Wednesday, August 29, 2012


So, immediately after I got done worrying about school, I was devastated. I was too busy to think about God for, like, three weeks or something, and He seems to have taken off, or shut up, or something. And all the places in which I could find Him before seem empty now -- or, honestly, they seem full of voices and ideas that make me feel sick and angry.

I believe that at some point, I'll be able to pick up a Bible or walk into a church again and feel something other than frustrated and lost.

But right now, those things don't mean anything to me. I don't know yet how to make sense of God if evolution is a fact; if I might never see my grandfather again, the way I imagined; if God isn't actually a way to impose my own sense of order on a world that is often frightening and incoherent. If God is real and still I have to do all this work to decide what matters and what is right and what to do with my life -- I wasn't prepared for that.

God is real, and we still don't know exactly how the world started, or what happens next.

God is real, and still, I'm going to lose the people I love, and I don't know when, or how, I'll see them again.

God is real, and everyone seems to think different things about God, and some of those things are awful and repellent.

God is real, and the people who talk about God most seem to me to be devoid of love.

God is real, and right now, the book in which I was taught I could find Him in seems incomplete and suspicious.

So where do I find God now? I mean, right now I'm looking






And I'm feeling all right. Like the things I had thought God was are actually much smaller than the things God actually is. Like I have a free pass to not try to force God into something small and comprehensible; like He's got better things for me to do than try so fucking hard all the time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the new conundrum, same as the old conundrum

The born-again narrative I grew up with was inherently linear:

1. I'm a sinner,
2. bad bad bad stuff,
3. Jesus saves me,
4. hallelujah,

-- often with the epilogue that,

4b. since I was so bad but now am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, He and I are here to tell you how you are bad and should not get those food stamps/be allowed to get married/avoid prison for your drug-related, non-violent crime.

Okay, but let me stop with the snark and vitriol. For whatever reason, right now I'm really mad at Christianity, mostly, I think, for things it didn't do. At one point when I was more ensconced in Christianity, reading my Bible and etc, I was close enough to it to identify that the Bible itself doesn't endorse pettiness and hypocrisy, and to at least make a half-hearted attempt to understand the people I kind of write off now as petty hypocrites.

I always come back because, for me, God and Christ are bigger than my frustrations with people. For me, the pain in the world challenges my faith, but doesn't ultimately destroy it. I understand why a person might look at the world and conclude that God seems like an unreasonable proposition. I also understand why another person looks at the same world and concludes that only God resolves the world into something coherent. And I feel certain of God in a way that runs deeper than intellect and that I can't ever really talk myself out of.

But when I try to be Christian, I feel I'm asked to adhere to practices and beliefs that seem so wholly unreasonable to me that I can't deal with them. Like, deny myself and pick up my cross? That's a thing to struggle with, but it's something I can accept as worth struggling with. Believe that my son is inherently evil and deserves to die? My mind short circuits.

Tell me to sell my stuff and give it to the poor and I'm like, right there with You -- or, You know, not, but I get that I should be. Tell me that we live in an evil time as evidenced by Obama making health care more expensive for the wealthy and more accessible for the poor, and by gay people getting married, and I'm kinda like, you know, I've got a bridge in my own private heaven I'd like to sell you.

For me it's a cycle: God pulls me closer, I feel like I'm called to love everyone, I try to understand those who claim to represent Him, I feel more alienated.

And I'm told: well, the fact that you don't want to believe this thing just because it is wholly incredible and contradictory is proof that you Lack Faith and are Worldly and Sinful. The fact that you can't tolerate beliefs that violate your moral code is proof that you haven't become obedient, haven't really gotten the message.

It doesn't matter if you find bigotry intolerable, if you can't stomach the idea that God endorses an economic agenda that presumes that Mitt Romney deserves to keep his money more than the least-fortunate 20% of American children "deserve" to eat, if you think a woman shouldn't have to die because her pregnancy is endangering her life. The fact that there is something I can tell you about God that you would need to reject in order to maintain your faith means you're not a good Christian. The fact that you would choose your own principles over what I'm telling you about God, means you're not a good Christian.

I feel like I would rather be a bad Christian than a good bigot. these days, my faith seems to fluctuate as a function of my ability to perceive the possibility that I don't have to be either.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ten Things About Summer 2012

.... since I haven't posted in two months!

1. I haven't attended church once since my last post.

2. I don't know why.

3. I kind of blame Chic-Fil-Le. (Everyone else is!)

4. But not really. It's just that, well, I just can't. I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted and frustrated because I spend most of my "spiritual" time stressed out about how I'm not close enough to God, not loving enough, don't tithe or pray or go to church enough, say ugly shit about people and sarcass all over the place, never spend enough time with my son, yell at my husband, don't have a job, don't volunteer to help others enogh. So much time all, what about the fistulas? What about kids who are starving? Lou Gherig's Disease? Infertility? Homelessness?

And then I read another person's tweet and they really think the problem with the world today is that not enough people care if gay people get married. And I am so intolerant of that, and that's one more un-Christian thing about me.

But I just don't understand why God's always pointing out to me the things I need to be doing differently, to the point where it often dominates me, but to these people, He just wants to talk shit about The Gays.

5. So, is my salvation so fraught with fear and trembling compared to theirs because they're doing all the God stuff right? When I stop effing up, is my reward to get to be a big meanie who cares more about gay rights and how to suppress them than I do about rape/war/child abuse/starvation/cancer/etc?

6. Cause that makes me kind of.... not know if I even believe in God. Like, I can withstand atheist argumentation both lucid and vitriolic, but I don't know what to say when I turn around and find that everyone who plans to vote for Obama has kind of thrown up their hands about Jesus.And no one who's supporting Romney has a damn thing to say about how he and his running mate seem to be glossing over every single verse relating to the poor, sick, elderly, widows, children and the need to help them.

7. It's just depressing.

8. I feel like I've been stupid for believing in God, and at the same time, deeply lost without Him.

9. But I also feel like the problem isn't with God, Himself/Itself. And that the moments I've felt close to Him are more real than my histrionics about Christianity.

10. So maybe no church right now, or not this church. Maybe God's taking a break, Himself, at the moment.

11. Maybe he's in Africa finally doing something about fistulas?