Women’s March

I’ll relate this to my ongoing journey in faith later tonight but here is my take on the Women’s Marches across the world:

For anyone’s asking “Why bother?” Or saying “He is president. It’s gonna be that way for four years. This won’t change anything.” These marches are not expected to immediately rid our country of President Trump. Or any of the seated representatives in the House or Senate. It is meant to be part of a conversation between employees of the state and the many people they represent.
Your governors, mayors, senators, and president are not mandated by God. They are not kings or lords. They are temporary employees hired by YOU, the people.
They are SUPPPSED to represent the will of the people when it comes to regulating and creating laws to govern us all. 
Oftentimes, and especially now, we are concerned that many of them have forgotten this. They have forgotten that we are ultimately supposed to be in control of where we go and they are supposed to help us find the most expedient path to get there. To get everyone there.
The very real concern is that they are for themselves now. These marches are to REMIND them that we will be represented. We have our seat at the dinner table for this ongoing national (and global) conversation by sending them to take the seat. If they will not represent us, we will be heard in other ways so others may know their will is NOT our will.
And for anyone saying “if these people had jobs they wouldn’t be there haha”, I know many professional, educated, dedicated, hard working people at these rallies. They scheduled time off, to be there. They cut into those vacation days to represent themselves in the national conversation. They took a rainy day to march in solidarity over a day at the beach. The invested one day in their future. 
Or they thankfully don’t work 7 days a week and cut into their time off to be heard, rather than staying home and relaxing. I know several who hold two jobs and jumped hoops to make sure today, they could be part of the march. 
They made sacrifices to be there. We don’t want a hand out. We want to be heard on how OUR money gets spent, how OUR rights are protected, and how OUR futures will look.
The conversation continues. If we must get louder, we will. 

Home

I have left pieces of my heart all over. Everywhere I have been, there is someone that makes me feel like I am Home when I am there. Bowling Green. Georgia. Bloomington. Cincinnati. Louisville. Lexington. Seattle. Muncie. Nashville. There are pieces even in places I have never been, as I willingly send my love along with people who carry it with them.

I feel it in the music on the radio stations I used to tune into. At the dinner tables where we laughed, played games, and had conversations. On the road with every wind, and twist, turn and curve from one place to another. 
It’s enough sometimes to make me burst into tears and laugh with joy all at the same time for no reason at all beyond feeling pure love just from being There. 

I asked. I received?


This will not make a lot of sense maybe. And I’m struggling to get the words together. And maybe it is a little personal but it really is part of the core of what I have been experiencing lately.

I asked God with my heart, not with mywords but my whole heart, for something giving me peace that someone I cared for very dearly did not leave me and just resign me to the past as a mistake. And he answered.

I have had trouble with moving on from failed relationships before but usually in a crying screaming depressed fashion.

This time, things happened in short order that led me to seek God shortly after my breakup. And some have said “Well that’s your dramatic way of handling this.”

And maybe it is. And I thought for a while coming to God while crying on the floor after a breakup made me a fraud. But someone told me the best position to find God is when you’re already on your knees.

This breakup was without as much crying as the ones before, and in fact came with a greater feeling of love. I resolved to better myself and learn from my failings, and to above all love my ex beyond the relationship and wish him the best of everything the world has to offer him. And I am absolutely sincere about it.

But I still wondered, as we do, did he still care about me? What if I died, would he care? (Dramatic) Does he miss how we talked? Do things remind me of him in good ways? Am I psycho for wanting him to think of me fondly? (Also dramatic.) Does he even think of me or is he trying to forget me? (SUPER DRAMATIC.)

Right. I spend a lot of time in my own head and as silly as it sounds “put to paper” so to say, I think these are natural thoughts we have after the end of a relationship.

But I conferred with God a few days ago, lying in the dark in my bed, quite candidly about these musings. I’m going about this prayer thing a little unorthodoxly.

