Category Archives: hopes

…then why doesn’t it work?

 

“Give your life to Jesus and you’ll never be alone again”

Or any other variation of that exact pitch. The promise that God in your life is going to make all the difference. The promise that he has the perfect spouse for you, the perfect goal or job in life or even health and wealth if you play your cards right.

The idea that making a spiritual alliance with the creator of all existence will somehow solve your deepest inner dilemma’s once and for all. Always with the disclaimer that it won’t be easy all the time.

And that’s only the starter kit. After that we have plenty of groups and programs to help you on your way to finding whatever it is you’re looking for. Prayer meetings, soaking sessions, seminars on the gifts of the holy spirit, preaching¬† and teachings on whatever we can construct out of the bible, and if that doesn’t work we’ll build on top of what was already built on top of that. Weekends where one church visits another one so you can all mingle. Weekends where we’ll tell you to be guilt free while at the same time telling you what a horrible sinful abomination of a creature you are.
And have you heard of our special one on one spiritual/therapy hybrid sessions?

Also, if you stick long enough with us you can even aspire to become part of our team.
You’ll fly like an eagle distributing pamphlets, praying for people, operating lights and sound, being on stage giving a pre-made preaching or even, yes you guessed it, doing the dishes and cleaning the toilet for the glory of God himself no less.

It doesn’t matter what you want to do in life we’ll try to make it work…just as long as you try to become like us.

And whatever you do, always say Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to you.
Did I say Jesus? I meant to say our church.

What more can we do to sell our Lord and savior, I mean Church, I mean product to you today?

*applause*
What a sales pitch huh? All of this buzz and activity around this cute and innocent idea they’re trying to sell. And surely it must work because these people are highly motivated.

Lets get back to the title. Then why doesn’t it work?
Why is it that after years and years of this crap I’m right now in a place in life where I’m putting the pieces back together again after leaving the aforementioned circus behind? Why is it that I am seriously considering getting some professional therapy to help me through the damage that’s been done by this sort of malarkey?
Why?

And please don’t tell me I didn’t try hard enough. Just don’t.
You can’t promise a God and a church that will take care of everything eventually and then shove it all in my shoes, that’s not fair by any stretch of the imagination.
That sounds more like a cheap scam.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking theism of any kind. We’re all entitled to experience the contemplative journey that lies behind that door if we so desire to and I feel we have a right to pilot that one ourselves as well in a healthy way.
But organized religion is just a scam, it’s just another way people found to exploit one of life’s wonderful innocent things and turn it into yet another gaping wound.

It’s the market place where a certain Nazarene once got quite angry.

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A snapshot of the journey

 

Sometimes I’m grateful and happy,
Sometimes I’m sad, bitter and regretful

Sometimes I dream, hope and pray
Sometimes I contemplate, bicker and curse

When I pray I speak to “my Lord, my God,…Jesus”
But then other times I express gratitude and worship to life itself, to existence.
That’s when I feel no need to put a face or a name on “it”.

Sometimes I’m hardly grateful at all.
It’s when I give up on the future, dreams and love.

And yet there are also times, where I’m amazed that I still get out of bed with my head held high, convinced that my adventure has only just begun, and the best is yet to come.

I wish I could say I’m mostly the later guy, but to be honest I seem to spend equal amounts of time in both moods. The optimist and the pessimist.

But that’s not all bad, there have been times where I hardly had any optimism at all. In fact that was only a few years ago.

I’m going to turn 31 soon and after a very turbulent and intrusive time in my life I finally have found moments where I feel more at ease with myself and who I am.
Where there is no need to pretend for anyone or anything.

My life was going a steady course. But then slowly the”God”-thing made it’s way into my life. And that it did a lot of damage, something most church Christians give me a funny look for when I bring it up…¬† Don’t get me wrong, as immensely conflicting and frustrating faith can be at times, I do love God.

My faith was simple and pure. Not very complicated, adventurous,…everything you want in your movie. But then the church got involved…and it all went to hell.
I learned a lot and my world became a whole lot bigger, but there are plenty of times where I honestly can say “I wish it never happened”. And sadly that is where most church goers will never understand me. But I don’t need them to anymore either.

