Halloween, Reformation, and Independence

I find it interesting that my Independence Day falls on Reformation Day. I don’t expect all my readers to know the details about it, but here are the basics:

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a dude named Luther. His teachings radically reformed Christianity, and even formed a denomination (called, you guessed it, Lutheranism! Wow, y’all are a smart lot!). Luther, more or less, decided enough was enough and nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche, a castle church in Wittenberg in 1517. This sparked the Reformation. That’s a very barebones version, and likely not the most historically accurate. I’m not a profound theologian.

It’s certainly interesting. This day is also Halloween – grim grinning ghosts, candy, trick or treat, and more. Halloween was banned when I was a kid because, you see, Jesus wouldn’t go door to door begging for candy. Clearly.

But when I think of 31.10, my brain goes back to a different place. 31.10.2005. I was 18 years old, and a senior in high school. A few days later I got the rest of my possessions out of my father’s apartment, but that was it. It’s hard to believe I’ve been away from him for six years. It’s hard to believe where I was when I was 18. I was still cutting at the time. I was deep in depression (understandably! I had faced things that no one ever should, and made decisions that some adults never have to make). My father later sent me emails chastising me for my decisions.

It gets more complicated because this anniversary also marks the shattering of my faith. Up until this point, I was pretty confident in my faith. But when I went to the church for help and assistance with a difficult, painful choice, and was turned away, my heart broke. When they helped him (note: he needed help, he NEEDS help so badly. But he didn’t get what he needed and it breaks my heart. I still want nothing more for him to get the help he needs) instead of helping me and literally turned me away, then I got angry and bitter.

This is a song I remember hearing on Christian radio a far amount those days:

She fools all of her friends into thinking she’s so strong,
but she still sleeps with the light on
and she acts like it’s alright on
As she smiles again
And her mother lies there sick with cancer
And her friends don’t understand her
She’s a question without answers
Who feels like falling apart
And she knows, she’s so much more than worthless
She needs to find a purpose
She wonders what she did to deserve this
And she’s calling out to you
This is a call, this is a call out…
This Is A Call – Thousand Foot Krutch

I think this song sums up that time frame well. Replace mother with “grandfather” (who died the summer after I graduated high school) and there you have it.

I don’t know anymore. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever recover from what my father did to me. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I will and it will always shape a part of my personality.

But sometimes, oh sometimes, I wish when my insomnia is rampant I could pick up my phone and cry to my Daddy. I wish that I could find a friend to get in a car with and drive home, knock on the door, and shock him by showing up randomly. Oh, how I wish beyond wishing that I had a Daddy. But I NEVER had a Daddy – I had a father. And at times, since I don’t speak to either parent, I feel orphaned. It makes for some really awkward moments in class some times. For example: “How did your parents parent you when you were five?” Cue instant panic attack from me trying to avoid thinking about it. We had to do a family survey in adol. psych and thank GOD the prof bailed me out when she took one look at my face and could tell it was distressing me.

Gosh. As much as people say it’s boring to be normal, trust me, this is one place where I’d love to be normal. Trust me.

I sit here locked inside my head

All your insults and your curses
Make me feel like I’m not a person
And I feel like I am nothing
But you made me, so do something
‘Cause I’m fucked up because you are
Need attention, attention you couldn’t give
I sit here locked inside my head
Remembering everything you said
This silence gets us nowhere, gets us nowhere way too fast
Staind – For You

How long before you screw it up?
And how many times do I have to tell you to hurry up?
With everything I’ve done for you,
the least you can you do is keep quiet
Be a good girl,
you gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn’t good enough
to make us proud
Alanis Morissette – Perfect

Mommy, don’t you love me?
Then why do you hurt me?
Daddy, don’t you love me?
Then why did you hit me?
Well I tried to make you proud,
but for crying out loud
Just give me the chance to hide away
Exhaustion takes over,
won’t this someday be over?
Jars of Clay – He

I can’t stop obsessing over the fact the anniversary is coming. I can’t stop thinking about it. I want to stop thinking about it, but my stupid brain won’t turn off. I want to be free from this crap.

I just want to be free.

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.

I don’t know when, but a day is gonna come

“Is it true what I heard about the Son of God?
Did He come to save, did He come at all?
And if I dried His feet with my dirty hair
Would He make me clean again?”
– Bright Eyes, “I Don’t Know When But A Day Is Gonna Come.

I suppose it’s healthy in the life of a Christian (or, I reckon this could be expanded to the atheist or to the agnostic or any religion, really) to have wonders about what they believe. However, be it healthy or be it even good in the long run, it’s still frustrating to be trapped in doubt. But at times I feel that if here at a Christian college, if I admit to not having my act together, what that means to everyone else. Does it mean I’m not a good enough Christian? Does that mean that everyone is passing judgment calls on me, for not having my act perfectly together?

I’ll be frank – I struggle with viewing God as a father. For to me, a father is someone who hurts you. And trying to view a perfect, omni-everything being as that is a struggle. Does that make me a bad Christian, though? I can view God as Comforter, Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend, but I just cannot grasp the concept of Him as a Father.

I feel that sometimes when I express this to people at Northwestern that this is how I feel, that I’m somehow magically not a good enough Christian, because of things that happened in my past that were beyond my control that would taint anyone’s view. I feel that people think I’m not a good enough Christian, because of Horrible Bad Things that happened to me, and would shake up the faith of nearly anyone.

But really, instead of passing judgment calls on someone who’s been hurt beyond measure, instead of just saying “Well, the Bible says that God is your father and you should believe it”, why not reach out? Give hope? Give love?

I struggle with this. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever heal to the point where I can view God as a Father. Will I?

And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I?
Just a kid who knows he’s needy

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough
Switchfoot – “Let That Be Enough.”