Friday, May 31, 2013

Autonomy is the Antidote to Fundamentalism

I read it some where on line that people in cults can't handle autonomy. They make an idol of their church experience and leadership there within. It would also explain the cultural differences between the mainline and evangelical churches too.
In the evangelical world you are in a bubble and surrounded by like minded people. Your world is small and if you start to wander out of your fellow adherents comfort zone they correct you. It is a defense mechanism that is necessary to the survival of the group. If you seek knowledge past the approved authors list then you will become a liberal or worse yet an atheist.
They use the social network as an incentive to stay in the fold and remain comfortable. I have always been a different kind of thinker and a bit of a loner. When I realized leaving meant walking away from people I could barely stomach to be around, I thought it was a no brainer. For some this would ruin their world and their entire social network would crumble.
I guess you just have to have enough and walk away. Sure it sucks at first, but the long term benefits outweigh the short term heart ache. I wouldn't change anything I have done during this process and realize what I done is unique in my area.
Why go to a church where most days of the week have an activity planned for you? I think it keeps you from making a difference in your daily life and also keeps you from taking in new perspectives. The church that offers everything socially is trapping you in a way. Sure they may have good preaching or whatever but they know you're not going anywhere. 
You might indulge the other evangelical or pca church on your side of town but you'll be back eventually. Unless you go to another denomination that is a paradigm shift to join. To truly leave fundamentalism behind and still have faith is no easy task. Heap on top of that you are going over to the liberal side since there is only black and white engrained in your head.
Autonomy has to be what you are willing to accept with this change.  You will find out who your true friends are and then wonder if they only want to reconvert you so you come back. Many people fill the pews as these authoritarian churches and are unhappy there. It takes a rare person to get up and walk out and never come back. Most people can't handle the responsibility and want to be lead or they shrug off things they know are wrong.
On today a psychologist said that in the future that fundamentalist religious beliefs will be a treatable mental disorder. After my experience she is right but all it takes is education. I don't think the pharmaceutical companies can put education in a pull as of yet.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Changed Voter Registration

One more step In moving forward in my life was to change my voter registration.  I have been registerred as Republican for the last 20 years and decided to switch to Democrat.  I had kept the Republican status to vote Bareback out of the primary in Kansas and it didn't  work.

Most of the time I throw my vote away and choose the Libertarian candidate. The more I thought about it more of a statement is made to vote Democrat and register that way. I have no grand delusion that the Democrats are any better than Republicans since they are puppets controlled by the same corporate interests.

It is just my way of telling the domonionist Kansas gop to fuck off the best way I know how. 

Bible Study Differences

My wife and I were at the gym the other day and we ran into an elder from our old church. He came by and struck up a conversation and of course asked us where we were going to church. My wife spoke up before I could say "Cut the crap you already know!" Once it was revealed the new church we are attending we had to hear about watching out for "liberalism". His final parting advice was to make sure we were in a good bible study.

It seems like my wife is always there when I interact with the leadership at the old church. It steals my thunder in a way, but I am glad she jumped in to keep things civil. Hopefully,  they will se we are content where we are and out of sight out of mind kicks in. If anything I got a real life taste of what living under elde board rule at a 9 marks church might be like. More confirmation that I made the right descision to flee funamental evangelicalism.

Back to my original topic, bible study means totally different things based on what type of church you attend.  In my old church a bible study meant parsing through the bible chapter and verse with no historical perspective. In the Lutheran church I attend the studies there are more academic and take in the historical perspective. I never thought in a million years group discussions like this took place in the confines of the church.

So to the elder who cornered us in the gym I guess I am in a good bible study and its one you wouldn't like. With historical perspective,  I was able to see the subtle change of an EFCA church to a SBC church and walk away. So I guess going in circles in bible studies that go nowhere keep the sheep dumb, happy and filling the pews every week.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Brutality of Humanity

As I study more history, I realize the body count of people killed is tremendous. It doesn't matter who was driving the genocide and usually it was caused by differences that seem ridiculous today. It would be great if I could blame the God of the old testament for everything or the Atheism of Stalin for everything. That is the current vibe in our culture to hone in on one situation and disregard the bible for it or write off what the Atheists have to say. The battle accounts in the bible are in line with history and show a consistency that is in humanity even to this day. The Atheists point out the silliness of religion and show how hope for a humanity that factors out where religion has gone wrong in the past. However, when a psychopath like Stalin takes the ideology and runs with it he becomes a civic god and kills millions of people, the making of religion as the problem is over the top.

