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Friday, March 9, 2012

Random Musings

Part of the reason I haven't written much on my blog lately would be because I have so many thoughts about so many different things swirling around in my head and I can't seem to develop them into an entire post that makes sense. So I thought I'd just start writing what's on my mind and see what happens. This is going to be completely unorganized and random and if you're looking for some persuasive argument or profound sayings, you'll have to read one of my other posts for that. You've been warned.

My husband and daughter were in a terrible car accident 2 weeks ago. He was talking her to school. They never made it. By some miracle, my daughter walked away without a scratch. My husband suffered head trauma, multiple lacerations, a severe concussion, memory loss, and a lot of back and neck pain. When the EMT called me and said "they're both OK, that's the important part", it turns out none of them thought my husband was OK. When I pulled up and saw my Explorer, I knew they were lying to me. I couldn't believe that my daughter was sitting in the back of an ambulance, talking the fireman's head off, and asking if she could go to school now. The place where her carseat was was completely smashed and her seat crushed. We found out later she had talked her dad into letting her sit in the front seat since school is only a mile down the road. That probably saved her life. (Though I have no idea how the airbag missed her.) My husband was actually OK, though really beat up. He's still recovering and driving me crazy because he can't do much yet and that's driving HIM crazy. People sent me so many comments that week about how good God is and how amazing it was that they're both fine and what a miracle that my daughter was unharmed. And I have to wonder....what would they say if I'd lost half my family that day? Would they still say God is good? Or would they blame the devil and this broken world? Why does God get all the credit and none of the blame? I don't disagree that I am very blessed and so grateful that my family is intact. I believe it is a miracle and and I thank God for it. But I just wonder how many that gave God credit for their lives would blame Him for their deaths, if that had happened instead? I think I would. Because I'm consistent like that, even if I don't like it.

Why is it that so many Christians have a "vending machine god" mentality. You know what I'm talking about: the idea that is you put the right thoughts, words, prayers, tithing, and good deeds into your life, God will magically bless you. Insert quarter, receive snack. And that you can control the type of blessing you get by the type of prayer or the amount of money you "put into" your life and your church. The reverse is also taught: that if you don't tithe and you don't "give your firstfruits to God" and you don't pray the devil away, God won't bless you and calamity will befall you. Even for people who claim to follow the Bible, I don't see where they get this idea. And if one more person enthusiastically tells me I just have to go to a Dave Ramsey class (which costs $100, btw) and my life and finances will magically fix themselves....I just might come unglued. Unless Dave Ramsey can get me free rent and more income and make the insurance company pay the hospital bills, he can't help me.

I've about had it with people who think the devil is everywhere, there's a demon around every corner, and unless we acknowledge that, we're doomed. I've heard some crazy stuff lately. I have termed these teachings "christian voodoo" because that's all they are. Hocus-pocus with a christian slant. If you can accidentally curse yourself by saying the wrong thing, or let the devil into your home through a cabbage patch doll, or allow a demon to enter your room through your pet cat, then your god is incompetent and worthless. And don't get me started on places like the Elijah List that sell magic charms for your home and body. Why don't you just string garlic around your neck? Magic oil to anoint your house? Talk about a scam. These people are making tons of money off selling pagan, Dark Ages superstition in the name of Christianity. They sell fear, propaganda, and the magic to make it all go away. You know what? The Jesus I serve defeated all spiritual powers, making a mockery of them, a public spectacle, and sent them packing. I don't live my life in fear of some spiritual dark power that will get me if I don't pay attention. That's a stupid way to live and I refuse. And, yes, if you must know, I can prove my position from the Bible perfectly and probably whoop their hermeneutical butt. But this is a random rant, not a theological dissertation.

I feel like I will never find a church I can belong. Where I'll fit in. Where it's OK to ask the hard questions and disagree and still be part of the community. I don't trust pastors. I've yet to meet one that doesn't have screwed up ideas on "church authority" and who has it and who doesn't. I keep going to different churches which look really great on the outside and have awesome people in them, then the cynical part of me kicks in and I can't help but think "what would they say or do if they knew I believed _____ ?" and I get discouraged. I miss being a part of a church where it was OK to believe differently than the majority, where it was OK to ask questions and disagree, and where no one harped on us for not signing a membership contract. I feel lonely and isolated and it's probably my fault because I just can't bring myself to conform to what is acceptable just to be...well, accepted. Part of the "in" group. I'm a free-thinker and that's just not going to change. Ever. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier if I could happily sit in a congregation and be spoon fed by a preacher and go home living in my own happy little paradigm, squashing any questions my heart asks and ignoring the reality of life around me that doesn't fit my worldview. Those people seem so much happier and less at war with themselves. But I can't do it. Tis the curse of one who has seen too much and refuses to stick their head back into the sand.

