Preface — My home church family is very dear to me. Any negative feelings I had growing up were not toward individuals….but toward the church doctrine that was/is biased against women. image

🙂 Haha, Ya never know…both football players could be atheists…  I suspect it’s just a hot button ploy to get the other guy to drop the ball… Looks like he’s losing his grip, both  literally & figuratively.🙂 Thanks go out to Les Norman for sharing this photo. I’m not an atheist but, I know freaky…..nothing turns my stomach more than someone trying to ‘convert’ me to anything… It’s basically saying “here you have no brain, so I must insist you take a chunk of mine”… Hopefully my meaning will be understood in this write-up of feelings/beliefs… It is not my intent to offend anyone.  My words only express my feelings toward the church, not toward any one of you personally. I can understand, having been raised in a southern Baptist church, how that freak mentality can drive one to drink or atheism or whatever… You can tell this is a hot button for me… I just believe people have free will to make up their own minds…. Not my business who believes what…cause I also believe in free speech, religious freedom, and equality for all. image At this point some are thinking but we were commanded to be ‘freaky’…. No, we were not… We were commanded to witness by example & share with respect…. Not assume ignorance and annoy others…. That’s where that phrase …’holier than thou’ originates.    Just assume nothing.  Here’s an example of a wrong assumption from my personal experience…. Pushy freaks I know well……..One of the most insulting was a holy-roller style Baptist preacher that used to yell or speak VERY LOUDLY at the congregation….. that we’re all going to hell…   As a young person it really torqued me… Because he had zero clue what was in my heart, mind & soul… I think that is what imprinted me so strongly that no one really knows another persons constitution. How dare he say that… It struck me as most freaky….. especially since he repeated a worthless version of that sermon every week…. Didn’t he know that you ‘attract more bees with honey?’  If I’d been of age, I’d have never returned to that church.  So, this football player cartoon represents my sentiments exactly regarding annoying freaks.

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I discuss religious/social things in person or on FB with family/friends

….only if they want to truly explore…and not sling mindless off-point misleading posters, quotes, etc….. in general,  I actually avoid hot button topics
( politics, religion, sex are the big topics avoided ).   As you can imagine,  I own my mind and am responsible for my thoughts… Which are my prerogative to change however, & whenever I so choose…, plus there’s no ‘converting’ me to faith nuances that I consider wrong due to logic, interpretation or  published scientific fact.
Imbedded in that native Virginian thought process may also be the question of how it came about that I left the Baptist church.  It’s simpler than you might think, but a bit surprising as well.
Along the way, some have given me the impression they think I’m a brainwashed city slicker traitor for moving from VA to NJ…. I’ll be the first to disagree with that thinking, if it does exist.  The truth is closer to me being a “NJ HillBilly” living just 25-miles outside NYC & working only across the bay in Rahway, NJ (the poor version of the Beverly Hill Billy tv show)….as you can imagine, I have many NJ HillBilly adventures to share🙂
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Firstly, there were no Baptist churches nearby so for a while I attended various places, then settled on the local Presbyterian church… After moving, a couple of times it became an iterative process which lead me to attend the Episcopal church… Although I participated no differently than if id been a member…. This demanding job change related process left me feeling like I really should settle on & join a home church… I’m talking a long process over years 1984-1994.   When I relocated back to Virginia I immediately joined the Episcopal church, joined the choir, became newsletter editor, etc.  All was well. I felt settled in the church family of my choice plus… A surprise…. I was not required to give up my Flint Hill Baptist Church membership upon becoming Episcopalian… Thus, I retained my membership to the church in which I grew up… HUGE sentimental value for me since I had/ have many family / friends there that I love dearly. It was a win-win situation!🙂

image image At this point, I remind you the following words are not directed at any of you…simply an expression of MY feelings… of how MY experiences made me feel forward these churches……please do not take personal offense at my descriptor words as they are not based on a single individual OR church…. Multiple church basis of only my personal experiences….
Southern Baptist Church =
racial bigots, ………male & female chauvinist pigs, ….fearful, ……literal,
‘stupid is strong’ since females are not equal, females forbidden to preach, females forbidden to be a deacon /leader, rare to hear a female read scripture in service ( ok in Sunday school, but not in service?)……    fearful of research/opinions/discussion/ learning/ growth, loud, irreverent & suffocating environment,…..closed minded… You get my picture…….seriously, the wording above is just IMO in reaction to how I have been treated OR to things I witnessed that happened to others.

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Episcopal church =
warm, ……inviting, …….accepting, ……caring ….loving …..mindful….. compassionate….
kind…… science & bible are not mutually exclusive…
ALL welcome….any race, creed, color, nationality, female, male, straight, gay, old, young, fat, skinny, uneducated, educated, you name it=welcomed
Supports diversity & equality, independent thought, open to discussion….
Calm not loud, reverent, meditative…..
Sugar & spice & everything nice….
Got issues don’t I?…..LOL…..
       You betcha…but…..don’t we all?
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Yet another surprise regarding my church membership….
After a year or so of dual membership, my father ( a deacon leader ) got wind of it somehow and basically ‘read me the riot act’…said that I “play the wild” by belonging to more than one church….  I disagreed because I saw no reason why I could not belong to both… Is there a limit on how many churches a person can have?…a parent might be concerned that their child did not go to church… But to have one too many, what’s up with that? I did not see his point & he did not see mine…this went unresolved for days, weeks, a few months… At first I thought he’d forget about it, and I’d surely never mention it… I put me in a tight spot… Fat chance of that, cause it became his checklist greeting question with every phone call  & every time I went home to visit…”have you decided”….. image