If humanity is to take a step forward everybody has to care about everyone else. This would cause us to drop religious, national and racial loyalties for a start. These forms of group cohesion that helped build civilization are holding us back. This would also require us to do away with centralized power and allowing a few people from privilege to call all of the shots. The utopia of the left seems just out of grasp in this world at this time. Will our civilization evolve and progress in this direction? With access to more information on the internet I have hope that we will progress but not in my lifetime. Heck, I will probably be considered a curmudgeon once I get old enough to need dick pills.

This is one of the many layers in my onion of doubt. Jerks get in power and it always leads to the death of millions of innocent people. Good things come from these aggressor groups and if it weren't for them we wouldn't have this or that technological advancement. Progress is blind to all of the innocent people it mows over and most people don't understand how bloody it was to get here. If a God is in control is he just a puppet master that hopes each genocidal scenario grows our culture? Or does he really have to blow through millions of people to find a few interesting ones?

When I think of my life as insignificant as somebody that was massacred in xyz battle it humbles me. I am glad I have the ability to feel tired of my job, when I could have to be tortured to death if the right people banged in the past and my genetic code came forward then. No pun intended. So the question comes up now that I have identified that extreme right Christianity and the polar opposite in the Atheist spectrum as being extreme. How do we move forward as a collective humanity? Why is it I gain more insights from academia or pagan authors than from American Christian leaders? Is God showing me truth can be found outside of Christianity when it goes wrong? Do I have to do what Aquinas and other church fathers did and filter out the noise to find good Orthodoxy?


Doubt is a bitch. I have been jealous over the years of people who can believe a certain theology and be 100% sure and sold on it. I have often told people that I am jealous of their faith and thought more knowledge would help me settle on an ideology/theology and settle down. I know I will remain in the Christian camp but where do I land?  I am not willing to go back to the doctrine only black and white evangelicalism of the last 30 years of my life. Actually, I am an atheist with regards to that flavor of Christianity. There is a pull I had to the Catholic church, but I cannot reconcile in my head several key doctrines of theirs, so no go there. I am content with my current church affiliation in the ELCA, I feel this church is mindful of the "Catholic" church as a whole and there is room for me there.

When one starts to ponder for example, Native American religions or any indigenous culture's faith practices, I realize the stain of Augustine and Aquinas on Christianity. The pagan religions are connected with nature in a way I like, but I realize that inhibits the progress of civilization. As far as the previously mentioned saints, maybe it was the desire to spell everything out with regards to living the for the village idiot that drove it. There is something fake and disheartening about a faith practice that has all of the questions answered. If you can't trust your parishioners to investigate different schools of thought and find the truth themselves then your theology is fear based. Fear-based theology leads to cults, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, legalism or the jettisoning of faith altogether.

The key tenets of any religion are pushing us to realize we have a circle of influence and we will be held accountable for how we treat others. Many people just pay lip service and are cultural adherents to their faith. This disheartens us who actually internalize and try to live the basic tenants of our faith. In the Christian world, the one I know, there are so many flavors how do you even know you have it right? Every theology in the world has good in it but there are schmucks who take it and bend it to fit their agendas.

If we can't depend on others to tell us what to think then what do we do? I think it depends on our initiative as a person, some people will settle for being told what to think by leaders. Maybe I fit a weird demographic in this culture and want to think for myself. I guess in my adherence to Christianity I have to let my old Evangelical side die and let go of the fear of intellectual growth. Keeping us stupid and afraid of the world was how they kept us in the fold.

