Archive for the ‘christianity’ Tag

August 15, 2015   1 comment

I realize that there was a time when I wrote on this blog very often and then stopped.  I would come back and promise to write, but never really picked it back up.  I wanted to, but I never had the motivation.  I’ve started several other blogs under several other email address, different identities that tap into other sides of my personality, but I just can’t seem to get the ball rolling.  My brain is faulty I guess, I don’t know.  But i loved this blog at one time and I miss the sense of it being my “home base” so I want to write this out so if I am not able to come back again any time soon there is at least some sense as to why.

So much as happened to me in the last few years.  In 2004 my father died.  In 2007 my partner of 8 years died.  In 2012 my mother died.  All of those things are probably written about in here.  But they all also changed me and left me wanting for more.  Then my absolute faith in God was challenged and I have spent the last 4 years or so basically living my life as an atheist.  If you knew me, you would know just how intense and bizarre that was for me.  Then, last week, I just sat down on the edge of the tub of my bathroom and started talking to him again.  Him being God.  For the first time in four years.  We just talked.  And it was amazing.  It was like nothing I have ever felt before.

But you don’t have to worry about me becoming some kind of religious nut.  The relationship I have with God is really different than most people in that it’s a strong committed relationship, but it’s also very relaxed and open.  There are no rules really.  I don’t have to do this or that to make him happy.  We’re friends and he loves me just like I love him.  We just talk.  And share our stories.  And from time to time, I take  his advice.

But I do want to tell the story of my life.  And that’s going to take a certain turn.  It’s going to include my mental illness which means you’re going to hear about the fact that I have been hearing voices nearly all of my life.  And one of those voices has been Gods.  I can’t be sure if that’s real or not.  You’ll have to decide for yourself.  Just let me tell you my story and you listen and figure out what you want.

Anyway, I’m going to sum this up now with a clear “Thank you”.  I have enjoyed writing on this blog for the batch of you who read this.  And when I get around to it, it will mean a lot to me knowing I can count on your all to be intelligent, kind readers.

Take care for now,

Jen

Advertisements

Sweet Things   Leave a comment

Dear friends,

I love you all. First and foremost, let me just say that because I, by now you know, don’t wait for “special occasions” like Thanksgiving to say sweet things or show my emotions. I have been bitten once too often by the misfortune of time to know that we don’t often get to reach the anniversary of milestones before the definition of our existence is qualified by the manifest of our character. By that I simply mean, it is not the memories of those gathered around a table on holidays that make me filled with love and gratitude, but instead all of those times past when minutes slipped by silent and unknowing and one of you or another had helped me justify my reality that lends to me now this feeling of such full honor and reward. As I prepare for a quiet celebration this Thursday, just a small meal that I will prepare myself for the two of us and then in the evening meeting up with my dearest friend for some not-so-casual conversation, I am thinking of everyone living up to their traditions who are surrounded by families and friends and busy with the coming of Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore because I live its message all year round and no longer believe in its foundational origination. The same as I gave up faith for knowledge and prayer for learning, I have given up telling stories for sincere communication and dwelling on the past for weaving my timeline so that I can constantly be present while ever moving forward, slow and with purpose. I come to you now, humble and with a sincere heart, offering you with all the hope, honesty and innocent commitment I can muster, my love and friendship and my constant effort to be a quiet place where your weary heart may find comfort, your tired soul may find peace and your restless mind may find refuge. As you have all done for me, from time to time, whether you know it or not, I extend to give you now and always. I love you, my friends. Thank you for bringing me to this place of self love and acceptance. I could never have found me without you.

Enjoy your holiday,
Jen

Splinter   Leave a comment

 

Red crosses lay at the foot of my bed

Made of splintered wood and stained

By the blood of battle tested,

War weary bodies thrown

On pyres, neglected by the sought after

Mighty and glistening celestial

Gods that demand in their own absence

What preachers and holy mother church

Postulate and ascertain by design of

Their own reward and etched out

In palaces and rectory halls

With sure hands that find their way

Into the very minds that doubt whether or not

There is reason to believe

Reason to question

Cancel out the faith that brings in the

Guardian light and the eager deeds of what every

Mother and father has put upon each young soul

I am not a believer

In heaven and hell

I have cast out my own demons and denounced my

Own bitter need for the sky lord

Still voices echo in my war torn head

And I find no sleep

Only red crosses at the foot of my bed

Made of splintered wood

Stained with my blood

My body warming by the flames of the nearby

Pyre.

