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More About Me

Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

Found 3 results

  1. Once again the poster children of the Quiverfull movement are in the spotlight, this time because of admitted molestation of minors. It should be noted, Josh Duggar molested fellow underage family members and possibly church members, while technically a minor himself. Granted, the victims were well under the age of consent. They were also sleeping. But, to make reparations for his crimes that repeatedly occurred over the course of at least 3 years, he helped build a house, received further guidance of sorts from a “role mode”, and promised he would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, do it again. In a statement, Josh Duggar said,”We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” the statement said. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.” He understands he was on the path to ruin his life. He’s sorry. The victims? “We’ll be praying for everyone involved,” according to patriarch Jim Bob and wife Michelle. After all, according to most Christian faiths, your body belongs to God. What you do with it is your choice, but if you are harmed, God absorbs the hit points and you can continue on being strengthened spiritually from your ordeal. Somebody needs to hold my bra. Seriously. Read more at my blog here... http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/23/josh-duggar-sex-abuse-scandal/
  2. Ok, so here's my journal entry from October, as promised. To give it context - for a few months leading up to this, I had been going back through my old journals and looking over my life as a believer. I was becoming more and more disillusioned as I read through all the things I'd written. Looking objectively at all of my experiences and beliefs caused a lot of turmoil. At first it made me feel even more abandoned by God. I dealt with depression a lot, but this led me (for the 2nd time in the past 3 years) to a very deep depression. For days I would feel like I was in a fog, unable to process things, and just so confused. So that's kind of where I was when I wrote this entry. I hope this isn't just making people depressed! I'm not even sure why I'm sharing it. I guess it just helps to know people are reading this and aren't freaking out. I can't speak of this to anyone other than my husband right now (who is amazing btw!). I guess we all share a deep need for community and just need to be heard and "known". For awhile I thought people at church really knew me and I was finding out who I was there. But the more I paid attention to the real me and the questions and doubts I had, the more I realized I haven't been able to know myself for a very long time. If ever. So yeah, I guess that's why I'm sharing this. And my biggest hope is that someone will read it and see themselves in my words and know they aren't alone. And I can say, thankfully, that it does get better. I am a lot better than I was when I wrote this just a month ago. It can only go up from here! October 12, 2011 Over the past week and a half, I’ve just really allowed myself to deeply question my beliefs and look at things objectively…even to the point of questioning the existence of God, the reality of the Kingdom, and the accuracy/validity of the Bible. I am beginning to wonder if most of what I have suffered emotionally (and maybe physically) has been the result of this belief system. I am having trouble reconciling the God I’ve been told about and the God of the Bible with my experience and the experience of those around me. This is not the result of bitterness or anger at God for not "doing things the way I expected", it is simply the result of not being afraid to ask some tough questions. I desperately WANT my faith to be true. But I don’t know if I can continue to go through the spiritual, mental and emotional gymnastics I must perform to hold on to it. Of course, my first thought in response to that is, “but it isn’t about performance, He gives us faith as a gift, all we do is abide in Him…” Those answers just don’t do it for me anymore. How do I “abide” in something that seems to produce more turmoil inside me than anything else? Maybe this is a phase and I will move past it. What I keep coming back to is that if God is real and is good and is “in love with me”, He will chase me…He will do real and tangible things to show me that He is indeed real and concerned and an active part of my life. But at the same time, I am not simply running so he will come after me. I'm honestly seeking what is real. I'm realizing that a few years ago when I began really looking for "experiences with God" it was because I needed proof of his love for me and activity in my life. And also it was simply a normal response to loving someone - when you love someone you want to experience their love for you. But when I look back over this time, I just see a desperate hurting girl who needs God to show her that He loves her. I see a girl who was hurt by her belief in God from an early age but who continued to love Him, to surrender to Him in spite of the lack of evidence of His intervention. I see a girl who believed that without God she was a mess – just a girl curled up in her bed crying and too depressed to be motivated to do the