"There is no God up there who is going to listen to your prayers from down here and do anything about it. You've got to do it yourself, take some responsibility for how the world is. Do good yourself instead of waiting around for some sky-bound deity to do it. God is not an excuse. Find all those good things you've attributed to God inside you - love, compassion, a heart for justice and human dignity. And ditch the things religion has taught that don't line up with the good - jealousy, arrogance, tribe mentality and its requisite genocide. It's time to show a little respect for your own abilities to make God real in the world. Sure, something you might call God may exist outside of you, but I'm not going to talk to it like it can hear me, anymore. I'm talking to you."
Found this paragraph in the pages of Geez magazine, a new magazine from editors Aiden Enns and Will Braun. This paragraph was written by Gretta Vosper, a minister of the United Church, and it is a portion of a sermon she delivered.
I crave your thoughts on this.
It is disturbing. And beautiful. And terrifying. And honest. But also very challenging and exciting. And I am once again caught within the tension of left vs. right. Neither side can accept the balance. That there is a God who cares, and who does answer prayer. That you can be a committed Evangelical Christian, following God passionately and pursuing and living in deep relationship with him while being concerned for traditional standards of morality and economic, gender, and social equality.
I struggle to find the reason why so many find these two ideas so incompatable. They would seem to have a natural and powerful connection. Christ calls us to himself, to follow him above all else, and calls us to care for the poor and oppressed. It would seem to be obvious in many readings of the Gospels. Yet I have encountered so much resistance to this. People who I have offended for being in the “middle,” for not “choosing sides” in this fight and in this struggle. Yet I look around me and see nothing but intolerance. Both from the right and from the left.
No, God is not an excuse to sit and not fight for justice. Prayer is not a substitute for action. Faith without works is dead. But at the same time, action is no substitute for confession. Unity is no substitute for the Holy Spirit. And inequality is no excuse for intolerance.
Next topic. I can think of no better or more compelling reason to leave the Christian faith than the statement “There is no God up there who is going to listen to your prayers from down here and do anything about it . . . Sure, something you might call God may exist outside of you, but I'm not going to talk to it like it can hear me, anymore.” There has been nothing more disheartening and discouraging than this. This is truth, and it is honest. What can be done with that? Don’t worry, though. Just a question.
ha. wouldn't it be fun if there weren't tea leaf readers, but poop stump readers? i would definitly pay some good money for that.
this is getting obscene, and it hasn't even started really. but this is how my mind works. i am infinitly saddened that i don't have anything really substantial to say. there's lots inside of me, but i'm not sure if i can get it out, or if you would even like me anymore if i did. so i think i may just blab on about nothing.
check out the "Reverand Billy and the Church Of Stop Shopping" link to the right. coolio.
I would like to post up a picture of something useful and inspired, but i don't have anything and i still don't really know how to use Paint, so that's not helpful. The great Macintosh let me down yesterday when I wasn't able to play my X-Files DVD-Rom in the drive. Ernie blames Windows. I blame the oppressive capatalist system.
So I am thoroughly enjoying my adbusters magazine, and I encourage you all to get copies, even though it costs like $11 per mag. But then i remember it costs so much because there is no advertising, and then i feel good about it and want to buy 50 for my closest friends and homeless people. hmm. today there was an article about how important it is to buy locally grown stuff. i felt proud. and it said, "hey, you won't get much variety all of the time and you might get spinich, and may have to eat it twice in a week, but its worth it you freaking consumers of all things injust." that's a loose paraphrase, a la chuck nichols. check out fresh options. they're great, and i absolutly love what they do.
ramblings. sorry to dissapoint. does anybody else think that it is hypocritical that i put a link to the adbusters website above? 'cause I do.
Some random things that I have been thinking about and confused about.
1. My severed head polar bear pillow is missing. This makes me sad because, although it creeps people out, it is quite a handy and comfertable little thing to have around. Except when the eye balls whack me in the head or something, but mostly i love it. Did somebody steal it? Hide it? Did it re-grow its body and walk away?
2. Spinich on pizza is amazing. How come nobody ever told me this before?
3. A few days ago I got a spam message from a guy named Bart Farley. Does anybody else this that this is really really funny?
4. another spam message I got said, "Thank you for contacting us about your weight problem." Hmm. There are a few options here. one, my friends think i am overweight and am trying to subtly help me out. I appreciate that, thanks, guys. two, this consumeristic image-driven culture has found another way to make me feel like crap about myself. Sad, but I think I would prefer option 1.
5. It hurts when you are yourself and people decide that that is not good enough and that they don't like you anymore. I think that is the worst feeling in the world.
6. My nephew signed me up for these joke text messages, which come every day, and are sometimes dirty. I just heard the message come again and have no idea how to get it off of my phone. any ideas? I replied to the number and asked them to stop, but apparantly they don't care.
