Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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British Family Vacation

Back during the summer I went on a rant about how I was having one problem after another and had a moment of…less than Ruth-likeness. I was burned out.

I took a much needed break. While TheBrit’s family was here I didn’t think about work, I didn’t think about bills, and I didn’t think about home and equipment repairs. In fact, the push mower and the power washer are still sitting in the shed – unrepaired(is that a word?).  They aren’t going anywhere and it’s turned fallwinter…ish here.

Not a one of them even noticed the window with the peeling paint.  Or if they did, they didn’t mention it.

Nope.

We just had a fabulous time.  TheBrit and I were both concerned about having that many people in our house for that amount of time.  We worried for nothing.

The pool wasn’t quite ready when they got here.  They found something else to entertain themselves for a few days.  When it was ready it was lovely and our niece wore us all out swimming.

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I think they had a really nice time.  Casa de Ruth e Brit was a huge success.  It got rave reviews from his sister:

Best family holiday EVER!!

 

When we first suggested that TheBrit’s family come here we thought it would only be his mother, his sister, and his niece. His step-dad(who he really looks at as his dad) and his brother-in-law were going to stay behind. Originally it was thought that TopBrit’s health would prevent him from taking such a long journey and B-I-L-Brit has an aversion to flying.

Just before we booked the flights(months in advance), however, TopBrit and B-I-L-Brit  decided they would make the trip as well.  TopBrit worked really hard on getting his diabetic legs in tip-top shape and B-I-L-Brit bit the bullet, so to speak, and faced his fear.

Truly it seemed foolish for them not to as this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime.  They didn’t think they’d ever make the trip again.  They’ve decided otherwise now.  BritSis’ bunch is planning another trip in 2017.

Before they left his step-dad said that he’d had the time of his life.  He’d always dreamed of visiting the U.S. but didn’t, at his age and health, think it possible.

He’s not a terribly emotional man.  He doesn’t do mush.  But when we left them at the airport he had tears rolling down his cheeks.  I was fine until I saw that.  Then I teared up and had a little cry, myself.  It was hard to let them go.

I am so very glad that his health allowed him to make the trip and that he had such a lovely time.  Shortly after they arrived home TheBrit’s mum and TopBrit told us they were planning to come again next summer(2015).

Unfortunately TopBrit won’t be making that trip.  On Christmas Eve he had a massive heart attack and passed away.  His wry smile and his quick whit will be missed.

dad

Rest in peace, TopBrit.  Rest in peace.

*This has been sitting in my draft folder for several months.  This seemed like a good time to finish it. TheBrit and I will be travelling to England within the next few weeks.

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Reflections on the Journey

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know I once was a die-hard fundamentalist, creationist, evangelistic, conservative, inerrant “Word of God” girl.  When I began to explore and question that stance I learned very quickly that there are those who believe anything less than that and you aren’t a Christian.  It’s sad, really.

I was told when I got “saved” that the only thing I had to believe was that Jesus did for my sins.  Later I found out that I had to believe that Jesus was not only the Son of God, but that he was God.  Then I was told I had to believe the Resurrection, then the Virgin Birth, then the Trinity, then the literal account of Creation.  Little by little I was sucked in to the fundamentalist mind-set.  Sucked in may not be accurate.  I went willingly.  Until I was at the point of all the other fundamentalists.  Anyone who dared disagree with even one point of the Holy Book wasn’t a good Christian.  Would I ever have said that out loud…that if you didn’t believe the same things I believed you might need to check your ticket to the afterlife….nah.  That would be rude.

Recently Like a Child posted about the slippery slope in the science vs. Christianity debate.  The problem is not the fact that there is a debate.  I like a good debate.  It’s healthy and you can learn a lot.  No, see, the problem is what happens when healthy debate turns into “my God can beat your God” and “I know you are, but what am I?”.  Like a Child referenced a recent article in the NYT and a subsequent article at BioLogos.     

