Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

H is for HEATHEN

The Rogue Speaks:

When Rod and I were in grammar school, our families were members of Emory University Methodist Church (that was before "United" became part of the name). Our mothers taught Sunday school and we were there whenever the doors opened. We were confirmed together, and went to MYF every Sunday night. We also went to all the church night suppers on Wednesday night.

Over the years, things have changed. I no longer feel the same way that I did when I was young. Too many things have happened in the world that have changed my views on church membership. Things are happening with churches today in America that have made me not want to be a part of any church. Mega-churches have huge, expensive sanctuaries, with state of the art sound systems. Churches seem to always be asking for money for building funds or remodeling funds. The minister who spoke at Rod's dad's funeral drove a Cadillac and wore a diamond pinky ring. That upset me greatly, since his salary probably paid for those items. I think Jesus would probably have been more than satisfied with a used Pinto!!

When we moved to Tucson, we looked around for a church and were very unsuccessful. One minister was sooooo boring that I felt myself dozing off. He was talking a lot about money. Another church we tried was a beautiful little stone church in the foothills. We were the youngest people there. The second time we went, we discovered that the minister had run off with the choir director. The third church sang show tunes instead of hymns, and one member wanted to discuss masturbation during the service. We had Rod's mother with us. Fortunately, she didn't hear a word that was said, because she confessed to us afterward that she had left her hearing aids at our daughter's house in New Orleans.

Then there are churches whose members love to spout out hatred for people who are not like them. I guess if Jesus showed up at that church one day, with long hair, a long robe, and sandals, they might just try to kill him, thinking he was a Muslim.

Then there are churches who believe that the Bible is "God-breathed." Whenever I talk to my evangelical relatives about just how the Bible was written, and what was taken out because some Pope or King didn't like the way the passage sounded, their eyes glaze over and they just stop listening, even though I can give them a VERY LONG bibliography that solidifies my point. That makes me a HEATHEN in their eyes.

So I am done with organized religion, and so is Rod. We are perfectly content to have coffee and read the paper on Sunday morning. I guess that makes me a HEATHEN. I believe in the Golden Rule, though, and the 10 Commandments, and I believe in being kind and helpful whenever I can. But I guess I am still a HEATHEN. I'd like to think that I am spiritual. I give to charities, but only if I know that the money I give is going directly to people who need it the most, and not to the CEO's of the charities as some sort of bonus. But since I believe in evolution, I guess I am a HEATHEN.

I have a very good friend who is also a HEATHEN. His name is Tony. Tony is smart and funny and genuinely caring of others. He has a cool girlfriend, and a really neat and loving family. He also writes a blog that sometimes makes me wet my pants from laughing so hard. He's definitely a HEATHEN, and has no problem letting people know that! He goes by the name "Bluzdude," and his blog is "Darwinfish2." We decided to get together to write a post about HEATHENS. Click on the yellow link and read what my friend has to say! You will become a follower for sure!!! Heathens make the best friends, and Tony will tell you why. Then head on over to Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday and read the other students' lessons!!


upinthecosmos said...

Great post. I too am a Heathen and I find life more enjoyable that way. There is right and wrong and religion doesn't have to be behind it to make it so really but there definitely is a higher power of some sort that watches over all... whether we believe it or not:-)

Vicki/Jake said...

AGH! you're not only a damned Heathen, you're a stinking thief!! You took the words right outta my mind before they even got to my mouth! And I love ya:) And the music today...mwahaha! Now I'll go see this dude friend of yours, see if he's as big a thief as you..xoxox

bluzdude said...

I subscribe to George Carlin's theory that the 10 commandments are a puffed up and overblown list, and can easily be condensed into The Two Commandments:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful, and thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone unless they pray to a different invisible man in the sky than you do.

JJ said...

That's why I always capitalize the word Nature, and I'm always saying I'm one with it. I roll with the punches of life.

Ames said...

Well from one sister heathen to another, I must say that the only true church I attend on a regular basis is my own body. My body is a temple and God is in my heart. I don't even have to drag my mangy butt out of bed on Sunday morning to go worship him.

The second Pastor we had assigned as councelor on our job (and you know was line of work I was in) was having a new house built. It seemed that the contractor built houses for ministers at cost. Well a light bulb went on in my head and my mouth started to workin up the words and before I could think about what I was fixing to say, out they blurted. I said "It doesn't seem fair that the contractor loses and you gain to profit from his loss." Well he snapped back at me with "And why am I not entitled to make a profit off of the sale of my house but you are?" I think I was taken aback, dumb struck. That was the day I had to re-evaluate my beliefs to see if they were in alignment with the churches covenents. And they weren't.

One Sunday morning when I sat down in the same pew I had always sat in, I saw a piece of paper sticking up out of the hymnal. It was a list of my church covenants. My husband leaned in and we began to read the list together. When I was done reading I just looked at him. It almost felt like I was being put on notice. I like to clap my hands in church when a person performs a beautiful song and it moves me. No clapping allowed in church. I like to play cards. No card playing allowed. I love to dance. No dancing allowed. I like a drink every now and then. No partaking of the spirits. When we got home we had a long talk. I felt duped. I had always gone to that church. I was a Sunbeam. We were all Baptised there. My sister married there. That was the day of reckoning for me.

