All that was ever missing was the cheesy houndstooth coat

Sometime in ’83 after I said the prayer, someone asked me if I wanted the people I was talking with about Christ to have a good understanding of “the message,” or to just hear it. Since I was new to all of this and was trying to defer to “the experts” (people raised in the church or who had more experience with this evangelism crap) I asked someone the same question. They said, “Well, I think they just need to hear it. There’s too much at stake. And the lord could come at any moment.”

Well 35 years have come and gone and still no ‘lord.’

If there’s really that much ‘at stake,’ a loving god would want you to have a good understanding of what you’re committing your life to. A loving god would not want to just ram it through like a high-pressure, door-to-door sale. And the more I think about the years before I converted, when I was dealing with the Campus Crusade guys, that’s what it feels like.

Like I said, it’s been over 35 years. And a couple of years ago I decided I don’t want the vacuum cleaner anymore. It never worked very well, and I’d rather just pick up a broom and a dustpan, and sweep.

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More reasons for unbelief

Shit like this is why I cannot be a part of this religion anymore. All my life growing up teachers and others were feeding my head with this idea that Lincoln freed the slaves. 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments all ratified. Then I get to the church and find out I’m still a fucking slave. Christianity is the slave-master’s religion, and I recognize it as such. If Hell is the price then I’ll pay it. The world’s white idol can fuck off.

Date setting: A neurosis that will not die

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7, NIV

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36, NIV

Christians engage in two types of date setting. Sometimes they assign an actual date to the second coming and other apocalyptic events. We’ll call this hard date setting. This always ends up in some degree of embarrassment for the person setting the date, and anyone who bought into their pitch. The most notable of these debacles is the ‘Great Disappointment,’ which eventually led to the formation of the Seventh Day Adventist church. Most of the time people engage in what I call soft date setting. Soft date setting takes several forms. In 2015, Michelle Bachmann spoke after returning from Israel, “We recognize the shortness of the hour,” she said, “and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, he’s coming soon.”

Ms. Bachmann was careful to not assign a specific date. There’s no call to be at any particular place or ready at any particular hour. Just, ‘soon.’ Of the two this soft date setting is the worst. It is the most subversive and pernicious. It places people in a constant expectant mindset, and at the end of the day, when there’s no trumpet sound or chorus of legions of angels in the sky, they go to bed a little disappointed, even if on an unconscious level. It’s a constant source of stress for many. I’ve even heard people testify that they had experienced stress effects from anticipating the rapture/second coming/end times eschatology.

Humans have caused all the problems we have today. We’re the problem, and we’re the solution. We don’t deserve a divine ass-wiping. It’s not needed. Pathological expectation of a heavenly revolution on earth happens in direct conflict with the Bible. It is neither healthy nor helpful. It leads to a depraved indifference to suffering, and has people on one level or another wanting their lives to be over. It was something I dealt with and chose to abandon.

Excuse me. I’m trying to eat here.

I hate proselytizers. The few times I did it when I was a Christian I didn’t like, and I don’t like having it done to me. I was sitting in one of my favorite Asian buffet spots, minding my own business, and eating when a woman at a table catty-corner to me came over and dropped off a paper business card. I was annoyed, but thanked her and went back to eating. I went and got another plate, and one of her companions came over with a full tract. This is the 2nd time in twenty minutes that my lunch is being interrupted with this Christ-crap. I said very curtly, “Thank you.” She finally went back to her table and I was able to continue eating.

You are under orders. I get that. Preach to everyone and baptise everyone. I also don’t give a fuck. Interrupting someone’s meal with any kind of a sales pitch is rude, and it just fucking sucks.

I will not be as civil next time.

epiphany

I have cousins a few hours away in a couple of directions. I see one set a bit more often than others, and usually around Christmas. One of them is a minister and as expected his first concern is that one is staying faithful to God. I haven’t been to church in 3 years. In August of 2016 I posted a video announcing that I don’t believe anymore…that I am no longer Christian. I guess he and his wife didn’t see it. At least they don’t act like they saw it.

Every year when we meet up he usually asks me how long it’s been since I was at church, and says something to encourage me to go. Well I’m not going back. But I also don’t want to debate that at the table in a restaurant. I usually just nod my head while knowing that I’m not going back. This year I just really didn’t want to get into it. 2017 was extremely stressful with highlights of me selling my house and wrangling the move over to my mom’s with my dad in tow, dad’s health declining a bit more, my own trip to ER for heart palpitations…a visit I still owe money for. Then there’s the continued malaise, uncertainty and extremely annoying pronouncements from the White House. I just wanted the year over with and the family visit ended up wrapped up with all of that.

What came to me that morning, as I was obsessing over what my cousin was going to say about my non-attendance at services, was that my “service to God” is in taking care of my parents at this time in their lives. That it was acceptable to ‘The Divine.’ That it is good enough. I’m not a Christian. So I’m not going to try to influence anyone towards that path. The rest of what anyone thinks I “should be doing,” doesn’t matter.

Not our faith

There are numerous reasons why I left Christianity. The journey was 32 years before I finally said, “Enough.” As a black American, it’s simply not our faith. Christianity in America, by and large, was introduced to, and forced upon enslaved Africans. We were not allowed to practice our religions from our villages in Africa. It’s the slave master’s religion, and I recognize it as such. Being told I’m evil, serving Satan, and going to Hell are no longer compelling reasons for me to stay in something that I no longer want. And all Evangelicals have as a bargaining chip/blunt instrument, is Hell. They become petulant elementary school playground bullies, threatening to sick their god on me instead of the time-honored threat to ‘bash my teeth in.’ I’m done. If there is a God and an afterlife, my part in that is between me and the deity. It’s no longer anyone else’s business, and it really never was. I reject the agency of the church over my relationship with the divine.