Saturday, October 31, 2009

I should not blog when I am pregnant . . .

I frequently have insomnia when I am pregnant. And the problem with insomnia is that after I go through all of the things I could possibly worry about, after I attempt to pray for as many of the things I can think of to pray about, my mind eventually strays to the things that make me angry. And because I have spent my entire life in the church, because I have a great deal of care for the church and many heartfelt beliefs about the church . . . I become angry at the church.

I love the church. I love our new church, and former church. I have gigantic amounts of affection and respect for many people in many churches. Honestly, there are very few individuals that I feel anger towards. Mostly, I am angry at this church and this church, and people who act like this is a church. And what these kinds of churches represent.

I didn't sleep last night and I suppose it is not wise to say too much on too little sleep. Maybe I will continue this another night. Or maybe I will sleep . . . these sum up a lot of things better than I could anyway.

Here is an excerpt from this:

"I need to spend more time working on my relationship with God."
I responded, "Why would you want to do that?"
Startled she says, "What do you mean?"
"Well, why would you want to spend any time at all on working on your relationship with God?"
"Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"
"Let me answer by asking you a question. Can you think of anyone, right now, to whom you need to apologize? Anyone you've wronged?"
She thinks and answers, "Yes."
"Well, why don't you give them a call today and ask for their forgiveness. That might be a better use of your time than working on your relationship with God."

My friend
Ryan posted this:

"Within the Christian churches, how else can we explain the obvious avoidance of so many of Jesus’ major teachings? Jesus’ direct and clear teachings on issues such as nonviolence, a simple lifestyle, love of the poor, forgiveness, love of enemies, inclusivity, mercy, and not seeking status, power, perks, and possessions: throughout history, all have been overwhelmingly ignored by mainline Christian churches, even those who call themselves orthodox or biblical. This avoidance defies explanation until we understand how dualistic thinking protects and pads the ego and its fear of change. Notice that the things we ignored above require actual change of our lifestyle, our security systems, or our dualistic thought patterns. The things we emphasized instead were usually intellectual beliefs or moral superiority stances that asked little of us: the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, the atonement theory, and beliefs about reproduction and sex. After a while, you start to recognize the underlying bias. The ego diverts your attention from anything that would ask you to change, to righteous causes that invariably ask others to change."

-Richard Rohr


Ryan said...

Hey Jess,

I just wanted to say that I also have problems with insomnia. When I'm not sleeping for a while, I start to think I'm going crazy. My mind races and I can't keep track of my thoughts. And of course, as you say, all the old demons come back. I try to remember: it's just lack of sleep---nothing too existential---and I try to let it be. That is, to let the dark thoughts come and have their moment, to not judge them or obsessively try to will them away, which would of course only increase their power, but to recognize them as part of me and as valid.

You are right to be angry at what has been done in the name of the church. I hope you don't ever lose that anger, though it shouldn't control you. As you know, I consider the church a failed institution. It's time for something new to take up the causes of Christ's good name: the elevation of the poor and downtrodden; the healing of the sick and miserable; the dismantling of power and greed; the salvation of all from human baseness. The church has had its chance. It is beyond repair. Let it stand aside so something new can be born without the fetters and judgment of the old.

Or can this happen another way? I can't see it.

Heather of the EO said...

I'm with you, lady. I struggle with this anger too. Especially when I'm not sleeping well.

That's all...just wanted to say that I get it.

Amy said...

Rember that churches are run by human beings and we are not prefect, only God is perfect. Of course horrible things have been done in the name of God, look who he has let run the show!! Should it be swept under the rug and forgotten? No. Should we have learned from it? Yep. Do we always apply what we have learned? Nope. Why? Because we are self absorbed, stuipid people who will listen to what others tell us instead of doing what God wants us to do...He knows us..he is the one who started all just have to be the best that you can be and hopefully others will follow your going or not

montrealmiss said...

Hi, I just came across your blog while trying to remember the exact wording of one of my favourite quotes and googling it ""Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -Mary Oliver"

I decided to read a couple posts (because quoting Mary Oliver means you must have some shred of decency in you) of yours, and I appreciated this one. I am angry at a lot of different churches and recently converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I have felt bitter against a lot of Protestant churches (and many of my old friends are convinced I am straying away from "real Christianity" now, oh the irony).

However, what I have learned through my journey with many types of Christians, and having been able to compare them to those in Ukraine who would consider themselves under the same denominations (Orthodox, Protestant Baptists, Protestant Evangelicals etc.), is that no matter which strain of truth you are in (and there are many strains of truth!!!), there is always something slightly false because we are finite... and finite beings could never comprehend or get the infinite quite right. The number 2 might know a little about infinity because it contains 2 and 1 and .8 and so on, but it could never fully comprehend the magnitude or the complexities of multiples and so on.

Anyway, I guess I needed to write this more for my sake than yours, but I just wanted to say that I am so glad that we are all realizing that we are fallen, because it sure makes me feel a little less guilty for being presently imperfect, and more hopeful for a future of greater understanding.

Take care!