An Online Conversation With My 17-Year-Old Self

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In 1998—the era of screeching modems and dial-up speeds we thought were lightning fast—I was one of a few people I knew who had a home internet connection and their own website. When Geocities closed down, I thought my teenage website was gone forever, but thanks to Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine, it’s still out there, kicking it late-90s style.

I was an opinionated little thing back in the day. (I’m an opinionated big thing these days.) Since I’ve been working on a memoir for the past couple of years, I’ve been super focused on my teenage years. There have been many times I’ve wanted to get my past-self’s attention and set her straight on a few things.

So, let’s do that.

Kristy, we need to talk.

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OK. First of all, nice Jack Handey reference.

But, honey, you need to go learn about the First Amendment because that’s not what “freedom of speech” means. It doesn’t mean you can say anything you want and nobody can argue with you about it.


2


Just so you know, nineteen years from now, you’re going to feel pretty damn smug about the Y2K scare.

And you remember that research paper you wrote on the Y2K bug for your senior English class? You know all those survivalist websites you read while doing research, and how you thought, “Hey, maybe this information will come in handy someday”? I’m sorry to tell you I’ve never had to help deliver a breach baby, so all those diagrams we saw are just taking up head space. Sorry.


3


You feel like people are kicking you around? Oh, my sweet summer child. You have no idea what’s coming for you next year.

I do like that barking comment. I’d make the same sort of nonsensical comparison between myself and a barking dog, though I have spellcheck so I can spell chihuahua. It only took me three tries to get close enough for the spellchecker to figure out what I was trying to say. Advancements in technology will definitely make your life easier.


4


You know what? I think people are basically good too. (But don’t tell anyone. It’ll hurt my street cred.)


5


Aw, did you really have to take a swipe at organized religion? You do realize you’re a member of a church right now, don’t you? You can be religious and have a personal connection to God, Kristy. I promise.

And I know you’ve heard a lot of noise about those Mary-worshiping Catholics, but they aren’t so bad. Most of them will be pretty nice to you, even when you’re being kind of an asshat.


6


You probably spent it all at the concession stand at the drive-in. Those burgers are the bomb! Well, they were the bomb. Sadly, nothing is the bomb in 2017. It’s a bleak world you live in now.

Also, “Where’d all the money go?” is a question you’ll be asking for the next two decades. Get used to it.


7


Right now, I kind of want to pinch you. I get it. You were told, “Get a degree, and you’ll get a great job!” We were all told that. It’s not your fault you believed it.

You know, ten years from now, you’re going to have a good paying job without a college degree. You’ll still go back to school, which is great, but it wasn’t the degree that got you anywhere. It’ll be your work ethic, willingness to help others, and miming skills that’ll get you ahead. (OK. Maybe not the miming skills. Those haven’t really come in handy yet, but I hold out hope for the future.)


My best advice to you for the future is to settle down a little. Let people disagree with you, and when they do, listen. You don’t have to change your mind, but at least listen.

Learn to be patient. Learn to be humble.

Stick with that frantic writing style you’re starting to develop. It’s the bomb.

You’re a little annoying, but I think you’re going to be OK.

Mandatory Year-end Blog Post 2015

Well, I did some stuff this year.

I read a lot of books and a couple of them made me cry. (Not, like, wimpy tears, like tough-badass-bitch tears).

My sister and I took a trip that wound up being weirdly therapeutic and obnoxiously humid. (We both cheated on our low-sugar diet during that trip. Actually, I’m still cheating on it 6 months later… so, oops? Also, my jeans have shrunk.)

I did a lot of writing. Some of it didn’t totally suck. (Some of it totally did.)

I drove an hour just to see a giant crucifix at a Catholic shrine with my hardcore Anabaptist, ex-Catholic mother. (It was pretty great.)

Cross in the Woods

I’m too lazy to come out with a clever segue (really, what’s going to top a 28′ tall Jesus?), so here’s the top 5 list.

