Resistance in America: House of the Rising Son

Resistance in America: House of the Rising Son

There is a House in America, it’s called the Rising Son. There is undoubtedly a national rising of the light after the revelation of the little border children being separated from their parents and put into cages/internment camps. The line between good vs. evil is blatantly clear, and those who had ears to hear and eyes to see, are awake.

I was raised to fight this fight. The church inadvertently prepared me for one of the greatest spiritual and/or social battles of my lifetime. I was raised to be suspicious of false prophets. I was raised to recognize the signs of the antichrist. I now understand why I was always the round peg trying to fit into a square hole in Christianity. I now can see with perfect clarity, that I have been in the resistance for my entire life, and I was disliked over it, since day one.

Maybe you have too. I’ve encountered so many black sheeps in their Christian families during the last 2 and a half years fighting this regime. There seems to be one in every family. One agitator. One resistor. One liberal. One democrat. We’ve spent our lives asking questions, denying division, and fighting the fight of the underdogs.

Who are the underdogs? They are the group that haters of the light seek to oppress. The vulnerable. The poor. The sick. The LGBTQ’s. The atheists. The agnostics. Muslims. POC.

In Jesus’ terms: THE LEAST OF THESE.

For two years I’ve seen conservatives accept the unacceptable, day after day. Now I’m seeing Christians ignore the cries of the little children at the border. To be blatantly clear, these children escaping poverty, violence, and abuse are the least of these. Jesus also says time and time again, that he is the least of these, and whatever we do to the least of these, we do to Jesus.

Christians that are still supporting this rising fascist regime are advocating putting Jesus in cages, wrapping him in foil blankets, and tearing him away from his parents. These Christians are being duped by an anti-Christ, obviously, and I can see how he has easily managed to do that.

Yet, we, the ones who feel the pain of these children maintain our existence as the “godless hordes coming to destroy America.”

So, who am I seeing fighting for the least of these at this point in human history? It isn’t the majority of the fundamental/evangelical church. It is the LGBTQ’s, the ex-evangelicals, the atheists, agnostics, Episcopalians, unitarians, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Methodists, universalists, Muslims, some Catholics, and the democrats.

The fundamental/evangelical church paints everyone other than them as an enemy to convert. My entire life I saw the elitism, and the religious superiority. There is a common enemy here, and all people that are fighting with the cry for justice in our soul are fellow light workers. We are the light of the world, and we have just woken up to the strength of our numbers. If we had let division win over religion, race, or sexual orientation, the resistance would’ve been weakened, the enemy’s plan.

We continue to rage against evil. We will continue to mobilize and inspire the ones that have ears to hear. We leave the others to go about their path, pray heavy conviction on their hearts, and pray for them to turn from their allegiance to this fascist cult. Also, when they turn, it is important to forgive them. Their blindness has caused our light to grow in total opposition and righteous anger, therefore, it has served its’ purpose.

However, no longer do we feel pressed down by their opinions. It makes sense to me as to why I haven’t been supported. It makes sense to me as to why I have had to fight tooth and nail to speak for healing, thriving, science, equality, healthcare, climate, and love for the world. It should make sense to you as well.

So rise up fellow fighters for the least of these, and health of the earth. Do not fear either, love will overcome the world.

In conclusion, whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, of another religion or no religion, Jesus said we will be hated for our love for the least of these. He tells us time and time again that he is the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the suffering. This isn’t an egotistical narcissist claiming a one man show. Therefore, this applies to us all in these dark times. Stand firm in your love.

and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we have just woken up to our life purpose.

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Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

“The problem I am submitting to you arises not about prayer in general but only about that kind of prayer which consists of request or petition…. I have no answer to my problem, though I have taken it to about every Christian I know.”

 C.S. Lewis

Prayer has taken quite a beating in the last few years. As weather catastrophes, human suffering, mass shootings, and global tragedies are in our face daily due to the recent development of the world wide web, prayer seems incredibly useless. I, too, am really tired of Christians offering prayers for the victims of gun violence, yet doing nothing and voting for the opposite of policies aimed at reducing gun violence. I, too, have wondered what the point is.

