Tag Archives: christianity

…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.

This is not a prayer

Have you ever noticed how some Christians post their prayers on social media and completely ignore Matthew 6:5-6? But lets not be hypocrites here, every believer no matter what kind ignores plenty of scripture, because lets face it, living by the book 100% is just impossible.

No, what irks me more about that is the idea that somehow by posting their prayers “to God” in public they want to achieve… what?

Lets rephrase and deconstruct that a bit shall we? The interaction with God, the prayer, is being interacted with other people. So either it’s a prayer to God or it’s a message to people.

Because ask any “christian” or even people from other faith’s and you’ll notice that nearly all of them will confirm that prayer is to be done unto God, not other people. Well, there’s always that weirdo sitting in front of church of course…

Then why is it that Christians do this? Why do you so often see some “defender of the faith” taking on the internet trying to win an argument by obnoxiously stating their beliefs and finishing that of with a nice big fat “AMEN”?

It’s not like their statements get more validity that way right?

No it’s not that either, there is something about posting a “prayer” that is cringe worthy and  a bit hypocritical. And it’ll usually come from the same people who post those flowery and quaint pictures with scripture on it along  the lines of “a prayer a day keeps the devil away”…(for the theists among you: that’s not how that works btw)

The interaction of posting a prayer is more likely to be a false way to either:

1: “Win” an argument with a non argument

2: Gain approval and favor from fellow believers

3: Tell people what you think is right

4: Get attention

5: Christian slacktivism

6: Showboating (self-)righteousness

I’ve noticed this at prayer meetings as wel (that was back when I used to attend those gatherings of awkwardness). Some poor girl praying her heart out telling God she was so grateful for her parents accepting her for who she is. While she was sitting right next to them. And sure that might be a little ironic it’s also absolutely beautiful, humanity showing one of it’s more humane sides.

But in a way I do feel bad for her, she was raised in a way that this was the norm. Why do we have people who feel so locked in their beliefs that they can’t just flat out say what’s on their hearts? Why did the christian culture evolve into something where prayer has become a vessel for our communications to other people when according to “our beliefs” it’s supposed to be an interaction with God exclusively?

So tell people what you want to tell them, and do it directly. Trust me if you start doing that, you might even cut down the church gossip in half.
Pray to your God, and do so privately. You’ll be less confronted with people knowing too much about you, or even taking advantage of such information.

If I may even may raise the challenge a bit higher, do it like you mean it.
Say what’s on your heart even if it’s less holy.
Don’t pretend with your God, after all, he’s supposed to know every nook and cranny of who you are.

And for the love of keeping your souls hinders out of the eternal frying pan, keep your prayers of the internet.

The silence of the sheep

Our little church fellowship was quick to adapt to the latest internet trends and implement them for their own use. That’s how we ended up with our own little private facebook group.

And the fact that it was private was great for a while, you could ask for prayer or similar things of a more personal nature that you didn’t feel comfortable sharing outside of your own church community.

That’s also how I approached church. I shared everything like it was family, some people were even surprised sometimes. Someone told me once she was impressed with how I openly shared that I had my heart broken by a girl back then (to give an example). And as much as I appreciated her positive noticing. I couldn’t help but also feel a slight disappointment.

Why was this noteworthy? Why wasn’t this commonly practiced to really share your feelings among another? It’s supposed to be a family right? But she was right, this wasn’t an everyday practice. In fact it would happen more often that I would open up about something deep during “smallgroup” like gatherings and it would lead nowhere or awkward silences. Oh don’t worry I always kept things appropriate. It’s that they just didn’t know how to deal with real conversations. Look if you’re going to encourage your church members to open up about personal feelings and experiences, don’t be surprised and stand by helplessly when they actually do come to the surface.

It’s embarrassing and hurtfull to the person opening up and it makes you look like a  jackass. It’s the equivalent to saying “fall backwards, I’ll catch you, just trust me” and then just letting the guy drop on his ass. (Yeah I’m a theist who uses semi-salty words, what about it?)

Which brings me to another instance. I once posted on before mentioned private facebook group an article about things that athiests and christians can find common ground in, and how we can improve living alongside one another.

