Often when theologians or pastors talk about how people view God and the ways we interact with God, they often focus on the idea that people create gods out of how they see themselves. I’m in the middle of listening to “Pete Rollins on God Part 2” on the The Robcast as I write this.
Yet I find this to be a limited understanding of the way a culture views God. Perhaps I just need more self-reflection, but I do not see God as a better image of myself, and it absolutely isn’t the image I struggle the most with. I often have seen God as a white man in the sky because I was listening to those preaching. So perhaps it is more accurate to say that many who pastor and preach, who teach God, will focus on God as themselves.
So the questions I have for myself are how do I see God? And what influence of that is from what I have been taught? Read More »
That Saturday afternoon at the beach was breezy, but not cold. I didn’t bring a sweater, but I winded up with his. We walked along the pier, looked at dolphins, and I thought “This is it, this is when he’ll ask me.” But he didn’t. So I sent my friends to talk to him. But he kissed me beneath the pier that night, a smug smile as if asking me to be his girlfriend was his own idea, as if I hadn’t just sent several of my friends to tell him to just do it.
It was 2006. October 21, 2006.
Then many years later, I remember standing beneath that same pier while I forced myself to deal with the conflicting feelings. I had so many other memories here, but the ones of him and the day he asked me out often took over. I wrote a poem, a poem to whoever got the chance to be with me one day. Read More »
How did I wind up so interested in theology? I think the spark may have been lit in high school, as I remember being frustrated the way I’d basically memorize my youth pastor’s sermon points, but couldn’t retain anything in my AP Calculus class.
Then perhaps it was further dived into when the boy I had a crush on when I was 18 and 19 years old would talk to me late into the night about C.S. Lewis books and quotes. By 20, I was reading popular modern Christian authors as I tried to argue against this friend’s Rob Bell-type beliefs during that whole Love Wins / Erasing Hell madness in the Christian community (if you don’t know about that: good.) I’d even work out at the gym listening to David Platt sermons. Then my world started to break, and my beliefs in the world were challenged, and I tried to walk away from all the debates and arguments and appeals to emotion or intellect for awhile. I didn’t want to figure out the divide between the spiritual and the flesh anymore. I was tired. I was sore from watching the hate.Read More »
Communion. Eucharist. The Divine Meal. What does it all mean? Why do churches partake in this every Sunday, or twice a year, or in between church services the first Sunday of the month? Why are there so many arguments about what it means from a theological standpoint?
Throughout Christian history, so much has been said on Eucharist and what it means. I grew up Catholic, so Communion was very particular. We had a lot of rules and a lot of regulations. I took lessons for my First Communion when I was in 2nd grade, an event I wore a clean and white dress for. When I look back to that day, I remember feeling excluded by my peers, but I can’t remember why. I think they wouldn’t let me take a photo with them. My teacher was nice enough to take a photo with me. But then when I ate the paper flakes and drank the wine, it felt Holy.
I was an altar server for awhile, so I can’t tell you how many times I watched the Catholic Transfiguration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood. To this day, however, I still don’t quite understand the concept. What I did understand? That there were a LOT of rules. I had to do confession twice a year. I had to keep going to Mass. I couldn’t get married outside the church. I couldn’t get divorced. I couldn’t have sex. All of these things would limit access to the Eucharist.
When I went to Protestant churches later on, the little juice cups got passed around with the little bread pieces attached… or at chapels in college, I’d tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the juice. I no longer believed that I was eating the Body of Jesus Christ, but something kept drawing me back to it. Read More »
Have you ever heard someone be very vulnerable and exposed, share their story about how the Church has hurt them, and then someone else said, “Listen, I get it. But you need to remember a church is not the church! You shouldn’t ditch the necessity of church just because of a few bad apples.”
Do you know the word for that?
For the same reason, I’m exhausted by hearing “not all men are going to rape you, so stop being afraid”. I’m exhausted by basically hearing “you were vulnerable. someone hurt you. but stop having rational fears that relate to the pain you went through.”
“Not all men”
“Not all cops”
“Not all white people”
“Not all Christians”
Dismissive. Is your theory right? Sure. It is true that not all Christians will be like the ones who hurt you? Sure. But people are trying to protect themselves for damn good reason. The theory is right, but it isn’t helpful to say. In fact, it’s harmful.
Here’s why if you feel confused.
Church is an extremely vulnerable place. People don’t usually go to church because they’re bored. They go because their heart is longing for something more; they go because it’s a shot at healing; they go because they want to belong. These are all extremely vulnerable things to feel. There is no place for dismissiveness.