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This week, another school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, has devastated another community, more families, and more children have been taken from us in yet another horrific, possibly preventable way. It was the 11th school shooting recorded since the New Year, and the 50th of the academic year. In fact, since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings, which is approximately one per week.

Our prayers aren’t working. 

Is God listening?

Does God not care?

If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, then where is the evidence of that? An all-good, all-powerful God wouldn’t just stand by as his children are being murdered, when He in fact could use His power and stop it.

What is the point of continuing to pray to God to stop the gun violence, when there are children in American schools being murdered once a week and nothing is being done about it?

Questions about prayer have churned and burned in my mind for a very long time, even before I left fundamental/evangelical Christianity. These questions have never stopped me from praying, except for my six month stint as an atheist, yet, over the years the way I pray has changed. Instead of praying TO God/the spirit/the Universe, I have learned to pray WITH.

The archaic, superstitious ideas we have about prayer need a major paradigm shift.

I was asked and blessed to review Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris. For anyone interested in deconstructing prayer, I highly recommend this book. It is intelligent, well-written, transformative, and brings forth a fresh perspective on prayer that is desperately needed right now in the world.

What I love most about this book is the authenticity and courage of Mark G. Karris in asking serious questions about prayer and dissecting theological pitfalls. It is never easy to bring forth new ideas and doubts within the Christian religion. Often times, people who do so are ridiculed, deemed heretical, and face very heart-breaking judgments from close friends and family. He discusses his fear in the quote below:

“Deconstructing the sacred practice of petitionary prayer on behalf of others is no easy task. It has been performed for thousands of years across all theistic religions and is a staple in churches across the world. The last thing I desire is to be deemed a heretic and ostracized by the Christian community. Anyone who has ever questioned the status quo regarding any revered Christian doctrine or practice knows the anxiety it provokes. Still, a part of me was not able to shake a nagging fear that petitionary prayers for sick or hurting people from a distance, or for systemic injustice or world catastrophes, could very well be like rubbing a rabbit’s foot for good luck. It might help the person rubbing the rabbit’s foot feel better, but that is all that occurs. At least that was one of my fears as I began this investigative journey.”

I am thankful that he forged ahead with this book. I know first-hand how difficult it is to leave the box, and yet there is a pull we have to follow. Not only does this book dissect prayer for those of us who share the same curiosity, but it’s a fine example of breaking free from the confines of your religion to bring forth a new, useful, and needed perspective. This book will inspire readers to not only shift their beliefs regarding prayer, but also, hopefully inspire others to delve into their own investigative journeys about other doctrines and dogma that meet our needs and the needs of others in this dying, hurting world. He discusses the importance of doubt and questioning with the following quote:

“Doubting and questioning are, in part, what enables positive changes in society and across history, such as the abolishment of slavery, the empowerment of women to vote, the research undertaken to save lives with vaccines, the technology used to create computers and to take us to the moon, the raising of the minimum wage, and the crafting of new genres of music to name but a few instances. Can doubts and questions assist petitionary prayer in becoming more liberating and valuable? I hoped so.”

After reading this book, I feel that I have a better understanding of prayer; spiritually, empirically, theologically, and feel I have learned a better, more valuable way to approach it. This book will definitely live on my bookshelf  as an exemplary reference.

In order not to reveal too many spoilers, I hesitate to dive in as deep as I could with the material. However, I would like to leave you with this very important summation of this shift in perspective I hope will thrive. Mark G. Karris writes about the paradigm shift regarding petitionary prayer using the heart-breaking Syrian refugee crisis in the following quote:

“I wonder what the impact would be if, instead of praying, “God, stop the violence,” “God, heal their land,” or “God, save the poor children,” our first impulse was to pray, “God, we praise you, we thank you, and we know you care more about these people than we do. Show us how we can collaborate with you to stop the violence. Show us impactful and practical ways we can partner with you and heal their land. God, we are devastated along with you; reveal to us your loving will and empower us to bring forth shalom for these hurting children.”

