Feelings, Mysteries and More

Inspired by comments on the “Gay Marriage” post, I have been writing some things out for several days and I just can’t finish it. So I am just going to throw up the thoughts I have been having and let them stand on their own. It’s been hard for me to make a cohesive post out of it, but maybe you can help me explore it. So here it goes:

ON FEELINGS
For the most part, the Christian subculture is driven by feelings. The problem is, they don’t want to admit it. Like a teenage boy driven by his libido, there is an energy and drive to have the feeling of love, relationship and connection while throwing most rationality to the wind. Christians hope for these things, write books and songs about them, and go to services each week to nurture these feelings that they hope to receive via a personal relationship with God.

I think this is an immature, dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle. At its worst it is border-line delusional and at its best it fosters co-dependency.

How does a Christian know God exists? They feel him. How do they know Jesus is “in their heart”? They feel his presence. Who is the “Holy Spirit”? He is the spiritual GPS system, guiding Christians to fulfill the purpose for their lives. How do you know which direction to take when you are at a crossroads?? The Holy Spirit will lead you and it will be clear largely because you will reach a place of peace about your decision. While immersed in the subculture, these thoughts make sense…remove yourself from it and you can see it for what it is: Bullshit! It’s ok if you want to believe your own BS, just don’t pass it off as fact for everyone else.

ON MYSTERY
The tendency of Christians is to think that atheists or agnostics do not believe in mysteries and wonders, while they supposedly embrace them. They talk of God, Jesus and the HS as being the ultimate mystery… as “real” as anything in the material world, yet unseen.

Christians have a feeling inside them about these things that make them real, like the feelings one has when being in love or watching a sunset. “If I feel it in my heart, it must be real”, they say. While seeking to explain these they point to scriptures…for now in reading the Bible it all seems to make sense and the unexplainable becomes real. There are no longer mysteries.

Christianity seeks to explain mysteries, make sense of the unknown, have answers to life’s most perplexing questions. However, what I have discovered is this: In Christianity there are no mysteries. Everything is God’s plan, His will, His way…no mystery there. If there isn’t an answer readily available, you extrapolate one from a myriad of verses in the Bible or you always have the go to line: “We may not know why, but God does. We must have faith in Him!” Once that is said every Christian now “feels” better.

WHERE I AM NOW
For me the real mystery has been leaving the safety of the Christian subculture and leaping from the cliff of faith and falling into the darkness of doubt. Being honest that I didn’t “know know” anything was a very big key for me… because I don’t. If Christians would just take a step back and listen to their own self-talk that keeps them connected into the Christian subculture, they would be amazed. I also think they would be healthier and happier. I know they’d feel better.

7 thoughts on “Feelings, Mysteries and More”

  1. great post steve,This quote comes to mind: “There’s really only one thing that’s wrong with the chruch: people.” My dad told me that once…he’s a pastor/church-planter in Germany.I think most of all this comes down to our human need for security. We like to feel safe, and thus pastors, having assumed some measure of responsibility, feel the need to provide that safety. That’s not really the way church was designed, and thus things start breaking down. It’s sad to me, because most of this is all so well meant, but the minute we start thinking we can come up with a better solution than the Creator, everything goes south.It’s revealing to me how defensive I’ve become lately at being called a Christian. I find myself having so little in common with this group being referenced so frequently here. I’m not saying I’m better by any measure…just different. Maybe the label is just silly…I will have to come up with a new one for myself!I’ve always found my journey with God to be highly personal. This whole idea of church has been far more a social thing for me than anything else. I have been apart and tried so many different types and verieties of churches, and most often they have left feeling empty and/or dirty. I can honestly say that I’ve found a place that is entirely unique to me. It’s not some fancy upstart with a hip new name, and the people that go there–for the most part–just seem to be fellow travelers like me. There is no membership, or holy doctrine to which we all must submit, just people trying to make sense of it all.I think this whole feelings thing is tricky. We obviously have them, and to dismiss them would be ignorant. However, including spiritual feelings in our life, balancing and understanding them can be near impossible. I personally love the challenge and hope to have the fortitude to keep getting up after falling on my face repeatedly.Mysteries. I believe that something can still be a mystery even after I haved submitted to the idea that it might be God’s mystery. This also falls very close to that whole security blanket issue.

