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  • Mrs Chakotay 10:15 am on October 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheism, atheist, , , faith, ,   

    My Halloween Facebook “Coming out” as an ex-fundy, #exvangelical 

    I had not planned to “come out” like this but I think it is time.

    I grew up in a very strict evangelical version of Christianity, and later I spent 15 years in a form of Messianic Judaism which was very much in the same vein.

    In some ways fundamentalism is still my ‘comfort zone’, and I have certainly retained some aspects of those beliefs (hopefully the good parts) but I have been on a journey away from that type of thinking for many years.

    I am no longer fundamentalist.

    I am no longer evangelical.

    I am not totally sure I am even still Christian.

    I have moved from a 1 to between 3 and 6 in the Dawkins scale. I don’t usually mind or care what other people believe, providing they don’t push it on to others.

    If you can be cool with my movement away from what you believe, then I’m happy to remain friends. But if you feel prompted to warn me that I’m going to hell or anything akin to that, let’s do ourselves a favour and part company.

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    • SR 2:33 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I do so hope you find within yourself what you are searching for. I have read some of your post and I know it has been a struggle for you, due to many things.

      I understand what you mean about, “sending me to hell.” As a Catholic I am sent there many times, sometimes throughout one day. At times I can shrug it off and at other times, it hurts. I would never in my life say that to anyone.

      Of course I do so hope you do not turn from God. I understand fully what you are saying about “religion.” I always say, “There is no one any meaner, then a mean Christian.” I am sad to say, there are many of them running around today, and have been in the past.

      At times they can get my dander up also, then I am the one not so nice. I try my best not to be like that. I can usually maintain and constrain myself until they “send me to hell.” Again wishing you the best for yourself. God Bless, SR

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mrs Chakotay 11:35 am on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faith, , , Stockholm Syndrome,   

    Parallax 

    “I can do some wonderful things with vegetables, Captain! My feragoit goulash is known across twelve star systems.”

    • Neelix

    Summary

    In the episode, the Voyager crew respond to a distress call from an unknown ship trapped in an anomaly, which – thanks to temporal mechanics, which are notoriously unpredictable – turns out to be their own distress call after they find themselves trapped in the same anomaly after trying to rescue the other ship, which is in fact Voyager.

    Meanwhile, Torres fights with Jo Carey who was in line for the position of Chief Engineer, and shows herself to be the most competent despite her issues with self-control and disliking the suffocating Star Fleet structure.

    Having realised they are looking at a time-delayed mirror image of themselves, they have to punch their way out of the rift in the anomaly, making sure that they head for the real Voyager and not the mirror image.

    Notes

    I just love temporal mechanics! Time loops, time leaks, temporal incursions, effect preceding cause! It’s great! Some of my most favourite episodes and films (within Star Trek as well as elsewhere) involve time travel or related weirdness. Unlike the real Janeway – who makes a point of trying to avoid time travel, temporal mechanics would definitely be my favourite subject at the Academy! (If only!)

    Real Life

    In the last few weeks, I have started looking at my childhood and young adulthood within Christian fundamentalism, and the effects it has had on me, my family and my children. Thankfully I got out before I allowed it to do any significant damage to my children. But coming face-to-face with what I was, what I believed and now what Christian Fundamentalism continues to do, is a little horrifying. I can’t believe that I’m looking at myself, even if it is a ‘time-delayed reflection’.

    Ironically, when it all gets too much to face, my natural inclination is to retreat back to the bubble of Fundamentalism, because it is so familiar and comfortable, it feels like home. This is classic Stockholm Syndrome. Even when the opportunity to escape presents itself, the world outside has become more scary (due to indoctrination) than the toxic world you know.

    I read just a day or two ago that it can take years if not decades for survivors to recover from the effects of spiritual abuse. I swing through a range of emotions, including a lot of self-loathing and lack of confidence, as well as an underlying arrogance I know I need to keep in check. I think this is all probably quite normal under the circumstances. But I’m beginning to realise that I need to be less hard on myself. What happened to me was not my fault. But I do need to take responsibility for my part in perpetuating the abuse, the legalism, the judgementalism.

