Bye, Bye, Christianity.

I have been going to church and involved in Bible study for over a year now. After some consideration–and really trying–I’ve decided Christianity is not for me.

My counselor agrees that I shouldn’t delve too deeply into it, too. There’s a fine line between craziness and spirituality. I don’t want to blur those lines, wherever they may be.

So, bye, bye, Christianity. You helped me get through some things and I will always appreciate it.

Yes, You Can Be A Non-Conservative Christian

Since coming out as a Christian, I’ve had people ask me, “What’s changed?” Do I still support gay rights? Am I all about sexual modesty now? Well, here’s the answer.

My belief is that there is a God. That’s a drastic change for me. I used to be a hardcore atheist. I also believe Jesus was divine.

The matters that concern folks who have come to me with questions are still intact. Yes, I support gay rights. No, I’m not a prude.

I was initially willing to change a lot of beliefs due to my conversion. But Christianity does not entail conservatism. Many people may think it does, but it doesn’t. Do I believe in God? Check! Do I think Jesus was divine? Check! That’s basically all one needs in order to be a Christian. Any more than that can be debated.

And, in those debates, I look to all kinds of sources. I may think the Bible is a holy book, but that doesn’t mean I won’t mix and mingle with thinkers, philosophers, rapscallions and whoever else may have a great idea. And, anyway, isn’t that what Jesus would do? Didn’t he mingle with rapscallions?

What I’ve also found is that many people who’ve asked me these questions haven’t even opened a Bible. I have. I may be just beginning, but I have indeed opened a Bible. What does the Bible say about these things? Well, there’s debate on that. Serious debate. And I follow the liberal interpretations.

There aren’t many churches that are liberal, I grant you that. And I am indeed liberal (or, probably, more of a socialist-communist, really). I am also fortunate enough to be surrounded by Christians who are sympathetic to my views.

So, there you have it. A non-conservative Christian.

Call Me C.S. Lewis: An Unlikely Convert

Long time readers may wonder about my sudden shift to writing about Christianity. I’ve converted. You may wonder why. So, I’ll tell you.

About six months ago, I had a psychotic break. It was severe and there are possibly some readers here who witnessed parts of it.

One evening during my psychosis, which lasts usually a week or two, my mind felt like it was going to shatter. It’s hard to explain what it’s like for your mind to shatter, but it’s horrible and scary. You lose your whole identity. I seriously felt like I was going to be in long-term inpatient care. That’s also terrifying.

Normally, I would have gone to the hospital. My first urge was to do just that. I would be, possibly, injected with something like Haldol, and, hopefully, stabilized. It usually takes going to the hospital in order to re-gain any sort of coherence when one’s mind shatters.

However, no one was really around to get me to the hospital. All our vehicles were gone. I couldn’t very well take myself and I didn’t want to call 911 because I thought I wouldn’t be mentally present by the time they showed up.

All of this went though my head very quickly.

I felt my only choice was to pray. They say there are no atheists in foxholes.

I got into my bed and prayed. I said, “God, please help me keep my mind together.”

I was willing to do my part, if and however I could. But I needed God’s help.

As I prayed, my mind was shattering. I was losing my identity as I prayed. The only thing I knew about myself was that I am a woman. So, I prayed to God, “I know I am a woman.” That’s as much help as I could offer God.

I slowly fell asleep.

In the morning, my mind was healed. There was no psychosis whatsoever. No shattered mind.

I don’t currently know how long this healing will last. I don’t know if it’s forever or not. I still take my medications and go to counseling. But, that night, I believe I experienced a miracle. So, I’ve converted.

A Burning Bush

Many people would like a sign from God—to prove His existence, to answer a prayer. I have found that hearing God is not about looking for a burning bush. It’s not that God cannot give you a burning bush, it’s that oftentimes hearing Him depends on developing a relationship and a sort of sensitivity to receive God’s messages to you.

God will answer every prayer, everything we ask of Him. Granted, it may not always be the answer we want to hear. If we ask for something, we may not get it. God has the right to say no.

If you seek God, you will find Him. But you have to, in my experience, be sensitive to hearing Him. And by hearing Him, I don’t necessarily mean an audible voice. It may be a small voice in your head. It may be a vision, a dream or a picture in your mind. You will know it’s from God if you maintain a relationship with Him. His ways are good and you can always trust Him.

God is Not Conservative (or Liberal)

Only God would endow a person living with schizophrenia the spiritual gift of prophecy. God would expect you to suspend your disbelief and believe me when I say I have recently had divine encounters. In my new (small) book, I try my best to write them down for you, as they are relevant to people, particularly Christians, currently living in the United States. But they may be of interest to others, as well. Please enjoy my book.

More Reflections on The Fall

Pretend for a moment that The Fall really took place the way it is described in the Bible. It goes back to something like opening Pandora’s Box, which unleashed all the evils into the world. What was left in the Box was only hope. The Bible tells us the punishment from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil: Women will have pain related to child birth, people will toil the Earth, men will rule over women.

But what if the message is something deeper that haunts us until today. What if most of our tasks—solving medical mysteries, engaging in philosophical discussion, political activity—are all the result of The Fall. And it is our task to do our part to make things right again. After all, the tree was knowledge of all things. What if ‘all things’ includes our successes and our mishaps in these areas? Of course, The Fall includes a separation from God, too. So it would probably be prudent for those of us who believe to cleave close to the Creator. The Bible tells us how to have hope, too.

A Fallen State: The Patriarchy

I was reading the Creation Story and The Fall in the Bible this morning. A few things came to mind:

-The tree of knowledge of good and evil is not itself bad. Everything God created was good. What was bad was disobedience to God.

-As punishment, God makes men rulers over women. This suggests equality in the Garden of Eden prior to The Fall. This is, possibly, the beginning of sexism and patriarchy. The suggestion is not that men *should* ideally rule over women. The Bible suggests this is the punishment for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

-Eve succumbs to temptation. It’s not bad to be tempted. Even Jesus was. It’s bad to succumb to it. This means a few things. First, Eve was obviously able to be tempted, which flies in the face of many interpretations in which women are by nature and are supposed to be chaste. Second, Eve was obviously tempted by something amazing. It was knowledge of good and evil, i.e., knowledge of all things. This makes Eve a pretty bad ass woman.


Climate Change: God’s Law of Consequences

I’m reading the book Boundaries. It’s really a wonderful book. I’ve learned through that book that God has certain spiritual laws in place in addition to laws of nature. I seek to discover each.

Let’s take a look a climate change. Many unschooled Christians think super storms, like the hurricane we experienced in Florida this year, are God’s punishment for things like gay marriage. But I think the lesson is far closer to the point here. God wouldn’t make us take such wild leaps in logic.

Rather, I think the lesson is that we haven’t been very good stewards of the Earth. The Bible says we are to be managers of the Earth. How are we doing as managers? No very good.

We can look to climate science, which tells us that human activity—yes, human activity—is causing a great rise in temperatures. If you don’t believe climate science (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you can merely look to the increasing amount of super storms. Why are they happening?

God put in place consequences for every action. Bad actions cause bad consequences. If we are poor stewards of the Earth, we will get an unhealthy planet.

What climate change and super storms tell us is not that gay marriage is bad. Instead, the lesson is that we haven’t been good stewards to the Earth. We need to do much, much better.

(Cross Posted at The New Floridian)