Soooooo I used to go to church camp every summer. I spent seven years at one and one year at another one.
God gave me the precious gift of the Holy Ghost my first year. He started revealing His plan for me my third year.
So much of my relationship and view of God and church and whatnot can be traced to those eight hot, glorious weeks.
These are the lyrics to a song I haven’t remembered to sing in years. I may post some of the others I learned. Most were camp specific. A couple are songs that I discovered on CDs. Ion know if this one exists and I’m not searching lol.
Say the name of Jesus
Say the name of Jesus
Say the name
There’s no other name I know
That can calm your fears
And dry your tears
And wipe away your pain
When you don’t know what else to pray
And you can’t find the words to say
Say the name
I told someone about that last post. They went in on me. I didn’t say much back. I had thoughts but didn’t share them.
First, I said we as Christians in the post. I probably should have said some of us. The we I was talking about is the we I know personally.
I was told that Christmas is the only time some people all gather collectively. I was told that’s when people forgive and heal and mend.
I was told that coming together honors God because he’s about family. I was told that it is a time of love-or something like that.
I was told that there are people who focus solely on Jesus or their higher power around the world.
I think I was told that it shouldn’t be all Jesus and praying and calling his name all day.
I said Happy Winter Solstice. I was told that the solstice is steeped in witchcraft. I said that makes the addition of Christmas at that time of year WORSE!!!!!
I was told more but don’t remember.
Again, I was a slight punk and didn’t respond much. I was told that I had a point after all of the other stuff.
My reply now? Why are we waiting until the whole year has passed to make time for our family? If God is all about family, should we not make more time?
Why are we waiting until the whole year has passed to mend and heal and forgive? Should we not be loving on each other more?
The big one. Why can we not take a day, a fast of sorts, not at Christmas cuz ya know, to sit in the miracle that is the birth of Jesus?
He did, and does, SOOOOOOOOO much for us. The sacrifice of a day meditating, living solemnly, with what he did ever before our minds seems like a small thing in the grand scheme of things.
But hey. That’s just me. Different strokes for different folks.
I am a rebel of sorts. Just because it’s been done a certain way forever doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever.
There are things I examine and question. If it doesn’t make sense, I’m not down for it.
I’m not here for perpetuating stuff cuz it “worked” for someone else. I could care less if I’m the odd one out.
I’ve tried fitting in. It still didn’t go well. So. I have decided to just do me while others do them.
So, I already discussed why Christmas is canceled. But I have more thoughts about it today.
When we, as Christians, celebrate Christmas, some of us make sure we read the story of his birth before opening gifts. My family does. We’ll be on zoom in like 40 mins. I’m cool with reading the scripture cuz scripture.
Some of us go to church first thing in the morning. There are a myriad of things done to honor or celebrate Jesus first.
And then come other people’s gifts under a decorated tree and in a hung stocking on the day we commemorate his birthday.
Then we eat, sleep, watch basketball, play with toys, do things with gifts, call and text all around country and world, and whatever else.
It’s as though the celebration of his birth is one thing on a list of things to do. When, in actuality, whenever one chooses to celebrate him should be an event.
It should be a solemn occasion, set aside only for him. Where he is first. Where he is the only focus and focal point.
We should take the time and space to be in reverential awe that God created a miracle just for us to save us.
That’s the problem today though. God is just something to do. He’s, at times, an afterthought. Insead of first. Instead of placed on the throne as the King and Lord of our lives.
Could it be that the reason we don’t believe, we don’t see him move, is because we don’t keep him high and lifted? Because we don’t keep him on the throne? We don’t look up at the glory and majesty that is Him? Because we have made him small and common?
I don’t wanna do the easy thing and what’s always been done. I don’t want to minimize and trivialize the birth of my Savior because some man named Constantine attempted to co-opt something that was never for or about Jesus.
But hey, if you choose to celebrate, enjoy! Just remember who this is supposed to be about.
I’m listening to somebody sing an awesome song. I’ve conversed with them and they dont seem to trust the God they are singing about.
