Too many thoughts, too little time.

Posts tagged ‘God’s plan’

Not What We Expected

I have taken a long, obstacle strewn, tiring course path to Christianity. I’ve shunned God, fought him, ignored him, questioned everything.

And at some point, I met a guy, one who claimed to be Christian, but seemed to pick and choose what to follow. And one day, I confessed to that man what I felt was my biggest sin, my biggest failure yet, and that man held me while I cried, and told me it was ok. He told me that while he didn’t agree with my choices, he wouldn’t throw the first stone. And, finally…I got it. It clicked. That was the turning point for me. I believe in God, I love trying to be the kind of person I think God wants me to be…Christianity and religion though, I’m still struggling with. And, I think that’s ok. We were not commanded to be religious.

We grew up some more, and I married that man. Who has continued to show true love to me, through my mistakes and missteps. And, it makes it a lot easier to forgive him too. But, Brad had been spoon-fed religion from a very young age. I am cautious here because I don’t want to sound like I’m insulting him, I’m not trying to, and I think he understands that. But, he never seemed to mature into his own spirituality. I have always questioned everything, Brad questioned nothing. When I went to church with him, I kept asking why, and he didn’t know, but, he knew he was told to believe this and that was good enough for him. I asked why he never questioned, and he basically never thought about it. When you grow up in a bubble, how do you know there is anything to question? It reminds me a bit of The Truman Show. All these odd things going on, but, they are normal to him.

He can quote you a lot of verses. But, his being fed in church and by his mother what to think resulted in a very different interpretation than I got while I screamed at God for answers and read portions of the Bible while muttering “This is a bunch of stupid, bull crap, don’t even understand the point.” (And yes, Brad will tell you I’m the only person he’s ever known to cuss during a prayer. I am horribly irreverent.) And eventually, those different interpretations became conversations. I could counter anything he said. I never cared much about changing his mind, I just wanted to know his mind. Not the party line. Talk after talk and Brad learned, he didn’t know what he believed. He believed in God, but outside of that…

So, this past year, I feel like I’ve found my feet a bit better. I have tried not to worry about every little thing I am “supposed” to be doing, and instead, focused on the two things Jesus said, Love God, love others. If I’m doing those things, then I think I’m doing alright. While I was finding how to live what I believed, Brad has been learning to figure out what he believes. He grew up in a very legalistic church, and his parents were even more so than the church. There is a lot of room for grace in my life, but, his only had room for rules and regulations. You had to be perfect, but only the SDA’s version of perfect. It’s leading to a lot of interesting discussions, because, Brad learned God was a God of fire and brimstone, who was looking for reasons to cast people into Hell, that good wasn’t good enough. And, I found a friend, and those versions clash pretty regularly.

Anyway, Brad has slowly started to see some merit in my beliefs, and sometimes, I think even if he doesn’t agree with me he can’t see a reason not to, so he goes along with it just to see how it works out. And, we’ve caught some flak for it. I can think of many times the people who are “better” Christians than we are have either outright attacked my beliefs or have spoken incredibly harsh words, not knowing, I was the person they hated so much. Brad was raised to believe everything he is now, everything he does now, is a sin. That he is a bad person for watching football or playing video games, or wearing jeans on the rare occasion we go to church, or enjoying a nice steak after a hard day’s work. It is all going to count against him when he dies. When we’ve tried to share our views, we are shot down immediately.

Yesterday, my husband said something I found incredibly profound

I grew up knowing the verse that as a Christian there would be misunderstanding and ‘persecution’ for my beliefs. I was always taught that it would come from ‘those people’ in the ‘world’. I didn’t realize that as I tried to align my life more with what God said, rather than what people interpreted Him to say, that more of the persecution would actually come from other Christians.

And, yes, that is exactly what he said, I know because he texted it to me rather than said it.

Don’t get me wrong, neither of us consider the rude comments and judgmental attitudes to be “persecution” but, it’s interesting that the worst response we’ve gotten has been from Christians. Both of us have a different best friend, both best friends are atheists, and we’ve actually never offended them. Talked, debated? Sure, but nobody has ever gotten angry.

So, I got a book for Christmas, called Sacrilege by Hugh Halter. I read 3/4 of it the day I got it, then put it down. Yesterday morning, Brad made the comment to me, about the persecution coming from other Christians. I was waiting for my computer to charge last evening, and picked up my book again. Chapter 11 began with Matthew 5:10-12.

Blesses are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blesses are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted you they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I think anyone raised in the church has heard this before. So, I continued reading, without giving it much thought. Until the second page of chapter 11, where the author begins to talk about how all Christians know this verse, and they use it to pat themselves on the back when anyone doesn’t like them. They shout “You’re going to hell, Sinner” and when the object of their words doesn’t invite them to dinner or doesn’t immediately drop everything to head to church with the Christian, then this is proof positive they are doing it right. When you tell one of the “Jerks for Jesus” how you really feel about them, that’s how they know they are building “treasure in heaven”.  And, then, the author goes on to ask, who did most of the judging and persecuting of Jesus? The religious leaders, the other religious people. They hated him. He didn’t follow all the rules they had set up, and he was hated for it.

