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Nov. 13th, 2011

Who made James Dobson the authority? He's not canon, he's not in the Bible. If the Bible is the only source of the inerrant Word of God, why are you treating the word of a non-canonical guy who isn't even dead yet with so much reverence??

Nov. 6th, 2011

Oops. I lost my bulletins, so I don't have my notes from church for the past month. But! I'm back with more.

Verses of the Day
Galatians 3:1-5, 5:5, 2:20

Notes from the Sermon
"God didn't come to make good people, he came to set people free."
"By faith alone we have been saved."
"Gospel = Jesus + Nothing!"

Thoughts
How are you so sure that what we're learning about today won't be heretical in 1500 years?

If we are saved by faith alone, then what does there need to be an exact moment at which we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal lord and savior? What if it's a gradual process?

Why is there a need to divide the congregational body into the Saved and the UnSaved?

WHAT?? You have to take a test and a class to become a member of the Church? But you don't have to take a test for Jesus to love you. :)

Note to self: Maybe you aren't a Christian and should just quite while you still have time.

I'm pretty sure this "Jesus + Nothing" mentality gives people license to be cruel to one another. No good.

Oct. 2nd, 2011

I'm going to write an entry after church every Sunday, so I can get a better handle on my own spiritual 'backpack', so to speak.

Backstory:
I'm still attending the same church I went to in September, and still alternately adore it and want to run far, far, away.

Verse of the Day
Galatians 2:1-10

Points from the church bulletin and the sermon:
How convinced are you about the importance of Jesus Christ?
Is a changed life in Christ not enough? (2:1 - 3)
Jesus brings freedom! Religious ways of men will lead back to bondage. (2:4)
God doesn't judge man by the outward appearance. (2:6)
Core message of the Gospel: Jesus + nothing! (2:6)
       Jesus + nothing = Gospel
      Jesus + anything = Bondage
      Christ may call you to do other things, but this will not affect your salvation.
The message of Christ is about Grace.
The message of the Gospel is "Christ, Christ, Christ!"
The Gospel is everything...and it calls for __[we didn't get this far]_ (2:10)

Thoughts:
This still seems very self-centered. It's all about "How can I attain personal salvation???". Why are we focusing on our personal salvation when our neighbors can't afford to buy vegetables? So the only thing that matters is going to heaven? WHAT ABOUT CHRIST'S TEACHINGS

How is Christianity not a religion of the man-sort that leads to bondage?

If God doesn't judge man by outward appearances and works, then why is it okay for men to judge based on those things? Why did we pick on Mormons last week? Whatever happened to loving your neighbor as yourself? Is it because Mormons are theologically corrupt? Does that give us license to be cruel to them? NOT FAIR.

So much emphasis on personal exact moment of salvation.

If the message of the Gospel is "Christ, Christ, Christ!", then why is Bible Literalism to every last detail so important? Because we can't draw the line at what constitutes "This detail is too small."?

Does the mentality of the Core Gospel Message is "Jesus + Nothing!" give us the freedom and license to be jerks to one another?

The Gospel isn't
  Jesus + stop cussing
  Jesus + stop judging others
  Jesus + stop socially drinking
  Jesus + love your neighbor more

I really, really don't understand. Are we talking about Gospel as in "this is what you need to do to get yourself Saved" or "this is the Word of God" (thanks be to God)?  Why is God so concerned about our personal salvation, when we've got a whole life ahead of us, and people we interact with, and so many other things to care about.

So if I believe in Jesus and am a complete jerk, I'm still Saved if I repent? Where is the incentive to be a decent human being? Is this the reason many people hate Christians?

goldilocks and the 3,532 churches

I went to a new church with some friends today, and I'm still trying to digest if it's the "right fit for me". Right now, it fits a bit like a prom dress straight off the rack.

Flashy, pretty, self-serving, all-consuming, and requiring a lot of alterations. And, like prom, over-hyped to the max and ultimately very self-aggrandizing...but so dang alluring!  When the praise band came on stage, the 'house lights' came down, and the stage lights shone down glaring, multicolored hues. And, I kid you not, there were information booths set up to guide stranded visitors around the building. And traffic control people in neon orange vests in the parking lot. I don't like being a religious special snowflake. I truly wanted to be able to find young people on these islands that didn't want to Party It Up All Weekend Long and with whom I could grow spiritually. I can't grow if the only direction is intolerance. I don't know how to find people with similar values outside of church. 

