Tuesday, June 17, 2008

abode cuatropointone


“What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?”
“No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”


disclaimer: lots of rambling to follow...

something has happened to living by faith. to living by the spirit. it has been replaced with living by a code of conduct and beliefs. i understand why this code has come into place. people in places of seeming responsibility were looking for ways to keep people from sinking below a certain line as pertains their conduct. it is certainly useful for that, and i believe that can be a good thing. but there comes a time, it seems, in the lives of some, when the doctrines and belief structures are no longer holding them up, but rather holding them down & in. which, i do not believe is the intention, but it has happened and does happen nonetheless.

yet, i don't think that discarding all classical knowledge or structures is necessarily the answer. i think i needed that kind of structure to grow inside until the time was right. but there seems to be a certain type of stagnation that comes from our classical forms of church structure where the church leadership are the ones who "hear from god" and pass it on to you, the sheep. true growth towards self-controlseems elusive. learning how to "hear the spirit" on a moment to moment basis is not generally an emphasis, and if it is, it can be a little on the side of "this seems more crazy than genuine." more of a show for the sake of the show rather than a way to heal the world. and in either tradition, the layperson is left knowing that their faith is truly not their own and that they need to run their beliefs through the filter of doctrine for whatever their tradition is in order to be deemed acceptable.

which is fine, i guess. i'm not trying to say good, bad, right, or wrong... what i'm trying to say is that it does not end up being the faith that i see the earliest people involving themselves in. jews OR christians. the lives of the apostles seemed to be rooted in the "now." and they didn't run around talking to people outside their faith tradition saying things like "the bible says..." in order to convince them. they had real-life real-time examples of the life lived by the spirit and the accompanying power. which, now that i think about it, is truly my problem with traditional structures and forms of church and religious education. they are devoid of power. they are rooted in the past, about things god has done a long time ago. things that you need to believe in faith and somehow, magically, this faith will radically transform you into the kind of person that leadership says god wants you to be.

once again, that's all well and good for what it is. some people might really need that. but it didn't work for me. i can't tell you the numerous hours i spent worrying, wondering what was wrong with me. allowing "job's comforters" and some real-life "jON's comforters" to shred my inner being and confidence because the proclaimed boundaries and proscribed behaviors didn't produce the promised holiness and perfection and devout and disciplined life that they said they would.

and in the end, it simply turns out that what works for someone else does not necessarily work for everyone.

can i give you a scripture to proclaim this in true evangelical fashion? not one singular one, no. not even a doctrinal structure. i can simply point towards examples of the kind of life of which i'm speaking. the life where nothing else matters in light of the cross and we are free to follow the god anywhere she would ask us to go at any time without worrying whether or not a misstep will cause us to lose our "salvation". more often than not, this is simply a sick and twisted means of control. because at the end of the day, scripture doesn't say that we must obey it or even believe it in order to be saved. it simply says that we believe in jesus. and even then, that's not the only way that it says we may live...not according to jesus anyway.

and that is what i desire. life. it seems so strange that there are so many of us who at one time were the ones at the forefront of our respective "bodies" begging god for more of himself, asking god continually, sometimes for years, to lead us deeper, to give us more of himself, and to use us more, found ourselves in situations where we were at odds with the human leadership that was "in charge" or "our" church. painfully, violently, and suddenly we were outside and left nursing our wounds and wondering, "what just happened?" all over the globe, this scenario has played itself out in a myriad of different ways. yet, at the heart, it was always the same. for some reason, we needed to get out.

i believe god wanted us to get out. to get us to a place where we could hear and obey him and him alone. because no disrespect to human leadership in churches and the task set before them, but often times their teachings can cause one to disobey god because we have been told that god is "always this" and "never that." that god "doesn't ask people to do things like that." and on and on.

how often i feel like peter meditating on the roof and being given a vision. a vision and a command which horrifies my religious self. but the command comes all the same, and the rebuke at my religious horror comes with it as well. "don't call anything impure which god has made clean." it flies in the face of everything i have ever been taught. it flies in the face of everything i have been trying so hard to suppress and "deny myself" for so long. to find, at the end of it all that god is asking me to now go against all of those good and "godly" teachings... it leaves one a little punch-drunk.

what am i saying here? i'm not really sure. just talking out loud i guess. not really trying to convince anyone of anything. perhaps just trying to spark dialogue or find direction for what i really want to say. i don't know.

but i do know that something is vitally missing in what is called the "christian life." how different things would be if we were living with spiritual confidence and power. to be able to heal or feed a villiage or say "this is what the spirit says" and not be full of shit.

how does one find that? and how does one communicate that it has been found so that it can be recognized by those who say it can not and should not happen? and is this anything that can be reproduced by following steps? or is it up to the master to call whomever he will, as he will, when he will?