Jen Czahur

Destiny   Leave a comment

I don’t think it makes any sense to half ass having a religion.  I think if you’re going to have faith you should go all out.  And yes, I mean that to the fullest extent.  If you’re going to have the nerve to tell anyone that there is a hell then you should figure out just what the fuck you think makes you worthy of going there and you should stick by that conviction.

I was raised to be Catholic.  I think it’s horrible to raise a child a religion.  I think everyone should be allowed to figure this out for themselves.  But if you believe in your religion, I can see why you wouldn’t give your kid any room to think.  Thoughts allow for too much reason and reason destroys faith.  And what’s really messed up is that sounds like I’m being disrespectful, but I couldn’t be any more straight with you right there if I tried.

Anyway, I was raised Catholic, but as usual most of my family members pick and choose when they are really strict with their rules and when they are lax.  My mom and my Grandmom were rather devout however so I wasn’t all that upset to think that when my mom first found out I was gay she was going to flip out.  To be perfectly honest, she didn’t.  She handled it great, but she did let me know that while she loved me and would always hold her arms wide open to me, her faith was her faith and I know what her religion states about homosexuality.  She always treated me with respect and warmth and I never doubted her love which is all I could ever hope for.  But she was constantly thinking about my soul burning in hell forever.  Now, that’s some heavy shit, isn’t it?  I mean, she really believed that.  How sad and horrible for her.

I’ve never told my Grandmom.  Presently, she’s rather senile so it doesn’t make any sense to mess with her head now.  But she has never held back her hateful talk about gay people.  And yes, I mean hateful.  My father’s mother speaks very clearly with a racist, homophobic and otherwise intolerant tongue.  Growing up, she was pure love or so I thought.  But as I had the opportunity to pull away and see the world for myself, I learned just how much anger, sadness, jealousy and fear she worked with.  While my mom’s version of being Catholic led her to be sincere and concerned, my grandmother’s seemed to only lend it to her attempts to dictate and dominate everything and everyone.

Over the years, I examined the people involved.  I thought perhaps it was the difference between my mom and my Grandmom that would tell me the story I needed to hear.  Then I looked at the perceptions of faith or the experiences of childhood and upbringing.  I tore it all apart and analyzed everything I could.  I have always wanted to understand.

Once our country was attacked on 9/11 I felt overwhelmed by the fear of religious radicalism.  I went the traditional, gut reaction route first.  As a Christian at the time, I thought Muslims were crazy and we were sane and innocent.  Then, it shifted to simply, “You can find nuts in every religion. Every group has its extremes.”  I settled there for the longest time.  My views shifted all over the place while maintaining that general perspective.  As I examine the entire situation, I find that most people are stuck in these parameters.

You have a lot of people filling up the side of “I am Christian, hear me roar!” who are basically as loud, militant, crazy and unstable as any Muslim Jihadist.  You see these types all over the South and Midwest, but they aren’t isolated there.  They are everywhere times have gotten tough and reality has become avoidable.  They watch Fox News, vote Republican and would rather believe conspiracy theories than anything remotely factual.

But what are even more frightening for me are the moderates.  There are many Americans who use common sense most of the time, who are fair minded, kind, realistic and not tied to any particular dogma that makes them fundamentally unreasonable.  When you speak with them they listen, they actually pay attention to what’s really happening and care about the facts of any given situation.  But for whatever reason, they are loyal to their religion when push comes to shove.  While they will calmly and without fear of judgment stand up for themselves and others in regards to all of the ways in which they will break the rules of their identified religion, you will stumble upon a concept every so often where their devotion rears its misguided head.  And no matter how much sense you throw at them, no matter how many good points you make and no matter how little they care about their “faith” in any other situation, in this particular moment it is all that matters to them.

But if you think about it, why have a little faith?  Why not have it all or nothing?  I don’t believe in god.  I don’t believe the bible is holy.  I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I enjoy this one life and I seek out my challenges and beauty with all that I have.  I am not afraid of death.  I am comfortable with how I feel about all of this.

