Through despair and hope, through faith and love

Seven years ago, everything was changing. Little did I know that just over a month later, everything would further spiral out of control. Me, the control freak that I am, would be left utterly helpless and shattered. How was I to know that age 18, soon everything I knew would change? How was I to know at 18, everything was going to be different soon? How was I to know that I would soon sink into utter despair, and not know when I would find hope again?

September 28, 2005 was the day I totally melted down from stress in the middle of my College Prep World History class. I remember just bursting into tears during a study period, and my teacher trying to console me. But me, being the stubborn person I am, threw up my walls and refused to let him in. Idiotic move there, Ang. Soon things would change so much. But I wonder how different it would have been had I opened up to the teacher then. But I was scared to death. I was only 18 and while legally an adult, if I told the other people at school what was going on, legal systems would be involved. Kind of funny how just over a month later, my faith in the legal system was shattered as well. Kind of funny how my faith in the church and the legal system both took a suckerpunch, and I still haven’t regained faith in the legal system.

I guess it’s kind of funny now that I’m going into the ministry. It’s kind of my ultimate “screw you, bitches!” to the people who hurt me in the church. It’s the proverbial middle finger to those who told me I’d never amount to anything, I’d never graduate college. Because you know what? I’m going to make a difference. My story of despair was not for naught, and I can turn it into hope. If I can make a difference in just one life, I will have had an effective ministry. If I can help just one teenager, just one child, if I can protect the child that others failed to protect, my work is complete.

I want to help the ones who slip through the cracks. The ones who fall to the wayside. It doesn’t matter if no one else loves them, I want to love them. To turn despair into hope, and to administer faith and love. To be someone they can trust, and not someone who will shatter everything when one of the darkest secrets come to life.

And that is my dream. One of them. The other is to work in a summer camp for disabled children, but that’s another post. Another day. Another night.

It’s bedtime. Alarm goes off too early, but it’s another little sleep night. Been too many of those lately, but not much I can do about it at the moment.

hello darkness my old friend

Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again
Beause a vision slowly creeping, left it’s seeds while I was sleeping
And the visions that was planted in my brain stil remains
With the sounds… of silence. 
– Simon and Garfunkel

I recently came across some details and information that hit me hard. And once again, it traps me in darkness and silence. I don’t want to be silent about it, but for now I have to be. And once again, I’m talking with the silence. Once again, my voice goes unheard. And I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know how to feel about that.

Details about the past that made me angry, hurt, and confused have left me feeling even more so. While the queestions are answered, the anger rages. WHY is this person still allowed in a position of authority in the church? WHY hasn’t anyone spoken out? The answer is simple – if they do. they will be hurt. And I clinch my fists in anger and rage because, just like I was when all this shit hit the fan when I was 18, I am helpless. I cannot do a goddamn thing about it, and it breaks my heart. More people can be hurt, but I have to stand there wordlessly and watch it happen.

I’ve been asked with all the shit I’ve dealt with within the church, why I am still a Christian. Why I’m not an outright atheist. Why I even want to go into the ministry.

I know that there are people hurt by the church.
I know that there are people who are standing there in the sounds of silence, unable to speak for fear of what might happen.
And I know that there’s another side.

I also have a side passion, but that doesn’t fit with this blog entry so I will blog about it later.

One day… I will leave the sounds of silence.

I said, sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here…
silent all these years. 

Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all

It’s kind of funny – at times people expect me to have so many answers because I’m a Ministry major. I feel that I’m expected to know all this stuff about Jesus, that I’m supposed to have the answers. But the thing is, I have my own doubts and struggles, and I feel that some of them would cause me to be labeled as a heretic. I hate how people automatically assume if you believe something controversial, you are automatically being heretical.

I don’t think it’s wrong to have beliefs that go against the grain. But I am terrified to make those beliefs known – because they are the cause of so much debate within the Christian community. I think it sucks that I keep silent on what I struggle with in Christianity, for fear of being called out and treated like dirt.

One of the things I personally struggle with is an issue of dogma versus doctrine, and that’s where it’s hard to speak it. I absolutely believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and fully believe they all exist. I believe that Jesus died on the cross, was crucified, buried, and rose again.

