Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Tribute to A Man Who Set My Thoughts Free

In high school, I was definitely not in the "in" crowd. I was the weirdo, freak, nerd, and goth. I'm still a little goth; well over 50% of my wardrobe consists of pure black. In high school, I thought for myself and made up my own mind. I was liberal, anti-war, pro-animal rights, and on the robotics team.

When I was a senior in high school, a girl from my Latin class invited me to some church events with her. Next week will mark the seven-year anniversary of me first meeting Jesus. When I started to follow him, I followed him with others, who had been following him longer than I had. I copied what the other followers did and thought, thinking that was what Jesus would have me do.

When I went to Bible college, I met my future husband. Today is our four-year wedding anniversary. It was close to five years ago that we broke out into our first fight. It was in that fight that he confessed that he voted for - gasp! - John Kerry. At that time, such a thing was forbidden in the Christian world. Some of our teachers even spoke of men losing a leadership position in a church for such an act.

I'm not saying that this aspect of the Christian culture was right or wrong, I'm just saying this was how it was in the days of President Bush, at least in my circles. My husband rebelled against that to follow his conscience. It took me several months to see his perspective, but his free-thinking jarred me out of my sheeple mentality and allowed me to start being a truly Berean Christian, as Jesus actually wants me to be.

To this day, my husband and I don't agree on everything theologically or politically. I trust his thinking is free, even though he was raised in that Christian culture. He openly evaluates the scripture and the world we live in to try to see truth. He and I are on the same quest for truth and for the heart of God. I am thankful to walk in this journey with a man like him who is bound by the scriptures and by a conscience that God is molding into Christ-likeness.

27 comments:

crabcakes said...

It is Christians like you, Emily, that have tought me not to automatically mentally write-off someone devout as someone who probably wants nothing to do with me. I spent quite a bit of time in college thinking that every Christian person probably hated me and a few good friends, liberal Christians really, taught me that it wasn't always like that. What they taught me that in a lot of ways, their relationship and following of Jesus had little to do with written scripture and laws about the trials nomads during biblical times had to follow.

Even as a non-Christian (who has read the bible cover to cover) I still see a lot in Jesus' lessons and I think he sent a beautiful message to the world. Much of which is ignored today, even by those who are devout. But sometimes someone "get's it".

Kat said...

Crabcakes, It sounds like we've had very similar experiences. It's easy for me to get into the trap of thinking that everyt Christian I meet thinks I'm going to Hell and need to be "Saved", and therefore, they must feel superior to me and/or think they need to change my deeply held spiritual beliefs. Turns out...it's not so.
I've found many dear Christian friends who would never dream of trying to convert me, and who truly respect my spiritual beliefs as as vaild a path as their own. They are wonderful friends who I love and am able to talk openly about the divine with...and it turns out we really do have a lot more in common than I thought. It was ignorant of me to assume that all Christians though their beliefs were the only "right ones".I know if I'd held onto this stereotype I would have missed out on some wonderful relationships.
It gives me hope for a world where people of faith (and non-believers as well) stop trying to convery one another and/or prove who's right, and can truly co-exist in peace.

Though I'm not Christian, I think Jesus was a great spiritual teacher. "What good is it to gain the whole word if one looses one's soul in the process"? That's some pretty deep stuff, something I've been contemplating a lot lately...and something I don't think one has to be a Christian to benefit from contemplating. What IS the point of making a lot of money, being successful, beautiful, young, famous etc. If you forget who you are in the process? If you forget about compassion, and kindness, and the rest of the world? What's the point in getting everything you want, if you end up forgeting who you are, you know?

Mary Lynn said...

It is behavior like what you have described that caused me to leave the Catholic Church following the 2000 election. I am Christian, but I strongly believe that separation of church and state is a two-way street. My local Catholic bishop sent a letter to the entire state telling church members how to vote. Technically he didn't name names, but it was clear that he was encouraging members to not vote for John Kerry. I left the Catholic church and have been on a search for a new church since.

Molly said...

This is really my problem with mainstream conservative christianity. they have aligned themselves so closely with the republican party that they come to accept things that aren't necessarily christian like warmongering and torture. Emily, you should check out Sojourners - I think you would find a lot in common with them. www.sojourners.com

Early Modern Mom said...

