Monday, April 25, 2011

knowingly blasphemous

It’s been a rainy couple of days. While I couldn’t live in such weather for long, I love it at times like these. It ushers in the same cozy feeling that it did back in Missouri (sans lightening storms, sadly). Just wanna curl up with a book and drift away. Then again, when don’t I want to do that?
Easter weekend was wonderful. I spent a ton of time with my family and got some of my favorite pictures of Gavin. And, you know me, getting a good picture qualifies as a successfully great time, regardless of the actual events preceding.
A few weeks ago, a new friend inquired if Easter was a struggle for me—due to church, God, ect. Mostly brought on by the conversation around “The Shack.” I said no. Turns out, I was wrong. Church was rather miserable yesterday. On one hand, it took everything in me to sit through the service. On the other, I was appalled at my own rudeness. I kept it in check, but it was very hard to keep my thoughts and reactions to myself. I didn’t have any new thoughts, and there was nothing I haven’t already spoken of here, but it was nearly impossible to not scoff audibly.
While I hate to actually say some of the things I’m about to say, while I’m going to sugar-coat some of the things I’m going to say, while my thoughts aren’t fully formed, these are some of the scariest thoughts for me. There is much I don’t mind questioning about God, religion, faith, etc. This area (the resurrection) is rather terrifying and crushing to be cynical over. I have no problem with dying and coming back to life. For some reason, that makes total sense to me. We’re talking about God here, why would that be a struggle?
For a couple years now, I keep coming back to: He made the rules. He knew exactly what would happen. He set it up.
He knew Adam and Eve would do what they did. He set up the rules to be separated from Him, and in turn made the plan of salvation. He’s the one that required a blood sacrifice; no one else came up with that rule. He’s the one that put the tree in the garden with a No-No sign. He’s the one that created man, who, it seems is faulty according to Him (which, if you question that aspect, you’re blind. Look around. We’re pretty faulty.). On and on and on. I don’t like the thought of Jesus’ crucifixion. I don’t like that my actions/choices/sins put him there. However, He made the rules and then plays the martyr (even as I type that, I cringe and feel damnable). However, to me, it’s true, it’s where I am with things—call a spade a spade, be honest with where I am. And again, there isn’t one person I love that I can’t see myself dying for. If it would save Gavin, then nail me to a cross, do whatever you want to me. Truly. And even beyond that, I can’t see myself choosing life if it were even some kid I don’t know that they were telling me they were going to throw in a fiery pit if I didn’t sacrifice myself. If I think I would do it, how much more would I expect God to do it. And I didn’t even make the damned rules! If there were some being or power that were here before God, or there were some limitations to God, then I could accept it, be thankful for it, understand that He is operating out of a system that is beyond His control and he did everything he could do within that system to redeem those he love. But if my dad would have said if you break this rule, that will cause me to stand in front of a careening semi, that’s his bad for being smashed, not mine. As horrible as that is, that’s kinda how I see all of this anymore. And, to be honest, I hate that I see it that way (which, by the way, it so far from any issues with gay, not gay, yada, yada—they don’t connect at all—except maybe for the fact of where the questioning began and where it has come to now).
Of course, we all know I hate sermons too. 98% of them I could do better in my sleep or have heard a billion times and each time am expected to act as if it is a revelation that shatters the world. Even yesterday, the reasons the pastor presented were three fold. I don’t think I remember all of them. 1. Someone told him. 2. It’s documented (not exactly right, but that was the gist). 3. He’s experienced it. Well, all those are great, but are true about every religion. Someone told him—he spoke that that’s how we learn everything, someone told us. We didn’t arrive at the knowledge of gravity on our own. We were told. Documented. Proof that Columbus sailed to America in 1492. Documented. He’s experienced God. Self-explanatory.
Seriously? That’s the best he could come up with for an Easter service? Really? Someone has told him? That’s hardly the proof for anything. Who cares what someone tells you? Trust me, by now, my palms should be hairy and I should be blind. Maybe I really am in the huge of state of denial. Maybe I can’t see at all, except to French braid the hair on my hands. And, documented? It was also documented that the Earth was flat. By the church even! And he’s experienced God? Well, me too! However, I am willing to bet that damned al-qaeda fucker believed in his own experiences with god as he flew his plane into the towers.
I have respect for intelligent arguments and proof. I have equal respect (truly, maybe even more) for simply saying, ‘I believe this with everything in me and nothing can convince me that it’s otherwise’—delusional or not. However, brainless reasoning that a three year old would question makes me nauseous! Again, I know these are my own issues, and each one was triggered during that excruciatingly torturous hour (if I’d been allowed to laugh without hurting my family, it would have been rather fun—in a painful way). Again, I am left with this fact. I don’t know who God is or what all is true about Him. I feel I know more (feel more) about what isn’t true than what is. That, once again, I am left with this: I’ve gone too far with Him to go back. That I trust him, even thought I don’t understand him, even though he slay me. However, I must admit, that my him, apparently, is not the same him that others talk/preach about.


