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Day two from being home for being sick.
I hate being sick because I feel:
-95 years old
I literally turn into a grandma. Sweater, knee socks, hair in a beehive, no make up, tea kettle constantly on, blanket over me, and if I could I would pop my teeth in a jar.
Last night was the turn of what I thought was near death. I have been coddling a cold since last week with extra amounts of Vitamins C & D, Emergen-C, Fiber and lots of water. I thought I was going to kick it out before it set in. Boy, did my body prove me wrong because when I woke up Friday I knew it was all over. I powered through Friday, felt worse Saturday, and by the time Monday came around I was waving my little white flag. I tried going to work Tuesday-ha! I was there a hour and said forget this. I’m glad I came home because after I ate some soup, well things turned ugly real quick- I’ll save you the details.
And so, here I am today whimpering like an unloved dog. I am feeling a lot better, finally- I slept a lot.
So, during all this down time I had a good amount of time to reflect on my blog posts that caused so much uproar. So here are my feelings and reactions to this whole thing:
1. When I wrote my first post (https://sydneyarden.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/the-jesuses-i-reject/) of this ‘series’ for the lack of a better description I never expected to start such a conversation. I was just pouring out my heart and frustrations after reading Rob Bell’s wonderful book Love Wins. I knew I had a very small following of readers but never did I expect for it to catch fire like it did. After studying at Belmont which encourages a conversational and open-minded environment (especially in the Religion dept.) I sometimes forget that I’m not in that same environment everywhere I go. This type of conversation wouldn’t have stirred up such anger and defence because this would be a topic of regular conversation. So, lesson learned- be more careful in how you approach the topic especially with those who have never entered this type of conversation before. Baby steps.
2. These posts caused lots of questions. Some were questions like “How can you call yourself Christian?” and some were more like “Can you give me some Biblical backing to your beliefs?”. The first type of question wasn’t hard to answer but it was very hard for the asker to hear or accept my response- so I just had to walk away from those types of questions gracefully. The second type of question is the kind I love because it allowed me to get in the “meat” of the “heart” of my convictions. I loved talking with these types of people because they were often polite, kind and curious. Often, many of us agreed to disagree respectfully which is wonderful and my hope.
3. Some Christians who had a more conservative views of faith were so nice to talk to and it was wonderful to converse together. Others were just plain mean. Instead of asking questions, they declared some pretty bold statements and tried to get me to confess my sins and accept God. This was a bizarre experience. No matter how hard I tried to convince these types of people that they a. didn’t need to worry about me b. didn’t need to add me to their prayer list and c. convert me , it fell on complete deaf ears. There was no conversation, just a blanket of harsh statements and brick walls. This was extremely disappointing, sad, and frustrating. It was also very interesting that the people that operated this way didn’t even know me yet claimed to love me and care for me and that was their justification for
basically, actually telling me I am going to the Hell I don’t believe in. I could walk away easily from this because I stand on firm ground am surrounded by many who love and accept me whether they agree with me or not. But, I couldn’t help feeling awful for those that might walk into the judgement of these people or who do not have the wonderful support system or firm foundation I do. I can’t help but think of those who will become victim of this warped sense of love and abuse. It makes me feel a little bit helpless. It also hurt my heart that it was said several a time that I am teaching my students (ok, I don’t claim to have any students, I am not arrogant enough to have students…I’m just a 20 something rambling her heart-felt thoughts on a blog, geeze.) about a “Demon Jesus” (yes, actual words spoken) and leading people to the “Pits of Hell” (yes, also actual words spoken). I am not sure how my posts are leading anyone to anywhere but to conversation that I hoped would come from everyone’s heart and out of the motivation of LOVE. Love leads to more love, not hell. So, please do not make me out to be the anti-christ. I just enjoy really good, intelligent, loving conversation. Oh, and for the millionth time, I love Jesus. A lot……I repeat, A LOT. 🙂
4. I found there are a lot…and I mean a lot of people who were desperate to join this dialogue. This was an exciting and rewarding realization and finding. So many joined in and said “Hey, that’s how I have always felt but never had anyone to talk about this with!” or “I’ve tried talking to other Christians about this and I totally got burnt and rejected by even asking these kinds of questions”. How sad but how true. I felt a sense of unity of brokenness and a sense of hope. So, I’m not going to let this hope that I found go by without action. Lucas and I have been talking about starting a group (for many months now) for those who enjoy exploring and conversing about root issues and topics often ignored by the Church (not always and not all Churches, but from the many experiences shared through emails I found this to be true for many). I think these posts gave me a kick in the behind that I needed to go forward, follow-through and start this group. So we welcome anyone, from any faith, from no faith, from any color to sexuality to join us in great conversation. We will be holding UNchurch Wednesday evenings at our home. Expect interesting questions, friendly debate and intelligent conversation and hey we might even serve some foods. More to come soon about Unchurch. And I feel like I must cover my butt by saying this: This is in no way, shape or form a cult. There will be no Gods or Devils worshipped, there will be no weird handling of snakes (hey, no offence to those who might go for that) etc etc. I know someone will claim that this is what I am trying to do because it has been said many a time by various people during this dialogue that I am leading people into Hell and teaching falsely. WOWZERS. This group is just a gathering of curious hearts who love to converse. 🙂
And finally I will say this. I realized that some were offended not by the way I said things but only because my views were different than there beliefs. Now, some were offended by my sarcasm and jokes which I will apologize a billion times for and never was it my intention to hurt anyone. I’m just a sassafrass who inserts sarcasm and sass into how I talk…it’s my personality and always has been and if you know me well, you know this. I will try to be approach how things come out in a more sensitive manor (Although I can not guarantee that I will completely erase my sassy nature) but I will absolutely not sensor my thoughts, questions or beliefs. Some would ask that I would but that would be asking a Sparrow to stop flying. So, I’m going to keep flying and keep doing me. Because that’s my purpose, my calling and I’m not allowing anyone to clip my wings. Oh, that felt spectacular to write. I feel like Run Dmc or something- BAHAHA!
Thank-you to all who encourage my flying (oh yea, I’m gonna run with this analogy) who ask thoughtful questions, to those who agree and those who disagree respectfully. To my Atheist friends who had my back and encouraged me with their stories, to my Christian and Bahai friends who loved on me and stuck up for me when needed. To my husband, my Mom, my Dad, my sister, my Grandpa who all either called me, wrote me and guarded my heart like a ninja- it made the hurtful comments look like mole hills.
What a wonderful example of community. Jesus would/must be proud. (My atheist friends can just ignore this last bit!)
Flying away into more thoughts,