September 6, 2009

Understanding In "MY" Own Way

Things that I could not understand:
*How God is love, yet we are to hate so many different people. (gays, etc...)
*How God is Multi-Polar (multiple personalities) as in the trinity.
*Where did all the rules about cussing and smoking come from?
*Why, if we are supposed to "Go unto the world", were we requiring them to come to us.
*Why, did we expect people that are new to the faith to stand on their own, and not give mentors?
*Why, when some one was having a crisis of faith, did we ostracize them when they showed human frailties?
*Why is Song of Solomon in the bible, yet sex is something so shunned, that it cripples many from having healthy sexual relationships with their own spouses, and effects such horrible responses from people when it is such a natural act?

This is why I no longer go to church. These things and many others simply did not make sense to me, and the hard line doctrines, would never be able to explain. Nor were people in any mood to change their way of being because they did not see it as wrong. I have railed against those people and their shortsightedness, and made some very disturbing references to them. But with this last revelation that has come to me, I realize that I was very unfair to them, especially in my mantra of "personal faith."

The realization came to me as they usually do, when thinking of something else, while also pondering some other good meaning peoples challenges. The question that I was pondering, was how to help those that had lost their way. To do that, (oh God are you really doing this to me) I have to quote a very popular business book that has helped many achieve what they wanted, I had to "start with the end in mind." What was the destination? Where would I take these people that are asking for help? Back into a church system that I personally think is screwed as hell. That they think is screwed as hell. No, that would not do. Then I started thinking about something else, just let my mind wonder, and allowed myself to listen to the spirit. This is what he/she/it said.

"Each has to learn to understand God, in THEIR own way."

Not such an earth shattering statement. Yea, yea, we all know we are supposed to do that. But when I contemplated it, there may have been an actual WOW that escaped my lips. Those people that love to go to church, you know the ones I mean. The ones depicted by Dana Carvey as the church lady. They are understanding, "in THEIR own way." Those who just go in and don't rock the boat, those that are on fifty committees and are at church every day, to those that come when they feel like it only fifteen to twenty times a year, or maybe just Easter and Christmas. Those that go to church as in chat rooms and blogs. Those that will just meet with some friends on occasion and talk about God. That is "THEIR" understanding, and it is enough for them. Who am I to judge. God knows that I am not perfect, and never will be. But he accepts me, so he will accept them too.

So, what each of us that have been through the deconstruction and reconstruction process has found, is not the God depicted to us by a doctrine, not just a God that has already accepted us, but a God "WE" can accept, believe in, and look up to in worship. A God we can "Understand in our OWN way."


Mike said...

I think you've hit on something very important here Nate. BTW - it's good to see you writing again. I can say that now that my belief structure has been entirely torn down, I am still looking at a pile of shit and wondering exactly what I'm supposed to do with it.

This has been a very hard time for me and God is strangely silent

Nate said...

Hey Mike, I know that you are now int the "out there searching" phase. Trying to find someone that can give you perspective about a number of things. I can only offer suggestions.

These are it, my grandfather has studied the bible for 50+ years and more indepthly than any but the truest scholars. He reached some unique conclusions and has the bible as the backup. Also, there are some other books I can reccomend that can give a unique perspective. All that this serves, is to get you information so you can decide your own beliefs independant of everyone else. Then once you have decided those, you can determine what to do with yourself from there.

God is sometimes silent because it is time for you to do the work, not him.

Erin said...

I have pretty much came to the same conclusions, and agree with what you have said. It's amazing the peace that comes when we can stop hating (at least in my case) the people who haven't "got" it yet.

I'd be interested in your perspectives, Nate, on this post at Free Believers Network. On the one hand I find myself nodding my head, on another I find that check in my spirit that says it's just hype.

Do you think "freedom" is a choice and the people who don't get it are consciously choosing not to be free?