In the end doubt is a motivating factor for me. I question things on a deeper level than most, so hence the higher level of doubt. Doubt has propelled me to a much better place and I have never been more content with my life in many ways. Maybe doubt keeps us in check and from becoming to polarized on any one position or theology.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fair Weather Friends

On a recent trip to a zoological park I was able to pay a buck to feed the parrots in an exhibit.  It was fun and the birds were interested in you as long as you had the cup of nectar they wanted.
Throughout my life, there have been fair weather friends that only care as long as knowing me benefits them. Or I was given a free pass for being perceived as a fellow rank and file believer. Some thought that my job status had business contacts they needed to further their own pursuits. Some used my mechanical knowledge to lower their expenses and when I needed someone to talk to they couldn't care less.
This fun exercise of feeding birds was a reminder that our interactions with others that are fulfilling are short lived to say the least. The 99% of the rest of our lives we have to be ok with solitude in a lot of ways. How we spend this time is crucial and dare I say I tend to waste it.
I guess I need to work on not expecting more from interactions and friendships I have with others. I should relish my alone time better and continue to invest in my intellectual growth. As I look back nobody has wronged me just my expectations were off.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jesus is a Variable

Through all of my faith related struggles, I feel like Jesus comes across as a mathematical variable in Christian circles. If I do x then Jesus will do that. Sometimes I feel as if there are as many versions of Christianity as there are adherents. You can drag and drop the Jesus variable to make conservative or liberal theology make sense for you.
Feuerbach said humans make their Gods in their own image. Maybe that is the problem here, if we make things fit in our parameters then the problems start. We humans make mistakes and the stakes are huge if we are in control of big groups of people.
Jesus really is variable or an excuse people make to excuse behavior that is unbecoming. This is a fake Jesus but when you encounter 1000 fake versions of Jesus for every real one, you can see why people are confused.
Christians as a whole can't agree who Jesus is and what he said. Some Christians think other Christians are going to hell since their interpretation of theology is different. This is sad or is it just our need to have separate groups so we can look down on others. Maybe one failure of humanity is that we will never get along as one group.
That is why I cannot judge what others believe or look down at them think they are hell bound. I may disagree and bash certain belief systems but if I were to meet any of those adherents face to face I would be nice and respectful. I am just a boring middle aged white guy with a limited worldview. Who am I to think the billions of non-Christians around the world are going to hell.
I think God is bigger than human tribalism and the masses need to think their way is the only way. We need to be vulnerable and allow ourselves a limited view on things in some areas to be comfortable and stable.

The Moving Target that is the Gospel

The new in term in evangelical circles is the "gospel". The lack of it being proclaimed is reason for finger pointing of conservative believers toward more progressive believers.
My understanding of the gospel is that we are forgiven by the death of Christ on the cross. Also, there is nothing we can do to merit salvation and the hardest thing to do is to accept the fact that we are forgiven. I love the the law gospel distinction that Luther found in Paul's writings and agree with them.
The gospel message is a moving target that is elusive unfortunately. In my old tradition they say the gospel is the center of their mission but somehow after the fact you are living the law again. Join that small group, vote the right way and submit to the elder board. Where is the freedom in Christ there?
You have more liberal circles that I enjoy listening to more since the conservatives lost me. They end up making God someone they can manipulate to their own ends. That way no change is needed or dying to ones self.
I guess the same is true in conservative circles as usually they are controlling personality types that make God a set of perfect rules to follow.  Since I am burnt out with this mindset I can trash it easier.
So if I internalize the gospel message as I understand it then I have to forgive those who burned me in the past. I think once we realize we are forgiven, we can forgive others. After that maybe even we can see the faults with our own thinking and respect the positions others hold.
Maybe the gospel is giving up our sectarianism and seeing us all as one.  The fact that Catholics and Baptists can disagree and not kill each other shows we are moving slowly as a race in the right direction. So none of us will have the satisfaction of seeing the progress we want in our lifetimes. I guess that is why history is an important study to give us the courage not to be short sighted and make progress despite our mental limitations.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Comedy and Evolution