Using another’s viewpoint about homosexuality, creationism, the immaculate conception, or a myriad of other points as a barometer of their Christianity is kind of anti-Christian.  I don’t have to be a fundamentalist to call on the supposed words of Christ.  Whether he said them or not they are pretty good words to live by.  “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13.35)

When the discussion breaks down to the point that you’re questioning another’s faith because their beliefs don’t measure up to your standards you are treading on dangerous ground.  I grew weary of the ying-yanging.  Not the debating between theists and non-theists, but the discussions that quickly deteriorate into name calling and questioning the faith of those within Christianity.   Yes, Paul did say to test the spirits. Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.(1 John 4:1)  Once. One.time. How many times does the Bible say to “love one another”?  I lost count. You don’t have to accept beliefs you oppose.  But you do need to accept the people who believe them. 

I know that recently I haven’t blogged much.  When I have blogged it’s either been about my personal stuff or it’s been pretty snarky.  By nature I’m not really even a snarky person.  That got old for me pretty quickly.  I’d like to have reasonable, calm, respectful discussion about the issues at hand, whatever they might be.   

I’m still pretty unsure what I believe about God or whether there even is one.  Surely even if there is not a personhood of God 1 John 4:8 is true.  Whoever does not love does not have God because God is love.  And finally 1 Corinthians 13:1 speaks volumes for how people should be treating one another. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.


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Good Grief!

I alluded briefly to my existential nightmare in The Wonder of It All, and The Agnostic Wife wrote a post about the anger she felt as she dealt with her existential crisis.  The stages of grief are no different for the death of faith than they are the death of a loved one, the death of a marriage, the loss of a friend.

The reasons why should be blatantly clear, but alas I fear they are not.  Because we go through these various stages we are assumed to be turning our backs on God because we are angry or disappointed or disillusioned. That’s generally not the case at all.  Anger, disappointment, and depression are all responses to the loss;  precisely the opposite of what is typically thought by Christians to be the case.

When faith is lost this is what happens:  denial.  At first there’s shock and disbelief that what you’ve believed for so long could even possibly be false.  What?  How can this be?  Once the notion settles in that, indeed, that could be the case there’s anger; anger at oneself for having been deceived, feeling foolish that more thought and reason didn’t go into the decision to believe a given proposition to begin with. There’s anger at those who did the deceiving.  How can they live with themselves?!?  After the anger wears off there’s bargaining.  You don’t want to have been deceived.  You don’t want to be wrong.  God has been such a part of who you are you don’t want to let him go.  So you bargain, like a soldier in a foxhole.  I’ll do anything you ask, God, if you’ll just show yourself to me.  You go on a fact finding mission, looking for evidence.  Soon you realize that your religion is so much more convoluted and hazy and absolutely not absolute than you ever dreamed it was.  Confused, disappointed, disillusioned depression sets in.  You wonder how long that black cloud will follow you around.  What is the meaning to life?  What is the point to existence?  Why even get out of bed in the morning?  Slowly you realize that life does go on.  You begin to accept the uncertainty.  You begin to accept the possibility that God is not at all that you once thought he might be.

How long and how strong the individual held their given beliefs and their individual personality will determine how long and how strong their reaction and their stent in each phase.  For instance, I was in denial for the longest time. I tried my dead-level best to hang on to a young earth and the flood, looking desperately for evidence for both.  Anger at others didn’t last very long, though anger at myself is still rearing it’s ugly head from time to time.  I wonder how I could have been so ignorant.  I didn’t bargain for very long because if my beliefs and my faith taught me anything it’s that there is no bargaining with God.  I settled in to depression rather nicely. The sky was falling right on my head, slowly killing me sending me to the certain fate of hell.  But then slowly, with the help of The Tour Guide, my family, my friends and my new found iFriends I began to realize that life does go on, the grass does turn to green again and the sun rises and sets with the same beauty as before.

The reason the grief is so palpable is because, as S.W. Atwell puts it so eloquently,  in a very real sense something or someone has died.  Something inside of you, a part of you is gone.  You’ll never get it back. It may be replaced with a new something, but that piece is forever changed.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  In fact I’m finding it to be liberating and freeing.  But it will never be the same again.  One thing that I have learned is that grief is necessary and grief can be good.

What about you?  If you lost your faith did you find yourself going through the five stages of grief?

*Blame the artwork on Michael Mock for unleashing me on Gimp 2.0. :~)  I owe him a big thank you for helping me create an awesome website!