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Everything posted by Riven

  1. Welcome from another long-time lurker and recent poster! I understand energy and time being at a premium, especially when you are dealing with all-encompassing diagnosis, but I'm happy you're here, and thank you for posting your story. I truly appreciated it.
  2. Welcome to the struggle. When I'm weary, I tell myself that I'd rather be on this journey, than stuck swallowing all the shaming messages of the church's teachings. Your list is a great personal manifesto, and also a great source of reminding yourself of your personal boundaries. You fought hard to come to these conclusions, they are your victory. And there is much more to come. I wish I could say that peace will come, it does -- in spurts (at least for me), but the journey is the journey. And it's worth it. Welcome. I"m pretty new too, and I recently wrote a list too! You're in good company!!
  3. @Joshpantera - I actually just made a post about man-made thinking, as it's something I've been pondering a lot, and today I had an insight (I'll leave it for my post to explain though.) But to your point, I'm always amazed at how there are still people that are hooked into these "end of the world" cults. I mean, it's not that hard to know about others who said that same, and were wrong. And, if that's not enough, there's the Bible itself saying, "No man knows the day or time..." and that anyone saying so is a false prophet. I realize the dynamics are complicated and multifaceted. Sometimes it's the leader's personality, or other factors. Re: Daniel and Revelation. I'd be interested in learning more about how those books might dissuade someone from believing in exclusivist claims! I agree about Europe and their post-Christianity. In fact, I went on a mission trip to Europe in the 90s, and that's all we talked about. How lost they were, how they didn't understand what a "personal relationship with Jesus" was, etc. OMG. So, fast forward 20+ years and I'm actually rooting for that dynamic to come to the U.S.!
  4. I just made a really important connection in my work to understand my deconstruction journey. When I was still a Christian, I realized that the only way anyone would listen to me trying to make a compelling argument for something, was to infuse your point of view with Bible verses. You needed rock-solid "proof" of your position. Since our own opinions don't count for anything inside the religion, I needed God on my side. I got really, really good at making my case with the Bible as my supporting documentation. Then, I was in a church where all kinds of crap was happening in leadership. Long story short, I'd finally had enough, and summoned the courage to write a huge email about the problems I was personally experiencing under someone's leadership. I quoted Bible verses. I knew the concepts that were being violated were absolutely against what scripture was saying. It was, in a nutshell, a very damning case against this leader. The end result? A lot of throat clearing, hemming and hawing and uncomfortable silences. They knew I was right. They knew the Bible backed me up. Guess what? In the end, it didn't matter. They did what they wanted to do, not what their God said they should. At the time, I understood it to be men being in self-will and disobeying what God said, and I knew to be correct. (But I still believed in God at that point.) However today, I just realized that church leaders do what they want to do, and just put a God stamp on it. When someone like me comes along and points that out -- I'm the problem. The problem is not the problem, the person speaking truth is. And hence, I just realized that religion mimics a dysfunctional family dynamic. It the same thing. The person (usually the parent) that is behaving badly is not the problem. It's the person (usually the child) pointing out the issue that is the "problem." The family then focuses on the "problem" so they don't have to look at the real cause. I came from a family dynamic like this. It hooks you in to having to "prove" that you are being reasonable, speaking truth, etc. But it doesn't matter. The mistake you are making is you are trying to use reason and logic with people who do not use reason and logic. The church was exactly like my family of origin. This is probably why I was "hooked in" for so long. I spun my wheels trying to reason with people who were incapable of reasoning. Or being intellectually honest. Now I'm just tired. And pissed.
  5. And there's the logic flaw right there. I was listening to a podcast the other day where they were interviewing a Mormon guy who left his church. He wrote a pretty well-known letter to the governing body about his questions/issues with the doctrine. It's now a book (cesletter.org). He was talking about the Mormon church being the "one true church" and that he really believed it. Felt special and blessed because he was born into it. That really hit me. It's exactly what evangelicals believe -- that they are the only ones that have it right. (And then there's all the subsets of evangelical Christianity that also believe that only their subset has it right -- like the CoC folks). When you step back from that and logically look at it, you realize that it's all man-made thinking. I know I've said this before, but I'll never understand how I was so bamboozled. Or why it "worked" on me. UGH.
  6. Extremely obscene. And, talk about a scene emblazoned in my mind.... here's my memory: I was a new Christian, in my church for just about 6 months. I knew some choir people, but that was about it. I had met and was dating a TV personality that was very well known. We had been seeing each other about 3 months privately (mostly not going out in public and keeping it low key) and it was getting serious enough to attend each others churches. When he came with me to mine that first time we walked in and sat down. The senior pastor (who had never spoken to me up to this point) made a friggin' bee line to where I was sitting and said a quick hello to me (he didn't know my name, but knew I went there from me being on stage in choir/worship team), and then turned his attention to my guest. Awkward. They talked for like 5 minutes until it was time for service to start. I was a bit miffed, but chalked it up to his high profile. But amazingly, after that I was invited to the senior pastor's home for dinner, his wife sought out a friendship with me, and I was suddenly the pastors new "discipleship" project. This lasted until the guy and I broke up. Then I went back to being someone he didn't pay attention to. I'll never forgot that moment where he made the bee line to me when he first spotted my famous date with me that first day. UGH. Exactly. So many holes in that story you could drive a truck through it. Even as a Christian, I never believed that (although I never advertised it either). Add the talking snake, and puts the crazy over the top.
  7. You are right. I still care too much what they think. I need to do some work around that.
  8. Thanks, everyone, I appreciate the replies. I know I'll get less triggered as time goes by, and I do more processing and healing. Still, sometimes getting triggered is just..... crappy. I just spent the morning rearranging my FB and adding a friend list that was all my old Christian friends. I then unfollowed everyone on it. So, that way I can go into the stream for that list IF I want to, but they won't show on my main feed at all. aaaaaaaand, @RealityCheck thank you so much for that suggestion. I just installed it! This is a game changer for me.
  9. Anti-intellectualism at its finest. I actually bought this book, and ageeed with all her teachings at one point. 