In conclusion, we are co-creators. It is up to us to partner with whatever higher power you believe in to bring healing to this pale blue dot we all share. We cannot continue to pray the way we have been taught. Regarding America’s school shooting epidemic, I implore us to pray with God, like this:

“Show me how I can help reduce gun violence in America. Show us solutions via legislation, that will not add more weaponry, but more peace.  Reveal to us the ways we may be used as pawns for gun sales. Help me work with you to bring about gun violence reduction. Reveal to me the ways in which I have been an accomplice by inaction. Show me how I can act now, how to vote, what to say, and how to share with others my commitment to take seriously the need for gun reform. Give me courage to stand alone in my community if need be. Help me to echo your desire for healing and shalom.”

“We are the Divine Echoes!”

Read more: Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris

An Ex-Evangelical’s Guide to Christmas: What I Told My Kids.

An Ex-Evangelical’s Guide to Christmas: What I Told My Kids.

Christmas 2017 was the fifth consecutive year I have not attended church services during the season. My children have never experienced being in a children’s ministry Christmas program. I do not have any pictures of them dressed up on stage singing Christmas songs with their Sunday school classmates. It’s been a little strange as my childhood Christmas memories are synonymous with church memories.

However, I have been unable to participate in church after deconstructing. When I lost my fundamental religion, Christmas was also something I lost. Christmas also deconstructed in my mind. For the first few years, I was unable to listen to any religious holiday hymns. It was too painful because it reminded me of the grief. These songs all placed me back into a community I no longer belonged in.

Even so, it’s impossible to distance yourself. It’s impossible to not feel the loss of your religion every single year.

I still weep during ‘silent night’. I still feel a strong, beautiful connection to the divine during ‘O Holy Night.’ Thinking about the birth of Jesus has never escaped me. Celebrating Jesus has never left me. However, I’ve been so confused about what to tell my children about Christmas that I have just let it be a festive, happy, time without throwing church into it. I didn’t want to confuse them like I was.

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The first belief that left me regarding Christmas was the accuracy of the nativity scene. My entire life as I can recall was spent with a very specific setting that described the birth of Jesus. I saw the nativity scene everywhere. Church. Home. Stores. Books. Movies. Here is what it included:

Baby Jesus was wrapped in rags, in a manger filled with straw. Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, and various barn animals surrounded him. Sometimes this scene included an angel. I believed this was accurate, until I read the biblical accounts:

Luke’s Account

Matthew’s Account

It was very disorienting. First, the biblical accounts never reveal that there were three wisemen. There could have been two, three, or ten, we do not know. Second, the wisemen did not meet Jesus as a baby. They met him when he was 2 years old, a small child.

It might seem petty to focus on these details, but for me, these deceptions were suspicious. Also, they opened doors to what else am I being deceived about? Did I truly believe Mary was a virgin and then miraculously pregnant? Logic and biology tell me that I can’t believe that. Does it matter? Shall I feel shame for using my reason and intellect? Does it change anything, for me, if Mary was not a virgin? What do I tell my kids about any of this? What does Santa have to do with it whatsoever?

Why so much commercialism? Why so much stress? Why are we breaking the bank to celebrate the incarnate of God? Why are they selling us nativity scenes that are not biblically accurate? Why the lies?

This year, however, I finally brought Jesus into the conversation about Christmas with my kids. I told them we celebrate Christmas for a lot of reasons. Here is what I told them:

  1. Jesus:  We are celebrating the birth of Jesus. A man that showed the world that God/the divine lives in us all. A man that told us to love one another, forgive each other, and be kind to all. A man that loved everyone and spent his time feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. A man that taught us to stick up for the bullied. Jesus is who we look up to as an example of who to be in our lives. His message was new to the world and it gives hope and light to all that is dark. Evil humans killed him because they didn’t want his message to thrive, so we keep love alive at Christmas time and try to remember it everyday throughout the year.
  2. Winter Solstice:  We are celebrating the rising of the sun. Christmas Day marks the day of the year when the days slowly become longer. The sun stays out more and more. Historically speaking, this was call for a massive party. The sun was a god that provided food and when it went down for the winter, famine was upon them. Winter was hard, people starved. Christmas marked the beginning of the end of difficulty.
  3. Love:  We celebrate the people we love. We give gifts, donate toys to needy kids, and give food to those that need it. Santa Claus loves to give presents to all the children because he loves kids. We celebrate our families with food, games, and conversation. We celebrate our friends and love for all of humanity.

