Skating by the crazies….

1a

 

by Kenneth Justice

~For a good portion of my life I was going through the motions.

Wake up go to school. Wake up go to work. Eat breakfast. Eat lunch. Eat Dinner.

Every now and then take a vacation.

Go to sleep. Wake up. Do it all over again.

Much of my life seemed like it was on cruise control; but what was the point of it all and where was I going?

When I hit the age of 30 a couple years ago, for the first time in my life I realized I would eventually die…..its a pretty rude awakening.

You go most of your young life with this feeling of being impervious; “nothing can stop me from moving forward” is what I used to believe. But then I woke up one morning completely reticent of my own mortality; “I’m not going to be on this earth forever”.

It’s funny how such a simple thought can change the entire course of our lives.

All of a sudden I couldn’t stop thinking about dying.  I was even dreaming about death… practically every-other-night. To make matters worse it didn’t help that my dad died that same year; my thirtieth year.

When I was younger I was taught about death via the lens of Evangelical Christianity. “Hell fire” & “brimstone” were terms I heard on Sunday mornings. Yet with all the death being preached every week at the church(s) I attended, it wasn’t death that the preachers were trying to make me fear; it was not believing in their version of the bible that they were trying to make me fear, they wanted me to conform to their ideologies and in their religion; non-conformists were of the devil.

After the death of my father, the realization of my mortality began to sink in even more and at times I wondered if I would be obsessed with death until the day I died……

But then, I found out that when I set up goals for my life it helped me to think about death a little bit less; “sure I’m going to die but I want to have a plan for my life in the meantime….I want to live life“.

It’s funny how such a simple thing as a goal can bring such a great measure of peace to our lives.

Among my various goals was to get back into writing…..I love to write.

Another goal of mine was to tell people, ‘hey I’m a Christian, but I’m not a grumpy in-your-face a** h***. I’d been thinking for a long time that the story of Christianity was being written by men and women who have only one mindset;

‘we are right about everything and everyone else is wrong about everything’ —-> That is what so many of my evangelical friends and family members believe(d)

I have felt the brunt of holier-than-thou Christianity throughout much of my life; my relatives, friends, and fellow parishioners knew how to hurl stones of slander and gossip  with the best of them; and so I wanted to start writing about the injurious nature of holier-than-thou Christianity.

When a relative of mine came out of the closet a few years back, my relatives crucified him mercilessly behind his back and to his face; they gave him hell for being gay.

Prior to writing my blog I had been skating by as quietly as possible; I kept my opinions to myself for the most part. I didn’t want to get into arguments with my evangelical friends and family because I knew the level of hostility I would receive if it came out that I didn’t agree with their brand of Christianity…..and then I started writing articles about what I believed

uh oh!

Speaking our minds is a precarious subject; yesterday I talked about the bad way to speak our minds <article>. If we are not careful when speaking our minds we can end up hurting another person;  just as the customer hurt the cashier in my story and ended up hurling verbal abuse at her.

And so everyday that I blog, I walk a delicate line; the tightrope between telling people what is on my mind and not going to far….

–>Telling people what I think about life without injuring people in the process

This morning I woke up to a media frenzy; the most anti-gay Evangelical organization in the U.S. is reversing course after 37 years and closing up shop because they finally believe they have been doing harm to the gay community.

Exodus International and its current President Alan Chambers, has apologized to the homosexual community for spending nearly 40 years practicing ‘gay reversion therapy’ <Alan Chambers apology>

Here is an excerpt from Chambers public apology,

“It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church

I cannot imagine how much guts it took Chambers and Exodus International to reverse course and apologize.

Exodus International has been front and center in the nastiness and ignorance that has plagued the Evangelical community that I grew up in…..

I am just a small player……a blip on the screen in the Evangelical community, Alan Chambers is a big player…..

Where I used to have no hope that the Evangelical community would never learn what true grace, love, and peace are…….I wake up this morning and wonder if I was wrong.

Maybe these people who I have accused of being the worst of the lot when it comes to the holier-than-thou attitude can change…….

Blogging is both a blessing and a danger; when we hit ‘publish’ our words go out to thousands….even millions…..and what we say can either hurt or help…..

Exodus International was hurting people for a long time…….now they want to help.

another cup of coffee sounds good right about now,

Kenneth



Categories: Religion

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Angry birds are funny. Angry Church is not. If you live with true grace, love and peace you kinda have to believe that all that seek are capable of changing to live more in grace, love and peace. I think that as long as a blogger is relating accurate information they are not harming. If they let their unresolved anger at those they are writing about lead them to use exaggerated or false statements then they are doing harm. The harm these “enemies” did to them is not righted by another wrong. It is best not to have any enemies.

