be better people and thank him for his sacrifice. That is a lot to ask for. Kindness and compassion is a human trait, as per my observation, not church-born. Hate, love, tolerance, disparity, justice, and unfairness exist in all cultures and evident throughout human existence not just religious existence.

I have wondered for the longest time on the proof of Jesus. Without Jesus, there would be no Christianity; plain and simple. Over two billion people, in many guises, follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Was he God, or as the Son of God – human, yet divine? To put it into perspective, millions of people have seen Titanic, but that does not make it a great movie.

Lastly, I do not want any part of an organised religion that condemns Richard and I for not having children, and condemns my LGBTQ brothers and sisters a reason for existing. Apparently, a Christian family includes products of the human kind to be a true marriage. Sorry, but our lack of procreation does not make us any less Christian. The gay couple who chooses to adopt a child unwanted by a straight couple is doing God’s will and giving a home to the homeless. Single people are told to abstain, but the good church fathers (yes, most of these abominations are detailed by men) do not realise the hold they have on the souls of the single man who may have had sex with his girlfriend. Making someone feel guilty is a great way to get the numbers up on the “To Be Saved” list.

I am no longer questioning my place in the world of God.

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Filed under Contentment, Family and Friends, Fretting Muchly, LGBTQ Awesomeness, Progressive Christianity

An opinion on the article: Who killed the contemporary Christian music industry?

http://theweek.com/articles/555603/who-killed-contemporary-christian-music-industry

Richard and I saw Michael W. Smith a few years ago and he was phenomenal.

I have tried to get more into Christian contemporary music, but I find the new stuff rather wishy-washy. Jesus is not a superhero. This song along is worth its own post, but I will save my energy for things that really matter.

Though I am sure He would have supper at your house, as He did with the tax collectors and prostitutes, do not expect Him to be your best bud.

My brother owned a Petra tape back in the 1980s. I did not understand the significance of the name until recently. Even I have my moments of not-getting-it-right-away. Don’t ask me which one (from what I read) they seemed to released an album every Thursday for six years.

You know what? I don’t think I got the meaning of the name after all.

I have since given up listening to Christian music. For those that know my issues with church, the new-fangled hymns just don’t have the same power as the good ol’ rockin’ hymns about how great He art, amazing His grace is, and the wee wonderful and pretty things. I say that now, but I really need to watch what version I listen to:

I do like the odd song, not necessarily the entire artist’s repertoire. Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name”

It is a good song with a true message. It is when you get this played over, and over, and … every other Sunday. This one is not played every other Sunday:

Who killed the contemporary Christian music industry? I think it is making a song into a worship song, like Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name”, may be one of the biggest reasons, as pointed out in the article. I heard that song in the worship song set at my old church. I checked the original out on EweToob. Why does almost every good Christian song have to be sung at church? Well, most people do not listen to Christian radio. With Christian radio comes the thousand-million versions of “Amazing Grace” and “How Great is Our God”.

Though we as Christians, and I speak about Christians for this brief moment, we are to uplift the downtrodden, the persecuted, the homeless, and the forgotten. I do not know of too many contemporary Christian songs that sing about the plight of the working class like the heathen creatures Manic Street Preachers with their song “Masses Against the Classes”:

Please, someone tell me there are contemporary Christian songs about pain and hardship. It cannot all be about the glory. The grace of God and His Son Jesus is the goal, but we need to play the game to get there. There is awfulness. Why can’t these happy people see that?

They say they do see that. They say they understand things do not always go well. They try to look on the bright side of life. On the other hand, I want someone in this field of study to go all Shane Claiborne-crazy and protest stuff. This maybe make a difference through song in a way no other has before.

Oh, someone has done this before; sort of.

Horatio Spafford understood trials and loss a thousand-fold. He wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” after losing his daughters in a shipwreck in 1873. This song makes me cry because out of physical loss of his daughters, his faith (along with that of his wife who survived the accident) meant everything.

Though this is not a protest song, the source came from a hurtful moment in his life. Yes, there is a positive message – his soul is at rest knowing his God is merciful and kind through hardship.

CCMers do not understand. This misunderstanding of peopleness is what killed the contemporary Christian music industry.

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Filed under Musical Fruits, Progressive Christianity

It’s Funny When You Have Nothing to Say – Part Eye

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever)

Aroo!

You may have noticed I do not quote biblical scripture very often. There are a few folds why:

1) I have not read the Bible completely,

2) I do not know the complete historical background referenced, and

3) I do not like quoting something out of context.

Pretty basic, right? Well, not quite. As I have stated in many other guises, the Bible is not a book that can be completely understood. The book in all its wonder is never going to be completely figured out. Contradictions abound. The interpretations have caused family arguments, dissolution of churches, and misunderstandings that would never be understood. Today I am going to be touching on the first of the three points I listed above, and will do the same for the other two. I will write in greater detail how these point are affecting me in the book I am in the midst of writing. Part Eye deals a bit with Point 1.

1) I have not read the Bible completely

I do not think that is a bad thing. I stated once that the Bible should be read as a ‘book’ before it is read as the ‘Bible’, and I am guilty for not even doing that. There are parts of the Bible – mainly the Old Testament – that do not fit comfortably in my realm of fairness, but then should they? Cultural difference over time have changed the ideas and social norms; for the good and the bad. Political flavours, as at the time a number of these works were written, have influenced a number of people (this will be expanded more when I discuss Point 2). A number of sermons over the years have touched on the touchy books with some resentment and disdain. Others have been read with great joy and anticipation.

Here are a couple interesting songs I found that lays the groundwork for what is expected in the Old and New Testament sections:

The Books in the Old Testament

The Books in the New Testament

Is it wrong to read the Bible as a plain ‘book’ as I stated earlier? I think that I may be stepping of some Evangelical toes. Heck, I am probably on a few prayer lists for the number of stunts I’ve pulled recently. Don’t even get me started on Hell. I will get into Hell, but it will be through my book not here. Actually, I will be expanding this thought in a lot more detail later.

Sorry.

There have been moments where I have found passages that have inspired me to read more, some that have me seek additional material, and others that made me want to throw the darn thing out the window. Do not chastise me for saying that, I am allowed. I would allow you the same privilege. At one point, in the not so distant past, I found myself not wanting to read the Bible at all. The God I was looking for was changed into someone I did not recognise, somewhat influenced by the interpretations of some phrases in the Holy Book. I have taken up the challenge to read the Bible as a book, but I am still too afraid to read it as the Bible. Commentaries and group discussions are great ways to help get over this fear.

I hope.

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My God Has Been Taken Away From Me

I finally decided to leave my church, the church I have been attending for almost six years. I have mentioned this to Richard, who has taken this with a heavy heart, but an understanding that it is all about me.

For the last while, as you are all well aware, I have been struggling with my “faith” and the stuff that goes with it. I have been trying to read the bible, but for some reason that is making it worse. A book that is to bring comfort has been used by others to spread hatred, and I am slowly drawing away – the one thing it is not supposed to make people do.

I have been following the blogs written by Benjamin L. Corey (Formerly Fundie) and Kurt Willems (The Pangea Blog). Both men are Progressive Christians. Progressive, not liberal. The best way to define a Progressive Christian is from ProgressiveChristianity.org, as well as the Canadian version: Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity

I want a church and a God that understands the fallibility of people without the stigma and hate that goes with not being ‘part of the club’.

I have written two posts regarding my support of the LGBTQ community, and both (as I mentioned on a blog written by a Christian that happens to be gay) I removed out of guilt. Whose guilt? My inner body or the church-infused guilt? It was the guilt brought out by the question: “What if the people from my church find out?”

I now do not care.

I want a church that understands its purpose, understands the core agreement that was written for all those in the Christian church:

I believe in one God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
Begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of very God,
Begotten, not made,
Being of one substance with the Father,
By whom all things were made;
Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man,
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
And ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
Who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.
Amen.

I also want a church that says the Lord’s Prayer more than once every two years:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

I have been saying and reading these and other prayers from my copy of the Book Of Common Prayer. I am not saying that we need to go to an old-fashioned printing of a prayer book to learn and feel the presence of God, but the bible cannot be our only source for outreach. Kurt Willems wrote about the role of organization in a free-willed church, and that we may need to get some of the core back: A Liturgical-Anabaptist Worship Gathering.

I will admit this is not quite a Progressive Christian thing, as some copies of the Canadian Book of Common Prayer have the Prayer to Convert the Jews. Also, there is a chance that following a prayer book or a similar concoction will lead to Same-old, Same-old Syndrome. I just want a reminder of what we are here for.

The bible study that Richard and I were part of finished last week, and at least once in each discussion, the moderator mentioned that we are worthless to God. He, in most cases, does not need us. Then he turned and stated that God needs us to worship Him, as He is the great I Am, and deserves the praise of a grand King. We must have been worth something for Him to send Jesus to die on the cross. We have to show our love and respect for that great sacrifice.

There are other reasons why I am leaving my church. Or should I say the group of people that gather together on any given Sunday to worship. Yes, that is what I am going to say, as I did not leave the “church”. There are others, more for forward-thinking and lovers of fairness that are part of God’s church. I do not want to delve into the personal side of things until I speak to the person that made up my mind.

I do not want to be part of a church that encourages shunning, closeting, and moral punishment. Quoting Fundies (nickname for Evangelical Fundamentalists) and their mantras (and lack of historical study) is not a part of my being. The sins we commit are our own. Yes, if there is a fear of physical harm or evidence of unlawful behaviour, then we may need to approach the said offender; otherwise, leave them alone. It is not against the law to be gay, to be Roman Catholic, or to believe in evolution. Think about your own problems before you try to force-fix others. Helping when asked is far more a test of faith and proof of compassion than approaching someone in a intervention-like manner when you feel they are making a big mistake against “The Word”.

Where am going to go? Well, that I do not know.

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