I don’t understand however how someone could believe in god and want to please him and then only worry about it sometimes.  Or if you believe in him but just think he’s there but doesn’t care what you do, that’s cool too, but if you believe in judgment or hell, how can you not read your holy books and fight your wars?

I find myself mistrusting those that speak of god who do not spend all of their time trying to bring me to him.  I am annoyed at those who do, but at least I trust you.

For all the Christians running around the US talking smack about the Muslims, they are following their hearts and their lord.  How can you mock that?  How can you deny them that?  Your god has done nothing more to prove himself.  He has done nothing more to show himself almighty or dominant or real.  It’s simply your faith against theirs.  It’s your voices no one else has heard vs. those only they have heard.  I don’t think either of you are right.  But how can you be so hurtful, disrespectful, and angry at them for fighting their fight?

Last I checked people from every faith and from no faith get cancer, die in car crashes, win the lottery, get hit by lightening, fall in love, have heart attacks and breathe oxygen.  Your prayers and faith have not separated you in any meaningful way.  So instead of trying so hard and fighting one another over gods who don’t even care enough to show themselves, maybe you should spend some of your precious time and valuable resources doing the things you ask your god to do for you.  I know you like to say “All is possible with god”.  But the truth is we are the choosers of our own fate.  God didn’t make us.  We made god.  And it’s time we took back control over our destiny.

Jen Czahur

Hi Christians!   4 comments

Hi Christians. 

I mean you no harm; I am not aiming to insult you. I merely am confused by some of your decisions and I would like some clarification.

I was raised Catholic. I was told near daily that homosexuals were sick and an abomination. My Grandmother told me that gay people were mentally ill and that they should not be allowed to work with the public in any capacity, such as school teacher, waiter/waitress, politician or doctor. I have never come out to my Grandmother, so one could argue that if she only knew that she was directly attacking me with those words she would refrain. Most people do not understand that if she did take it all back, I would be so much sadder. My Grandmother truly lived by the rules of her religion, she is a very devout Catholic and if all it took was a gay grand daughter to change her tone, I would be so very disappointed.

She was always there to help everyone. She was an outstanding grand parent, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and co-worker. She is currently in her late 80’s and is suffering from a typical mental break down that someone her age deals with. I won’t get into her current state here. So all that I am stating is in reference to who she was and how she lived her life up until around 85 years old.

When my Grandfather passed away my Grandmother was 59 years old. She never once so much as flirted with another man. Her husband passed and she would see him again in heaven once she passed. That was her faith, so that’s how she lived. Ever devoted to the family home and yard she rarely left the house except for Sunday Mass. Every once in a while she would go to flea markets with my aunt, her daughter, who lived at home for her entire life until her untimely death at age 52. That and random day trips to Atlantic City were just about the only places Grandmom went. She loved being home. She was very content to say that everything has a season and if you live life to the fullest for the season you were currently in, you would never mix things up and long for something that had passed or had not yet arrived.

She was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania. Tending to the animals was a sheer joy for her. She loved guiding the flock of geese, milking Cherry, their only cow and feeding the chickens by hand. At 16 she moved to New York City with her older sister and spent a couple of years dating and working and having fun going to the Pladium to see Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller.

When her step-mother passed away, leaving my Great Grandfather to raise three small children on his own, my Grandmom and her sister moved back home to help. There she spent a few years raising her siblings as her own, along with taking care of her aging father, his home and once again enjoying the simple life.

Once she married my Grandfather, she decided that she wanted 5 children and that she would want them all before she turned 30. She had my Uncle James in April and turned 30 that May; five children in all, one every 2 years.

My point in this little biography is merely to say that my Grandmom was not a prude or strict lady who failed to enjoy life. She completely soaked up all the joy and each lesson of wisdom she could from the time of a child to that of a middle aged widow. But regardless of any fun or adventure she took part in, being a good and devout Catholic was paramount to each step she took in her journey of self-realization.

She knew her bible well. She went to mass every Sunday and paid attention. And being true to her faith, when she read that being gay was an abomination, when the priests and nuns instructed her that those activities were wicked and a sin, she trusted and believed and acted accordingly.