Jesus commissioned the disciples to do what he was doing. They watched him,earned from him, and then he said go to the people do what you’ve seen me do. (Mark 9:1-6)
A couple of them came back unable to cast a demon out. Jesus did it. The disciples asked why they couldn’t. Jesus said it was because of their unbelief. (Matthew 17:14-20)
It’s a puzzling, interesting thing that we go to church and hear sermons, hear songs, read the Bible, do all of this God-centric or God-adjacent stuff yet…
We don’t see the promises of God manifested. We look at the problem and not the problem solver.
We look at the wind and the waves and sink instead of focusing on the Savior in the middle of a miracle. (Matthew 14:25-30)
We create this hero who we don’t allow to become our friend. We create this Santa Claus but don’t fellowship with him. We create this genie but don’t allow him to lead and guide us.
We ask, but not according to his will. (1 John 5:14) So, we end up with issues. We don’t do what the Bible says do in, the way it says to do it in order to receive because we aren’t fully believing it. Why? Because our concept of who he is and how we should relate to him is skewed.
We aren’t taught or ignore the character and mind of who God truly is. If we don’t know how can we believe? Our relationship is a two way street
But, if we are conditioned to always ask, have our hand out, expect him to just do whatever we ask, we are disappointed. That affects our belief.
What a world this would be if we allowed the Word and the giver of that word to come alive in our lives. What a world this would be if we invited him in and gave him control. What a world it would be if we simply, truly believed.
The title of this has been sitting in my drafts since 12-19-20. I honestly forgot that it was there until I went to my drafts to finish two other posts.
I have slept a lot since then. I have no earthly idea the context of the thought.
It applies to sooooooooo many things in my life.
The one thing that it applies to the most is slightly apropos. Wisdom. Apropos because that’s basically all Proverbs is and “we “are going through it “together”.
When I was younger, some person in some church something told us to ask for wisdom. I’m a pew baby a.k.a. I’ve been in church since I was conceived. Lol.
I have always, as far as I can remember, loved all things church and God. I took in and soaked up so much of what was said. Both to my detriment and benefit.
So, I asked God for wisdom. What I didn’t know and was not told was kinda vital. Hopefully, the person didn’t hide the ball on purpose. Hopefully, my telling you what I wasn’t doesn’t dissuade you from asking for it anyway.
Experience. That’s what was was left out. In order to obtain wisdom, I had to experience some stuff. Boy. At some point since, I think I said that I wouldn’t have asked had I known. The experiences have been difficult and painful. I wouldn’t change a thing though.
While it was hard to get the wisdom, it grew my relationship with Jesus. He was always there. Just like the footprints poem. Nothing in this world is better or matters more than a relationship with Jesus.
I got what I asked for. But it cost, costs me something. I know where I’m going though. The price was worth it. The price is worth it.
Paul said it best: for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 KJV).
How odd for a Christian to not go to church. I honestly never thought I would be anything less than a faithful church attendee.
But the reality is this: after 26 years of mostly faithful attendance, the past 5ish years has been spotty and mostly nonexistent.
To many that’s baffling. Especially some of the people I’m closest too. I was hardcore active and present every time the doors opened. For a multitude of reasons, I even chose to go to church instead of seeing my cousin when she came in town. 🙈
I’m not a perfect Christian or person. I’m human. But you learn a few things, see a few things, by being a halfway decent Christian according to mainstream standards for 26ish years.
There are a couple of the many churches I have attended that are my favorite. It’s hard for others to measure up. Not to mention my distillation of the Bible I read and believe has led me to a complex conclusion with strong held convictions.
For comparison’s sake-when it comes to church I’m kinda a snob. Like Starbucks diehards. Or many iPhone owners.
When you’ve experienced the best why settle? Especially when it is something as important as a relationship with Jesus and salvation.
I won’t get into all of my beliefs and the inherent contradictions. I am well aware that all of this many not be kosher when considering what scripture has to say.
But I read my Bible. I could do better at that. I talk to Jesus. I could do better at that too.
We are all striving and can all do better. Where I am right now is good enough for me. That sounds slightly horrible as I tap it out.
I just don’t want to go to church for the sake of going to church. That’s religion. I’d rather have a relationship any day.
