Tag Archives: life

I found my life back

I’ve been meaning to write another post for a while now, and I’d have many exciting ideas to ponder and write about. But not really to extent that I’d actually sit down and start writing. Also because I’ve been insanely busy lately, lots of activity and productivity, I’m glad.

I thought, lets write another one about theological standpoint this or the other. Or lets write about how much I loathe and despair the Christian cultural heritage in light of a greater truth. Just little ideas you play around with in your head but none of them really that breathtaking that I’d have to share them with the world.

However now that I finally have a moment to myself and am somewhat rested I find the time is right to write. And what I want to share about is a particular moment in my day to day routine. When I’m home there’s always the moment where I’m in the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, or make some food. And while that’s heating up I take a moment to lean at the window and reflect on the day. It’s a moment of serenity. Because I’m not at my pc where I feel I have to keep an eye on social media (now there’s an addiction I gotta kick) or anything else for that matter, just the food doing it’s thing.

And for a good while, it would be feelings of dread, boredom, being tired and annoyed.
As if life was over, you had all the chances in the world, got involved with Christianity and now everything is gone. You made your bed of stupid choices now sleep in it.

I’d look outside and sigh under the weight of walking what seemed like a dead end path of mediocrity into my grave.

And I’m glad to say that slowly that veil of darkness has been lifting. Life has been extremely kind to me by giving me companions that walk a very similar path to mine.
Hah, narrow is the path right? It sure was, some things are just too amazing to just give up on the childlike wonder and hope for what mystery there is beyond this life. Having the right people around you makes such a difference, it has kept me from growing bitter.

And those are different people for everyone I guess. For me it’s the people church has rejected. Either knowingly and willingly by choice. Or ignorant yet persistent by not understanding and not being a home unto them.

As the bitterness fades I learn that I’m willing to let go of adversity towards those who have wronged me. It’s in the past and my life must move on. The time has come to let go and pick up where I left off so many years ago. And this has been a process that’s been going on for a year or two now. Healing takes time.

The church downstairs has moved out, and as final symbol of new and better days ahead the place is being stripped down in order for someone else to move in. I hope to everything that is holy and good it’ll be a nice and quit store of some kind.

And my personal hopes and dreams have been given chances again as well. It’s hard work and the road takes many twists and turns, but all of a sudden the goal is clear again.

When I stare out of the kitchen window now, I don’t see the road to my grave so much anymore. I see adventure and hope ahead for things to come.

Life has meaning again.

(I might close this blog since I feel it has served it’s purpose, or maybe I’ll keep it only for it’s sentimental value and for others to learn, I might start a new one…we’ll see)

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A snapshot of the journey

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

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…

Believing in your future » Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well

Hello everyone!

I thought I’d take on another daily prompt just for fun.

One thing I want to share is how to find what it is you want to accomplish and then actually make it happen.

Years aggo I set out on a musical adventure that has put me on the right track for succes several times and yet everytime there have always been things that knocked me right off again when things were about to take off. I hate it when that happends. It’s discouraging to say the least.

I remember in my early days, I just got back from a weekend at a studio, there was going to be a band reunion that I was part of and we’d start of by recording a demo straight away. Things didn’t work out like they hoped for and so we split up again. I remember during that whole weekend I’d be sitting in the back noodling around with a tritone based riff. After all was said and done I was back home (still with my parents back then) and I was jamming around a bit. And I looked out the window, thinking. I realised I wanted something diffirent. I realised we could do this amateuristic style rushed recording over and over again and it would get us nowhere. I wanted to start a band or a musical collective that finally would have some dedication to bring good music. Back then for me that was a mixture of trash, death and “nu-metal”. I remember that moment verry vividly. I think it was only moments after, that I turned on a metronome, put a mic in front of my amp and recorded an improv of riffs in one single take that would become the first song of my new band. It sounded great like nothing I’ve written before at that point. I showed that recording to a friend a few days later and he was excited about it too.

I have tried to give that vision life for many years, in many diffirent attempts, and they all failed so far. If it wasn’t me putting the bar too high for others, then it would be other musicians not getting allong among eachother or practical situations getting in the way. Sometimes I’d give them too much freedom, other times I was far too strict…it’s not easy beeing a leader. Especially when you’re a kind person by nature. 

But in either one of these situations, looking back now, it was always the same thing. A lack of faith in myself.I don’t know where I got that, but it’s important to deal with. It’s like bodybuilding, you gotta train how much you believe you’re capable of. And it takes time and energy, but the results are there when you put time into it.

So that’s important, believe in yourself, think positive. Next to that, don’t let others do that for you. Because everyone will just love to put their dreams in your capabilities. But if you are destined to bring something into existence in a specific way, make sure it’s your unaltered dream. Not theirs, their dream may be a good one, and you can help out, but your dream takes priority.

You’ll know when that staring out of the window moment is there. It’ll follow you around and your heart will speak loudly to you “LISTEN!”.

