Category: church/spiritual beliefs

Jesus wasn’t a Christian

May 22nd, 2007 — 5:41pm

I realize I haven’t had too much of substance to say lately. Life has been really busy and even though things are slowing down for the season at the yarn store (although that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening, a big shipment of Blue Sky Alpacas just arrived!!!) I’m still really busy. I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy my time with the kids as our whole dynamic will be changing when Eden starts Kindergarden in August.

Aside from being busy, I guess I just haven’t had much to say. I seem to continue to come full circle with my thoughts on church and my place in the “Christian” world. To that end, I’ve started cautiously reading the book, “Blue Like Jazz.” I think I like it, but I’m not yet sure. It seems to be journal entries from the life of a guy who has been really jaded by Christianity, but can’t let go of his connection to God. Sound familiar? One thing that he talked about was the progression of his relationship with God. That, at first, he saw God as a slot machine – you pull the lever and hope to get out of God what you want. Again, sound familiar?

The thing that makes me so unsure about this book is that I’m not sure that it’s going to give me the Answers I’m looking for, the Answers that I so desperately need. As if finding Answers can be so simple. How do you utterly reject Christianity and still love God? How can you co-exsist? How can you make a difference with your life and not do it in the name of something that you’re ashamed to associate with? I just want to find my place.

I know that I’m not the only one out there feeling like this. And while it’s of minimal comfort to know that, it’s still so hard. I don’t have many friends that I haven’t had this conversation with. Often times I get emails from readers wondering if I’ve figured anything out in my quest to come to terms with The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. So many of my generation (and Jim’s) are looking for something real. They go to church and listen to canned messages that their local church bought from some massive box church in Texas, or better yet, just the same one over and over. We’re looking for someone to speak from the heart with passion, to show us that they’ve found something real and true in God and they give us programmed responses. Never in my life have I felt so lost, so without a place where I belong.

I keep finding myself trying to reject God and I just can’t. It’s not Him I have a problem with. In fact the more I think open mindedly about Jesus, the more convinced I become that he was freakin cool. Jim pointed out the other day that after Jesus got kicked out of church, he never went back. It’s just what bothers me are the people who act on His behalf or worse, do nothing at all in His name. Maybe that’s what makes it even harder for me, I’m stuck here in limbo, unable to wash my hands of God but unable to stomach those who bear his name.

It’s been a little over a year since my last post on the subject, and I find myself in the same place. It makes me sad that in an entire year, I have found not one shred of resolution. But one thing I know, I AM going to keep searching and I am NOT going to give up and I AM going to keep talking about it. Because of anything in my life, this is the most important thing I need to come to terms with.

13 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs, daily

today, on this day of matzo eating, I have a thought or two

April 13th, 2006 — 10:50am

Today is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We ate Matzos for breakfast. Enough said.

With yesterday being Passover, we felt some sort of compulsion to go to church. It was unfortunate because I was starting to be proud of my heathen streak. I think the last time I went to church was December 5th. With this trip to church and Jim’s attendance at some special services last week we have been having some church related thoughts:

1. We feel like we should have the kids in church. I don’t know if the motivation behind this thought is because we feel like it’s the thing to do? Or if we feel guilty because we aren’t going? Or because Eden, especially, enjoys going. My current theory is that we feel guilty for not having them in church and I wonder if I even want them exposed to the culture that is church? (see thought #3.)

2. If we go back to church, we’d actually have to find a church that we both like. This has proven to be no easy feat. I’ve got my list of things I want in a church and I think that Jim mostly agrees with them. But even so, agreeing on a church will be… difficult, if nothing else. But I think this all boils down to thought #3.

3. I don’t like church. I have been to churches that I liked; at least when I was there I liked them. But being at church last night sort of slammed a thought into my mind. I don’t like it. Life isn’t always about what we like. But, man, if I have to go, I want to like church. First, I think that I should say that I love God. A lot. But in my mind church does not equal God. And I wonder, is church what He intended it to be?

With church comes this whole Christian sub-culture full of politics and “hallelujah’s” and weeping and waving and judging and less-than-excellence and closed-thinking and religion without a Biblical base and insincerity and boredom. This sub-culture is practically it’s own political party. And I don’t belong in it. It’s not to say that the individual people who are involved are any of these things, I was sincere when I was part of it (yet I was also all of those things), but I speak about the group, the culture as a whole. I realize that something has changed in me and I just do not belong anymore. I feel like if I tried, I would be faking it. And I feel guilty for thinking any of this.

