Shame and Religion.

I don’t talk a lot about being a practicing Christian very much. If I talk about it with non-Christians, they think I’m too religious, narrow minded and conservative. If I talk about it with Christians, they think I’m not being Christian enough and try to get me to church and be more involved in church activities and believe in certain things because “the Bible said so.” Frankly, both sides make me feel inadequate and less of a person. To shame someone because of their beliefs or to practice a religion in a way that is out of the norm for most followers is not okay in my book.

I’m not an expert or anything, but it appears that is the problem with people these days. We stereotype whole people for one aspect of themselves and judge them for the actions of others who put themselves in those groups. I shouldn’t be ashamed to want to be a Christian, but neither should I be ashamed for not being involved with the church or aligning myself with people who need my voice. Both sides need to calm down and let each other be. Because who wants to be shamed for having one set of beliefs over another?


Reading Through the Bible

In case you didn’t know, I’m currently reading through the Bible. I’ve been wanting to read it all the way through for several years now, but never went through with it. So back in July I started reading the New Testament. I finished Matthew, Mark, John until eventually I reached where I am now: Romans. I’m actually kind of excited to be in Romans now, if only because the guy I’m seeing’s favorite verse is in Romans and I just wanted to read it in context. Not to mention that Acts was just a pain in the butt to get through. 

I don’t know why, but Acts just seemed really slow to get through. I understand it’s importance and everything, after all, it IS in the biblical canon, but it just seemed really hard to get through. It took me a couple weeks to get through with reading a couple pages here and there. At this rate, it’s going to take me a whole year just to finish the New Testament. I don’t know why I’m feeling rushed to get through it. I’m hungry for the word, of course, but I also feel a bit guilty about not having read it on a regular basis until now. 

Reading the Bible isn’t a race. It’s meant to be read and thought about, sunk into every pore of my mind and body and while I’m definitely trying to do this, it’s hard not to say “Oh, I got finished with one book in a week! Let’s see if I can do it again!” I think God must have been rolling his eyes because now I’m taking things more slowly. 

But what can I say? I’m a girl who tends to eat her words after saying them. I’m only human, after all. 

Keeping the Faith

I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog, but since the end of June and the beginning of July, I’ve been reading the Bible on a more regular basis. Even though I consider myself a Christian and talk to God constantly, I’ve not been reading my Bible regularly. In fact, before now, I can’t even remember the last time I read it. I felt a little ashamed. After all, I’m supposed to be a born again Christian! How can a person like me not read her Bible? From that point on, I’ve been trying to read on a more regular basis.

I decided to start with the New Testament and have been reading a book a week for the most part. I’m beginning to love these little moments with God, delving into His word and actually coming into knowledge of my faith. When I heard that the more you read the Bible, the more you come to trust God, I never believed it. But now I do. The more I read, the more I pray, the more I feel God, and the more I trust and feel protected by His grace.

I probably should’ve done this a long time ago, but I didn’t. So many things have gotten in my way, work, school, little worries that stopped me from coming to God and putting it all into His hands. After all, if God is for you, who can be against you?

St. Francis of Assisi is often acreddited with the words “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” I love these words because I believe it goes hand in hand with what Jesus taught in the New Testament. We need to become Christ-like in our actions, we need to shine out like a lamp on the hill as Jesus encouraged his followers. Actions speak louder than words. We can talk about the gospel, tell others about God and His expectations, but it’s nothing if we ourselves don’t practice what we preach.

This is probably why so many people have turned away from God because there are a lot of Christians who, with the best of intentions, push them away. They are all talk with no walk. A lot of people know I’m a Christian, but it’s not because I talk about it constantly (tho it does come up with religious beliefs come up in conversation), but because of my actions. I try to infuse the teachings into my actions in order to become more godly. In that way, people can see my actions as following that to Christ’s. I’m the light of the world, as He said, which means everybody can see what I’m doing. Why not make your actions so that people can look at you and say “This is someone who is following Christ.”

Of course, sometimes your actions aren’t always clear. Sometimes people don’t understand why you’re doing the things you do. In this case, you do need to use words to explain why you’re doing the things you do. You may not be perfect, but at least you’re striving towards the Christian faith.

