Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random post...

Hm, what happened to the font thingy on here? I may have to edit this to get it into Verdana...

Obligatory knitting/fiber content: Let's see, last night I took the yarn I dyed with Kool-Aid and overdyed it with Jacquard dyes - vermilion with some sky blue mixed in. It's still drying but looks like it will be a lovely dark red-wine color. Pics to follow.

Also I'm still working on my clapotis.

Spiritual journey content: I'm still sorting through my issues. I do feel freer spiritually than I have felt in years. It's a great feeling, that I can be free to let God be God and not put him in a box, or a jar, or whatever.

Here is something I wrote late last week:

A couple interesting books I ran across this week (Amazon works in mysterious ways hehehe): Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller and What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. The thing about Searching for God Knows What: I was just kind of hopping from book to book (I started out with Philip Yancey and that kind of led me into Donald Miller) and I did the search inside the book thing, and it took me to a passage about putting God in little jars… just like my metaphor of God-in-a-box. So of course I had to download the book to my Kindle. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it. He talks at length about how we try to create God in our own image, and how that gets in the way of having a relationship with God, and that hurts God because all he ever wanted was to have a perfect Relationship with us from the get go. (There’s an interesting exposition on Genesis 2-3. I had a little trouble with it at first since he appears to come at it from a YEC standpoint and I have a real problem with YEC theology, see above, but now I’m coming to realize that Gen 2-3 really talks about how God wanted a perfect Relationship with his blessed, created humans and how we humans fucked it up and continue to fuck it up.)

As for What’s So Amazing About Grace?: I skipped ahead to a chapter where Yancey talks about the passage in Leviticus about “don’t eat shellfish” and other holiness code passages about men with damaged testicles and women who have their period and people with open sores and people with physical disabilities – all unclean, and the passage in Acts where God tells Peter that what was once unclean, is now clean – both unclean foods, and “unclean” people like the Roman centurion. Yancey takes those passages and talks about how even today we make stupid rules about no dancing or no jewelry or no whatever, or no oddballs allowed (you have to be and act and talk a certain way to be a Christian) and those rules get in the way of a relationship with God. He points out that a “no oddballs allowed” rule would mean that NoBoDy could possibly be a Christian. We’re all oddballs. We’re all seafood in the diet of life. (Just as long as no one tries to eat me with melted butter or cocktail sauce.)

Jesus invited people from all walks of life – the seafood of society – to dine with him at the table. The ones he had a problem with were the theocrats who thought they were perfect and had God’s rules down pat. I can see Jesus today – he’d be hanging out with hookers and meth-heads and high school dropouts working graveyards at Loaf & Jug, and showing his love to them and helping them clean up their acts because he showed them love that they had never felt before, and telling the likes of James Dobson where to put it. (Man, that would be a beautiful sight to see…)

Yanno, the thing about James Dobson and the like: That’s long been a hangup of mine. I guess this is something to process or think about for another day. But I guess I see him and his ilk as the Pharisees of our time. Jesus sure didn’t have much patience with the Pharisees, their legalism and literalism. He had great fun challenging them to a battle of wits, and always coming out on top. And he reserved his harshest scorn for the Pharisees and the teachers of the Jewish law because they were so damn legalistic, and their legalism and literalism were barriers to a relationship with God. More God in a box, I guess… (Hm. I just turned to Matt 23 – “I’ve had it with you! You Pharisees, you religion scholars, you’re hopeless, frauds, your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom!” Woah…)


I did start an online meditation course Saturday. I am struggling with it some, when I sit quietly and meditate I find that fears and other negative feelings come bubbling to the surface. Things I've been trying to suppress for years, I suppose. It's kind of scaring me away from meditation. I've noticed in the past that when the quieting of the mind in yoga or meditation causes negative thoughts and feelings to surface, I shy away from activities that quiet the mind because I'm afraid of the thoughts and feelings. I think I need to face those thoughts and feelings head on tho.

Monday, January 19, 2009

God in a box

Warning, no fiber content in this post, and there's some back story that isn't in this post. I may post the backstory at some point.

The following is a condensed form of a journal I just wrote.

So here I go starting to try to sort out some of what I learned/discovered/whatevered over the weekend. I spent much of the weekend railing on paper about why God allows things to happen such as allowing a MI to masquerade as the Holy Spirit, and ranting about legalistic churchianity and stuff like the prosperity gospel. I did come out of the weekend feeling God’s presence, which was a big breakthrough for me. I hadn’t felt that presence for a long time.

I’m still struggling with the things that are stumbling blocks for me, which I think pretty much boil down to conservatism. I ran across a comment on Slacktivist that got me thinking, to the effect of “for some people, it isn’t Christ that they’re worshiping.” Hm, I’m starting to think that some conservatives, literalist, legalists etc. aren’t worshiping the living Christ so much as worshiping a political theory, or a particular translation of the Bible, (AV 1611 comes to mind here) or worshiping certain rules and regulations, cherry picking the verses in the Bible that support those rules and regulations or that political theory (shrimp cocktail, anyone?) or whatever.

I’m actually starting to feel sorry for such people, because they can never feel God’s grace and love so long as their object of worship isn’t the living Christ but is a man-made construct. False idols, much? I know there are verses about not worshiping false idols but I don’t recall them off the top of my head. And I don’t want to fall into the same trap fundamentalists tend to fall into – “if you violate verse X, you’re condemned” or whatever. Probably better to ask God’s grace and love to fill their hearts so that they aren’t trapped by fear and hatred.

Maybe some of the other Slacktivist comments got me moving in this line of thought.
In the latest LBTM post, Fred explores a scene between Rayford and Hattie and comments on an interview in which Tim LaHaye said that a RL encounter between an airline pilot and a flight attendant was the genesis of that plot line. Which engendered a number of comments to the effect of, LaHaye must think that it’s impossible for men and women to work together because ZOMG that will lead to sin… and therefore LaHaye must think that for him, any encounter with a woman other than his wife must be avoided, because he can’t be exposed to temptation because he doesn’t want to risk Being Left Behind…

Yanno, it must be terribly sad to live that way, to think that your every action could lead to being condemned to hell. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Jesus was here for and what he died for. He died to save us, not to scare the hell out of us (literally and figuratively).

And don’t get me started on whether people and dinosaurs co-existed. I do think that being trapped in a mindset that the world can’t be more than a few thousand years old, and that God literally created the world in 6, 24-hour days, and that dinosaurs HAD to be on the ark because Noah was commanded to bring critters of “every kind” on board, has to be incredibly constraining and difficult.

God is too big, too powerful, too wonderful to be squeezed into a box. And when we force him into a box of our own creating, we are forcing ourselves into that box as well. No wonder so many people reject God, they look at that tiny box and can’t imagine being squeezed into such a tiny, confining space – and they don’t realize that the box isn’t God.

I spent too many years seeing only God-in-a-box. When I rejected the box, I kinda threw God out with the box. I think by doing so, I created a box of my own. Only now am I realizing that God isn’t the box, and the box isn’t God.

OK, I know this doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'm still sorting things out.