    The problem is that the “Christian tribe” see questions and inquiry as “cracks in your faith”, not healthy growth. 


    You are shamed and shut down. 


    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. JenniferG


      "Quit asking questions and you won't be Confused."

      Yep, sacrifice your brain on the alter of ignorance!

      A prayer counselor - oh pardon me, in modern parlance he is called a "Prayer Coach" specializing in healing of emotional pain 🤮 told me I was thinking too much when I told him I doubted that I "know" Jesus. This was the same dude who told me Jesus was right there when I was molested as a kid! For a good person to do and say something wicked it takes religion, to loosely quote Christopher Hitchens (when Rabbi Kushner joked about circumcision of small children)

    3. Riven


      @JenniferG oh man...... talk about messed up. What a double message, right? I've always wondered why leaders in the church came down so hard on questioners. It's because the religion can't stand up to inquiry. Who knew?! (Well, we do now!)

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  10. I'm once again, all tied up in knots, and have wasted the better part of my Saturday afternoon. In a word: Facebook. I have considered so many times just walking away from it. I'm so upset that I can't just enjoy my news feed stream, which is mostly full of things that really interest me. Of all the friends I have, I'd say 95% or more are believers from my former evangelical life. I've already "unfollowed" almost everyone, due to being so triggered by the awful memes these loving Christian people slap up on their feed. But Facebook also shows you comments people make on OTHER pages, whether you want to know about it or not. I'm not sure if this is just part of my deconversion, but I am still getting SO BLOODY TRIGGERED when I see/read these comments -- which are unavoidable when FB decides I need to see something my friend wrote on a page they follow, which I don't care about. I've tried "telling" FB "see less comments like this" but that friggin' algorithm just doesn't get the hint. I know it's something inside of me that gets hooked in. I'll read something, and then end up researching Bible verses to counteract the insane arguments I see. But then I realize I'm just "proof texting" the person back, and that they are so entrenched in their ways that it won't matter anyway. So, I put away the verses, don't post, and disengage. Except, I don't really. I spend the next several hours ruminating on various scenarios of things I could have said, what they might have said back, etc. I can't let go. The fact that people can pick any Bible verse they want, and use it to justify something they agree with, feels like a thousand gut punches. I don't know why this affects me so much. It's insane. And, I can't seem to stop. I'll be OK for sometimes months, but then inevitably I'll see something, and it will send me spinning. I can't leave Facebook, because I belong to several important private groups for my work. I thought that unfollowing 95% of my friends would solve it (and, honestly, that's just so sad it has to come to that). The truth is, I just want to live in peace. But these days, I can't do that. I just feel really defeated right now. I mean really, really defeated. I am seriously considering counseling. I know I'm the one that LET this ruin my day. I just can't seem to stop getting triggered. Thanks for listening.
  11. I definitely will! Next time we go up, we don't want to do the "tourist thing." Our plan is to drive around the island! I know there is so much more to see.
  12. Christians are very big on calling the Bible a “blueprint for living.”  So then why is it hazy about whether you should rip kids from their parents,  but perfectly clear about the prohibition of baking gay people a cake? #situationalethics 