45 comments:

Sara said...

Have you seen this yet?
http://kathyescobar.com/2008/06/10/a-nifty-chart-for-the-journe/

I think it has some of what we're on about . . . getting from stage 3 to stage 4.

I'm grateful that all this is happening for me inside the church and not outside it . . . my ache is to see the structure grow in such a way that people expect and support this kind of growth in each other.

I do believe, that doctrine and theology, properly understood, are actually very helpful in all this. I think that a lot of people don't do doctrine very well is all . . . they use it to define God down into a box that is a size that they can manage rather than letting the truth that God is bigger than our boxes, us, the Universe and anything that we can understand . . . beyond our grasp . . . letting that truth grow them

Erin said...

That's beautiful Jon.

"i can't tell you the numerous hours i spent worrying, wondering what was wrong with me."

And

"begging god for more of himself, asking god continually, sometimes for years, to lead us deeper, to give us more of himself, and to use us more, found ourselves in situations where we were at odds with the human leadership that was "in charge".

And then

"we needed to get out."

I like to say that God kicked my ass clean out of church. He did. She did. They did. Amen.

One Voice of Many said...

Great post Jon. I'm tracking with you for sure. My coffee hasn't kicked in yet. I'll comment more later.

Valorosa said...

or is it up to the master to call whomever he will, as he will, when he will?

Yep ;-)

Susan said...

I've just finished reading a book that touches on some of the things you mention here. It is called, Everything Must Change : Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope by Brian McLaren. He calls one part "Reframing Jesus" and in it he talks against the narrow view of salvation that many people have grown up with and the disillusionment this brings.

In a way I was fortunate that I did not get invovled in churches until my teens and then happened to go to a church that had good teaching (that is, not narrow) and therefore I haven't experienced as much disillusionment as many others.

Ruth said...

"to find, at the end of it all that god is asking me to now go against all of those good and "godly" teachings... it leaves one a little punch-drunk."

Jon - what is God asking of you that goes against the good and godly teaching?

jON said...

yes, sara, i did see that. heather @ deconstructed christian pointed it out and i enjoyed it. strangely enough, i found that i had actually progressed along to step 6. that was where i was until i had my faith so pounded and scrutinized by those whom i had trusted most as my spiritual advisors that i slipped back to step 3, not having the faith i once did to live so fully. to be honest, i was grabbed by the scruff of my spiritual neck and slammed into the wall over and over again until i stopped trying to progress any further. i don't know if that was their intention, but it was definitely the result. only now, 2 years later am i really beginning to feel that i can free my mind and have the same faith i once did. i am glad that you are able to grow in a body. i loved them dearly, and now i am very leery of getting involved in one again for fear of having to repeat a similar situation.

erin, i am in full agreement. although it sounds cooler to say i got kicked out of church, it was really god moving me on. i am quite sure that if things happened differently, i wouldn't have left. and for some reason, he wanted me to.

michelle, is that some weak coffee you're drinking or just a really big mug? :-)

wendy ftfs (classic, no?), once again, we're on the same wavelength. i know how you feel about that one.

susan, time and time again you've shared how you can't relate to the struggles so many of us in the states share with our church bodies. i rejoice with you, and as long as things stay that way for you, i always will. a continent/country that can produce wonderful things like ac/dc, colin hay, and vegimite must have some good stuff going on... :-)

ruth... what an astute question. where can i start without "jerking your pharisaical chain"? (as you put it upon your first vocal visit here. remember? feeling very much like alice through the looking glass?) i am afraid of being honest for the same reasons i stated above.

unfortunately, my dinner is now ready and it is time to eat and spend time with the family. i will howeverdisrobe again and share more now that there is more to share. but don't forget...you asked.

