Be Somebody

“What happens if your life goal is to be a gardener, but plants die simply by you looking at them?” It’s a tough question, friend. The want to do something does not necessarily grant the entitlement to such goals. It’s the work one is willing to put forth towards these goals, paired with ones talent, abilities, and life [dis]advantages that place them in a position to work towards these goals.

I’ll never forget a moment that occurred several years ago. Sitting at a charismatic christian conference, I watched as the speaker “loosed” millionaires and billionaires across the crowd; binding the spirits of poverty that had been binding these families for many generations. It was with great delight that many individuals began to roar, hoot, and clap their hands in praise at the words of the speaker. I watched as young men and women burst out of their chairs, arms in the air, jumping up and down while screaming “hallelujah!” It was a sight to behold.

None of them will be millionaires, billionaires, or get off of the welfare trap that ‘plagued’ the crowd. It’s a bold statement, but one that can be backed up by the key determinant of whether or not the individuals in that crowd are willing to live their lives differently than the pattern that led them to live the manner they carried when walking in the doors. I wish there were going to be billionaires to walk from the doors that night. I wish there would be millionaires that were set free. Unfortunately, I don’t buy it anymore. No sermon from the pulpit is going to simply wish your life into a better place. I believe they can spark motivation, which sparks action, which sparks results. However, it takes action; not just prayer.

Perhaps I am a cynic or skeptic of the charismatic christian movement. Are there any laws that prevent me from questioning doctrines that are freely preached from the pulpit? If a minister can get away with having a multi-million dollar organization that doesn’t pay taxes, I ought to be allowed the free ability to pose intelligent questions and objective contradictions to their beliefs/practices.

Recently, I was heavily criticized for having a negative opinion on the practice of speaking in tongues. “How can you say it’s not G-d?” was the question. How can you say it is? Are these individuals aware there are multiple other cultures where ‘speaking in tongues’ is practiced, and is completely different than the pentecostal roots outlined in the New Testament? The same thing goes for being ‘slain’ in the spirit/trances, healing/mysticism, and prophecy/fortune telling.

My God is bigger than your god.

There’s quite a big difference from criticizing the Creator of the universe and creating those who claim to be direct recipients and messengers of the Creator’s will, should that be readily accessible.

Where does this put me? It’s a really difficult position, believe it or not. While I adamantly defend my position and ability to criticize the christian church, every attempt to do so is met with mental reminders that I am not, in fact, a heretic. Growing up, I was instilled with the fear of god (caps intentional) that I would rot in hell if I stepped away from these beliefs. This was further instilled with the heartfelt belief that those who had ‘poured their lives out for me’ in sacrifice out to be further proof that I shouldn’t question these beliefs; were I to somehow question and reject their teaching, it was firmly pushed that my ‘disobedience’ would come at the price of their wasted lives, who gave up career, fortunes, red convertibles, and trophy wives to make the ultimate sacrifice of teaching me, and other mindless students, that we ought to make similar sacrifices for the sake of the church.

For the first time in many years, it feels good to have a moment of honesty. And I’m going to take it one step further and continue in this moment of catharsis.

As a child, my mother told us of the period of her life where she began to develop a group of friends. And, breaking free from the usual norm of holding her mothers hand while walking to school, she kept her hands in her pockets when approaching the school to avoid being seen holding her mom’s hands by her friends. She later saw her mother crying over the fact, triggering her to feel awful for doing such a deed.

It hurts to write this. I mean that. However, this act was similar to that of the mother in “About A Boy” where the misdirected love of a mother was all that was needed to alienate and socially crucify the child. “Your voice brings warmth to my heart” were the words spoken to the child, as he nearly stepped onto the stage of the school talent show; a move that would have been the 40th lash to his existing 39.

Proper parenting should not involve the well-being of the parent at the expense of their child.

Read it again.

Children should not have to bear the emotional burden behind keeping their hands in their pockets because they want a healthy group of friends.

We should have to feel that we are being disobedient or stepping outside the will of the Almighty when we begin to ask questions about our doctrine, theology, and upbringing.

If G-d is love, just, and fair, how could somebody be damned to Hell for honestly questioning principles and doctrine? A fair judge is one who knows the balance between two options, and picks the better route. What if somebody is still in the observation phase when they kick the bucket? Is it fair to send somebody to hell because they have been raised, and dutifully followed, whatever religion their nation believed in? Is it fair to send two individuals to hell because they love each other, and act on it, even though they are of the same gender? Thin ice. I’ll shut up now.

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