April 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

talk w Pat about trees / rant - arrogant speaker / beautiful experience w Jesus / Quakers = equalist

Sunday I met with Pat for the first time since I saw the cut trees, and I talked about it with zir. (I had left a very short voice mail but had been too upset to say much at the time) I told zir that I was very upset and hurt about it, that I regretted not telling zir more of how important trees are to me -- and the fact that they do, in fact, feel -- and ze interrupted and said "What you don't know is how I felt when they cut them down. I was crying too, I was in so much pain." I absorbed that for a second and then asked, of course, "then why did you do it??" and ze said that ze "had to" and I felt a flash of annoyance before ze went on to explain that ze needed more light in order to truly live. Ze said that the shade of the trees in front of the house (which is facing up a hill) made zir feel that ze was living in a cave, and it was depressing enough being alone for the first time in 27+ years, so ze was afraid that if ze didn't bring more light in ze might hurt more than ze could bear. When I heard that I felt such relief, because I know the trees would have been willing to die that ze might live, and it was for a real reason -- not just to grow grass like everybody else. Also, ze is planning on using the wood, which helps. And ze said that ze had wanted to keep two of the dogwoods but the worker had told zir that it would be a mistake because of how close they were to the house, so they were cut too. So Pat suggested that ze and I could get two baby trees and plant them in a different spot ♥ I almost started crying right there in the coffeeshop.

I also went to church with zir -- to Liberty, where I haven't been in AGES. I'll get the crankypants stuff out of the way first. The message was mostly good, but there were several serious issues. 1) Ze spoke of 'unhealthy' comparisons, as if there are healthy ones; 2) Ze used a biblical example and completely contradicted zirself. The story was about Saul, an arrogant king, and David, a young soldier. They go off to battle and when they come back the women all come out and sing "yay Saul for killing thousands and yay David for killing tens of thousands" which was simply celebrating each person for their own achievements (if you consider killing an achievement), and SAUL took that and added the judgment 'ONLY' and drew the comparison. But the speaker this night blamed the women for bringing up the difference and said that if ze were Saul, ze would have 'fired a worship team' which was supposed to be a joke, but I thought it highlighted the fact that ze was even more arrogant than Saul, so I didn't find it funny. also; 3) Ze went on about how competition was good without ANY biblical basis for such a ridiculous claim, using the 'logic' that children perform better when they compete in spelling bees etc. That's out of a FEAR of losing which if you read the Bible is the opposite of love and therefore to be avoided HELLOOOOOOOO. ARGHHH. Not to mention that it is TERRIBLY irresponsible to give a message in church and include personal opinion without a disclaimer that it is personal opinion. 4) ALSO ze started out the message by 'jokingly' comparing zirself unfavorably to the pastor for whom ze was filling in!!!

Anyway I was getting so pissed that I very nearly raised my hand several times, but I chickened out or got polite, I'm not sure which, and so I went up to zir afterward and talked to zir. I brought up point #2 first (without mentioning the arrogance inherent in firing people for being honest about you), and ze was like "yeah yeah, that's what I said" which I was like wtf but didn't contradict zir (enough contradictions going on already!!) and brought up point #1, asking what, to zir, was a healthy comparison. Ze gave me an example of saying that I was like zir sibling, obviously willing to trod my own path and speak up for what I thought (to which I was like, hm, I doubt you like your sibling), and I responded by saying that I think the nice words would be just as effective without the comparison and therefore it wasn't useful. Then ze brought up how competition is 'good' and at this point I was like, ze is not listening so I just said "well, that's a whole 'nother thing" and ze said yeah and I said it was nice to see zir (which is true, but not because I like zir) and left.

To me, the test of a leader/teacher/pastor is how humble (and compassionate) they are, how willing to at least LOOK for inconsistencies. I was a lot more polite than I am being in this post (yes, I do know how to be polite, I just reserve such frivolities for people who dislike blunt discussion) but ze was absolutely unwilling to admit that ze had made any error. To me it was a pretty big error to blame the people who were celebrating each person for who they were, rather than to blame the person who took that as a judgment, especially when the message was about not comparing oneself to others! I mean, ze could have just said "hm, I didn't consider that" which was the freaking truth, instead of acting like ze HADN'T contradicted zirself.