So I suppose that leads to the question, Can you still be a Christian but reject the sub-culture that comes with it? And if you reject the sub-culture, how do you find contentment at church? It seems terribly deluded to think that I could actually find a place that thinks the same as me? I suppose what I want is an un-church. And I suppose that it doesn’t exist.

4. I think I’m starting to realize that I was hurt worse than I thought by our last church experience. I need to work it out in my mind and get over it and let time heal the hurt. Sometimes these things don’t happen quickly, even when you want them to.

So where does this leave us? Not anywhere really. But at least we have some thoughts to mull over as we much our matzos.

21 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs

Christmas and Hanukkah

December 2nd, 2005 — 11:22am

I ordered our menorah the other day, I can’t wait for it to get here. I waited too long to order it last year and couldn’t get it in time. I’m really thankful to be able to give my kids something to observe during this huge holiday season. Eden, especially, has been so full of questions and I wanted to give her more answers than Jim’s “I hate Christmas.” (Explaining why Eden says “My dad hates Christmas” is really fun, let me tell you!) But all those inquisitive questions have stirred a lot of thought within me.

Each year that I don’t celebrate Christmas, it becomes easier to not celebrate Christmas. I’d even say that this year, I choose to not celebrate it. I’ve discussed this with many people recently and it seems most people who are uncomfortable with Christmas are uncomfortable with the consumeristic side of the holiday. I think I take more discomfort in the history of the holiday. (Although, doesn’t it seem strange to you that our whole society revolves around Christmas? The stock market revolves around good 4th quarter sales. Retail businesses can be made or broke by the Christmas season. People spend all year paying off their Christmas purchases, just to charge their cards back up again.)

I think the reason that I (and others) held onto Christmas so tight at first, is because of all the memories and all that it meant to me in the past. But I’m coming to believe that just because something has great tradition and it’s “what we always have done”, doesn’t make it worthwhile. There is no changing the history of how Christmas began and where it draws it’s traditions. I personally find it important to know the history of the holidays we celebrate, because by continuing to celebrate them we’re perpetuating that history – wether we know about it or not.

I believe that Christmas is ultimately a pagan holiday. Jesus’ birth was incorporated into that pagan holiday by the early Catholic church in order to make it easier for the “pagans” to convert. December 25th was not when Jesus was born. We don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth during this time because we’re just not comfortable incorporating paganism into our worship of God.

I think what it boils down to is being honest with yourself, even if that means not keeping the traditions you once did. Or maybe it means developing new traditions. I know that Christmas is a meaningful time to many people, even a time that brings them closer to God, and I’m glad that they have that. I think everyone must decide what is right for themselves and their families. I am thankful this year that I’ve come to this clarity of mind. It makes it much easier when I’m translating it into 3 year old speak.

6 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs, holidays

On the way out

December 1st, 2005 — 10:32am

We’ve decided to stop going to our church. Man, it’s been such a difficult decision – church shouldn’t cause this much stress! It just comes to a point where there’s so much weighing on you and you have to make a decision. We’ve been to so many churches in our married life and we really wanted to stick this one out. And we just couldn’t. Really we’re not leaving our church; our church left us. The whole entire pastoral staff is different than when we started going there. It’s a totally different place. And it’s really a lot more painful that I thought it would be.

So we’re left trying to figure out where we should be now. Although my bad experiences with church outweigh the good ones, I still feel it’s important (oh, how I wish I didn’t.) But I’m not going to play church anymore. I want something real. Church isn’t meant to be a place that does nothing but make you feel guilty and unwelcome. It should be just the opposite: accepting (really accepting) people for WHO. THEY. ARE. and accepting them with open arms.

There’s a few things I need and I don’t want to compromise on those anymore. (In order of importance.)

1. A church that is doing something BIG in the community. What is the point of church if it’s so totally inwardly focused that it doesn’t see the needs of the community around it? Feeding the homeless is WAY more Gods work than preaching a lengthy sermon.

2. A sense of community. I need to feel like I’m wanted and loved and like I belong. I don’t want to be another face in the crowd. I want to pour my heart into it, but I want to know that when I need something, it will be there for me too.

3. A safe, fun, organized place for my kids. (You’d be surprised how hard this is to come by.)

4.God. I see a trend in the post-modern church, and it kind of scares me. People come to church because they want God, and when they listen to the sermon and a Bible is not cracked open once, it makes me think that they’re not getting what they need. (I put this fourth because I can get this on my own. But I want a church that values the word of God above all else.)

