Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kerry goes Bolshie!

Image credit:  http://funnycollectionworld.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/angry-girl-face-photos.html
I want to have a big, cranky "vent".  I'm letting off steam a bit here, okay - so I'm giving you all fair warning, though I'll try not to be completely detrimental!

I attended church on the weekend.  The little church I have been going to is a lovely little community in so many ways.  There is a "holding loosely" of doctrinal ideas, that allows people of different persuasions to feel welcome.  There's room for discussion, and for difference.  Sometimes it looks pretty "churchified" and other times it looks pretty free and relaxed.  Sometimes, what happens there challenges or softens me and my 'Bolshie' prejudices, and other times, I think I challenge others, in a good way (at least, I hope so - a lot of the time I'm afraid I just look like that spiky, mistrustful "outsider").

Anyway... I turned up on Sunday after a couple of months absence.  It was lovely to see familiar friends.  We sang about Jesus and love.  That was beautiful.  Cathy shared communion, and it was a message of hope and gratitude.  It did my heart good.  There was a baby dedication, where friends and family gathered round and committed to supporting one another to bring up little William (he and I are good mates, in spite of our 46 year age difference) to know God's love.  Then there was a guest speaker.  I kinda think that's when "Church" (in the sense of community built around the love of God - that kind of church) finished.

He definitely got me a little off-side by starting with a "joke" that was actually rather nasty and misogynistic.  Oh well... doesn't mean he really takes that attitude, does it?  Let's see how things go... The message began with the guy saying that God had always been there for him.  So far, so good.  He recounted his born again experience, and miraculous healing of broken ribs that happened unexpectedly as he was baptised.  How he'd been filled with enthusiasm, and life had taken on new colour and meaning after experiencing God.  Okay.  But then it kind of started to sound more and more like an endorsement for Amway - oops, I mean institutional Christianity.  I began to get more and more restless in my seat as he recounted how his faithfulness to the church had resulted in "ministry" opportunities,  how friends who had originally been "on fire" for God had drifted over the years, hopped from church to church, or even ceased to attend at all - and how he could see the detrimental effects of this in their families and personal well-being.  How trusting God and being faithful in 'ministry' had led to financial blessings.  Even an awesome car.  He talked about the righteous "leaving an inheritance for their children"  which could "also" include an inheritance of faith...  By then I was definitely turning into cranky, Bolshie Kerry.  I showed my graciousness by leaving my seat quietly and only muttering under my breath.

Normally, when someone is speaking out the front in our church, it's okay to stick your hand in the air and interject - question, add something...  I wanted to do that, but because he was a "guest", and also likely not accustomed to such informality, I thought it would just appear rude.  I'm still wishing I had - though it would have been a challenge for me to do so graciously - I was getting a bit hot under the collar, so perhaps it's just as well I bit my tongue.  Or not.

Seriously!  That kind of crap makes my blood boil!  And it goes UN-QUESTIONED!!  I'm mad at myself for not challenging it at the time.  But not just that - for not BEING the antidote.  There's the sticking point.

It's easy to poke the finger at people who seem all caught up in a horrible religious culture.  Who think they are promoting God, when in fact they are only using his name to endorse the system that supports them.  And to say that this kind of "us and them" mindset is what feeds hatred and bigotry in the world.  It's easy to point out that this is all very small-minded and that God has to be a whole LOT bigger.  But unless I'm living that reality; and God is showing himself bigger in ME - All I'm going to do is add to the noise of conflict.

So my challenge to myself, is not just to talk about it, but to LIVE into a better reality.  And to put Jesus to the test - right where the rubber hits the road.  I haven't been living that out very well.  That's the truth.  I'm sorry for being spiky and difficult;  and for my own inability to love well.  Because I think the answer really does lie right there.  And next time somebody gets up in front of a bunch of people and starts subverting the message of love - perhaps I'll have the right words, and be able to say them in the right spirit.


  1. *Hug*

    Can't think of a thing to say - you said it yourself.

    Well done, my friend. That's my prayer for you and for me!

  2. Thank you, dear friend. Prayers needed! Without the love thing - I really suck!

  3. Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
    So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?
    Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
    I wait for delivery each day until three,
    So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?
    I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down.
    Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
    So oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

    Gimmee gimmee gimmee God, you big wonderful omnipresent omniscient wish fairy! I only have to believe in you, and you grant my wishes! Jesus built my Hotrod!

    And while you're at it, all you disabled, that havent got enough faith to be truly healed by the omnipresent wish fairy, why don't you "Honour the pastor" with your life savings r your disability insurance payout, he's only got one BMW Z3 in the garage. The reason why he has more than you, is cos Jesus the wish fairy, blesses him, you're obviously oor, because you're a sinner.

  4. Sigh. Yep - all that is implicit in that whole culture - which totally sucks.

    I had a similar reaction to yours re disability, when he talked about families. We are going through a divorce, and there are moments when I really wonder if my kids are going to turn out alright. Is that *really* because I haven't kow-towed to the established church??? I don't believe that for a minute!

    The irony is that Jesus was very much the opposite, and fought that kind of mentality in his own religious culture.

    It's not like that everywhere, though (thankfully) and the comment of a church friend (who was also there) this evening, that "we are just not used to that kind of christianity anymore" is encouraging. There are plenty of christians who would find it as offensive as I did.

  5. But doesn't scripture tell us:

    Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Philippians 4: 6

    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

    And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, you will receive. Matthew 21: 22

    The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
    Proverbs 15: 29

    For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that it is granted to you, and you will receive. Mark 11: 24

    Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18: 19-20

    And so on.

  6. Yes, Mr T - it does (you are quite the Bible scholar!!) and I have no problem with asking God for what I need... and have experienced him being "there in the midst" plenty of times. My beef was not that he felt he could ask God to provide... it was the implicit message that "answers" and "blessings" depended on loyalty to the institution of church. Actually, it's EXACTLY what you and I were discussing re Nietzsche (omg that's hard to spell!) - killing God in order to keep control - in such a way that he becomes a construct that lends authority to the institution - yuck!!

    1. Perhaps that membership was understood to be what constitutes 'righteous'.

  7. That's the message I was hearing... the "insidious sub-text"!!! :P (although at least it wasn't just me who thought it was terrible!)


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