Honestly, all this arrogance may be a personal thing, but it's also inherent in hierarchical churches. You can't have a healthy leader if ze has no one to hold zir accountable. And you can't have a healthy relationship if it is all one way, one person speaking and everyone else just nodding along. That is irresponsible on every person's part. We're all supposed to check everything with our own spirits and work out our own salvation, not take anyone's word for anything. Everyone should be able to speak up if they have a question or comment (I do remember that happening sometimes in Pastor J's sermons -- in fact, ze often asked QUESTIONS to prod people to think rather than just absorb, and included little work sheets); a sermon should be a DIALOGUE more than a lecture. If you are not permitted/encouraged to respond, challenge, question, then it's not learning, it's entertainment. Furthermore a service should be about MUTUAL learning and the pastor should ASSUME that ze will miss something or get something wrong and look FORWARD to that, rather than acting as if ze knows everything. Until that one day when I messed with Pastor J's new-favorite-doctrine, for YEARS we would talk after the sermon; sometimes me telling zir the things it made me realize, sometimes me asking for clarification, sometimes me pointing out an inconsistency. And ze was always humble and curious, definitely listening and considering what I had to say -- until that last time. It still baffles me a little that ze went so insanely out-of-character, but anyway.

I plan to go to Liberty this Saturday night, just for worship (and maybe to see the Wynnes). I miiiiiiight stay for service but if it gets too annoying/offensive I give myself permission to get up and leave. I wonder if PJ has changed...

---(end rant)---

Backing up to before the sermon, the worship was good (even if they did sing the same song the whole time, and even though I had to alter the words a bit to make them fit -- Jesus is not my king/ruler, ze is my friend). The really amazing part came when they did an altar call (where people who want special prayer come up to the front). I hesitated for a bit because I wasn't feeling especially moved by the worship or especially needy, which are usually my reasons for going forward, but I decided to go up anyway. The second I stepped in front of the pews I felt a wave of love and such a warm embrace that I gasped -- I really wasn't expecting anything! And then as I opened myself up I heard Jesus say in a laughing, loving way, "I haven't forgotten you" which made me start crying because I hadn't realized until that moment that I feel like the christian church (with all its laws and judgments) steps between me and Jesus, and I didn't think I would be able to connect with zir that way ever again. After a minute ze continued, "I know you haven't forgotten me, and I haven't forgotten you either, silly." I mentally responded, "but, it seems like everyone else wants to relate to you as a king/ruler, and spend all their time on their face at your feet." Ze said, "maybe, and that way is valid/appreciated, but your way is valid, too, and I really like it [[no comparison in this, just an appreciation for the specific way that I relate to zir]]." Then for a while I just stood in zir presence and felt zir presence around me like a warm cloud, while ze showed me images of the two of us -- holding hands, standing next to each other with zir arm around my waist, hugging. It was so incredibly wonderful and so incredibly clear -- I've never communicated with zir so clearly before! It makes me laugh a little now, to think how I had to leave the church to deepen my relationship with Jesus.

After the worship was over, the spouse of the speaker gave a message from God/dess to the "young [person] in the green jacket" -- my parent Pat *giggles* Apparently Pat had gone up too, because the message-giver spoke of "the thing that [Pat] went forward to give to God," saying that God was going to exchange it -- not as an equal trade, but taking the suffering/sorrow and giving in exchange "a life more beautiful than you can imagine." I started crying (again! it was a weepy day) because those were almost the very same words I had spoken to Pat when I was encouraging zir to get a divorce -- I said that ze had lost zirself, and didn't know who ze was, but that when ze learned how to be zir trueself zir life would become more wonderful than ze could ever imagine. I felt both overwhelmed with happiness for Pat (who is more likely to trust God's words over mine) and deeply loved/affirmed that God was saying things in (almost) my words, to encourage me that yes, it is going to happen, and my parent IS going to taste life in all its splendor, ze IS going to overcome all the years of abuse and be FREE.