Anyhow, I think the bottom line for people like us is community...because I miss it but don't ever see myself returning to church. Went to my sister's wedding this weekend and she has a more beautiful community than most people I know, and none of them are religion or even people of faith. What makes that happen? Because I want it. So that's a rhetorical question...

Mike - That silence is quite normal. as much as it say you are left with a pile of shit...I have been there, and yes, God was entirely silent for about 3 years. But during that time, God also worked things in my life, tangible things, that I couldn't believe. Sometimes I couldn't see them except with hindsight, but he WAS there working...and when I began to see all the pieces fitting together I began to have hope again.

I hope that you will see evidence of God working, even in his silence...soon.

One Voice of Many said...

Erin - I don't that people are making a conscious choice not to be free. Even hearing things from external sources doesn't always cause people to "get it". It kind of has to click within somehow.

Mike - I'm sorry you're in a pile of shit. I know that feeling. I hate it that that 'place' exists. It's lonely and frustrating and down right ruins my mood. I hope that you can step back, take a breath, and find something in the moment to enjoy.

Nate - it IS your blog so I should at least say hi. HI!

Nate said...

Hey Erin,
I went and looked at that post, and all that it really hit me was that whoever that person was, tried to justify his anger through the bible. I have said many times that you can prove anything you want using bible verses and interpretting them how you want to. I do it myself. But to me it is just an excuse for this person to be rude.

Erin said...

I get that Nate, and I don't completely agree with him because I'm not sure I accept the "righteous anger". I'm just wondering if you think freedom is a conscious choice to have or not have, as he asserts.

Nate said...

NO it is not a conscience choice, because they REALLY do not know it exists.

When in the throws of you own church experience, did you know it was even possible to choose this freedom? I had been in church since birth and did not know until 36. How are they to know there is even is a choice? To choose something, you have to KNOW what it is you choose.

kari bryant said...

Hi Nate! I'm glad to see you writing again too :) I like what you have to say and identify with it. I think for so long I wanted to just get out of church, but God someone kept us going to a church building. As much as I fought against it, somehow we ended up at a church in Nebraska, and as I look back I can see how many of my own stereotypical opinions were shattered. We went to a very old, very rigid feeling AG church in a small town, with honkey gospel music...not at all my choice in any of those categories, but somehow we were surrounded by the most beautiful, genuine, loving and compassionate people. I saw the pastor there open up his home to drug addicts, I saw little old ladies take in the homeless. I was so shocked. That was my first indication, something in my spirit was awakened, I started to realize that just because people belong to a church and go to a church building, does not mean they are all the hypocritical racist selfish people I had experienced in church previously. Before, in my experience, church was a place for only the lovely people, the privileged, the rich. But here...the dark, the poor, the lonely...they were loved. Truly. Something I had never seen before in a church.

And then we moved to Cincinnati, and through a strange series of events, we are attending a baptist church!!!!! I swore I would NEVER walk into one of those EVER again. And here we are. I have been humbled, I have been ashamed of my prejudgments...granted, it's something rare, something that I can't explain, but it's beautiful. And here, in this place is where God has begun to show me that no, I'm not perfect, even in my spiritual life, in my views of God, in my spiritual experiences and opinions...I have been so judgemental of all of these other people (and yes, some rightly so), but here I am, doing the same exact thing. I am the heretic, the prostitute, the leper.
Unfortunately, I do not feel comfortable yet sharing what I really think about God, but I think that's just me...and time. It's been a bit different. We do not go on Sunday mornings unless we are asked to help out...we are not members, but it's been a very similar experience to what we had in Nebraska.

It's as if God said, "So, you thought all hope was lost here...well, let me show you these beautiful people, who carry my love to the ends of the earth. Ha!"

So...things are changing a bit again for me.

Nate said...

One of the things that I will never again say, is that churchs are not for those that truly belive. With the wave of those that are leaving, they are beginning to realise that maybe their roles were wrong. The UMC (United Methodist Church), has changed their motto to include everyone. Hopefully with such a large church going this way, others will follow.