Monday, May 4, 2009

Light In The Murk

I'm going to write about something I was thinking about last night. Usually, because of its heavier religious tone than my normal posts, I'd put it into the journal instead of here. And this, in addition, is not because of any shame of being Christian at all, but for fear of alienating readers (which in itself I'm ashamed of fearing). Reading it back, it seems to have some corny, melodramatic parts, but such is the nature of the content itself. I've come to the conclusion that it's plain English and not anything that you need a particular viewpoint to understand. The only crowd that I write for is the intelligent one.

In last night's church service, instead of a sermon we had a panel discussion between three members about our church community and what we can do to outreach to the people in that neighborhood (when I say outreach, I mean make a positive difference with food or awareness or one of those things). To open up the discussion, a woman who used to be an actress and was a member from the church's first opening came up to tell her story. It was probably one of the most fascinating talks I've heard at that church thus far, listening to her talk about the conscience and listening for a voice of light to bring you up out of the darkness of self-doubt and pity and absence of rational pride. The disillusionment of your life being perfect and happy after you accept Christ.

This woman, she used to be a cutter. She tried to kill herself once. She went to the doctor at some point, to discover that she is bipolar along with some mental disorder. At 19, she began drinking heavily. Under the influence, she got into a car accident and tried to drive away from it, only to run smack into a pole a few minutes later. She was hospitalized, arrested and jailed for a few days. She came out and went to rehab for her alcoholism and her mind………and then went right back to drinking.

On Easter service at my church a few weeks back, she was supposed to show up and say something to the audience before our sermon. But the night before, a friend invited her out for a few drinks at a bar and she accepted the invitation. They went. She binged for 9 hours. I didn't even know it was humanly possible to drink that much, not to mention how much money she probably spent that night. But I digress. The usual occurred: someone volunteered to put her in a cab from the bar to her house. Someone called one of her roommates so they could tell the cab driver where she lived, since she herself was nowhere near able to put forth this information. All the buildings she passed by just look like various blurs, and she was too busy with vomiting on herself anyway. She got home. Her friends undressed her and washed her. She cried. They said they loved her. All she could think was "I'm a failure." But she said she could hear Christ say "I still love you. Come back."

She is now in a mental health program and rehab, working to get better and deal with her illnesses. I think that she as a person will be much better for it though, because she knows Christ will help her cope with everything that's there, and doesn't expect Him to "delete" it all.

I think……a certain kind of Christian uses Christ as an illusion to keep themselves happy. A run-to, in order to not address the uglier aspects of life. The drinking. The smoking. Sexual addictions. Suicidal tendencies. Crack and ecstasy. Attention from men/women. Money. Perhaps even murderous tendencies. They keep an image, an impression of the person of Christ in their minds in order to sweep all of these things under the figurative rug. But I think what Christ actually does is quite the opposite. I think that part of the purpose of accepting Christ into your life is so that you'd be able to face all of these things head on. To see what's being expressed in these actions and to reconcile them in something better, healthier.

11 comments:

  1. Don't Feed The PixiesMay 5, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    I agree totally with your last paragraph - i don't know if you know anything about AA meetings from what the woman said: but the twelve steps (or however many) are basically to accept Christ into your life and to put the burden of your problems onto him...which is why, even though it's the most successful programme out there, it doesn't really work that well.

    Only by accepting that you, as a person, have to take responsibility for your life, can you find a way through. Not as easy as it sounds though.

    Excellent post

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  2. Yes I know. I sometimes get scared too. Like to let God into ALL aspects you know. I guess some people have to go all the way down to see the light. They are so much luckier than the ones who never see it.

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  3. The Disturbed OneMay 5, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    hmm

    Im not sure where our views differ greatly. I always believed that you and you alone can make a change in your life. I thought it wrong for people to put their issues "In Gods Hands". Not only were they setting themselves up for disappointment but also for failure.

    Take K's grandmother for instance.. She was never a very religious woman. Not until she developed breast cancer. She found solace in church. The community. She gritted her teeth through the chemotherapy. And a few years later, there was no sign of her breast cancer.

    She figures the prayers said on her behalf by her sisters at the church and her own rounds of prayers were the main reason she no longer had it. "God took away my pain. Took away the cancer."

    When K first told me this story, I felt a warmth in my heart. I was so glad she was over the cancer. But recently, as you know, she passed. Her cancer had come back with a vengeance and she was riddled with it.

    She did not want to go to the hospital. She wanted nothing to do with the treatments. She wanted to pray. Her and her sisters from the church would pray.

    A few times she had to be hospitalized... released when she had enough in her system so that she could stand on her own. She lost so much weight in so little time.

    The sickness finally consumed her. It didnt take 6 months. She passed away, thinking she could be healed by prayer alone.

    This kind of thinking bothers me.. Anyways, I know this was a super long comment. Im sorry for taking up your space babes. TTYS.

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  4. Oh wow, this is like an episode of Intervention.

    I hope she finds her way to health!

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  5. This Brazen TeacherMay 5, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    This post made me think a lot, Samurai. Thanks. I'm going to ramble a bit here... I must forwarn you. And perhaps this lengthy commentary will be more for myself than anyone else... but I appreciate you letting me use your blog regardless.

    My mother is a minister...so posts of religious origins always pique an interest... I became Agnostic as I grew more all encompassing in my viewpoints... my Christian upbringing solidified my belief that there are many faiths and ways to heal oneself.