But there are things I struggle with. And the fact that I don’t feel I will be treated with respect if I made them known sucks. Knowing that people won’t think I’m a true Christian if I voice some of my struggles, sucks. 🙁

Instead let there be a flood of justice

You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There’s blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

http://unicornbooty.com/blog/2012/01/16/christian-classmates-threaten-girl-with-eternal-rape-in-hell-for-removing-prayer-from-school/

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First of all, allow me to state my opinion on prayer in schools. This view has gotten me shunned and flamed by other Christians, but I actually do not support prayer in public schools. I am fine with events such as See You At The Pole. I have nothing against the Federation of Christian Athletes. But you know what? A prayer mural has no place in a public school. In the public school system, it should be a safe place for all. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist… it should be a safe haven for all.

And really? The public education’s goal and purpose is to educate the child. MY child. Their job is not to teach my children about faith in God and religion. Christian teachers? Fine! Wonderful! They want to talk about their religion outside of the classroom and interact with my child? Sweet! But in the class room? Not cool. It’s not that person’s job to be shepherding my kid’s faith.

You know who’s job that is? That’s MY job, my FAMILY’S job, my CHRUCH’S job. We should not place that job in the hands of a public school. I am fine with my children learning about different religions even as a part of World History as knowing the religion and how faith impacted that era of history is often critical to the events. But prayer in public schools? Keep it out.

That aside, let’s look at the manner. We live in a culture, in a world, where we are told to stand out for what we believe. I can’t count the number of times in high school I was urged to “stand for what is right.” To speak out for what I believed. This is what Jessica did. And what happened? She was cruelly bullied!

This is what gives Christians a bad name. Thing is? These teenagers are likely hearing this at home. It’s what their parents believe. And frankly, it rings of the Westboro Baptist Church. (Good grief, the church’s URL is godhatesfags.com? Way to promote love there, mate!). These are NOT what true Christians are.

I often believe that these people are naturally hateful, and are looking for something to blame it on. Something they can use to help themselves not seem so hateful. After all, if we candy-coat and sugar-frost it with religion, it doesn’t seem so bad, now does it? But because people do things like this, it paints all Christians with a tainted paintbrush.

If these people want to witness to this girl? There’s other ways to do it! Talk to her about why she wanted the mural taken down. Be respectful to her. Listen to her views, and tastefully state yours. But telling her Satan is going to rape her? That you’re doing a holocaust to atheists? Tell me, how does that promote your cause? It makes you look like a righteous idiot. Christianity boils down to a doctrine of love, and this is NOT what you are promoting. You disagree with her courageous, right choice? Fine, you have the right to that. Jessica, however, has the right to feel safe in her school. She hasn’t come back to the school? THE POOR GIRL IS FEARING FOR HER LIFE!

And really? If you’re telling her that “God is going to fuck your ass” why are you serving that kind of God? That’s not remotely the kind of God that I want to serve nor IS it the God I serve. If you want people to rot in hell, I suggest you examine yourself more closely and read your Bible better. I suggest you see how Jesus responded to the Pharisees. And I suggest you examine yourself deeply because you are NOT promoting the Gospel that is promoted in Scripture.

I applaud the court’s decision. I am thrilled that the police are taking the threats seriously. I am disgusted and sickened by the students doing this in the name of religion, because it’s not what Jesus is about. And above all, I pray that Jessica finds peace in the midst of this. I pray that she has a supportive family who is helping her through this. And I hope that these students see how badly they are tarnishing the name of Christianity and get a life.

my sin, not in part, but the whole… is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the lord O my soul

“Sin is not a matter of morality. Morality may be the worst form of sin.
Said differently, to understand sin as a matter of morality is to misunderstand sin.”

