Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Part 2: In which we find some answers

Ok, I'm finally getting around to part two.
Part one is just a short scroll down (or click here you lazy freak).

So I'm sitting there with this spirituality that has become a nagging smelling stack of dishes. Dishes that I plug my nose around, and ignore as best I can...

And I think the 'smelly' part of that analogy is where I'll pick it back up again. Have you ever smelled something that just absolutely made your stomach turn? My first experience with this was while working in the meat department at the grocery store. I was assigned the task of disposing of all the old meat. What you may not know is that old meat is recycled. They used to use it for feed, now it's mainly used as fertilizer. So that makes my job fun. I had to cut open each package, and dump it into a barrel. The cool thing about refrigeration is that it keeps the smell down, generally. There is, however, one thing that reeks beyond all reekage. Rotten Chicken. It's truly puke-worthy folks.

I write all that not to gross you out (ok, maybe a bit), but to get across how very stinky this whole spirituality thing had become to me.

Every time I thought about it, I wanted to puke.

Part of me felt as though I was that guy that Christians like to say 'fell away', I wasn't going to church or participating in my spirituality at all. The other part of me felt free as a bird, thrilled to be rid of restrictions and expectations. I didn't know what to do. Everything around me told me the answers to my questions were in books. Books from the Bible to The Tao of Pooh, books that I couldn't, for the time being, even bear (pun so intended) to pick up. So I went for a long while without doing anything.

Then one day I had a moment. I can't tell you what exactly it was, but it was something rather small. Something small that had a rather large effect. I encountered a situation that...

...stared at me briefly, and with a voice like sand paper spoke...
"All right kid. This way or that way. I don't care which one you take, just do it fast or you get a bullet in the brain pan, squish."
I swallowed hard and flinched...
"That way." I said, fear etched on my forehead.

This tiny little decision had massive implications. I'd been forced decide, and to act on what I believed. Funny thing was, it was an easy choice. And for the next week all I could think about was the fact that I had acted the way I wanted to, and that my action fell firmly in line with the beliefs that I had so seriously been doubting. It wasn't in books, it wasn't in conversations, it wasn't in the horoscope (blech). The answer I needed was in doing what I believed. I suddenly felt like a genie...

Itty Bitty Incident.

Phew, that was a relief. But now what? You're thinking to yourself 'This one little thing can't solve all the problems'. Yeah, you're right, it can't. But it took me back to a starting point, it told me which race I was running in. The rest will come with time, and I can tackle the pieces bit by bit.
Let's tackle some pieces.
Ok, first piece, find some people who believe what you do and hang out with them.
This is called fellowship, and it's most commonly done in a setting called church.
So, first piece, find a church. (some other time we'll talk about 'a church' vs. 'the church' and all those fun semantical goodies)

Great, this one's harder than it sounds...
Problem 1: The Social Anxiety Factor. Most people would be surprised at this, but I have some minor issues with 'going places and meeting people', and it doesn't help that I've not had this kind of interaction in half a year. If I actually go, and interact with them, everything usually turns out fine, but I have to get over the hump and do it. And believe me, that can be a big-ass hump sometimes. Things that help? Someone to go with, knowing someone already there, and/or being drug against my will.

... I hate to do this, but it's 1am again, and I have to be in Evergreen at 8.
Stay tuned for part 3...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's not that easy to fix.

Tangent first...
I was just looking at the Wikipedia page on Jesus.
I was intrigued by the images there, don't they further the misconception that Jesus was a handsome Caucasian dude with a nice beard?


Sometimes, in the spring usually...
When flowers start to bloom...
When lovers emerge to walk the streets and duck into tiny cafe's and trinket shops...
When the radio starts to play the song that will be the graduation anthem for that years classes...
Sometimes I get lovesick.
It's a feeling that's glorious to inhale and heart wrenching to exhale.
My cheeks tingle with numbness and my heart bubbles at the slightest nod from a lovely lady.
I could sit alone and listen to candy-pop for hours on end, eating chocolate until I died.
It is a feeling that one could use to define the word bittersweet.

I don't know if anyone else has ever had the same experience as me when it comes to this, probably because I've never really tried to communicate it.

I don't feel that way right now, but it comes about the closest emotionally to what I feel tonight.
What I'm feeling is a lostness and a longing.
I'm realizing how much I miss certain aspects of religion.

To be honest, I have not been to church in over six months. I've been in church buildings for various reasons, I even spent several hours working with Dad on a presentation for his Sunday school class. But I haven't been to a service since sometime around Christmas. The candlelight service at 4C's is the last one I really remember, but I was probably at a few Satellites after that. I think.

What happened? The perfect storm is what happened. Take some serious theological questioning, add distrust of the American Evangelical church, and throw in a pinched budget that wiped out a college ministry... and I was down for the count, three strikes and I was out, I punted on fourth down, got my pass stolen mid ice (court, field, you pick... more sports analogies anyone?).

I stopped going to church. I stopped leading my bible study. I stopped reading the bible. I even stopped reading the books on theology that I so love. I got fed up with the three hour theological conversations with the roommates. I pressed >>| when Third Day came up on the iPod. I couldn't take any of it anymore.

In short, I overloaded, shorted out, and my spiritual life broke.

I took a few stabs at it, but didn't get very far. It's like when you find something wrong with the doorknob and take the screws out to try and fix it, only to realize that it's broken more than you know how to fix. I talked with people I trusted, argued with some, but got nowhere. I know I walked away from some of those conversations feeling as though I'd made some progress. There were definitely a few times when someone had me convinced that I could fix the doorknob if I just did this or that. But then I'd get home, pick it up, and get all frustrated again. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to yell at everyone "It's not that easy to fix!". It was just easier to give up.