So with all my heart I believe that if I ever came out to my Grandmother, she would beg me to turn away from the wickedness. She would pray and plead to God to help me mend my evil ways. She would do this because she loves me and she wouldn’t be able to simply stand by while I handed my soul over to Satan so that I may burn in the fires of hell for all eternity.

If you were going to do something that would lead you to a horrible punishment wouldn’t you want the person who has shown you the most love and compassion ever in your life to reach out and do all that they could to save you?

Of course, my belief is quite different. I not only fail to see being gay as a sin, but I don’t even believe in hell. But she does. She does with all of her heart and she is only trying to save me, protect me, keep me safe. I can’t argue that. I wouldn’t want to.

So to my question to my Christian friends:

Whether you are Catholic, born-again or any other form of Christian, when you read in your bible or hear your preacher or priest say that something is wrong do you simply allow whatever you read/hear to be your own thought on the subject or do you contemplate it at all?

My issue is that I have a really hard time understanding why people are so tied to the “religious group” they belong to.

For example:

If you are Catholic and have been told since birth that pre-marital sex or birth control is wrong, but you think that’s silly or harmful so you don’t follow the church’s teachings in that regard, why don’t you just stop being Catholic? You can’t really pick and choose when to follow and when not to. And if people were more open and honest about this kind of stuff I think we’d see a big disruption to the large, organized religions and more sincere and passionate devotion to the faith that those churches report to speak for.

I admit that while all of my life I had never doubted that there was a God, recently my thoughts and feelings on the subject have vastly changed. People with great faith used to inspire me and they struck me as such wise and powerful entities. But in the last year or so, when someone says the word “god” I find myself pulling away from them. It did not start as intentional, but after a while it became so obvious to me that that was what was happening that I had to sit myself down and dissect just what was taking place within me.

I don’t believe that science disproves faith or that faith slaps down the theories of science. I don’t feel as many atheists do that for some reason if I can’t find god in the fine print then all forms of everything must be lies. I think there can be ghosts without a god. I think that herbs and whatnot do hold properties that are not yet fully understood and that could very well be used to heal or conjure without calling a god or goddess for permission first. I trust that our minds and emotions are ridiculously powerful and misunderstood and while a lot of the mystery can one day be solved with science, that does not mean that if I can’t prove it with numbers and experiments it doesn’t exist.

Maybe this newer version of me is actually more of a dreamer and that losing my faith in a “God” figure has really just opened up my eyes so that I can see more possibilities, bolder colors, wilder flavors, varied components and blissful connections.

One thing for sure is that I am happier this way. I feel more hopeful, better prepared, less intimidated and just a hell of a lot more peaceful. But I am not in the business of trying to tear down your god. I have seen faith bring so much comfort and joy to people that I could never play a part in taking that away from anyone. I have learned more through my mother’s love of god then any text book or science class. It brought her power, strength, wellbeing and a sense of belonging. In her last days she was excited to think that she would soon be with Jesus. I also saw moments of fear, those “what if” moments that let me know that somewhere deep down inside she did have her doubts. But she held on to her faith and pushed those fears aside. And when I could, I helped her do so. What good would come from her losing her peaceful vision at that point? I would rather help her with her faith then pursue my idea of the truth at her expense.

That’s when you know that you’re on the right track with your own spirituality. When you find yourself not promoting your truth so that you can help someone else hold onto what they need to believe. At the end of the day, my faith let me be a good daughter and a valued friend to someone who never knowingly failed me.

If there is a god, he exists in those details.

So again, I don’t know why people want to hold onto the name of a religion, the status of a book or a batch of rules they basically pick and choose from only to tell others how they should believe or live.

I was raised Catholic, I lived my life devoted to a God and I have been redeemed by my faith in the love of a special person who passed away with just enough religion to show me how not to believe and just enough doubt to prove to me that in the end all that matters is the love we make.