Cheeseburgers and Pajamas said...

B, you can truely get overwhelmed if you try to dysect all the aspects that we humans want to know about God and Jesus (I'm not talking about religion). Something that has helped me is to realize that uncountable filters have been applied to these subjects. This means that stories etc. have been changed over time to fit the needed message at the time. What does this mean? Well, I decided a while ago that I can have whatever relationship with God & Jesus that I WANT. Not what everyone else says. This has really helped me when I hear stories that contradict what a kind and loving God is about. So, MY God and I get along well. I just need a clear mind and honest feelings. I realize you have had a somewhat unique experience, but take anything out of this that might help.

Anonymous said...

God can handle blasphemy...people can't! God can handle questions... people can't! God can handle disbelief...people can't! In the end, God can handle it all...we're the ones who struggle!!

Scott said...


Whew, there’s a lot in that one…too much to show due respect on here, but I do have some off the cuff thoughts.

1)Regarding “Again, I am left with this fact. I don’t know who God is or what all is true about Him. I feel I know more (feel more) about what isn’t true than what is.” You know much of my own confusion, but one thing I’ve heard from older wiser men and can believe is “There is a God and I’m not Him.” I don’t mean that to sound trite in any way. It just means that there are mysteries around a being like God that I don’t presently understand and may never and it’s okay to live in mystery. C&P, if I can respectfully disagree with you, sounds like some of your comments are making your god in your own image. While I agree that I don’t have to listen to everything other people may say about God, I do have to try to find Him for who He is (much wiser than me) and not who I want Him to be. C&P, I don’t know you so please disregard if I’m off-base.

2)I think some of your thoughts are confused by “the show” you saw at church yesterday….i.e. you were distracted by the people (the Christians) rather than the real purpose of gathering. I grew up only going to church on Christmas and Easter and even as a little kid had the sense that those days in particular were watered down to “a show” to (supposedly) make people feel comfortable. A few years ago at Christmas, the pastor at my parents church talked mainly about Golum…from Lord of the Rings. What the fat? I didn’t go to church yesterday for a number of reasons, but in the past I haven’t gone on Easter because it’s too much like Mother’s Day…it becomes about honoring mothers (which isn’t wrong) rather than honoring God. I think you’re looking too much at the physical.

3)Speaking of the physical, the whole middle part of your writing about “the rules”, and your willingness to sacrifice for others, and the crucifixion,…I think you are focusing too much on the external/physical there too. The movie “The Passion of the Christ” is based on the Catholic Stations of the Cross which has been used for centuries because it’s what our human nature can relate to…the gory, awful, physical pain…but that is just a sliver, an illustration, of the emotional and physical pain that was going on behind the scenes as Christ was separated from God on our behalf.
You know that I’ve been dealing with some physical back pain daily for the past year, but what causes me to stay awake at night, to cry, to not be able to function, is emotional and spiritual pain brought on by broken/separated relationships. Why would God be any different? This is one of the things that causes me to get all up-tight and emotional at church…I sense a broken relationship with God and don’t know what I can do to “fix it” at this point.

You know that I don’t have any more answers than you and that these are just thoughts, but then so is your blog, so know that I appreciate you sharing this confusing and personal stuff!

Take care buddy!


Cheeseburgers and Pajamas said...

Hey Scott, I think my comments were not articulated they way I intended. Just to clarify: I have not tried to creat God in my image. I just feel that I try to weed out all the "show" and listen to what God brings. I am amazed what God has to say when I pay attention. I agree with you that B has a lot to say on this topic. B, this is such a personal issue and I hope you find your way through it all.