I am part of the demographic Church has failed to cater to, you’ve hurt us by not understanding us. And now we’re all leaving you, the institutionalized religion, behind.
And some of us are angry that you refuse to understand us, instead of admitting you’re like us you keep clinging onto empty traditions and practices, because they feel safe.
The disenfranchised have gotten the message. You don’t want to play nice with the other kids…

Luckily there is love and life after church. It took a lot of contemplating, spending time with my feelings, going over all the things that had happened. I have found a certain peace with the idea that, I don’t need to belong there. As much as the “church” wants you to believe that.

It took friends, friends that are people I genuinely want to spend time with rather then Mister “Youthpastor-Mc-go-getter”…God I can’t stand those kind of people.

It took my real parents, it took my real sister, it took my agnostic friends, my atheist friends, my satanist friends, my fellow believers who also have been pushed out of church.

It took all of them to heal bits and pieces of my heart.

It’s true, sometimes it’s hard, and I feel like giving up.
But then again, there’s also plenty of moments where I feel like I’m going to be just fine.
If you’re lucky enough like me, you might find a certain poetry in your life that makes thing bearable. And that gives you just enough hope to be a dreamer.

 

 

Those other apostates over there

Apostacy

A word that gets thrown around christian denominations and sects every now and then usually as an insult to point out how others beeing diffirent is wrong and even blasphemous.

And mostly it’ll come from conservatives, charismatics, Kjv only reading, evangelicals, …you get the idea. The kind of christian that believes God is around every corner, not only ready and able, but also about to part a sea and make literall mountains move to display the ginourmousness of his genitals.

Wether or not God is or has that kind of traits to his or it’s personality aside, it comes with a certain attitude. The kind of attitude that says, I’ve chosen to be on God’s side, or God has chosen me to be on his side (armenianism vs calvinism) therefor everything in life is about me. As long as I keep exalting God, He might see fit to increase me at some point, just as long as I keep denying myself over and over again enough, maybe some day…

That’s the kind of paranoid mess of a people we’re talking about here. And yes I can get away with it because I used to be one myself…so don’t call me a jerk, you jerk :p

It’s usually those that find some kind of mental gymnastic to discount other types of christians over the most minute details. Even to the point of shouting apostacy over something as superfluos as beeing post or pre trib (as someone who leans more toward preterism I have to laugh at both of these :p).

And I could easely say “see? they don’t believe it the right way so they’re not saved, they’re just invested in something dead” but I tend to not do that. Because I’ve learned, come to realise, been thaught, allowed myself to learn, whatever you want to call it, a certain degree of subjectivism. (yes I watch heart of the matter eagerly)

And yet… theres this thought lingering in me lately.

When you go through the expierience of beeing invested in the charismatic with all of it’s weird beliefs and practices, theres two things going on in your mind.

One side wants to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, every question that rises up becomes just another trap or riddle from the devil trying to put you of course from your divine quest with God.
The further you digg the more you find desperation, paranoia, …but there will always be enough christians around you to motivate and encourage you to keep going the direction you are assuring you that’s just how it’s suposed to be.

The other side constantly wonders, what am I doing with my life? Is this new introduced element of beliefs really worth giving up everything you’re giving up? And what ridiculous beliefs they are, are we really going to hold onto these? This side starts noticing that church has either young people that are awkward and just as confused as you are or old people that are bitter and just have given up. God has defeated them so they just go allong with the flow of the church institution taking contentment with the few good things they have been allowed by the community. Because when push comes to shove if they don’t want you to smoke and drink, by golly you’ll give it up or get pushed out of the door but there will be tension until either one happends.

Now as far as I know people usually end up on either side of these two and tend to stay there for the majority of their lives. And it doesn’t even have to be the diffirence between beeing a theist or an atheist. That’s not the diffirence I’m talking about because as far as I’ve contemplated and learned this stuff I know now that this can get as diverse and unique as your individuality. Well an obvious follow up to this would be ofcourse, it’s a part of your individuality.

But I do make this verry crude and basic distinction, people that are okay with the church institution, it’s aspirations and demands and those that can’t find peace with it. Not that I’m any form of authority on the matter mind you. And to be clear I do mean church the institution and system. Not the body of believers or so called bride of Christ. The first one beeing a verry tangible idea in our reality, I’d venture to say it’s a practical matter but having lived among one I can say it’s anything but practical. The second one beeing more of a theological idea, more filosofical in nature I guess.