  2. Kenneth,
    Just wanted to share a recent experience. I was visiting my Dad in a rehab facility after he’d had a stroke and his parish priest stopped by. I was (at first) thrilled that the man had found the time to give him some courage. Then he started talking about how he couldn’t wait til he could die… and get to heaven… all this while my Dad is right there (and had been knocking on death’s door a few weeks earlier) I had second thoughts. BTW, he hasn’t been back to visit my Dad since (and Dad has continued to improve… maybe because of that?)
    Crazy.

  3. Very intuitive post and right on target!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post! I am 31 and have become obsessed with death to the point where I am on the verge hyperventilating, although I’m not sure if I am afraid of death or afraid because I have children and the thought of leaving them behind is almost unbearable. Nevertheless, I feel that in reading your article I have been inspired to set goals for myself to see if that helps in being distracted from thoughts of death. Thanks so much for this post.

    • Lisa,

      I was in school studying in a graduate counseling program at the time when I was really thinking about death quite a bit, and among the various information I came across is that it is actually in our 30’s that more men and women experience what pop-culture refers to as a mid-life crisis. Where previous generations didn’t contemplate their mortality as frequently until their 40’s and 50’s….our generation is coming to terms with death and thinking about it at a much earlier age…….

  5. Very insightful post, especially about setting goals… important to have a reason to get out of bed every morning. I understood this much later in my life…. great that you are doing it now. I am agnostic (or really, have made my own private religion), raised in a fundamentalist Christian family. My position is that if religion makes you a better, kinder, more productive person I have no problem with it. But if it doesn’t, what is the point?

  6. i started thinking about death at 25 probably because a high school classmate of mine died at 25 of a seizure. it hit home hard. i wasn’t real close to him but 25 is so young to die and his younger brother used to play soccer on my brother’s team and my mom was their coach. it was tough. im sure that’s a lot of what creates my age complex. you’re so right on about being careful with the words you choose though even in care you may hurt someone because it’s also about HOW people interpret your message. sometimes there’s no avoiding hurt. as for the church, well i think that’s a situation where they needed to hear enough harsh truth for them to realize they were hurting more than doing good and in that case, those harsh words were needed. im not usually a fan of brutal honesty, but on occasion with some people and some groups, it’s needed because nothing else will get through. great post!

    • Jen,

      25 is way too young to die! In my psychology of death and dying class back in the day, one of the things I really took home from that class is the fact that death can be positive; it can allow us to take life more serious and give us a deeper perspective on life.

    • definitely way too young but sadly it happens. i have some of that grasped but almost to a fault lol which is probably why i have an age complex. go figure. it’s finding a balance that i need and it’s been difficult.

  7. Very thought provoking post. Thanks for stopping by the Noah Project and liking Try it – it works. What are your thoughts on the technology?

  8. Hi, great post. I’ve nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award! See this link for more details: http://reasonstobecheerfulandsad.wordpress.com/

  9. because our lives are finite, they are precious.
    thank you for writing! I so look forward to what you have to say!

  10. I’ve, technically, died twice… I no longer fear death, it’s just another step in our exisistence… Life is what can be scary.
    But it is to be lived!!
    I’m agnostic, so none of the hellfire and brimstone nonsense factors in to my thoughts about an afterlife.
    THis is probably our only shot, so we should make it count!!!

  11. Great post, as usual. Who knows, maybe they have read some of your posts and some of mine. Sometimes I like to think we do a little good, even walking that precarious thin line.

    Keep on smiling!

  12. Great thoughts. I think that no matter what you write, whether in a book, on a blog, or newspaper people will take offence. Some only seem exist to be offended and ferret out tiny nuggets in the sluice of life. They pluck them out, shout Eureka and go on about how offended they are. If you speak your truth without going out of your way to offend then you can’t be responsible for what others take on board. Ahh, this writing lark is a wonderful path.
    Laurie.

  13. Humans are just another species. No big deal, well, unless we make us a big deal. I kind of think that life just “is” and we just “are” and no gift giving is involved. We can’t known anything for sure, so I’m just moving along, not thinking I’m special or more important than the chipmunks in my yard. No one has answers and truthfully, none of us even know the question/s. All we do is make things up and pretend that what we made up is real. Someone tells people what is real, so people pass that on and tell their children the same thing and they believe that those things are real. Then people seem to forget that what is real today wasn’t real yesterday. Once something becomes “real” enough we tag it as true but we have a lot of truths because people make up a lot of stuff. None of it’s real. The things we believe are pretend and we have made it all up. Every culture and person makes up their own stuff and they call it truth and will go to war and kill people to protect the stuff they made up. Hey, I’m kicking back with my chipmunks. They’re cool and seem to know how to live and they don’t ask the squirrels what they believe, they just sit next to them and eat sunflower seeds. We could learn a lot from them, but we’re too busy making things up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: