Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Muse---Faith?

Everyone says "you Gotta have FAITH"

FAITH in what? Faith in your spouse, sure.   Faith in yourself, sometimes.   Faith in your friends, you can try, more often-successfully.   Faith in your dog, absolutely---that is unconditional love, man.
Faith in the Gov't taking a piece of your pie, for sure!

But what about the OTHER Faith? SPIRITUAL FAITH?  What does that mean? 

Believing in stuff you don't understand? Well, for many than can be math and science.  I mean seriously, I have taken college level Physics I and II, Radiographic Physics, Physics as it applies to Specialized Imaging, and Human Physics, but don't ask me to actually be able to explain K-space (in my field of MRI---past the part that it fills from the middle out) and definitely do not ask me how something so large as a 747 can stay air-born, but it does. Does that mean I am spiritually connected to flight? I hardly think so.

I was raised Protestant-Christian, as a child; Presbyterian. Later a Lutheran for a bit, then as a Methodist. Later still, I became "saved" in my brother's non-denominational, bible-based, Christ-centered, Charismatic church. I eventually went back to the Methodist Church, and then left altogether for being surrounded by waaaay too many hypocrites. I knew and know many Roman Catholics. I knew a couple of Jews, and Buddhists. I have researched Native American beliefs a bit (part of my heritage)...The main message I have gotten from all...is to be good to one another, love one another.

But let's go back to Faith. I have watched my brother and his family become fanatics. Then later my own daughter who accused my Parents of being "closet Satan worshipers" because my Dad was a Free Mason and my Mom was in Eastern Star (women's part of free-masonry). I have also taken and taught Sunday school for years, and been in and out of Bible study groups. I found out 2 things...#1
you teach what that given ministry wants you to teach and #2, you study the parts of the Bible that, the preacher of that church, passes along that he wants you to study.  I am speaking from my own experience in the protestant, and the non-denominational Christian churches.
Another big thing I have noticed time and again, is how many different ways a piece of scripture can be perceived.  Who is right? and why? Better yet, HOW do we know who is right? Take it on Faith???  Basically, if that is the case...you have to take the entire Bible on faith.  OK, I get that. I also get that the bible was written by men, some of which waited generations before writing stuff down. How much was lost, twisted, changed or deliberately omitted?  There are whole books of the original Bible that were taken out before the King James version came out, and even before then.
What do we believe? We believe what we choose to.

Furthermore, how many Christians have noticed that there are several, SEVERAL pieces of scripture that actually contradict each other? I know I have.  Again, written by men, not a God. However, it is supposedly the word of God passed from God to Prophets and then to paper, or onto other men before hitting paper. Again, how do we have Faith, when so much is at stake, and so much is unclear?

I am speaking for myself, My faith has ebbed and flowed over the years because of what I have experienced, encountered, researched, understand and do not understand.

For more than 5 years now, my Faith has been on very shaky ground.  I have seen more bad than good. I have seen horrible things, and yes I have had some prayers answered. Were they answered? or is what happened, something that would have happened anyway? Is it possible that the power of my own will and mind did it?


I am afraid to say that I no longer believe in God, because I am unsure if that is truly how I feel. I am still questioning. However I CAN say with certainty that my questioning has grown in leaps and bounds. To me that speaks volumes.
Look to my side bar, see my great-niece Daisy...Take a few minutes when you are done here to visit her website. Daisy was born with an uncommon, Horrendously painful, and ultimately fatal disease called EB (Epidermolysis Bullosia) she has a combination of two of the worst forms. The doctors told the family not to expect much. When she lived to see her first Birthday the doctors were amazed, and now she is 3.5...however, she can't keep hair on her head, her teeth will not form properly and then rot away. her digits on both hands and feet will web, contract, there growth thwarted and basically shrink into her hands and feet over the years, that is if the MRSA, Psuedomonis and other Superbugs she has in the skin do not reach the blood stream and kill her first (this is usually how this disease kills it's patients) when she was born, she was missing the skin on her lower arms and hands and from just above the knees down. On the one leg, the skin has NEVER even attempted to grow back.
  Here's what happens, anything that touches her, causes blisters, then the skin sloths off. That includes being held to be fed as a baby, she couldn't nurse. and even the bottle would sometimes pull the skin away from around her mouth. Everyday, she gets wrapped like a mummy. She wakes up in the morning they try to get her to eat, it depends on the skin in her mouth or throat if it will be successful, if not they will give her some liquid food through a feeding tube after her dressing change. Sometimes she can not even tolerate that, and has awful reflux. OK...dressing change, starts out with putting her in her own bathtub that has jets with her bandages on. The days alternate between water and bleach in the tub and water and vinegar. The remove the bandages, the crying starts, they wash her, the crying is worse and now she starts to fight because she is in pain, due to new blisters and new slothing of skin. She gets removed from the tub, and with a sterile lancet the nurse and her mother pop the new blisters. By now she is screaming, sometimes she stops breathing and turns blue due to the pain level. Then they have to use the bag on her to get her breathing again. Now they cover her with a generous layer of Aquaphor and re-wrap her. Most times within an hour she is back to her smiling and courageous self.  Some days the infections get the better of her, and her fever goes up, and she doesn't do anything but lay there. Some days this has been the 2nd or 3rd day of this, which means uh-oh a 3 hour drive down to Philadelphia Children's hospital. Where they may ATTEMPT to get a line in, and give her precious fluids and IV antibiotics, but they can not even give her the BEST one for the MRSA as apparently her body has  an adverse reaction to it.


I'll stop there, if you want to read more or see pictures or donate to the family, please check out her website.

I Brought Daisy into this blog post because I do NOT understand, if  "God, The God I was raised to believe in" is such a loving God, and has the best intentions for us all. Why on earth or HEAVEN would he let these children be born? OR, Why not take them back quickly to be an angel? WHY would a loving God put an innocent Baby through that kind of horrible pain, a daily torture?

There are many WHYs that I ask. The Bullying in schools--getting worse. Violence of our children--getting worse. Technology progressing forward to a point where I belief it is making things worse.
I have SEVERAL personal WHYs...and I do not mean just "me" I mean for people around me, situations around me.
Not to mention the behavior of some people in my life (and in my old church) that was VERY UN-Christian like.  It really makes me wonder.  I really have to shake my head sometimes. There was another thought I had to put right here, but my son's cat just knocked over a bunch of my stuff, and I lost my train of thought. (sorry)

I am sure many of you feel the same way.

I understand recently the author Anne Rice, publicly spoke out, saying she was leaving Christianity, (this after becoming "saved" and writing only Christian Novels for a while) She listed many reasons, but the main theme seemed to be INTOLERANCE. She said she remained a believer and follower of Jesus Christ but NOT of the structured religion.


Never in my life have I met IN REAL LIFE people that openly call themselves Pagans or Wiccans. My son started talking about Wicca when still in HS, and I was mortified, why?  because I was taught and told that Wicca is against God, therefore it must be for Satan. Then I started blogging this past February, and I have met many others.

I have been pondering this a lot lately, and what I am thinking now, is maybe Jesus(who is supposed to be God incarnate) is the Creator, and the Goddess of the Earth is the manager. I know there are "new age" Wiccans and Pagans, that have combined religions, I do not know what "religions" (and I hate that word anyway, as one can be "religious" about brushing their teeth for 3 minutes every morning at 7:05 am)

SO NOW for anyone who has stayed with me, I am looking for Information, thoughts, opinions, good books, good websites, help and answers.  I am thinking about Wicca, I have been told the very first book I should read is "Wicca for Dummies"

REMEMBER: I do NOT publish anonymous comments, so if you do not want to be honest in your beliefs publicly here, then I guess you can email me. PLEASE use THIS email address: sweetnightfairy@yahoo.com

9 comments:

Kelly said...

Hi. I found your blog a few days ago, and for whatever reason, decided to become a follower of yours.

Upon reading this post, I stopped shortly after I read "MRSA, Psuedomonis"...And how can God allow such travesties to occur to innocent children?

That is a good question and one that I am actually writing a book about. I hope toget it published one day and to become a voice for parents who are often left in the dark, either emotionally, spiritually, or medically as a result of a sitution petaining to a child - I know, I've been there....

In the very near future, I am going to start blogging about it. Unlike your neices family, I havent had the strength to even blog about it. But, I feel the time has come.

Check it out if you'd like. Maybe I can provide some of the answers you're looking for. Maybe not.

kelly

Java said...

Hi Susan!

Thanks for stopping by the Over 40 Bloggers I added your blog to the list!!

Thanks for joining the party!

Hope you get lots of followers from it! Including me!! Please follow me back if you haven’t done so already!!

Be sure to come by every Friday for the Follow Friday 40 and Over Blog Hop!