A Conversation With St. Francis   5 comments

I was sitting on my mother’s couch yesterday. STOP. Reread that. I was sitting on my mother’s couch yesterday. Just how long do I have where I can say that sentence? She’s already not actually “living” at home. She is in a rehab and then to where we’re just not sure. If they move her at all, it will be into a hospice. I just talked to her on the phone and I know it won’t be long. Faith, hope, fear; nothing is strong enough in me to keep me from facing the obvious. My favorite little lady is on her way. I just don’t know to where and since I can’t control it, I can’t let it get to me. I just bury my head in the sands of what her religion promises and hope that if it’s not there, it’s to somewhere as beautiful as she deserves. She has always deserved it and it’s a shame she has to die to get there.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was sitting on my mother’s couch yesterday kind of zoning out. I was in mid-argument and as usual I spaced. I just bounced out of reality and found myself having an internal conversation with my mom’s St. Francis water fountain statue. He isn’t plugged in, so the water doesn’t bubble. As a matter of fact, it’s been empty since Gracie died. She was my mother’s most beloved dog/bestest friend ever and she used to love drinking the water out of the basin. Since she passed, my mom didn’t have the heart to fill it. My mom, who never seemed all that sentimental with pets, fell in love for the first time with that dog and her heart is still broken. And the statue stands in a dry, silent pause of time, as if St. Francis is also heartbroken.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, St Francis is the patron saint of animals and is often depicted with birds, wolves and other wildlife. I can only imagine that he grew quite fond of Gracie. She was the sweetest, most adaptable and kind creature I have ever had the sincere pleasure of knowing. And if she is anywhere, she is probably in St Francis’ living room. She was a dog, but she was a couch dog and I highly doubt she’s out in the gardens with the birds.

Regardless, I was talking to the statue. If that seems strange, you don’t really know me and should feel no obligation to finish reading this post unless, of course, you are actually enjoying it. And, again, I should mention that all of this was done telepathically because at the same time I was in the middle of an argument.

So I’m sitting there, talking to St Frank and I am commenting on the fact that he is so tenderly holding a small bird in his hands; both hands, cupped and lovingly keeping the little creature safe and warm. I say to Frank how I would love to be a little bird being loved so much and being kept so safe and how right now, and often lately, I just feel as though I am drowning and no one or nothing comes anywhere near enough to pluck me out of the waters of my own self absorbed doom.

I studied the bird in his grasp and swooned at the promise that maybe one day something would feel as wonderful to me as the loving grip of St Francis must feel to this particular little creature and for some time I question if he is talking back, if St Francis is offering to me a prayer to pray or a guarantee that one day this will be me there, in his hands and finally safe.

The argument breaks through and I leave that place. It disappears and St Francis stands there with his head slightly turned away as if he is disappointed that I would leave what we were sharing only to stumble back to this nonsense. He would wave his hand and dismiss me, if not for the bird, my feathered sister nestled in his loving embrace. I think, in the midst of the yammering and fussing, part of which is mine, that I hear her tweet as if to call me a fool. I look down for a moment in shame. I know that she is right.

A night of questions clouds my mind. I wander around in my thoughts and try to convince myself of anything, but nothing sticks. I am lost and I am chained and I am not amused by the combination.

Then today, I gather some things and head off to the rehab. I look forward to this visit more then the others because I am assured that we will have some time alone. Up until now, family has been all over that place giving flowers and treats as if it were Halloween and my mother were dressed in some perpetual costume. I scream inside of my head, keeping quiet. I wonder where these idiots were when she was home alone and scared to death. But I know the answer. They were hiding, afraid to see what I saw. They had that choice and they did what they thought best, for themselves.

I walk in and surprise her. Knowing that seeing me comforts her settles my heart and thrills my spirit. I am finally able to offer her a little of what she has poured all over me my entire life. I am finally in the position to prove to her that she is adored, respected, loved and needed even when she is not able to run around, cooking, cleaning, buying things, telling her hilarious tales. Even now, as she sits somewhat dazed by the enormous amounts of medication and frozen in her tracks by both pain and anxiety, there is no where I would rather be. Sitting next to her is still the best seat in the house of life. And helping her is a joy because I don’t just see her in pain, I feel her pain and want it to end one way or the other more than my own. Finally, someone is edging towards me in my drowning pool.

She gets breathing treatments four times a day. I fix the nebulizer and hand it to her and she starts to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. The treatment lasts about 10 minutes, but about 2 minutes in she lays it down on her chest and tells me it makes her too tired even to hold it. I say that she’s not alone so there is no reason she needs to worry about that. I pick it up and without embarrassment or hesitation she purses her small, thin lips as I meet her more than half way. She breathes in and out several times then takes a break for a second. I tell her its fine, do it at your own pace. There is no reason to rush. I am not going anywhere.

