Almost five years ago I went through a conversion experience and called myself a born-again believer. This blog is born out of the aftermath of that experience. I find myself here, five years later, utterly confused. My then-pastor would say to me, “Don’t doubt in the dark, that which has been revealed in the light.” Simple phrases like that make sense. But introduce the logic that I feel like I am in the light now, and well, I’m left with just a simple phrase.
I’ve been trying to retrace my steps to find out where it all went wrong, (or right), and I think I narrowed it down to a trip I took, and a subsequent panic attack I had when I got home. I was deeply involved in the ministry in my church, and I had aspirations to become a preacher or theologian of some sort. I wanted to use my writing to be a vessel for the Lord. So I devised a creative project called “Oh God, Where Are You Now?” The basis was to journey out into America’s heartland and discover the spiritual climate.
The trip did not achieve this goal. When I got home I was overwhelmed with the failure of the project that I felt I needed to keep driving for another week, or until it made sense. I didn’t know why I needed to go really, just that I needed to go.
I slept on my pastor’s couch that night, (I was dating his daughter and had the attack while driving her home), and I was embarrassed in the morning. He sat me down at the table for breakfast and said words to me that I never heard.
I tried to get back to my routine. That summer I had to teach a teenager, only a few years younger than myself, about the basic doctrines my church believed in. When we got to prayer, I had to keep rescheduling. I talked to my pastor about how uncomfortable I felt teaching a lesson about prayer, about how I felt I wasn’t any good at praying, about how there was still so much I had yet to learn. He said that that’s how everyone feels, but the more I thought about teaching prayer, the more I felt like I was just saying words in front of my face. The more I tried to fill myself with divine power, the more I felt like I was trying to convince myself.
I never taught that lesson on prayer. After some time, I stopped praying altogether. I didn’t feel right praying. Now, to a Christian, this would sound like, “No kidding dummy! It’s the Devil convincing you of these things! Duh!” This isn’t the post to dive into the weakness of that logic, but I’m sure it will get covered. Point being, I think the Devil excuse is lame, and doesn’t apply here, and I’m not saying that flippantly.
I stopped teaching the teen class because I felt like I didn’t know anything. I stopped leading worship because I had all these questions that wouldn’t let me sleep. Questions stemming at the idea of free-will. Something most Christian’s don’t give five minutes of thought to, really. I say “really” because a Christian would say, “God gave us free will because love cannot exist without free will, and he wanted us to love him freely.” Cool. The other side of the coin is that God knows everything and is omnipresent, and omnipotent. Cool. Sooooooo if we’re going to follow that logic stomping into the Lake of Fire, I’d rather be a robot, programmed to love and serve rather than be cursed with free will to burn eternally.
(but it’s about what God wants, and he doesn’t want robots)
Well sure, but he’s God, and it would be pretty shitty of him to create a place of eternal suffering if he’s supposed to be all-loving.
(so now you’re trying to be better than God?)
No, I’m just saying that it’d be pretty shitty. Shitty people hold grudges for a long time. Decent people forgive. [wait. that word sounds familiar].
(but all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, which is why we all need to accept his sacrifice and call on his name for salvation).
Well, maybe he should realize that we are indeed humans and fuck EVERYTHING up, and lower his standards a little bit. Jesus.
—Got in my head a little bit there. Apologies—
So it wasn’t long after I stopped singing in the church that I stopped going to those mid-week services. And it was shortly after, that the pastor’s daughter sat me down and asked what was going on. I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain, and asked her if she could see herself being happy with me. The next day she broke it off. And I left her dad’s church about a month later.
It is important to note that I had some doctrinal differences with her dad which caused a lot of tension between me, her, and his church.
Dear god, I hate reliving the past. Yuck. Anyway, I am here, five years later, in no-mans land, still deeply interested in theology. I’ve taken more trips and have discovered that god is out there on the road. There’s something spiritual and freeing about traveling across land. It makes you feel small and insignificant— humble.
I have also found that I’m no longer focused on an afterlife. I don’t even bother hoping for one. If there is, then hurray I hope there’s cake. I always loathed the hymn about a mansion waiting for me in glory or whatever. I don’t want a mansion ever. And I couldn’t fucking stand how the other song leader had us all change the lyrics because it wasn’t the “King James accurate hymn.” <—- Things like this make Christian’s annoy the hell out of me… yeah. that’s a pun.
With no afterlife, I have only this life. This has given me a new appreciation for everyday. A new drive to live deeply and honestly. I don’t want to waste a minute standing around because it can end any second. I want to get to the end of my life and be happy at what I’ve done, not staring at clouds, hoping with feeble faith that I’ll have the chance in eternity to do great things.
HELLOOOO!!! We can do them NOW! Life is all this mad race toward death. It’s impossible to ever know what follows, so why waste our time fretting over the impossible? We can live today.
Okay. This post was history intensive, but now you know where I’m coming from.
Please, please, load the Ask with questions and I will respond to them. Anons welcome.
What do you consider to be living deeply?
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- alicatcatcat answered: Kindess, love, and respect for all living things. My life is here, in this world. I have to make it count.
- despair-senpai answered: living my life the way that I want to live it, simple as that.
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