One Voice of Many said...

jon -

The coffee has now morphed into wine and I'm still in no condition to post. ;-)

sorry - I've been nutty busy lately. Work, kids, whatever, whatever, losing more friends from previous church life, broken hearted, blah blah blah... thus the wine.

Michelle

Delirious said...

"they are rooted in the past, about things god has done a long time ago."...

That is true Jon unless you belong to a church like mine that believes in continuing revelation. We do believe in the Bible, and what Jesus taught long ago, but we believe that God still speaks through a prophet today, and gives us current revelation for current times. In addition, we dont' believe that God closed His mouth when the last verses of the bible were written. We believe that there can be more scripture...current scripture. This is more along the lines of what you were talking about when you referred to living in the now.

jON said...

i was sent to start exploring different sections of american culture. "darker" places that most christians just don't go.

listening to and experiencing metal and its surrounding culture. even so far as to have a moderate understanding of "satanic" metal and it's surrounding culture and belief structure. to be able to draw near to these people in heart and actually listen to them speak instead of asking them to listen to me. and when i heard what they had to say, i was amazed to hear people whom i felt had encounters with truth.

that was one thing god asked me to do.

another thing was to learn more about sexuality and especially the culture surrounding what most people in "polite" society would consider "alternative" sex. anything from role playing and toys to bondage and other fetishes which would seem so odd and strange to most here, i will, one time only, censor myself for your sake, my gracious guests.

yet, i have seen these things with my own eyes and listened as people spoke of their experiences and their lives and how these things affected them and their beliefs about life. and again i was amazed to find many people, those who don't find sex dirty one little bit, but are willing to embrace it in all of its fullness, i also feel had encounters with truth.

that was another thing.

what else? strippers, potheads, teenagers, middle aged married people, blue collar folks, poor minorities, the tattooed and pierced, the wiccan and the buddhist...

all of these things i have seen with my own eyes. i heard the call and walked where i was asked. as a result, i have met some of the most beautiful and broken people the world has to offer. and i would have missed it all had i never gone.

Ruth said...

Yes Jon I do remember that day I tumbled down the rabbit hole into your abode. And yes I do still think of you as the Mad Hatter but I've seen your sincere heart and I think you know mine.

I too have found community among the pagans. Maybe not quite so much on the fringe as yours. I found I had to step away from them for a time because their ways had a place in me. My motives were to fit in. However, since then I have been able to return and be myself....be a light. But there are places with them that I just don't fit in anymore. I have a sense that God has placed me with my people for a reason. I know I have a role to play the same way that you sense a calling with yours.

There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.

Read Mark 7 in it's entirety. You know your own heart and so does God. It's between you and God whether or not any of those things you were talking about have a place in you.

jON said...

"I found I had to step away from them for a time because their ways had a place in me."

could you clarify this statement for me a little? i'm not sure i completely understand what you mean by this.

jON said...

the thing that was so strange about all of this for me was that i was sent to these places and people. even stranger still is that these were people i had been told my whole life to stay away from, for strangely enough, these fringe folks (the metalheads inparticular) are a group i have felt kinship with and drawn towards nearly my whole life.

growing up, however, i was subjected to teachers extolling the "evils" of rock and roll music and especially heavy metal. my dad offered me a car when i was a teenager to give it up. some from the congregation cornered my dad and told him that he needed to "make me" cut my hair because it was too long for their taste. and as you know "if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him" and again, "if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?" utilizing scripture to "show" how their opinion is the correct one.

so i spent the greater portion of my adult life, once i came to truly know god, trying to get away from these "evil people and their evil places." my whole life people in the church have been trying to steer me away. and once i was away from the world and had quite "cleansed" my life of them, that was when god found me far away from the world and asked me to stop lying about who i am and who he has made me to be. and he sent me straight back to those who he called me to and who he made me to be.

that is where the conflict comes in. so many people think they know best or how to point out "error" in others' lives. they can even use the bible to prove their point. (and when they do, it cuts me and makes my faith waver) but in the end, like brother andrew, all i can do is shrug and say, "what you are saying is very interesting and all, and i can tell you really believe what you are saying. but i know what god has asked of me, and i must obey him rather than you."

One Voice of Many said...

"what you are saying is very interesting and all, and i can tell you really believe what you are saying. but i know what god has asked of me, and i must obey him rather than you."