Emily - Brava! I find that I have trouble maintaining intellectual separation in my Christian walk. I think I irritate some of my friends at church because I am constantly trying to find a way to restate or rethink whatever "lesson" we're studying at the time. I think they find me pedantic and self-righteous; regrettable, but I find that I must do this, or two things happen: first, I fail to think critically about the lesson and decide whether and how it's actually applicable to my Christian walk; and second, I fail to truly own the lesson. I find myself parroting the catch-phrases instead of learning for my own self what Christ actually would have me learn.

Being a Christian is a growing experience, and I believe that when it becomes intellectually or spiritually comfortable, we're in dangerous territory.

Kat said...

Also...FWIW, I totally think, if he were here today, Jesus would be liberal, anti-war, pro-animal rights and on the robotics team. :)

Kristin @ Meanbean said...

Your husband sounds a lot like mine - a very strong, steadfast Christian, yet one that thinks for himself and doesn't go with what the church says simply because they say it. It is refreshing to me to hear others have similar experiences to my own. I grew up going to church, etc, and I always thought Christians acted, spoke, and dressed a certain way. Meeting my husband (in high school, though I didn't know he was to be mine at the time) opened my eyes. He was flamboyantly out of the mainstream, and fascinated me. As I got to know him, I learned how deeply he thinks about things, how thorough he is when he's making a decision, and how loyal he is to the beliefs he has selected.

I love reading this, and seeing that while conservative, outspoken Christian groups get much of the media's attention, there are those of us out here who aren't sheep.

I agree with Molly's statement too, that many of the larger "mega churches" have aligned themselves with things that are certainly not in line with Christ's teachings. It makes me sad, and scares me that people believe killing and torturing others is patriotic and Christian.

Atheist Mama said...

First of all, I shouldn't reply to any of this. I'm going to bite my tongue pretty hard here...because...well, obvious reasons.

However...

Kristin - Jesus actually tells you to be sheep...He's the shepard. Jesus' followers are compared to sheep many times in the Bible. If you aren't a sheep...well...Um?

Also, believers in God and the Bible have been killing and torturing people since the idea of the biblical God first came into play.

Clearly, people prefer to play that down...but if you actually *read* the Bible - such as the entire old testament - you'll find numerous stories of grisly murders committed either by God himself, or because God commanded others to do so.

(Come on now - 42 youths mauled to death by bears for teasing a prophet about his bald head? Is that not killing or torture? How is that right and the wars we have going on now wrong?).

After I actually opened up my eyes and read the Bible word for word...reading what it actually SAID and not what my pastor or parents told me it MEANT I decided it without a doubt wasn't for me.

Emily - your post made me laugh a little. Not in a rude way - just in a ironic one. My husband too inspired my freedom of thought, although our definitions are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum!

Google "Free thought"...that's me :P

P.S. Woohoo for your hubby not doing something JUST because he was told! It's always good to check the facts out for yourself before doing something...regardless of the topic! :)

Emily said...

Athiest Mama, thought-provoking comment. About being a sheep, I'm fine with following Jesus as a sheep follows a shepherd. I just don't want to be blindly following other sheep, trusting that THEY are following my shepherd.

We are a VERY Bible-believing family, but we know that there is no group of people (that we have found) that we agree with 100%

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary!

We're Muslims. I think my husband is very much like yours when it comes to being free; thinking for himself while sticking strong to what Islam teaches.

Iba @ knit.jsminn.com

Scottish Twins said...

Molly - I think the reason so many Christians align themselves with the Republican party is because they pick several issues that are important to them, and the Republican candidates tend to reflect their views on those issues.

No candidate is ever going to be Jesus or stand for everything that he stood for.

Sure there are things candidates support that I don't agree with, but I take the things that really matter to me and vote on those.

For example, if abortion is important to you and you feel that it is murder - something the Bible says is a sin - you may have a hard time voting for a candidate that supports abortion. More Republicans tend to vote pro-life, therefore you vote Republican. Sometimes you have to set aside the issues like torture. Otherwise, you could never find a candidate to vote for.

It really bothers me when people say that Jesus would be a liberal - no he wouldn't. He wouldn't have been a liberal or a conservative. He worried about God's law, not Earthly law. And he would want us to support God's law no matter what.