Top Five Most Viewed Posts

That Time a Fellow Church Member Wanted to Murder Me

I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get to posting this and almost deleted the whole thing, but writing this post was one of the best things I’ve done. It opened the door for me to work on some issues I’ve had on the back burner for a long time and I’ve heard from people who say it’s helped them not to feel like they’re alone in what they’re dealing with. I’m currently about 3/4 of the way through a first draft of a memoir that covers this period of time. I definitely wouldn’t be working on that if I hadn’t gotten so much interest and support after clicking that PUBLISH button on this post back in February (and then going, “Oh shit! What did I just do?!”) Sometimes being reckless and impulsive pays off, kids.

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“I noticed something in my family’s church mailbox. It was an obituary that had been cut out of the paper. He’d replaced the person’s name with my name. The police couldn’t protect me. My church council refused to even believe I was in danger. I didn’t want to just wait around until he murdered me or my family.”

 

A Halfway House for Post-traumatic Church Disorder Survivors

Sometimes I feel ridiculous for being afraid of churches. Like, what, are the pews going to come to life and drown me in the baptismal? (Actually, that does sound pretty freaky…) I wrote this to both poke a little fun at myself (this is an accurate account of how I visit a church) and as a defense against all the people out there who love to get all up in my business and tell me to park it in a pew. The reaction I got to this post was surprising. I had no idea there were so many other people out there who feel the same way I do. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s a real problem when so many people are scared of church when they’re not necessarily scared of Jesus.

14926229827_a9d4ada8c6_k“I’ve gotten some flack for not attending church, but where do you go when church isn’t a safe place?”

 

 

 

 

Faith in the Eye of a Shitstorm

I said it on Facebook, and I’ll say it here, I really think this post was popular because it has the word “shitstorm” in the tile. You are all 12-year-olds and I love you.

“I’m supposed to say those hardships strengthened my faith. That I felt closer to God. That it gave me perspective or I had some sort of epiphany. But none of that happened. I didn’t feel closer to God. I felt ignored by God.”

 

 

True Love Waits (a little while)

Hey, everyone! It’s the post about sex! (We’re all still 12, right?) The 90s Youth Group Kids are all grown up now and some of us are a little scarred by our old purity pledges.

Love By Freely Photos“We’d garbled the gospel until it sounded like purity pledges and elevator pitch testimonies. Grace wasn’t in our vocabulary.”

 

 

 

Why My Stalker Was Never Arrested

After I wrote the first post in February about that whole stalking situation, I spent a good chunk of 2015 exploring that time of my life and trying to figure out how it could get so bad. I’ve done a lot of homework this year. I’ve dug into theological reasons (OMG, y’all, stay away from Christian Reconstructionists), cultural reasons (I’m so glad Y2K isn’t a thing anymore), and legal reasons. When people ask me about being stalked or make comments, usually they want to know about the legal reasons, so I wrote this post to explain that side of things.

“The activity in my case escalated very quickly from harassment to death threats. His attitude moved from wanting to have me to wanting to kill me in a matter of weeks.”

 

The “V Word”

Not that V Word. Get your mind out of the gutter.

The other V word. It’s the word some people co-opt because this one time their mailbox got hit by the plow truck or this one person said something they didn’t like very much.

It’s the word that gives me a jolt of revulsion when someone uses it to refer to me.

Victim.

Gross. No, not just gross. Super gross.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that word.

When well-intentioned people lob that word my way, I start swatting at my ears like I can knock it right out of the air before it hits my brain. (Go ahead. Try it sometime, but you’ll probably get hit by a flailing hand.)

I don’t see myself as a victim, so it’s wrong to hunker down under that label. That’s what bothers me so much about the word. It’s a label, and labels tend to dehumanize. I’ve had enough of that, thanks.

A victim lacks agency. A victim has something done to them. A victim is powerless.