I love Jesus, too, guys, even if I don't have a date where I accepted him as my Personal Lord and Savior.  My "Jesus is a Loving Man" mantra sits at the other end of the spectrum from "God's vengeance is upon us!!" and is probably equally as spiritually dangerous.  As a result, I cried twice during the service. I hope nobody saw me. Once I cried because I thought I had found something truly wonderful, and the other was after the sermon because this seems like the 500th church I've visited that "feels so close to being right", and then fails.  This Specific Church, you deserve more than one crazed litmus test, so I'll give you another go next Sunday. I don't trust you, though.

I don't understand biblical literalism. After all, if you take something like the works of C.S. Lewis, a man very much inspired by God, and read them literally, you end up with tales of space exploration, lions, and devils.  And that's it.  Why is is ok to treat a work even more inspired by/created by God as a textbook? I am So Confused.

Part of their Core Values reads as follows:
    "Within biblical parameters, [we strive] to create relevant environments to make disciples while encouraging creativity, innovation, flexibility, and openness to change."
I do not understand, this is an oxymoron. How can you remain "open to change" when the Bible is the Main Authority? The Bible clearly says that shrimp are not for eating.  Clearly, most of us eat them. Does that mean that the Bible is Open to Change? Huh? Huh? Bring it. I will be waiting with a 5 gallon pail of shrimps, and you will get none of it.  NONE. ALL MINE. NOM NOM NOMINUM

I liked Focus way back in the day. It's not a stage, it's "The Muffin". You don't applaud after the songs because it's definitively Not a Concert.  And the songs were good. Focus was the reason why I went to School One for that ill-fated year, and I loved nearly every minute of Focus-related activities.

-------

DANG IT. I am judging This Church so hard. This isn't what Christianity is about. If they are my neighbor, then I must love them as well. 

...this is hard...
I've felt spiritually void the last several years, occasionally attending church services just because it's "the right thing to do"...but not truly believing in Jesus, God, or anything. Sometimes it feels empowering, a lot of the time I'm dead in the water.

This past Sunday, a friend invited me to his sister's all-youth lead contemporary church service. There were babies and grannies and all people in between. Even young adults. I felt an instant sense of community, like this is where I'm meant to be. And that yes, that Jesus guy they were talking about died for everyone, even me.

I wish I knew if I felt spiritually rejuvenated because of a nourishing service or because I like spending time with friends.

Wait. Wait a minute.

Fellowship is a big part of Christianity. And my life has been missing something since I stopped regularly attending youth-centric church services about 5 years ago.

Watch out, Captain Enthusiasm, it's. not. all. about. you. It's mostly about how amazing Jesus is and serving others.

Watch out, Captain Retrograde, you've grown too much to revert to what you were like freshman year of college.  Am I defaulting to JesusFreak because that's who I am, or because it's "easy"? Because I've been there, but I was uprooted and didn't transplant well. Maybe this time the soil conditions are right. 
NOTE: lots of rambling, ranting, and whining ahead in reguard to sci-fi fandoms and religion. Combined. Yeah. You've been warned. :)


Leave it to me to have fandom as a medium for a theistic revelation. Lately I've been flitting around trying to decide if I even believed in theism, let alone Christianity. After reading that Richard Dawkins would be appearing in Dr. Who, I had a good long think about why I felt violated.

Turns out, I believe in a God, ...who may or may not be Judeo-Christian....

On to the ranting and raving, and generally doing a poor job of "coexisting".

Nooooooooo! Dawkins, get out of the Who-niverse. Your ideas make me cranky. Maybe he just irks me because he's trying to prove with something supernatural with science. He perpetuating the belief that a person can't be a scientist and believe in God. I can take people poking holes in Christianity with a lot more grace than I can take them assaulting theism. A lot more. I need to work on that (*)

I'm obviously not very coherent right now, because all I can do is make sweeping, horribly slanted generalizations about his opinions. Don't trust me as your only source for info about Dawkins. I'm biased against him, which doesn't make for the best informative presentation. If I have time I'll look into it.

Leave it to me to find a fandom that causes religious diatribes. Now I'm slightly psyched out that RTD may be trying to "atheise" the audience through Who.

WAY TO RUIN IT FOR ME, RUSTY. MY CYNICAL CONSPIRACY THEORIST SIDE THANKS YOU. D:

Did I mention I'm almost neurotically paranoid about brainwashing? Now every single episode I watch, I'll constantly be thinking "Hmm, is that a jab at religion?" instead of just taking the show for what it is. You know what? Dammit, I'm taking the show at face value. ...Now I think I get why my roomie doesn't like how Augie!Wilson interprets literature. Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

*pause for research*
*Back to regularly scheduled programming*

I didn't know that RTD was an atheist. I just sort of assumed that he was vaguely theistic, whatever religion that was. Like a lot of people I talk to around school. Hey, if there was a way to get someone I admired into a TV show I directed/produced, I'd do it. Doesn't mean that Dawkins ideas irritate me less, but now I can understand why RTD would want him to be on the show in the first place.