People don’t trust their kids with just anybody. Why should I do that with my church attendance?
Maybe I’ll find somewhere. Maybe I’ll find something. Maybe I should be more proactive. But maybe, just maybe, I’m fine just where I am right now.
Ok. So forever I’ve been trying to come up with an intelligent, politically correct way to state my feelings on this whole equality and gay marriage situation. I can’t remember if I’ve attempted and dotlnt wanna go read all my posts this early before work.
What I will say is that my religious beliefs opposes homosexuality but love every single homosexual. People will wonder how can that be. It’s the whole hate the sin love the sinner that Christ, you know the dude who Christians are supposed to follow and model themselves after, spoke and mote importantly exemplified.
I mean come on. He loved a liar, betrayer who assisted his choice to lay down his life, a prostitute, a multiply married bed hopper he should have never associated with, and a doubter. A man whose life mission was to destroy his people and the legacy he died to create was the greatest apostle ever.
Almost every single person I’ve encountered who is a homosexual or believe it’s ok are awesome people-some of the best people I know. While I don’t agree with their beliefs or lifestyle, and they don’t agree with mine, I see their value and worth. Some of these people are Christians. Some aren’t. But I will tell you at times they’ve treated me better than those who lay claim to the same faith.
The interesting thing with Christians against homosexuality is that they seem to have something in common with Christians for slavery. Pause. I can’t believe I wrote it either. I don’t think that the fight for love and marriage equality is on par with the fight against slavery and for equal rights. But the Christians share an absolutely common trait.
Both sets of Christians have decided to pick and choose certain parts of the Bible to stand behind while conveniently ignoring others. I’m guilty of it in areas of my life.
Jesus told Peter to render unto Caesar what is his when the fish provided a coin. Not only that. The Bible says, paraphrased, to obey them that have rule over you. The Bible says, again to paraphrase, that you have to obey the law. I fail miserably every time I speed.
One of the core ideals of this nation is the idea of the separation of church and state. That’s why prayer is gone. That’s why people have campaigned against God on money and in the pledge. I don’t agree but I can’t fault them. That’s what this country’s law has allowed.
This country’s law has now allowed same sex marriage. All these politicians and government officials don’t agree. That’s fine. I’m sure no contract said they had to religiously agree. But they have to do their jobs. They have to obey the law.
The Bible also says there is a time for every thing under the sun. Talk radio, the news, the pulpit, the barbershop, Sunday dinner, op-eds, whatever, that’s the place for these grandstands.
Sure, I can see belief coming into play when arguing or voting for or against the law. It’s completely rational to argue that there is no true 100% separation. But the law is the law. And loving your neighbor is loving your neighbor. Modern day Christians are so much like Bible day Saducees and Pharisees. Again. I’ve been guilty.
Don’t agree. That is your right. Refusing to love, accept, and obey the law makes you just as bad as those you judge. Sure some sins are abominations. But sin is sin. No big one. No little one. They’ll all send you to hell-that is if that’s what you believe.
So I was going to write like three different blogs based off of the last one. I’m not in a mood or that frame of mind anymore. However, I’m sure some of what was going to be in there will make its way into this blog.
I think I’ve talked about love before. I may repeat so bear with me. I think I felt loved as a kid. At some point after ten I don’t think I felt loved.
The cool thing has seemingly always been being in a relationship. I had my first kiss in a Bally’s daycare playing house at like five. I had a boyfriend off and on until ten. My mom championed the cause of the last boyfriend around ten.
When I moved I eventually ended up with a boyfriend. I just wanted what everybody else had. And I’m sure I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. He was a typical kid but it was hard to deal with his behavior and everything else going on in life.
After we broke up I vowed to God freshman year of high school that I didn’t need a boyfriend until he wanted to give me one eve. If that was after school. Foolish little girl.
I ended up obsessing over several guys, before my next boyfriend, before I finished school. I wanted to be loved. I wanted what the other kiddies had.
I was so foolish that I told some work friends, some with the same beliefs but not living it and others with different beliefs not living them either, that I wanted a boyfriend for my 20th birthday. Can you say mistake?
