The Ways We Pretend: Part 1

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17 Responses

  1. Shawn says:

    It is often in times like this, that is in reading this article of your thoughts, that I become consciously aware of the love of God, if only for a fleeting moment. How you may ask (or maybe you won’t ask but I am going to tell you either way, lol)?

    Let me illustrate. I don’t know if it is just me but most of our Christian vernacular falls upon deaf ears. I know the intention is to encourage or inspire or whatever else it is intended to do but it often sounds like unintelligible words spoken in an unknown tongue. All this talk of fearlessness, intimacy, and believing prayer does not translate into most of my Christian experience. It is not that I haven’t ever experienced the glorious triad of fearlessness, intimacy, and believing prayer. I have. It is just not the normative state for me for some reason. Maybe as they say in Spanish, “me culpa” or my fault.

    Is it just me that is the only one that feels broken, out of touch, and wholly disconnected from the common Christian experience. I don’t know but maybe there is something just wrong with me because I can’t seem to want to buy my parking spot in this version of Christian Utopia.

    Now what does all this have to do with anything you wrote above? Everything. The way I feel the love of God in this moment is knowing that I am not alone. It might sound crazy but sometimes that is just what you need to know. All I do know is that I would rather search for God in the dark, as painful and disconcerting as it is, than to ever be a child of complete darkness again. Until the consummation of all things…

  2. Shawn says:

    By the way the Theater Masks or what we used to refer to as “Smile Now, Cry Later” reminded me of my days in the Mexican Barrio. I was one of the few white cholos where I lived. Those were crazy times for sure.

  3. Michael says:

    Shawn,

    I have a stack of emails today that indicate you’re far from alone.

    ‘I know the intention is to encourage or inspire or whatever else it is intended to do but it often sounds like unintelligible words spoken in an unknown tongue. ”

    More than that…it irritates hell out of me…

  4. Shawn says:

    Michael,
    While it is sad, even heartbreaking, to know that you have a stack of emails to prove I am not alone, there is a sense of comfort in it. I think I will take a moment and pray for those who are like I am- lost but on the Way.

    I should say that I also find it irritating but I probably should think about whether or not if it is likewise, the hell out of me. It probably should but I work so hard to temper my speech. Maybe there should be things that could circumvent that tempering. Hmm, something for me to think about.

  5. Captain Kevin says:

    “ The way I feel the love of God in this moment is knowing that I am not alone.” Bingo! (That’s Amen in Christian vernacular.) 😉

  6. Shawn says:

    Captain Kevin, That is a good one. Lol!

  7. Muff Potter says:

    I’m one of the great pretenders.
    Jackson Brown even wrote a song about us.

  8. Josh says:

    One of the blessings of brokenness is the inability to pretend anymore.

    Honestly, it was always exhausting. And like, do we really think God can’t handle me wanting to see my cat in heaven? The cat was a blessing from him in the first place. He’s probably pleased that I enjoy the company, otherwise its just a gift I didn’t enjoy.

    Again, I always felt a great guilt about enjoying anything, and I don’t think that’s the way it needs to be.

    No chapter and verse to back that up, but that’s another blessing of brokenness, I don’t need it.

  9. Alex says:

    This is one of my favorite posts from you. I love it when people tell the truth.

  10. Michael says:

    Thanks, Alex…you are a truth seeker and truth teller…

  11. Reuben says:

    Honestly, almost all of my Christian life was blind hope. Hope that God would speak or move. Hope e that God would reveal anything. I was wrong about God’s motives, and I don’t know why he left me that way. I pretended I knew stuff, but I didn’t know a thing. I taught things that I didn’t understand. This has resulted in a lifetime of regret. Why did God let this happen to others, and to me? I took the roll of teacher and I had no business doing so.

  12. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    I don’t think you need to live in regret over this.

    You were in a group that is very certain about their dogmas and doctrines and subtle demands for conformity.