Then on Monday aliyna mentioned a 'what religion are you' quiz and I went hunting and found a very insightful, balanced, and accurate quiz which is a little behind the times as they don't provide blogging code, but I encourage you to try it out anyway -- it's the only worth-your-time quiz I've taken in a very long time. It made me think! and the results were quite interesting!

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (95%)
3. Liberal Quakers (90%)
4. New Age (87%)
5. Reform Judaism (84%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (78%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (74%)
8. Bahá'í Faith (71%)
9. Sikhism (71%)
10. Jainism (70%)
11. New Thought (70%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (69%)
13. Hinduism (68%)
14. Theravada Buddhism (60%)
15. Secular Humanism (54%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (53%)
17. Taoism (53%)

(there were more results but they were under 50% so not worth posting)
Having such a high Liberal Quaker score reminded me that someone had suggested them to me a while back, so I went looking to see what exactly they believed. I always thought they were some kind of hyper-conservative Christian denomination, a throwback to the Puritans, so I was floored when I read what their values and services consist of.

They are absolutely the most equalist group I have ever heard of. They endeavor to speak in such a way as to treat everyone equally!!!!!!! which is where the 'thee' and 'thou' come from as apparently 'you' used to be more formal/distant. And why they call everyone 'Friend' and refused to use titles. And, stolen from wikipedia: "Friends believe that all people are created equal in the eyes of God. Since all people embody the same divine spark all people deserve equal treatment." And they actually LIVE THIS by making changes in society to create equality! They impose no doctrine -- instead, they embrace reliance on personal relationship/experience with/of God/dess. It was founded by Christians but is inclusive of other belief systems as well, even nontheists. And the thing that made me clap, shriek, and bounce in my chair -- their meetings consist of mainly silent meditation, with people getting up and speaking as they feel moved to do so. No one person telling everyone else what to do; no power-over, only power-with. Oh. My. God/dess. I could really go on forever -- do you know how LONG I have YEARNED to find a group of people that pays more than lip-service to equality??? In speaking of equality for all I shouldn't have to specify queers too, but yes, queers too. ;-)

So I went hunting for Quaker meetings in my area and hopefully I will go to my first one this Sunday (First Day, hee hee)!!! :D

omg this is embarrassingly long :-O I'm working on a music post though, so you shall be rewarded for your perseverance :D

sounds: Kate Havnevik -- "You Again"
connecting: , , , , , ,

back to top

mermaiden ══╣╠══
I'm sorry the fill-in pastor was not-so-great-actually. :/ I wonder, sometimes, how some people can be so contradictory... do they assume people will just be falling asleep and not listening? Probably. ;D

Oooh, I'm so excited for you and your first Quaker meeting! I've only ever wonderful, wonderful things about them. I hope it ends up being fabulous, hon~ *love*
Isis and Osiris
collectively ══╣Isis and Osiris╠══
I was raised in a very liberal Quaker Meeting. :) Even though I identify more as pagan now, I will always have a soft spot for Quakerism, and feel a connection with it. I agree with you; I always loved how everyone is treated as equals, and that there is silent meditation and speaking as you feel moved to, rather than one person or preacher seen as the authority. I always felt very accepted by Quakers, even as I started to move in a less Christian and more New Agey/nature-loving direction. I hope you have a wonderful time on your first Sunday! Let us know how it goes, if you can, I would be very interested to read your first impressions, as someone who hasn't experienced a meeting before.
Spiritual lotus
jenniology ══╣Spiritual lotus╠══
One of my friends is a Quaker - as is zir family. It's a beautiful path!

I'm so glad you had such a strong connection with Yeshua. :) Amazing!
aliyna ══╣╠══
Oh cool, Bel! I'm wicked glad that my posting that caused you to have such a super discovery. Also I apologize for not linking to BeliefNet and causing you to have to hunt for it, =D
folkchick3 ══╣Wings╠══
I am so glad to hear that there was a reason for the removal of the trees. This to me is a reminder to myself of the importance of speaking my heart - things are sometimes not what they seem. On the surface it looked like exactly what you thought it was, but in the end it was not. How brave and strong of you to speak your soul - I am glad you found reward for it.

Quakers are amazing people, from their inclusive acceptance to the fact that they were some of historys earliest abolitionists. I hope you find joy with them, it sounds as if your heart already has! This is wonderful news.

I often think (with sadness) that the church as an entity sometimes comes between Jesus and his children. I think that is one of the saddest things ever. I am so glad that you were able to connect, free from liturgical stricture, free from critical examination, free from categorization... just you and the Presence. One of my old Pastors used to say "There is a complicated and specific ritual to speaking with God. First, you say "hey God?", and then he says 'Yup??" and that is all there is to it." I always loved that. How wonderful it is to discover that even when we travel away, Jesus comes with us, whether we acknowledge Him or not. You sound so joyful in this post, so irridescent and glowing. You have such amazing light.
ladywind ══╣╠══
Your old Pastor sounds like a pretty well grounded cat. <3

I've quoted your comment here, and added a link to help shed light on the line. :)
paravati ══╣╠══
That Belief O Matic quiz is one of my favorites! It's even in the sidebar on my journal page; I love it so much.

I was a liberal quaker for many years but lately it's been telling me I'm reform Judaism. Hrm.
suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
Sometimes when you write about your view on Christianity/Jesus/Christian concept of God, I feel a good bit less alone. I had a horrible talk with Bobby (significant other) about Catholicism, which he doesn't believe in but was raised in and still for some reason follows and I just don't understand at all. I walked away from it feeling really alone spiritually. It was nice to come here later and read this. When you said you changed the words to the song because Jesus is not your king/ruler, but your friend, I felt my heart grow so much lighter.

I think I'm going to post in depth soon, maybe tonight, about my exact spiritual perspective, or as exact as I can make it.

Thanks for that, really. I know you didn't set out to do it, but you really improved my day! It was like a hug with words.
suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
Also, I really liked the quiz. It gave me much to think about and also made a loooot of sense to me how it turned out!

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (93%)
3. Neo-Pagan (90%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (88%)
5. Reform Judaism (88%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (83%)
7. New Age (81%)
8. Baha'i Faith (80%)
9. Jainism (79%)
10. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (75%)
11. Sikhism (75%)
12. Orthodox Judaism (72%)
13. Hinduism (69%)
14. Orthodox Quaker (67%)
15. Islam (65%)
16. New Thought (64%)
17. Taoism (55%)
18. Scientology (55%)
19. Secular Humanism (53%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (47%)
lynx - branch overhead
tralfamadore ══╣lynx - branch overhead╠══
Oh my goodness, what a beautiful truth came from your questioning of the trees. I believe I said once in my journal that heartbreak comes from misunderstanding, and I think this is an incredible example of just that. You are so brave for questioning and asking for clarification about what happened, and it's wonderful that you were so willing to share your thoughts. What happened is unfortunate, but Pat's reasons and zir sorrow for engaging in the cutting down are wonderfully pure. And planting trees together with one another, OH! How absolutely magical of a thing to be able to share. Perhaps you could also now return to give thanks for the trees that did give their lives so that ze can live a more freed, brighter life.

I've recently become extremely interested in the power of crystals, meditation, and personal worship in my definitions of spirituality. Following a link to a community you are a part of, I discovered a place where people share the altars they have set up for themselves. Reading the posts therein and remembering the times that you have spoken about yours has made me want to set up my own. I'm currently looking for objects which represent a deep spiritual power I feel in myself, of tools of worship and thanks. I've also been searching for groups or fellowships that exist within my own community, but so far that search has been rather fruitless. I won't give up, though.

I have to thank you for this quiz. There's a part of me that's always said it's not important for me to define or have labels set to my spirituality. In a lot of ways I've always believed that those set a limit on actions and beliefs. But perhaps it's because I've never had the right labels to assign before. This quiz has helped me begin to know where to look for resources and how to research those things that are important to me in the setting of fellowship.