There seems to be a lack of comedy and Evolution being allowed for discussion in fundamentalist circles. The rank and file don't like Carlin or Kinison and don't even know who Hicks is. Evolution is frowned upon as an excuse to rule out the existence of God.
From my experience the fear of evolution and the dislike for comedy is a protection mechanism. If one of the flock starts to understand the basic theory of evolution they might start to question how the current belief system they hold came to be. I know it was enlightening when I figured out my old church was going off DL Moodys fundamentals of the faith dating back to the late 1800's.
Comedy teaches you to analyze situations and find the funny in it. If you can do that you can point out hypocrisy and not take things too seriously. In most cases if there is subject you can't joke about then you need to dig deep and figure out what the sore spot is.
Fundamentalist churches want people who can't think for themselves and avoidance of these 2 topics keep people in the fold. They want you to think the pastors are the only ones smart enough to interpret scripture and can do the thinking in these matters.
I guess knowledge is power and the more you have the less appealing black and white belief systems are. Giving up fear based systems with all the answers is scary and living with ambiguity is scary at first. Giving yourself the freedom to explore and grow in a new direction is so freeing.
My suggestion to anyone leaving fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism is to take in lots of comedy and study basic evolutionary theory. This will help you confirm why this system ran out of gas for you and give you motivation to move on.

Arminians Suck Too

Now that I mustered up the courage to share my blog with some friends one critique is that I bash Calvinism too much. I have been affected in my life by Arminanism gone wrong so time for me to trash this theology too.
My mom grew up in a small town in Missouri and my Grandma attended a very pietistic Methodist church. Even yo this day my mom still worries about what people think and as a kid I think they sought out the evangelical church because the legalism there felt more like home to her. So Wesleyan pietism gets a big thumbs down from me.
During my youth group days at every conference and rally they would have the guilt trip night where you came forward and rededicated your life. Or worse yet you had to go out and evangelize because you could help somebody make a decision for Christ. So the altar calls, tent revivals and acting a certain way to attract others to the faith gets a big "gassface" from me. To quote the rap group 3rd Bass.
Really, all badly practiced Christianity have the same markers that piss me off now that I think about it. So maybe I am too rough on Calvinism but Arminians are no picnic either. Even now that I am home in a Lutheran church, I know you can have problems with pietism there as well. My fandom of comedy allows for me to pick a subject and focus on it and pick it apart for a laugh.
All of this doctrine based Christian theology is for the birds when mysticism is stripped out. That is one huge thing I like about Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I think my biggest problem with protestant Christianity as a whole is the disconnect from nature. As I have studied pagan and tribal religions there is a connect with nature that I think is b missing from the church as a whole.
From all my studies if you limit yourself to only post Luther theology, then you aren't seeing the faith in full color. I have watched documentaries and read books about the mystics from the pre-reformation church and found people who practiced a faith that I can identify with. One example is Hildegard Von Bingen,  she was connected with nature and learned the medicinal use of plants.  This one facet of a very interesting saint of the church and showed to me how disconnected from nature a city dweller like me is.
Not sure what my point is any longer and I will wrap this post up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Church Discipline

This a phrase that is gaining traction in neo reformed circles and my old church. During my youth group days it was speak the truth in love. These new proponents of it present this as a way to keep people in line with threats of excommunication. I find it funny that the 9 marks assholes are repackaging sonlife youth group curriculum for church bodies instead of youth groups.

Most average church goers don't notice any of the subtle changes this full church management package will make once fully implemented.  The God of fear and shame will take over and everybody involved will enjoy keeping fellow church members in line. The leaders know they hold your entire social life hostage and you have to take whatever changes they make. Unless you no longer care and leaving is the only way to maintain your sanity.

I understand churches have to address issues with members that fall into sinful behavior.  However, this system stinks of losing your individuality and subjecting yourself to spiritual abuse.

Most folks will acquiesce and not notice the police state that has taken over their church. There will be people who stay because they are too chicken shit to leave and there will be some who flee the situation. The healthy folks always leave these situations and people with guilt stay.

The sadists will run the elder board and the masochists will conform to it. This system kills individuality and makes atheism an attractive alternative. In my opinion, church discipline is a veiled way of control.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reasonable Calvinism?