I'm really enjoying a book called "Grace-Based Parenting" right now. It's helped me to be more purposeful in instilling ideas and fulfilling needs in my children. One of the things the book says that all kids (all people, really) need is significance. They need to know that their lives are important and they have a purpose. That their being here on this earth means something and it's up to us as parents to help them find that meaning and give them the skills to follow their dreams and gifts. I heartily agree with this, but see the need to be more purposeful in how I pass this idea down to my kids. Believing it about myself is the first step but I've never had a problem with that. I've always felt very confident that I am gifted, important, and have a purpose. I can see that in my kids already, as young as they are, and am determined to not let others take that confidence away from them.

Someone asked me a question the other day about how I can reconcile my faith with seeming inconsistencies in Christianity, the bible, and life. We were discussing the morality of the Old Testament and how God condoned things that we would decry as horrible outrages. It's a tough question, one I ask myself a lot. This was my answer and I thought it worth putting here on my blog for future reference. The question was, specifically, what is it that outweighs the inconsistencies in the OT for you in order to still have faith? My answer is simplistic, but honest. It's just where I'm at.

"Several things, actually. One would be completely re-studying to find that many parts of the Bible I'd been taught were literal actually aren't (such as the Creation account). I feel like the more I study the more I realize I don't know half of what I thought I knew.

Another thing would be admitting that while I believe the Bible to be truth and inspired by God, I also believe it to be a product of the culture it was written in and the men who wrote it. Does that mean there are mistakes? Probably. But that doesn't change the overall message for me. For some I could see how it would, but for me it doesn't. My faith is not threatened by admitting the human element of the scriptures.

Also, we are told in several places that the Man Jesus is the personification of God. If you see Jesus, you've seen God. Jesus is the invisible God made visible; the "face" of God Himself. So if something in the Old Testament (which is so vast and not at all black and white or easily interpreted) contradicts what we see in the actions of Jesus (which it often does), then I have to choose Jesus. Because I'm human, He was human, and I understand what I see in Him. He's the concrete to the OT God's abstract. Jesus even overturned many of God's OT laws; contradicted them in ways that were unheard of (and I don't buy the argument "well Jesus was just clarifying God's laws". Really? Because "do good to those who harm you" is the clarification of "eye for an eye". I don't think so.)

The other thing that causes my faith to win in this battle of inconsistencies isn't entirely based on objectivity or logic, but on my own experiences. My life doesn't make sense without God. Some would call this a crutch for a weak soul, but crutch or not, it feels very true to me. I have known Him and seen Him working in my life. I have seen miracles that I can't explain other then "God did it". Sometimes the inconsistencies in my faith and the questions that constantly rage in my head seem too much to bear. But I always come back to the same conclusion: I believe in God. I believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Call it crazy (I do sometimes) but there it is.

I no longer have the need to be right, to know it all, or to have perfect understanding. That doesn't mean I stop thinking about it or wrestling with it or throw logic and reason out the window. It doesn't mean I will stop questioning because questioning is just part of my nature. It just means that where I can't "prove" something, I choose to believe in God. Others, acting on lack of proof, choose atheism. I choose faith. It's just my personal choice. If there is a God, and if He is who He says He is in the Bible and the Person of Jesus, then I don't think He needs me to have all understanding in order to believe in Him. If He is who He says He is, then the things that are NOT difficult to understand....love, kindness, faith, grace, salvation, forgiveness.... are the things that matter most, the things that will make a difference in my life and the lives of others around me. It's fun to talk and debate about scholarly things such as theistic evolution or Calvinism or whether Jonah is myth or history. But at the end of the day, these things are not what matters. People will be born and die and these debates will go on, being born or dying with us. But things like love or forgiveness will change the world, maybe even affect generations to come. "

So there you have it. A little picture of what is going on in my mind today. Well, the parts that make sense anyway. Or that are worth sharing. Everything else bouncing around in there has to do with my kids, their schooling, the new baby coming, keeping up the few friendships I have IRL, financial crap and what to do about it, desire for summer and warm weather, a couple of theological debates, a few songs that need to be written, a few friends that have been generous and how I wish I could bake them a cake or something, a few stories I want to write, how to make more sales and gain more customers for my business, politics, what to name our foal when it arrives, whether or not I actually like the baby names I've picked out for our human baby, my scary dreams that I'm having twins, and what to make for dinner that won't make me puke while I'm cooking it. Just another day in paradise. ;)


  1. Five years ago, I lost my little boy when he was 3 days old. He turned out to have a severe heart defect that we didn't know about before he had died. If we did, he might still be with us, and he might not.