  2. Steve I agree that Churches are emotional and they tend to trigger emotions “on-cue” However I am not ready to call my experiences with God , bullshit. I really believe I have encountered God in and out of Churches. I have also been in Churches and felt nothing when all the cues were in place. I think there is a lot of bullshit going on but I also believe God is real and does show up. It is hard to prove God exists. I just know he is real I have questioned what Churches teach and I still have faith. Steve, do you still believe in Christ? I am curious. Not condemning you in any way. Just wonder where you are at.Im not ready to throw out the whole baby just because some assholes have polluted a lot of the bathwater with bullshit

  3. “For the most part, the Christian subculture is driven by feelings. The problem is, they don’t want to admit it” (Steve)I agree – the majority of services I attend – in the more Evangelical Christianity – is feelings based. I never really knew how sucked in I was to that mentality until I started viewing it from the outside. My faith in God did partially rely on how I felt – but this was something i also worked on very early in my Christian walk. Still, I saw what depending on feelings did to people – it made some them worse than they expected even. “In Christianity there are no mysteries. Everything is God’s plan, His will, His way…no mystery there” (Steve)That’s too bad – but it is true in a lot of Christian circles. This is one of the reasons I ignore discussing things with Christian pastors – they are just too sure. That type of assurance can be good – but also if the answers get strange – can be scary. I think my faith retains that aspect of mystery – in that – I am always moving along in my faith – learning new things – seeing that faith is not in the bible readings, the prayer, or the worship – but in the living of it from day to day. Faith makes the most sense when it is applied to all arenas of life; and not just within the safe spaces of a church community (which almost seems to ‘yes men’ for me). Christianity seems to be offering safety – but it’s a safety they try to make happen and not one that simply relies on God. “I think if Christians would just take a step back and listen to your own self-talk that keeps you connected into the Christian subculture, I think you would be amazed” (Steve)Love it! I love to talk theology with others and banter about any and all subjects in the Christian faith – mainly because i want to challenge others to think outside the box. I am not offended by the Christianeze I hear – but I wonder how sane some of that stuff really is?Certain Christian theology almost puts everything on God and nothing on the person who has faith in God. That seems very scape-goatish to me for some reason. I tend to think as a person that desires to be the best he can be – shouldn’t personal responsibility for our actions be front and centre also?

  4. Steve, I couldn’t agree with you more. I was definitely a bit of a ‘feelings addict’ back in the days of being an active participant in the Christian sub-culture. And the lack of mystery that you mentioned was quite clear in the documentary ‘The Root of All Evil?’ where Richard Dawkins interviewed Ted Haggard (before the fall). Haggard became very defensive of ‘the Book’ when challenged by Dawkins. He even had Dawkins and crew kicked out of the church. It seemed that Haggard could not handle having his certainty questioned. Really, he is only representative of the much larger Christian sub-culture domain. Mystery is incompatible with the fundamentalism so common there.

  5. Spiritbear, I couldn’t agree with you more. Yeah, Steve is right: Christians are all about the feelings despite their protestations that one shouldn’r rely on feelings. As one that has mood disorders, I always run the risk of being too high or too low and feeling-based faith is something I have to watch. Having said that, I have to conclude that Someone has had my back. I should either be fired, divorced, imprisoned or dead given the stupid shit I have pulled in my past. Yeah, I explain that mystery as God interveining in my life. I have no explaination why God hasn’t been so generous with others. That bugs me, but that this my experience. Someone has protected me from myself.

  6. I’d like to add that your run of the mill evangelical is not only about feelings but also what god can do for them. If you listen closely its all about them and their agenda. Not Gods agenda.

    I think the modern church is a bastardized version of what church was supposed to be based on the book of Acts. It’s become a roadblock between people and Christ.

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