    1. Riven


      Well, in the evangelical world I came from, it's referred to as a "blueprint for living" quite often. In fact, it's drilled into you.

    2. RealityCheck


      Yes, I've seen the term used before.  It's quite stupid really, most of the bible pertains to events that supposedly transpired way before your birth or will after you're dead.  Anything actually pertaining to living is relegated to a few outdated commandments or some parable babbling by Jesus.

    3. Riven


      Well, the problem enters in when the church begins justifying actions by using examples from Biblical history. I mean, there’s war, killing, rape, conquering other lands and people.. etc. Plenty of bad stuff to choose from. But I hear ya! 

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  13. The only thing churches want less than that, is a hurt Christian who arrives emotionally damaged from another Christian church. They don't want to deal with the fallout. They'd rather have starry-eyed new converts, who are thrilled to work for free for the church, and give their hard earned money too. Best racket around. Free workers, and they pay the church too! Of course, it's all wrapped up in a neat little god-package that you are doing the work "for the Lord." In fact, if you ever think you are being asked to do too much, they say that your relationship with the Lord is the problem, not their church. I mean, we're supposed to "count it all joy...." right? End of rant.
  14. Modern cry: “Marriage is between one man and one woman.” Actual Bible: Man + Woman – Genesis 2:24 Man + Wives + Concubines – (Check out Abraham’s family & their wives throughout the OT) Man + Woman + Woman’s property – Genesis 16 Man + Woman + Woman + Woman (polygamy) Essau (3 wives), Jacob (2), Ashur (3), Gideon (lots), David (lots), plus many others Man + Brother’s Widow - Genesis 38:6-10 Rapist + His Victim – Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Male Soldier + Prisoner of War – in both Numbers, Deuteronomy Male Slave + Female Slave – slave owner could assign a female slave to a male one – Exodus 21:4 The logic goes like this: Christian points to Adam & Eve, stating this is the ideal. Christian says all other Old Testament marriage examples are “from a different culture and time” Christian does not seem to understand the Adam/Eve story is in Genesis - also in the Old Testament Additionally, all verses on homosexuality are valid for this culture today. And then, there’s Lot. He was down for offering up his daughters for gang rape, because if he didn’t, the angry crowd outside his house would gang rape the angels visiting him he had inside. HOWEVER: The bible never records the residents of Sodom performing homosexual acts, but it does make it clear that they were guilty of injustice and being inhospitable, and therefore deserved judgment. You know, because those things are worse than gang rape. And additionally, he does absolutely nothing about those practicing injustice or inhospitality today. Makes perfect sense.
  15. Oh! Can't believe I missed this one. I actually asked this question early on! So, evidently they boinked their brothers and sisters. So, incest was OK for a while, until it wasn't. I won't go into all the "genetic diversity" that didn't happen doing it that way... I'm not sure what's sadder: the answer, or the fact that I accepted it.
  16. @Margee thank you for sharing that. It was beautiful and heart-breaking. Your letter echoes so many of my feelings. I tried so hard. I felt it so deeply. The relationship was there for so long. It was real. It was heart-felt. I was part of me. This is the reason that I have a blinding fury for the "easy peasy" brush off from current believers of, "If you walk away, you were never really a believer." Who are they to judge what my "walk" was? It's a logic error that I get so sick of. On the one hand, "Only god can know the heart" is trotted out and used when needed, but at the same time the believer says, "I'm qualified to judge you, and say that you never believed." I'm not sure they see the flaw there. Or, they don't care. I guess it's much more frightening (to them) to think that you could be "all in," and yet walk away. It's much easier to dismiss you. That dismissal is gut wrenching to those like me, who tried their hearts out for years.
  17. Because.....fire! Something always needs to be on fire. Whether it's our hearts, our souls, or "this generation." (lol!) Something always needs to be on fire. (Sorry... ex worship leader song humor!) What is it with these Christians?
