Thought Piece: Belief

“What do you believe?”

Well, you know, I was raised Baptist and so…

“No, what do you truly believe?”

I sigh

Oh, please don’t ask that…

DISCLAIMER: Before you go on reading (that is, if you do) know that this is without censorship, may use the names of real people, dead or alive, and may come to offend people. I don’t intend to do that, but if you are, then please refrain from reading any further. 

Let’s start our first thought piece, shall we? 🙂

 

It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that I finally realized, after over a decade, that I came to know Christ partially based on fear… Then again, I guess I believed that hell was real enough to scare me toward Jesus.

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But apart from the fear, I still believed in Jesus. At that point I probably felt this way: I believed in a hell so much that it aroused a fear in me that made me believe in a person who could potentially save me from it. Yep. That sums it up pretty much.

I believe that God exists, apart from Jesus.

I believe he is true, as in real and that he manifests himself through creation: birds, trees, the lotus flower, flame, wind, water, the material and, the abstract and even through a cartoon animation.

I believe in miracles, too. I mean, if not, how could I believe in myself? How could I believe in successful brain surgeries? How could it be that women around the world could survive childbirth? How could I believe in a baby boy that I call my sobrino(nephew)?

So, I’ve grown up as a Baptist pretty much all of my life.

“Now what did that consist of?” 

Let’s see: Sunday school (until I was 11 or 12), sermons (on and off, and mostly off), singing hymns (my favourite bit), going to camps (I never really wanted to go, but always ended up going and having a good ol’ time), vacation bible schools and going to youth group (mostly with you since I was never really involved with youth group at Mildred). And of course being baptized since we (Baptists, I mean) are supposed to do that.

Now, that carried on for like, what? Several years and I still don’t really know who Jesus is. I mean, the real Jesus. I barely know who the Father is, except that he loves me dearly and I cry prayers to him every (almost) night asking for his pardon…even though I already have it? Hmm.

I am so broken. I am so hurt. I feel like crying and dying all in the same moment. I have nightmares where I’m the one on the bicycle, bones smashed and lying out for dead. I sing sad songs of longing and loss and desire and I point the blame for my hurt to myself. I am my own heart-breaker sometimes. I sin. I repent, and then I freaking sin again. And I feel like I deserve those sufferings, however big or small and however my heart breaks. It breaks nearly everyday in a million different ways (that sounds like a cheesy song lyric :P). Ah, seriously. 

If I could put an age to my Christian life, it’d probably be 2. Or younger. I’m probably exaggerating. Maybe older, but I’m just hopeful. All those things that I described up there in that paragraph are real, true things that I battle with, though. Not including guilt, shame and regret. That’s why I’m a Christian, I reckon. To show the world that even though I have to shovel shit, at least I’m not doing it alone. At least I have someone who can save me.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t have all of the answers, either. I’m not perfect. I never was. Don’t expect me to be. Please, don’t. I will fail you and I will hurt you. I’m so sorry.

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I mean, I only just read/found out about Elijah (thanks to Paulo and not from reading my bible) and that there was a prophet named Nathan. I still don’t understand exactly why it’s wrong for me to get a tattoo… I’m still confused on the whole homosexuality business. Yeah, I said it. And what about 3rd genders, like in Native American communities or being a “man” but feeling as a “woman” like some in the American Samoa? What about the comment I heard at a Christian seminar that said, “No religion is fair to women”? What about hunger, poverty and war? What about lust, desire and sex? What about all paths being true? What about truth? A young lad who I admire, called Fredy, told me to read the pages of the Truth Contest, and though I’ve yet to finish all of the readings, I appreciate it. I’m glad he told me about it, too. It even featured some gospel, quoting Jesus often. Still, I was a little fuzzy on the truth it talked about…

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I believe in God…

…In Jesus. The Holy Spirit. Conscience. Evil. Love. Peace. Hate. Forgiveness. Suffering. Hunger. Justice. Sacrifice. Friendships that stand tests of time, space, circumstance and bad choices. Run-on sentences, haha. Mistakes. Redemption. Loyalty. Honor. Duty and all that jazz. I believe in being cheerful in spirit and enjoying life like a child would. I believe in appreciating rainbows and skies. I believe in falling asleep in lofty, tree branches. I believe in meeting people online living thousands of miles away and having so much to talk about. I believe in looking at someone and knowing you want to spend the rest of your life with them. I believe in twin souls. I believe in manipulation, malice and evil intention. I believe in diversity and intercultural-ness and I also believe in making up words like intercultural-ness. 😛

I’ve read Jesus > Religion and one of the discussion questions at the end of Chapter 1 was, “What do you truly believe in?” That’s where all of this starting.

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I was taking a Great Religions class during my studies, and boy, what a great thing!

So, I’ve met a lot of friends from India, recently. I was shocked to discover that some of them weren’t actually Hindu like I ignorantly assumed…stupid me, right? I’m sorry for that. Anyway, some of them identified with being Catholic. Cool, cool. But I had heard so many terrrible things about being Catholic and the Catholic church. Long masses. Hail Marys’. Baptism right after birth. Molestation. Hypocrisy. Boring. Too serious. The Virgen of Guadalupe. I honestly know nothing about Catholicism, really, and my dear one, Ashleigh will be eager to tell me about her experience with it when I see her. 🙂

Now, for that Hindu business…

1460236_10201106217358559_1706475698_nHinduism… apart from learning about it ages ago, in class this semester and from a friend named Santosh… it’s pretty interesting! My Great Religions teacher described it as the perfect religion for children. I would have to admit that I agree with him! I liked hearing about the story of Hanuman rescuing Sita for, was it Rama? No me recuerdo, jaja. Yeah, it was Rama. 😛

Hey, what do Paula Deen and Lord Krishna have in common?

“I dunno, what?” 

They never turn down a tub of buttah…   Ba-dum-pshhh 😛

But seriously, those 330 million gods are pretty fascinating. Even Santosh was like, “So, you only have Jesus to pray to for your needs, well we have many gods to pray to.” But that didn’t turn me away from my interest in his beliefs, nor did it turn me away from my belief in Jesus.

So, not that I necessarily believe that an ocean could swallow the earth or how Lord Shiva could have a woman (his lover, I think) spitting water from his tightly coiled bun…but, they are certainly fascinating epics!

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At the end of the day…

I believe in God, the conscience, the man and the judge. I believe in hope and love and peace. I believe in second chances and forgiveness. I believe in hell. I believe in heaven. I believe in being smart but making dumb decisions. I believe in revolution. I believe in listening more, instead of talking.Truth. Moral. Freedom. And oh, God, where would I be if I didn’t believe in unconditional love.

Cheers!

Love,

Lav

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