With this I believe you've answered your questions pondered at the conclusion of your original post here. There are no steps to be repeated, copied and followed to get the same results that Brother A achieved in reflecting the Kingdom to others. Each path is as individual as each person. When we are boxed in to fit the mold -- by being told to cut your hair (just because), give up metal bands, etc -- that is absolutely being attacked by white-washed tombs.

Even those like me who falter in our faith to claim that our path is actually called of God but rather feel like it has been stumbled upon - still, it's ours to walk. Being open and honest about each step is what allows glimpses of grace to touch us and those around us.

Two weeks ago I lost the last few friends left that were relationships from my previous church. They'd rather live in denial and in lies told to them by others than appreciate any truth I've given them. They'd actually prefer to blame me instead of own the hurt they feel from knowing that said truth. They're just angry that I dared speak it.

However, this path has bought me to such peace these days. Previously my need for approval would have driven me mad knowing this had transpired - begging to smooth all feathers down. Not so anymore. I now say, Come with me if you'd like. Either way, I'm walking on.

Did something happen to living by faith? Yes, it became commercialized and programmed and prescribed. We are among the lucky few that really have unplugged and are enjoying the reality of freedom.

Michelle

Ruth said...

"I found I had to step away from them for a time because their ways had a place in me."

I was not able to be true to myself because I wanted to fit in. When I pulled away and got secure in my identity in the Lord, I was able to be with them and enjoy their company. I didn't feel the need to be one of them anymore and change who I was. That's when I began to see God show up in conversations and circumstances. Had I lived a nice Christian life, gone to youth group and all - I would never be where I am. I'm not saying that the choices I made growing up were right but I believe that all things have worked together for good. I see God working where he has placed me.

Susan said...

… and Jon, time and time again you've shared how you been hurt by church. I got to thinking about those I know in Oz who have struggled with these same issues. It is not geographic. Then it dawned on me that even my own husband left the church he grew up in when he was 20 over many similar issues (like he was told off for reading the reading for the day out of a modern translation of the Bible instead of the KJV!). So he found another church where I eventually met him. Just as well he left the first one or I probably would never have met him! Both my husband and I came to faith in our middle to late teens (despite him attending church all his life) so we were at an age when we questioned everything which I think helped establish our own faith.

In John 21:21 Peter asked, "Lord, what about him (John)?" Jesus answered, "… what is that to you? You must follow me."

It sounds to me like this is what you are doing – following Christ – wherever He leads which is great. I too must follow Christ and for me that means sticking with the church despite its many failings.

wanting more said...

I know I'm jumping in on this conversation really late...but I love this post. I too have been one of those begging God for more of Him, for Him to use me, for me to just know Him, all of the stuff you said...and then found myself in this strange place questioning everything I've ever believed. I also feel what you are saying about wondering what I was "doing" wrong when I did not get the results everyone else taught about. I've experienced both extremes from super conservative to super charismatic...where the power was made up, to the belief that the power is not for this day and age. I've been beat over the head with doctrine and then taught to leave all of the theology behind. I'm just so tired of everyone's different ideas of how to get to god or how to do it right...I, like you, desire life. Just life. I just want to love my family, I want to be a nice person, honest and caring, and I want to live in the now also.

But, I also feel like I am at a different place in all of this than so many others are...I don't know if God has lead me out of the church or not. I am still at that stage of questioning His existence. Like I've had to go back to the very beginning, but I keep having to go back again and again! I have days when I know He's here, and I believe that He loves me...but mostly I'm just confused. I go back and read things I've posted about and wonder why I felt the way I did. Do I try to convince myself that He really IS? Talk myself into it? I guess I've just stopped everything altogether. I don't pray, I don't read the Bible, I don't listen to christian music, I have gone to church, but more for social reasons lately...I feel like maybe, really, I've lost my faith in this journey. Did you go through that at all? Anyone? It just all seems like too much to deal with, to think about. I'm not even sure if God calls me to anything or anywhere or if He did if I would recognize His voice. So, I guess I'm having one of those doubting days? Maybe tomorrow it will be different.

Wow. No sleep plus a bottle of wine equals way too much rambling...sorry about that!

One Voice of Many said...

Kari - I am completely right there with you. When I've posted blogs that had the feel of "I'm ok today" I would think, in the back of my mind, "yeah, but for how long".