simplest of tasks. I see a girl with a "big destiny" if only she could "see things the way God does" and "trust God to do it”. I lived my entire adult life believing that without God I can’t function…and yet in 20 years I’ve never been able to attain the level of relationship with Him that has caused me to be consistently and fully functional. I’ve cried out, hungered after Him, worshipped when I was too sick to even stand with my eyes closed (and not b/c I had to but b/c I wanted to!), asked for more revelation, studied, gone to church, meetings, and conferences. I’ve prophesied and prayed for the sick, I’ve been prophesied to and prayed for. I’ve given up, surrendered, trusted Him and His "finished work", and "rested in Him". But no matter what, I kept coming back to the same place: Where is He? Where’s the evidence of Him in my life? If He doesn’t do miracles in my life then how is my life better than that of an unbeliever? I can hear all the arguments and answers to my questions – the same ones I’ve told myself and even told others who were questioning. “The evidence of His love is everywhere!” “He intervenes all the time, you just might not know it!” “He does miracles all the time!” Really? Is it? Does He? This really isn’t about me being bitter or mad at God. I think for the first time in a very long time, I actually DON’T feel those emotions. In a strange way, the thought that my belief system has been wrong all my life is actually comforting. Why is that? If my belief in God has actually been great for me, caused me to grow and thrive and live a full life, then why in the world does the thought of letting it go give me a strange sense of peace? Does that mean that I am deceived? Or does it in fact mean that I am on the verge of waking up? Over the past week I’ve gone back over 7 years worth of journals. In them, there are countless entries where I am crying out to God, asking questions, wondering why I’m not seeing results or answers to prayer, etc. Then sandwiched in between are entries where I am trusting, surrendering, and thanking Him for what I believe He’s doing. But when I look back, the times I’ve laid in bed crying haven’t really been about the circumstances of my life. The circumstances of my life haven’t been that bad! In fact I’ve had a pretty good life! The truth is, those times of desperation were because of my belief in God. I felt abandoned. Any painful memory from childhood I had was magnified by the feeling that God didn’t rescue me. And all my present painful circumstances (sickness, financial problems, relationship issues, etc) were magnified by the feeling that He wasn’t intervening. So what happens if I remove God from the equation? Poof! Suddenly the tough circumstances of the past and present all become just hurtful things that happened as a result of interaction with fallible human beings, or poor personal choices, or just part of living in this world. There's no more agonizing over why this all-powerful person who loves me isn't acting like he loves me. Another thing I've been thinking about is our kids. We've felt guilty for years because we haven't been good at sharing “the gospel” with them on a regular basis. But the thing is, anytime I thought of saying something "spiritual" to one of them, I just couldn’t figure out how to do it. How could I convince them that they needed God? When we did ever talk about that w/them I would feel uncomfortable and could tell they did, too. Why? It wasn’t that we were trying to teach them "law" either – it was all "grace". But in order to get them to trust God and interact with Him, we would have to convince them that they were depraved without him. Yesterday at church (the pastor) said something that just really startled me – and it’s something I’ve believed my whole life (but have avoided the thought of!). He said in the OT that God had to give people the law so they’d behave in a righteous way. It was the only way that He could get near enough to them to interact with them without having to kill them (because of His holiness and their unrighteousness). It sounded shocking to me. I wrote in my notes, “So if I stop believing in God and don’t follow the law to the letter, He will have to kill me?” Suddenly I couldn't reconcile that with the God I'd created in my mind...the one who was my best friend. Based on his word and on what I believed, the pastor's statement was the truth...God would have to kill me if I stopped believing, even though we were friends. And yet He is good and He is love? I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to have these thoughts and feelings. I have so many questions. But what’s interesting is that I don’t feel that deep sense of loss and pain anymore. So has something actually changed inside me? J and I have realized that in order to find truth, we can’t just limit our search to one room. We have to be willing to objectively look at what we believe, and actually look at the findings of others who don’t agree w/what we’ve always been taught. Really, we are on a spiritual quest. And we believe that if the God of the Bible is real, we will determine that for ourselves. It is the only way for there to be no more doubt about and for our spiritual life to be fulfilling. But we have to be open to the idea that what we have believed is actually wrong.