I know some people would argue with me. So, let’s take a look at that word.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of VICTIM:
1:  a living being sacrificed to a deity or in the performance of a religious rite
2:  one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent <the schools are victims of the social system>: as
a (1) :  one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions <a victim of cancer> <a victim of the auto crash> <a murder victim> (2) :  one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment <a frequent victim of political attacks>
b :  one that is tricked or duped <a con man’s victim>

1: As far as I’m aware, I still have a pulse. So, I’m pretty sure that whole religious sacrifice thing was a bust.

2: Did I experience hardship and mistreatment? Well, yeah. But, that doesn’t make me a victim for one very big reason…

I left. I didn’t stick around and keep taking it. I made a choice, took control, and removed myself from the situation.

I’m not saying that was easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. What I’m saying is it was my choice to go. I could have stayed and continued to passively endure the threats and occasional attempts to burn me alive for being a whore. But, I was all, “Fuck that noise” and went to live next door to the Amish instead.

I know the other word you’re thinking of right now. You’re thinking, “Well, if she hates being called a victim, maybe she’d be happy with being called a survivor.”

Well, I’m going to be really difficult here and smack that one down, too.

That word carries a whole other set of baggage. A survivor is an inspiration to others. A survivor is resilient and tough. A survivor, what? Manages to not die right away? A lot of people manage to not die right away.

Am I resilient and tough? Sometimes, but not always.

Am I an inspiration? Gee, more labels.

What I really want to be called is the P word. Person.

I want to be a person who’s allowed to have the whole range of emotions that people have. I want to be able to be tough sometimes and depressed other times. I want people to understand that, yeah, some shit happened, but I lived a whole life after that. The shit that happened is part of what shaped me into the person I am, but it’s not all of what shaped me.

If you want to label me, call me obnoxious or call me snarky or bitchy or kind or whatever it is you see in me. Just don’t define me by what someone else did. That’s who he is; it’s not who I am.

So, You Think You Know Why I’m a Christian

Original photo credit:  Alex Brown

Original photo credit: Alex Brown

It’s no secret that I have some beef with Christianity. So, why do I even bother with it? (Like it or not, we’ve already established that I am a Christian.) I’ve noticed some passive-aggressive comments about why anyone would choose Christianity. So, I’m going to passive-aggressively respond (hey, at least I’m self-aware). I can’t speak for every other Christian in the world, but I can at least answer for myself.

I Don’t Know Any Better

Right. Because I’ve never met anyone who didn’t believe in God and I’ve never read anything that was critical of Christianity.

Hell, I’m critical of Christianity.

I spent over a decade outside of Christian circles. I know what my options are.

I Just Want to Fit In

I’m subversive by nature (it can be a problem). It’s part of why I sometimes have issues with other Christians.

Sometimes I do things just to irritate everyone who’s jumping on a bandwagon. Associating myself with a popular religion isn’t something I’m very comfortable with.

It Brings Me Comfort and the Promise of Healing

Are you freaking kidding me?

This is probably the most ridiculous of them all. Christians aren’t promised comfort and good health. I can’t pray away my health problems. (Don’t try to start a prooftexted Bible verse fight with me on this one. You’ll lose.)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’

Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

 

Follow Jesus. That’s so sweet. Where was Jesus going? Oh, you know, just off to be tortured and executed.

Taking up your cross doesn’t mean dealing with a mild inconvenience (as so many Christians wrongly believe). It means death and suffering. For some Christians, it has literally meant death. One good thing about growing up Mennonite is you have a good grasp on just how costly being a Christian can be. (Martyr’s Mirror, anyone?) I probably won’t be killed for my beliefs, but Christians are still supposed to die a symbolic death. We’re supposed to set aside our own desires and obey Jesus. That’s not easy or fun.

But, it’s not just the cross. Like Paul, some of us have a thorn.

…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)

 

I have a few thorns. The symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome are thorns. My distrust of Christians is a thorn. My sensitivity to people who believe women aren’t as intelligent or spiritually capable as men is a thorn.

Jesus doesn’t say, “Come, take up the cross and I’ll pull out your thorns.”

Oh, hell no.