Now back to apostacy, I do notice this tendency that pro organised church people throw the apostacy card around a lot more towards the other camp than visa versa. In other words you’ll far quicker hear that old grumpy conservative christian say “that hippie can not be saved even if he says he loves Jesus” compared to that verry hippie who probably has a more laid back attitude toward other lifestyles and worldviews.

But today the hippie bites back. Yes I’m in a bit of a flower power mood myself lately.

Of all the charismatic practices, be it speaking in tongues, excesive prayer meetings, jerking around uncontrollably on the ground, prophecy, “healing” , driving out demons,…and so on and so on. It kind of hit me that the people who hold fast onto these things, including me back when I hold onto these forms of faith, have a layer of them,…that might in fact be apostate about it.

Take this basic example, the wheelchair patient that shows up at a charismatic gathering.
Now all the young and excited people there would love nothing more then for that guy to get healed and start walking and jumping around again. As do I still! Anybody would love that to happen regardless of their worldview or faith. But we all have to admit, it rarely happends. In fact I’m pretty sure most of the stories you hear about these instances are made up. And the instances where it did actually happen are extreeeemely far and in between. I think of the storie where a soldier in a wheelchair during war got out of his chair to run away from an imminent explosion. His mind was that strongly set on getting out of there it actually managed to activate his leggs. Amazing, but also believable.

Now the other stories about where some faith healer did his magic prayer or whatever, I take those with a moved-mountain sized lump of salt.

People who stand behind faith healing however, they tend to believe more stories then they discount in this area. And sadly it takes it’s toll after the years. It creates this blind faith that becomes mind over matter after a while. Or a flat out refusal to accept reality when it’s staring them in the face.

Just like the refusal that speaking in tongues might just be a bunch of noise. Refuting the idea that not everything needs a prayer meeting in front of it. The idea that, most prophecies are just flat out cold readings…

And verry far in the back of their head is this little voice that says “listen, all this stuff might be unnecessary. Which for them immediatly gets labeled and hammered back as the voice of satan because they’ve have that hammered in so hard. But I wonder though, that deep down, they know it’s the voice of reason …or might even call it the voice of God in some way…but they refuse it because they’re afraid of it. Or on one side they don’t actually believe most of the stuff they tell themselves that they do…they’re afraid of admitting it too themselves because they’re in too deep.

And that might be by itself a form of apostacy.

Bam!

Now that said, I don’t discount their basic beliefs in God and Jesus and whatnot, but there is something to be said about the more detailed matters.

This is angryfishguy singing out saying
Act natural, you have no idea how super it can be!

Warning about the warning.

bible-reading-can-be-habit-forming1

Ain’t that wonderfull news?

Nope.

And here’s why. Because it’s unrealistic. Sure theres this idea in christianity based on scripture that, when you read the bible you are drawing closer to God and God closer to you. And to a certain extent I guess you could say that’s true, seeking God can start or take place in the bible.
But please don’t pretend that it’ll be a happy clappy joyride. That’s a lie from modern christianity that is about a big of a lie like the next date some whackjob church sets for the rapture to happen.

Reading the bible can be traumatising for a believer, or even a non believer. If you read the account of genesis all the way through and think everything that happends in there is glorious joy unto the Lord…wow are you some kind of psychopath?

Don’t you just get furious at parts where God just wipes out an entire people just because? Doesn’t that at the verry least raise some questions? What about Noah, who puts a curse on his grandson for what one of his sons did? Don’t you at least feel like Noah, God’s chosen, is beeing a bit of a jerk there?

Regardles of where you stand on God’s sovereign will or intention behind his actions in these passages. You owe it to your human nature (which is after all, made in the image of God as the bible says) to atleast aknowledge feeling of regret and pain towards those who perish in the bible.

When I read about the flood, how God wiped out everything because he regretted making mankind. I feel angry. I feel angry because they didn’t get the Jesus passcard. I feel angry because somehow God is giving us a go while they didn’t. Yes that may be verry unchristian of me, but it’s honest.

It’s more honest then the people who pretend like God is good all the time. And somehow that idea by itself is a reason to celebrate everything that happends regardless of what our real emotions tell us.