She makes no comment, but she relaxes. Something about knowing I’m not in leaving soon gives her some comfort; she comes back and takes more medicine. I watch the most independent human being I have ever met gather her strength just enough to let me help her. She reminds me of a baby bird, forcing her young and frail neck up towards the mama bird as the mama offers whatever feast she has been able to provide her young. So trusting and faithful and yet so completely unable to handle the task alone; the thought of this reminds me of St Francis holding the small bird back at my mother’s apartment. I feel for a moment the longing to be that small creature, wanting, needing his love and compassion and thinking that nothing would ever be so sweet until I realize a prayer answered when I see one. I have been that baby bird long enough and it is now time for me to try my hand at being someone else’s St Francis. And who better to receive my first bounty then my little lady?

The way she looked, the way it felt; I will never forget and I will carry with me always. In my lifetime, that woman has both borne me and helped me regain my faith. I will forever be the disciple of her love and wisdom.

(I would just like to add that what I mentioned above about my family does NOT include my niece Candice who has truly been amazing to my mother. Without her love and constant friendship, I would have fallen many times.)

Facebook + Politics = Headache   Leave a comment

In trying to explain to my girl friend why I was upset with the tone of the political discussion on our facebook walls today I used a certain analogy. I find it sums things up rather well. And I am standing by it.

Let’s pretend, for a minute, that religion and politics were one in the same. (By the way, THEY ARE NOT) If in this country the main mode of being political was Christianity, a Baptist and a Catholic would be equitable with a Republican and a Democrat. Baptists going more “straight from a singular text” (Bible/Constitution) and a Catholic using the text but then asserting more of a structure to stand between the text and the people to offer assistance, interpretation and formality.

The Baptist has a preacher and a family structure while the Catholic has not only priests, but the pope, cardinals, the entire system of nuns and Catholic schools. Each group is following what they believe to be the most valid, the best and truest form that helps them reach the greatest height of morality and spiritual freedom, but they go about it in two extremely different ways.

Yes, at times, one looks very foreign to the other. And for many years these differing sides battled and fought over who was more sincere, more legitimately “Christ-like”. But in the last 50 or so years, the war has calmed a bit and only the most fanatical branches and off shoots still tangle about who deserves God’s blessing and instead have come to the understanding that they are all at least praising the same Lord (democracy), just in different ways.

They respect each other, because they realize that any path to Christ is better than any other option and that no one side is hateful, vengeful or ignorant, but merely exercising their faith in their own ways.

There have been liars in both camps. There have been men and women on either side who have used power or fear or anger to further their own agenda and at those times, those particular people have been flushed out as wrong and corrupt. But their followers’ intention was always to follow Christ and any compassionate person would know that if that was their intention, they were not ignorant, they were faithful. They were not disgusting or assholes or stupid or gullible; they were reaching for the same destination and therefore were always brothers and sisters in Christ.

Has it occurred to anyone that maybe people on either side of the aisle sincerely and with intelligence and compassion actually just disagrees about how to handle problems? And in this country, both are not only allowed, but sought after. I don’t think Republicans are evil and I don’t think that Democrats are anti-American, nor vice-versa. I simply think that people look at our issues, look at our possible solutions, think them through and follow what they trust is best.

A Baptist calling a Catholic a Satanist simply because they follow Christ with more “government” between the sinner and the Lord makes no sense.

I’m sure that both Jesus and Satan would agree.

And a Catholic pointing the finger of shame at a Baptist because they rely more on what they know to be true again merely creates a sense of hatred and fear which is the polar opposite of what Christ was trying to impart.

Say whatever you want about why you think your side is better, smarter, the best choice for us all. But if the only way you can prove your vote makes the best sense is by calling the other side something negative, you have not done enough to find a solution.

It is YOU that has chosen the lesser of two evils.

And at that rate, at least the person on the other side can still honestly state that they were never voting for the devil, but the best way of reaching heaven.

We all are Americans. And all of our voices, choices, issues and concerns matter and are valid.

One Nation, Under God, my friends; there are no sides come judgment day.

%d bloggers like this: