Tag Archives: Jesus

…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.

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.

Daily prompt: I believe

Now this one I just wanna jump on, even if it’s a little late 🙂

three things I believe:

1: Jesus/Jeshua (or whatever name you give him) was and is who he said he is.

2: That same Jesus died on a cross to carry the sin of the world.

3: He rose again, and if you believe in him you’ll live in the good side of eternity.

(now that is EXTREMELY basic…and probably offending to some of you, so here’s the parts that I don’t believe)

1: I don’t believe God hates anyone.

2: I don’t believe in most popular sayings in todays christianity, if it’s a catchphrase in church, best look up it’s origins.

And way more important=>

3: I don’t believe there is anything at all you must/can do to earn God’s love. It’s already there, just open your hands to recieve it. And if you can’t even do that, you can even ask for his help with that. How’s that for service huh?

 

So there ya go, my overcomplicated faith in a nutshell.

Police has found dead carreers in a church building.

Research has shown they died from starvation.

Today’s rant,…not that I have gone full out yet,…will be about how the church will “aid” you in your goals…or rather try to. We’ve heard this story a million times before haven’t we? “I was down and out, Jesus showed up, a miracle hapened and now life is just fine and dandy.” And then they appear on the many Christian broadcasts all over the internet trying to promote their ministry with Jesus his handywork. Think about it, if Jesus was as anal about copyrights as we are…some ministries would be bankrupt in no time. Anyway, after that many of those people just seem to dissapear of the planet.

Lets take a look at Brian Welsh, he got saved, quit korn, went solo, wrote a couple of books, started Love and Death, became part of the whole whosoevers thing (I’m not sure about the order but whatever) and then joined Korn again….at this point I saw many christians pointing at Brian calling him a traitor.  Because surely he can’t be part of that heathen band AND be a Christian?

And that’s where I want to get at. It seems to me that only rarely somebody gets saved, involved with church and at the same time their proffesional life or carreer stays intact. It seems that no matter what you do outside of church, once you take it to a level beyond the churche’s capabilities they’ll be there to talk you out of it. And I think that’s a crying shame. When it comes to serving the church  they’re all open arms. Everybody is invited, everybody is welcome and encouraged to do so. And with that comes ofcourse everybody gets encouraged to get rid of their band t-shirts, cut ties with those nasty unsaved friends, all the way up to making drastic life altering choises. Not long aggo I read about how some certain hyper spiritual ministry somewhere (that will remain nameless) is filled with highly educated people. People who have degrees and diplomas for verry high functions. These same people have been brainwashed into just spending their time in prayer instead of fullfilling their carreers.

Take that in for a moment.

To some of you that might seem like a highly spiritual and sacrificial thing to do. But look at it this way. Aren’t those diplomas and degrees a blessing from God? Isn’t a high position a blessing from the Lord? Wouldn’t it be logical to use those gifts in gratitude and service of the Lord? Apparently to some part of the church not. And that sickens me.

Back to beforementioned ministry…would you be suprised if I told you people commit suicide there?

I write my blog as an open book, and I dearly hope church leaders will read this. Not everybody needs to be involved with your type of ministry. Not everyone is called to do so. It is in no way shape or form a better life lived in service of the kingdom then any other.

Jesus is after saving people from Hell…he is not interested in building a church army.

I’m so sick of hearing it “stacking chairs is just as good as preaching”…will you please cut that crap? Leave that fake humility in the toilet please. There’s nothing wrong with expanding your capabilities and buidling a carreer. In fact I encourage it to both Churched and non churched people alike. Find a trade and learn it’s secrets. Christianity is beeing called a cult by most people and you know what, in a lot of cases we deserved that title. If you have a desire and a talent for something that is beneficial and non destructive…go for it. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Theres nothing wrong with giving extravagant expressions to your worship or prayer, there is nothing wrong with devoting time to Jesus…but for the love of an average size donut, dunked in coffee unto the glory of His holy name…just live your God given life!!!

And let others do the same for crying out loud!

 

In closing here’s a little video from someone called Tony Seigh interviewing his wife.

Now go my little fishies! Be succesfull and live fullfilling lives…

Motivational posters in Christianity

Yes it’s time for a rant. Gather around the fire, put a sugary marshmellow on a stick and let it roast.
Today I’m on my soapbox about motivational posters on social networks and such. These things get on my nerves as it is. But to make matters even worse is that we christians decided to get in on the action as wel. Embarassing blunders assured.
A while aggo I saw one that sort of helped spark this blog into excistence. It was a masterpiece.
A picture of a little girl whispering into another girl’s ear. Allong with the text “pssst, I’m christian and I’m proud of it”. Hold it…hold it…wait for it…did you find it yet?
It’s great that she suposidly shares her faith so boldly except that pride is one those things the bible doesn’t exactly speak highly about.
Yes I know I’m nitpicking here on one single instance, but good grief most of them are like that. If it isn’t a contradiction like that then it’s bound to be a tacky picture with some scripture out of context on it.
Or how about this one, you gotta love these. “Press like and share if you love Jesus….otherwise you’ll go to hell”. Well that’s paraphrased but I wouldn’t be suprised if theres a couple out there that say exactly that.
Now ofcourse sharing your faith is great, it’s what we do to bring the gospel to the people. It’s just how do we go about it? I for one have NEVER heard of anyone giving his or her life to Christ by seeing one of these monstrosities. Never. And we don’t seem to learn from that.

