You still come here? Maybe I should too…

Well hi. Been a long time… again. I lost some of my vitriol against my former faith… but lately I have run up against it more frequently and have been forming some posts in my head. I will work on them soon and update the site. I remember when I made this that I had wanted to cover religion and permaculture, self sustainability, parenting, etc and it’s only just been about my walk away from Christianity.

 

But! In the mean time enjoy Tim Minchins Christmas Song. I love it and listen to it several times a week.

 

 

And while you’re following links that I direct you to, check out what has been happening on The Bloggess. It’ll make your heart swell and eyes possibly tear up 😀

 

If I don’t blog before Christmas, may it be Merry and if you celebrate Winter Solstice like us, enjoy – the suns on it’s way back and that’s a good enough reason for me to celebrate!

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Evangelism

Do you guys know the Naked Pastor? I’ve been following him for over a year now. I love what he says about his faith both positively and negatively. And to be brutally honest, someone who can address the epically shit side of the faith has a healing effect on me. It’s acknowledgment & validation that even those from within the system can see the brutal realities of the havoc it can wreak. ❤ Naked Pastor. His honesty heals.

Prayer: Take credit for outcomes without lifting a finger!

We were discussing how nice it is to finally be in a healthy relationship. How well it had fallen into place with little friction. How dreams I have been talking about for years are finally coming to fruition. After a thoughtful pause he continued with: “Yanno what I don’t get? All this stuff is working out for you and you’re not even following God anymore!” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond so something along the lines of “I know, hey?” Came out of my mouth. Then the kicker. “It must be all the praying I am doing for you!”

I’m sorry, did he even THINK before you blurted that retarded self congratulatory comment out at me? It must be all that praying he was doing for me? So him sitting on his ass mentally considering my situation and discussing it with his deity while doing absolutely nothing in the physical material world to actually help me make my dreams come true somehow explains my success as of late. Couldn’t possibly be that I simply worked my ass off? No, no it MUST be prayer! I am so glad I now know the key to my success.

Which leads me to ranting about the ego stroking, credit taking, responsibility sherking bullshit that so often accompanies prayer. Should I first put a disclaimer in that in general I think the concept of prayer/meditation on anothers behalf can be incredibly potent, positive and uplifting? Probably not, but I will anyway so no one can accuse me of thinking the general idea is BS. Positive mental energies are never a waste of time.

However, there are aspects of prayer that infuriate me. Like the people who, whether out loud or in their own minds, congratulate themselves on a positive outcome in a situation because THEY prayed and somehow their prayer got through to  the ear of God. Or the jackasses who take the credit altogether because they prayed – “I knew it would turn out this way, I’ve been praying so hard!”. Ooooor the assholes who absolutely sherk any responsibility for responding to real life needs with real life assistance and instead think sending some prayer in the direction of the problem is a solution in and of itself. Yes, because Prayer is what found the cures for numerous diseases, and prayer is how crops get planted and prayer is how battered spouses find a way out of abusive marriages and have shelters to seek refuge in and prayer is how your child miraculously gets good grades. It has NOTHING to do with hard work, long hours, sacrifice and human strength or resilience.

I found it incredibly insulting how someone could take the credit for my hard work over the last three years and attribute it to praying to his God who I don’t even believe in. And no, it is not ok that that’s just their belief system and everything and anything good comes from their God in their opinion. If that’s the case keep your fucking opinion to yourself. Or yanno, I can start pointing out all the uber shitty things that happens in these peoples lives and be like, so… your God allowed that hey? Huh – seems kind of…uncaring? Sadistic? Cruel? But you know the response is going to be either that the Lord is testing them or that it isn’t God but Satan. Yes. Satan. Horns and all.