    The issue I have with most denominations and especially “non denominational denominations” is that they don’t expose themselves to other ways of thinking, other views of scholarship or other views of interpretation.
    You have to escape them to keep learning and learning makes you a threat.

    None of us…and I do mean none of us…have all there is to know about God down pat.

    God is simply too vast for that.

    Not everything you taught was wrong…Jesus is the truth.

  13. Reuben says:

    I personally always felt (despite the Calvary Chapel company hat horse s#1+) that there is a truth, and we have to seek and defend it. I believed the Holy Spirit was to impart that truth. I also believe I never heard it and so I relied on books to solve it for me. It was a very defeated feeling. Like, I was not called to pastor, I was appointed. Now I feel a great deal of animosity towards the elders of my first church for making that clearly dumb decision. I feel like the decision was based on the idea that if I was dumb enough to learn the party line, I would be dumb enough to teach it, hook, line, sinker.

    When I was young, I was a Vineyard kid. I wanted to believe the gifts and manifestations were real. I thought when that failed me, I had to be completely reprogrammed by Chuck Smith and his disciples.

    I relied on these things for the ultimate truths that I had to believe existed.

    I ask God through a bit of gnashing of teeth why this double failure process was necessary. I only felt right about taking on the antitheist armor, because all the church ever caused me and others around me was pain. History records the same.

    I’m 49. My son was taken from my drunk butt. My wife is dead. Now I ask why the triple failure?

    Michael, and I don’t say this with animosity, it is easy to say I don’t need to live in regret, but the fruits of 49 years is I am homeless and penniless relying on the secular world to see me through.

    The biggest regret these days is knowing God was in zero control of my life. I just wrecked it, the church just wrecked it. Then I set off wrecking myself with Jack Daniels. What is not to regret?

    I dunno. I believed God thought I was trash. Now I believe I am trash.

    I’m rambling

  14. Alan says:

    Reuben,

    The Gospel you were taught and preached was a filled with claims of separation. It was filled with the idea that God hated sin, sinners, and the world that he created. It was filled with retribution, punishment and as you say the idea that God thinks you are trash.

    The Good news of Christ and his kingdom is a better variation. Take a look at this:

    15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; Ga 1:15–16.

    Note the phrase “pleased to reveal his son “to” me” that is an interpretation and not what was written. He revealed his son “in” me is the actual word.

    Christ is in you. Ask him! You aren’t trash. You are progressing until Christ be formed “in you” see Galatians 4:19

    There is a better Gospel than the one that failed you.

  15. Josh says:

    Reuben – I was never Calvary Chapel, but I believe we both bought hook line and sinker into a false image of god. That god is a failure. He makes lots of claims but never comes through. He ruins lives and steals joys. He leaves us feeling like trash.

    I’m foolish enough to believe that there is something real out there. Its like I feel it and know it, but can’t put my finger on it. It is way better than anything we ever imagined. But again, I gave my life to this cause once and ended up in a broken heap. I very well may be a fool.

    “I personally always felt … that there is a truth, and we have to seek and defend it.” I’d say that describes you well, even today, because you’ve always been willing to follow where you see the truth leading you. Its the same quality I see in someone like Malcom X. Its suprememly admirable to me. When you think you’ve found the truth, you give your life to that. When you realize that it wasn’t quite what it seemed to be, you go find the real truth.

  16. Reuben says:

    I appreciate that, guys. I feel like Fox Mulder. The truth is out there…

  17. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    You were in pursuit of the truth….maybe more so in pursuit of healing.
    It is that which you should not regret.

    I do know that from the day you appeared in my life you and Becky were kin to me…pretty inexplicable as I’m not the warmest cat around.

    Through all your struggles you have remained kin in my heart and I would fight any man who dared to call you trash.

    I believe the Lord wanted me to demonstrate how He feels about you and never waver…because He has never wavered.

    It has not been difficult for me to do so in the least.

    I don’t know why tragedy has visited you so often and so hard….but I do know you are deeply loved.

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