I’m not quite sure I agree with this. Why is mortality the worst form of sin? How is that any worse than child abuse, murder, etc? What is so bad about morality? We are all mere mortals, we are all created mortal. And really, how can you say that “morality is the worst form of sin” when we are taught that all sins are equal? Really, in God’s eyes, aren’t we taught that a sin is a sin, and no sin is “worse” than another? True, the earthly consequences may be “worse”, but according to the Christian doctrine I’ve been taught (granted, not LCMS, but Nazarene and Church of Christ) that a sin is a sin. I’m not even sure if I fully jive with the traditional Christian concept of sin. And what if people do understand sin as a matter of morality? We are all mortals, so what is so wrong with viewing it that way? What if people do “misunderstand” sin? Does that make them worse sinners than someone else? Does that make them a bad person? I don’t think not fully understanding something is bad. Or is it meant more that “morality is the worst form of sin” that doing mortal acts is sinful? Maybe I don’t understand. Maybe I’m wrestling with this in the wrong way. Maybe I’m way missing the mark. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not doing what I should with this assignment. All I know is I’m struggling with this concept, and trying to make sense of it. That’s okay, right? It’s okay to show my struggles and where I am more “firmly grounded” (for lack of a better term) faith wise.

“While it is understandable that people in the midst of tragedy or
philosophy ask “Why does God allow x?” the source of sin and evil is never-
the-less not God.”

It’s not God? But God has the power to stop it. He has the power to “make it better.” He could have stopped so much from happening, but he didn’t. How do I explain that to someone, though? Maybe one day I’ll understand it myself, but I’m not sure I get how I get that through to someone else who has suffered more than me. I just… I grapple with it. And I hope that soon I can write about something that I’m confident about in my faith, right? Right!

Author comments:
Well, sin is always a fun topic to write about. And it’s one I struggle with. I don’t even know if I view sin in the traditional Christian way or that I really know what I’m writing about. It’s hard to write about, that’s for sure.

All To Him I Owe

“And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete

Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat…

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin have left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow…

Oh praise the one who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.”

It’s weird that I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately, because I’m not sure what I believe. I want to believe something. Heck, one of my majors is even ministry based! So, logic says I should believe. I should know what I believe in if I want to major in it!

I’m taking a theology class now, and I must say I’m struggling. I have so many questions about God! So many questions about Jesus! So many what, why, when, how… they swamp my mind and I’m swimming in them. Struggles. Real, intense struggles. Trapped.

And are there even answers to my questions? Or are there just questions?

is is true what i heard about the son of god? did he die for us did he die at all?

In a recent Facebook post, I posted the video Instead Of A Show by Jon Foreman, and a discussion came out about my recent ventures towards leaning agnostic. I suppose that it may be easier to write a full out blog post and explain things. I feel that some people may think this is a recent venture. It most assuredly is not. I feel judged for holding these views, for it’s not what’s expected of me. It’s not what people want to hear, and it’s not happy and candy coated. It’s raw pain, raw anguish, and raw emotions.

To give a little background, I was raised in an Armenian church. Now, I don’t think a Calvinist is right/Armenianism is right is legit in this post, and I may very well explore that later. For now, I think knowing that I was raised in that type of church (and very conservative at that), is likely somewhat relevant to where I am now.
I attend a very Conservative Christian college with a strong Bible requirement. I feel that it is, in many ways, filled with cookie cutter Christians, ones fit neatly inside a box and anyone who doesn’t fit that mold is up the creak without a paddle. Even when I was a hardcore Christian, I felt judged because I don’t fit the standard molds. My views weren’t traditional, and were even likely unorthodox in many ways.
Here I am, at the brink of a college transfer. And here I am, bordering on agnosticism. I believe that there is something out there, some light or force that is greater than you or I. But I also don’t know that that source is. I don’t know if it’s a divine omni-everything God. I don’t know if it’s a God who sent his Son to die for our sins. I don’t know what I belief, and I think that’s what scares me the most. After all, I was dedicated as an infant and baptize by immersion at age 14. I’ve never not known Christianity.
And so here I am, standing in my struggles. I feel like I’ve failed as a person sometimes, because I can no longer just belief. I need logic, facts, concrete proof. Being very “rough around the edges” has made me callous towards childlike belief and innocent faith, because I don’t understand how you can just had it. When all the crap hits the fan, and you’ve been TOLD all your life that there’s a God out there who wants to fix your problems and you see him not fixing it, what are you left thinking? Believing? That you’ve done Faith wrong? That God doesn’t really care for you?
It’s a complex cycle, and I don’t know how to break out of it or decide on what I believe. Because I just don’t know.