In fact here it is=>
http://www.cracked.com/article_15663_10-things-christians-atheists-can-and-must-agree-on.html

It’s a long read and I don’t expect you to read all of it, it kind of boils down to this=> regardless of what your views and/or beliefs are, don’t take them too serious and cut others some slack.

I’d say that’s a healthy approach to things and one that everyone should be able to find some common ground in right? If all of humanity collectively unlenched a bit once in a while about their “way”. Maybe we’d end up with less decapitations and bombings.

But apparently this is against the agenda of the average christian church pastor. Apparently posting articles like these causes you to be called aside to receive a stern talking too. He found it necessary to point out that spreading ideas like these might be bad and confusing to the newcomers.

What newcomers? And what’s confusing? Suddenly when someone visited your church they’re automatically considered to be a convert? And those so called newcomers can not be subjected to ideas that aren’t yours? What are you going to do, lock them up until they learned to interpret existence and everything in it your way?

*cough*CULT*cough*

To close:
In all seriousness, if you find in ANY way shape or form that the church you attend shows any sign of oppressiveness towards ideas that are humane, loving towards others, and open minded, leave that place. If you are like me, a searcher of truth and honesty you will be dissapointed and disillusioned sooner or later with that place so you might as wel save yourself a lot of heartache and get going. Sadly there are more power hungry pastors out there then you’d like to know. Also, if you find that some church gatherings are awkward and leave a lot to be desired, don’t go and be honest about it. And don’t let anyone shame you or talk you into going, that is a shame on them, not you. God never wants you to go to any of these meetings if they don’t feel natural to you. God never needs you to share your personal feelings, thoughts or history with anybody from “church” in order for Him to work with it. Don’t be too trusting of “churchleaders”, they have to earn your trust just like anybody else. And they can also lose it like anybody else.

God bless you on your journey through life, I hope you’ll be safe and spared from situations like these.

 

Christian parenting gone wrong

Wow, now there’s a topic that’ll have plenty of panties in the bunchiest of bunches.

If you’ve been or still are part of a church you probably have been confronted with the topic of how to properly raise children in a christian environment or with a christian mindset.

Right of the bat, I don’t have any kids myself. I’ll give you that much. But I have been one myself for a while…heck some would even argue I still am one at 30.

What I have mostly witnessed in church is young children getting taught the bare basics of faith in a very pre-packaged way. And what other way is there to do it anyway? I mean an 8 year old is barely going to have the insights to properly asses all of the ins and outs that come with a particular faith in a world as big and diverse as ours is.

However if you have an eye for generations passing by you’ll quickly notice a few  constants.

Kids are smart, kids grow up fast and kids rebel.

Kids are smarter then we often give them credit for and at a younger age then we expect. At some point you should explain them that different people believe in different versions of God without having to make a statement of monopoly on your view being the exclusive truth about existence.

Next to that, at some point every kid is going to rebel, even if it’s just a little like spitting on the sidewalk when mom isn’t watching or sticking your finger up your nose when the pastor is preaching about yet another way he found to interpret those 3 vague lines of scripture (whooptie-frigging-doo). It’s natural, everybody does it, I would even argue it’s the way God made us. I bet you Jesus was quite a scoundrel himself, that’s why they got rid of the writings talking of his teenage years I’m sure. It’s a part of growing up, forming an identity, learning to think for yourself and so on. And here is where Christianity drops the ball.

They get God involved, or rather, they say he is.

I once saw a mother giving her child hell for having two promises at the same time.
At first she was supposed to be at her fathers (parents divorced) but then she found out mom went swimming. She lied and said that was cancelled so she could also go swimming.

Not entirely correct, but I doubt the world will explode from it.

What followed once this came to light was nearly half an hour of her mother giving her hell about it. And what’s right is right, a mother should correct her child but it’s the way she went about it that bothers me.

She went on and on about how God didn’t approve and how she surely has chosen the devil now. If it went on much longer I would have sworn she would have started trying to “cast out demons” from the poor thing.

First off all, that’s ridiculous, if you want to make clear to your kid that you’re displeased with her. Make sure you let her know it’s YOU who is displeased with her. You are NOT God. What God has to say about this is between the kid and God himself. If you really believe he exists you also have to believe he can speak for himself.
You have no business speaking for him, none whatsoever. Lest you be stoned to death like a false prophet. I may be borderline agnostic but if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s people prancing their self invented “words of God” around. Analise yourself and show a little respect to the originator being please.

