Sunday, March 10, 2013

Am I a Christian?

I ran across this horrific, misogynist rant by a preacher a few days ago in my Facebook news feed.  Watch it if you want, but I'll give you the Cliff's Notes here.

Around the 23 minute mark, he launches into a tirade over psychiatric medications.  Before my diagnosis of bipolar II, I didn't sleep more than an hour or two per night for 5 straight weeks during a severe manic phase.  I don't know how much preaching or a Biblical immersion would have cured that, but I do know that when I was diagnosed and treated and finally SLEPT, my constant thoughts of suicide went away.  My impulse control steadied my diet and I lost 100 pounds.  My secular therapist has saved my life in ways my Christian therapist never even touched.  When I was in my early 20s in a bad manic phase, I went on medication that my pastor told me I should not be taking.  So I stopped, and launched into one of the worst depressive periods of my life, which was made worse because I believed I wasn't getting relief because I wasn't praying enough - it was a horrible, self-perpetuating cycle.

He says " Christian ought to be on psychiatric meds, period [...] No Christian should go to a psychiatrist."  Psychiatric medication saved my life.  So am I a Christian?

"Be SERIOUS."  I am a comedy writer.  I derive my joy from making people laugh.  So am I a Christian?

The next part is about loving your husband.  I've been married 12 years.  I do not read romance novels because they're stupid.  But I am reading Les Miserables, one of the most beautiful love stories written in history.  It makes me feel love, and it's hard for me to feel emotion these days.  Not toward the main male character, but it brings me back to a place where I was infatuated with my husband and reminds me of all the things I felt then and reminds me of all the things I love about him now.

This part:
The reduction of the universe to a single being, the expansion of a single being even to God, this is love. 
made me cry, which I do not do anymore, and send an "I love you" text to my husband for the first time in MANY months.  Do I wish Drew were as romantic as Marius?  Sure, but Marius probably wouldn't scoop the cat litter, so it still makes me love my husband more.  So yeah, I read love stories.  So am I a Christian?

Oh, yeah, there's the lust part.  I admit feelings of lust toward many celebrities.  Harry Connick, Jr.  Justin Timberlake.  Taye Diggs.  LL Cool J.  I'm (seriously, I swear) not thinking about them when I'm having sex with my husband, because my brain just doesn't work that way, but I sure do enjoy looking at pictures of them.  The Bible says I'm an adulterer who should be stoned to death.  I don't want to be stoned to death, but I don't want to stop looking at Joseph Gordon Leavitt, either.  So am I a Christian?

If you wanna skip all that, go to 27:35.  No wife should ever work outside the home.  Women should be keepers at home, according to the Bible.  "Adultery abounds, partially because of women in the workplace."  Men should be able to do their 40 hours at work and women should take 100% care of the house and children.  "They should be obedient to their husbands.  [...]  And today we have women's rights!  [...]  Let's bring back [the days when women had no rights]."  He's not even talking about reproductive rights, y'all, he's talking about all of them.  The right to divorce, the right to disagree with their husbands, the right to VOTE.  "If you say 'I don't believe wives should be obedient to their own husbands,' you're probably not saved."

Dude, just, bite me.  No, I am not "obedient" to my husband.  We treat each other as equals in every way.  I could not silence my voice, my opinion, my desires and completely acquiesce to what Drew wants.  Not without MORE psychiatric medication, at least.  So, am I a Christian?

You can really stop there.  I did, because, bro, shut up.

But it has made me think a lot about what I believe about the Bible.  The guy, offensive as his words are, is right.  All of that is in the Bible.  I just do not believe that the majority of it is applicable today, and I believe that its strict adherents who pick and choose which verses they want to see enforced through legislation are driving people AWAY from Christ.  Let's talk about the gays as a quick example.  People who won't accept and love gays in their church and support their right to love each other and be married but will welcome people who are divorced and remarried into their churches with open arms.  Divorce is a sin, remarriage is adultery.  Adulterers are to be stoned to death.  It's in the Bible.  I don't believe that either.

I believe in how Jesus treated people.  I believe in how He welcomed people with open arms.  I believe in how He loved.  What I believe about Heaven and Hell is changing and quite frankly, I'd really like death to be the absolute end.  I don't want to go to Heaven or Hell.  I just want to be dead.  I'm 32 and there are days where I've had enough of life, I can't imagine how I'm going to feel when I'm old.

