Archive for November, 2006


Posted by on Saturday, 25 November, 2006

On Wednesday, I went to the Thanksgiving Eve service at my church. At one point, there were open microphones for people to stand up and share what they were thankful for. A fair number of people shared about having a loved one in the hospital, and how grateful they were to God for watching over them. A couple of these people personally thanked the head pastor for coming to the hospital.

When my mother lay dying, there was no pastor. My mother was raised in a christian home. My sister and I were not. I am quite certain that my mother did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She definately did not consider him to be the only way, truth and life. The Bible is quite clear about the fate of such people.

On the night my grandfather died, my aunt told me that wherever he and my mother were now, she was sure they were having a great time together. I don’t remember what I said to that. If I believed in anything, it would be that when my grandfather got where he was going, he was going to be real upset to find out where my mother had ended up. But of course I don’t believe that. How can I believe that?

When my mother lay dying, there was no pastor. If the Christian message be true, then the only thing standing between my mother and a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth, the only one there who could deliver the gospel, was me. In her last moments, I did not know how to try to convince my mother of something that I was not even certain about myself. I would not let her dying thoughts be that her only son was a fool. I could not do it. I did not do it.

Why don’t you try carrying something like that around for a year and a half, and see how open YOU are to accepting the Bible?


Posted by on Friday, 24 November, 2006

In my last post, I intended to write about two consecutive Sundays, but it got so long I stopped at one. Now several Sundays have come and gone, all of them noteworthy in different ways. But I have another burden right now. I am really bad at communicating. Really, really bad. Really. There was a time when that did not bother me so much. I was content with my antisocialness. The thing is, I actually feel like I have gotten better, which makes it scary to think about what I was like before. But better does not equal good. I still have a long long way to go, and I have not been trying very hard lately. For a long time I have had a sort of “wait and see” attitude in several areas of my life. Well, I’ve waited a long time. I am tired of waiting. I wrote a song about it, in April. What have I been doing since then? Waiting. I can look back now and see that the real source of my pain was a lack of communication skills.

Some people consider me intelligent. Maybe I am in some ways. Perhaps I do catch on quickly to certain mathematical and technical things. But in social situations, I am a pathetically slow learner. It takes me a long time to evaluate situations and decide on the appropriate behavior. By a long time, I mean much longer than the situation itself usually lasts. Days longer. Months longer. Looking backward, I can see thousands of missed opportunities. But I can not see any that are right in front of me. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow I will see what today might have held. Maybe if I was able to vocalize what was really going on, I would not have had to wait so long.

Sunday to Sunday

Posted by on Wednesday, 8 November, 2006

It’s gotten to the point where Sunday is really the only day that I care about. Sunday’s are interesting. The in between days are just filler. However, two Sunday’s ago, it was almost enough to make me throw in the proverbial towel. But let me back up.

A couple of months ago I happened to be listening to that Christian rock station, and the fellow was singing:
I am broken inside over and over. I don’t happen to know what song that is. I can understand the sentiment, but in this case, there was something about his tone of voice that just made me think, “I don’t believe you.” Now, I can not begin to imagine the emotional state of a person who would say something like that when it was not actually true, and maybe I’m completely wrong here, yet to me, he sounded like he was just repeating something that he had heard somewhere and did not actually experience himself.

This is a problem I have with Christian music in general. I believe that I have previously mentioned my irritation with the 100% praise music in my church. If you are going to stand up there and sing as if your heart is filled with nothing but praise to God, and has never known pain or doubt, then I don’t believe you. Best case scenario, it may actually be true, but then you simply do not speak for me. My resentment toward the music at my church had been steadily growing for some time.

I’ve been going to a new church for the last month. It happens to be entirely contained within the other church, but it is held in another room. The sermon is the same via video, but the music is indescribably better. Not long ago, I would frequently leave the church actually angry at how impotent the worship music was. For the first month of this new service’s existence, I was actually moved to tears four times out four. When John and Tonya Mace sing, I believe them.

The Sunday before last, the band announced that in the coming weeks, each of them would be sharing their story of faith. I had heard a portion of the Maces’ story in the past. My initial impression was challenged several months ago when John’s father was nominated to the elder board at the church, and I realized that he did not exactly come from quite the skeptical background that I had once believed. But no matter, for atheists come in many varieties. But after last week… well, all I can say is: HAVE ANY ATHEISTS CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY FOR REASONS OTHER THAN “BECAUSE OF A WOMAN”?

That was only the beginning. Later that day, I was called to the carpet, if you will, by my accountability group for the fact that I was not actually being accountable for anything. (I felt that the particular implication that it was my fault that the discussion tends to gravitate towards video games, cell phones and movies was not entirely deserved, but the overall accusation stands.)

The night ended with what had previously been an ongoing private situation involving another individual suddenly becoming very public. A lot of people felt very awkward about that, but I was actually quite relieved, because once it was out in the open and other people were involved, I suddenly felt that I had done all that I could and it was no longer my problem. (A foolish assumption, as it turns out.)

In between there was a discussion group. I suddenly realized that I don’t like discussion groups. There are basically three reasons that I generally do not contribute. One is that sometimes I genuinely do not have anything to say. More often, it seems to me that a lot of people who do speak out are often more interested in making their opinions known than in hearing what others think. A lot of times I either do not think that people really care what I have to say or else it is not particularly important to me that other people know my opinion on a given topic, or somewhere in between. Then there are those times when I actually do want to say something, but simply lack the social skills to get a foot into the conversation.
On this particular occasion, I really did not get much of value from the passage which we were studying. There was however, one discussion question at the end which went something like,”Do you sometimes feel like God is far away? On those occasions, who do you think moved, you or God?” This was a question that I know something about. Unfortunately, the facilitator (though well intentioned) chose to introduce the question by first pointing out it’s lack of relevance to the passage at hand, and essentially declaring that it was a stupid question in general. It was then posed to the group, not to answer the question but rather to comment on whether or not we agreed that it was stupid. That was not really a train that I wanted to jump on.

To answer the question:
No. I do not feel far away from God sometimes.