Tag Archives: frustration

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.

 

 

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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.

Well…you say you believe…

…looking over my facebook at all the diffirent posts from diffirent worldviews, diffirent disasters going on and beeing exposed, at times it does feel a bit like the last of days doesn’t it? Mother nature giving us a run for our money that we so greedely try to hang on to. Suddenly you get confronted with the fact that your participation in the world of kapitalism is costing lots of freedoms of others, lots of wellbeeing, lots of lives…and lately it’s finally gotten to a point where it’s starting to bother me just enough for me to start expressing it instead of shoving it under the carpet. Not just the things I summarised here, but all of it. The world seems like such a hopeless place lately, as if we’ve been looking forward to the apocalypse but maybe we’re already in it and have been for ages now. When you zoom out planet earth a little bit and look at the population of it…we humans are a horrid little bunch aren’t we?

And at times it’s conflicting with my beliefs as I’ve held them for a while now. Why would a loving God allow this and that? Can’t he just blow the planet up, get us all into heaven and get it over with? And these are questions that most Christians are prepared for with a little bit of scripture mixed with a little bit of deduction aimed in the right direction and voila…and that used to work for me as wel. But I’m starting to run out of those to be honest.

When the bible says “those who the Lord sets free shall be free indeed”…alright then, why do I still struggle with lots of nasty habbits? Guess I’m still a sinner after all? Oh but I guess you can also say our righteousness isn’t completed into his during this life because otherwise it would go to our heads…beeing a christian in and of itself does that to most so I guess that would make sense.

Questions like these are annoying yet interesting, they keep you busy, and it makes for a good intellectual excersise.

But that’s not what I want. I want the real deal. I wanna have a final answer “God are you really, really, really out there, or am I just talking to myself?”. In the beginning when it was all visions and prophecies God would swoop in directly to asure me of His presence. Then a few times it hapened that I would wander off and He’d let me go off on my own for a while (much like a parent would let it’s todler walk a bit in the park while keeping a watchfull eye about 10 meters off). But He would show up again, with signs, dreams, visions, those moments you really know God’s out there…and the question would go away again.

But nowadays it’s new yet again…one day no doubt about it, God lives and is displayed through Jesus Christ who rose again. Then the next day I’m agnostic. Then the next day I’m watching through the eyes of an athiest. The day after that I’m listening to debates between Hitchens and William Lane Craig (and several other people who have similar debates and sermons) and I end up giving consideration to even weirder alternatives…maybe we do come from aliens…but where do they come from?

And yet I still pray daily…even if it’s just me blurting out “JUST TALK TO ME DAMNIT!” I still go to Him.

A close and dear friend of mine says “live your life in front of people”. And that’s what I intend to do, to be an honest testimony of a life lived with God. If theres one thing I can’t stand is this “lets just all walk in the same line of christianity because we don’t wanna look like a disorganised bunch that has a thing called personality” atmosphere you find in most churches…God that pisses me off!

It’s not easy. It’s absolutly not a God of the gaps for me…in fact it seems to only creates more plotholes in some instances. It’s frustrating trying to find your way beeing given this new way to look at life and having the old way so firmly ingrained in you. And what really is the way to be practicall about matters? What is really a sin, and what is just something culture made into a sin just because it was convienient?…Those are the things that keep me busy…and it’s driving me mad at times…

I find myself praying this a lot “God please just give me a place to call home”, be it a church that I can be myself in a bit more, a wife that understands me and is able to love me and be loyal. Some friends that I don’t have to pretend with, if they’re Christians I don’t want to have to pretend to be more christians then I am and visa versa if they’re not.

Well dear reader, whoever you are, I greet you and say thank you for hearing my troubled mind.

 

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.

Come and take a swim part 9

It’s a warm sunday evening, quiet outside and the time feels right to write another chapter of my story. Lets take a look at another key moment in my life.

Last time we ended with what looked like exciting promises for the future. I got enrolled in the band and I was going to give it my best shot, after all I couldn’t find the right people for my own music at the time and this was certainly a bigger organisation then what I had worked with until that time. It involved long and late trainrides to get there, but I felt it was worth it.

At first things seemed to take off fine. I’m approached it humbly and with a serving attitude as I was gratefull for the opportunity. And you’d think that would work great in the long run but it didn’t take long to find one major monkey wrench in the gears. I knew that I knew what I was doing on the guitar…after all I studied jazz and did the metal thing at the same time…I was pretty much breathing/practicing technique refinement at the time.

The drummer of that band was considered the leader, he wrote the layouts of the songs and all the things that come with beeing a bandleader. But one thing he didn’t count on. Nobody back then could tell me how to play my instrument other then my superiors at school. He insisted I played everything in downstrokes… for the guitaristicly uninitiated among you that means a bit more “dumbed down” technique off all the variations you can do on a guitar…it works verry wel in some instances, but in some cases it’s unnecesarry and takes away from the overal sound.

Lets put it this way, it’s like asking an rnb singer to cut her notes of at the end and leave out all the extra decorations every last word…come to think of it…can we make that a thing?

Anyway, so there it started I was determined to stick to my chops and ideas about the perfect ergonomic guitar technique and the drummer couldn’t have that. Understandibly, it was his band which he wanted excecuted his way, but he got a little more then what he asked for with me onboard.

Months went by, ranging from me and the drummer beeing slightly peeved to all the way beeing ready to strangle one another. Meanwhile my friend from school who invited me into this band started getting in on it as wel. He understood my frustration and shared it, I wasn’t the only recipient of the drummers tyranical behavior. We became really tight and we’d have our own little fun games during rehearsal much to the dismay of the drummer. Me and my friend would get drunk toghether after rehearsing going into town pulling all kinds of crazyness…just acting out our frustration. Man do I have some stories…

Anyway at some point frustration was so high, my friend and I decided to spend the night at my parents and we took a bottle of something allong for the ride…some kinda fancy drink that goes down way to easy. We went out for a walk into the fields sat down and started drinking.  And you know how those conversation go…first you piss and moan about the things of that day…then you go on about deeper matters from the past and whatnot.

I was at the time in the back of my head considering nature as a form of God. Nature religion if you will. I wasn’t sure under what name to go looking for it. But I was toying around with ideas to formulate my understanding of excistence and living life accordingly. And as I was explaining that to my buddy he all of a sudden responded with stories about his parents. About them having spiritual encounters, or someone they knew who had spiritual warfare with satanists. …this took me by suprise…here I was talking about a mere philosoficall approach and now I get confronted with actual manifestations (or stories thereof atleast). And as we went on I suddenly remembered

“…a gasstation…”.

I dont remember if it was the booze, but I fell to my knees gazing into the sky.

I told my friend about it and I realised, I had to commit to God. And I need to know more about him. The first thing I commited then and there was to stop cussing on God. (good golly do we cuss a lot in belgium). I even remember saying to my friend that verry moment “I should get baptised now right? Lets do that sometime”. But he declined. He said, just think it over and see…