    Where do I go from here? I feel as though I can’t trust my own judgement anymore. I don’t know what I believe, or what is true. I keep asking myself the question, is it possible to come out the other side with a ‘sane faith’? I think I need to go right back to the very basics and start again from scratch. re-examine what I thought I knew, what I believed to be unquestionably true. Somehow I need to throw off all the baggage of negative teaching and get to the other side. If only it were as simple as making a one-time decision, to ‘punch through’. I suspect it will be a little bit like forgiveness: I forgive, but I have to continue to forgive the same infraction over and over, every time it comes to mind. I must ‘walk in forgiveness’. Perhaps, equally, I must ‘walk’ in re-examination, critical thinking, accepting the good, rejecting the bad, over and over. My Dad’s motto in life, which he often repeated to me, was “Eat the meat, and leave the bones.” I think that’s a useful philosophy. Weigh it up. Analyse. Question.

    I particularly like the way Janeway and Torres bounce ideas off each other in this episode. I have seen a bit of talk on finding a ‘Spiritual Director’ lately (as well as an ‘Elder Board’ of peers to keep one accountable), and I am reminded how much I miss my Dad who was my mentor for a long time. I don’t know anybody who could match his intelligence and knowledge, or his warmth and kindness and depth of insight. Despite his experiences within Fundamentalism, and the real damage it did to him, it was he who showed me the God of love.

    In command school, they taught us to always remember that maneuvering a starship is a very delicate process, but over the years, I’ve learned that, sometimes, you just have to punch your way through. Mr. Paris, full impulse power.

    LLAP, Kathryn.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 2:39 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faith, , , , , , sickness, trials   

    How to pray when life hurts? 

    This year seems to have been one upset, catastrophe, tragedy after another. I won’t dwell on the particulars.

    But this verse came up in my daily readings and I felt an immediate identification with it:

    “If the LORD be with us, why hath all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” – 1 Kings 1:13

    If you know the passage, this is right at the beginning of the period of the Judges and the cycle of rebellion, punishment and repentance – old Israel was so hard of learning!

    So does the cycle of suffering work the same way in the lives of believers under the new covenant? Perhaps, but not always. Illness, injury and disaster sometimes come upon people and there is no rhyme or reason or discernible explanation. (Did you ever read the book of Job?) And sometimes, as in the story of Jesus with the blind man, it isn’t the result of the sin of the man or his parents but so the glory of the Lord may be made manifest.

    It is difficult to keep on trusting and obeying and praying when life is at its hardest. It is not easy to hold on to the truth that “All things work together for good to those which love God, to them which are called according to his purpose.” But it is still true even when it feels impossible.

    In my daily reading from Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ today, I read these words – painful but with a hint of hope:

    Pruning for Fruit-Bearing

    Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

    “This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our Lord’s purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.

    Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor.

    Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!”

    When I do not have the strength to pray my own words, I pray Scripture (and if you dig into the psalms, it isn’t all sweetness and light – some of them are gritty and mournful) and remind myself that, no matter how bleak things look, Good is good, and it will all come right in the end.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 3:23 pm on February 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , faith, , , Michael Card, ,   

    First Sunday of Lent 

    I am running a week behind now, as life has got in the way. Around a couple of weeks of a roller-coaster of looking after a very poorly, elderly dog, we had to have him put down last night. So right now I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed with grief . The next couple of posts will be short and I may take a break, depending on how I feel. (I may do the opposite and throw myself into blogging as a distraction, I just don’t know.)


    Psalms/ Canticles: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-end or 1:11
    OT Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-11
    NT Reading: Romans 10:8b-13
    Gospel: Luke 4:1-13


    We jump back in the narrative again now, as we enter the traditional church season of Lent and follow Jesus through his 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and praying and being tempted by the devil.

    The short passage in Romans quotes Deuteronomy 30:14 which tells us that “the Word is near – in our hearts and on our lips”, and states that we must both believe and confess.

    When I first joined the Anglican church five years ago I was very impressed by the liturgy which even in its modern form is thoroughly Biblical, and which seemed like a solid buttress against strange teaching and error; and yet it began to dawn on me that despite repeating the liturgy every week, it was no guarantee that the words the congregation were speaking were actually believed by the speakers (or even the clergy).

    This passage tells us that confession isn’t enough – belief is required as well (and when you look into the meaning of the Greek verb to believe and the Hebrew word behind it, you see that such belief must not merely be mental assent but a living, active, obedient faith, which is consistent with the whole ‘counsel of scripture’ – see for example the passage starting at Matthew 25:35).