  3. Hi everyone. This is my first post. I want to thank you all for this group. It's really been a help to me and my husband during a confusing and painful time. I've hesitated to post anything here because it somehow gives things a sense of "finality". But tonight I'm feeling pretty alone and thought maybe it is time to open up. This is a journal entry that I wrote in September. I wrote it as though it was going on my blog (which I recently disabled) but have never shared it with anyone other than my husband. (I knew better than to share it with the believers we know). I thought maybe it would resonate with some people here and give an idea of my personal journey. I've been struggling with my faith for a long time, but at this point I'd just begun to allow myself to deeply question things. I have another entry to follow it up with from October that I will add later. This is really long so I hope I don't overwhelm everyone! September 10, 2011 My whole life, I have been about solutions. When someone tells me something is wrong, I don’t just say “Aw sorry about that.” I would think about it, I’d try to find an answer. I’d hear God for them and show them that He understood and knew them in their place of pain. But I feel like that’s all been drained out of me now. I honestly don’t know if any of it is really real. Does He know us in our pain? Did Jesus suffer to free us from that? Then why is the remedy for our suffering so illusive? Why all the “mystery”? Why the difficult journey to get from here to there? Why all the complication? Is the Christian life really about living in a community of believers where we keep telling each other how things will be better in the future? Do we just keep living these lives, going through struggles and pain that is somewhat lessened by getting together and singing and telling each other God cares and it’ll be better one day? Is life really just this odyssey of going from one spiritual life lesson to another? I’m not encouraged by any of the spiritual rhetoric anymore…I’m just not. I didn’t plan it this way, I didn’t decide to get off the spirit-train. I just got pushed off somehow and now none of it makes sense to me anymore. Is that because I’m not seeing the “true reality”? Am I deceived? Or are they? It’s not like I haven’t had my fair share of “God encounters”. For a long time I felt like that’s all I had to keep me going. And maybe it was – maybe it was all real and I really was feeling God’s presence and hearing His voice. I guess I am just at the point now where hoping for some passing sensation or some person to come along and tell me God talked to them about me just isn’t enough. Sitting and reading a book written by someone who went through hell and feels like God rescued them isn’t enough. Listening to someone teach about the proof of God in science isn’t enough. Listening to preachers teach about God’s goodness isn’t enough. Even reading the Bible isn’t enough. Having “alone time with God” isn’t enough. “Soaking in His presence” isn’t enough. Dancing and worshipping isn’t enough. Being with other Christians, talking about our lives isn’t enough. Hanging out for fun isn’t enough. I know it may seem irreverent and even blasphemous to say some of these things…maybe it is, I don’t know. But it IS honest. And I have to believe I am not the only who feels this way. I guess that is the thing…I know there are SO many Christians out there who’ve been through the same process I have and have ended up the same place. And yet there are others who seem to have won the spiritual lottery ticket to heaven on earth. They are happy and optimistic about their lives, they claim to see miracles and to have “victory”. Is that because they work harder at it than the rest of us? Or did God give them some magical open window into the spirit world? The thing is, I really thought I was one of those people for a period of time. I thought I could see in the spirit in a way others couldn’t. I had people prophesy to me about my life and my ministry – that God would use me to heal people and encourage them. They “saw” me speaking, dancing, travelling, creating works of art, and seeing miracles as a result. That was enough to keep me going for a long time. When I’d get discouraged, I’d go back to those words….I figured if that was in my future then somehow the pain I was experiencing had to end. I believed all that I needed and so desperately longed for was in my future. Future…that was where all the good stuff was. If I could just hold on. For a long time I was pretty patient. The pain of my present circumstance was bearable because I believed my rescuer was going to come through. But over the course of several years I had a series spiritual experiences. Each time I was sure my day of rescue had come. But each time left me more confused and discouraged than the one before. It was like being lost at sea and finally seeing that rescue boat. The captain waves and says, “Don’t worry! I’m here!” You are so relieved, finally you will be saved. But then the captain sails away. What lesson was I supposed to take by these events? Was I supposed to be encouraged simply by the fact that the captain and the rescue boat existed, and maybe he’d come back? Then I started to learn that there were lots of methods for what to do and how to respond when you haven’t yet been rescued. First, it’s all about perception. You’re not really lost at sea. It just feels like you are. So the key is believing you aren’t being engulfed by waves of pain and despair, even though that’s how you feel. See, feelings aren’t real, they’re just an illusion. What’s real is the captain and the rescue boat. And when you can finally believe that, then maybe he’ll come throw you a lifeline. Or maybe what you need to do is just start swimming. Yes, fight for your freedom! Don’t give in to how you feel, just live as though the rescue boat has already arrived! Oh you’re too tired to swim? Well don’t worry – it’s all about