They might have grasped some of this. Perhaps all they really care about right now is Santa Claus. However, this is what Christmas means in my home. As they grow older, the conversation will become more historical, more intellectual, however, I’m just an ex-evangelical doing my best.

Perhaps next year we’ll go to an Episcopal church. Maybe midnight mass. Perhaps we’ll celebrate Hanukkah instead, so they are gifted with a different perspective. The most important thing for me is to raise loving, giving, children that see the divine in all humans, especially within themselves.

One thing is for certain, however, there will not be any inaccurate nativity scenes in my home.

Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found.

Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.” –The Rolling Stones

I’ve always been in love with horses. The thought of riding a horse into the wild excites my spirit with feelings of freedom and escape of all that I want to run from. There has always been so much to run from. Mostly chains placed upon me by other people and systems I never asked for. The shackles of oppression came in the form of needing approval from others, or from God, church, and society. Love was nowhere to be found in this prison, not within and not on the outside.  It wasn’t until I encountered other free spirits in hell that I began to understand love. There was a restlessness in them too. As one broke free and rode their wild horse away, I wanted to follow. They loved themselves enough to do it, and the courage was contagious. I caught the cure from them, which was unconditional love for myself and bravery to go.

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You aren’t alone if you’re actively trying to make sense of this past year. It feels like we’ve entered some strange plane of existence where everything we thought isn’t true. It’s some bizarre point of human history where truth is on display, and massive exposure of all that is wrong. Victims of sexual assault are coming forward, daily it seems, finally reporting their stories. Predators are being thrown into the spotlight. There seems to be a mass shooting once a week. Horrid deaths of unarmed minorities at the hands of police are happening every single day. The demonization of LGBTQ, atheists, agnostics, muslims, and anyone not a member of the religious right is cast into the limelight for us all to witness.

Humanity has cancer, a poison infecting the good cells from thriving. Some of us have been fortunate enough to discard of it, but not without a price. Faith has been broken and changed. Tears were cried. This year the misfits rose up, the black sheep, the “last.” How we have done that is by finally cutting all toxic chains that were binding us from loving ourselves. We finally have found the freedom to be our true selves, because the systems and people we’ve been hiding from, as it turned out, are just as ugly and stained as we are. By cutting the toxic chains off of our being, we’re free to finally be loved. Unconditionally.

Unconditional love is the missing piece to the puzzle. It was the missing piece to my puzzle. My life has been complete chaos. I have spent a lifetime striving, and trying to change and morph myself into being something for another. I have felt shame about simply being Kimberly. I’ve felt guilt that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I didn’t thrive. I didn’t rise. I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t.

So I was self-destructive. With alcohol. Drugs. Relationships. Anger. Depression. You see, when you’re  down, there is only one place to go…deeper into the demon swamp of you.

This year, watching the religion of my youth support such immorality, turned on a light bulb in my heart that I’ve longed for. It was like “Hey, wait a minute, Why am I the bad one? Why am I hiding? Why am I begging for acceptance from any of this?”

And just like that, I changed. In the blink of an eye.

It was a truly born again experience. I realized that this is what Jesus was trying to tell us all along. We are accepted. Without conditions. It is truly a free gift. We need to do nothing to receive it. The gift doesn’t need any active work. The gift is you. The wonderful, complicated, messy you. Once you stick yourself on the cross, with all the shame, all the guilt, all the bullshit that other people have told you, then you can let it die. You can truly resurrect into a new creature. One that is free of acceptance from others. No more are you emotionally dependent on another. No more are you worried about other’s opinions. All of the sudden, you love yourself.