Second of all, what do you think is going to happen when she grows up? Rebellion, rebellion against everything she experiences as unpleasant and oppressive. And since you did such a bang up job involving God almighty himself in every single tongue lashing she received, God, her final fail-safe in life, might be rebelled against as well. And you, the over concerned and conservative parent, has done everything to make it that way. This child didn’t have the devil inside of her, you put it there.

To close, here’s a video displaying a similar situation. I’m sure this young man will grow up to be one fine and healthy minded individual…once pigs take on aviary flight.

I don’t know about you, but I had an urge to vomit when I saw that young child being spiritually abused like that.

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.

Good flock, wicked sheppard.

Holy moly, what a title!

Alright grab a spoon, lets digg in. Now before you think “Oh boy more assisination of character of mister mc-pastor face, just find a better church or don’t go at all already”. I do want to note that I do this because I want to heed people from damage that’s been done to me.

You’ve heard it before that a warned man is worth two. I actually hate that saying, it’s so old fashion and it always seems to be used in a context of “I told you this, now respect my superiority”. At any rate I’m going to be a hypocrite and tell you some stuff now. (you can respect my questionable superiority if you want to afterwards…I wouldn’t recommend it though).

I’m in a time of winding down from a church community that, I dare say so myself, helped build from it’s early days. I was a young naive believer that attented every service and gave it my all. And it’s the first time I’ve come across this situation. Friends of mine that are in the same boat, or rather used to be, have more expierience and aren’t as suprised at all of this as I am.

They kind of treat it as “oh well, lets move onto the next one until that crashes and burns”. And I understand their sentiment and point of view at this, since most of them have been raised christian. I wasn’t in a sense that my parents never forced me anything in terms of believing this or that, or going to church. We just live life and make the best of it. Which looking back now, I might as wel have kept on doing eventhough I did learn allot during my stint with christianity. A lot of things about forgiveness, and for those behind the pulpit the words “practice what you preach” comes to mind. And also a lot about how you don’t run a community, learn from the mistakes of others so to speak.

Here’s some of those mistakes:

-Keep it human/keep it fun:

From time to time I’d try to break the mold a bit by having a little fun…which was frowned upon because church is serious business and all fun is off the devil. For example one time I brought a watering can to church (an empty one) to use during prayer as we “poured the holy spirit” onto someone. Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or the time I’d show up to church wearing bearface slippers…Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or whenever the preacher asks a question towards the crowd, regardles of the question shout back “Jesus is the answer, it always is”…try it you’ll get some hilarious results and make the congregation realise how futile most of the preached material really is.

-Show some gratitude:

This one goes out to the pastors, deacons, …anyone who feels like they somehow need to have a title of some sort pinned on themselves. This one goes out to all of you, but especially pastors and similar types of leaders. If the people from church help out with something, no matter how small or insignificant. Say thanks every once in a while.
I can’t tell you how many times I spent my valuable free time setting up sounds systems for church, trying to get their podcast recording working, picking up a mixingdesk, dropping in on a instrument when the “oh so stellar” worship team isn’t complete. Only to get the stink eye from the pastor when the music actually started getting some feeling to it. Or even just cleaning up without them asking me for it, locking the door behind them and turning off the lights….All of that stuff without a single sign of appreciation. The congregation ppl are nice, but the ones in charge…that’s a diffirent story. And that seems to go for most christian organisations around here. Grumpy people with a feeling of entitlement.

-“your flock” is more important:

Another one for the leaders. I’ve seen it up close, the sweet and innocent christian couple that wants to build a christian community. They cared, and gave it their all trying to help people from their worldviews and beliefs, and regardless of what those beliefs are, I can atleast appreciate an honest effort to help others. But…

As the community grew into a church, they wanted more connections to other churches, to other leaders, preachers, programs, networks, events, …
And the time spent on the local people made way for some sort of delusion of rockstardom within this subcommunity. Where they’re too busy sucking up to that one big shot pastor from france, or the united states…or they’re suposed to be atleast…meanwhile I saw what’s his face trying to act natural and a false prophet. At any rate, if you wanna serve your people…serve your people. Building a network and reputation by sucking up to the big shots should be the verry least of your worries (take a BIG note here all of you evangelical/charismatic pastors).