5. I don’t even know if this belongs on the list, but it is really important to me. I want a pastor who respects my time. I think it is possible to preach a fantastic sermon in 30 minutes. The average adult doesn’t even have an attention span much longer than that. I find it to be disrespectful to keep a congregation sitting there for 2 hours.

I could probably add a lot more, but these are the deal breakers. Now I have to go about finding this imaginary place…. and isn’t that going to be fun…..

16 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs


April 22nd, 2005 — 1:09pm

This weekend begins Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We celebrate Passover rather than Easter. This is an unusual year in that Passover doesn’t fall right at the same time as Easter. I’ve talked before about our alternatives to Christmas, and I think this kind of falls along the same lines. When we first discussed all this before we married, I thought it would be hard for me to give up Easter, especially when we had children. But it hasn’t been, at all. I’ve just started to view things differently.

I find it important to observe Jesus’ death (and resurrection), and I’m glad that Passover affords me that opportunity. But all the other “stuff”; Egg Hunts, Easter Baskets, Easter Clothing, just doesn’t matter to me anymore. I guess that after I realized that all of those traditions don’t have anything to do with God and in fact have roots in Paganism, I’m fine with the kids “missing out” on it.

I say missing out, but really I don’t think they are. We’ve got a lot of fun things going on. Saturday night we will have a huge dinner hosted by Jim’s oldest sister. Eden and Honor will enjoy playing with their cousin Abbey. I always make up a bunch of (unleavened) treats, such as

chocolate spiders
chocolate oatmeal cookies
mexican wedding cookies
coconut macaroons.
I also make up some parchment bread, which is really yummy and crispy. Jim’s got a long list of snacks he likes to have around, so trust me, we’re not going to starve.

We don’t get into all the Jewish Kosher laws. Our thought process is that if the Bible says that it needs to be unleavened bread, then that’s good enough for me (since we’re not Jewish anyway.)

And I like to buy the kiddies a present! This year we got them a pop up play tent to use in the back yard. Last weekend we bought a gazebo for our back porch (I count it as an early Passover present to ourselves) so we’re outside ALL the time.

(click here for the full sized photo.)

I think I’m going to go eat a doughnut before it’s too late….

2 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs

I ate Spam.

February 17th, 2005 — 11:27am

And I HATE Spam. It tastes like dog food. Last night at youth group we played a game (I’m in charge of games) involving Spam. I split the room into two teams and each team sent up a delegate. We played Hangman. When a team got a hangman, their delegate had to draw from a bucket and eat whatever food was on the piece of paper that they pulled out. The food options were Tofu (which I love but most teenagers don’t), Spam, Beets, and Green Olives.

One of the words I chose was “Cher” but I mistakenly spelled it “Sher.” I thought it looked funny, but it didn’t register. Because I spelled it wrong, the kids decided that I should have to eat something. Of course I would draw the name of the food I absolutely loathe. As I chewed away, I was kicking myself for cutting the Spam in such big chunks. Yuck!

Anybody have any ideas of other weird foods I can make the kids eat? I’d love to have ideas on games too, sometimes it gets hard coming up with all these games.

4 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs


December 7th, 2004 — 4:52pm

I’ve mentioned Jim’s quazi Jewish upbringing before and that means no Christmas. When I tell people that I don’t celebrate Christmas, they look at me like I’ve comitted the most retched sin. But then I ask them, “Would you give up Christmas for the person you love?” and they seem to get over it. Yes, sometimes it’s hard, I do love me some Christmas music, but for the most part it’s not too bad. The other day I was thinking that even if I did want a Christmas tree, there would be no way that I could have one. Honor would have the thing down and destroyed in about 3.6 seconds.

We go every year to my mom’s on Christmas day and I can still exchange gifts with my family which makes things easier, but I don’t want my children to feel like they’re missing out during this time of year. Enjoying the season has been kind of interesting with scrooge around and I’ve had to learn to be creative. (The only way I can get him to cheer up about Christmas is to remind him about the eggnog. He loves eggnog.) SOOO, I’ve convinced Jim to look into Hanukkah and we’ve decided to observe it this year. I think it’s an inspiring story and the lesson of a people standing apart for what they believe in is an important one to teach our children. I also feel that it’s important to have family traditions and I’m excited to be starting a new one with my family.

Here are a few links that I’ve found for yummy hanukkah treats and goodies.

Brisket with Portobello Mushrooms & Dried Cranberries
Kids candy dreidel
Crate and Barrel Menorah
History of Hanukkah


3 comments » | church/spiritual beliefs

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