The preacher was right though. If the contractor wanted to keep on building houses at cost for preachers so the preachers could resell them and profit. Who am I to judge someone who gains while at the expense of another's loss. That's God's job. But I told God I don't think that is right regardless.

And you are right about the Bible. Anyone who is not hell bent on taking every word as fact and has an education knows that the Bible is a wonderful book of knowledge, lessons, praise and warnings. Translations have changed through the years and the books are incomplete.

I've even had the "Come back to church" and "You need the fellowship" visits and well I just don't need to be preached about removing the splinter from my eye when they can't see the log in their own.

I love God. He has given me the spirit of discernment. I know right from wrong and good from evil. And he knows every gray hair on my head. So if that makes me a heathen well then...move over and make room for one more on that pew of life. ~Love ya! Mean it!~Ames

P.S. Great "H" post Judie!

Jen said...

If not going to church regularly makes you a heathen, then I am there with you. I am a Christian who loves Jesus and believes that God is hurt deeply by many of the corrupt things that go on in churches everyday. Things like you mentioned. I am a nurse working nights on weekends and have not been able to attend church on Sunday morning in years. I know God understands my heart for being home with my kids during the week...but I also know he wants me to fellowship with other believers in some way. Organized church may not be for is God that gives us life and joy and purpose...wherever you find Him!
Thanks for your honesty!

anitamombanita said...

Some of my best friends are maybe that makes me one too? You know, guilt by association? But seriously, if you're a heathen, then I think you're the best kind there is. One who is kind and concerned for others, one who withholds judgment, etc etc etc. So you will still love me when I say that I was a confirmed heathen who decided that organized religion could be a wonderful thing for me?...I've found a church that is right for me. Doesn't mean you have to feel the same. I'll still follow your blog...joyfully! And respect you for feeling the way you do. Nice post. Now I'll have to go check out the other heathen(s). :)

Pondside said...

If you're a heathen, then there will be a line-up to join.

Lola said...

Well, if you're a heathen, there will a gigantic queue standing right behind you!

XOXO Lola:)

PS Love the pic of Liz the Elf at top! She looks so cute: does she need a PR agent?!

Leovi said...

I see that our views on the church are coming, but I have left from adolescence to follow any religion. Greetings.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like you visited some very unique churches.

Nonna Beach said...

That was a great, insightful and thoughtful post Judie !!!

You are not a heathen just 'cause you're done with organized religion. Church going is not for everyone and who are we to judge others anyway ???

Francisca said...

Have I told you I think you are one super woman, Judie!?

Jo said...

Thank goodness you got that out in the open ... heathen here ... but still following the golden rule and 10 commandments and love to do nice things for nice people and give back when and where i can ... Hugs to you my heathen friend!

Gattina said...

You speak right out of my heart ! We are exactly like you and Rod. The church gives me nausea ! It is a big business. Poor Jesus, looking at the one who should represent him, living in a palace with servants and special soldiers, wears diamonds and is one of richest man in the world ??
I am living in a 90 % catholic country. In Belgium everybody is catholic although less and less go to church because they have their own believes just like you and me.
In short, the churches are empty besides a few old people and they only go there to chat about the neighbors. Church has nothing to do with faith, it's all man made. I have my own personal one.
In America the church also is a social institution if you live in a small town first thing is to choose a church otherwise you are an outsider ! I see American families coming to live in Waterloo for a few years are surprised of our "church" life. So they found another institution to get together : "The American Woman Club" but the men go there too it's just to meet together.
When my American aunt died she and my uncle made a testament leaving the house to me, because they had no children. You know what happened ? My aunt died, my 85 year old uncle was suddenly surrounded by church people and they convinced him to change the testament and leave all his belongings to the church ! I couldn't do anything about it, although all of my aunts neighbors tried to help me with laywers etc. But there was nothing to do the last will is the last will. So I am allergic to money hungry churches ! Fortunately politics and religion are strictly separated here. I don't even know what our prime minister is, probably a catholic, lol !

Anonymous said...

We are in an era of disillusionment for sure--religion, politics, etc. It makes me wonder what will become of us as our experiences become more diverse and we lose the interpersonal bonds that are one of the benefits of church life. And, for the record, I'm a "heathen" too.

EG Wow said...

Fantastic post, Judie. You spoke from deep inside your heart. Many of today's churches seem to have no idea what they are doing wrong. They are being led by humans and not by a Super Being.

Judie said...

Everyone, Gattina has made an excellent point in her comment. When Rod and I lived in Memphis, TN., we were very active in the Methodist church. We were members of a Sunday school class that had many socials, and I taught confirmation classes to 6th graders. One day, a retired minister of the church started hanging around my class every week, and it wasn't long before he started making a move on me. I reported him to the head minister. I was sick to my stomach. Not long after that, Rod and I began to realize that the only reason we were so involved is because it had become a social outlet--nothing more. We left.