A magical thing happens when you finally discard of that ego that needs so badly to be loved by others. Without that need, you just want to love others, because you finally know how. Support them. Listen to them. Accept them. Help them. Celebrate them. No longer do you care to control anyone, or try to make them feel guilty. You truly want to be a source of unconditional love for yourself, and for others.

It saddens me that so many people throughout history have lived full lives never being able to love themselves. It’s heartbreaking that people are still living in secrecy and shame.

I was exposed very early on with people not living authentically in the church. When I was about ten years old, many affairs were exposed among prominent men in the church. Many secrets came out. I learned right then that people aren’t truly being who they are in this building. They’re trying so hard, but failing. Church culture takes the authentic you and tells you it’s not good enough. There are always expectations that you aren’t meeting, or people you are disappointing. There are so many biblical rules and so much rigid doctrine, it is overwhelming because no one could possibly  adhere to it all. This is an absolute nightmare for sensitive people. It was a nightmare for me.

So we build our lives and relationships on complete facades. I knew who I was around certain people, and who I needed to be around other people. I learned to constantly live in a state of censorship. I’m not the only one, I’m just one of the few who isn’t afraid to admit it. This year, I shed the skin. I tossed the mask out to the wolves. They can devour that instead of devouring me.

All of the hate, racism, and bigotry in the world is an effect of this lack of unconditional love. People don’t feel so bad if they aren’t one of these groups that they feel are so low or sinful. Pointing fingers at another just elevates yourself into a place of moral superiority. Truth is, people feel terrible on the inside. They don’t love themselves. How can they, possibly? Every true thing is stuffed down daily for a God they fear. They need approval, they’re addicted to approval.

If anything, on all sides, everyone involved in this twilight zone should take away that they don’t need  anyone’s approval. The church has supported sexual assault, racism, oppression of the poor and sick, destruction of creation, and the worshipping of money. Your friend seated next to you in the pew that you care so much about what they think of you, was part of it. They are part of it. They voted for and still support this too. Everyone is on level ground with a line in front of us with no right to cast our stones.

I just want to help liberate everyone, and set everyone on their own wild horse to ride into a new, authentic life. You are loved. The deepest darkest parts. As long as you hate things about yourself, you can’t shine light into those things and grow. No one is free to love others if they aren’t free to be loved.

So let go. Be you. You can’t please a single soul, and it doesn’t matter. No one can. But when you’re free, everyone pleases you, just as they are, including yourself. When you’re free all you want to do is to love the hell (literally) out of everyone, no matter who they are.

In conclusion, this year has been a mass exodus for the “last”. We finally decided to leave it all behind and enter into a new life. One that we were always meant to live. Wildly free. Wildly loved, and wildly trying to drag others out of the stables of prison. I no longer have this need to run away. I have found life that I don’t want to leave. I have found life that I want others to have.

 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

-Jesus

Love is My Religion: This Year I Have Been a Hypocrite.

Love is My Religion: This Year I Have Been a Hypocrite.

Confession: I am a hypocrite. This year specifically I have violated my first and foremost belief, one that I have been preaching my entire life:

To love my neighbor as myself.

I’ve spent a lifetime pushing back against Christianity. I’ve fought to expose the blatant hypocrisy and incongruence to Jesus’ core values. My life has been lived out in the open, no secrets, all sins laid bare. I’ve drank and abused alcohol, smoked cigarettes, lived with boyfriends, bartended, advocated for medical marijuana, have been divorced, advocated for choice, allied with LGBTQ, the list goes on and on in the ways I have lived on display to the church, being everything it’s against.

Since I was a child, I’ve always fought for the underdog. It’s been so easy to preach “love your enemies” and “love your neighbor”  in church culture when my focus was on the underdogs, LGBTQ, the addicted, the sinners, etc. It has been where I naturally have fit in, among the misfits, because I was one. I am one. I was trying to be understood and loved anyway, even through my misfitery. I spent my life in one mess after the next, never being able to rise because I never felt loved, just as I was, sins and all, heretic and all, wayward and all.