Have a great day!!
Java

Danise said...

Susan,
Go to wicca 101.I have a link to it on my blog.It has a lot of good information.I'm wiccan/pagan.Meaning I also beleave in the American Indian traditions..it is that Cree in my family.

Ketutar said...

After having read this your comment to my blog feels even better. :-) It made me very happy, knowing I could have been of any help, but knowing now that you really need the help...

I have difficulties in expressing myself, and I'm sorry if I have said something stupid.

My beliefs about the suffering problem are not very "kind"...

a) I believe in humans' free will. I believe God cannot override this free will. We cause a lot of pain and suffering, sometimes even without knowing it. I don't know if global warming is true or not, but - just as Pascal's Wager says, if we don't believe, and do nothing, but it's true, the consequences are catastrophic. If we believe and do something, and the global warming turns out to be hysteria, what have we really lost? Anyway, the peoples' lust for oil caused the oil catastrophe. One doesn't think one is responsible of THAT when one uses plastic bags or cars using gas. Or the thousands of things where oil is used, like acrylics, polystyrene... computers. Most of my computer is made of plastic, not metal, wood or ceramics.

So... Daisy. It is horrible what is happening to her. But I'm sure she is just as adorable, wonderful, lovely kid as any other 3 years old girl is. :-) After all, this is all SHE knows. No-one is hurting her deliberately. No-one wants her to be in pain. But - even though I think no-one dies or lives unless God wants it, as God IS the Lady of Life and Death... but how many people are alive today because we keep begging God to let us keep them a couple more days? How much of the fact that Daisy is still alive and suffering every day, is because God wants is, and how much of it is because the people who love her cannot let her go and rest in peace? I'm not saying anyone is doing anything wrong, I would probably fight for her life if she was my daughter or niece too, and I do believe that Daisy can have a life worth living even when it is in horrible torture... because she doesn't know any better.

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and a long list of different mental disorders, like social phobia and panic anxiety, AND I have fibromyalgia, but I think my life is worth living. I'm not comparing my suffering to Daisy's, no way, but Daisy might.
To me being blind would be catastrophic, but not to people who are blind.
To me having days when I cannot get up from my bed, barely drink my morning tea, because my body aches, is "normal". It wasn't "normal" 20 years ago, but one gets used to things that cannot be changed pretty quickly... It helps to see my husband looking at me with a look of both horror and compassion. Horror because, even when my pain isn't even close to Daisy's, it's bad, and none of us wants to see our beloved ones in pain.

Ketutar said...

So... Daisy. It is horrible what is happening to her. But I'm sure she is just as adorable, wonderful, lovely kid as any other 3 years old girl is. :-) After all, this is all SHE knows. No-one is hurting her deliberately. No-one wants her to be in pain. But - even though I think no-one dies or lives unless God wants it, as God IS the Lady of Life and Death... but how many people are alive today because we keep begging God to let us keep them a couple more days? How much of the fact that Daisy is still alive and suffering every day, is because God wants is, and how much of it is because the people who love her cannot let her go and rest in peace? I'm not saying anyone is doing anything wrong, I would probably fight for her life if she was my daughter or niece too, and I do believe that Daisy can have a life worth living even when it is in horrible torture... because she doesn't know any better.

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and a long list of different mental disorders, like social phobia and panic anxiety, AND I have fibromyalgia, but I think my life is worth living. I'm not comparing my suffering to Daisy's, no way, but Daisy might.
To me being blind would be catastrophic, but not to people who are blind.
To me having days when I cannot get up from my bed, barely drink my morning tea, because my body aches, is "normal". It wasn't "normal" 20 years ago, but one gets used to things that cannot be changed pretty quickly... It helps to see my husband looking at me with a look of both horror and compassion. Horror because, even when my pain isn't even close to Daisy's, it's bad, and none of us wants to see our beloved ones in pain.

Ketutar said...

and so we come to b)
How ever selfish, egocentric, ruthless and so on it might sound, but I believe bad things happen also to give us possibility to be good and to realize how good we have it. Our skin is our biggest organ, and we take it for granted. We NEED people like Daisy to remind us of what a miracle our skin is. I mean... I, just as a lot of other people, look at myself in the mirror, and wish I had a cleaner, fresher, purer skin, I wish it didn't turn olive green when I get tanned, I wish I didn't have such a hard skin on my feet and so on and so forth. We worry about scars and wrinkles and dry skin... and then we are hit straight between our eyes by people like Daisy. Now, THERE you have REAL problems. Maybe I could stop whining about such petty things like a couple of blackheads on my nose? Maybe my skin color isn't such a problem after all.