I had a dream New Years Eve night that my ex (such an ugly phrase) texted me but I couldn’t open the message. I was frustrated but I stopped trying to open it. That was the end of the dream. But it stuck with me. I also had one about my left upper teeth falling out that worries me but regardless… ūüėõ

I checked my phone all day the day before and today, as stupid as it was. I felt practically expectant, though I knew there was no reason to.

But tonight, getting ready for bed, and turning over to put my phone away..a message! From him. An update about something intriguing but entirely inconsequential to me.

And then we talked for a bit about how my recent move went, how I was certain he missed the dogs (he does tremendously), how work was for him, how the holidays went etc. I said goodnight once, and that I was glad I got to talk with him. He said he was glad of the same. Then we got on another thread of conversation. I said goodnight again, and this time he told me he was moving maybe this spring across the country.

I know he has already found someone else, and I know she is from where he says he is going. Though he didn’t say so, I have my sources.

We tapered off on another note. I wished him the very best and told him I am thankful for all our time together and I sincerely love him to death, and acknowledged that I know he is beyond where I am in this process and maybe he doesn’t want to hear this but I’ll say it anyway because it’s God’s honest truth within me.

And he said goodnight. And at any other point in my life, I’d have cried myself sleep. But my heart feels whole and I am marveling that all I had to do was ask for this small moment and it was given.

Funny things like this have happened lately, almost like an anti-test. I was not a believer in October. Not at all. But I keep seeing proof that if I would just sit still and let my heart do the talking and let God do the work, I can find peace I haven’t known before.

What about Exodus?

Usually when it comes down to Disney versus Dreamworks, Disney just kicks ass and takes names. It is an empire towering over Dreamworks. But once in a while, Dreamworks puts out a really spectacular film. In 1998, they put out¬†The Prince of Egypt and I’m 96% sure it’s still got to be used to some degree to introduce kids to the concept of Exodus.

I honestly wish they’d have put out a Hanukkah movie because some how I feel it’d be just as good.

I digress.¬†The Prince of Egypt was certainly my earliest introduction to Exodus. It has a gorgeous Hans Zimmer score, fabulous art, and “If You Believe” just soars with Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. I have probably seen it 100 times in almost 20 years. It’s beautiful. I connect with it, I really do. My heart bursts with anger, and joy, and anxiety, and love during that film.

As an atheist/agnostic, you’d think I’d already have wondered if Exodus has actually happened. I really should have had this conversation (with myself) before. But I hadn’t.

My boyfriend had said to me, during my admittance that I was beginning to study the Bible “Why are you asking questions and who is going to answer them?” And it just gnawed at me for some reason. Why ask questions? Because that’s how we learn! And the more our questions can be answered, the stronger the conviction. I¬†understand that at some point faith is supposed to override some of my tendency to ask questions, but I am assuming that is about things that aren’t really provable or disprovable in the typical scientific method. ¬†I’m done asking the big questions that just get people into arguments, or questions that are just there to get a rise out of someone. If I want legitimate answers, I have to ask legitimate questions.

Does this mean I’m going to back off on asking the tough questions I come across? No. But it does mean I’m going to give myself more time and allow more depth to discovering those answers. I’m not going to cut myself off just because the first entry on the first page of Google says “Nope. Exodus didn’t happen.”

And in fact, that’s kind of how this side-trek started. I was sitting at work, quite pleased at how things were progressing and how things have fallen into place, questions answered, and it really felt like I was running across “messages in the water” sent just for me at that time. I thought “If every question I pose can be answered so easily, why did it take me so long to come around to this??”

And a funny little voice in my head said, “Ok smartypants. Did Exodus even happen?”

I stopped everything I was doing.

“What do you mean? Of course it did. Right? Right..?”

To Google. First entry.

“There is not definitive proof that Exodus occurred.”

Wait a second. Roll back. Hang on, WHAT? If something like that didn’t happen, and there’s no archaeological proof, I guess I’m done. I don’t know that I can override my logic on this issue. But let’s dig a little deeper. Taking just the first resource on Google isn’t adequate. There’s got to be SOMETHING HERE. The Jewish faith more or less RELIES ON IT.