Jesus wouldn't REQUIRE you to donate your time and money (socialism), he wants you to do it out of the goodness of your heart. He wants you to take the shirt off your back and give it to your neighbor because you want to do it, not because some lawmaker somewhere says it's fair. He also wouldn't have wanted millions of people sitting around accepting handouts without doing anything in return to pay it forward.

Sure, paying taxes to support the poor and needy is wonderful, but what is even better is writing a check out of the goodness of your heart to help a local needy family.

Everyone likes to think that Conservatives aren't for helping the poor and needy and that makes them bad Christians, because Jesus would want you to give. But study after study shows that the average Conservative donates more of their own money to charity than the average liberal.

When you require a gift, it isn't truly a gift.

Scottish Twins said...

Happy Anniversary BTW :)

Atheist Mama said...

Yah! Happy Anniversary...enjoy the pizza!

It was our (7 month -lol!) anniversary yesterday and we had pizza too :)

Emily said...

Scottish Twins, I agree and generally we do align ourselves with Republicans for those reasons, but there are things we disagree with Republicans on SO strongly - environment, free reign of big business, many aspects of foreign policy. I think it is unwise for a Christian community to align themselves too closely with a political party, often giving the impression of a blanket endorsement.

Rainbow Waters said...

Congrats on your anniversary, Emily! Happy 4 yrs!

My husband and I just celebrated our 8 yr anniversary yesterday. :)

Scottish Twins said...

"I think it is unwise for a Christian community to align themselves too closely with a political party, often giving the impression of a blanket endorsement."

Emily - I completely agree.

Anita (Living, Loving and Learning) said...

Gasp! John Kerry!
My huband voted for...GULP...Bill Clinton the first time he ran for pres.

Stacy said...

Great post. I had a somewhat similar experience in early college and accepted Jesus as savior at age 19. I agree, Jesus is not political, although many Christians are, both conservative and liberal. My experience was that I joined the Democrats as a teenager, then when I was a young Christian went to the Republicans, thinking it was the Christian thing to do. I soon became very disenchanted with partisan politics because I agreed with some things on one side and some things on the other and hated having to pick a side. Anyway, I decided to always register as "independent" from that point. It's true that many of my values are more conservative, but like Emily, I find the favoritism toward often corrupt businesses, foreign policy, and such very troubling on the side of the Republicans. It doesn't seem like Jesus to me to be so pro-war, even if I can see that there is terrific heroism and importance in a capable military who can defend us. I also struggle with capital punishment. I can see both sides, and it has always been impossible for me to pick a side I'm completely comfortable with. Anyway, good topics to discuss.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary :) I'm a fundamental Christian, too, and I find that often times the politial views of Christians, quite frankly, suck.

http://www.overamillionamonth.blogspot.com

Nancy M. said...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Anita (Living, Loving and Learning) said...

I was wondering if you would be willing to post a weekly grocery list and menu at some point. I think that it would be interesting to see.

Captain Cleavage said...

Happy Anniversary Emily!

Emily said...

Anita, my basic grocery list is here in this post:
http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/09/best-prices.html
You can find my menu here:
http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/search/label/Menu%20Plan
I'm adding both to the FAQ so they can be found more easily.

Rachel said...

I'll just put in my two cents worth here. We live in an imperfect world and there will never be a perfect president, congressman, dr., pastor, mother, etc.. We all have sin in our lives. What I find interesting is that so many of you have posted that you have read the bible cover to cover, yet you reject Jesus as saviour and Lord of your life. I accepted Jesus as my saviour at the age of 6. i attened church regularly and no, I have never read the bible cover to cover. But I have read enough to know that Jesus was sent for our sins, died a horrible death and was resureccted. He is the author of peace, everlasting life, and he teaches us to love others as we love ourselves, and to be totally unselfish. Yes, we have many trials in this life, such as who will I support for president, but this life is temporary. Our focus should be on that wonderful day we enter His presence.

Clisby said...

Rachel,

I've read Gone with the Wind cover to cover, and yet I reject Scarlett O'Hara as savior and Lord of my life. HOW COULD THAT BE????

Kat said...

Clisby...
You owe me a new keyboard...I'm just glad I was having tea without milk today...easier to clean.

Anonymous said...

Rachel -

It troubles me that you can't be bothered to read the bible yourself and instead let others think for you.

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