Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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I Choose to Believe

Feb 16, 2012

NASA: The Eye of God

My husband is an Atheist.  Of course, I knew this when we married, but over the years, I guess I decided I just didn’t believe him.  It seems too unbelievable to me, especially because I know him the way I do.  I am a Christian woman, a believer, as they say.  I don’t subscribe to any “religion” because I think religion only serves to provide the most effective distraction from Christ.  Instead, I want a genuine relationship with God and His son, Jesus, based on His word – His love letter to us – the Bible.

Sadly, I also believe I fail miserably at being the person God wants me to be daily, but I get up the next day and try all over again.  I’m not trying to ‘believe’this comes easy for me.  I’m trying to “understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is.  Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love.  Then you can be filled with everything God has for you“.  (Ephesians 3:18-19)  And I’m trying to provide a good example of this love [that I cannot understand] to my children, my husband and anyone else I might meet.  But I’m pretty sure that all people see when they look at me is a broken woman, someone who struggles with physical illness (and doesn’t smile broadly and call it a “blessing”), depression, anxiety, financial problems and other unattractive issues in her life, and someone who can’t really wrap her head around the whole God-loves-ME-and-I’M-special-to-Him thing when I think there is a decent amount of evidence to the contrary.

Ironically, my husband is a better “Christian” than most of the Christians I have encountered in my life.  He is truly a good and loving man.  Where does that come from?  If God is love and he has no God to inspire him, what makes him loving?  What makes him moral?  I really want to know where his morality comes from, on what it is based.  But when pressed, he couldn’t answer.  Oh, he’s willing to “die for what he believes in” – he just can’t ‘explain’ what that is.  How is that possible??  How does a person – a brilliant, articulate person – emphatically believe in nothing?  Or in “mankind’s intrinsic goodness” (Humans are intrinsically ‘good’?  This is news to me.)

I’m the sort who needs things to make sense.  I realize I am somewhat neurotic (sometimes extremely neurotic) in my quest for everything to neatly fit into a box marked “logical”, but this is important stuff!  And while some would think there is nothing ‘logical’ about faith, with all my heart and brain, I believe that Christ died and rose again so that I won’t ever die, but will live with him forever after this life.  I also believe that my husband won’t be there with us because he chooses not to believe.  Oh, how sad this is to me.

My first husband was a believer.  We believed together until his death nearly 14 years ago.  I know he’s in a place we’ve decided to call ‘Heaven’ and that I’ll see him again one day.  I don’t claim to understand God’s ways when it comes to tragedy, sickness and sadness… or even love, but I choose to believe His wisdom supersedes my own.  [Even if I can’t explain it properly, either.]

 Bottom line?  He’s GOD.  And I’m not.

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Praying for the Taliban

Aug 19, 2010

 

How does one pray for the Taliban?  I have to admit, though I’ve spent a lifetime in and out of church (mostly ‘in’), I’ve never been asked to pray for an enemy I find so distasteful.  

When people think of the Taliban, there is no shortage of images depicting the horror of murder, of violence, of terror…of things we all think of as ‘unforgivable’.  Even the tainting of “religion”.  Me?  I hate religion, and I detest religiosity.  

I love God.  I love His son, Jesus.  I benefit big time from the fact that They love me.  And I spend most days trying to analyze why in the world They do. 

My friend who gave the sermon this past Sunday and asked us all to pray for the Taliban, my dear and loving and liberal  friend, [Pastor] Louie, originally from Brooklyn like me – whose children I once babysat, who was once my camp counselor, who gave the eulogy at my late first husband’s memorial service – Louie, who constantly reminds me that yes, God does love me (really?), it’s something I can’t earn.  OK, I have it on the authority of an authentic Italian[-American], AND the Bible… so fuhgeddaboudit. :-)  


Interestingly, my father is also a pastor (or used to be), but we are no longer very close and I would not attend one of his sermons unless… Actually, I’m not sure the circumstances under which I would attend a sermon given by my father.  Also an Italian[-American] from Brooklyn, he somehow became an associate pastor of a Mennonite Church out here in the middle of all this farmland, but now attends a different church, occasionally speaking instead of the pastor on a Sunday morning. 

Louie and my father seem to have little else in common after the Italian, Brooklyn, speak-in-front-of-a-church thing; while Louie encouraged us all to pray for the Taliban, I couldn’t help but think of how unlikely it would be that my father would ever ask this of anyone, I could only only imagine him scoffing at such an idea.  Even worse, I can almost hear him in my head saying, “Let us all bow our heads and pray that the fires of hell are 100 times hotter for the vile members of the Taliban.  Amen.” 

And then my mother would go home and make a 3-course meal for someone on some list in the church after it had been printed in the bulletin or announced earlier that Sunday morning that she would be doing so :-/ 

Religiosity, anyone? 

Again, I’m not saying it was easy for me to pray for them – it wasn’t.  It was unpleasant and difficult for me to know what to say and to mean it, but God knows our heart(s) and fills in the rest.  And the fact that the first thing in my head was not imagining the hottest fires of hell burning members of the Taliban was also encouraging to me.  

Later that day, my husband (the atheist) said, “Well, I guess the Taliban needs prayer more than anybody, right?”   Yeah, you’re right, honey.

I wanted to say, Atheists say the darndest things, but immediately realized THAT wouldn’t be appropriate.  Things can get so confusing for my rapidly shrinking brain to decipher, but I believe that God has it all figured out, so I just do my best to trust Him.