I found a resource, and then additional resources to confirm that maybe..Exodus happened. And it’s pretty convincing. The only thing is that maybe they exaggerated when they wrote the story. Just a little. A smidge. Tiny bit. But when we accept the commonplace idea that men have a propensity for exaggerating everything when they are narrating (think really old fishing tales), it makes a lot of sense.

Disregard the Biblical text to an extent. Just for a second. Boil down the story of Exodus into the general context and timeline. There exist three key elements to the story we need to search for:

  1. The Israelites were slaveworkers in mudbrick. They were semi-skilled in bricklaying.And there were a bunch of them working on a single project. Pyramids were stone, and peasant mudbrick homes didn’t use slave labor. So what was the project?
  2. When they escaped Egypt it was during the “plagues” which had the Egyptians off their guard. Think political and social turmoil.
  3. When they got out into the desert, they built a luxurious shrine to their God to go along with them on their journey. There are 16 chapters in the Torah that describe the shrine. Where did they get the materials, out in the Sinai desert?

Is there a point in the history of the region that answers all three of these concerns? There is! Hallelujah. Here we go:

Pharaoh Akhenaten had all worship directed to Aten, the god of the sun. All other gods were beneath him, and to make sure this was understood, he closed the temples, threw out the priests and created a new city called Akhetaten. They needed the city to be built pretty quick (think a whole city thrown up in the span of about two years). Everything was made of mudbrick except the temple and palace.

What’s the fastest way to build a city? Traditional slave labor and an army to supervise them. The city was on the east bank of the Nile and stood for 16 years under Akhenaten until he died. People abandoned the city and his new religion quite quickly. His wife was Nefertiti (I’m sure you’ve heard of her). She had no sons, so one of her son-in-laws succeeded as Pharaoh. Tutankhamun? (I’m PRETTY SURE you know of King Tut).

As young as he was, he had to restore the kingdom and everyone was calling for their old gods and their old priests back. Supposedly, according to the priests, the old gods would punish the king and the kingdom if they were not given their positions back! Some of the punishments included: Undrinkable water from the Nile from Hapi; frogspawn swams, courtesy of Kermit; allowing the corn to be consumed by locusts, thanks to Osiris; and Ra just said he’d flat out stop the sun from shining. Hey..I think I’ve heard this before..

Akhenaten was in turmoil as people were abandoning the city, and the army had other things to take care of besides watch over the bricklayers. The Israelites took the opportunity and departed post haste. They, like everyone else, took whatever they could snag on the way out.

What about the third requirement? Where did that alter come from?

That too has a probable answer. Pharaohs took into battle portable shrines to consult the gods during war. King Tut never went to war according to records, but he would have had a shrine ready because hey, you never know when you need one. He had a war chariot, so its logical he’d have had the battle shrine to go with it. However it was never found in his tomb when we opened it in 1922.

So where’d it go? Is it possible the Israelites took it? The battle shrine from Ramesses the Great was a moveable building, including furniture with carrying poles, a golden chest, and luxurious materials. The same types of materials were found within King Tuts tomb so it would be an easy assumption that his battle shrine would have been similar.

Still not enough? Speculation is ok. Lets try to date Exodus to the time of King Tut based on a “fixed point” in the Bible and see if it is plausible.¬†Akhenaten died around 1330 BC according to records, and King Tut came to throne at the same time. let’s say that Exodus was then 1330 BC.

The Bible says the Solomonic Temple was built 480 years AFTER Exodus, as found in 1 Kings 6:1. To get that, they just took 12 generations and multiply by 40 years per generation, per the Bible’s typical math. But archeaology says a “generation” typically occurs every 30 years. Forty is just a common number in the Bible (we’ll get to that in another post actually).