Let me put it this way. Imagine you as a child and you’re out with some family walking. You cross a railroad, your shoe gets stuck in it and wouldn’t you know it, theres a train approaching. Your father doesn’t hesitate, he jumps arcoss the rails, pushes you aside ….sadly he doesn’t make it out alive. This man sacrificed himself so that you might live.
Shocking isn’t it? And ofcourse for those of you who know the gospel I don’t need to draw the paralel to what Jesus did, it’s pretty obvious.
Now with that in mind, what would happen afterwards? You’d be deeply traumatised, it would change your life drasticly. You’d go through life feeling  bittersweetness between gratitude and sadness. This man has died for you, life wouldn’t be the same. It kills you day by day and yet knowing He did it out of love for you gives that spark of hope to carry on.
I don’t think this person who got saved would be posting fluffy butterfly pictures on facebook about it. I don’t think this person would be putting bumperstickers on his or her car about it. I don’t think this person would challenge you to share this story on facebook under the treath of beeing a coward if you didn’t.
This person would grow up with a deep story to tell every once in a while. Every now and then when a conversation is had over a coffee one on one. Then the story surfaces and it touches lives. It opens hearts, it makes tears flow. Deep genuine heartfelt gratitude.

There is no way, you can fit that on a postcard. And theres no way you’d prance that about like as if it was your favorite tv sitcom. There’s just no way.

He’s real, and sharing Him comes from a place of knowing Him.
We shouldn’t cheapen the high price He paid.

Come and take a swim part 2

Hello again

Last time we ended at my earliest church memories, or rather my earliest memories of hearing the gospel. A major event in my life that I would only realise it to be that many, many years later. Throughout the years growing up my respect for this character called Jesus never really went away completely eventhough I had nothing to do with church. Sure I’d forget about him for long periods of time, not even a question on my mind why excistence is. And yes there also have been moments where I was pretty blasphemous. Good golly, especially when I was a teenager (don’t most of them do that?). But then there were also brief moments where I’d state my case for Him…totally out of the blue not even knowing why. These were really interesting moments looking back now.

As a teenager I was a considered a Goth kid. However I was more of a fantasy roleplaying game nerd dressed in a long raincoat and combat boots, and this was even way before Goth was a “thing”. Some people knew the word, but for some reason they thought it was a diffirent word for hippies…sure why not. Oh there was also this one=> I was suposidly the leader of a cult according to some guy…ah kids can be harsh…and stupid.

Anyway getting back to making a case for Jesus. At some point between the many jabs and taunts people would throw at me this one arose: “You look like Jesus in a bathrobe”. Because of the long hair and raincoat, hah good one. Somehow I didn’t know any better then to respond “why thank you, it’s an honour to be compared to Him, because it’s Jesus and of all people none is higher then him” or something allong those lines. She was a bit dumbfounded by this. Thinking back, so am I,…how in the world did I come up with a response like that?

Or this one, at some point during class one of our teachers said sort of mocking “Hah, you kids these days, none of you are Godfearing” (wel actually she said “Godvruchtig” which means able to bear the fruits of God). Somehow I felt like making a case out of this, so I spoke up loud and clear.

“I am”

She: “I don’t believe you”

me: “I know I am”.

End of argument. The class was awkwardly silent after that…

And this one (as I write it all comes back to me) we had finals and everybody was stressing their hinders off, trying to come up with creative responses to the teachers their challenges. One of the tasks was to paint love. Yeah that’s vague huh, that’s art school for ya.

Somehow, I felt the urge to paint Jesus on the cross, and so I did. Even under protest from the teacher, she thought it was sappy. But I was determined, I was gonna paint Jesus with light around Him and for some reason a flag that said “blues”.

Now I can wear these memories with some pride but I’d be lying if I left out my less glorious artschool endeavours. Like at some point I had the “brilliant” idea to paint Jesus surrounded by some strippers and prostitutes doing their jobs around the cross…it wasn’t my intention to depict Jesus as the Lord who loves everybody regardless of their background, it was to mock him. Luckely a teacher stopped me from doing that. If any of you reading this thinks of this as sensorchip of the arts or the expressions of a young man. I can asure you that I’m glad the teacher did. You know how sometimes years later you whish you could take something back you said to someone? Wel yes, that exactly.

So these are just some of my funny memories growing up and walking a fine line between a rebel and a minister of the gospel (without even beeing aware of it). This story is far from done. We’ll get to the ranting later, I’ll post my rants as they come in between.

Wel mah little fishies, that’s it for today. As I said last time, small bites, I don’t wanna overfeed (bore) you guys to death.

Have a gud one!