Rod's dear mum, whom you all know I adored, was constantly receiving mail from tv evangelists to give them money. It made us furious! She was so sweet and generous and naive that they were bleeding her dry. Pat Robertson was one of the worst. She was so excited to receive a birthday card from him and showed it to me. On the front of the card was NOT a picture of Jesus, but of Robertson. She and I discussed that card, and it was the beginning of the end of her contributions. Robertson even had three-day cruises to the Bahamas for members of his "flock," to discuss their finances. We were lucky that Mum was such a home-body. She wanted to go, but was afraid to leave her home. She was in her 90's at the time. Mum died in 2010, and since Rod was executor of her estate, the churches and politicians followed us home, and still send mail to our house. They even call us. I am very blunt with them, and those of you who know me, know that I take no prisoners.

askcherlock said...

I am right there with you, my heathen sister, about churches---especially mega-churches---of today! I went to be spiritually fed and all I got was a song and a dance. Let them call us heathens. We are probably more spiritual in our own ways than those who claim a pew and boot you out if you inadvertently sit in it! Let us pray...that as church membership declines, these folks will get the message. "Give me some of that old time religion."

☆☆Mumsy said...

I am half-way becoming a HEATHEN for all the reason you've listed here. I really didn't like the many requests for money at all.

ChrisJ said...

Your development over the years is exactly like mine, and I also have the relatives like yours.

Splendid Little Stars said...

How sad and often tragic that there are people who take such dire advantage of others in the name of God! It truly is sickening. Not only have I read your post, I read the comments. It certainly is a thought-provoking post! If Jesus were to come back today, a lot of tables would be turned over!
Not all churches are ugly. Not all so called church leaders are money grubbing and power hungry. I have seen that ugliness, though.
On a positive note, I am part of a church that is about God. yes, really. one that spiritually feeds (as askcherlock wrote above). rare, no doubt.
a small background: brought up in church, left church but involved in spiritual group, then on own for long time.

Judie said...

SLS, the mega-churches and the churches spewing hatred are the ones who seem to always make the news because they are always trying to mix religion with politics to further their own agenda.

Erika said...

It is sad that you have had such an experience. I can relate to the heartache and headache but I am still a Christian. I get angry and frustrated but I choose to live my life as compassionately as I can and do my best to drive around the ugliness.


Annesphamily said...

I dislike all the mega churches and the use of God so recklessly. I was raised a Catholic and I lost faith in them long ago. If the Catholic and Mormon churches alone donated a small portion of their wealth they could literally fed the world! Goes double for politicians too! and celebrities! Ack!
But I understand your dismay. We have been there too. Once we attended a church we really liked. Then our son told us a kid in the Sunday school class told him to shape up or else! He said his dad was the preacher man and my kid better get a gripe! We never went back! Jacknut! Then we attended a church where one Sunday we were leaving and a guy was selling materials out of the back of his car. He had been one of them evidently and someone ratted him out cause a bigshot from the church came over and demanded he leave ASAP! Give me a break! In front of the guys little kids! Weird! Never went back there either! Hmmm...the Hare Kirshna Center in Denver has enough gold in its dome to fed Denver for ten years!
Does Mitt Romney think he is going to be a god when he dies? B A L O N E Y ! Ask a homeless person how "church" people treat them! You will be shocked at the answers you get! I know I am rambling! But I have a lot to say! There are lots of frauds out in the world. But it is biblical and there are many false churches. what is truly sad is I know people that attend them! :(
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets , which comes to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Jenny said...

Hooray! Hooray! Here I am! Hooray!


As to being a parents always pair another H word with heathen...and that is hell...which is where they tell me I am going because I am a heathen.


Hooray for H links that make me want to smack my parents - ha!

Just kiddin'.

Thanks for linking.

Nice to be able to visit you again!

Hugs and A+

myorii said...

Well then, I guess that makes me a heathen too! I stopped being a part of Church when I was in college (the first time a decade ago). A lot of it had to do with the fact that after my grandfather passed away, I couldn't seek the comfort I needed at any church services because he wasn't Catholic and was labeled a sinner as such. I did however found a bunch of shoulders to cry on among the LGBT community which then encouraged me to volunteer and help them. The moment I became a friend of that community, people I've known all my life from church began to distant themselves from me and would give me a look of disgust when I talk about the outreach programs we do with students who are having trouble coming out. Their reactions as well as my being told that I'm going to hell for supporting such sinful acts drove me from wanting any part of organized religion. It's so sad sometimes to not be a part of a religion but I believe in God and his love for all his children and I think that's good enough for me.

Judie said...

Jen, that is exactly the issue Rod and I have found with his evangelical brother and sisters. No scientific explanation on the face of the earth could ever change their closed little minds. They merely stick their fingers in their ears, and sing "lalalalalala!"