…it’s not Jesus I have a problem with. It’s the fan club.To clarify: For years, I had a tough time telling religious types off. For years, I thought that a bunch of people knew a secret about Jesus that I never knew and that was always alluding me. For years, I never believed that I could have peace about this religious stuff. I have never felt okay being an atheist, and there have been too many experiences in my life that resonate with the words of Jesus written in the gospel accounts.
But it’s my experience. My decision. My conclusions. My light. My path. I don’t prescribe it to anyone else, nor am I afraid of people burning in hell if I don’t recruit them to my path.
I hate going to church. I feel like I did my time. I go when I feel like it, and sometimes, I actually do feel like it, but in the Spring and Fall, I am generally on hiatus. It’s the sermoning at me when I can’t respond with questions or concerns that bothers me the most. My kids and husband really enjoy it, but I can’t stand it. I monitor everything that is taught to my kids…and I make damned sure that if any propaganda comes from someone, I correct it by helping them ask a lot of questions and reminding them that there are a lot of questions in life that are just flat unanswerable. They probably don’t get it now, but they will some day.
While I brand myself as a Christian (a follower of the words and teachings of Christ as recorded in the gospel accounts), I am so past people who claim to have answers for every question — everything from dinosaurs to current catastrophes and where we are in bible prophecy…and my church doesn’t even go there, which is why I can handle my kids going there. A lot of fundamentalists these days sound a LOT like Herbert.
People are so crazily interested in all of the bad in the world — what doom and gloom lurks around every corner. And fundamentalists and COG types take that fear and capitalize on it for their own gain. What I find comforting is how Jesus dealt with the same types of people in his day, i.e. the Pharisees. The Jesus I follow is the kind of guy who elevates a prostitute and a hemorrhaging woman to the chagrin of the people around him. They hate him so much because he is bucking their little system.
And the Jesus that I teach my kids about cares about the people that society has written off. Like they once were — cast off kids who nobody wanted. The boys have asked why their mother walked out on them and left them in foster care. It was really, really hard for them. I tell them all of the time that they weren’t my homemade kids, but they are handpicked. That’s redemptive in my book. They want to know so much about their situation, but they are really glad in a way that their mother abandoned them so that they can be our kids. But we also want them to love their birthmother, and we honor her in appropriate ways around here too.
That’s true religion for me…not scaring kids with plastic fetuses and having them hand out tracts at bowling alleys or taking them to Washington to picket outside the Supreme Court against abortion or teaching them not to “dance in the flesh,” whatever the hell that is. (Sorry for the spoiler, but you have GOT to see this film to believe it.)
My husband always chuckles at me for bucking the establishment. Every week at this little church that our family goes to, they pray for the soldiers in Iraq. Well, last week, I elbowed my husband and said, “How about praying for our enemies? Like Al Qaeda?” He laughed almost out loud, but he got my point. I think that suicide bombers are victims of a cult mindset. Hell, there was a time in my life when if I had been told that this would benefit God’s future kingdom on earth, I would have strapped on a bomb.
So, I break the mold…here on this forum and in my life in general.
You really do need to watch this film, though. I think that it needs to be required viewing by every American. What is happening is a brainwashing of children into a fundamentalism that yields anxiety and some extreme black/white thinking. And it is happening on a much grander scale than the COGs. Heck, just watch TBN’s infamous “Praise the Lord” show for fifteen minutes (if you can stomach it), and you’ll see the bullshit mind control in primetime…especially if it is a Praise-A-Thon week.
The Painful Truth’s Woohoo 74 talking about her rightful displeasure with the modern American evangelical and fundamentalist movement today. I think her comments at the beginning resembles what Gandhi said, “I like their Jesus but I don’t like their Christians.”