I mean, this exploration of me trying to understand the Nicene Creed and my own current belief system.
This is an interruption in several ways.
- I've been super busy and haven't had the time to write down my thoughts.
- My personal down time from being busy has been consumed by reading lots and lots of interesting articles online (thanks facebook friends! :D ) that have actually been making me think about things in a completely different way. I'm wondering if it's even a worthwhile endeavor to go through the Creed, when I don't think that having the right 'belief' is the most important thing anymore. Here are a few of the articles I've thought are noteworthy, and you should take a look. I might try to go into more depth on what I think of them at a later time.
- John Shore: The only language you and God share
- Rebecca Trotter: Do you read scripture like a Pharisee or like Jesus?
- Interview with Karen Armstrong: Karen Armstrong on the 'The Bible'
- Frank Schaeffer: Why Evangelical Bible Idolatry Sucks and Why I Go to a Greek Orthodox Church Even Though It’s A Mess Too
- John Shore: Grace: Everything's Gonna Be Alright
- Fred Clark: The all-or-nothing lie of fundamentalist Christianity
So I went a little crazy. I yelled at God while driving home from set. I don't think I've ever yelled at God. I always assumed that it's something you Just. Don't. Do. Don't disrespect or anger the guy in the sky, because he might punish you for it. Just like how I've heard people say stuff like, 'don't ask God to soften your heart for such-and-such, because he just might give you what you want.' Yesterday was simply one of the most stress-filled days I've had in at least the last five years (which happens to include senior year at Westmont, an incredibly stressful time and nothing compared to my yesterday). I'm so tired of feeling the way I do. And the funny thing is, I felt better after yelling at God. It felt amazing to completely express the anger I feel toward God and the world. I have been so angry this past year because of how very 'not okay' everything is in my life and the world. Afterwards, I felt goofy and weird and free. I felt more like myself than I have in the past year. I was willing to just say anything and do anything. I didn't care if it was wrong or going to offend or make me look stupid. Because all the yelling and all the anger I let go at the guy in the sky meant there weren't any consequences because I probably pissed him off anyway.
Except for the fact that that very line of reasoning goes against everything I think I believe about God. It's a thought pattern that lives inside me and I can't shake it. I hate it with all the brain power I can muster. I feel like I've never known how to understand grace and forgiveness of God. All my life I've been told about the truth of it only to have them (usually pastors and their sermons) turn around and say that I'm not good enough, I don't deserve anything, you're a big fat ol sinner. Come to the cross, they say. Nail your sins to the cross. What about the sin of not loving yourself enough? Because I'd like to hear one.
4. I'm angry that I don't understand where or when my faith as I knew it up and left. I'm angry that I'm so lonely. I'm angry that 'being a Christian' has never helped that loneliness go away. I'm angry that the ritual of non-denominational church practice is paraded as the best way to discover God and I feel like I've never known 'him.' I'm angry that I don't know if God actually exists. I'm angry about how conservative Christian political right values pervades my existence despite my best efforts to run away from it. I'm angry at all the ways that I have felt shamed by the church for no effing good reason. I'm angry that 'freelance' means that I work 90 hours a week, seven days a week for less than minimum wage. I'm angry that beliefs I don't agree anymore with are ingrained into my consciousness that my knee-jerk reactions are things that I don't want. I'm angry that healthcare costs so much, with or without insurance. I'm angry that it's not feasible to take public transportation for my job because gasoline ruins both my budget and the environment. I'm angry at men like Todd Akin. I'm angry that this world doesn't treat women with more respect. I'm angry at the constant focus on sex. I'm angry that the church has an obsession with genitals rather than compassion for the poor and needy. I'm angry that I'm so busy trying to make enough money just to buy food that I don't actually take action on my beliefs about helping the poor and needy. It makes me feel guilty, even though I'm just trying to survive my own damn life.
I need love so badly.
Where is the redemption?