Maybe I was Brainwashed

I’m pretty sure I grew up in a bubble.  Most of us probably grew up in a bubble.  Up until high school, I only knew Christian people.  I went to Christian camp.  I went to Christian school.  I had friends from church.  Even the after school program I went to was Lutheran.
I was told that “non believer” friends would cause me to “stumble.”  And then, when I got older, I was told to bring those same people to church, but they couldn’t be my friends unless they were Christian.  How was I supposed to bring someone to church without first befriending them.
The Seventh Day Adventist private school I attended for most of my life told me that eating things like pig, or catfish, or any other “bottom feeder” was basically sinful and that it would make me an unhealthy person.  To this day I can’t stomach some of these foods if I’m aware of what I’m eating, even if they taste good, are made right, raised right, and are something I want to eat.
In high school, where a lot of people are discovering who they are and they’re sexuality, I was told that gay was not okay and that abortion was murder.  And I had gay friends that would come to church with me.  I used to be so sad because I was told they weren’t going to go to heaven, all because of who they loved.  If someone felt that they were born the wrong gender, they had to be wrong, or sick, or have some sort of hidden sin in their life, because God doesn’t make mistakes.  Yes, we are God’s creation, but I think a lot of Christians forget that our world is broken, so someone being born the wrong gender isn’t necessarily a God thing or a sin thing, its more of a fallen world thing.  God is in control, but he gave over the reigns a long time ago.

In Acts, God spoke to Peter and told him to not call anything unclean or impure what he has made clean.  Didn’t Christ abolish the law?  So why are we still so legalistic?  We don’t “get to heaven” by following a bunch of rules.  It’s not even really about being  a good person.  But I think if we started seeing everyone as created, seeing everyone as having a purpose, seeing everyone as worthy, maybe some of the hurt in this world would end.

By the way, bacon is awesome, gay is okay, I won’t invite you to church because I don’t have one locally, and I will listen with an open mind and open heart if you need to talk about abortion.

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Your Love is Not Real

Your love is not real love
Because real love does not judge without asking
Real love does not assume the worst
Real love accepts and comes along side

Your love walked away a long time ago
Your love puts me down
Your love tells me I’m making mistakes
With a belief that your theology is better than mine

I’m pretty sure the love you claim to emulate never called someone wrong for the sake of it
Because his love is perfect
He tore down laws and gave us simple commands
Love God.  Love people.

Love isn’t coming into a conversation calling names like coward
Love doesn’t need the facts
But love would listen and nod and try to understand
So where is your understanding?
Where is your love?
Why do you think you’re so much above that you get to orchestrate my life like I’m some kind of puppet?
I’m pretty sure my strings have been cut
And you were never my master

I have held my hands high
I have fallen to my knees
I have broken out in song
Because that’s what love is

Love showed me who I am
Love showed me who I could be
You’ve only pointed out who I’m not
Your love only tells me that I’m failing

I still have a long way to go
And the only way to get there is through kindness
The only way to get there is through love

I don’t believe that your love is real love
I believe that I have found true love
But I believe that you know true love
You just never learned how to love me

About Church

One thing that I realized last week is that I’ve always gone to church because I’ve always had connection there.

I grew up going to church because my parents took me to church every Sunday.  And I went to youth group because my friends went and I liked it and I felt like I was learning things.  I felt a connection to the living God.

When I was in college I went to church because I had to be serving in church at least two times a month for my degree.  You didn’t have a choice to opt out if you were in Bible college.  But I got to know my pastors.  And I enjoyed being a volunteer, even if it wasn’t the fun jobs that I was doing.  I liked the connection.  I liked the family that I had there.

After college, I moved to Mammoth and I started re-attending the Lighthouse, and I found real family.  But I first knew about the Lighthouse because I would visit with my brother all the time growing up and when I visited during college.  I had friends there.  I felt community there.  And I connected with God there.

I’m just wondering how to get that community and connection back.  I’m wondering where it is here.  When I first moved to Florence I immediately started attending a church, but my only friends in Florence were a part of this church.   After being there for more than a year, I felt less connected than when I first moved.  My newness wore off and it kinda seemed like I wasn’t good enough to be connected.  I wasn’t good enough to be involved.  None of the original connections I had there include me anymore.  Unless they see me in public.  Then they complain that we never hang out, but I can’t remember the last time I actually got an invitation to do anything.
I got a text from the pastor saying he missed hanging out with Bobby and I.  I said he could ask us to hang out any time, but I never got a response.