Jesus says, “Come, thorns and all, and take up the cross.”

What does that mean? Well, that means that I have to be obedient to Christ no matter what. Even when I’m exhausted and in pain. Even when other people are being assholes. When someone says something blatantly ignorant, I don’t get to swoop in and mop the floor with them (and you have no idea how badly I want to sometimes). I have to be gentle and patient with them. When someone wrongs me, I have to turn the other cheek. But, when someone wrongs anyone else, I don’t get to stand on the sidelines and ignore the problem. I have to step in and help “the least of these”.

 

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolation of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

How has this played out for me? Sometimes I’m in so much pain I can’t see straight, but I don’t use that as an excuse to be hostile and hurtful to others. Sometimes I’ve made seemingly foolish career choices because I was standing up for other people or refused to take advantage of someone else. Some people think I’m stupid because I bite a hole in my tongue rather than risk hurting them. A lot of what I do makes me appear foolish from the outside because other people don’t understand why I do what I do.

And you know what? I really hate looking stupid. And I know I look stupid. I’m perceptive if nothing else. I know how I come across. But, I deal with the condescension (except for the rare occasion I snap…which is wrong) and keep trudging forward with that cross.

Comfort in the Afterlife

If I was just worried about the afterlife, I’d pull one of those death bed deals (I am pragmatic, after all.)

I don’t know what’s in store after I die. I hope for the resurrection, but there’s no way to really know what that will be like. I’m not a patient person. At all. Like I would really spend so much time and effort lugging around a cross because of some vague promises about Earth 2.0 (no, we’re not supposed to just float around in the clouds for eternity… that would be super depressing.)

I don’t believe the focus of Christianity should be on what happens after we die. I don’t believe we’re supposed to sit around and wait for heaven on Earth. I believe we’re supposed to be building the Kingdom of God right now. Massive, long-term building projects aren’t exactly comfortable. They’re messy and loud and chaotic.

So, why then?

I don’t follow Christianity because it makes anything easier for me. In any tangible way I can think of, it actually makes things quite a bit harder for me.

I follow it because I believe Jesus.

You’re not going to find Christian apologetic arguments here. I think those are pretty pointless and don’t prove anything. I can’t tell someone else why they should or shouldn’t be a Christian. All I can say is that after a very long time, after deconstructing everything I thought I knew, after doing way more reading and ruminating than I should have had to do, I believe in Jesus.

People can dismiss that belief if they want (chalk it up to how stupid and naive I am, right?), but that’s my answer. I’m not a Christian because I’m reaping some kind of benefit out of the deal or because I just don’t know any better. I’m a Christian because I can’t not follow Jesus if I believe he is who he claimed to be.

Mandatory Year-end Blog Post

When I started this blog two years ago I wasn’t really sure what I’d do with a blog. I’m not an important person… I’m not an expert on anything (unless being obnoxious is considered a legitimate profession)… and I’m a super sporadic and disorganized writer (who has a strange love of totally unnecessary parentheses, ellipses, adjectives, adverbs, and colloquialisms). But, I started this thing anyway because that’s how I roll.

I appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to read these posts. Some of these have been hard to write, but every time I’ve thrown out something painful at least one new person has contacted me to say, “me too”. I think the best thing about doing this is knowing that I’m not as alone as I thought I was. (All right. I’m done with the sappiness. Back to the thumb jokes.)

Top Five Most Viewed Posts of 2014

When I Was a Thing

I wasn’t precious. I was just a prop they pulled out now and then so the church could feel superior about raising up good, God-fearing teenagers. The only time I needed anything, they shoved me into the closet and snapped, “Shh! Don’t make so much noise in there. You’re distracting us with all your, ‘I don’t want to get raped and murdered’ nonsense. We’re trying to preach the gospel out here, ya know!

My Worst Sin

I made a bad decision and it fed into what they wanted to believe about me. I was the problem. I was the one making them choose a side. I was the one who wouldn’t just sweep everything under the rug and play nice.

Am I Even a Christian?

