“Enjoying God” Series on Hiatus; Focus on Christian Atheism Begins
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For at least a week.
During the week, I intend to live as (demi-)atheistically as I can. I’ll probably fail since some knowledge of God has always been a part of my life, and intensive knowledge of God has been a habit for 12 years. What will change?
Unfortunately, not that much.
- I won’t be going to church this Sunday. I am not planning on oversleeping to miss it; I just will make a purposeful decision not to go.
- I will still be reading the devotional plans on my iPhone, courteously provided for free through YouVersion. But since I’m spiritually struggling, they’ve been nothing but words on a page.
- Not actively praying. My prayer life is minimal at best (maybe a formal prayer once a week?) so it looks like I’m not changing my habits much. Besides, I’ve been praying for various things (and for various people) for a while now and none of those prayers have been answered. Why bother?
Insight into this decision can probably be gleaned from my last post, “Day 32 of Enjoying God: Faith (or lack thereof).” But I do have a few more reasons as to why I’m making a conscious decision to (kind of) stray away from my faith for a week.
I’ve been struggling with depression again and been feeling rather isolated and alone. I don’t want to whine too much about this but it’s been getting more and more difficult to accomplish daily and weekly tasks—if they get accomplished at all.
He’s been struggling with a severe spiritual and emotional depression too, and while I keep trying to be hopeful and optimistic about things, that’s not in my nature, that’s not who I am. I am crumbling under the weight of trying to keep our happy boat afloat. He is angry with God, and if God isn’t going to back me up on my arguments in His favor, then I’m just going to give up. There’s nothing I can do.
I don’t know what to expect from church anymore. In reading tons of Christian books, the emphasis is always on community in terms of a church context. It sounds nice in theory; in practicality, it doesn’t work in American culture. And if it does work, it’s certainly a limited experience in the Northeast/mid-Atlantic states. I no longer know what a church community means or what to expect from it. I’m not even sure how to contribute to it. Sunday morning is a joke. I go to a “worship service,” put in an hour and a half of sitting there, and then engage in superficial conversation with others about how life is just fine and dandy. We go to our respective homes and don’t talk to each other for another week or so. This isn’t community; this is being a nice acquaintance.
My husband and I are struggling spiritually, possibly on the brink of walking away from our faith and I get the sense that no one in our church really cares. So we may actually succeed in just walking away unnoticed. If no one else cares, neither do we.
I admit it: I haven’t made the transition from teenage friendships to adult friendships very well. I keep wishing that I had my Sex and the City-like girlfriends to hang out with on a weekly basis (REAL women actually do this!) so we can all talk about our problems and brainstorm on different solutions. I keep wishing that I were still 16 and still able to call up a number of my friends so we can chat for hours about how miserable we are and know we’re not alone. But I’m a childless loser and the only one with time to lay around in bed all day feeling sorry for myself. Everyone else has their kids that they run after or their busy lives to keep up with. My husband has no Christian accountability, and unfortunately, he’s not the most proactive friend which leaves him isolated and alone, which leaves ME as his only friend. I love my husband but it gets tiring and frustrating to feel like he doesn’t have any male friends to turn to, to encourage him, and to hold him accountable.
God and Jesus
From what I gather in the four gospels, Jesus, son of God, is a really awesome guy. The more I read of him, the more I like him. I like Jesus; I want to be his follower. Then there’s God the Father who is really living up to the Old Testament image I have of Him. He’s cruel, mean, and silent in the lives of people who have tried to do as well as they can by him. According to the Book of Job, He gives no real reason for allowing suffering in the lives of people (especially those who believe in Him, trust in Him, and devote their lives to Him) other than He can. (See Job 38-41.) I can’t ever be a full atheist because I believe God exists. I’m not agnostic because I do believe in the God of the Bible; I think that while God can be nice, patient, generous, and all the wonderful attributes that are highly praised, He can have a really mean streak. Not that I want to get on God’s bad side, but I’m just being honest. My husband is having a hard time understanding a God who requires worship and I’m in no place to logically explain that without offering platitudes.
So a week of demi-atheism is in order. Beginning tomorrow I will write the most MUNDANE posts about how I lived atheistically, likely titled “A Week in the Life of a Christian Atheist.”*) They will probably be rather short. But I’ll probably also write about how I failed (ie, “I just couldn’t resist listening to Pastor Mark condemn yoga and Avatar but praise Jay-Z’s genius lyricism!”).
At the end of the week, I’ll score my progress and see how good I’d be at walking away from God.
*I attribute my knowledge of the “Christian Atheist” phrase to Pastor Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv.
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