Christianity

We Make God Not in Our Image, but the Image of Our Teachers

pexels-photo-208331.jpegOften 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?  Continue reading “We Make God Not in Our Image, but the Image of Our Teachers”

Christianity

What if We’re STILL Wrong About God?

serenalolHow 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. Continue reading “What if We’re STILL Wrong About God?”

Christianity, Church

A Spot at the Table (Communion)

IMG_9313Communion. 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.  Continue reading “A Spot at the Table (Communion)”

Myself

When You Still Love People Who Did Terrible Things to You

IMG_1278Frequently as I can manage, I stand with my toes in the wet sand and stare out at the Pacific Ocean. The amount of revelations I have had while standing on some San Diego County beach is endless. I spend all my time inside my own head: thinking, wondering, processing.

I remember once as a kid, boogie boarding with my family. My boogie board flipped over and for too long, I couldn’t get on the other side. I was stuck underneath the board. When I finally was able to push the board out of my way (after being sure of my death), my mom and brother were a few feet away, laughing and playing. It was the first time I understood the ocean as a terrible force. I still loved it, but it terrified me.

Something being terrifying and horrible does not stop love. Continue reading “When You Still Love People Who Did Terrible Things to You”

Myself

We Just Want to be Liked

unnamed“We need one another. There’s no reason to judge. People are more fragile than you could possibly imagine.”

– Jamie Tworkowski If You Feel Too Much

Last night I got dinner with two young men that I hadn’t spent quality time with in over a year. The last time I had hung out with either of them individually, neither was allowed to legally drink. Now the three of us sat around a table drinking beer and eating sliders. (OK, I had cider, but the cashier called it a beer when he handed it to me. SO. Counts.)

Anxiety became a topic of conversation between us, and the words coming from one of them echoed what I had been processing lately. Anxious thoughts, flashbacks, triggering moments… they need to exist in what they are. Pushing down the anxiety and trying to control it will make it worse.  Continue reading “We Just Want to be Liked”