I notice that Jesus never said, ‘Take up your cross and the doctrine of inerrancy and follow me’.

No Going Back

I tend to express my exit from Christianity as a single moment in time when I threw up my hands, exclaimed, “Enough’s enough” and strode out of the church without looking back.

(Actually, in my fantasy version I turn over a few tables, shout out a prophecy or two regarding hypocrisy, throw open the church doors, and stride confidently into the great, wide world while all the people I left behind weep in shame…)

My All-time Favorite Posts

Hero of the Early Christian Church {hint: it ain’t Paul}

The Bible is full of people going to war in God’s name.  How can I go around pretending my feel-good, hippie love crap could actually change the world and end violence? Because Acts tells me it can.

I Win at Baptism

Well, my born-again friends, you can all stop trying to one-up each other in the baptism arena (or font) because I had the Christianest baptism.

 

Am I Even a Christian?

I’m a pacifist feminist who doesn’t believe the Bible is inerrant. Does that disqualify me from being a Christian?

For a long time I assumed it did. I spent most of my early religious life running around with fundamentalists. God created the world in 6 days… Noah sailed an ark… yadda yadda yadda. It was the only way of “doing Christianity” I was aware of. Oh, I’d heard about these other so-called “Christians” out there who twisted scripture to suit their needs. But, I didn’t belong with those guys. I had something called Intellectual Honesty (cue trumpet fanfare).

I didn’t believe that every Bible story was historically and/or scientifically accurate. I obviously wasn’t a real Christian. So, where did that leave me? My main Christian litmus test rested in Genesis, not the gospel accounts… which is pretty strange since I was questioning the whole CHRISTian thing, not the whole “am I an ancient Israelite” thing. Anyway, I didn’t want to force myself to believe in things like Young Earth Creationism. So, I went around being all nominally agnostic-ish. I did that for over a decade.

The whole thing always got under my skin, though. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God so much as I didn’t believe in the Bible. At least, I didn’t believe in a specific way of interpreting the Bible. But, when you’ve been taught that this is the only possible way of interpreting the Bible without running into all sorts of theological pitfalls, you tend to take an “all or nothing” approach to the Bible. It’s faith built on a house of cards (or, uh, sand).

biblical-illiteracyCredit: David Hayward

After more than ten years worth of reading pro and anti Christian arguments, re-reading large chunks of the Bible, and several exposures to non-fundamentalist Christians who gasp weren’t outraged at my evolution accepting ways (some of them were even “traditionalist” non-fundamentalist Christians — I swear such a thing exists), I took another look at this whole Christianity thing.

I’m not going to get into why I believe what I believe here (other posts for other days). I want to focus on whether or not my beliefs are actually Christian beliefs or not.

First, I have to define “Christian”. That’s a little easier said than done. Some Christian crowds have a very narrow definition (i.e. Just us, not you). So, I’m going to ignore those guys for now because they’re in the minority (and since when does the minority view get to define terms for everyone else?)

How do I define Christianity?

The broadest definition would be someone who adheres to the historical Christian creeds. I’m most familiar with the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds, but the Nicene creed is a little longer, so I’ll stick with that.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.

He suffered and was buried.

And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy universal and apostolic Church I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

…and?

Uh, yeah. I totally agree with all of that. How do I get around the whole “maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible” thing? It’s really not hard. Nothing in the creed says he made the Earth in 6 days. Nothing in the creed says “evolution totally didn’t happen”.

Score: 0 points – While I’m not above giving myself points for meeting my own definition, I’ll let this one pass.

* I used the “universal” version instead of “catholic” to avoid confusion with the Roman Catholic church.

Does an atheist philosopher think I’m a Christian?

In The Case Against Christianity, Michael Martin looks to the ecumenical creeds. These include the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds. He considers these to be the fundamental statements of Christian belief. Anyone who believes in a theistic God, Jesus lived during the time of Pilate, Jesus is God, a person is saved through faith in Jesus, and sees Jesus as the model of ethical behavior they are at least (what he refers to as) a “Basic” Christian.

