No one likes to drink Pepto-Bismol.

Are Christians in America Really Victims?

This blog post by Donald Miller keeps emerging on my news feed and in conversations so I figured I should actually invest some time in reading and studying it. If anything just for the sake of my social life. I need all the help I can get in that dusty corner of my existence.

[Side bar: I have a writer’s crush on Donald Miller. When I think of the artists and craftsmen and women who’ve influenced my work the most over the years, he unequivocally remains my biggest inspiration. I was fortunate enough to attend his life-changing, convicting Storyline conference a couple years ago in Portland and had the chance to share a few words with him. I was fangirling hard. You should check him and the Storyline brand out here.]

Speaking of news feeds and conversations, here’s a light topic: is anyone else getting genuinely offended by the controversial Planned Parenthood viral videos circulating? Obviously as a human being I’m offended that these kind of actions are taking place with fetuses, er, babies (sorry, that pro-choice bitch comes out of at the most inappropriate times). The behaviors recorded are savage-like and unfeeling… apparently.

I haven’t actually seen any of them.

An acquaintance on Facebook recently posted her thoughts on this. She wrote something to the effect of  “…as a woman who’s had miscarriages, graphic abortion videos/photos are very disturbing and emotionally heart wrenching…”

I understand people are infuriated with these kinds of horrors, as I guess they should be. Maybe if I indulged myself in the awe-inducing gore of one of said videos I’d be a converted, fervent pro-lifer who’s new social media goal would be to destroy Planned Parenthood, one share at a time.

Somehow (and forgive me, truly, if this sounds crass and is offensive) the concepts of the Donald Miller article I read earlier and this whole Planned Parenthood mess seem similar to me. And I almost cringe while writing that because I recognize that’s a pretty grand accusation. I know people are trying to bring justice to these fetuses, er, babies (damn it!) and I applaud their convictions and solidarity. But am I the only one who rolls their eyes when a justice awareness topic comes to light and becomes thrust to the forefront of the general Christian agenda? I get annoyed, clearly.

To me, it almost hints at being an attention issue; and that’s taking the easy way out. It’s the Hollywood thing to do; gore and destruction, hysteria and awe, sex and gluttony. I feel like it’s using shock value to spark that moral match in people and that seems just as, if not more, offensive than the inhumane acts themselves. The way I see it, being a victim and being a whistle-blower to moral injustices are married by the tiny, oft-ignored whisperer of insensitivity. There’s a grossly problematic lack of empathy regarding this specific absolute (sorry) bullshit of viral media. Maybe if we started intelligently and seriously discussing the atrocities Planned Parenthood allegedly commits instead of brashly using a bullhorn to showcase these acts for stunned audiences and hungry eyes, the goal would be reached. Or not. I don’t know. Maybe it is working. All I know is that, for me, it’s all reminiscent of shameless propaganda. It disgusts me personally and only makes my indifference grow… just for spite’s sake.

Bringing public attention to injustices is a beautiful facet of humanity and I love being in such a diverse, rich culture of different interests and concerns. But this whole situation leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth. Anyone who’s ever taken Pepto-Bismol knows that disgusting aftertaste takes swigs and swigs of water to erase. I feel like oceans wouldn’t erase this Planned Parenthood aftertaste for me.

I can’t remember the first time I heard the phrase “hurt people hurt people” but it impacted me tremendously. I know I heard it multiple times during my churched days. It became one of those phrases that pastors and speakers declared like a prophecy and it was habitually followed with a conveniently placed long pause creating a crowd of convictions. It’s so on point though. I think, if anything, it’s more evidence that people long to feel connected…. no matter the cost or circumstances. And I think that same concept can be translated to this whole frenzy.

Think about those who’ve suffered miscarriages and lost pregnancies. Think about the women who may’ve had abortions in the past who deeply regret those decisions now. Let’s bring awareness to these, yes, absolutely repulsive behaviors going on behind closed doors. Please, let’s bring awareness, but let’s do so tastefully, gracefully and with mercy towards those who’s spirits have been wounded by similar experiences.

Can we please quit passing the Pepto-Bismol? That’s all I’ll say on that.