It’s more honest then rejoicing in God’s vengeance or wrathfull hand, trying to somehow justify ourselves beeing alive and “on God’s side” while they aren’t. As if we get to cheer God on as he slays the wicked and lets us live because we are suposidly better then they were. We’re not, never were, never will be. At the end of the day, if you take the christian setting for what it is in general, you’re done for if it’s not for the grace that is Jesus his sacrifice. Let alone taking slight diffirentiations on that premise: open theism, universalism, …yeah I know a few fancy words don’t I?

The reason I write this is too set some balance for pictures like the one above. Yes there may be a God like the one described in the bible, currently I believe that the bible shows little bits and pieces of something we can’t grasp. And it verry well may be the most correct one (taking into account history/translation/culture/…) But don’t take my word for it, walk your path in life. I don’t want you to feel betrayed because of what I told you to believe. All I can do is tell you that beeing a theist, can have marvelous moments, but it can also be devastating. It can do serious harm. It’s not all butterlys and strawberries. Anyone who tells you that is either a serious liar or just hasn’t lived yet.

Please christians, stop pretending that beeing on our side is the best just to get more people on board. People are dead tired of that kind of advertising.

I dare you to be honest.

The good old days

I was reading this post by Ben Irwin

http://benirwin.me/2015/05/21/6-ways-mainline-churches-should-respond-to-decline/

And it trigered something in me. Memories of young people sitting in a living room just having a good time and enjoying just talking about God, just dreaming up ideas about how we could take the gospel to the people.

Heck we’d even delve into a little prayer and God permit a little prophecy on the side from time to time. It all seemed to innocent and refreshing.

And as time passed we moved onto the next place, where we even got to have our own little rock concerts…well the music wasn’t quite where it needed to be but hey, atleast we were jamming for God and it was still fun and exciting. There was even talks of taking our worship to the bars, to the people on the streets…

I was a brand new christian myself and as such kind of naive. I really felt like this could be the direction for my life for a while. I was genuinly excited for the adventures to come.

And then it all came to a screeching halt. Rock music had to make way for more prayer meetings and more bible studies. …But instead of hanging out and talking about life and God like we did in the beginning, now we all of a sudden had dvd’s and programs. A bit more stern and robotized. Just a little bit more…controlled into the directions they wanted.

And word got out of our new little church group so other christians started joining up. People that were tired of those old conservative chruches who we’re just aching for something new. We welcomed them with open arms and hearts…because hey, no way our church would become stale and boring like those others right?

How wrong I was.

It quickly became apparent that our church became nothing more then a group to drop of christianitys local misfits and youngsters. And an easy place for passer throughs to quickly get some worship going until their travels took them to their next destination.

I stopped going little by little. Every time I got rejected by yet another christian girl it was just another shove out of the door for me. Everytime I had to explain these people how good quality music is not made the way hillsong and the likes do it…another shove out of the door. The more mainstream church culture became the focal point of it all. And the more this little group seemed to tap into the mainstream chruch culture the more it died for me.

Until there came a point of total disconnect and bitterness.
I almost forgot there used to be good times. I did bring it up a while aggo but was met with “oh but in order to grow we have to let go of the past”…how beautifully quaint and empty.

They have their bigger location now, and they have their weekly attendance showing up…good for them. But one by one, all of the people that made this church what it is today are packing their baggs and leaving. That should mean something. That should raise some allarms.

But the “leaders” won’t even show the common courtesy of asking why. Sad. Verry sad.

So if you’re like I was back then. You’re part of a small group of christians and things are genuinly fun. It adds to your life when you hang out with these people and you look forward to the next meeting.

DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN!!!!!! => TO KEEP IT THAT WAY <=!!!!!!!

I know the pastor, leader, or whatever he calls himself would love bigger attendance and a bigger building to justify bigger tithings to be paid. But trust me, it’s not worth it. Because the good and innocent times you are having right now…will die a slow and painfull death.

And you may think your churchgroup is going to be diffirent and that you and your friends will stand the test of time. And you may, if you keep your eyes open and your senses sensible.

But don’t let it be ruiend…for the love of a donut DON’T aspire to become the next Marshill, Hillsong united, … or whathaveyou kind of church. Keep it small and innocent.

People say showbizz will kill you once you get too big… church is not a hair diffirent. Not a SINGLE hair diffirent. If not worse.

This is angry fish…also a bit bitter now.