-Challenge ideas:

Don’t swallow just anything your favorite pastor/ suposed friend preaches. Challenge him, let him know you’re watching his steps and taking note of his theological views while critically analising them. Anyone who’s standing behind the pullpit week after week quickly finds himself running out of material and that’s when they turn too:

-Copying from other preachers their books. And if you know christian literature from the christian bookstore you know it’s lazy, unimportant bullcrap that’s there just because.

-Making up their own stuff as they go allong, and usually it starts with something small to break the mold but as they gotta have a little shock value every once in a while they up the crazyness of their statements…until they run into a wall when you confront them with it.

-Everybody is awesome:

I’ve seen it plenty of times, the people who live their live more “on fire for the lord” or “christian” … in other words people who live like christian versions of Ken and Barbie. Tend to get more “real” friendship from the church leaders (even if it’s little real to begin with). The guy who gets hung over every once in a while gets the pitty friendship until they start feeling like “dang this guy doesn’t seem to wanna change”. If you don’t see the pastor hanging out with a hooligan of some sort…avoid this church. If you see the pastor only high fiving Ken and Barbie couples, that should set of your bullshit detector.

-Go play outside with the other kids:

And finally if the church isn’t capable of going outside and beeing among “the world” without beeing awkward about it. Or if they can’t go out and actually do a humanitarian act of selflesness every once in a while, call them out on it. The world has had enough of religious hypocrites and so have I.

In closing, don’t get too attached to churches, they are bound to dissapoint and fall appart after a while anyway. Probably God’s way of saying “this shit ain’t healthy, move on and try again”.

This is Angryfish guy saying

poodlepoops…

because why not.

Goodbye Christian girlfriend

Just for shits n giggles

Just for shits n giggles

So here’s a picture I made for all of you to enjoy and share with your friends. And here’s why.

As I’ve been going through the paces of expieriencing, digesting, contemplating,… a lot of the aspects that come with beeing a believer in God. I feel strong disconnect from typical Christianese culture.

One of the areas specifically is christian women. Holy sanctified crap, are christian women ever so charismatic and over spiritual about matters. Don’t even get me started about trying to find a date among these. It’s been one dissapointment after another and I find myself more and more letting go of the idea that I should have a christian wife since I am a christian believer.

For those who don’t get that reasoning there are passages of the bible that lend themselves for interpretation that says you can’t marry a non believer or a believer outside of your own faith. Theres many reasons why this is in fact not even a bad idea, …but my personal expierience tends to say otherwise.

Most don’t take the hint that you are interested, some just want your attention and then leave you for dead, some will flirth with you for a while and then go “God told me you’re not the one for me” (if you’ve ever told anyone this, chances are you’re a false prophettes and you deserve to be stoned to death=> read your bible), some just flat out promise you that this is it “lets get married someday and have kids” only to go sleep with some random Joe Shmoe a couple of days later, some situations went even further painfully south. And the list goes on and on like that, all real expieriences of mine by the way.

Remember in Luke 14 where Jesus tells about a master who sent out his servant to invite his friends? They all had excuses why not to come so instead he invited random people of the streets. Ofcourse this refers to who gets into heaven and who doesn’t and whatnot and every christian denomination or schollar has 10 diffirent interpretations of this…but all that aside. I feel like that master. I’ve been inviting christian women to date me, trying my best to be a good guy to them and everything they could hope and dream for. I’m far from perfect, but hey I got a job, a bible and I’m pretty set on not cheating. Not too shabby for starters right? Yet none responded to my invitation, if they werent playing with my emotions they’d lie, cheat,…break my heart over and over again.

No more, the banquet is open. If the perfect woman comes around and it turns out she’s a believer, then that’s great. But this market is all about supply and demand and I hear there’s some pretty decent and respectfull women at the agnostic departement.

As for the picture, I might as well use humour right? It’s been depressing enough as it is.

(ps: I stole the picture from this site=> http://www.mountsalem.org/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Praise-God-Faith-Stock-Photos1.jpg)