If you might be interested, here are the results for me which earned a 50% or higher:

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Mahayana Buddhism (92%)
3. Liberal Quakers (90%)
4. New Age (90%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (89%)
6. Jainism (84%)
7. Reform Judaism (79%)
8. Hinduism (78%)
9. Theravada Buddhism (76%)
10. Baha'i Faith (74%)
11. New Thought (72%)
12. Sikhism (72%)
13. Scientology (71%)
14. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (63%)
15. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (58%)
17. Taoism (56%)
18. Secular Humanism (51%)
19. Islam (50%)
frecklestars ══╣╠══
If you are not permitted/encouraged to respond, challenge, question, then it's not learning, it's entertainment.

This is amazing. I want to post this on my wall.

The Quaker meeting sounds like it will be a good experience. I look forward to reading about it. :)
we cannot let injustice thrive
smurfb1ue ══╣we cannot let injustice thrive╠══
I'm glad you've found a group of potentially like-minded people to share your life with. The Quakers are actually a quite fascinating group ... my beliefs closely follow the Orthodox Quaker beliefs (like pacifism etc.) though I don't attend a Quaker church. Some friends of mine had a Quaker wedding several years back, and one of the main parts of the ceremony was a time of silence. Everyone was silent until both the bride and groom mutually decided to break the silence. It was very cool. Extremely hot, but a wonderful fifteen minutes in the wedding.

I also loved this: If you are not permitted/encouraged to respond, challenge, question, then it's not learning, it's entertainment. Too often, I think, church has become entertainment. It's goal isn't to facilitate learning and growth but to amuse. Religion as a whole seems to be about who can collect the most followers to their "cause" rather than speaking truth and love.
bellerisa ══╣catface╠══
I am so relieved that you were able to have that talk with Pat and truly understand why what happened with the trees happened.
optimistic7 ══╣╠══
This is the best 'embarrassingly long' post I've ever read :D
First the truth about and happy outcome to the tree story, then the What religion are you quiz. I had no idea that so many religions existed, never even heard of most of the ones on my list. I am now on a mission to research them all.
So the post was heart warming, informative and very useful. Thank you :)
darkpool ══╣╠══

Honestly, all this arrogance may be a personal thing, but it's also inherent in hierarchical churches. You can't have a healthy leader if ze has no one to hold zir accountable

?? Heirarchical churchs do have someone to hold them accountable, but you seem to be saying the opposite?

I find that tendency towards meaningless sermons with no basis to be high in megachurchs. Having a firm basis in scripture can be offense and people tend to flock more to places where they don't have to think because the message has little to think about anyway. It's kind of annoying, sometime it seems like they just get up there and start spouting whatever comes into their head. not that one needs to have s trict outline for every sermon but... It drives me nuts when people say Yay! that's the word of the LOrd and I'm thinking ummm, no it's not....

painted_dreams ══╣morrissey╠══
I have always had much respect for the Quakers. They are some of the most open minded and compassionate people. True love and faith right there....

I am glad to hear that the trees weren't cut down in vain. It is good that you will be replanting some trees to the home...
rapidrabbit ══╣╠══
1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. New Age (96%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (91%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (87%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (83%)
6. Liberal Quakers (79%)
7. Secular Humanism (69%)
8. Taoism (69%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (69%)
10. New Thought (68%)
11. Scientology (68%)
12. Reform Judaism (65%)
13. Sikhism (56%)
14. Jainism (55%)
15. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (52%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (50%)

*glares at results* A couple of Christianities snuck in there! Sneaky bastards.... :-P

I understand your frustration with a spiritual leader who does not accept discussion/criticism/anything other than fawning praise over their lecture. Personally, I think church sermons should be approached in some ways like a classroom, and the class who gets talked to and never asked their opinion on a subject never learns anything. It's a stagnant environment created to make listeners regurgitate doctrine rather than form their own thoughts and opinions on a subject. I'm not fond of that sort of scenario (to say the least).
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I love that you were able to connect with Jesus so well. I really think zir path is worthy of following as it is one of compassion and acceptance.

That pastor would have annoyed me as well. One thing I cannot stand is arrogance in a leader! A leader is supposed to be humble and help others find their path, not just make claims and rant like this pastor seems to have.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.