Whenever I was confronted by a Christian “in love” for my sinful ways, I would preach Matthew 7:1-5, call them out on ways they’re sinning, and be on my way to crash and burn again. As I look back at my series of life monstrosities, I can only wonder if I, perhaps, was a test for the church. Living authentically was my only sin, however. I was purely acting and living from exactly who I was at that moment with my current, available resources, and lack of self love.

However, living authentically has a price. I paid the cost by being a focus. As long as Kimberly was such a “lost one”, no one had any need to look in the mirror. The church could focus on me, because I was willing to just be myself, train wreck and all. The more stones that were cast, the deeper I dug in my hole of self-destruction. I didn’t know how to love myself. The church did not teach me how. Other misfits taught me how. It wasn’t until this election, when I finally saw the church’s sins laid bare, that I finally could rise. Just like they were focused on me in my mess, I was too focused on the church for redemption.

And just like them, I have cast more stones than a gravel truck this year.

Currently, this political climate is causing so much upheaval in all of our lives. People on both sides of the aisle have been exposed to the “real” versions of friends and family we once thought we knew so well. We’ve been surprised, hurt, angry, bewildered, confused, and exhausted. This strange reality we have all been forced to comprehend and endure has not been easy. I know I’ve failed. I’ve failed by hurting back. I’ve failed by laying the church out flat. I’ve failed by being passive aggressive. I’ve failed by ghosting, unfriending, unfollowing, and limiting contact. It isn’t just me that is failing, it’s most of us, on both sides.

The election of Donald Trump by 80% of evangelicals stung some of us. Deep. Just like I didn’t have the moral high ground back during my many episodes of self-destructive crisis’, they don’t have the moral high ground now. None of us have ever had any moral high ground. None of us ever will, which was the point Jesus tried to make. None of us are perfect. All of us are guilty. All of us forgiven. Even if you think homosexuality is a sin, everyone is redeemed from law. An adulteress doesn’t deserve stoning anymore than an LGBTQ deserves bigotry. None of us can cast stones. The law has been winning over love for generations.

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This year gave me the opportunity to finally show that my “watered down gospel” is the way. And yet, I’ve been so angry, I’ve been judging left and right, because how dare they support the immorality displayed by this president? How dare the church that now lives in a glass house, still continue to cast stones at others, and still cling on to the most immoral person I’ve ever witnessed? The church didn’t love me at my worst. Yet, the church loves this president, a man who in word and deed is in direct opposition to any value Jesus Christ ever spoke.

It’s been the biggest test of my life, this year, to love my enemies. A test I have overwhelmingly flopped, not once, but daily, sometimes hourly, for almost a year. I’m not proud of the way I’ve handled it, however, I also have grace for myself for my mistakes, and I now see a better way. We need to try and love them anyway. This year has been a time of breakdown. Foundations have crumbled. Lies exposed. Hypocrisy in the spotlight. However, no longer do we need to feel like we are the immoral ones begging for redemption. This year proves without a doubt that none of us are behaving from Love. But with breakdown, comes a time to rebuild a new foundation, and destroy what never was meant to stand anyway…RELIGIOUS LAW.

I’m willing to try. With that being said, I need to treat myself from Love, showing myself unconditional love, grace, and acceptance for my daily failure. If I would’ve known how to do that years ago, perhaps I never would’ve hit rock bottom. I only knew the love that wasn’t shown. I only knew judgement. I only knew not measuring up. It took this election for me to realize that I wasn’t so stained after all. We can’t love others until we truly love ourselves. We cannot love ourselves until we know what love is. It’s a cycle that is never-ending. People need to know what love is. It isn’t controlling someone, it isn’t damning someone, it isn’t judging, it isn’t insisting on our own way. It is patience. It is kindness. People can only be who they are with their current level of experience, knowledge, and worldview.

We can only be ourselves, and that just has to be enough. It just must be. It is the way Jesus taught us to love one another. The church has failed in that regard. Now, the resistance is failing.

I will continue to love the underdog because I’ve been one. I will continue to speak out and fight for the oppressed, and pray that the church sees it’s hypocrisy. I can try my best to speak from understanding and confidence instead of hurt, anger, and frustration. I no longer need to feel that way, as I believe whole-heartedly in my inherent values. Nothing and no one can press those down anymore.