rest. Just lay back and float. The captain is there with you, even though you can’t see him and you feel like you will go under. Just relax! You’re still drowning and getting impatient? Well, remember that the captain doesn’t always rescue the way you think he will. He has lots of different ways of saving people, you know. He might send a hot air balloon or maybe a mermaid will come along! Don’t limit the captain! Yeah I know, this sounds so harsh and cynical. I know that people who teach things like this have the best of intentions. Hey, I’ve even been the one telling people this stuff at one time or another. And honestly I can’t even say it’s all untrue. I really don’t even know right now, hence all of this rambling and venting. But what I do know is that most of what Christians call “encouragement” and “inspiration”, are not actually helping those who are in the darkest of places. By the way I’m writing, it makes it sound as though my spiritual journey has been all about trying to find what “works” – and maybe on some level it has been. But I can honestly say that I have experienced what I felt was a real relationship with God where I felt like I knew who He was, and maybe even who I was. I’ve had times where I felt safe in His arms. But somehow I have misplaced that bit of my connection with Him. And I will say, with utter vulnerability, that at times I wonder if He and His “kingdom” are real at all. How does a person hurt inside and see others hurting and not lose hope and faith? I want to be a person like that, but it appears that I am not. I do lose hope and faith…and at this point of my life I feel they have slipped completely from my grasp. I am not at the point of despairing for my life. But I am in despair. I am disillusioned…that is what I am. The definition for “disillusioned” is: having lost one's ideals, illusions, or false ideas about someone or something; disenchanted Yes, I’d say that description fits. I’m not sure I believe anymore that God rescues people out of pain. I know, “God doesn’t always work the way we think He will”. But what if the way I “think He will” is what the Bible says? Why is it that when I create an expectation of God based on what the Bible says about Him, and then that doesn’t happen, I feel I am somehow wrong for being upset and saddened by it? I heard a minister on tv say recently, “God doesn’t change, so YOU are the only variable.” What he meant by that was that when our prayer doesn’t get answered, it’s not God’s fault – so the problem has to be on our end. So what am I doing wrong? I’ve loved, I’ve trusted, I’ve surrendered, I’ve given, I’ve spoken what I felt were His words to the hurting and broken. And yet I am still broken. I have wounds that won’t heal…no matter how much I ask Him to heal them or try to heal them myself…they do not heal. I was born with the ability (I can’t seem to call it a “gift” at the moment) to see and at times even feel the pain of others. What a cruel joke to play. Why would I have this ability and yet not be able to bring healing to all of those who’s pain I can perceive? For a long time I found hope in the idea that one day that’s what I’d do – that somehow I’d break free of my own pain and sickness and I’d find this “place in God” where I’d bring healing to all of those who are sick. I’d be rescued and then I’d get to be the rescuer for others. “Well…” some would say, “…that’s a pretty lofty goal. Some people do get healed, but no one can claim to be able to heal all who are sick and oppressed.” But see, there goes the Bible again, raising my expectations. It says that Jesus healed ALL and Jesus told His followers to go and do what He did and MORE. And yet this “reality” doesn’t seem to exist. There are people who claim all of these miracles and healings in their ministries. But there’s ALWAYS someone who gets passed over. And many times that someone is the minister or someone in his or her family! That’s what I can’t shake. I can’t shake the fact that even if all this great stuff is really happening (and honestly right now I don’t know if it does), it doesn’t happen for everyone. So what that says to me is that it’s all just a crapshoot – that I might be the one it doesn’t happen for. That is how I feel…like the one who is continually passed over. I know, that sounds so melodramatic. And maybe it is. But, guess what? I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve been to enough Christian conferences and “revival meetings” to know that not everyone gets that touch they go there searching for. I’ve seen the desperate, hurting people…the ones with no hair and bandanas covering their bald heads…the ones who’s eyes are filled with sadness…I see them. I am them. They go hopeful and expecting a miracle and they leave worse off than before. At least before they could find a way to cope, at least before they hadn’t visualized what life would be like when they were well. At least before they didn’t let themselves think about being an active and happy person. But then they had to go and hope…they had someone tell them that if they just trusted God He’d heal them, He’d set the captive free. They stood and watched as others “got their miracle”. They waited…maybe they even had some sweet person minister to them…maybe, if they were lucky, they even felt a tingle or some warmth in their body. But they went home sick and feeling foolish, hurt and maybe even bitter. That is me. I am that girl. I’m the one who, time and again, thought “this is it”….I felt the goose bumps, I heard the words that seemed to shoot like a holy dagger right through me, I felt the sensation of a supernatural force ripping things right out of my body, I felt the weight of God’s presence so strong I couldn’t stand. And yet I am still here, still sick, still depressed. And worse than that, I can now add to that confused and disillusioned. If I were still “solid” on what I felt God was saying to me (there was a time not so long ago I felt SO sure when He spoke, but not now), I would think He was leading me to speak for the overlooked ones. I’d think He was giving me His passion for leaving the ninety-nine and going after the “one”. In God’s economy, no one gets left behind….no sick person, no sinful person, no destitute person, no oppressed person. At least according to what the Bible says (full disclosure: I am really grappling with my belief in that right now, gasp!), in God’s world no one misses out. I’m sure if I did a search on the word “all” in the New Testament, the number would be very high. I seem to remember that word being used an awful lot. But in our way of thinking, good things just don’t happen to everyone. Now, bad things…sure, bad things do happen to everyone…no one has to miss out on that. But good things, well, that’s just not the way the world works. So we develop endless amounts of theologies and belief systems to explain why good things don’t happen to good people. Of course, I’m not saying good things haven’t happened for me, or for all of the others who’s belief in goodness and miracles has been dashed, or at least had a few bullet holes shot in it. My point is that we come up with all of these coping mechanisms to help us feel better about the fact that, when we needed God the most, He seemed absent from us. But maybe somewhere, down in the deepest part of my spirit is a tiny little seed of faith. To be honest, I don’t want to sit here and write. I don’t want to listen to that little seed talk to me. I don’t want to believe.. There I said it. It hurts to believe. It hurts to hope. It just hurts. And it makes me angry. I am angry for myself, for the time I feel I have lost. And I am angry for others who are in pain and have no answers other than to just keep having faith. I’m angry for my mom who’s been in a black hole nearly my entire life and can’t find a way out. If it seems like I am speaking from two different places, well that’s for sure – I am. Yes, I am a double-minded woman, unstable in all my ways – that’s me. I admit it. But tell me, who isn’t? Who doesn’t grapple with these questions? The only person who doesn’t is the person who is either too distracted with their busy life to ever even think, or doesn’t allow themselves to even ask such questions. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve allowed myself to think this honestly and be this real. I mean, I’ve done my share of ranting and raving with my fingers on my keyboard…hashing it out with God and asking some tough questions. But I’ve never reached this crisis-level of faith before. I was afraid to let myself come here. The way to this place is pretty dark and scary, I must say. Letting myself really consider that I could have been wrong about this whole Christian thing my entire life…yeah, scary as hell (no pun intended). But you know what, it is also refreshing, in a weird sort of way. And right now I can honestly say there isn’t much that refreshes or encourages me. So yeah, let me just take that rabbit trail… Christian slogans, buzz phrases, catch words and clichés, oh my! How I have grown tired of them. If I don’t hear another one it will be the first full-blown miracle I’ve ever personally experienced! Maybe I am just cynical and jaded, but I have just developed this utter intolerance to the ideas and words we latch on to in order to pump us up and keep us going. I have such an aversion to it right now. And not all of it is bad or wrong, necessarily. It’s just so…ineffective. That is the word. Like I said, It’s not that all of these things people say is wrong or even cheesy – some of it even seems cool and thought provoking. But, like my husband likes to ask when I buy a new décor item for the house, “What does it DO?” What do these words DO to actually change anything? How do they accomplish actual change or progress in a person’s actual life? I think for all of us who go through an extended time of a struggle in our lives, there’s a period where words are effective and meaningful to us. But after awhile, words just become meaningless. And words and phrases which are formulated to motivate and inspire just become, at best, annoying! Does anyone understand what I mean? Am I the only one to experience this phenomenon? To quote a line of a song from one of my all-time favorite movies, My Fair Lady, “Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” And yet, here I sit…writing words…ironic… I guess what I’m getting at is that, I’m so tired of everything feeling like it’s so damned complicated. I can’t get my head around a God who would set a up a system where everything He promises us is so illusive and hard to grasp and actually experience. What would be the point of that? I can’t imagine watching my child suffer for a bunch of other children so they could have his inheritance. Then after he dies I tell the kids they get all he had coming to him now, but, well there’s this catch – it’s invisible. But don’t worry, if you believe it anyway one day you can see it. Oh, I’m so sorry you are hungry and sick right now. But remember – you have this inheritance! Yay! What, you can’t see it? Oh I know, I told you, it’s invisible! Yay! Come on, can’t we be real? I know there must be good Christian people out there who have felt this way. Why can’t we talk about it? Honestly, I’ve struggled even writing about it – alone here in my office. I’m writing as though I’m speaking to people who will read this. But I have absolutely NO intention of ever making this public. I’m too chicken like everyone else. Why would I want to expose myself like that? And what good would it actually do, anyway? Oh, ok. So there’s a bunch of us who feel like this Christian stuff is crap sometimes. We are all miserable! Cool! Ok, now what? And that’s the best case scenario – the worst case is I have a bunch of people I know mad at me and/or who think I am nuts, or even worse I hurt people by the things I have divulged.
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