  18. I agree. Many of the people I knew in my church "system" are nice. They are raising their kids, being good neighbors, etc. As I process so much during deconversion, it's easy to forget this. I tend to focus on the concepts, doctrine, and people who hurt me. But you are right. I would love to set them all free, but just looking at my own journey, I know how incredibly hard it is.
  19. @sdelsolray You are so right. Thanks for pointing out all the other areas of "understanding" where their views are also off. I hadn't considered it as such a broad list! It's kind of amazing when you think about it. (At least for me.) I swallowed all of it, hook, line and sinker. Right now, this is my way to process, so for me, it's time well spent. I'm a writer, and I'm going to write about all the BS and inconsistencies I swallowed for 25 years, and quite honestly, I hope LOTS of Christians visit here and see it. I never had a forum to speak to all this, until now. (Well, a place where my words would stay up.) As I jokingly tell my friends, "never piss off a writer, you could end up in one of my books!" And yes, to voting! Hopefully, the statistics will continue to skew downward for the evangelicals. I don't think they need my help (lol), their doing a pretty good job of effing it up for themselves right now. I had no idea! I have a friend whose mother is in C of C. I knew they had some weird beliefs (at her church, they don't do music at all and I was never sure exactly why that was a sin...), but I didn't realize they also would deny their own members too. Harsh. I did know about the baptism, because when I was an evangelical, my friend told me that now her mom considered I was saved (after I was baptized by dunking in my church). I can't imagine surviving in this particular system (brand) of Christianity. You not only need to fear god's wrath, but also your fellow parishioners!
  20. Too bad, I'm in the *other* Vancouver (Washington). I too, went on Meetup to find a group and came up with nothing. We go up to Victoria several times a year -- I'll let you know when we're up again. (Although that's not much help for regular meetings.)
  21. #micdrop Best laugh all day!!!!
  22. Christianity is very good at "shoulding" all over us.
  23. I wrote this to be a blog post, but frankly, I think this forum gets more "guest readers" that could still be Christians, so I hope this has more impact in this forum. Also: trigger warning. I did use bible verses. There are days I get so incredibly sad and frustrated. Let's face it, the 2016 political season was brutal on so many levels. Now, in 2018, it's still brutal. And, it seems as though it's not going to stop. More and more, it seems like my Christian friends are "facing off" against those who don't agree with them politically. And this includes facing off against other Christians. I can hardly believe that during my lifetime, it became controversial to live out the teachings of Christ to other believers. Prior to my exit from evangelical Christianity, I'd actually been called a liberal by other Christians for engaging in homeless outreach. Homeless outreach! You know, to the least of these! Remember that guy you said is your savior? You know, I believe you call him Jesus? He has a lot to say about reaching out to those populations. But, evidently in the United States of America, in 2018, reaching out to the poor and marginalized makes you a liberal, not a Christian. News flash: then you have to call Jesus one too. Over the years, I've learned to shut my mouth in my evangelical friend circles about politics. It only took a few times of being told I'm a "baby killer" by voting differently than they do, for me to understand there is a zero tolerance policy for discussion on these matters. I guess I can't be too surprised. Christianity rewards black and white thinking, also known as all or nothing thinking. This is a cognitive distortion. It's a developmental level during childhood that is supposed to be left behind. Unfortunately, many adults never do grow beyond this stage, and Christianity promotes it as the desired state to live in. You must live in black and white thinking to survive in the Christian system of thought. I've also come to accept that I'm going to see vicious comments from evangelical friends on Facebook. Snide, cutting, vitriol. This is the new normal in evangelical America. Assassinate the character of anyone you don't agree with. Even if it's another Christian. Are you familiar with John 17:20-21? I didn't think so. That's where Jesus prays and asks god for believers to be unified, so that the world would believe god sent him. So, I guess god didn't answer Jesus's prayer. And you don't give a flying crap about that prayer either. Clearly. Am I saying that we shouldn't have political opinions? Not at all. What I am saying is that if you claim to be follower of Jesus Christ, then you might want to check your hatred, vitriol and anger at the door of your hearts. As believers, you are called to a higher standard. You are allowed to have political opinions, but you most certainly are not allowed to spew hatred at those who don't agree. How in the world does that attract anyone to the message of Jesus? (Bonus Hint: It doesn't.) Even when I was a Christian I was repelled by it. I'm pretty sure everyone else is too. You are called to honor God first. The Republican Party is not who you call on to save you. Donald Trump is not who you call on to save you. Making America Great Again will not save you. If you really believe your bible, why do you behave as though the direct word of god is not important enough to govern your behavior towards others? Jesus told you very clearly that you are just strangers passing through. This world is not your home. Yet defending America seems to be where Christians have planted their swords. Patriotism and American Evangelical Christianity have so tightly fused, I don't recognize Jesus in the equation anymore. You are called to pray for our leaders (Bonus Hint: No matter the party affiliation) I cannot express enough how distraught I was to see the behavior of evangelical Christian friends during the presidency of Barack Obama. I saw the most vile memes, I read the most vile comments. And everyone felt completely justified in doing so. Why? Because he advocated for things they disagreed with. Never once, in eight years, did I see calls from Christians to pray for him. Not once. But the "pray for Donald Trump" requests are flowing down the new stream of my Facebook every week. You are Biblically mandated to seek justice, defend the poor, and help the oppressed. Helping the least of these is not optional for the Christian. Sure, if you don't think the tax payers should pay, that's fine! Political discourse, debate, honest disagreement -- all fine! But personally, and as a church body, you don't have a choice if you want to follow the Bible. And yet, the disgust I see for the poor -- in the church, from my Christian family, from my Christian friends is overwhelming. Where is your love of Christ as a church body? As a believer? You've abdicated your responsibility to a political party's position. Case closed I guess. Where in the words of Jesus do you ever see that we are supposed to fight for "our rights?" Since when are your rights, your views, and your political party more important than serving others, loving others, feeding the poor, praying for others? Last time I checked, your Jesus was pretty big on teaching surrendering of self. What happened to loving your neighbors, or your enemies? Again, something mentioned specifically in the bible. If someone asks you for your shirt, you give it to them. What about turning the other cheek? Inviting in the stranger? Helping the sick? All of this Jesus directly spoke to. Somehow, the Christian religion seems to have allowed the cultural ideal of American Exceptionalism to seep into the churches. It has made you act as if you are more important, and your rights are to be defended at all costs. Everyone else can just fend for themselves. That's super-biblical of you. Hypocrites. None of this lines up with how Jesus taught you to be. The only fighting you should do is against hate, against oppression and injustice. When I was a Christian, and could no longer stand Christian culture -- what does that say? I didn't recognize Jesus in the actions, hearts and minds of people who claim Christ. So, I left. For these reasons, and a whole lot more. But this was my tipping point. I'll tell you what Christians say this means: I was never a believer. I'm much more easily dismissed that way. I'll tell you what else it means: That you're never going to be willing to look at your own behavior. Sensing a theme here? These days, Christ is being used to claim America for Christians. To hell with those that believe differently. Literally. And, hasn't that been the point all along?
  24. You bet it is! I'll give you a very practical example. My church KICKED a member of my worship team OFF THE TEAM because they had been married before. The poor guy was new, and this was his welcome to the fold. This is the SAME CHURCH where one of the deacons insisted another leader meet with the pastor, because he found out he was voting for the Democratic party. So, multiple marriages were excused for a political candidate, but not for a member who just wanted to serve god. It just got to be too much for me. Exactly! Situational ethics.
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