I may be getting it all wrong, but this is how I view. And really, isn’t that all we’re expected to do? To make it our best attempt to become the best we can be and to love love and accept others? God is love and love is what makes the world go ’round.

What to Write?

I haven’t been blogging recently. Not because I want to, but because of the combination of recent circumstances and my inability to think of anything creative to say. I’ve had several ideas, of course, but none of them seemed to coalesce into something meaningful for a blog post. At least, in my opinion.

I could talk about dinner dates with men and my coming awareness of what my expectations are when such things occur. I could talk about graduation and my inner fear of what comes after. Work, religion, writing, movies, becoming a year older. I could talk about them all and yet all seem terribly irrelevant to the current moment. Just when I start to write about something, the whole idea seems pointless.

Maybe I’m in a writing moot. That doesn’t seem surprising, as I haven’t been writing at large for a long time. But maybe I’ll start again, even if I have to force myself to get started again. They say that something in motion stays in motion and something at rest tends to stay at rest. Getting myself moving in the writing world is hard because I’ve been at rest for way too long. But once I get into motion, I’ll stay in motion.

Until then, what should I write about?

All You Need Is Love

I hate it when someone tells me that I’ll fall in love one day, despite the fact I’ve made it clear that I have no intentions in getting into a relationship, let alone get married. I made this decision for myself because it felt like the right thing to do, a healthy choice that would ultimately benefit me as a whole person. What right does anybody have to tell me that my lifestyle choice in the way of relationships is wrong?

With that being said, I’d equally hate it if I was dating someone with whom I was completely in love with and someone told me that I wasn’t allowed to marry him. Who gave you the right to tell me that my choice is wrong? Who gave you the right to decide what was good for me and what isn’t?

This is why I support gay marriage, and marriage equality in general. I may be a straight, God fearing girl, but I don’t believe that anybody has any right to tell another person how to live their life. God told me to love other people as if they were my flesh and blood in spite of them having views or lifestyles different to mine. If someone would read the Bible, they would find that Jesus didn’t walk among the elite. He didn’t walk among the people who were doing everything right in God’s eyes. No, Jesus walked among the poor, the broken, the defeated, the godless. He hung out with people who shared views and lived a different way of life than Jesus would’ve listened. He didn’t care, because they were His brothers and closest friends regardless. Would you cast your brother out for choosing a lifestyle different from yours? He’s still your brother, no matter how much you want to deny it.

That is how we should see all people: as brothers, sisters, and friends. Love them, support them, be friends with them. You don’t force a person to come to your side through fear, fire, and brimstone. Who wants to be on your side when all you present is anger, hate, and a life of hell? A person, regardless of their sexual preference should be allowed to pursue a healthy, loving relationship with someone with whom they feel connected to on every level without the fear of another doing everything they can to prevent it from happening. It’s not as if that person’s lifestyle is being detrimental to another person’s.

We live in a land where our documents tell us that we have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and yet we still hold prejudices big enough to prevent a group of people from doing just that.

Even if you’re not in the gay community, relationships are a hard thing. If you’re single, you’re expected to go through a series of dating experiences until you find the one who best matches you. On a daily basis, you are reminded of your singularity and ultimately made to feel guilty that you haven’t found love yet with the continuous pressure to get out and find the one. Even if you’ve made it clear of your intentions to remain single, people smile down upon you like a small child who doesn’t know any better as if to say “Poor thing, what does she know about life? One day, someone’s going to make you change your mind.”

If you are in a good relationship, you’re expected to eventually get married and have children. If you’re not on the road to matrimony and procreation, then you have not done your duty to society. Your life has become moot and meaningless. Isn’t the obvious love between these two people enough? Finding love in one another should be enough to give life meaning in both of their lives as well as their life’s work. Their love will drive every good thing in society, to help them push on to another day. Marriage and children doesn’t stop any of that.

All I’m saying is let people govern their lives the way they see fit. As long a person isn’t plundering, pillaging, murdering, terrorizing and generally being a menace to society in any of those and other related terms, then I don’t see what the problem is. I don’t want to be made to feel guilty or hindered for choosing to remain single, nor do I want anybody else to be made to feel the same way and worse for choosing their path, whether it’s being single or with a man or a woman in a relationship or marriage.

Finding true love (or the right lifestyle) is such a hard thing to find to begin with. Why make it harder for someone who actually found it?