I always said I would give my virginity to my husband. I remember being at the dinner table as a teenager being adamant, even after they warned me about what I would and wouldn’t do, that I would give it to my husband. In my quest for love and being like others I made a foolish choice. Not only did I give my gift away, I didn’t do it safely. And I’ll be honest, I’m a tad nervous to find out if there are lingering consequences. I will find out before the one finds me, if I’m even supposed to be found.
I put my life in danger in more ways than one. Supposedly this dude was a triplet. I never saw all three. I think somebody I know saw them. I’m not sure. I do know that somebody was chasing my car through the streets. I do know that I was dumb enough to go wait at Walmart til he called me after the police left and went back to where he was.
Depseration will cause you to things you never said you would, never thought you would. Like, in addition ti the ither foolishness, spend money on a no good dude who couldnt answrr thr phone and was nowhere to be found. I fully believe my life would be far different had I not heeded a warning from God.
So I went to church urch one Sunday. I actually invited him. He said he would go. Of course he didn’t answer the phone. I went without him. The pastor called me out. She said something along the lines of “Karlissa. God says you are stinking and you’re dirty.”
Mind you she was like another mother. She usually knew all my business. But I was too embarrassed and ashamed. I knew what she was talking about. Though I didn’t want to stop, sin is nice especially when it was something God created to be and feel good, I told him we had to. And, thankfully, when i wanted to be weak he refused.
Of course there was no point in us being together after that. I haven’t seen or heard from him. Nor have I fallen on the seven years since. God CAN keep you if you want to be kept.
I’m grateful for God’s love and his warning. I beleive if I would have kept on I would have had his kid and maybe ended up in jail. Worse, I may have caught something. Again, i am currently willfully ignorant.
God reminds me and shows me of his love for me. His love was demonstrated on the cross when he sent Jesus to die for my sins in my place. He showed me my woth and sent people to tell me. He sent me home where could heal and eventually be loved unconditionally.
I will forever be grateful to my grandmother and aunt for giving me what I needed at a critical point in my life. I will forever be grateful for those, past and present, who helped me and loved me along the way. There are some true Christians in “the church.”
Contrary to popular belief and behavior, God, Jesus, the Bible are all holistic. The mind, body, and spirit of a man matter.
Contrary? The “churches” I went to seemed to be worried outward appearance. Looking good. Smiling. Faking the funk pretending. But we should come as we are without pretense.
There are so many scriptures dealing with the frailty of the human conditions. People crying out to God. People recording what God said. And the His descent in the flesh in the form of Jesus. Jesus told us to bring it all to him. Paul told us that Jesus knows and understands because he was in the flesh just like us.
I don’t have a good poker face. Or at least I didn’t at times growing up. I usually wore my heart on my sleeve. I didn’t like the fakeness I saw. I didn’t like hiding and pretending. I also read my Bible for myself. I listened to who differ people said he was. But I was a mess. I couldn’t understand, didn’t like the fact that my “church”/”christian” world didn’t line up with the Bible.
When I finally gave up on the dream of better where I was, moved to the same, and eventually moved where I could heal, things got better. I had the hard task of looking at my life. I try not to feel ashamed or regret. I am painfully embarrassed and sad for her. But I try to remember what was going on with her and look at the big picture not just her behavior.
Everything isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. I wasn’t promised a bed of-thorn free-roses or a field full of daisies. But I was promised help, a comforter, a listening ear. I try to pleases him but I know I mess up. I’m going to keep on trying.
I guess I’m in a mood to share. The last blog, inspired by tweets, inspired by facebook trolling that led to sadness and reflection, made me want to write another. Divorce destroys. That is pretty much factual. No psychologist here, but people always talk about the affects of divorce on children. As a child reared by parents who took me to church, I did not escape the destruction. At the end of the day everybody is human. People operate off of human emotions.
My parents relationship, for as long as I can remember, has been riddled with strife. It got worse the older I got, when he remarried. I fell victim to one side of the story. At times, I hated my father. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized some of my transferred feelings were without merit, some were validated. There are always multiple sides to stories.