The funny thing about giving up on something is that it doesn't make it go away. I thought about my spirituality every day. It was a dreadful thought nearly every time. Like knowing that you took the doorknob off, and it's still off, and you should fix it, and that someone's gonna get a splinter sticking their hand in that hole to open it. Spirituality became a chore for me. And let me tell you something, me and chores, we don't get along. Ask my dad, shoot, ask my roommates... I never do the dishes.

So my spirituality became a nagging smelling stack of dishes that I plugged my nose around, and ignored as best I could...

Umm, It's 1:15am now and I should get some sleep. I'll continue this later... 'click'

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stirring of the Pot

The link I posted for the last post here caused a bit of stir. Some people said something, and the silence of others tells me how they felt. I feel the need to clarify a few things...

First, I exaggerated when I said I just about had a hernia laughing. It wasn't that funny.

Second, I thought that I could just throw out a link and everyone would get my full point. Obviously I was wrong. I thought that people would read what the site had to say, along with watching the videos. My bad, I should have suggested the reading in my post.

Second (part 2), 'The Church You Know' takes it's name and video concept from NBC's 'The More You Know' campaign. Those parts are intended as satire and parody. However, if you look at the text that goes with each video, and the creed that is posted on the creed page, you can see that there is (as always) truth in jest. The guys at "TCYK" have some issues with the 'church you know', or as I would call it 'your average american church', so they decided to say something about it. They've used their own words and their own sense of humor to say it. I don't necessarily agree with everything they say, I just think that they do have a few valid points.

Third, I don't necessarily agree with everything they say, I just thing that they do have a few valid points (Deja Vu?) I think that some people are caught up in the average american church, and just don't THINK about the things that are part of it. All I ask is that you think, or rethink the things you do as 'church'.

Fourth, All I ask is that you think, or rethink the things you do as 'church'.

Fifth, I ain't even gonna get into the definition of 'church'...

Comment Notes... Kath, your church doing donated donuts is the exception, I think they're awesome for that, but the average church doesn't. Todd, I'm with you, where the money goes really matters to me.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Public Service Announcement

NBC has "The More You Know"
(it's totally serious)

GOD has "The Church You Know"
(it's totally serious and humorous)


I jus' 'bout had a hernia laughing.


Seriously, some people need to see these videos.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

You got a problem with that?

Todd said something the other day about how I haven't posted here in a long time. He suggested that I take the Belief-O-Matic test on and write about it. I told him that I had already taken it. I guess I was hesitant to post about it because I think that although it's a 'serious' test, it's still one of those internet tests and I just don't see how it could be that accurate/scientific. But I went ahead and took it anyway...

Belief-O-Matic :|:
My biggest issue with the Belief-O-Matic was that it seemed confining. It did have some really interesting flexibility meters built in (Like the High/Med/Low prioritizer), but it still seemed to me like it was geared towards pretty generic or 'standard' belief sets and/or denominations. I found as I went through that I was selecting an answer only because there weren't any other choices, and I was choosing the one I chose because it had the closest resemblance to the beliefs that I grew up with.

Whats wrong with that?

Well, those beliefs are ones that I have come to hold in question of late. They are things that I am no longer 'sure' of. I found myself cringing my way through the test, and hoping for the best. Only to let out a honk of a laugh when it came back with it's verdict.

And that was?

According to the Belief-O-Matic, I, Gabe Gaberson (Toddism) am a full fledged...


You got a problem with that?
I do...
Don't get me wrong, I would love to be an Orthodox Quaker, and I'm really quite serious in that statement, but as I've hinted at above, I just don't think it nailed me on this one...


On a more serious note...

I am at a very strange place right now.

I cling to Monotheism because no other explanation cuts it.

I cling to Creationism (defined:
the belief that life on Earth is the product of a divine act rather than organic evolution) because no other explanation cuts it.

I want to stand back and get away from all the confines and look at it objectively.

I don't want to think about it.

When I think about people (friends, family, etc.) in the context that I am concerned for them, in a context that I would have prayed for them in the past, I find that I cannot talk to the Creating Deity.

The Creating Deity has lost form.

I know not what God looks like.

This scares the shit out of me.

This makes me excited because I think I may have had the wrong picture.

I don't want to think about it because it makes me afraid.

I am afraid of the future, in a way it feels like graduating from High School did. When I should have been excited about the open possibilities of the future, I was cowering in the corner in fear of the massive expanse before me. (Maybe this is a lesson that I never really learned?)

I think I've come to a decision though, as to what to do next.
I don't wanna talk about it really.
But don't freak out, in the end it might seem rather conventional to you.

I just need to do this my way and on my own for now.
Regardless of how unhealthy you might think the solo run is...
You know who you are.
And if, perchance, you are one that speaks to that Creating Deity, you might say some words on my behalf...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

What happens when.

just to get it off my shoulder...


I really felt like being here
would patch some putty holes
I didn't mind the scars it'd leave
for character on these walls
but when the words that you repeat
come down like hammer blows
I find myself retreating fast
and creeping on tiptoes

the very thoughts that set me free
by opening the cage
turn hunters now on mighty steeds
and waste no dog or horn
as I tremble now in wild weeds
lost in a world unknown
wishing for the prior safety
of the cage I called my home

Thanks to Cuyler for the chat and the laughter, I needed them,
also thanks to K.B. for being ears when I needed them.
The two of you were fresh breaths this evening.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy with anxiety

Talking with Dad in the AM, well, later this AM...

Want to do this, need to do this, but I'm afraid that my illogical beginnings that have not yet resolved themselves will end in frustrations for his logical brain. Could be in for some waffle tornadoes (get the book) with other severe weather in this conversation.

If you pray, do.