Friday, March 07, 2008

That's not what my Jesus looks like

I can't even pretend to sleep because I am just so upset. I just read Becca's blog and got upset all over again. What is wrong with so many Christians? How can they treat people like that? I feel like I have been effected by horrible churches in such a personal way. I feel like it has scarred me even in ways that I never even realized before. It was mostly my parents and close friends who have had to go through horrible churches. I was just a young kid at the time....but I saw how it made my parents, especially my mom. It definitely scarred her for years to come. I don't think she held bitter feelings towards that church or anything, but it still impacted the decisions she made in future churches. So here is a little of what happened: It was our Vermont church. My parents were young and set out to change the world for Christ. This church tried to stamp the spirit out of them. They never approved of my mom because she worked part-time. She had to because they weren't paying my dad enough to support us. She would work 11 p.m.-7 a.m. so her work schedule NEVER interfered with church activities........she just didn't sleep (some things never change :)). They were horrified that she was working. I don't know everything that happened because I was so young, but here are a few things I was told. My mom did laundry on a Saturday and put the clothes to dry on the clothesline. She forgot about them and they were still on the line Sunday morning. The elders in the church were mad because it appeared as if she had done work on Sunday. When she was 8-9 months pregnant with Cindy she had to mow the lawn because no one in the church would help her. They had pointed out that the grass was too long to begin with.......apparently it didn't have the appearance of cleanliness......and we all know cleanliness is next to godliness!! One time the head elder in the church (an elderly woman) was having her 80th birthday party. My mother had the audacity to dress my baby sister in a cute pink and purple velvet pants suit..........She should have known better!! Baby girls don't wear pants!! It wasn't even for a church was a party!! These few things and a whole bunch of other things led the elders of the church (cheered on by the head elder Zelda) to write my mom a nasty note saying she was an embarrassment to the church. My parents were away for the weekend when they called a congregational meeting to decide if they should vote to fire my dad or not. Thankfully my parents were secretly away looking at another church. They basically left before they were kicked out by this horrible church. To this day, my mother hates the name Zelda (it is an ugly name even if it didn't have an ugly association). She also never ever let us wear pants to church even if they were dressy. This was something I carried with me even in college. She also never let us do any kind of yard work or housework on Sunday. I never really understood it at the time. I always thought it was so silly that she had those rules. I didn't realize that she had been scarred by that church....people who claimed to be followers of Christ and striving to reflect Him in their lives.

This past weekend my dad was telling me some tales of a local church. Several people have left this horrible church to go to my dad's church because of issues with legalism. One of the couples was kicked off a board (committee) because he listened to contemporary Christian music. Another man was kicked off because he couldn't control his wife. Apparently she was reaching out to a non-Christian and was driving her to church closer to where she lived so she missed a couple of Sundays. How dare she!! Didn't she know that Christians are supposed to stay in their own secluded bubble and not reach out to others? This church also refuses to join the Valley softball league. Wanna know why? Well I'll tell you!! It's because there are other denominations in the league!! All I gotta say is DUH!! Here is the funny part: THEY DECIDED TO JOIN THE BAR LEAGUE (Yes I mean bar as in drinking bar with alcohol)!!!!! This same church advised the people who decided to leave not to go to my dad's church because it was a "homo-sexual loving" church. They were slandering my dad's name and associating him with a few churches in the denomination. They have never ever even talked to my dad!! What is wrong with these people?

And now several of my closest friends have been hurt by GF. You all know the stories of that church so I won't get into it at all.

I gotta say it again: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE??? What Bible are they reading? What Jesus are they trying to mirror? I really have no idea...........because my Bible says that Jesus dined with sinners, thieves, and prostitutes and encouraged us to do the same. My Jesus loved the poor, needy, and weak. My Jesus loved people unconditionally and knew that the only way to heaven was through him. My Jesus didn't care about appearances. My Jesus died on the cross and didn't look pretty doing it. Is the Jesus they are trying to show the world really the same as my Jesus? My Jesus said that we would face persecution and not always be comfortable!! My Jesus cared more about relationships than religion!! My Jesus called for unity amongst Christians and not division. How can these people call themselves Christ-like? How can they send that message to the world?? Why don't they see it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM??

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

PENNDOT.......a whole lot of pot

......POTHOLES that is. PA roads are so crappy and so much worse in the winter time. The potholes are unbelievable. I know there is snow and ice on the ground but they let the roads get so horrible. I have experienced the wrath of the road two times in the past month. No not once, but TWICE I blew out a tire on a stretch of 81 in PA. A few weeks ago I distinctly remember hitting a pothole with such force that I felt like I had taken out a small child who was playing in the middle of the highway. Little did I know at the time that I had broken a belt in my tire and caused a bulge in my tire. I did not realize it until about a week or so later when I got my car inspected and had it pointed out to me. He gave me a new tire so I could pass my inspection. Not even two weeks later and I hit the same batch of potholes on I-81. I tried to outsmart the potholes by driving on the other side of the road. Little did I know that the potholes were smarter than I. They knew to cover the entire road so I could not pass by them unscathed. It felt more like a small animal than a child this time, but the impact was still enough to cause damage. The idiot I was didn't think that I could blow out another tire in a matter of weeks so I forgot about the incident and moved on. Monday (yesterday) I was sitting at a red light with my window down and enjoying the beautiful day. A guy on on moto pulled up to my window and informed me that there was a huge bulge in my tire and that it was about to blow out. Sure enough I saw the hideous bulge in my tire. I needed to replace another tire. Here are two pictures of the tire that I took for evidence for when I sue PENNDOT for neglect.

Notice the lovely bulge from a broken belt.

Of course I was also thinking that a brand new tire shouldn't break a belt so easily. Afterall, it's supposed to be able to withstand some bumps and holes. Thankfully the tire was bought from a friend of Josh's family who is a Christian so I am hoping he will make it right.....even though PA had its part in the bulge. So I (hopefully) don't have to worry about getting angry and yelling at yet another person from a car repair garage.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Are you a pig or a chicken?

I am stealing the following because I thought it was good and worth stealing :). It is a little long, but I thought it would be a good way to avoid doing work :).

So here is something my dad wrote for his church's newsletter:

One of our favorite meals is breakfast and there seems to be no better breakfast than to eat bacon and eggs around a campsite or even in a restaurant. While much has been said about the dangers of these two items in the cholesterol conscious society we live in, it will be hard to beat one of America's favorite food combinations.
However, as I think about bacon and eggs, it illustrates something else for me as we approach this Easter season. It makes me consider that the plight of the chicken producing the eggs is far different than a pig who would become the main course for breakfast. In other words, the chicken would be asked to give an offering, while the pig would be asked to be a sacrifice! What better way of describing Jesus's plight as he gave the ultimate sacrifice for our sin?
Many have given an offering to the Lord. They may have even given generously to Christian causes and needs. But few have truly sacrificed their lives for the sake of Christ. Most of us are like the chicken, willing to give but when asked to give our lives away for Jesus, we run like the chicken. Very few of us are willing to be like the pig who gives his life away.
Jesus has been called the sacrificial lamb of God. But I wonder, if in some ways, he could not also be called the sacrificial pig. The pig was considered to be an unclean animal in Judaism and despised. You would not catch a Jew eating bacon, and eating ham is not considered kosher. Jesus, while He knew no sin, by taking on the sins of the world, became sin for us, so that in an act of ultimate sacrifice, He gave his life for us (II Corinthians 5:21). As a result, He was despised and forsaken. There was hardly anything 'kosher' about Jesus's death. His death, as I Corinthians 1 tells us, was foolishness to the Gentile and a stumbling block to the Jew. Jesus Christ became the object that was despised and forsaken and like the slaughtered pig, became a sacrifice.
But we should take note that Jesus was like no other sacrifice. John the Baptist clearly expresses his understanding of this when describes Jesus in John 1:29 as 'the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." While He was despised by most, He became the true source of meeting the human race at the point of their spiritual hunger. Sin has left us spiritually starved and destitute. Only Jesus can remove the tainted effects of sin.
What will we do with Jesus this Easter season? Will we trust Him as our Lord and Savior? If we do, will we be like the chicken and give our token offering whether it be money or church attendance seasoned with a twinge of prayer? Or will we walk in the steps of Jesus--despised by the world as pigs--willing to sacrifice it all including our lives to give glory to Christ?

One more thing: HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY CINDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!