Building upon that definition, he defines an “Orthodox” Christian as someone who holds to “Basic” Christian beliefs as well as a belief in the Trinity, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the second coming.

Score: 1 point – Well, hot damn. The atheist says I’m not just a Christian; I’m an orthodox Christian. (I think I should get an extra point for chilling with the orthodox Christians, but whatever, we’ll stick with 1).

Does Merriam-Webster think I’m a Christian?

Score: 1 point – Well, that was an easy one. (Probably just all those liberals who run the dictionary website watering down the gospel, as those pesky liberals are known to do…)

Do the Roman Catholics think I’m a Christian?

According to Catholic Answers, “validly baptized Protestants are regarded as true Christian brothers and sisters who are in imperfect relationship with the Church.” Basically, a valid baptism is Trinitarian and the person who is getting baptized as well as the person who is doing the baptizing need to have the “proper intention” (no accidental baptisms, please).

pool party baptism

Don’t trust Catholic Answers? This is the part where I raise my first and shout, “To the Vatican!” like I’m going to hop in a jet or something equally cool, but I really just quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.”322 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” (838)

Score: 1 point – I was baptized at 16 by a pastor in the Trinitarian formula. It wasn’t an accident (though he did hold me under water for a suspiciously long time). I’ve got the Catholics on my side. (Anyone intimidated by that? No? Dang.)

Do other Christians think I’m a Christian?

While many denominations would disagree with me on various doctrinal points, most would affirm me as a Christian (since I believe in Jesus and try to follow him and all). The only people who have questioned my Christianity have been fundamentalists…(and several atheists). The main reason fundamentalists have said I’m not a Christian is because I don’t believe in what they call inerrancy. I don’t believe that everything in the Bible is necessarily historically and/or scientifically accurate. (No, that doesn’t trip up my belief in Jesus.)

Anecdotally, I know Christians from many different denominations who accept me as a Christian. But, I could just be making stuff up (since that’s what all so-called “Christians” do to justify their lifestyle choices, amiright?) Instead, I went to the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey to get some estimates and took a look at the “literal interpretation of scripture” question. That’s the one that always gets me called “not a Christian, ummmm, I’m gonna tell God on you!”

59% of Evangelicals believe scripture is the “Word of God, literally true word for word”.

It’s possible that 59% of Evangelicals (around 22% of the total Christians surveyed) would say I’m not a Christian. Mainline Protestants and Catholics made up 62% of the survey population and most of them would likely say that I’m a Christian (a Christian they disagree with about a lot of things, but still a Christian). Why would I define my Christianity by whether or not a minority would accept me as a fellow Christian?

Score: 0.62 points – A point for each percentage of American Christians who probably don’t want to run me out of town (at least not for Bible-related reasons).

Does the Bible think I’m a Christian?

Ohhhh, risky going to the book I claim isn’t inerrant, eh?

What exactly were the requirements for a Christian convert in the New Testament?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’

Acts 2:37-38

I notice that Jesus never said, “Take up your cross and the doctrine of inerrancy and follow me”.

Repent. Get baptized. BOOM! Christian.

Score: 1,000 – Because Bible. (Stick that in your Sola Scriptura and smoke it.)

What about that whole feminist pacifist thing?

There are whole denominations full of pacifist Christians. Mennonites exist. I’m pretty sure nobody will kick me out of the Christian club for being a pacifist. (Though, if they do start kicking me, I can’t kick back.)

As far as the feminist question goes, I can’t imagine coming out of reading the gospels with the idea that women shouldn’t have equal rights and opportunities. If I just blew your mind (I’m sad if that’s true), go read Jesus Feminist.

Score: 2 points – One for the pacifists and one for the feminists.

So, am I a Christian?

Total Score: 1,005.62

I say I’m a Christian.

The historical creeds say I’m a Christian.

An atheist says I’m an orthodox Christian.