So 12 times 30 is 360. Exodus plus 360 years is 970 BC. Solomon supposedly reigned from 970 to 930, and the Babylonians destroyed the temple 400 years later. That puts that around 570.

The Bible suggests that about seventy years after it was destroyed, a second temple was created by Zerubbabel, which is about 500 BC (which is an time frame supported by archaeologists), which Herod expanded in the first century (around 20 BC). That was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and the remaining portion exists today known as The Wailing Wall.

Ok. If you want hard evidence that Exodus existed EXACTLY the way the Bible said it did, and you won’t allow yourself to assume that maybe the store got exaggerated a tiny bit over time the no: That Exodus did not happen.

But if we step back and remember many of these tales would have been orally relayed before being written, and things get lost or simplified over time, then there does exists indirect evidence that the biblical account is plausible. 

And the notion that THAT is enough for me to feel “at peace” with that, I think maybe means that my seed of faith has begun to sprout a little bit more.¬†

Links:

http://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-Exodus-Does-archaeology-have-a-say-348464#article=0RkEyM0M5RDE0NjAxQTU0RUM3RTBGMjUzNzExMUE3QkY=

https://www.jstor.org/stable/527222?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-is-beneath-the-temple-mount-920764/

Footnotes to Ekklesia

Highlights regarding the use and mistranslation of Ekklesia:

“Some confusion remaining today over whether church is¬†a building¬†or¬†a group of people stems from the fact¬†kyriakos¬†are buildings, not gatherings, while the¬†ecclesia¬†are people.”

‚Äúyou also, like living stones, are being built¬†into a spiritual house‚ÄĚ (2 Pet. 2:5)

“Is it possible that the New Testament seeks to elevate the meaning of ecclesia, adding a spiritual definition? Sure, in the same way a house can be white without being¬†the¬†White House,¬†but still, the word church is nowhere in the texts.”

“The Old Testament book that we call¬†Ecclesiastes (from ecclesia) in Hebrew is Kohelet. Kohelet comes from the word kehila or kahal (gathering; audience).”

“It [the use of “church” over “assembly”] promotes a hierarchical system of church government, outside the local assembly, which rules over the churches.¬†If the word had been translated “assembly” or “congregation,” the false teaching of a universal or invisible church would have been avoided.¬†We should understand they were Greek scholars and knew the difference. It was the restriction placed on them by King James, that prohibited them from using the proper translation of “assembly or congregation.””

 

Some reading material regarding Ekklesia: 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-did-word-church-come-from-robert-arney

http://www.xenos.org/essays/new-testament-church

http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/articles/ecclesia.htm

http://www.messianicfellowship.50webs.com/church.html

http://www.messiahsmandate.org/the-truth-behind-the-word-church/

http://www.bible-truth.org/Ekklesia.html

Ekklesia

Ok so why was I angry with God (for both existing..and not existing)? Let’s roll on back and dissect it a bit.

Anger is a secondary emotion. So when someone says “I’m angry”, they are also something else. Anger¬†is often a guarded¬†substitute for a feeling of vulnerability. It may stem from anxiety, frustration, shock, fear, or rejection.

I went to many different churches growing up, usually just to spend time with my friends because in exchange for a Saturday night sleepover and subsequent Sunday at their house, I had to get dressed up and go to church with them. I knew other folks at the church. I knew a bit of the stories they talked about. I even knew a few of the songs. But everything seemed so boring, and when I asked “Why do you go to church?” the answer was always “Oh, we just do. We always have.”

I asked my mom, “Why don’t we go to church?”

“We have other things to do on Sunday. You can find God elsewhere you know.”

We never really had discussions beyond that regarding religion. My mom taught my you don’t need the Bible to live a moral life, and I believe that to be correct. She said if you default to “I’m a good person because the Bible tells me to be one, and how to be one”, then maybe you aren’t as good a person as you think you are. Kindness, love, compassion, empathy, understanding, patience.. all of that should come to you both through and outside of the Bible. It is not exclusive to Christianity.