I just liked The Christian Left on facebook recently and have enjoyed their perspective. Today, they reposted a blog from Frank Schaffer about how Calvinism and the right wing Republicans have combined and really no longer follow Christ. This trend in American Evangelicalism took over my old church and is a faith killer.

The neo-reformed evangelicals that are paired up with the Gospel Coalition or 9 Marks is authoritarian and stinks of everything that Calvinism can evolve to be in a negative light. One comment on the article was from a Presbyterian pastor from the mainline who was pleading the case for his denomination. He was trying in his short post to explain that Calvinist theology can be lived out without going to the extreme that it is now.

If I had the time, I would read more Calvin and the history behind that leg of the reformation. Having lived the negative side of it and see it creep in slowly at my old church, I guess I have a blind spot for it. I would also admit when I went church shopping I avoided Presbyterian churches for their Calvinistic theological background.

Maybe I would fit in ok at a PCUSA church and didn't give them a fair chance. Maybe this pastor has a point and his churches theology has been high jacked by modern day Puritans. Actually, all Christians should care about this since these folks are becoming the new face of Christianity. 

I have always said if the conservative evangelical way is the only version of Christianity,  then I will pass. It has been nice to find progressive thinkers in the Christian community and hopefully our numbers will grow once more people like me start to have enough. I don't want the religious right and dominionist Republicans running things anymore. I can only hope that day will come but I am not going to hold my breath.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finding the Mainline

My parents left the mainline for a self-proclaiming bible believing evangelical church when I was 7. The next 11 years of my life were challenging and I tried to fit in there and never could. I always thought something was wrong with me and even tried as an adult to fit in there again.

In evangelicalism it is difficult to be a deep thinker and flourish there. I always asked too many question and the one size fits all theology didn't work for me. Also, volunteering for an independent film festival and taking in documentaries that shattered my sheltered worldview. This caused me to finally have enough of that church and the despair finally had me wanting to become a "none". I was so disillusioned, that agnosticism seemed more reasonable than continuing the charade any longer.

We were invited by our neighbors to attend  their sons wedding at the Catholic parish they attend. I loved the liturgy of the mass and realized my old church no longer worked for me and it was time to move on. Now that I am more familiar with the "high" church service, I have come to love the Hymns, Eucharist and passing of the peace. Also, learning the church calendar has helped make the year more meaningful.

From there we attended Lutheran, Episcopal, Catholic, Baptist and non denominational churches to find a new home. We ended up finding a new church home in the ELCA Lutheran denomination and are very happy there.

If I hadn't attended the wedding mass, I wouldn't have considered reaching out and trying different more traditional denominations. I think there are many like me who fall through the cracks of Evangelicalism and become "nones".

There is an oasis in the post-evangelicalism desert where reasonable people are and questions are allowed. Also, you can have a church experience where people of both political views can coexist civilly and there are no hard feelings after a discussion is over. You can join a church  that still sings hymns and uses hymnals instead of power point projectors.

After being in my new church for over a year I have enjoyed the frequent brunches and laid back atmosphere. I have found a church home where we are welcome to think for ourselves. I guess they trust that we will find the truth even if we chase an intellectual lead in a different direction.

The mainline needs an advocate since they are countercultural in today's society.  Their immunity to the marketing techniques of big business can be a relief to wary traveler that wants to escape the rat race on the weekend. If you are as tired as I was was of the Evangelical circus give the mianline a try.

A good friend of mine is starting a new website and has asked me to write for the site occasionally. The intention of the site is to point people to churches that model the Christ of the new testament not the Fox news meets John Calvin version.  Or in a less cynical tone it will be a site to promote mainline churches and help point people toward them instead of becoming "nones".

The mainline churches need an advocate since American culture has slid to the stupid and seeker friendly churches are drawing folks en masse. There has to be people who slip through the cracks of these churches that don't realize this option exists. Hopefully some people who have outgorwn intellectually the evangelical experience give the mainline a try before checking the "none" status.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Am I a Liberal?

