So, I find myself looking at the life that is before me, and I’d like to say it is quite good. I’m getting ready to graduate(in one and a half months baby!) and I’m preparing for graduate/medical work. I’m excited. But, I still have worries.
So far, I am noticing around me that there is this willingness to forgo learning in order to appear or be more “child like” in the mind of God. Pardon my language, but what the fuck?! When did becoming a blathering moron instantly set you as better than someone who strives to better themselves intellectually?
Oh wait, I know.
I was in high school(when dinosaurs roamed the earth) when the “spirit-filled” movement took a hold in my town. Granted, I lived in Bossier City(yay military family!) so I was used to odd ideas, but this one was pretty pernicious. And the worst part? I was in the thick of it. I honestly thought that God trumped everything. To explain it in even more simple terms: Jesus plus nothing. It was pounded into our heads that our degrees were like dung, that we did not have to go to college or med school.
I was involved with a young man who I honestly believed God picked for me. In him being picked for me, I gave him the leadership role in my life since he was the “man”. I switched my major, I tamped down on various parts of my personality in order to fit this image of a Godly Wife. Because Jesus was coming back any second now…and we had to be pure! And what way to be completely pure than by removing yourself completely from the world and creating Christian versions of the worldy things you see? No need to deal with the pesky sinners! I was even planning, well daydreaming, of creating a housing district that would be for top earning Christians.
That was me at 17 years old. I’m 30 now, and it causes me grief to think how much damage I did at that time. Especially to myself. I denied large chunks of my being because I wanted to be PERFECT for Jesus. I denied the pain I felt, the fear I had, and the deep rolling rage that was just under the surface. Of course I gave it surface acknowledgement. Every Christian does that. But I didn’t OWN it. I didn’t say “this is my shadow”, because in spirit filled Christianity, your shadow is supposed to be dead, on the altar. And you are to kill it daily. If that doesn’t create a split within yourself, I don’t know what can.
So I walked around, half-dead, thinking I was really living. And now, I see it in amplified force, and I mourn for these folks. Because no pastor tells them that they are going to be passing over really awesome people for their “cause”. That they are alienating people who are kind, mean well, and don’t believe like you do.
It sets up this false dichotomy of what a good person is. And if you are on either side, you cannot win. The “good christian” either totally ignores how much of a dick they are, or they go my route and agonise over every screw-up. Fearing that they may lose God’s love/salvation/covering. And if that goes on long enough, you end up in a state of emergency that no prayer or scriptures can fix. And on the other side, you have people like my friend E, who is the sweetest person ever, but because he’s pagan….folks will instantly push him down on the “good person” list. Despite the fact he is more honorable than most folks I know. He isn’t treated like a real person, an equal. He’s treated like a less than, a servant of Satan who, through their good deeds, will lead you straight to hell.
And that is the mindset I had to deal with, and still as a non-religious person have to work on. Because it’s like herpes zoster. Once it infects you, it rarely can be comepletely cleared out. Any extreme stress or pain can kick it up. And you end up with oozing sores of self-resentment and shallow pride. Or it gets infected, which then leaves you needed to be exposed to the truth. After cutting that infection out, natrually. And you end up feeling less than, because a chunk of you is missing. Or so you think. You wander around feeling hollow or pitted, just wanting some type of relief.
At this point, you can either give up or jump back into the bullshit pond of blood. Or, you talk to those who have gone before you and they talk to you. Like a real person. Not someone with a contagion. This is true fellowship(to borrow a word). You can start over, and really look at your life. If you’re being a dick, you stop being one because it’s wrong. Not because of the punishment of hell. You are kind because it is the right thing to do. You begin to trust your decision- making more, which is scary but exhilarating. Yes, there are moments where you will miss your church, mosque, or what have you. But right now is detox. And you need to know what is right for YOU. And own up to every consequence that comes your way.
I know what I am saying sounds really harsh, but to be honest, it must be said. It must be done. Because whether you choose to live as a non-religious person or a religious person, your actions define your present and your future. I don’t mean the afterlife either. I mean the freaking here and now.
And if groups such as Concerned Women for America focused on THAT instead of their own twisted version of “ministry” to shame folks into heaven, maybe we’d have heaven on earth. Or at least a really good time.