7. I think Jesus loves me, but sometimes I am unsure of this.
so i've been thinking lately what i would do if God was leading me to become buddhist. or islamic. or something. and how truly terrifying that would be. because i have been so trained that Christianity is the right way . . . the only way . . . that we have a monopoly on truth, and that if you turn aaway from this, I will burn. Not that i don't quite think this is completly untrue . . . i don't know. but just consider that. its been a struggle and a joy to try and follow God completly, wherever that may lead and wherever that leads. WHEREVER. Should not my commitment to following God supercede my strongly held beliefs that I have it "right?" If my commitment to God is foremost, should not logically (don't laugh, Janie) my commitment to Christianity itself is secondary? Yet it would be hard. and terrifying. And I have consistently been challenged and struggling to fit my evolving relationship with God and who I understand him to be into my largely right wing fundamental Christian upbringing. The two Gods seem incomparable, at least at this moment. And then it makes me wonder how strong my faith truly is. What am I committed to? To the Christian idea of God, or to God? To following my comfort level, or to following where he is leading me?
I can imagine that many people could (would, are) reading this and am a tad worried about my salvation. Please read this without any preconceived ideas. That is not where I am going, nor where I feel God is leading. But I need to consider the possibility that this is where the future will go. The focus on this sentence should be on consider, not possibility. this is so hard to explain without sounding like i am going to become a Buddhist Tibetan monk. But my commitment to God should be so strong that I would be willing to give up everything, including my religion, correct?
Perhaps my F or P friends think that I am just being stupid, 'cause this would never happen. But think about it. Think about giving up Christianity to become a Muslim. Think of what this would mean in terms of friends, family. Going completly against the inner beliefs that have been drilled into you regarding salvation. That would be terrifying. To suddenly have to not believe the truth of the Bible, or to not believe that Christ is part of the triune God. Scary. But this is what we ask so many people of so many other faiths to do to follow Christ. This has impacted me a lot lately. That converting to Christianity does not only mean perhaps leaving family, persecution, being shunned by friends, being fired from your job, being pushed into a lower social class, but also rejecting everything that you have been taught from a child about salvation. terrifying. to not be able to take hold of the basic soul insurance policy that you had been brought up with in whatever religion you were raised in.
So yesterday i was walking down to the wuzzles' apartment on edmonton, and then i walked over broadway and looked down, and saw that there was this penny on the road. Not very cool, i know, but the penny had been driven over so many times that it ceased to be just a penny, and it was now part of the road. they were literally inseperable, and over time had become meshed into one identity. But two distinct parts. And I pondered and pondered and thought about how great of a sermon illustration that would be and how cool it was on Broadway, and then i remembered . . . oh, yeah . . . i don't preach anymore 'cause i got kicked out of my church.
It's really a surreal and interesting phenomena, to be kicked out of a church. And it was a bit obscene that it was done so callously, so subtly, and so quietly. and it is a bit appalling and confusing and interesting that it was not for anything that I had done. I wasn't kicked out becasue i killed somebody or becasue I went stripping at a club or anything, but because I had faith. Faith that God could break out of a simple book. Faith that God loves babies.
And it is strange how differently i approach this on different days. some days i wear it as a sordid badge of honor. the shock value of saying, "yeah. i got kicked out of my last church." is worth a little bit of social intrigue. And there are times where I get more than a little bit of a smirk knowing that the entire church shut down once i was shut out, and i feel a bit prideful when i pull the "it couldn't last without me" lie on myself. but i know better.
Some days its like that. But not most. Most days it simply cuts inside my heart like a newly sharpened butter knife - dull, but quite painful. Really, you would think that if there were ever one place in this world that you should be safe from being kicked out of, it would be church. You would think that it would be the greatest sanctuary that ever was, and you would think that you would be safe within its walls. But that's not quite how it turns out all of the time. So I am left homeless. Kicked down and ignored into a state of oblivion. And the most tangible response i have received was, "we are so glad that everybody has settled down into other churches." Once again I am invisible. What does this mean? That I am simply not included in the term "everybody?" That I am too heathenistic to even be considered? That
who am i? what has happened to me over this last year to make me so damned cynical and joyless? why have i allowed these circumstances to suck out my entire personality, having only an empty shell (gorgeous, though, i admit) of wasted gifts? my drive is gone, and my passion is gone. jamie's death has shaken me. cyril's accident has hurt me. my rejection by my community has murdered me.
i am not who i was, and i grieve the loss of that strong, godly woman.
so i am a quarter century old today. wow. doesn't feel much different than i did yesterday, except now i realize that the next milestone is 30 and that number doesn't seem at all as fun as 25.
i can't imagine that someday i will be 40...50...60. that i will be in an old folks home grabbing the male orderly's butts and trying to start up a food fight in the bingo hall. its a strange and surreal thought. you always know that you will get old someday . . . but if you think about it, it sucks a lot. or does it? i don't want to be confined to a wheelchair or have demensia or cancer or some other horrible thing. it makes me want to grab life more now and go and travel around the world and move my little legs while i still can . . . but work and life seems to get in the way of that. oh well.
a huge thanks to all of my brave friends who came out to my very wet birthday shindig yesterday. i think my feet are now webbed, but hey, it was worth it. i appreciate the sacrifices you all made in the muddy muddy field, adn the fact that your shoes are probably ruined now, not to mention your pants and perhaps our carpet. but it was definitly worth it for me to feel special. just kidding. sort of. i wish we had pictures, but alas. funny how my clothes were still soaking wet this morning. wow.
i have eaten so much cake and sugar i think my body is going into shock. but it feels so good . . .
So apparantly none of my highly-educated friends listen to CBC radio, 'cause I was on it. Yeah. I touched the Governor General. I am so cool. I haven't even washed my hand since. She was very strong and confident and approachable. And CBC thought me articulate enough to talk about her on the radio, but then decided to cut my 2 minute interview into a 5 second sound byte. SICK! But that's ok. It was fun anyway.
Hmm. Strange days. Yesterday Odie's mom and dad and brother and grandpa and 3 family friends and one stranger got stuck in our elevator for awhile on our floor. It was sort of funny at first, but then got a little bit heinous. 8 people in our small elevator for awhile. odie and zac and i sat outside in the hallway for a bit, talking to them when we could (they were at our floor, but the door wouldn't open). They were there for an hour, which upset me 'cause its not like odie's grandpa is a young guy. and the stranger lady from the 6th floor was very upset and crying and stuff. not cool. i feel pretty guilty about all of this, and a bit upset at our stupid elevator and the fact that it took 10 minutes for the caretaker to finally come and "check out the situation" and THEN call the repair guy. ridiculous. They couldn't take our word for it on the phone, apparantly, and call the repair guy right away. Stupid. That made me super mad. So he came up and yelled, "Can you press the 8th floor button? Can you press main? OK. Its not working. I'll call the repair guy." As if they wouldn't have thought of that. "oh, maybe we should push a button here and something would happen." if that were me i would be continuously pushing all of the buttons in case something could happen. ridiculous.
i had something to say, but can't think about it now. but that's ok. i guess. hopefully it will come again.
so i walked up and down spence st. yesterday . . . i had a good reason, though, and saw all of the bands that the Coalition To Save the Elms put out on the elm trees. And I was walking and looking and noticed that every single band had like at least 50 months stuck to them, who died a horrible sticky death.
i am considering establishing a Coalition to Save the Moths.
What’s the deal with strangers calling me sweetie and dear? Does this happen to everybody? Am I simply excessively cute? Why do people with whom I only have a one-sentence conversation feel that they have the right to think I am their sweetie?
Ridiculous. And not only with men, but women too which makes me even more uncomfortable because now I am just more confused than ever.
Oh well. My friends are one thing, but weird strangers. Old men are the grossest and the worst at thinking that they have a personal right to my life and my body.
Whoa. This is now a rant.
Something positive . . . got to say something positive . . . nope. Nothing.
ok, i'm back but probably have to run away on short notice.
i learned today that martha stewart is 62 years old. holy scheninie. she is one hot mama. it was good to see her become a bit frustrated and almost angry on the apprentice yesterday. she seems far too perfect. why does everybody think that she is still so sweet? she's a criminal. sure, she didn't bite any heads off of children or anything, but she still broke the law. but canada still wants her to fly over so that she can canoe a pumpkin across the lake.
i don't understand.
anyway, she's hot. i'm sexually confident enough to say that. and i hope i look twice as good as her when i am old.
its a bit unfair, though, that rich people don't seem to have to grow old. sure, plastic surgury looks stupid, but it should be available to all, even if they work at mcdonalds. or menno simons college. i'm so tired of oppression.
62 years old. holy crap. how old is donald trump? how old is his toupee? really. for a billionaire you think he could afford something that doesn't look like a dead muskrat.
i wonder if people who have beards keep snacks in them just in case of a nuclear war.
some guy from ontario got into the world record book today, simply because he had a nipple hair that was almost 9 cm long. and apparantly he was complaining that people made fun of him too much. then CUT IT OFF. he obviously is not that smart. but kudos to him for getting in the record books before me. it will seriously devestate my friends to know that i am planning to go for the record in "most disgusting fungai-infested toenail ever." but eat it.
So after discovering my good friend janie had a secret blog which she decided not to tell me about, i am deciding to blog myself. but i'm not going to tell her. i'm probably not going to tell anybody, so it will just be really personal therapy. FREE. Which is the most important part.
Whatever. Bre is cranky and sad and apparantly talks about herself in the third person, which really is never a good sign. But whatever. She's allowed to. She is a bit confused and a bit unhappy. But really she has food so she shouldn't complain.