Oddly enough, C.S. Lewis addresses this “cultural crossing” of kindness as a reason why he was drawn to his faith and evidence for God in everything, and I’ll try to touch on that in a later post I have lined up (I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking and reading lately, and I think faster than I type, but I’ll¬†try to get the blog up to speed with my journey shortly!).

Ok so back to being angry. And going to church.

The two were somewhat related. At least, they are now. Here’s how:

I stopped taking “I go to church just because” at face value. I wanted to know why. Why why why. Is my friend who doesn’t go every Sunday not as good a Christian as the girl who goes every Sunday but picks on people in her class? How does this work?It became a source of anxiety.

I stopped going. If I eliminated the source of the questions, I eliminated the problem. Or at least I postponed it for 16 or so years.

In high school I got into politics. And politics and religion are fantastically and hopelessly intertwined, since the use of one can bolster the other (and which one does which is also interchangeable to an extent). I’m socially about as liberal as you can get. I’m so socially liberal that while I understand where conservative fiscal policies come from, my empathy says I’d gladly have a little less if I knew my neighbor who had nothing was guaranteed¬†enough.

However, in the United States, the conservative right is also more outspokenly Christian. It’s “their thing”. They know it. The politicians sure know it. And we know it. Sometimes, I think they tried to lay claim to it so if you say you are a Christian and not conservative, well maybe you should try going to church more!

And that mindset really drove me away from the idea of church. How can you control the notion of church and twist it to fit your political and social ideology when your ideology is so far from the message you claim to preach? It was so astoundingly absurd and the irony killed me.  I was frustrated.

I attended a few services with a local megachurch and saw how openly they preyed upon the assembly in their church for monetary gain. I watched a well dressed man guilt money from the hands of people who were much less well off than him, and say it was “for the good of the church”, but then say how they money was going to “a beautification” project within the church rather than back into the community. He convinced his assembly that by beatifying the church, more people would be drawn to it and they could better bring the Word of God to people.¬†This is where the shock set in.

I got my first taste of the Westboro Baptist Church. I knew they were nuts. I knew they were twisting the words to fit their narrative. I assumed everyone would rush to distance themselves from them in every way possible. I expected to see grace as people pushed messages of love in the face of hate. And many did. But there were sects of people that said “You know they’re pretty awful. But they’re kind of right on some things.”

No. No no no no. Stop there. For the first time, I¬†feared my neighbors.¬†How can your normalize that behavior, and then go to church on Sunday, read from the New Testament and say “Praise Jesus”?? Did you not pay attention?

And last was¬†the rejection.¬†“I don’t understand any of this. I highly doubt God exists. And if he did, and he wanted me to know that, he’d have shown me by now.” I marvel at science on a daily basis. And yet there were people refuting basic principles of micro and macro evolution, the age of the earth, denying that we came from stardust. They sounded like they might as well be saying the world is flat and the sky is the terminus of our universe! Rather than ever answer my questions, or ever offer up why God and church was important, all I got was “Maybe church isn’t for you. If you doubt God that much, and you don’t believe he exists, I’m not sure it’d going to do much for you anyway.”

And my doubt became disbelief. (The two are not the same. Doubt and faith are not mutually exclusive, and that’s a bone I’ll pick on many many many times in the next few weeks).

So I had anxiety about church. And frustration. And shock. And fear. And rejection.

And I was angry at this “thing” called church.¬†

So naturally, when I started my trek here, I thought “Let’s round up some of those burning questions and get them answered.”

I had told my boyfriend on our last meeting together, after he had broken up with me, and shortly after I had started to seek God, that I was in fact reading the Bible and asking questions. He kind of laughed and said, “Why? Who is going to answer them?”

That hurt actually, because that’s been the case for my whole life. Between no one answering the questions, and eventually me not being willing to listen, I was pretty resigned to just hate God and move on with my life.

One of my first questions was: Where the hell does the word Church come from anyway???