I have been accused of being one and most of the leaders at my old church use the term every time I see them. Everybody is so far right of center in Kansas and anyone who actually understands both sides of an issue is a Liberal here.
I refuse to let the right wing civic religion that has merged with evangelicalism dictate my beliefs. So maybe I don't check the right boxes on key issues the right loves to speak out about, but it doesn't make me a liberal. When you start to compare how we are treated by our employers with countries in Europe its laughable. We are having benefits our parents had taken away right in front of us.
These conservative folks are worried about biblical marriage while our government signs into law legislation to protect frankenfood manufacturers from future litigation. Our food supply is a dumping ground for various chemical wastes and this is hot button issue for these folks. All the fake news channels and talk radio has brainwashed these evangelical types and makes them predictably boring.
The arguments from the left have their problems too. But after living a lifetime of being eyes deep in the religious right cess pool, I enjoy their arguments.  I am sure I will tire of them eventually and critique them as well. Giving yourself the freedom to explore new points of view is scary territory from where I come from.
To answer my initial question I don't think I am a liberal. Maybe I am to some around here in Kansas but I guess I will wear the honorary badge assigned to me with honor in the meantime.

Car Repair from Hell

I had to do some serious engine work on our 1999 expedition.  Blown out spark plug on the passenger side and every gasket leaking except for the oil pan gasket.  I took a week off work and spent 13 hours taking it apart and thought foolishly that I was half way done. The project has gotten only worse after that.
I got the driver side head cleaned up and put back on and started working on the passenger side head. One of the exhaust manifold studs broke off flush so I decided to drill it out. First road block I drilled too far into the water  jacket ruining the head. So I went to the junkyard and bought another one. Once I got it home I decided to replace the spark plug threads in the back 2 cylinders so I wouldn't have any more plug blowouts. When I went to install the first insert it got stuck half way down and I couldn't get it out. So I said to hell with this and took a break for a few days.
I ran an errand Saturday for parts for another one of my cars and when I pulled in the garage I ran over one of the timing chain guides. My son was playing garage band with a friend and accidentally knocked it on the floor, oh well another 20 bucks out the window.
Today I finally got the nerve to get a drill bit to break out the jammed insert. The right size bit was 15 bucks and I picked one up on the way to work this morning. At lunch I came home to drill it out and the drill bit broke right after I tried it. So another trip to switch it out.
After work I succeeded and got the timeserts installed and need to finish cleaning the new head up and make sure there aren't any bent valves. I may actually get this car back together after all..

Friday, May 10, 2013

Visit to Megachurch

Last Sunday afternoon my wife and I went to the new hip megachurch for a baby dedication service for some friends. Since we have been away from evangelicalism for a while and never been to this particular church before it was quite overwhelming going back.
Pulling into the parking lot was like going to a theme park, I recommend they put up signs on the light posts so you can remember where you parked. Walking into the narthex area there were sliding doors like you find at walmart. Then looking around there is a coffee bar, book store and other stuff that I didn't care to investigate any further.
Walking into the nave or auditorium at this place was weird and not even church like. There were padded chairs, cup holders,  2 camera men on booms, 3 giant screens and a stage with a plexiglassed in drum set. The place was absolutely packed with young families and over 40 babies were dedicated at this service.
Once the service started the childrens pastor got up and droned on about families and the bible. Once he was done the middle school pastor got up and talked to us and was on the theological level of a 3rd grader. I guess they called him off the bench to talk since he was the pastor over children closest to infant. More inane drivel commenced until they called all of the parents and children up for the dedication. One of the key themes from both pastors was making every second count with your children which is humanly impossible. It is the guilt to get you on the hook and keep coming back for more simpleton captain obvious advice.
They showed a slide show of family pics of each baby and family to lousy music and then did a prayer to dedicate the children. I didn't pray along and watched the cameramen panning around during the prayer. The whole thing seemed trite and inane.
Once the service was over we talked with our friends and left. I will take my 200 attender mainline church any day over this American consumerist simpleton establishment. It is a reflection of our culture at large and frankly it scares me.