It might feel horrible to think about it like this, because what has Daisy done to deserve to suffer so that I get a reminder... She had done absolutely nothing to "deserve" this. And I really don't want to "buy my happiness" through someone else's suffering. I don't want others to suffer to teach ME a lesson, especially not innocent, sweet kids like Daisy.

But... what if God have tried all the other ways to teach us this lesson, to remind us of that petty little things are not worth to be elevated into serious problems, or give even the thought or energy we spent worrying about them... what if bad things happen to good people because we are just so darn stubborn?

Ketutar said...

I mean... Daisy is loved. Not only by her family, but by total strangers who read her story, like me. She is seen as the wonderful little girl she is, not as her painful condition. She is cared for, and I'm sure she has some enjoyable moments... she might love pink, laugh at cartoons, enjoy rainbows and so on... and she doesn't know what it's like not to be in pain. She doesn't know what she loses. Maybe her life isn't as bad as it would be for you and me. Maybe God is doing Her best to see she suffers as little as possible?

I don't know. This is such the way I believe, and as with all beliefs, I might be 100% wrong. I know that my way of seeing things has been seen as very cruel and egocentric way. I have been yelled at by South Americans, Africans, Palestinians and my husband, so I understand if you delete this message and never want to speak with me again. If so, I do apologize, as I don't wish to cause you or anyone else more suffering.

My husband has a quite different way of seeing things. He's Jewish and he thinks Harold Kushner in his book "When bad things happen to good people" is a good one, explaining this in an acceptable way. They believe that in the Creation, there were some "Chaos Pockets" captured in the order, like air bubbles in dough, and every now and then one falls into a Chaos Pocket, and "bad things" happen. I don't quite get it, but you might, so I recommend you read the book.

BTW, as I said in my blog entry, you don't NEED to believe in God to be a good person :-)

Silly Old Bear said...

Hi there, Susan :)

I am whizzing by because my wife read your 'faith post' to me. I am Ketutar's Jewish Husband.

I was originally only going to recommend the book by Harold Kushner "When bad things happen to Good people" - but...

Well, I do believe that G-d is Omnipotent - but as He is G-d He is bound by the laws of nature and genetics. After all if we are made in His/Her Image, and WE cannot manipulate the internal machinations of the Universe without 'breaking things' (and I do think that we break things while playing with f.i genetics, medical research etc, more often than we actually 'fix things'), then it logically follows that G-d cannot either - not without getting into the same kind of trouble, doesn't it?

The idea of chaos pockets, as Ket described it is based on the (little known) grammatical and linguistic 'spin/prank' Hebrew plays with the first 'verse' of Genesis (Bereshit). The first part of the very first verse of the Hebrew Bible is traditionally rendered: "In the Beginning G-d Created...", however, the Hebrew can just as well be rendered "In the beginning of G-d's creating..." thus implying that G-d isn't done creating, that the creation is an on-going process. If you just read (regardless of 'truth' or basic ideas of what the text means or is believed to mean) the text of Genesis 1, is a simple account of G-d ORDERING the Chaos that is present in verse 2 - the line "formless and empty" in Hebrew literally means 'a raging chaos'. See where I am going with this?

It doesn't do anything for Daisy, true, but it puts what Daisy is going through into another perspective, don't you think?

So maybe G-d cannot change things like that, not because He/She wouldn't want to, or COULDN'T, but because He/She is bound by the Laws of Creation, where bits and pieces of Chaos are still present, in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and horrible diseases that hit us for no reason at all.

Maybe what G-d can do is make sure that a girl like Daisy has good, loving and compassionate parents, relatives and friends. Maybe what G-d can do is inspire us to try and be good, loving, compassionate and kind and help those who for no reason are hit by a piece of Chaos? Not that the Chaos happens so that we would learn from 'other peoples' suffering, but when it happens we listen to the voice of lovingkindness and take action to alleviate suffering, heartache and pain.

And no, we don't have to believe in G-d (any version) to have that voice of lovingkindness or to heed Its promptings :D Belief is optional - Action is imperative.

Sparkster said...

This is the post I got to when my husband got home. I'll come back tomorrow so that I can give it the attention it deserves.

Hugs.

Faith's a great thing to have. Especially when it's defined by your own heart and your own beliefs. :)