Based on my own interactions with my parents, as well as observations, I can see why things didn’t work. I also believe religion, not relationship, caused, and still cause, issues today. The relationships I have with my mother, father, and step father are illusions sewn together by my forgiveness and decision to erect a mental and emotional wall. I don’t doubt I could find justification.
The sadness part. Ok. I looked at the profile of somebody I was so in love with. I just knew he would be mine. He wasn’t the first and he wasn’t the last. The “church” (again, my experience. I’ll attempt to place quotes around my history) places a premium on getting married and finding a spouse. Society does too. I don’t understand why education, service to God and others, holistic ministry aren’t given a premium. The Bible even says some won’t marry. Why the “church” and society make people who cannot, choose not, or will not marry feel like failures is beyond me.
I paid attention in church and knew that should be a goal. I dreamed up lists. I had notions of fancy. Everything was a sign. Any attention was love. I was a mess. There are only so many guys in church, guys in the world period. I dunno why God created a shortage…lol. I was eventually attracted to only one type of guy, though I didn’t see it. Not to disparage anybody, because I still care about at least two of them :), but they were unavailable then and will probably always be unavailable.
The reason I latched on whenever anybody gave me any attention is because I felt ignored. I felt unloved. I knew Jesus loved me. I believed he died on the cross for little ol’ me. But I didn’t see much of his love shown towards me by my parents, friends, and the “church.” Now, people told me they loved me. Again, humans convolute and distort love. I didn’t feel or see what I read in the pages of the Bible.
I realize now that I couldn’t stay in bondage. I couldn’t stay in Egypt. I couldn’t languish to die. The three that were unavailable left the most impact on my life. They were like guides and beacons on the way to who I should be, where I should go.
Number 1, I’ve known the longest, since 97 in the sixth grade, though we went our separate ways. We had the most issues. We fought the most. I don’t curse but you best believe I cursed him out in a text. You had to be there. We were off and on as friends. Never labelled more than that but definitely acted like more. It was the worst relationship, outside of familial, that I have ever had. He is one of my best friends. I would dang near lay my life down for this dude. He had issues. I had issues. We were a lot alike. Hurting people hurt others. The same may be true for family. I think both of my parents have/had issues, it’s pretty much proven in my father’s case. He’s still struggling. It isn’t my job to fix him. He thinks he’s okay. One day he will be healed and whole. One day he will be who I know God created him to be. Until then, I’ll love him, pray for him and support him. I’ve dropped a friend over him and don’t regret it. I don’t need that friend. I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THAT…hopefully the caps will remind me to write THROWAWAY…
Number 2. That was a mess all the way around. I wasn’t as obsessed. I found out it wasn’t as well hidden as I thought. We didn’t really have issues. I tried to tell him what somebody said behind his back. It backfired. Whatever. We may have been a lot alike. I remember some rumblings of some stuff. Not from him. We didn’t talk that much. Craziness. We are still cool. If I would try to talk to him.
Number 3. This was just bad. I don’t think it was the worst. It got me home, where I have thrived and been freed from bondage. It blew up my life. I lost friends. Shoot, I lost his friendship. But he holds the most special place in my heart. His middle initial is tattooed on my wrist. Before you judge, let me explain. He assisted in my freedom. I believe he loved me as a friend. He couldn’t give me what I wanted. I don’t believe he knows what he wants. He has issues. Our only true fight happened because I thought about his behavior and him, while he was ignoring me i might add, and asked a mutual friend a question. She went and told him. This is what destroyed a few friendships. I think I may have talked to him since then. Nothing major. We don’t speak. I haven’t attempted to speak to him in a while. I think the people we love the most have the power to hurt us the most. No matter how he has made me feel I’m grateful. If he came around today I wouldn’t hesitate to include him in my life. He needs help. He needs to be free.
Oh yeah. The tattoo. Let the “church” folk tell it, I’m not saved. I love what my first and middle names mean (endeared, consecrated to God, gracious, merciful. I gotta talk about this in THROWAWAY-especially endeared. Don’t mind my notes. I don’t want to forget) so I tatted the initials. I was pissed at my dad. Again, THROWAWAY. His middle name means the new house. I want to do something different. I want to be something different. It didn’t hurt that it’s an X…lol. I think I’m well on my way to erecting a new house.