May everyone in this nation look deep inside of their heart, and see their lack of love and hypocrisy. Only then can this nation begin to heal. I see mine. Love is my religion, and I have been a hypocrite, and I most likely will fail again, perhaps with this very blog post,  but at least I see it, and am willing to try.

May we all just try.

 

Leaving Las Vegas: Returning with Hope and Promise of a Better World

Leaving Las Vegas: Returning with Hope and Promise of a Better World

Like many of you, my heart is boiling with fire raging blood in response to the tragic events in Las Vegas. The very last thing any of us needed right now was to mourn another senseless, possibly preventable, mass shooting, the worst America has seen. We are still mourning the refugee ban 10 months ago, and every other subsequent nightmare since, that is everyday, all day, sometimes every hour. Writers, journalists, news anchors, comedians, celebrities, politicians, activists, and other people that have careers surrounding the non-stop news, have no choice but to endure it, and then lend our voice to try and light a fire under the dormancy of concern.

It seems we are making noise in echoless rooms.

It seems that we are in hell with no reason to have hope at all.

Yesterday, after all day of grasping for answers, and trying my best to maintain my overwhelming grief, sadness, and frustration, my perspective changed because I absolutely had no choice but to change it. I cannot continue day after day beating my head against brick walls trying to open people’s eyes. Yet, that is what I am called to do. It’s who I am, through and through, without facade, and without a stage. I am supposed to talk. I am a boat rocker, a belief challenger, and a voice that is called to raise others with the same calling. So I must find a way to endure this. It is hope I am trying to speak and share, and I can’t do that as long as I am living in mind/spirit in this current reality of Hades.

Therefore, I am leaving hell, not physically, but spiritually.

We can choose to leave this behind. We can still act here in word and deed. We can still help others, voice our concerns, and give rise to the truth, but we can do that from a place in ourselves that is free. A place free from fear, worry, anxiety, or anger. We can choose to rest our spirit in the kingdom/queendom of heaven that is within us. We must not allow the darkness of this world to dim that light which is within us. Yesterday, I felt the darkness that was trying to take over. This evil I felt was hopelessness.

Today, I refuse it.

I felt dread.

Today, I refuse it.

I felt rage.

Today, I refuse it.

I felt terrified.

Today, I refuse it.

Today, I refuse anything that doesn’t belong in the age to come. I may not be able to do that physically, but I can in my mind. I can choose to believe that love, restoration, and peace will win. I believe that. I don’t have any explanation or logical reasons to believe it. I do though. I always have. The world tried to take that hope and belief away from me through religion, conspiracy theories, political divide, social injustice, other sad news, and experiences.

I refuse to be removed from the place I know exists. Perhaps only in our minds right now. But we are not alone in this. There are other dreamers, far more than we think, who can and will join us, and the world will be as one. All believers must do their best to live from this utopia/better world we know is coming. Thrust your thoughts ahead along with the prophet Isaiah, who’s vision was the same as ours:

He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4

This gorgeous passage was the very first thing that popped into my head yesterday morning and learning of the massacre in Las Vegas. I posted it on social media, and throughout the day I saw this verse so many other times, being shared far and wide. By the dreamers. We are connected to something, larger than ourselves, and we are echoing each other and sharing the message we all carry. This verse came into our heads during this tragedy for a reason. We didn’t act alone, we acted together, perhaps from a future place.

sky-earth-galaxy-universe

Trust in it. Act from it. Help from it. Speak from it. Keep believing and give the enemy no reason to remove you. How much more powerful are we together, dwelling in the age to come, rather than alone suffering in this hell that is not permanent or lasting?

May we all dwell in hope and may we leave this hell behind.

May we create our vision that we imagine.

Today.

 

Choosing Hope: What If The World is Going to Get Better?

Choosing Hope: What If The World is Going to Get Better?

Like many of you, believing in hope is a difficult task these days.

Let’s entertain the thought for a moment that the world is going to pull through this current nightmare and actually get better. We are stuck right now between the old vs. new, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and whether to trust in a beautiful plan or not. Are we going to choose progress or regress? Will we see the light waiting for us ahead and dispel human tendencies to gravitate toward fear, doom, and gloom?