So here it is, and take from it what you will, but this eased a lot of my pain with the notion of “church” and made my readings of the Bible for more “free” than they were before.

“Church” is not Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin or even Greek. It’s German. From the word “Kirche”. Kirche is a slow bastardization of “kuriakos”, which in Greek roughly meant “pertaining to the Lord”. It doesn’t sound so bad yet. Just hang tight.

If the translators of the King James Version of the Bible had substituted the word “kirche” for every time the Bible said “kuriakos” we’d be in business. No harm done. Except they didn’t. The word “kuriakos” only appears in the New Testament two times.¬†They replaced the word “ekklesia” with the word “kirche” one hundred and twelve times.

“Ekklesia” appears 115 times in the New Testament (additional times if you include other grammatical forms) and is replaced by “church/kirche” in all but three: Acts 19:32, 39, and 41, referring to a town council.

“Ekklesia” translates to: The called-out ones. “Ekk/Ecc” means “out” and “Kaleo” is “to call”. These days the only retention we have of the word is “ecclesiastical” which is “of or relation to Christian church or clergy”. So, if we went by this, the clergy and those working directly for The Church are the only “called-out ones”. That was done almost entirely on purpose.

Ekklesia meant the summoned ones. A convocation. A assembly. The body of Christians “called out” of the Roman and Judean system to come together as a separate COMMUNITY. No man was to rule over them but Christ. Anyone who was part of that assembly was by definition ecclesiastical. It is a word that is unlimited and boundless in size and formation.

In 325 AD, “The Church” joined the State under Constantine. Those involved heavily in The Reformation were all in civil government, so this relationship continued. The pope was kicked out of England and King Henry VIII took jurisdiction over “The Church” there. It was important that the word “Church” was retained in the KJV because the¬†government had jurisdiction over “The Church”. They did not have and could not have jurisdiction over a vague assembly, congregation, or convocation. But they DID have control over the physical buildings and thus could bind and limit Christianity under their rule. This was¬†Edict Three of the KJV translation from Greek to English.

So take for example Psalms 22:22 where ekklesia was the original word in the Old Testament: I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 

The congregation could be anyone. It could be vast.

In the New Testament, Hebrews 2:12 quotes Psalms 22:22 word for word. Except the change was made from ekklesia: Saying, I will declare they name until my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Oh. Well now its only within the church. It’s much smaller.

The change then becomes quite obviously a politically fueled edit. And they took a lot of the power out of the word. When you’re trying to convince me that God is everywhere, and show me that is in everything, and that God wants everyone to seek him, and you suddenly limit the words you were given, you stop making your point really quickly.

When I learned that, it tore the walls down from this idea I had built up in my head about worship. There always seemed barriers to entering a church community. But if praise could simply happen any time there were a few people together, and that no one had jurisdiction over it, and that there was never supposed to be¬†the level of control over the congregation like there is in many modern churches…the barriers melted away. It was supposed to be the farthest thing from politics at the time, and Congress and Church seem nigh indistinguishable some day now.

I needed to find a church that embodied this, and I was able to, through one of my dearest lifelong friends who I actually had gone to a “standard” church with when I was younger. I’d always felt out of place back then. She is a lifelong Christian who understands her faith deeply, and my limitations with it. And even she left the conventional church for some of the same reasons I had never felt welcome or “at home” at one. How powerful for me, someone with only a seed of faith, to find that someone with an abundance of it, felt the same sinking feeling about the lost power of the ekklesia.

Don’t get me wrong. If you have a fabulous¬†community within your church, and the liturgical habits make you comfortable and give you joy and make you feel more at ease with your praise, by all means continue to enjoy it! As long is it is centered around¬†community and not hierarchy, wealth, influence, or appearance. Ekklesia was¬†always meant to be community apart from government, where the only ruler is Christ.

 

 

 

Seed of Faith, Garden of Doubt

Let me start off by telling you that I started this journey not knowing I started this journey. I was already down the driveway, past the mailbox, on the main road before I realized I was going somewhere.

