Life and Faith. In Pieces.

stones

In Musings on February 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Inspired by a recent post on Suddenly Something Really Interesting to finally revive my blog after nearly 3 years!  Ridiculous!  Especially given that I really only posted over a two month period.  Ha!

I have finally settled in in a new church after 3 years.  I have new friends.  Real Christian friends! Not one of whom makes me want to take up drugs and casual sex just to see how they would react.  No, really… There is a mile wide rebellious streak in me that makes me feel that I will never fit anywhere and don’t really want to anyway.  And as a Christian that can be a good and a bad thing.

It’s good because I don’t feel that my faith (which is doing fine, thanks very much for asking) is ever perceived as an obstacle by people who get to know me.  (Although fuck knows what they really think of me…)  I don’t believe I represent the holier-than-thou image of Christianity as the popular media like to depict.  You know.  Wearing dungarees, bad centre partings and T-shirts with bible verses on them, singing about how Jesus wants to give everyone a footrub, but  getting twitchy whenever someone mentions sex or even suggests going down the pub.  You know, those Christians.  The ones that don’t really exist anywhere other than in bad 90s sitcoms.  I don’t think I ram it down anyone’s throat or make it into an excuse for not engaging with life and the people around me (which trust me, as an introvert I would have no problem doing…)

On the other hand, I wonder if people even realise that I have an active faith.  True story:  yesterday someone approached me and asked if I would consider using my (horribly out-of-date) science background to help them set up a lab. To produce amphetamines.  For 20% of the profit.  And I wasn’t shocked.  It took a few moments for me to really analyse what this person had said and the criminal implications.  My morality didn’t even enter the equation for him.  And I think that is perhaps due to a more relaxed moral framework on his part, but perhaps it is due to a common perception of Christians as people who will overthrow their morality in favour of personal gratification and financial gain.  Hypocrites.  Pharisees.  And it is a valid opinion.

Just ask Garry at SSRI.  I am so ashamed at the way we behave and I’m so sorry that countless people have and continue to be treated as though they are unacceptable and irredeemable by God and are put in a position of hiding themselves at a time of their lives when they just needed to be embraced and welcomed.  I’m truly sorry, Garry.

In John 8, Jesus intervenes in the stoning of a woman caught in adultery.  This was the punishment under the law for the woman’s sin.  The law from God.  That law.  He says ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.  That would be Jesus himself.  The ultimate revelation of God.  Does he throw the stone?  He had the right.  No.  He sends her on her way with a plea to change her life.  God himself did not stone the woman.  He did not condemn her.  He rescued her!  Why are we not doing the same?  Why are so many Christians the ones with the stones?

By God’s grace, there is room for ALL at the table regardless of the number, magnitude or form of the sins in our lives and might I remind you that we ALL fall short.  All of us.  Please, can we just put it to rest now and love one another without judgement?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it all right.  I am by no means blameless in any way and in the past have expressed opinions and said things that are counter to my faith.  In a previous draft of this post, I referred to Christians as assholes (Matthew 5:22 anyone?).  I have problems with anger and don’t control my tongue and don’t prioritise my life properly.  But I’m trying.  Forgive me.

the subject of immigration really brings out the stupid in people

In Musings on September 25, 2010 at 7:29 am

I have a friend who moved to the States and seems to have become a right-wing drone.  Shame.

That’s all I’m going to say.

Okay, maybe not.  Mexico is building a wall along its border with Guatemala in order to stop contraband from being brought into the country.  This is a country in the middle of a drug war.

Republican Americans are getting all finger-pointy about it.  Calling Mexico hypocritical because they’re building a wall at their border despite protesting the one at their border with the US.

I worked with refugees for a long time.  It was a mixed experience.  Mostly good.  I met some brilliant people who had fled from horrific circumstances.  I also met some assholes.  But that happens in the course of normal life.  The same proportion of people are assholes no matter where they’re from.  (Sorry, Lord.  I know you love them too.)  I’ve never been to the USA or to Mexico, so I may not have a full picture.  I do know about immigration in the UK however.

First off, the US-Mexico border has been pretty ineffectual.

Secondly, there is a huge difference between the US and Mexico.  The US is one of the richest countries in the world whereas a massive proportion of Mexicans live in crushing poverty.

Mexico has every right to look out for its citizens.  That’s the government’s job.  Mexico is right to protest the US-Mexico wall if it’s causing the death of Mexican nationals and if it is in the interests of the country to have a border wall with Guatemala it has the right to build one.  The States has every right to protest the existence of  that wall if it’s not in the interests of its citizens.  Absolutely.

However, just finger pointing and bitching about hypocrisy is ridiculous.  I will listen to an informed opinion that takes more than one side into account.  Otherwise, shut up.

The UNHCR publishes stats every year on where in the world refugees are coming from and going to.  It makes interesting reading.  Find 2009′s here. It always shocks me that the countries of the world who are hosting the most refugees are the ones that can least afford to do so.  Last year, Pakistan had the most refugees in the world, followed by Iran.  Per USD GDP, Pakistan had 745 refugees.  DR Congo had 592.  Scary.  The USA and the UK aren’t even on the list.

Of course,  these are stats for refugees, not for economic migrants.  Which, of course, the Mexican population in America predominantly are.

Migration Information Source does give some very interesting information on Mexico, both immigration and emigration.  The page on Mexicans in the USA is particularly helpful.

Rant over.  Sorry.

forgiveness

In Churches, Musings on September 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

Still haven’t quite forgiven them.  I decide to do it and I make myself forgive them.  Make a conscious decision, take a deep breath and let it go.  Again.

Then I’m in the shower, getting ready for work and it sneaks up on me again.  ‘None of those people at my old church have bothered to keep in touch.’ or ‘That pastor could at least have expressed disappointment that I’ve left the church even if he doesn’t feel he did anything wrong.’

Now, none of these thoughts are based strictly in reality.  There’s a grain of truth to each, but there’s a lot more self-pity and wishful thinking there.

It’s been an interesting experience, the whole disillusionment with the church.  I’ve always considered myself fairly forgiving.  I’ve never found it that hard to put the past behind me (apart from a few childhood regrets, like not standing up to people…)  But forgiving the church has really been a struggle.

I think it’s because they hold such high ideals.  Christians aim to be christ-like and fall so far short it’s scary.  The standards we set for Christians are so much higher than for anyone else.  I think what has really hurt is the fact that there has been no acknowledgement of failure on the part of the church.  There seems to be an unspoken attitude of ‘They have issues that they’re not trying to confront’ or ‘They’re not open enough to the Holy Spirit’ or something. 

But again, this is entirely in my own head.  I have not spoken to any of them.  So, where are these thoughts coming from?  And why am I so concerned about what they think of me?  Weird, isn’t it? 

The fact is, though that while I was part of that church I heard and took part in conversations like that.  Acidic gossip masquerading as pastoral care.  So maybe it’s not such a leap to believe that I’ve now been discussed in that way.  Certainly, what I’m writing on this blog could be construed as gossip.  That’s why I’m doing this anonymously – I’m not giving the church the right of reply but I’m not trying to stop anyone else from being part of that church and I have no interest in bringing them down or anything.  I hope that their work is blessed and that the parish they’re responsible for flourishes.  (I’m just unsure that that will happen while they continue to follow the path they’re currently on).

And I still need to forgive them.

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