    That being said- I think Christianity is a good way (among countless other ways) to heal a battle worn spirit. I have observed that people tend to follow the dogmatic teachings of church institutions, rather than actual lessons from the prophets when it comes to healing however...

    The Bible states:
    Ye Are Gods. It is not a metaphor, it is implicit in saying that WE ARE GODS.

    The story of Christ illustrates how his death was an example for the world... to show others of their OWN immortality and Godliness... not deify himself OVER us... but WITH us.

    But many do not hear this teaching. They listen to the priests and pulpit pastors of the past and present... who say CHRIST and the CHURCH save people... as if human beings are fundamentally flawed and must be saved by another "more pure being."

    To me- this is the way that the Christian church has blasphemed the story and life of Christ for the benefit of their own vested power interests. The Institution of the Church used the story of Christ to create a hierarchy... that would place people in need of "saving" by the purity of Christ/ the church etc... people feel flawed, impure, sinful by nature... and indeed many choose to be those things... but Christ was the EXAMPLE... to show even the murderers and thieves that they have "God in them."

    I think that the woman in your post- should realize that Christ is not going to save her... he was just a man who realized his connection with God/the universe/whatever you perceive out there...

    ...and realizing that Christ is already inside of her... is inside all of us... always has been... and she just doesn't choose to experience that yet... is the reason for her pain and suffering. I believe that people who heal themselves- aren't healed BY Christ... but rather when they realize that they can ARE JUST LIKE CHRIST and always have been. Which the Church calls blasphemous in and of itself... but certainly it would take the Church power away if people realized their Godliness.

    And this is just a crazy opinion of one dedicated Samurai reader :-) and I certainly don't purport to know "truth" about Christ more than any other person claiming to have ownership of divine wisdom. It's MY fear that you will interpret this comment as an attack on your own beliefs... I'm not taking the time to edit out the egotistical overtones here... but rather was just excited to spout off some of my thoughts on this topic... which I rarely address on my own blog.

    xoxo- Brazen

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  6. hooeee. Love the posting. Loved the commments even more. I liked what Brazen Teacher had to say. There is divine within all of us. If we can accept that God loves us with all of our faults, why shouldn't we? And when we accept that - it's easier to "take responsibility" for them as DFTP said. Interesting discussion - Brazen Teacher should watch the movie "One" the documentary. She would LOVE it. (as would you Samurai, have you seen it?) will send you alink if you like.

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  7. Princess PointfulMay 6, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    I think that, even if you don't necessarily fit into one's faith, everyone can find something in that idea of believing, and getting strength from that.

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  8. Racquel ValenciaMay 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM

    I think that too many people use religion/Jesus/whatever as an excuse. Like, it's OK to brag about all your bitches and being a "pill poppin' animal" and your gangbangin' buddies so long as you remember to thank "my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" when you win an award? As if.

    Not that it matters what I think, but it seems like if you are truly remorseful you will TRY YOUR DAMNDEST to change, not rely on the fact that Jesus loves you no matter how many times you fuck up.

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  9. I had your fear before, or should I say they were more of apprehensions...then I founf a wonderful community where I get to share my faith and now I get make regular post on Bible verses! ;)

    I'd say for any faith we have, it helps us to have something invisible and more powerful than us to cling to in times when we are weak.

    I have issues like your friend, yet I am blessed to never get too far...and I am without pills...my faith and my family are instrumental to my success! And more than anything...awareness and acceptance of self is a good start...then the decision making...after all they say the thin line that separates us from insanity is free will!

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  10. Ah ha! I was going to say that I found your last paragraph most compelling and then I see that Pixies basically said that in his first line. However, AA is absolutely NOT about accepting Christ into your life. Standard language in AA meetings goes something like this: "I owe my sobriety to my higher power, who I choose to call Christ," or "I couldn't do this without my higher power, who I choose to call God", or "I'm doing this by accepting that I'm powerless over alcohol which is enough for me because I'm an atheist." etc. etc. My half brother has been in AA for over 35 years and if anyone said to him that he had accepted Christ he'd flip. He's not religious at all. I, on the other hand, got sober over 23 years ago with God as my focus. After I finished the month-long treatment I dutifully attended AA meetings for the strongly-suggested "90 meetings in 90 days" and then I stopped going. I began reading Zen and listening to Mozart and in that first year of sobriety you could say that those two entities combined to form my higher power. But God was and always will be my focus.

    I've mentioned to you before that for many reasons I do not consider myself a Christian. The last service I attended was an Easter service about ten years ago in which a freshly-minted, very shaky recovering alcoholic was paraded in front of the faithful and placed in front of the mic to thank Jesus. I was so offended. I could tell the guy was doomed to fail. Sobriety is not a spectator sport.

    This was a great post. Tonight I became a follower of your literary blog. One of the main reasons is that my eyes can't take much of the dark background with white print...small doses only!

    BTW, if you aren't familiar with this excellent blog I think you would appreciate it.

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  11. Great post.

    I definitely like what Brazen Teacher had to say.

    I'm back in my walk with Christ and I'm now learning to be more spiritual than religious. I'm learning that the kingdom is within me according Luke 17:20-21 (KJV)

    20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

    21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.


    I'm learning to not depend on God as my superman but as a source and example of how to use the power he has already given me. The Bible has never told us to run from are problems and just hope God will make it alright. We're supposed to stand firm, face them and deal with them using the power and principles he has given us.

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