But I think we just can appreciate the days that faith shows itself and not be shy about the days that none of it makes sense. I keep having to go back to the beginning also. I wonder if I'll ever have that firm foundation down.

so - at least to answer your question of "anyone?" ... "YUP.. me too".

Michelle

Ruth said...

Oh you guys make me laugh! I love your rambling. It's so honest. And I am on bottle two so I can totally relate...a nice Australian Cab Shiraz.

I have found that honesty is the best policy. I do have a believing heart and I know that God uses the shabby to counfound the wise so I will look for the supernatural. But....I have told the Lord, if I don't see you in it, I'm not go'n with it. I hope that makes sense.

Valorosa said...

You really only can stick with the present day church if it allows you to. You have to walk a certain walk and talk a certain talk to stay among church folk.

I'm curious to know how many off the wall people or people who have 'crossed' the imaginary sin line that church people won't allow are there in your congregation, Susan?

Just a question, I am not at all challenging you on your statement. I know the Lord has HIS people still in the org. You are obviously one of them. And I know every church's personality is deeply affected by its leadership and there must be some out there who are for real. Like Jon's Dad, for instance.

Susan said...

Wendy, I'm not quite sure who "off the wall" people are. But yesterday at church, which was just a regular Sunday, we had a single mum with her new baby, a guy with waist length hair, a girl with purple hair and various body piercing etc. At our previous church we regularly had people who were living together - is this what you mean?

Valorosa said...

Cool ... and how are they received by the 'board' and this is the test ... do they feel welcome enough to stay? Or is there a time down the road when they leave because they finally feel the attitudes of the core toward them. For instance, did the common law couples feel involved enough and loved enough to stay.

Katherine Gunn said...

"how does one find that? and how does one communicate that it has been found so that it can be recognized by those who say it can not and should not happen? and is this anything that can be reproduced by following steps? or is it up to the master to call whomever he will, as he will, when he will?"

How does one find it? Hmm... by asking for more of God - for freedom (really, from the heart, not as a flormual...)....

How to communicate it to those who don't believe it? can't unless they are willing to see...

Can it be reproduced by following steps? Not that I can see - otherwise it would have long ago been made into some 10 step program for true spiritual living....

Yeah, it is up to Him to lead us out into the wide open spaces of freedom...

Just my thoughts.... ;-)

Susan said...

Wendy, generally the leadership takes the attitude that it is God's job to convict the world of sin, our job is to love and accept people. The leadership seeks to encourage people in their walk with God believing in His time He will convict people as necessary. Most of the people I mentioned have attended for years, they have friends, people accept them as they are - "the attitudes of the core" would be acceptance.

The only difficult I know of has come about if someone who is living with someone wants to do something in some sort of leadership capacity. After much soul searching the leadership usually tells them graciously and tactfully that their life style is not a good role model. I know of a couple of times when this has happened and the people have continued to be involved despite being told this, much to the leadership's relief.

Btw the church my husband left 30 years ago has changed dramatically and what happened to him would not happen now.

One Voice of Many said...

I've dropped by here tonight drunk and angry. Am I normally an angry drunk, no. But tonight - you could say that I am. I'd like to wreck the joint. No, not because of anyone here. I would do it on my site but then other people not as involved in my honest side would see it and frankly -- F them!

Bad day? Yes! Bad week? Yes!
Bad month? Yes! Carry it on for a few years .. resounding Yes! It seems we all here have. What the hell?! ya know?!

Church,... ha! It's good for something? Really?! It's NOT just a show of smiling faces pretending to give a shit only when the rubber hits the road they're all pulling out their little fingers to point at scripture that clearly illustrates where and when you went wrong?

Recreation from Jesus' example? That seriously happens? It's NOT that assholes are assholes and no amount of redemption can change the fact that they're ASSHOLES?!

:sigh:

I'm sorry ... but I seriously needed a safe group to throw a complete temper tantrum.

:cheers:

Michelle

wanting more said...

Oh Michelle, i thoroughly enjoyed your tantrum! I hope this doesn't offend you, but it made me smile...and then laugh.

