Tag Archives: culture

…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.

#Prayershaming

As you may have heard last night November 13th 2015, there was a terrorist attack in Paris surrounding an eagles of death metal concert. This is horrible, something we as humanity must stand against in any shape and form. And at any rate we should all stand together against this.

Someone from my family was in Paris at the time, but thank God she was safe.
See? I expressed gratitude towards a being or idea that is strongly linked to religion.

Now I myself in this blog stand vehemently against cultural heritage and traditions in religion that are inhumane ranging from wrong indoctrination all the way to annoying worship music.

And I greatly sympathize with people who feel offended by religion in general, I have a bad taste from it myself and at times I wish it never came into my life.

That said however, this morning when I opened up the feed from my social media site at choice I was confronted with another attack. People I consider acquaintances or some them even close friends. A barrage of posts against religion. Even though I understand the motivation it should be noted that I feel my partaking in religion does not contribute to tragedies like these.
You could say I could better spent my time and energy voting with my feet by leaving. And sometimes I feel like it. But at the same time I always want to keep one foot in the door. Firstly because my heart dwells in and out of it. Secondly, the world of religion is not going to be solved or improved by simply just bashing it. We need dialogue.

Next to that, there’s also lots of people who dismiss the idea of prayer. Saying it’s a waste of time and that it doesn’t do anything to help anyone. Almost as if to say you’re just as bad as the terrorists themselves.
Are you even hearing yourselves anymore people? I’m a mid western citizen who works a 9 to 5 kind of job, I have never been arrested for anything and if I ever should have been it was for stealing a guitar pick. (and yes, if the christian premise holds true Jesus also died for that sin)
The worst thing I do on a regular basis is maybe drink one or two beers too many on a Saturday night every 2-3 weeks, and even when I do that I make sure never to harm anyone.

And you are telling me off because I happen to choose to take a moment of reflection and gratitude dedicated to the safety of my family? That is below the belt and not only that, it’s unnecessary at a time like this. If you want to debate the logistics of prayer fine do so, but don’t link that debate to a tragedy like this when it’s still fresh. You’re shooting your fellow soldiers here. Even worse you’re drawing focus away from the real bad guys in this situation.

If prayer doesn’t do anything and it’s wrong because of it, then so is changing your facebook profile pics to something related to the current event (now being a picture of the Eiffel tower). No, trust me by the time you’ve changed your pic so has everybody else and it defeats the purpose of raising awareness. And if it’s done to show support, well so does my prayer. What a crime against humanity huh?

If prayer is wrong then so is telling everyone religion is bad. No, the world of religion is too damn big and diverse to just say that they’re all bad people or they are all wrong. That’s a stupid argument, you can disagree with religions all you want, but just flat out saying they’re all bad people is retarded.  And no we’re not going to argue theists vs atheists, that is old, dead, superfluous time wasting for children who still want to “win” the debate from those “other” people.

I get it, you’re frustrated with religions in general because they’ve done great harm over the course of history. And in your eyes prayer is something people uphold rather then do naturally and they’d be better of without. I get that, but could you please stop putting prayer in a spotlight where it’s almost as bad as raping and killing? They are not the same.

I take time and effort to learn about the differences between sexual identities and the likes in order to respect people more and for the sake of learning about it. Maybe you could do this as well and actually take some time to learn about people their many diverse beliefs. At the very least you’ll be able to say something more focused in the direction of “stop terrorism”.

In a world where political correctness still needs a lot of shaping right?

hashtag #prayershaming

Update: 5/12/2015

Hey guys apparently the hashtag “#prayershaming” sort of took on a life on it’s own. There’s a whole lot of articles linked to it, and so far as I can tell I’m the first one who’s came up with this tag. Which I’m grateful for if that’s really the case, I mean lets be honest it’s kind of fun and novel in a way. However I also find it somewhat sad that it sort of turned into a political debate. This was my outcry for people to stand together in tolerance and open mindedness opposing terrorism. Sadly however, as far as I can tell (haven’t read all the articles yet) it became a rallying cry in America to point fingers between political parties. I know you guys mean well. But lets talk about individuals instead of political parties.
Also I might update this article since I really was going on a bit of a rant out of emotion and didn’t put too much thought into it.

 

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.

Taking christianity out of Christ.

You’ve heard it a million times before. “they’re trying to take Christ out of Christmass”; “we need the Christ back into Christianity” and many likewise political campaign like sounding qoutes that get too much use from your average evangelical christian.

And usually the Christ they’re reffering too is the one that’s gonna come back someday and blasts everyone a few new holes right before he damns close to everyone to hell.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m personally tired of hearing the next dumbass claim he knows exactly when Jesus is suposidly making his grand comeback tour. Which he tries to prove through all kinds of hoops and backdoors through the book of revelations and then some only to ignore the part where Jesus said “nobody knows but the Father”…you know I’m not a big fan of taking every single thing in the bible too literal but here’s one that pretty much says what it means I think.

So that’s a big part of christianity, people making up dates about Jesus his return.

Take something else people that campaign for church usually tote around like their new girlfriend who’s gonna take of next month. Pseudo history/sience. You’ve all heard that story about the high priests that had to tie a rope around their waist before entering the holy place right? Yeah that thing Jewish historians have never heard off..
Or how about the laminin thing? Yeah that was exciting for a few months until it died out wasn’t it? So apparently some “scientist” found out theres a protein in the human body that has the shape of a cross. This protein serves to keep stuff toghether. And they link that too the bible saying God holds us toghether.
Oh theres also the part where theres a whole bunch of these proteins that have all kinds of shapes and Jesus more likely died on a “T” shape…but they don’t mention that.