Realizations in Rabbit Holes

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve started 3 or 4 blogs in the past few years. I think my most committed achievement was 2 posts on one blog. And now they’re all floating out there in the digital abyss; my typed words that, to me, once seemed severely special, possibly prophetic, now filler in the voids.

That hopeless feeling of defeat before I even had a shot at recovery is what overshadowed my enthusiasm and passion and caused each of those attempts to fizzle and fade. And now, during what seems like my hundredth attempt at this, I’ve realized translating my thoughts to written ideas is less about my audience and more about myself. An easy assumption, sure. Obvious, one would think.

But it’s no secret that as emotional beings we’re all wanting validation, respect and appreciation from our contemporaries. When I was part of the “churched” demographic, just like any other sub-culture or social group, I took in sermons and studies and prayers dedicated to the real meaning of purpose and the value of your calling. “Let God use your gifts for His glory.” “That is your God-given talent.” So, naturally, I equated all that jargon to becoming a renowned Christian author. I’d have the edgy book titles, black and white thoughtful self portrait and plain front cover to show potential readers I didn’t buy into the marketing ploys of mainstream Christian consumerism. And it would all be for everyone else. I was looking at my dreams through the telescope of what I thought was right and what I thought was intended for me. I won’t necessarily say the church taught me how to shame myself or how to water down self-love because I wasn’t brainwashed. I was involved with some crazy shit. I’ve had people pray over me in tongues, my trembling body covered by their hands, shouting out to the Lord for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I witnessed a miracle similar to that of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 in Nicaragua when the people in a village we served ridiculously outnumbered our expectations. At age 11, in the first car wreck I was involved in, I was visited by a woman in white who came through the hoards of silent, still people gawking at my injuries and said I was going to be alright. I’ve got a lot of stories, plenty more that are testimonies to the spiritual but honestly, these days, in my post-churched, messy quasi-beliefs, I’m hesitant to share them because I understand how legitimately mad I sound. I get that. I myself think I’m partially as mad as people think I am.

Anyways. I say all that to reiterate the point of how I personified my faith and how I made every choice based on my own conjurings. The notion that my talents and passions were meant for the purpose of the church wasn’t outlandish for me. I was taught that love ought to be demonstrated in this order: God, others, yourself. I understand the intentions behind that and why it’s important to prioritize. It’s a poetic, euphoric concept. But, for me, after years and years of hearing this and trying to always further my awareness of humility, somewhere I understood this to mean losing myself was a necessary sacrifice. The less I could love myself and transfer that love to others, the more godly I’d seem, thus, the more I could help people. I think for years in my young adult life, I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted from life. My emotional growth was stunted and I didn’t identify with a sense of self outside of the Church. It was my life.

One day in a personal devotion while studying the ever-quoted “Do as to others as you would have them do to you”, something awakened in me. All of the sudden, I saw this piece of scripture as a beckon to love and find myself. It occurred to me as naturally as walking: how could I love others if I couldn’t love myself properly? How could I be authentic to others if I couldn’t be authentic to who I was? I remember that moment; sitting in my tiny college rental and thinking how vast this new idea, this new possibility seemed to me. And I was pretty terrified of what it meant for me. At 21, it was the beginning of me deciding to abandon my years of faithfulness to the Church and instead follow this rabbit hole of self discovery that, ironically, was shown to me through the supposed words of Jesus. Funny how that works.

Although I’m an entirely different, bolder person now than I was 6 years ago, I’ve realized recently that in my writing I still hold onto those notions of others before myself. I think that’s part of the reason me abandoning so many blogs over the years came so easily. I didn’t get much feedback. I didn’t feel like anyone benefited from my words. So I just gave up.

So maybe this blog will survive longer than this second post simply because now I know I’m doing this for me. I’m in the process of understanding my writing is more about my own benefit and my own inspiration than the readers. These words may not matter to anyone but me and so be it… Or, I at least recognize this fault and am working towards total acceptance of this. Probably the latter more so because I am human after all. So for this blog, I’m committed to doing it for me. For my own identity, my own story, my own rabbit hole of self-discovery.