I feel like church is something that I’ve had forced into my life for so long that I’m not sure what is real and what is fake.  I miss community and I miss connection, but it has to be genuine.  It cannot be forced.  I’ve visited other churches, churches with small groups, but I don’t necessarily agree with their theology.

I’ve felt a little lost lately.  I don’t like feeling lost.  So I might be breaking up with church for a while.  I can pursue my relationship with God and learn what I need, because I’m obviously not going to find what I’m craving.

Sorry I complain so much.  Sorry I’m not elite.

His Idea

Christ is personal
He’s been here since the beginning
First God
Then Man
Two in one
Making me complete
Picking up my pieces
Putting me together
Crafting my very being
Ever since the beginning

Before time
He made time
Living outside of it
Experiencing all of it
And no matter what
He understands
He creates
He saves
He loves, first

Christ is first
Christ is last
Christ is forever

He thought it all up
Existence was his idea
And what a great idea it was
That we get to live and breathe and learn

So teach me
Show me who I am again
Show me who I can be
Created in this image
Built to last forever
From the beginning
To the end

Waste of Time

You can watch the grass grow
And be lost in it
You can be broken by overwhelming love
You can spend years just wasting your time
But it’s not a wast of time at all

He teaches you to chase
And to be chased
He chases you as you follow him
And every time you fall apart
He puts together all your pieces

So wast your time here
Dedicate your minutes
Dedicate your hours
Know him
Know yourself
Fall in love again

Remember when he called you?
Remember who you were?
You can be that again
It never was just a waste of time

Not that Patriotic

I don’t remember often doing the Pledge of Allegiance growing up.  I went to a private Christian school up until high school, and we may have saluted the flag once a year or something, but it was never a priority.  I didn’t know the words to the National Anthem until I was in high school and was trying out to sing it at the football games.  My school was so unorganized though, that they forgot to schedule me anyway.
They sang the National Anthem before every swim meet that I was a part of, but never at any of my soccer games.  I can’t remember if we did at the track meets at all.  And it’s really never been that big of a deal to me.

Growing up, I always wanted to be from a different country.  Travel has always been something that I’ve loved, and other countries and other cultures are always so enlightening.  Learning different ways of doing things keeps us from becoming too ignorant.  There is no shame in adopting someone else’s way of life if it seems like it might work better.

I remember when I played soccer if there was an injury, or a death, or anything else going on, we would take a knee.  This showed respect for what was happening.  Last year, to peacefully protest racist police brutality, Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem during his football games.  This eventually started what they’re now calling the “take a knee protest.”  He was showing respect for the lives that were lost because white police officers “felt threatened” when they had no reason to feel that way at all.  Police officers who were not often being punished for their lethal mistakes.
So, this protest has been going on for  more than a year now.  But for some reason our president has decided that this protest is about him.  And people have decided that this protest is about disrespecting American soldiers.  Because to them, our country is more than a country, and our flag is more than a flag.  It’s something to be worshipped.  Maybe they believe that our country is more important than the God who put them here.  Maybe they have decided that our flag is more important than Isis brutally enacting a genocide.  Maybe they have decided that attacking a peaceful protest that they want to make violent is more important than helping the families that have been affected by the several hurricanes that have rained down on this planet in the last several weeks.
Or maybe I’m wrong.

I never really wanted to be American.  But I was born in America, thus I am American.  And that doesn’t make me better than anyone else.  If anything, it makes me more ignorant, and probably more privileged than I deserve.

I just wonder what this country would be like had Rosa Parks stood and moved to the back of the bus.  I wonder what this country would look like had Martin Luther King Jr. stayed silent.  I wonder what this country would feel like had Abraham Lincoln decided not to back the civil war.

I hope that in the future, our country will care less about attacking those provoking change, care less about flags and symbols and their decided meanings, and care more about what we say we stand for: freedom.  If this country was really free, speech wouldn’t come with such a cost.

You Come in Close

You come in close
I can feel your breath on my neck
Breathing your life into me

You come in close
Loosening these chains that bind me
Watching my shackles fall to the ground

You come in close
Lifting me to my feet so I can stand with you
Preparing me to run

And we’ll run
You take me on a wild ride
Over mountains, through valleys, crossing streams, conquering deserts

You come in close
You take me on endless adventures
And let me rest when I grow weary

You come in close
You carry me out of the holes I dig for myself
Teaching me not to fight anymore

You come in close
You piece together my aching heart
You make me whole again

You come in close
Wrap your arms around me in restoration
Your warmth is unmatchable

You come in close
And it’s like magic without the tricks
And it finally all makes sense

You come in close
You love me as your own
Because that’s exactly what I am

You come in close
And I can feel you