I had never heard this viewpoint before, that it was the “good” Christians who would do the persecuting, and now, I hear it twice in the same day. I am not hated for my beliefs, but my beliefs are hated. I am actually generally liked. I guess, for now, I am choosing to believe I am on the right path. Non-Christians like me just fine. And, I guess that’s a good thing, I’ll hang out with the tax collectors and prostitutes. They don’t seem to be real upset. If I’m wrong, I’m not hearing anything from the Christians I haven’t heard a million times before. If I’m right, than maybe I’ll do some good.

And, I can’t help but think of all this, and remember…that I was the unbeliever, who saw God in the actions of a man who was doing it all “wrong”. Maybe it was all wrong. He loved me, unconditionally, and that was what I needed. And, I’ll do that for others…even though I cuss too much, and sometimes show to much cleavage, and am just quite a bit less than perfect.

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I’m back

I haven’t posted in awhile, I’m sorry. I started a new blog, and traffic there has been amazing, and I’ve neglected this one. I’ve been caught up in the excitement of the new one. Here I’ve had about 800 views in 8 months, which is better than I expected, but on my other one, I have had 500 views in 6 weeks.

Anyway, this post doesn’t fit on the other blog, so, I’m here. I am also going to be writing a catch up post after this one, so, it will be two posts in one day.

I feel bad. I really do. Aussie was happy when we met. It seemed to be an ignorance is bliss kind of thing. I felt things didn’t add up. I questioned, I asked, I talked, I say “Why?” a lot. And, he started to grow, he started to look at things differently, he started to see how unhealthy some things from his past had been, and he’s become such a better man out of it. His relationship with his father has grown closer. These are all good things, but, he doesn’t even talk to his mom anymore, or really anyone else in his family. He is hurt by this. He breaks down once in awhile, when he thinks about everything…so…have I really been good for him? Or, is ignorance really bliss. If you are taught your entire life the sky is green, if you are kept from anyone who would change your mind, if you spend your whole life with really no reason to question any of this, then have I really been helpful in coming to you with my books, and my logic and my thoughts in convincing you it’s really blue? I’m not saying he isn’t happy now, but the growth put him through a lot of pain.

And, this past weekend, I’ve done it again. I’ve made him question his faith. He says I didn’t He says I’ve helped to make his faith stronger than ever, I’ve made him question his religion. And, is that a bad thing? In my opinion, if it’s true, then there is no harm in questioning it. If it isn’t, then it needs questioned. I hold to this opinion, he says he does too, but, I have a hard time understanding how you never question it on your own in 22 years. I was raised in a church too, and I’ve questioned and asked, and researched  and left, and come back, and tried different churches, different religions. I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying I don’t understand never questioning.

When we met, he lied to me about what he did on Saturday mornings. He didn’t want me to know, he didn’t want my questions. He lied about going to church. And, I understood, kind of. It’s the same reason I don’t volunteer that I home school the kids, it’s too “weird”, too many misconceptions, most the time I don’t feel like explaining myself, so, I don’t say it. He felt the same way. He didn’t actually lie, he misled. When I found out he was a Seventh Day Adventist, I started researching it. A lot of the info says it’s a cult. But, he doesn’t SEEM like a cult member. (though, how does one recognize one? I don’t know) I decided to go to church with him anyway. I liked the sermons given by the main pastor, and I continued. I didn’t agree on some of the theology, but, I didn’t think it was worth making a fuss over.

Last Sat. I went with him to church again, and there was a guest speaker. He was passionate and charming, and had 99% of the church yelling “Amen” at the end of every statement. And, had me about to walk out. I was so angry. We finally got out of church and I was livid, I yelled at Aussie and I sat in the jeep shaking. I couldn’t even come up with words.

 

If you are going to use the Bible as your primary source, then FOLLOW THE BIBLE. Don’t insert your own crap. He talked so fast, and so charming. The little old lady next to me was trying to take notes, and couldn’t keep up, she just joined in the chorus of “Amen”. If you are going to preach, then you have an obligation to not lie. To not make up things. I couldn’t help but think there was a room full of people, taking what he said as truth, because he was behind the pulpit. He LIED. I was SO mad.