My Old Church is Repeating History

One of my biggest beefs with my old church was they never acknowledged the spiritual abuse that went on there in my youth group days. Sure they confronted the youth pastor when most of the male students with balls dropped out but they just agreed with him and said we were sinners. So the situation was swept under the rug and nothing changed except for the old youth pastor moving on eventually.
Fast forward 20+ years and the same potentially abusive scenario is emerging in the church as a whole. First it started with a switch to elder board rule, then they paid for a person from the congregation to go to seminary and who came back a new Calvinist. Now that he is installed as pastor, he is hiring either youth who were under him or buddies from seminary into 3 pastoral jobs already in less than a 2 years.
Most recently there has been a push to get people to sign up to be covenant members. This is so you can sign an agreement subjecting yourself to church discipline and their control. The sermons the last two weeks have referred to the congregation as sheep and the elder board as the shepherds.
In my youth group days they used a curriculum called Sonlife I think. I went to a seminar about the program and saw how they stratified the youth group and had an elite group called the "ministry team". To get on the ministry team you had to kiss the youth pastors ass and tell on the other members of the group when they were sinning. This allowed him to guilt trip us during the prayer times and give an illusion of control. I was stubborn and tested the the theory and got in the out group that was encouraged to leave in this system. This was nothing about following Christ it was about control.
Today I fear,  the elder board is the new ministry team or the brown shirts during the early days of the third reich. I see the exact same system being played out again as an adult that was done in my youth group days. I saw the signs early and they troubled me so much I jettisoned my faith for a year and left that church about 2 years ago.
I see now I was reacting to the past repeating itself again and went into a protection mode. I am glad now we left that church and worry for those left behind. Most of the people won't mind and enjoy the absolute certainty these authoritarian systems being. But there will be people like me that are there currently that will have bad experiences like I did and I feel sorry for them. I have tried to tell one of the pastors I am friends with if anybody falls through the cracks there gibe them my number but I doubt that will ever happen.
This church by not seeing and dealing with the past is potentially rolling out the same problem again on a larger scale. I was never anybody there to speak up and prevent or make change. Leaving was the only option for my family and it was the right one. Yuck is all I can say to wrap things up.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Baseball used to matter

When I was a kid baseball was everything. Even into my adult years, I loved the sport as well. It seems that my love of the sport has died in the last few years for various reasons.

The first one was the fact that the Cubs still suck after every other longshot team has won the world series over the last 20 years. Then the second dagger was the steroid abuse in sports that has compromised the game. No longer can a pitcher last 9&2/3 innings with the roided up batters. There are now middle relievers and a pitcher that comes in to face one batter. Now a half inning in the playoffs can take an hour and I am immune to this sport.

What gave me this perspective, was when I had thd mlb classics channel before I got rid of cable. I watched games from when I was a kid and remebered a time before the game whored itself out to advertisers. I also remembered a game that took an hour and a half to play instead of the 2+ hours it takes now.

This sports continued irrelevance has been negated thanks to advertising.  If it weren't for dick pills and shit yogurt no more revenue would come in. Or would the game have stayed the same and still be watchable without the advertisers fucking it up? I guess I will never know. Goodbye baseball enjoy your slow death as a whore to the advertisers.

I am a fool

I thought I could be friends with people at my old church and it was an even playing field. Guess what, I was totally wrong.  I stumbled on a sermon from there last week about the elder board and its responsibilities and highlighted throughout is how the elder board should coordinate all theological thought that the church body takes in.
The creepy thing about all of this is that I see how I am the problem in this equation and am responsible for putting my family on a course for hell for leaving according to them. My whole household gets a pass since they are supposed to submit to me and I am the one who is the problem.
Case in point why I left the cult that is my old church.  Who can live with this pressure? I can't and actually think no church is healthier than the shithole that is the old church.
So I wonder if anybody there is/was my friend outside of my participation in that sick environment. I would say no after I read this sermon and am debating cutting off all ties with that place forever.
Nobody in my adult life understands the isolation and loneliness this puts me at but it is better than living a lie. There is hope that one of these days I find some sort of community but now that winter might finally be over I can go out in the garage and disconnect like I always have.