Okay...just an interesting little bit: I went to a chiropractor the other day...I had to just thumb through the phonebook and guess which name sounded the best. Anyway, he ended up being a complete weirdo...really hyper, too talkative, too much information, too loud, very dirty office, no privacy...the whole thing was awkward. I was hoping he could at least adjust my neck so I could turn it again, but I had to stop him before I likely ended up in the ER. I stayed for the massage chair with heat...and while I was sitting there enjoying a little time without babies, he hands me this huge blue magazine...the guide to christian businesses in the cincinnati area. I almost peed myself. If he was any representation of what services I'd likely get, the advertisers better pull their ads fast. Sadly, I began to think of how most of the time I have had rude, or dishonest, or wacky people serving me when they claim christianity so boldly. And I will probably choose services from businesses because they DO NOT claim christianity.

Ruth said...

Michelle - what is it that hurts so much?

One Voice of Many said...

Kari - no I'm not offended. I realize my complete tantrum of throwing bricks through windows is ridiculous behavior.

Ruth - your question has made me cry. What hurt so much? Everything! Everything about church being a facade, and friendship betrayal, and fights with spouses on subjects that will never die nor change, and disappointments in life that can never be corrected or made up for...

I should be ok with "it is what it is", but currently I'm not ok with it. I'm very hurt by it. What it is.. is SHIT.

One Voice of Many said...

Jon - I've hijacked yet another thread. I'm sorry..

jON said...

don't ever, ever be sorry. people would hardly have anything new here to read if you didn't come by and hijack... :-) (me spending most of my time off chasing a one year old. new experience for me.)

its okay. i have those days too. they just sneak up and back up on me. sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. it raw and honest and that's okay with me. even if it's not okay with anyone else anywhere else, it's okay here. if you need somewhere to "crash", mi casa su casa. and it's okay if you puke on the floor...

One Voice of Many said...

I've never puked on the floor but I have filled up a sink and then taken a nap on the floor. ;-)

jON said...

you know, michelle, this seems right on schedule to me. you had just left some of the best, most lucid and calm and comfortable comments and advice for me since we'd met within the past week. that usually means there's something in the wings just waiting to kick your ass. i'm not happy about it, i'm not saying it's okay, i don't even understand it entirely, i just know that has been the pattern in my life.

sorry you're on the downswing. i don't have any quick fixes or answers. in fact, the only thing i can offer you is this. a few words, that i am positive will be echoed by everyone else here who knows you.

you are loved

rest in that if nothing else.

One Voice of Many said...

I wasn't sure you had time to read my comments back to you - no comments back from you until I popped in to wreck your joint.

I suppose you're right. With every up there is a major down. I'm there. I fight it as best I can but I know that it waits for me. It got the better of me today, and if I am any sort of predictor, tomorrow and the next few days as well. Why is it the good moments last only briefly and the bad moments drag on for days?!

I'm gonna stumble off to bed now. Love to you and the rest of you poor witnesses of my reflexes.

Michelle

Ruth said...

My heart goes out to you Michelle - may the Lord bless you with sweet dreams - and answers for your broken heart.

Nate said...

Finally back after a two week hiatis in Savannah Georgia. God it is good to be in a space that has space. Not just a cubicle hotel room.

Jon, as to your post. You said, "can I give you scripture? No. Can I give you doctrine for this? no" As I read this, it reminded me of a person, that has their beliefs mired completely in the bible. We both know this person, and this person may monitor the blog, so I won't use a name. (notice, I did not even give the sex of the person away. How PC of me.) But in my head, I was having a debate with them. When this person asked about what scripture I would use, my answer was the whole bible. We have all read it, and absorbed it. It is there, guiding us all of the time. It moulds us as we read it, and changes us forever. But, we cannot describe how.

Faith, is an ugly word to me. To me it means, uncertainty, no security, confusion, frustration, anger, impossible expectations, and more. But that is what God asks, is faith. Belief without certainty. Just follow, that's all. No idea of what happens next. It blows. But, it is also wonderful. Because God always, and I do means always, provides for us. Normally when we want it least, and need it most. At the absolute last minute.

Sorry, Crown and Pepsi, my favorite drink, short ramble. Are we all alcoholics here?

Michelle, I love you as well. To me, my marriage is paramount above all other things except God. When that is not in harmony, I am in agony until everything is right again. I will continue to pray for you.

Kari, God will often take the desire to "be christian" away for a while, so you can clear your spiritual palate. Then when you start to read again, you see things very differently than when the old filters were there. You will see more of what he wants you to see. Just keep seeking, and you shall find.

Katherine Gunn said...

