[cw: blood, Christianity]
The truth is, I don’t even bother getting out of bed many Sunday mornings, especially on days when I’m not sure I believe in God or when there’s an interesting guest on Meet the Press. For me, talking about church in front of a bunch of Christians means approaching a microphone and attempting to explain the most important, complicated, beautiful, and heart-wrenching relationship of my life in thirty minutes or less without yelling or crying or saying any cuss words. Sometimes I wish they’d find someone with a bit more emotional distance to give these lectures, someone who doesn’t have to break herself open and bleed all over the place every time someone asks, innocently enough, “So where have you been going to church these days?”
–Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. xiv-xv
Been thinking a little bit about the concept of “belief” lately. Loosely related, I thought this post was interesting. Here are some excerpts to entice you to read it (bolding mine):
We [Jewish people] face the now-universal injunction for those who consider themselves “religious” (there has never been such a thing on the face of this Earth before Christianity; Christianity is the first and the last ‘religion’) of “but do I really believe in G-d?” This injunction, this “test of faith” is part and parcel to a Christian mode of subjectivity which has made the (simultaneous) production of, and disavowal of doubt–the challenge of “true faith” versus “hypocrisy”, “heresy”, and “unbelief” which together form the Christian problematic–an integral part of religious experience.
It is significant that seldom in Jewish history have we drawn lines around the ‘community of believers’ in contradistinction to the apostates and the heretics. If anything, we only ever condemned those who refuse the work, a term in Hebrew (avodah) which has nothing to do with our capitalist understanding of labor but instead refers to the act of bringing about that which underlies and redeems the world, of performing mitzvot (commandments), of tzedek, tzedek tirdof (“Justice, justice you shall pursue,” Deut. 16:20). As our sages said, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either” (Rabbi Tarfun, Pirkei Avot 2:16).
So I don’t know about this being “the difference” between Catholicism and Protestantism, but that description… I feel like I need a word that combines the ideas of “creepy” and “gorgeous” in a way that isn’t too irreverent. Anyway, I love this:
if Catholicism is a body and tradition and the hard work of salvation and intercession, Protestantism is you and God alone in a locked room, playing a high-stakes game of twenty questions. God is very fond of you, for some reason you can’t quite figure out, and is also impossibly vast and difficult to understand and has claws, from certain angles. this makes the fact that you can’t do anything to make God like you more a little nerve-wracking. You can phone a friend for hints, if you like, or to talk twenty-questions strategy. God is super patient. But no one else is ever allowed in the room.
Almost. Almost. Almost.
Almost got through through a Christian podcast* without groaning in annoyance.
Not “without encountering something I disagree with” but without making a raspy nasal sound and wanting to throw my hands up and give up.
And I was looking forward to unlocking the achievement, too.
Didn’t make the cut this time. Again.
*or book, or whatever, but this time it was a podcast.
This time it was this episode of Theology Nerd Throwdown, which I found my way to through some blogpost or another.
[link notes, if you listen: gender binarism, Christian antisemitism; some discussion of homophobia, abuse, assorted nastiness; very churchy. VERY very churchy.]
“Persuasive power is, ultimately, what God thinks is sexy. God thinks it’s sexy–”
Would you please cease and desist.
Okay well maybe I’ll listen just five minutes more and–
Ahhhhmmm flippant rape metaphor, nope, nope, nope. We’re out.
content notes: vague abuse allusions, worth/esteem issues, victim-blaming, scrambled emotional gunk, God talk and religion talk, skippable, skippable, skippable
A continuation of the previous post, which discussed the idea that God is pangender.
Even though nobody’s changing my mind, I decided to go looking for whatever else has been put forth on the matter and came across this quaint little blather which I started to skim over before stopping at the following quote: Continue reading
I haven’t seen a lot of discussion on this topic before. All that stands out in my memory is a moment from many years ago, when a girl commented to me, in the form of a question, her dissatisfaction with the use of masculine pronouns to refer to God. I will concede that calling God a “He” may not be optimal, but at the time all I could think of to say was that it’s better than calling Him an “It”. Continue reading