This also is a big part of christianity looking for signs and wonders where there aren’t any and acting like they “own” things for the faith when they don’t even know what they’re talking about.

Televangelists, faithhealers, prosperity gospel, …need I say more? Also huge parts of christianity.

Or how about pilling up into little groups, denominations, …sects if you will. And then acting like it’s natural, everyone is welcome and we certainly are on the up and up when it comes to interracting with the outside world…only to slam our spincters shut tighter then a vaultdoor whenever an outsider walks in and asks something like “whats up with the annoying music, do you really think God wants that?”.

Speaking of music…oh dear…you know the part where every cd that you can’t order through the bible store must be from the devil? Because we’ve played every track backwards just to make sure we haven’t missed any messages from Satan promoting the new world order. And now we’re telling you to surrender everything or burn in the lake of fire for ethernity because you listened to poop dog. (buy you a beer if you know where this refference comes from?)

That and alcohol, tattoos, gay people and muslims. They’re worse then democrats you know.

You know what I’m getting at? Personally my not so hidden agenda is that I want to rid christianity off the things most mainstream people associate christianity with. Obnoxious annoying weird people that need to have everything their particular weird and inpractical way because they’re more busy doing their “spiritual” stuff instead of beeing nice to other people. It’s not a sin to act like a humanitarian every once in a while folks!
I’ve had it with the fear mongering propaganda, the waste of time and energy on things that aren’t really there. I’m tired of God beeing turned into a fluffy sheep herder that’s more lovey dovey and fluffy then the sheep themselves while at the same time beeing the most brutal and unreasonable butcher psychopath the horror section of the video store (remember those?) could only dream off! When is it ok for !!!God!!! to be a mystery?
Stop trying to fabricate a culture that has all the answers for things you don’t have any answers for. It’s disgusting, no the cause does not justify the means because you’re calling God a liar or at the verry least you’re proving that you don’t trust him. If you did you wouldn’t have to restort to trying to come up with the next miracle proving yourself right to yourself.

Just admit it you have doubt about your faith sometimes and that’s perfectly ok.
If you could just admit that, think of all the amazing conversations you can have with other people outside of church. Think of how much God is going to bless you because you opened the door of your comfort zone to outsiders and all the riches that come with them.

I promise you that not everyone out there hates you because of your identity in Christ. They don’t, in fact I can honestly say now that a lot of people want to love you. They really do, but it’s up to you to let them in. Because as long as you keep on putting up that wall that says “you’re diffirent so I can’t relate to you” that thing is going to be in the way.
In the end we breathe the same air and we all bleed.

I’ve wasted too many years living without this advice and that’s why I’m so passionate about it. Don’t let another day go by without enjoying God’s creation by embracing all people that live on it. It will do you a world of good and it’ll help God open doors for you you didn’t even dream off.

Stop trying to church over the world. Love it.

I once was a critic but now I’m found… humbled. (confession time)

A pint for whoever gets the nudge in the title…huzzah!

So as all my previous posts indicate I’ve been going through a time in my life where I was verry condemning of christian culture. I’m fed up with sunday morning services and all the programs and formulas that come with it. I’m bored with preachings and teachings that make you just sit there instead of actually doing something with it. And for the love of a donut!!!! I can’t hear another worship song without plugging my fingers into my ears going obnoxiously “lalalalala” like a little kid who doesn’t wanna hear. Those just drive me up the wall!

I guess you can say I got bitter about things, between having my entire life and ambitions taking weird detours and getting rejected by christian women time and time again in the most painfull ways. Something just snapped in me allong the way that made me say “no more”.

No more sitting through music that I loathe trying to put up a smile and tap my foot allong just for the heck of it. No more trying to find a wife in this select group of people where all the single women give me the cold shoulder (knowing full well that women outside sometimes practically throw themselves at me…on that odd lucky day so to speak). No more trying to hide away my honest questions, perceptions and diffirent personality.

And while most of these things are honest and genuine on my behalf I have to admit one thing. I underestimated some people.

Not long aggo I decided to pop my head back in the door a couple of times to sort of say hi and goodbye since soon I’ll be moving (don’t know where yet) other times it was out of neccesity. And a few times in a row now I’ve had people approach me honestly to ask me how I’m doing and what’s going on in my life. And they’ve given me what I wanted, a listening ear that doesn’t condem, that doesn’t argue, that doesn’t tell me what to do or what to believe in which way.

For that I take my hat off to the whole local scene. Christ lives in these people and is best expressed one on one over a pint at the bar, sitting in a living room with a cup of tea, exchanging contact information just to hang out sometime without any plans or programs.

Is this my return to the “every sunday morning without missing a beat” lifestyle? Absolutly not. It’s not me and it probably never will be. I will however look for fellowship in those places where it matters, where it becomes personal and real, to me atleast.

It took some of these sunday morning folks (or that’s how I caracturised them) to show me how. The same people I liked to point fingers at collectively.

And so I say, Namasté. Which I’ve been told means something allong the lines of “I bow before that which is greater in you then I am”…don’t quote me on that one exactly. But for the sake of irony while writing a blog on christianity I’d like to add a little eastern flavor :p

 

Namasté, may I have learned a little more, to judge a little less.