 My thoughts/beliefs/faith best fit the Episcopal church,…. yet so many people I love belong to that specific church… There I go again with that thought of females being worthless to the Baptist church, or feelIng that somehow my freaky self should have never explored various church doctrines…. Should I compromise myself and find yet another Baptist church to attend, or give up my sentimental silliness…or do nothing and keep both, no harm in that…. It took 6-8 weeks to wrestle my thoughts & feelings to a path forward.  Ultimately, tearfully… I sent a letter of resignation to Flint Hill Baptist…. I’d decided that it was more important to honor my father’s wishes out of love & respect for him… That membership did not mean nearly as much to me, as it did to resolve the issue with him.  To this day, I feel happy with my decision… I only wonder what took me so long?🙂 …it was simply my ‘leave no stone unturned’ mentality that I’d figure out a solution where I’d get to keep both… Also called hardheaded, knuckle-headed, stubborn, persistent silly over thinking self… At least I can laugh at myself about it now… I only mention it because it is a good example of 2 people feeling passionately about opposite views on something very insignificant.

The fact that I’m a born again believer is all God cares about with respect to my soul.  God does not care which church I attend nor where my membership(s) reside…. Nor if any other person ever knows what i believe…and vice versa…. It is a very private, personal relationship that is one on one between an individual and God.  It is not anyone else’s business but your own.  Luckily, we have the protection of religious freedom.   Hope you realize, i use the term ‘freak’ in jest… IMO They are misguided, misunderstood over enthusiastic souls acting with or without respect.  At least that’s my understanding.

imageimage As you may now realize, an alternate hot button word in my mind  is FORBIDDEN….  I was told thru out high school by my father that I would not be going to college… Nevertheless I stayed on my academic college-bound track.   Each time the subject of course selection came up, I braced for another battle over taking typing…. But I had no room in my course load for it… Plus I already knew how to type via my mother’s typewriter.  So, I felt I was forever the disobedient daughter for not taking his suggestion… But decided I was not about to drop math, French , science for typing…

imageEventually it culminated in my being flat out forbidden to go to college, since we were poor & the only suitable career recommended to me by my father did not require 4-yrs of college…. It was the kind of disagreement that had only one answer back from me…. Needless to say, it was dramatic: “watch me, I’m 18yo & you can’t stop me” …. I  left home at age 18 for college & graduate school with help from scholarships, student loans & work-study programs…. & pursued a career in science &engineering. image Overall, my father & I shared many similarities & differences that I feel others do not understand.  Firstly, our looks are similar as are our personalities, storytelling,  love of sweets (chocolate, peppermint,watermelon), gardening, dogs, horses, chickens, nature, ‘dissecting’  (as creature wound treatment or food prep ) curiosity as to how things work, both jokesters… Too many to list here.  However, our differences were less but significant… Role of women in society/church, other social/philosophical issues… Including his belief  ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ which I felt was unnecessarily harsh, even though my smart-mouth coupled with boundless curiosity may have placed his discipline skills in question… At least to my mind.  As the years passed he created many homemade ‘farm’ original mechanical designs, performed electrical wiring at the house/barn… He could build many things, & did… Never realizing that he was an engineer at heart… I’d tell him about the industrial equipment adventures I experienced and he actually seemed to enjoy my work stories… Over time I realized we both had changed, mellowed, accepted… I think he realized it too… And choose to believe that is why he made that family apology at Thanksgiving… Also he was finally able to eat a meal in a Japanese restaurant after more than 60years after returning from that awful pacific campaign in WWII…. My father was a key influence  on my thoughts toward religion, science, engineering, honor, integrity, & respect …without either realizing it until later …probably since we were more alike than our stubborn selves cared to admit.

image image I’m not sure if this makes sense or not… Difficult to explain since the  ‘freak’ image relates to my church history, which relates to the history of my relationship with my father, and relates to school & career choices… All in one giant melting pot….  My mother played a huge role too, but I deliberately left her out of this writing… I will mention her influence was equal to Dad’s… she had a 2-yr business college degree by age 21  & a sensitive artistic nature in creating many things. image I hope I’ve explained it all well enough to be understood …one final observation is that like my father I notice minuscule insignificant “curiosities” of sights & sounds…a country perceptive way possibly.   We differ in how we process, interpret  & store all that extra data.. I do not know the formula for it… He processed it or reflected on it by being outdoors…hunting, gardening, builing farm things etc.  I did some outdoor actives too, plus art & music …the best way to describe it is like my iPad & iPhone ….when Dad & I were in sych our thoughts meshed perfectly on issues… But when out of sych, we had a terrible time communicating from different pages of thought…. He as a parent/ adult, and me as a child/teen/adult , struggled on parallel paths throughout life’s journey.  I feel that is, more or less,  how it  goes for everyone… The sum total of your experiences contribute to your various beliefs… And, it is nearly impossible to capture how it shaped your path exactly.  Also, difficult for me/others to explain since it covers feelings of faith, love, hope, forgiveness on a spiritual, philosophical & intellectual level. image image ~~~ The End ~~~ image                 “The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.” —Laurel Burch