If a hell of a lot more people would, along side their prayers, get off their asses and get involved in the world that is going on around them just maybe the world would be a better place. I mean obviously not everyone can get involved in everything, but chugging along in ones vapid religious life with all their incredible first world luxuries that the majority of the world can’t even imagine and somehow thinking that their prayers uttered between their Egyptian cotton sheets is somehow going to make an iota of a difference in any situation from Darfur to their friends financial crisis when it isn’t followed by some kind of positive action has got to be one of the most offensive aspects of Religion for me these days.

I know! I’ll pray that these types of people see the folly of their ways and turn from them to a more productive & beneficial way of helping others – by actually DOING something.

Facing the Past

I feel like I should apologize for disappearing. I was on a thinking sabbatical. Not a sabbatical from thinking but a sabbatical TO think.

My last post was about my nostalgia for my old faith. That ended up dragging me down into my core with deep thoughts about my old faith, thoughts of spirituality and the whole rest of it. I get overwhelmed and feel like I need an answer NOW. Usually at that point, where my anxiety levels are too high for me to cope with, I remind myself that I have my whole life to figure this out.

That very morning I got an IM message from a woman I adore who is also now an apostate. She informed me a woman from our old church had died young, leaving behind a devastated husband and 2 small children aged 3 months and 2 years. I was stunned. They have no cause of death aside from the standard heart attack, which is technically what everyone dies of. She laid down for a nap and never woke up again. When my friend told me I dissolved into bits at the harsh reality of life and how quickly death can come. It was especially heart breaking because the woman who had died was so incredibly kind and gentle hearted. For all the negative christian examples out there, this woman was an incredibly positive example. She was simply a beautiful pure soul.

After finding out I immediately called another mutual friend who still attends the same church. She was in bits as well. She said through her tears that God must have a plan, that it just must have been her time and that we just had to trust God.

After I pulled myself together a few hours later I was laying down replaying the conversation in my head. I felt such disquiet. It was Gods plan and we just had to Trust him? Then I realized what was wrong with this comment and so many others I had been hearing right up until my loss of faith. So very many things said to explain God and His actions sound exactly like the victim of abuse defending their abuser. In society anyone who decreed and carried out the death of someone who was a young mother and wife would be a sadist and trusting him with that decision and carrying it out would make us certifiably insane. So why is this an acceptable justification for God? How about the many other ones that are uttered in justification or even thanks for God? About how we’re nothing without God, unable to function? About how even though He gives such incredibly hard trials (or absolutely mind numbingly bad circumstances) he must have a reason and we should trust, he is doing it for our good. Without him I am nothing, I have no worth and I can do nothing.

It all sounds like a day time drama about abuse victims who suddenly idolize their abuser.

After several days of shocked mourning I was informed last-minute of her funeral arrangements. I intensely dislike the idea of funerals. I have only been to one and avoided all others like the plague. Furthermore I did not want to go to this one because it was being held by my other church. However, even though I had lost touch with the woman who had passed away, she was such a testament to living life well and full of love and gentleness that I felt the urge to go simply to honor her. And to support my friend who originally told me because she was devastated at the news.

I hesitated for days to blog about this because it feels almost voyeuristic or inappropriate. I finally decided to because the funeral did have a big impact on me.

The thing that had a positive impact on me was hearing her sister eulogize her. That was incredible. She shared so much of her life so eloquently that I was mesmerised listening to her. I felt, not like so many do – that I wished I’d known her better, but so deeply happy that she had led such a full and happy life herself, surrounded by so many who loved her and being such an incredible influence to those around her. That woman was deeply and sincerely loved by so many and that was incredible to realize and watch them say goodbye.

The thing that had the most negative impact on me was listening to the pastor speak. It was more or less impersonal despite him having known her for 10 years. He read bible verses and spent so so much of his time speaking of her faith in such forceful terms it was as if it was the only thing that truly counted about her. I found that distasteful and yet if you ask believers they will say it WAS the single most important thing about her, because choosing to follow God is the single most important thing you can do with your life. I also found it extremely distasteful that he used the opportunity to evangelize unbelievers with the promise that if they too believed, they would see her again in heaven. Wow. Nothing like making the most of a vulnerable state of mind.

I also got the message loud and clear that if you were not a believer then you did not matter. You were nothing. Worthless. You would not know any of the peace and comfort the believers had while dealing with losing their loved one who was also a believer.

*sigh*

I do not begrudge them their solace. I never will. I just disagree with it completely. However, I find it draining to analyze their faith and their grieving process so I will move on.

For me personally, facing death that way when I usually go to significant lengths to avoid it, was liberating. I am not afraid of my own death… I am, however, not ok losing anyone around me. While occasionally I can logically reason that it is part of life and that I would want to turn my grief into a celebration of their life, other times I find the concept so frightening it paralyzes me. Do. Not. Like. Watching people mourn and let go and also letting myself mourn and saying good bye had a very liberating effect on me though and I am glad I went to honor her.

The most interesting thing for me, finally, was the realization that I have fully let my faith go. I do not hold onto even a shred of it. Nothing the pastor talked about or other believers talked about rang true to me or hit home. It was familiar but foreign. I have no issue, whatsoever, with the concept of simply ceasing to exist. I find the fact that my body will be consumed by the earth and re purposed for whatever nature deems necessary to be a deeply comforting reality. I have no qualms with mortality and not living forever in heaven. That my body will be reused to create more life is honor enough for me. The only way I now seek to live on is in memories of everyone I love and that when I leave, the ones I leave behind know how deeply and fiercely I loved them and they carry that with them til their own end. I want to be mourned and celebrated at my death for being exactly who I am and all I care to leave behind is a legacy of intense love.

Omg how cheezey eh? It’s true though 🙂

I drove home after that feeling intensely free. I saw what I could have been a part of and it held no sway for me anymore. I went home and laid in my hammock and watched the sunset feeling a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and was happier than I had been in a long time.

RIP D. Your memory will be well honored. ❤

Sing Alleluia

With Jennifer Knapp, a successful Christian folk singer, coming back into the spotlight after a 7 year hiatus and openly discussing the fact that she is a lesbian (I really, really wish her all the best and admire her incredible strength in taking a stand that she is a lesbian and still a Christian. So much love and respect for that) got me listening to her music. I found one called Sing Alleluia that she sings with Mac Powell of Third Day. I used to adore Third Day.

Listening to the song made me really nostalgic and incredibly sad that my faith died under scrutiny. I so believed in what I thought Jesus stood for and serving a God who was all about social justice gave me such purpose in life.

Now I just fight for social justice on my own. I just miss believing there was a God who gave a shit.

/nostalgic moment

Own it Baby! Work it! *Snaps fingers*

Oh, lol… I do amuse me.

Digression done away with, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about walking away from Christianity. I realize one of the most powerful aspects of leaving my faith behind was finally being allowed to own my feelings. To experience them, keep them, work through them, etc.

What I mean by that is when walking the walk of an evangelical pentecostal Christian, every single emotion/inner experience that you have is given away.

For example:

Grief – say if you were sad because your Mum died – Aw hunny don’t be sad, she’s with Jesus, give your grief to the Lord!

Depressed – You’re not experiencing the victory of Christ! Grasp His victory on the cross!

Angry – The devil is aggravating you, trying to get you to sin. OR! It could be that you’re experiencing Righteous Anger and the Lord is prompting you to action! (You mean like shooting an abortion Doctor?)

Frustrated – Oh this one is fun. It could be because you’re being rebellious and not submitting to God. It could be because Gods put something on your heart He wants you to fix for Him in the world/church/neighborhood, etc.  It could be because God is making you aware of something in your life He wants you to fix about yourself.

Horny – TEMPTED! (If you can’t control that and stay celibate like Paul, then Marry! Marry quickly so you can get your rocks off!)

Happy – The Lord has given you joy!!! Be grateful!

Devastated – The Lord is testing you, but tut tut, take comfort, He’ll never give you more than you can bear.

Anxious – Whatever you’re anxious about you should be giving to the Lord for Him to deal with.

Connection with Something – God has put that something on your heart.

Desire or Yearning for Something – God has put that on your heart because that is where you can do the most good and honor Him.

Jealous – Satan is fuckinwitchu again.

See what I mean? And because you’re so focused on handing over your emotions, wants or needs to God or trying to decipher what God is using your emotions/wants/needs to tell you, there is probably little chance you’re actually sitting and working through any of them. You never fully FEEL anything. What does it mean, what does God want, what is God telling me with this, repent, repent – you’re tempted!!! Fuck that’s exhausting. And a fabulous tool for repression.

When your feelings, wants, needs, desires and thoughts are constantly being attributed to Satan or God or having to be handed over to God you never actually get to know yourself. You never actually stay with the any of it, unpack it, face it, confront it, indulge it, sort through it. And what is even scarier and more exhausting is that so many people claim to be authorities on these topics, you can literally go insane trying to find the “right” answer that you end up like an inbred pedigree dog chasing your own tail until you slam into a door frame.

But that, my non-as-of-yet-existent blog readers, is why so very many depend so heavily on God. He becomes the protective screen so nothing is actually felt or dealt with or even taken responsibility for. I can see why people need that. I don’t judge at all. I just couldn’t hack it anymore. Call me a glutton for punishment but I wanted the ability, better or worse, to experience all that stuff in it’s best and worst and work through it myself and make my own fucking decisions about what it all meant, if anything. And if God is real and I walked away, that is still going to be my answer on my judgment day.

Personally speaking I was overwhelmed but relieved to feel/want/need/engage. It was like getting my senses back. With that came my instincts. Oh how I love my precious precious instincts. The ones I had been taught and encouraged to ignore for years and years. The ones, when acceptable, were attributed to God and when unacceptable were attributed to Satan. “I like this church” “OMG God has led you here!!!” or “Dude I am getting a bad vibe about this” “Oh goodness, you’re Spirit of Rebellion is gaining a foothold!”

I call bullshit.

I have an ex (christian fundie) boyfriend who loved visual analogies. Because I was divorced and he was a crystal clear virgin, his analogy for our relationship was as follows: Mountain has a pristine white castle upon it with a road running away from it to a field which eventually got darker, wetter and muddier. Eventually it turned into a sticky, disgusting bog swamp. Him and his family were up in the castle. Me? I was roooolling like a pig in the mud in the bog swamp. I was tainted and dirtied in my pain, emotions, experiences and *gasp* my sins. He thought I was neat but was desperately trying to figure out a way to send in a hazmat team to extract me from my filth. You can see why this relationship didn’t last.

Still. I took something away from that. That swamp? Is authenticity. Now I revel in it. I don’t want that filter to protect me from feeling, wanting, needing, paying attention to my instincts, etc. Especially since most of it is someone elses projection onto you and how unhealthy is that when they’re filtering feeling anything themselves? It’s like a circle jerk of repression, control and manipulation.

I love the freedom of wallowing in whatever comes up out of me for better or worse. I love not having to try and submit it to God or repent for it or seeking some elder or deacon or pastor to interpret it for me. Because I don’t believe any of it is from God or Satan. I believe it’s just stupid human me with all my glorious experiences, wounds, feelings, needs, wants, conditioning, traumas, passions, etc.

It might just be the best part of breaking free for me.

My inability to stfu.

Why am I here?

I am here because of my inability to keep my mouth shut anymore.

Ten years ago this month I made a commitment to Jesus. I became a born again Christian. I went to church and soaked up the welcome.

Previous to this I can wholeheartedly say I was no where near a path to Christianity. In fact I was on a path to becoming a fierce little activist. Now I can clearly see I would have been on a path to becoming a feminist and fighting for social justice.

What happened? I have no fucking idea.

I think ultimately I got discouraged from being told I was too mouthy, too opinionated, too argumentative, that I thought too much or was too contrary. I was 16, a baby and sadly saw acceptance in group think and off I went. I mourn that decision and the lack of strength and support I had.

However. Water under a fucked up bridge.

Fast forward ten years and I’ve been through a LOT of stuff. An abusive marriage. Both physical and that sickeningly insidious emotional stuff. Birth Trauma. Ill health. Rape. Divorce.  Depression. Bulimia.

Omfg that list is enough to make anyone cringe.

All of those things occurred in my life while I followed the Son of God. I accepted many of them under horseshit spiritual guises. God was trying me. God was testing me. God was only giving me as much trials and tribulations as I could handle. I accepted the rest because of fear and insecurity. I thought to myself, it isn’t THAT bad. I must have done something to deserve it. My suffering is nothing compared to x, y and z. I must submit! I must pray harder.

Bla bla fucking bla.

The things we tell ourselves in a desperate attempt not to face the truth in life.

When I was raped I didn’t call it what it was for over a year. After a year I only whispered it to 3 people. 3 years later if I hear a rape joke I am apt to tell you “Hey, that’s not fucking funny. Why? Because I was raped. Is it funny now?”

When I was abused, I fell silent. I did not speak out. I did not fight back. I didn’t think what was happening was right but I was so isolated I felt I had no other choices. When I was physically attacked I knew every god damn thing every pamphlet I had ever seen told me to do in case of physical abuse, but I didn’t. Because of fear. Because of spiritually submitting to my husband. For fear of besmirching his name. For fear of retaliation. For fear of losing my child.

When I was spiritual abused… I was already starting to snap. In fact it could have been the straw that broke the camels back. I was told as a divorcee even though God didn’t blame me for the divorce nor hold it against me (gee, thanks!), I could never remarry as I would be committing adultery. Fabulous. So single struggling mother who must not only spend a life alone after being abused but be condemned to a poverty trap and a social outcast. Gotcha. Fanks Jesus.

I began to question. Everyone had a different story. Which was true? I went to the beginning. Was the Bible the Word of God? That’s where I got stuck. After a year of research and deep deep contemplation I realized I, personally, could not accept the Bible as the infallible word of God. And if I couldn’t accept it as the Word Of God then I was bullshitting myself by calling myself a Christian anymore. I adopted the title of Agnostic. An apostate.

Suddenly I was free. Free to question. Free to ask all the questions I had been ignoring while I reveled in my cognitive dissonance. Free to reject. Free to dig deeper. Free Thought. What a gift.

I also had to face the discriminations and abuses I ignored or justified away while following Jesus. Discrimination against the LGBT community. Against those of other faiths. Against… fuck I am ashamed. There are too many. Awhile ago I reposted this and was like… soooo everyone… this is what I wish I could write as elegantly. Read This

And that brings me why I am here. I am here because I refuse to allow cognitive dissonance in my life anymore. I am here because as much as I deeply believe in self sustainability and eco-friendly and organic and family and bla bla bla I also believe in social justice, feminism, equal rights/human rights, etc. I always did. I just lost my god damn voice along the way and I am ashamed of myself for that. And so now, I refuse to STFU. I want a life ideology that is whole. Whole for my family, whole for me, whole for my community, whole for the world. I am still sorting through this but basically that wholeness means standing up against inequality, against sexism and racism and against so many -isms, against the destruction of our earth, against corporate greed, against discrimination, against people dying in a war for oil, against patriarchy, against bullshit and tyranny and abuse and lies to keep the sheeple docile and in line while we all suffer so a tiny portion can profit (and forfeit their souls). And for family and for individuals rights and for REAL education and for choice and for communities and for justice.

Why blogging? Because it’s what I can do right now. With limited options and the responsibility of raising a child, this is what I can do right now. So I am doing it.

I am opinionated. I will question. I will debate. I do think too much. I will learn. And I’m doing it all out loud and refusing to stfu anymore. The topics will be far reaching and varied. Lets hope it makes some kind of difference.

~GP