And, I thought I shouldn’t let one rogue preacher make me throw the baby out with the bath water, so, I began reading. I remembered those things I originally found, the things I researched before. And, I was on a mission. I found document after document that said the same things this man was saying.  I asked Aussie if he was SDA because he believed it, or because he was raised that way, and after several minutes of silence, he told me he didn’t know.  I showed him the things I found, and he assured me, that he didn’t believe THAT. But, all the  that he didn’t believe were what made SDA what they were and not, I don’t know, Baptists. He was saying he believed 1-10, but not 11-20. Well, that’s lovely, but, would you risk your life on a doctor with a record of 50% who survived surgery?

Now we are into the theological and philosophical stuff. Can I in good conscience continue to attend with him? Why would I even want to go to a church, whose core beliefs state I’m going to hell because I’ve accepted the mark of the beast? Can you create a good religion out of the lies and the delusions of one woman? Out of a prophecy with a 1% success rate? If you only believe the same things every other Christian religion believes, and you ignore the things that make you a member of the SDA denomination, why pretend to be a SDA? I’m not saying you have to agree with every word that comes out of your preacher’s mouth, but, there is a difference between allowing people some freedom to believe differently on semantics, and preaching everyone who doesn’t believe the crap that ISN’T EVEN WRITTEN, is going to hell. My church has never said I would go to hell if I only went to Wed. night church. If I married a Lutheran, etc.

So, now, I am sure this is not the place for me, and poor Aussie has had the rug pulled out from under him again. He doesn’t know which way is up. He says he needs to do his own research and I hope he does. But, for right now, I feel bad. I feel like I have ruined every core belief he’s had for over 20 yrs. And, is that ok? Or am I right to feel bad? I didn’t even mean to.

Not Everyone Fits Into Your Mold

Looks about right to me.

I was at the library today doing my usual walk through.

Step 1. Return the books I could have sworn I returned last week.

Step 2. Browse the mystery “fluff”. You know, the cheap soft cover books you buy at garage sales for $0.50.

Step 3. Stumble upon the true crime section. Decide which serial killer you want to read about this week, because no week is complete without at least one night where you get up 7 times to make sure you locked the doors.

Step 4. Remember that the library is actually a good place to learn things, and might help with this whole homeschooling thing. Find the education section.

Step 5. Remember why you avoid this section.

I wanted a book, something like “What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know”. I am trying to get a plan in place for this school year, something that will tell me “if your kid doesn’t know how to read Dr Seuss by the end of the year, you’re doing something wrong.”

I do not need “Why Public School Damages Your Child.” I don’t need “The Biblical School Year”. I don’t want “Teaching Your Kids God’s Way.” I don’t care about “Good Answered to Common Arguments!” I also don’t need any of the 75 variations of “School Your Child For FREE!”

I don’t care to read the first 3 chapters about how you met your husband and married him the day you turned 18 so you could become a baby factory, as is “God’s plan” for your life. I don’t care about the next 2 chapters where the author makes sure to remind us, over and over, to utilize our husband’s brilliance and have him help, or even send the kids to work with him for the day, for “real world experience” I don’t care to be warned about the dangers lurking on the internet for both our immature child and our easily led into temptation husbands.  I am not concerned with a book written in  comic sans being my reminder I should go to church whenever the doors are unlocked, and I also am not worried about the fact my sons have “girl” chores, like unloading the dishwasher.

I am bothered by the assumption that EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON who chooses to home school their children is obviously a married, broke, stay at home mother, whose husband has a 9-5 job and is a conservative Christian.

We’re starting our 4th year of this. I have been a single mom for all of it so far, though, that does change this year. I’ve been a working mom for a lot of it as well. I’ve been a full time student through at least half of it. I didn’t have all day everyday to devote to making sure they recited prayers correctly. Now, I’m married. My husband is brilliant. And, he doesn’t really get a chance to help me, because he’s never home. I suppose I could send the kids to work with him, but, that involves 3 plan tickets, a week away, and not even getting to see most of it, due to privacy laws.

I don’t wish to argue with people about how they should/should not teach their kids. I don’t care to hear about the “evil” public school system, because, I already made my decision, I don’t need further convincing. I hate the condescending tone of most “answers to arguments” books. No, I don’t think I am going to help make people understand when my response to “What about socialization?” is “I know, why don’t you let your kids be around more people of varying ages? Obviously, your kids are anti-social.” I want to know what the state requires of me, and what they expect of the kids. I want to know what skills will help advance them in life, I honestly do not care about doing this “God’s way”, mainly because I think most people who make that claim know as much, if not less than I do. Unless they have a divine telephone and God’s direct extension number, they don’t know!

As far as doing it for free, don’t get me wrong, I like a good deal as much as the next person. But, if all I was concerned about was the cost of my kid’s education, I would send them to public school, that my tax dollars have already paid for. And guess what? “Wait for back to school sales!” is not exactly ground breaking new information.