    I've never really blamed God for that loss, though it still shakes me to my core and my life and myself has been forever changed by it. I've never really been angry or demanded to know WHY he wasn't born with a functional heart and WHY God didn't stop it, let alone prevent it in the first place. He could have. He didn't.

    I realized after some time that the whole time we realized he was in crisis as he died, I never once prayed for God to spare him. It simply didn't occur to me. I flirted with the idea that he died because of that failure, for maybe a few minutes, then I dismissed it.

    Why? Because there is no way a God who loves me would purposely set out to test my faith by immediately putting Himself first in my mind as my son lay dying in my arms. No loving Father would demand me to think of Him first as my own child demanded my last moments with him to be devoted to his fleeting presence in this life.

    Babies just sometimes die.

    Further, it's not all about me and my loss, it's about my son and the things that God now has for him to do that couldn't be done here. Do I feel anger and hurt? Yes, some days more than most. Yesterday was the anniversary of his funeral, it was also my daughter's-in-law birthday....whom my son decided was more important to be with at the time (before she was his wife) and decided not to come home for the funeral. He was in Seattle and we are in Montana....so it's a fair distance to travel.

    I wouldn't wish her a happy birthday and she is upset I didn't. Frankly, she can bite me.

    Anyway, I digress. I often wonder if God didn't just set into motion a world based on mathematical probability involving us and our decisions as wild cards. What is the mathematical probability if you husband and daughter had left 5 seconds sooner or later? How did her NOT being in the car seat actually affect the outcome before the accident?

    If I'd have had an ultrasound before my son was born, would he still be alive?

    I don't see these kinds of decisions we make necessarily right or wrong, just a matter of cause and effect from a certain point in time.

    All culminated in the question of, "What if?"

    When I think about it, there are laws that God has created that really have no exceptions and where He really doesn't interfere, like the laws of motion, gravity, momentum, energy, thermodynamics. All these probably explain better what happened to your husband and daughter better than asking God why He didn't magically stop it. Therefore, He's probably no more to blame, than He is to credit.

    And I don't think He's at all threatened by my thinking so, either.

    Glad your hubby is on the mend and your daughter is okay. A scary shave, no doubt.

  2. I'm not a big fan of home churches, having grown up in one. But if you can't find fellowship in your area, maybe it's worth a try.

  3. It sounds like you've been down some similar spiritual paths I've traveled these last couple of years and have asked, and continue to ask, many of the same questions. My husband and I have been blessed by God, though, to have found a local church that exceeds anything we expected to find when we set out, brokenhearted,nearly cynical, looking for one. Keep praying and don't give up. The Shepherd still leads His sheep. He will guide you.

  4. Well you ^^^ told me to write something. :P ;)

  5. I want to give a standing ovation for your answer about the OT inconsistencies. The question behind it makes me crazy when I think of all the pastors I've had who couldn't answer without contradicting everything they preached. I've come to believe the same as you have--that there are so, so many misguided interpretations of the OT and that in the end, it's Jesus who matters--and it's given me a peace of mind that apologetics classes never did.

    Also, I'm incredibly glad that your husband and little girl are okay.

  6. Hi, I was directed to your blog by a facebook friend. I have had many of the same questions you do, here. I feel thankful that I've been able to ask questions and even be in disagreement without losing the fellowship of the parish community. Over many years, I have been given room to work things out "in fear and trembling" at times. I hope you find that peace somewhere. I'm very sorry to hear about the accident. I hope your husband is able to recover quickly and I am very happy to know that your daughter was okay. Isn't it strange how something so innocuous as allowing a child to sit...somewhere they are not supposed to sit (well, I guess I don't know the age or size of your daughter, but I'm guessing if she had a carseat, it's probably not recommended that she sit in front)...anyway that something like that ends up being what saves her? That sort of thing amazes me, personally.

    oh, I apologize I didn't introduce, but I am Michelle. The blogosphere is so interesting to me...you think you're introduced by a link next to your name, but in all actuality, we have no idea who each other is. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I just skimmed your post before, and missed the part about your husband and daughter. I'm sorry. I will be praying for your husband to make a full recovery.