    In Pentecostal circles, the spoken word of confession and affirmation is on the other hand considered very powerful indeed – in a sense carrying the same innate power of creation “calling that which is not into being” that God used at the creation of the World, a belief that teachers like Joel Osteen may possibly take too literally – but of course in the Gospel passage, the way Jesus battles with the devil is through the Word of God which he quotes in answer to every temptation.


    I’ll be honest and say that I’m not even sure that I have made the points I wanted to here, and I haven’t really covered the passages properly, but I’m going to have to leave it there as I don’t think I’m going to be able to make any more sense than this at this time.

    If you can’t get hold of it, find a copy of Michael Card’s excellent album the Ancient Faith trilogy (on two CDs), which includes a lovely song called “The Word is so near”. I couldn’t find that particular song, but I’ll leave you with a youtube playlist of songs from the album. (Actually that song is in the playlist, but only an instrumental piano version – if you can seek out the original, it’s worth finding.)

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 9:11 pm on June 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car crash, , Cornish pasties, , faith   

    Cloudy with a Chance of Pasties 

    We had such a lovely Monday morning, sitting on the sea front, watching the birds; so perfect in fact that the thought ran through my mind that it was too good to be true.

    In the afternoon, I crashed my car. I ran into the back of a van with a step plate on the back – no damage to the van of course, but the step plate broke through the grill and smashed my radiator. It wasn’t just a leak, it flooded out completely.

    I managed to get the car to the supermarket car park – I always have my car crashes in such convenient places!

    Husband came to the rescue and organised recovery.

    While we waited, the family had pasties – handmade and hand crimped to boot – I was a little bit too shaken up to eat (unlike later, when I felt completely ravenous).

    There is so much to be thankful for. It could have been on the motorway (can I call the A30 a motorway?), I could have damaged the other car, the driver could have been angry, we could have been injured, we could have been killed.

    On the way, middle son had been talking about being homesick for the city and asking why everything that has happened to us has happened the way it has. I was telling him that everything happens for a purpose, even if we can’t see that purpose, even if we can’t see any meaning or reason or rhyme in any of it for years. It will all work out.

    “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

    So now I am challenged to make a practical application and to believe what I was telling him.

     
    • orthodoxmom3 11:04 am on July 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you are okay.
      Your son’s question is the hardest to answer…the one I think we always search an answer for. I struggle with this one. I believe it’s true to an extent… but I don’t think God is necessarily the reason things happen certain ways as some people answer me…I think God is who gives us an opportunity to make something good out of even the most awful things. Maybe guide your son into looking for opportunities? Just a thought…

      Like

    • lillbjorne 8:31 pm on July 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      We play a lot of the ‘Glad Game’ (as in Pollyanna), and make a special effort of looking for things to be grateful for. But for some reason he does seem to have a tendency toward negativity so we have to keep at it!

      Like

  • Mrs Chakotay 2:40 pm on June 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , faith, , Journey   

    Journey continued 

    I wrote my ‘Journey of Faith’ in 5 parts, and then almost immediately decided to remove them (I may post them back up – I do like to retain my ‘woman’s right to change her mind’).

    But I realised that, in a sense, I was only sharing half the story, essentially the physical – which churches I was part of and how I had moved and how my basic beliefs changed over time. But really I think it was the height of arrogance to claim that my faith has ‘survived’ while another’s has not.

    The other half, the underlying spirituality, has been and is an ongoing struggle.

    Here’s the whole truth of it.

    I have moved from fundamentalism to a grace-based understanding, but I am aware that my basic frame of reference is essentially quite Puritanical and it is something I constantly have to battle against. I can’t really have fun without feeling guilty.

    I feel as though all my life I have been doing a dance, playing a game, with God as my distant partner, in which God hides just out of reach and out of sight for as long as I seek Him, and when I turn around and decide I have had enough and don’t have the will or energy to pursue Him anymore, He pursues me.

    So even if I wanted not to be a believer anymore, God just won’t leave me alone! I can’t not believe. No amount of reason or logic would allow me to be an atheist.

    I am a little bit fed up with it all to be quite honest. What exactly does God want of me?

    I have been praying for life to get better, for my health to get better, for over ten years, but the answer always seems to be, “Here’s something to make it just a little bit worse.”

    I want to help people, I want to do good, I’d like to be in a position where I can do those things. But in the condition I’m in, I’m no good to anyone.

    I feel as though I have a permanently melancholy cloud over me. Maybe I’m just feeling particularly melancholy at the moment.

     
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