So I just tweeted back to back to back. Reflection is not usually a fun or pleasant thing. Especially when your past was not fun and unpleasant. I spent much of my life unhappy, depressed, and I think angry. I was a kid when my parents divorced. Younger than ten. But I remember the counseling and the arguing. I do remember having fun. I had friends and people I considered family that I went to church with. My relationship with my dad wasn’t that great. I know now that it was due in part to factors we could not control. My friends at school ended up being enemies. Fifth grade was the beginning of a long period of a struggle with the isolation that came with being me.
The other day I realized a lot of my personal struggles began shortly after I received the gift of salvation. I didn’t know what I was setting myself up for. I think the church, at least the churches I grew up in, romanticized salvation. The truth about the struggles, the issues, and difficulties that come along with serving God are often hidden and buried. The salvation, the God, the church I was given was one of ignorance and blind devotion. The human side of salvation is replaced with a domineering subservience. If you didn’t think everything was going to be okay, if you didn’t trust God, if you succumbed to humanity you weren’t good enough. The arrogance of the Biblical Sadducee and Pharisees was alive and well in the 20th and 21st century church. Jesus wasn’t taught or shared much after I reached a certain age.
The certain age would be when I left home by force with my mother and sister. Moving was the absolute worst for me. I had carved out a belief system, an understanding of God, Jesus, and life in ten, almost eleven, short years. I was allowed to be a certain way, to ask certain questions, and to live a certain way at home. I had to change almost everything overnight. I didn’t want to move. And once I moved I hated it. School was horrible. Church was horrible. Home was barely tolerable. Eventually school and church got better. Home got worse. I told people at church. They listened. And sent me home. Some saw my point of view. While others told me the devil was attacking me and I was wrong. I told family members. They listened but rarely agreed or did anything. One made things worse by mentioning things I thought were told in confidence. I almost, or did actually somewhat, lose my mind. How could the God I read about, the God I tried to have a relationship with despite so called “Christians'” behavior toward me, allow so much. How could I be trying my best yet still feel this way, go through these things? I wanted to die. I begged him to kill me. The only thing that prevented me from committing suicide, outside of people praying for me, was the thought that I would be committing murder and would not be able to repent for that.
I denied who I was, what I felt, what I wanted, what I believed because people told me that I should. I changed, I caved, I merely existed because I believed it was the right thing to do and that one day things would change and I had to stick around and see them through. NOBODY called a meeting to address my issues or concerns. NOBODY truly stuck their neck out to defend me and make my world a better place. The church, at least from my experiences, hides. The church has amnesia. The church doesn’t really help its members. The church just tells you to go pray about it and you have to hope it gets better. The church only loves you if you are a certain way or bring a certain thing. The church I know is a failure.
Christianity means to follow Christ. If you follow, in that sense, you strive to be like Christ. You exemplify his example. I am not perfect. I am not the best Christian or human. I strive to be. But I know I will fall short. Yet I keep trying. I’ll never figure it out. But what I do know is that I will not be a failure. I will not idly sit on the sidelines while others hurt and die. I will not tell people to just accept things. I will not send people to a life of emotional death and suicide. I will help. After all, Jesus came to heal, he came to help, he came to teach. Jesus came to fix what was broken by showing a better way and then proving his love by his death at Calvary.
To succeed the church must take off the blinders and admit, like David and Job and others, that there is a human aspect to the lives we live. We hurt, we cry, we have issues, we have pain. And then the church must accept people, serve people, LOVE people, and help people. There are churches that do this. At least on the outside from what I have seen. I am so completely and thoroughly jaded, not to mention holding onto a strong set of criteria, that I don’t even belong to one. I have decided that there are things that are nonnegotiable when it comes to a church home. After joining several because they looked good on the outside only to find out they were rotten on the inside, I am taking my time. But while I wait, I choose to try to be the best me I can be, based on the example Jesus gave me, and hope he’s pleased. Only once more of us begin to exemplify Christ in the earth will the church be anything more than a failure.