And for all the “my husband is head of the house” writing, there is a lot of things that imply your husband is just another kid, but this one brings home a paycheck. No, I have more respect for my husband than that. I don’t need to ban everyone in the house from the internet because the call of the XXX is too strong for his man brain to resist. He knows how I feel about this sort of thing, I trust him to respect my feelings, and so far, he has.  I go to church because I enjoy it, I take the kids. I don’t think it is necessary to have reading practice for my 3rd grader be Proverbs, when I am trying to instill a love of reading in him, and his attention is held much better by the “All About Ferrari” book. We have managed to have some lovely child led philosophical and theological discussions, that I don’t think could have been planned into our day.

Maybe I should write a book. A book for non-super religious, slightly off traditional families who home school. One that is for tips, info and resources, but doesn’t assume that I am a conservative Christian, that doesn’t assume I hate public schools, that doesn’t assume I want to change anyone’s mind. Maybe one that doesn’t assume everyone is married with a minimum of 3.5 kids and a husband who is only slightly more intelligent than the average idiot, but, who you obey because God says so.  But, days like today, I feel there is a market of one for that book, and why would I need to buy it if I wrote it?

Birth Control Laws

I’m sure you’ve heard about the controversy requiring  that free birth control be included in health plans provided to employees of schools, charities and hospitals connected to religiously affiliated institutions. I personally think this is a good thing, but the Catholic Church doesn’t agree with me. They claim this requirement violates freedom of religion.

How?

They aren’t forcing you to put birth control in the water supply of the unknowing sluts. And that is really the part that bothers me most, that there seems to be this assumption if you are using birth control you are a slut. Because all married woman are perfectly happy to have as many children in a row as they can get. Anyway, back on topic. If birth control violates your religious beliefs, don’t take it. Pretty simple actually. However, it doesn’t violate MANY people’s religious beliefs. It doesn’t even weigh too heavily on the conscience of about 90%+ of Catholic woman.It seems to only offend men.

My other issue here is MANY woman take birth control pills for reasons other than to prevent conception. The Catholic Church has decided to accept this reason. I really don’t understand this. So, birth control to stop babies=bad, but birth control to stop babies AND make periods less traumatic=good? Either it is wrong or it isn’t. Anyway, maybe it’s God’s plan you have debilitating periods, deal with it. (Please know I am using sarcasm! I wish their was a sarcasm font.) And, I don’t take BC, I wouldn’t. My family seems to have a bad reaction to hormonal birth control. And, I am lucky enough not to need it for the stereotypical medical reasons, however, I have many other reasons, and I don’t think it should be up to the church to decide if my reasons or valid. Let’s see…why don’t I want more babies? 1. I have giant babies, I really do. And on a 5’3″ frame, an 11 pound, 24 inch newborn is hard! 2. I have difficult pregnancies, followed up by c-sections. With my oldest I was on bed rest, with my younger one, I couldn’t leave the house alone because I would just randomly pass out if I stood up and stood still too long. I would pass out while waiting to pay for my groceries. 3. I am miserable the whole time, I HATE being pregnant. 4. I puke, for like, 6 months. With both kids I weighed less when they were born than when they were conceived. Which is saying something when one of them was almost 11 pounds. 5. Finally, I am in love with an amazing man, who will most likely be my husband within the next year (ok 350 days, but who’s counting?), and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. Now, if I don’t want more kids, I don’t think he is going to very appreciative of his new wife turning down sex every time she doesn’t want a baby. Because that is always. Not only for the reasons I already mentioned, but also because, having a baby with Aussie basically means I am a single mom of this baby. I will be handling sleepless nights, and crying and screaming, and midnight feedings, and 2 other kids who need my attention all day, all by myself 5 days and nights a week. But, the church wants to tell me these are not good enough reasons to have access to birth control??

And, the argument against BC is that it interferes with God’s plan. I don’t know about your God, but mine is powerful enough to get around my birth control pill, a condom, and even the fact I have my tubes tied if he is so inclined. So, why bother using anything at all then, if I feel this way? Well…I also believe when it is my time to go, it’s my time to go, I still look both ways before I cross the street. It’s my job to take the precautions, if it doesn’t work, then I can figure out why and what now. I don’t just play real life Frogger across the interstate, I don’t think it is God’s job to protect me from my own stupidity.

I don’t think you can say “I’m against abortion” and “I’m against birth control” in the same breath.

I just cannot fathom this whole “well, don’t have sex if you don’t want a baby” attitude. I don’t want a baby, I like sex, and so does Aussie, seems pretty unbiblical to me, once we are married to deprive my husband of sex permanently because we never want a baby. (and yes, you all can feel free to laugh at me, when 5 yrs from now we are panicking because we changed our minds) but anyway, again, when I only get to see my future husband 100 days a year, until he retires, I am not really willing to follow natural family planning rules, turn him down, then send him out of town for a month. But again, the church doesn’t find this a valid reasons to use BC.

Completely ridiculous if you ask me.

And this, not exactly fitting, but funny anyway!

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