(*) At what point does coexisting become a compromise? Or an all-out surrender? I'm entitled to my beliefs as much as he is. I can understand his reasoning, but I don't believe it. Is that bad? Am I being riduculously close-minded because I'm holding my ground on less evidence? I dislike it when people try to shove beliefs down my throat. Religious, atheist, political, etc. I'll happily learn about them, but grow increasingly wary if I think they're biased. ...But um what about moral relativism? Oh fuck. Do I think about thinking as a kind of brainwashing, so I don't do that either? In order to believe in something, don't you have to by definition be insanely biased? That doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it, but you're still going to be biased.

I also want to read Susan Jacoby's books, The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. If I'm actually showing interest in something written by an "atheists' mascot", why do I have such a problem with Dawkins?

My brain's going to explode now.

Feb. 27th, 2008

Hi, triteness? Here we come.

Dear Jesus,

I miss you. We should talk more, because I think you have insightful, helpful things to say. I also don't quite understand why we're supposed to talk to you. You and God are omniscient, so why should I have to say anything? You know what I need, what I want, even when I don't. Why don't you just sat "Wham-o! Here's one portion this, one portion that, with a side of etc." If you know so much, why don't you help me out? Or help out people that need it more than I do? Eh? Eh?

How do I make sure that I'm not making Christianity one of my "trends of the moment" like television shows and half-finished craft projects? I get really into it for about a month, and then either 1) something theological comes up that puts me off it completely [speaking in tongues, transubstantiation, salvation by faith alone, predestination, etc.] 2) I overanalyze something that shouldn't be that big of a deal 3) trying to reconcile science with religion. It's a beast that has rolled around in jam, then in sticker-burs, that then tries to give me a hug. Beast, I will embrace you, but at least take a shower first. Really bizarre analogies, ftw.

I look for myself in everything, and have a severely addictive personality. I'll latch onto the idea that friends, Television, Sci-Fi, alcohol, whatever, can show me who I am, and what my place is in the world. Really. I could become an alcoholic at the speed of light. I've only ever been drunk twice in my life, but it's something I just...know...That losing myself in something to uncover what I am at the core just amazes me. I just wish I could do that with religion instead. So I'm comfortable all the time, instead of just presenting microsections of layers to everyone. I need a vegetable peeler or something.

Love,
Me.

Sep. 17th, 2007

I'm debating if I should go to CRU tonight. (Campus Crusade for Christ).  My friends keep telling me that I should go...but it creeps me out.

Reasons to Go:
Friends
Rockin' music
I might meet more spiffy people like Kat and Rachael. (We met as I escaped from Cru's clutches 2 years ago)

Reasons Not to Go
1) It has Crusade in the name.  I've always thought of the Crusades as this attempt to take over the Holy Lands in which many people died unnecessarily because of misinformation. I understand why someone would want to take back what's their's...but so many religions lay claim to poorly compartmentalized chunks of the "Middle East".  It's a big mess, and has been for a very long time.  Having the 'Crusade' in the name is kind of like advertising to me "Hey! Look! We're going to mess shit up while thinking we're self-righteous! Yayz0rs!1!!"

2) Going to a religious gathering just for the friends and the music is not a good reason. Besides, if I go for that, then I might eventually end up brainwashed into believing their "Wacked out beliefs". *

3) A girl I know that keeps trying to get me to come to CRU made fun of this socially awkward boy 2 years ago. ...I just realized how slightly lame that sounded. I'm holding things against her that she did 2 years ago. Maybe some of that Christian forgiveness is in order. But it gets me thinking: if people at Cru are not accepting of people that aren't socially well-established, then how will I fare? Granted, my friends go to Cru, so I'm kinda established...but...but...WHAT IF I TURN INTO THE BAD PARTS OF SAVED?! I realize that I probably don't have it in me, but then, the mind is a tricky thing. You sometimes doesn't realize what you're turning into.

BUT I WANT A NETWORK OF CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.
That extends outside of Rachael and Christie. You ladies are fantastic. But, you're two people. That sounds really mean. I don't mean it like that. I just...remember what it's like to have this massive network of people I can talk about my faith with. I can't really talk to people within my department, because I've had some of them get all "But you're a science major!  You should be an Atheist, or an Agnostic at the very most. There is no proof for any of this and you're deluding yourself."

I'm going to be a scientist and a Christian. It is possible, you know.

* My friend, who is my numero uno Christian inspiration (yes, you are. So Nyah.) says that CRU's theology is whack. I believe her.