  8. Montana,

    I am taking Physics right now in community college, and I thoroughly agree with your premise. God set the world in motion- a world that He loves and delights to watch unfold- ruled by the laws of physics, chemistry, biology. Rarely, rarely are these ever overruled by Divine fiat. Jesus walked on water, but to my knowledge no one else has been able to follow that act. =)

    As I have contemplated this view of God and the creation (in contrast to the conventional view that God wrote everything out ahead of time like a novel and knows every page from beginning to end)my respect and love for God has deepened. God is creative, insightful, intelligent. Prayer makes sense, as asking God for help in facing the adversities of life is never a moral quandry now. God has no "purpose" in death or disease. Death and disease are merely one part of the overall package of possibilities opened up when God set the world in motion. I know He is eager to help me with anything/everything I might face in this life.

    I too came to this deep assurance by looking at the life of Christ, and my own personal experience of answered prayer and spiritual experience. I too no longer believe in Biblical inerrancy, but that the Bible is what it is: a collection of writings left by people whose lives were somehow touched by God. It is not an instruction manual. It is not a rule book. It is not an encyclopedia of random facts. It is a collection of writings left by people whose lives were somehow touched by God, and all of it must be viewed through the lens of Jesus Christ in deciding how it is at all profitable.

    Finally, I despair of finding a company of believers to share communion with, much less share life with. I thought I had found such a place, and for a while it was a haven. Then the preacher started listening to Mark Driscoll, and well, it is a very different place two years later. My pastor would rather condemn my whole family to hell than apologize for his rude behavior and false allegations to me, a woman.

    I hope you can find a community of Jesus followers, Darcy. I would love to find one near me. But all I see so far and hundreds and hundreds of Christian culture clone factories. Not interested.

  9. "Christian culture clone factories"

    Haha, perfect! Exactly my thought.

  10. Darcy, I've been reading your blog a little off and on. You kind of remind me of me (But I am 43) with the need to analyze, analyze. It does make it hard to fit in-especially with women I think, when you aren't willing just to swallow every little thing to fit in. When you have to know WHY on earth your are going to do this and that and WHY God cares about it, it gets people's comfort zones all out of whack.

    Anyway, I hope you find a church with people you can love and agree with at the same time. (At least reasonably) There is a church in Portland (I don't go there) that you may enjoy listening to online, (I hope you don't mind my suggesting.)

    They are urban, (so not a home school culture family type church) but yet not Mark Driscoll either. :)

    We are a hoemschool family, but my kids like to say they are homescooled but not homeschoolers. :) In our early years (my oldest is 20) another family tried to get us into Bill Gothard but for some reason we just never did and I am sooo thankful now.

    Glad your family is OK and hope your husband's recovery is smooth and speedy.


  11. It is nice to know that there are other people in the world who are on a similar path. I just don't agree with the whole "inerrant" view of the OT anymore; I don't believe the men who wrote the OT had a complete view of who God is and His plan for the world.
    I hope Sky has fully recovered by now. May you and your family be blessed as you continue to walk by faith.

  12. Darcy, i'm sorry about your life being disrupted with the car accident and also thankful it wasn't worse. i hope for a speedy recovery!!

    i really feel like what you've expressed is pretty much where i'm @ with god, bible, faith, church, debates, minus the kiddos. don't have those. i've missed your blog!!

  13. Every time I read your blog I understand exactly what you are saying because I feel like I have been there! If you ever found a church like the one you want I would be happy to join you ;) Thank God your family is safe!

  14. Darcy - I think you might just like Dave Schmelzer and some of his thoughts. He has a book called "Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist." It is so much more than that. XD He has a few theories about how to look at religion and Jesus and culture and stuff, which I think you'd really get into.

    This is a taste of it: http://notreligious.typepad.com/What%20is%20Stage%204%20Faith%20%28excerpt%29.pdf

  15. I like that when you write, you're a person I can imagine being, and not...Dave Ramsey. :P

  16. I found your blog today and have been reading through old posts. I had to comment on what you said about God being given all of the glory and none of the blame. I have been on both sides of that particular coin. My 1st husband died in a car accident and my 2nd husband narrowly missed dying in a truck accident a few months before your husband and daughter were in theirs.

    After my 1st husband's death I really struggled with that idea, why is God praised and thanked when someone lives, but then it's all "well, it was just God's plan" when they don't? If you believe God reaches down and chooses to save some people, then you must also believe he chooses to ignore or even kill others right? I too try to remain consistent, lol.

    I am incredibly grateful that my husband is alive, even after over a month in the hospital. But I have a hard time thanking God for it because I think it was just pure luck and a safe truck. Even to me that sounds like heresy but it is the truth of what I have come to believe. Shit happens. The end. I am so so glad that your loved ones were okay whether it was God, angels, or just physics and pure luck :b