The Roman Catholics say I’m a Christian.

The majority of other Christians say I’m a Christian.

The Bible says I’m a Christian.

I take the Bible so seriously (though not always literally) and follow the teachings of Jesus so strictly that I’m a pacifist feminist. (Who’s “picking and choosing” again?)

Yeah. I’m a real Christian.

(Creepy) Vintage Bible Illustrations

I love old book illustrations. Yesterday, I was looking for some Bible-related illustrations and found the La Vista Church of Christ’s website. They host some beautiful illustrations from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among all the wonderful illustrations, I found a few extra interesting ones (they’re creepy, y’all).

Proverbs 30:31 Treasures of the Bible (1894)

skeleton

He doesn’t even have the guts to call her a painted up whore to her face.

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1 Corinthians 1:20-21 Treasures of the Bible (1894)

false science

“Creeds”…”False Science”…You want me to cry? Is that it? Are you happy now, Treasures of the Bible?!

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Proverbs 21:13 Treasures of the Bible (1894)

1 percent

If you’re part of the 1%, we hope you trip and fall off a cliff. (I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus was going on about in that Sermon on the Mount thing.)

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Luke 1:79 Standard Bible Story Readers, Book Two (1925) 

The caption for this illustration reads, "Jesus guiding a boy as father looks on." Are we just not going to talk about the fact that the boy's father is trying to hand him over to the grim reaper?

The caption for this illustration reads, “Jesus guiding a boy as father looks on.” Are we just not going to talk about the fact that the boy’s father is trying to hand him over to the grim reaper?

I love La Vista Church of Christ for making these images available.

My Reaction to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome when…

When I found out my multiple, life-long, unsolvable medical issues were due to just one thing. YES! I have an answer…wait…I have a genetic disorder. 

YES wait what

 

When anyone asks, “How are you doing?”

dont know

 

When I pay medical bills.

Money

 

How other people react when I pop my shoulder out of socket.

ohno

 

When I justify not going to the doctor because I can’t take on any more medical debt.

Flesh Wound

 

When a person told me I must be sick because of a sin I haven’t repented for.

(Since I was born with this, I assume I was one bad ass fetus.)

lost-mind

 

When I’m getting ready to travel, about to go do something fun, or it’s a holiday… and my neck goes out so I have to stay home and vomit for two or three days.

shit

 

When people think they know what I am and am not capable of doing.

opinionated

 

When I receive unsolicited medical advice from people who don’t know anything about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, let alone my specific issues.

stop talking

 

When people think doctors are magical fairies who can fix all things if you just spend enough money. 

OK

 

When someone says, “God never gives you more than you can handle.”

wrong

 

When I ask my Facebook friends (the ones who love to share little awareness pictures for things like cancer and autism) to share one of my multiple Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month posts.

giphy please please please

 

When my mother is the only person to share one of my easy-to-share Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month posts.

invisible

 

When I read an article about new research that might benefit people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and it gives me hope that there will be a fix by the time my daughters are my age.

yeah-science

I Win at Baptism

There has always been some vigorous debate within Christianity about baptism.  (Vigorous in the I-might-kill-you-if-you-don’t-baptize-my-way sense.)

So, what’s the most Christian way of baptizing?

Infant baptism or believer’s baptism?

Sprinkle?

Pour?

Immerse?

What form of baptism is correct?  What form is most holy?

I’ve seen people tell a baptized Christian that he wasn’t technically a Christian because he wasn’t fully immersed.

Well, my born-again friends, you can all stop trying to one-up each other in the baptism arena (or font) because I had the Christianest baptism.

Not only did I go through Catechism class twice (just to make sure I was ready to be really, really perfect after my baptism), everything about my baptism was Uber-Christian.

Oh, I wasn’t just immersed.

I was immersed…

in an actual river…

by my father…

while wearing a Christian T-shirt…

and wearing the cross I had worn on a mission trip…

Beat that (amateurs).

baptism

My dad had a beard…kind of like some other guy who used to baptize people in a river.