A final thought, give yourself plenty of credit, you’re a wonderfull creation with magnificent capabilities. But at the same time try to put that into balance with beeing modest. That’s just common manners, be confident, but don’t be cocky.

 

 

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/daily-prompt-teaching/

Changing churches like underpants.

Hello everybody, it’s been a good while because of lots of stuff going on at work, also got a little sick for a while (while still working, yay). And life just has a way of keeping you busy right? Beeing single I don’t have a lot on my plate yet, but good golly, once you have a goal all of a sudden they’ll throw everything on your path to keep you from it. Anyway…

I was writing a bloggpost about music and church, I’m absolutly passionate about music, it’s a big part of who I am…wel lets just say I’m a musician. Put church into that mix and you have some really heated debates going on. And as I’m writing it I can’t quite nail it yet, it’s such a big topic. So I’ve been putting that one aside for a while.

The come and take a swim series had a really depressing one last time so I’m leaving that to rest a bit as wel (it took something out of me to write that honestly). The story is going to get exciting and pretty crazy from here on so hang in there if you’re reading that one.

Today I wanted to talk about something that I’m right in the middle of. When I popped my head into the local church scene I realised one thing after a short while, go shopping around until you find a place that feels right. And my goodness I’ve got some stories about that part of the venture (=> insert shameless plug for the come and take a swim posts coming up). The things you run into “church shopping” so to speak.

After a while I found a small group of people in someone’s living room, that felt just right. It had the hipster ex rock star pastor, plenty of interaction and room for debate. Some spirituality but not too much. And overal just a nice group of fellow believers to hang with. Fast forward a couple of years later, the pastor and his wife had a kid, our group got a bit bigger…jup we moved. And moved again, and finally again. Yeah it’s not a group of people anymore, it’s a full blown church now. With the whole sunday morning program and all kinds of activities on the side and whatnot. Which is great for them, I’m glad things are moving forward. For me personally however…I have to be honest with myself and others…it’s kind of becoming the kind of church I decided not to be part of when I got here. That and some other situations (you know how little things toghether make a big whole) have led me to stop going for a while. That little while became almost a year now.

And it’s becoming pretty clear to me, my parents, my friends, their parents,…it’s time for me to move on. As gratefull as I am for all the amazing times I’ve had there I feel the Lord is directing me elsewhere. I could stay around but it wouldn’t benefit me, or others.

What I want to share with this post, wether you’re a believer, agnostic, athiest,…or anything else for that matter. Is a little insight into the christian church culture and what goes through your mind when you end up in a situation like this.

In short, it feels liberating, dangerous, scary and depressing. It’s great to be free to be yourself again, because lets be honest some people feel right at home in the church culture…others don’t, and probably never wil. Now that doesn’t mean they’re not saved btw.

I’m one of those people, I like church and the church usually likes me a lot. But every once in a while I just gotta get out of there. To find myself again. Let me take you to something the Lord once whispered to me. I was praying (shortly as always) in the morning and I said, Jesus, lets have breakfast toghether. And I went out to buy some croisants. Now I’ll have you know Belgian croisants are usually more Belgian then croisant. If you want the real deal go more down south. So I get back, put the croisants on a plate and notice, they are slightly burnt. Not to the point where you’re wanna throw them out but just enough to take some edges off. It comes of like little shells (if you’ve had croisants you’ll know what I’m talking about). And as I’m doing this, I feel the holy spirit telling me “that’s how I want to undo you of your sin and wounds….but don’t take off too much…I need people to see who you are and where you come from”.

This was a couple of years aggo and I remember it every now and then. And it’s verry valuable because sometimes beeing part of a church leads you to do things that just aren’t you. They make sence for a lot of people, but if you’re like me then…you’ll know what I’m talking about. Somethings feel kind of forced. I’m not saying this to discount anyone’s expierience in church, that’s just me, somethings I just don’t feel with the best will of the world.

And so yes, it’s liberating to move on. But it also feels scary and dangerous. Because it’s a venture into the unknown again. It’s times like these where you actually have to put your faith to the test and see if you really trust the Lord as much as you claim you do. (after all we’re Christians right? Why wouldn’t we trust Jesus…and then you face something minor even like this…) With that in mind, be patient when you run across someone who’s looking for a new church or trying to find him or herself…you can have the best most honest intentions inviting someone to your church, but it’s not always the best for them. This is one of those things that really really takes God to put into the right place.

And I can’t quite put my finger on it, but theres this feeling of regret also. I would love for things to be diffirent again, but it just isn’t and it’s probably never going to happen. Standing on the starting line of a journey into the unknown is never as exciting to you as it is to the people in the future looking backwards.

I’ll think I’ll end with that…

PS. It’s funny as I’m writing this Journey’s Don’t stop believing starts playing in the background “Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere”…that’s right, whereever I go, I won’t stop believing by His grace 🙂

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.