I was¬†the Angry Atheist. Discussions on religion were my hot button topics. I was in an echo chamber of people who agreed with me for years, or at least agreed that¬†spirituality was better than religion, and we all got along just fine. I would be as articulate and gentle-spoken as they come. We’d wonder and marvel at the universe, and karma, and love being the energy that bound us all together through time, space and cultural barriers.

But come at me with anything outside of that vague interpretation of “faith”, and I became spitting, sputtering mad. I could escalate to shaking with rage, throwing my keys, asking you to leave the room. If you couldn’t give me facts, or you couldn’t see my logic and reason past your own faith, well I just couldn’t help you. You were ignorant, uneducated and it probably¬†all came down to the brainwashing you received in church. The end. Religion was in opiate for the masses and I was not having any of it.

One time I had that discussion with my boyfriend.

That argument. It wasn’t even a discussion.

I had made a remark about my atheism, and he told me God would pass judgement on me. He told me flat out God would come down and send me to Hell. I told him I welcomed it because I had a beef with God, if he existed.

He insisted I’d fall to my knees and beg for forgiveness. I told him no, if there was a God allowing suffering to occur in the way it does now, I wouldn’t be the one who would be asking for forgiveness. God could try to silence me all he wanted but if he was omnipotent, he’d know in my heart why I was so distraught at the simultaneous existence of Him and suffering.

He wasn’t giving me any reasons to why his faith was strong, or why he believed in God.¬†Every pass for logic and ¬†attempt to reason with him on why I honestly could not understand the existence of both God and tragedies was met with some proverb from the Bible he meant nothing to me. He could not begin to help me understand why it was important to him. I normally debate from a wholly logical point but he got me invested in this argument from an emotional standpoint. I don’t think he even knew how totally non-sequitur it sounded to me. And I am absolutely ashamed of how loud and aggressive I got.

I was angry with God if he existed and allowed all this suffering, and I was similarly angry that God didn’t exist and all of these people placed their faith in him, while allowing suffering to continue often in his name.

I was angry at God for existing, and for not existing.

We had to end the argument on the terms of agreeing to disagree. A few months later he ended our relationship over our disagreement. To his credit, deciding how and where to get married, how to raise kids, and how to build a home when your viewpoints on the creation and development of life and the universe are different would likely prove to be difficult.

I still maintain it would have been a difficulty worth surmounting, and I to this day wish he had stuck around to help me on this journey I’m now going alone. I saw a life with him beyond just a few years. But I don’t know if I wouldn’t have found myself on this journey if he had not left me.

I probably wouldn’t have, because I now fully believe that God has a sense of humor and a penchant for messages delivered in such a way that once you decided to shut up and listen, they become so hilariously obvious and personal that you wonder how you didn’t see them all along.

But God knows me. And he knows I’m stubborn as hell. And he knew I could only arrive on my own terms. And he knew I wouldn’t listen until I was damn good and ready.

So he waited until I got down on my knees (literally..as I cried over my breakup) and asked to see him (not realizing I was doing so when invoking him proverbially).

I emphatically said, “God, I just wish I had a distraction. I cannot handle this right now and I need something else to focus on.”

And then I got a text. From a photographer I kept trying to meet up with to mentor over the summer, but we just kept missing each other through little flukes in our schedule. She said “Are you busy tomorrow? I would love for you to come shadow me at a wedding.” And I normally wouldn’t have been free. Saturdays I reserved for my boyfriend since he lived out of town. But I found myself suddenly free as a bird.

“I’ll be there.”

And that became a story in and of itself that only deepens the message God was sending to me. But I know that literally THE moment Christopher walked out of my life, Christine entered it. The notion¬†the Christ is literally ALWAYS going to be there for me isn’t lost on me. I told you he made the message painfully obvious to me!

So perhaps Christopher’s unknowing parting gift to me was a seed of faith, to grow in my garden of doubt.