Michelle~

Hmm... No offense here, either. *hug* Been there - think I'm about to go there again. The pain (which is necessary for healing) comes in waves. They (the waves) won't annihilate us - but sometimes it feels like they will (or we wish they would). I concur that you are safe here. No need for embarrassment - just offer the same back when it's my turn. ;-)

Sue said...

Hey Jon. Thought I'd drop into your house, via Erin's.

You a freedom child. Me can smell it.

:)

One Voice of Many said...

:slowly peeks around the corner: ... "Hi.. I brought a broom and a trash bag. Is the place still wrecked?"

I appreciate everyone's kindness during my fit several days ago. I'm not quite out of the downswing but I'm at least calmer about it. It's a bit discouraging - to finally have lucid thoughts toward faith and then have the rug yanked out from underneath again. Going by Jon's encouragement, it doesn't just happen to me and that does, somehow, comfort.

Michelle

jON said...

i'll never forget something billy corgan (of smashing pumpkins) said in an interview years ago. i don't remember exactly, but it was along the lines of:"listening to the cure never depressed me. it always made me feel better to know that there was someone out there who felt the same way i did."

if i can not alleviate your suffering, i can let you know you don't suffer alone. your not the only one on this path. none of us are. just look around in this "room." look how many people all over the globe are walking beside you right now. :-)

Ruth said...

Hey Michelle - I've been wondering how it's going with you. Been praying for you.

"to finally have lucid thoughts toward faith and then have the rug yanked out from underneath again"

Do you think that maybe you need to separate letting go of other people's expectations and walking towards God? They aren't one in the same. In fact, they are mutually exclusive.

One Voice of Many said...

Hi again. I'm revisiting this thread tonight because the same pain that was behind my fit mid-way through the comments has reared its ugly head again. I keep thinking that I'm gaining ground on being free from others' opinions of me and then WHAM... another sting that strikes me to the core. All it took tonight was one random comment from someone who is friends with my ex-friends (the ones who have fired me for my deconstruction process) to push all the sore buttons again. Nothing hurtful was said - just a statement that this person is close with "them" and he knows that they have issue with me. His point was to brag on how he hadn't gotten involved and didn't know what the problem was. What he accomplished was reminding me that there's an issue that I'm not quite clear on what it actually is. :sigh:

It's frustrating. I spent the past week feeling free from that particular wound. Here it is again staring me in the face.

Will I ever get to a point where it doesn't sting to know that my previous friends consider me "off the reservation"? That's their phrasing, not mine.

Ruth said...

Michelle - been wonderin' bout cha sister :)

I have a few things in my head and on my heart this morning after reading your comment. I hope this is not too public a place to share it with you. It is meant to bless you.

I see a picture of you as a little girl diligently reading your bible. You are looking up in hopeful expectation of those around (parents, relatives, Sunday school teachers etc.) for affirmation. Your look says "Am I okay?" "Aren't I good?"

My take on this is that you have derived your sense of worth from the affirmation of others particularly from being a good little Christian soldier.

I see a picture of Jesus placing a crown on your head. He calls you "Caterina". He calls you "Precious One". He wants you to know that he KNOWS YOU. He has designed you to be a leader and not a follower. Sometimes being a leader is lonely and you need to be courageous. Don't look back for the affirmation of those behind you. Keep going forward and trusting your gut. Release those who are behind you. They are on their own path. You don't have to figure it all out right now (okay this is turning into my own interpretation but you get the picture right?)

"Caterina" - does that mean anything to you? I just looked up the meaning of the name and is it Greek for "pure one".

Please don't feel that this is put on you but ponder it in your heart. You will know if it hits the mark.

Love Ruth

One Voice of Many said...

Ruth -
Thank you very much. Your comments, love and encouragement so very much. I don't recognize Caterina. Michelle means "who is like God".... similar perhaps?

I know that you're right - I can't look behind me to the past, to others, and most definitely for anyone's approval. I have walked this far against the odds. Some days I feel that I can't take another step and then you guys swoop in and encourage me on. What a desolate place this desert has been. Still, worth every dry bit to get to a place of complete freedom.

Much love,
Michelle

Ruth said...

When you know in your spirit that you have God's approval you can go forward with immense strength.

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

One Voice of Many said...

Thanks Ruth. As always, you're encouraging :-)