I don't know if I believe in the "power of prayer."  I think shit just happens whether we pray about it or not.  When children die, is it because we didn't pray enough or believe enough?  Doesn't that make God kind of a jerk?  I'm really much more comfortable with the idea that God set the world in motion and left it alone.

So I really just do not know anymore that I'm a Christian.  I've had more than enough people tell me that I'm not because I don't believe what they believe.  I was at my weekly Bible study and we were watching an equally goofy preacher talk about how Democrats can't be Christian and a guy in the room said "Aaaaaamen."  I'm a Democrat, because I believe them to be the more compassionate party, and I believe above all else in Jesus' compassion.  So am I a Christian?   (That particular guy's statement reinforced my decision nearly 2 years ago to stop going to church because of public, shaming, bullying statements just like that.)  (NOBODY ELSE in my Bible study is like that and I feel safe with them and it is the absolute highlight of my week.  I love those people like nothing else.)

I love Jesus.  I want to be just like Him.  I believe He loves me, carries me, guides me.  I believe His voice is what tells me to hand people large amounts of money I don't need if they need it.  I believe it's the compassion He instilled in me that makes me the kind of loyal, loving, fiercely protective friend I am.  I'm just not sure about the Bible.  Or prayer.  Or Heaven or Hell.

So am I a Christian?


watercolordaisy said...

Are you still an American because some idiot posts some idiotic rant about being an American is supposed to be that you aren't? Of course. Stop listening to lunatics. They don't define the hugeness that is Christianity. Don't define Christians by the crazies. It's no more fair than defining southerners by the racists lunatic rants of a few.

Tom Head said...

I'm not sure anybody knows what a Christian is.

I do know that most of the people who would disqualify us from Christianity don't seem to share many of Jesus' priorities—they're violent where he condemned violence, they worship wealth and status where he condemned wealth and status, and so forth. They can't really claim to have Jesus' priorities. Maybe the power over the word "Christian" is all they have. Maybe we should let them keep it, in the spirit of charity. Or maybe not.

"Christian" is just a word, and it's a vague word at that. If you call yourself a Christian, nobody is in a position to prove you wrong. If you say you're not a Christian, nobody is in a position to prove you wrong there, either. It's a word. And the more control terrible people have over it, the less it means.

Cooking Up Faith said...

I heard Sheila Walsh speak once - she is a Christian author and speaker. She had a nervous breakdown once and found herself in a mental institute. She is better now and takes an anti-depressant pill every morning. She said she says a prayer of thanks to God every morning before she takes her pill - that He has given her something to help her and let her live a normal life again.

I'd look at it this way too - if someone needs money to pay for their home, bills, ect. they work...and thank God for a good job He has given them to provide their needs. They don't sit in a desert and wait for God to send money from the sky - they trust God will provide for their needs through the job He gives them. In the same way, when our body needs help we don't have to suffer and do nothing - God gives us medicine and doctors to provide a healthy living.

Being a Christian is more simple than we think. It's coming to the conclusion that no matter how hard we try we aren't perfect and we are in desperate need of a Savior. We believe God gave us One - Jesus. He brings us into salvation and fellowship with God.

Our salvation comes from Christ alone, not by following rules. (Galatians 2:5)

If you have some quiet time, I think you would be refreshed by reading the book of Galatians. Paul comforts us in our freedom from rules and freedom in Christ. He reminds us to follow the Holy Spirit alone, and tells us God gave us His promise of grace BEFORE He gave the Ten Commandments. He tells us that rules aren't wrong to follow, in fact they help us. But they aren't what will save us (because He knew we couldn't possibly keep all the rules all the time) - only Christ can save us from ourselves.

Blessings and peace to you!
Maple Mae

Tasty said...

Hey gorgeous, here's a voice (of the Christian variety) worth listening to. Female, strong, egalitarian, questioning, doubting, fighting, working out her OWN salvation voice:

Hope you love the journey as much as I am.

Also, you're hilarious.

Just Jinny said...

Yes. And I am too, just like you.

The Diva said...

Stacey- I posted this on a blog a few days back when a friend posted it on FB. You may have already read it but if you haven't, it's A GREAT READ. GREAT.