Like many of you, I was pointed toward this doom and gloom as a child with being taught rapture doctrine. I was taught the earth was going to get worse and worse leading to ultimate destruction. I craved world problems and disasters because I was taught that these things were birth pangs bringing us closer and closer to the rapture,  when true believers would disappear from the face of the earth leaving all others behind to suffer the wrath of God.

Later in my life, I began seriously studying rapture theory and found it’s origins to be suspicious and also began to see scripture in a different light. I will never forget that moment sitting in the afternoon sun on my deck and it occurred to me:

What if the world was actually going to get better?

What if the rapture is a spiritual awakening and departure, rather than a physical one? What if being  “Caught up”  in the clouds/mist actually means enlightenment? All of these questions swirled around my head and I was transformed by this new promise. The pieces slowly began coming together. The good news that Jesus spoke over and over was that the kingdom is near, and it is at hand. I truly believe that what he was trying to tell us is that this utopia we dream of is within our midst and we need to focus on ushering it in, celebrating it now, and telling others about it.

The past year we have allowed ourselves to disbelieve. It has been depressing, mind blowing, and soul crushing watching others support this president. People of our faith communities and family of origin have broken our hearts with their vote and continued allegiance. Donald Trump seems to be King. They’ve given him a pass on racism, sexual assault, sexual immorality, greed, trying to take healthcare away, the list goes on and on. I could fill 1000 pages with disgusting things Trump has gotten a pass on from people professing to follow Christ. We’ve been so busy and focused on fighting them.

I’m done. I’m leaving them behind. I am choosing to believe in hope. Perhaps this is the spiritual rapture and departure.

Perhaps their soul is content nodding their heads in support of Trump’s recent sympathetic comments to white supremacy.

Let them revel in it.

Perhaps they’re happy following Trump and his blatant disregard for morality, basic humanity, or love.

Let them revel in that too.

Maybe they feel good in their hearts by being racist, bigots, wanting to build walls, turning our backs on refugees, cutting funding for domestic violence victims, and cutting funding for programs helping the poor and sick. Maybe they truly feel warm and bubbly watching Trump’s recent speech to Boy Scouts.

Let them revel in that too.

It has become apparent that his recent remarks regarding the tragedies of Charlottesville has not spurred any conviction. Not one single member of Trump’s spiritual advisory council has resigned, yet we watched CEO’s abandon their respective council. We have a president who has shown by his words and actions this week, that he is a white supremacist, and STILL they can see images of fellow supporters waving nazi flags and “heiling Trump”, and continue to be on that side.

Let them revel in that too.

May we all walk away from trying to get them to wake up. Perhaps they aren’t going to, and that isn’t our problem. The condition of their soul is their problem, not ours.

Our focus is to rise and not let them drag us down. I do not want to sit at their table and am no longer fighting to get a seat. No longer do any of us need to feel pressed down by their opinions as their opinions don’t matter a hill of beans to me anymore. What matters to me is if I can look at myself in the mirror. The longer we try and drag them with us, the longer it will take for progress to win.

So let’s leave them. Let’s leave the task of trying to lift the curtain. We don’t need anyone’s permission to live in the kingdom we seek and long for. We can live in joy. We can live in peace. We can live in action by helping our community thrive.

Am I suggesting we abandon our activism? Absolutely not. However, I am suggesting we abandon the fight to change the other side.

I have no doubt that this is going to change the future of the world. I have no doubt that evil institutions and ideologies are crumbling and will continue to crumble. No longer will my focus be based in fear of everything that is going wrong, but focus on what is going right.

Forget them and look at all the love. Look at the outpouring of support to the transgendered following Trump’s recent military ban. Look at the outpouring of disgust of white supremacy. Look at all the fighters of love, unity, and humanity.

In closing, not only can we entertain the thought of the world getting better, but we can actually believe it and bring it about. Someday ALL eyes will open and this beautiful Kingdom we believe in will be reality.

Let them revel in that too.