Tag Archives: Christian

The Empty Tomb

I don’t know much about the women who came to care for Jesus’ dead body. When I have to do something out of the ordinary, I prepare myself mentally for it. They have probably prepared a body for burial before, but not someone as precious as Jesus. The women were walking together but there is no record of their time, walk, if they spoke of the man they loved who had died, or if they kept their busy thoughts to themselves. What I do know is what they found exceeded their expectations.

Mary Magdalene heard his voice. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, but I know when I have that I hear their voice and see them – his hand pushing the button on the elevator, that is not his hand. Or her coat on a woman crossing the street a block ahead of me. I don’t know if it’s an illusion, but I do know that was I saw was not what their was. Mary Magdalene must have thought something like that was going on. It wasn’t. Not only did she find Jesus, she found the Jesus she never could have expected. He was not bent over cowering in the corner – half dead from the beatings and cross he had spent so long enduring, but not all dead. He was vibrantly and completely alive.

There was nothing in that tomb. Martina Ockerman from United Methodist Church, explains that Jesus chose to show up and tell the women himself all that had happened. He couldn’t let use women-folkin the temple, or arrange for a private women’s Bible study and would have been considered scandalous to have her as one of his disciples.

She explains, “Those of us who serve as women clergy are spiritual descendants of these women at the cross. If not for these women, we might still be followers from a distance, never to have broken that boundary….” I do not consider myself clergy, although I’ve held various leadership positions in the church, but I know a reason I am welcome at all in the services is because those women went to care for Jesus, opened their doors to believers and seekers and strongly gripped their faith. The roles I do have are because those women went to the tomb in the service of God and they served Jesus because they loved him. They weren’t only wives, daughters and mothers, they were Ministers to Jesus.

Let’s do that, too.


Proselytizing can be easy and fun and alienating

Rookie mistake. It’s been almost a week since I last posted and a lot has gone on. I don’t know what to say about it. We’re having a family member come and stay with us and it could be potentially explosive. I am worried to death about it and have burst in to tears twice because of all the stress and pressure surrounding this trip.

Things keep getting switched up and I do not like that. I like to consider the facts, emotions and potential problems and develop a plan. Then I like to follow that plan, perhaps taking a slight detour to look at clearance racks or to use the restroom. When I create books or cards I like to pull out all the things I might consider using and look at them together for a while. Then I like to make whatever it is I’m making. Sometimes I put the things away; sometimes I don’t. This sort of organization soothes me and makes me be a better artist. That is not happening these days. It is dizzying.

Remember T? My sixty-something-bff? She and said relative got on the phone and talked for two hours. From what I understand the first hour was lovely and the second was spent proselytizing. Relative felt judged, which is really how it seems relative feels most of the time. Relative is Buddhist. I don’t know what happened during the conversation, but it sounds like T was judged, too. Part of the practice of Christianity involves sharing ones life and faith, and to obey God is telling the stories of what He has done in ours lives and at the cross. It’s an important, perhaps even mandatory thing to do, if one believes in Jesus. There are different platforms in which to do it. Friends and family members might bear the brunt of their loved ones religion, but it is essential for a Christian’s faith to grow. For some Christians this comes naturally, for others the challenge is praying for opportunities to share. Is all friendship a ruse to talk about Jesus? Of course not. Life itself is a chance to show off God’s love.

I was asked a few questions about Jesus the other day and I want to answer them here.

Why is there only one Jesus to save the world? Why are there not a dozen. How does one man do it all?

When a child dies, often the first question asked is, “Was he an only child?” If so, extra helpings of grief are measured out. It means that the family’s only treasure has been taken from there and that makes the situation all the more tragic. The triangular family in all it’s exclusivity is gone. When Jesus’ died, for a moment, God lost His only child. Yes, He could have sent more people, it would not be too difficult to send a fleet of fully God, fully human folks, but it was necessary. The only child, born of His mother, was a singular joy to His father, and that is why, I believe, there was only one Jesus.

BUT… The Body of Christ, which is the church, is Jesus on earth. The Bible tells us that we complete the sufferings of Christ. We also share His love, some of us desperately and passionately. (I do not count myself among those people, as much as I wish I was sometimes.) The book of 1 Corinthians tells us, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” There are a ton of verses about sharing in the sufferings of Christ – here are a few: http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=sufferings+of+christ&qs_version=NIV . God is here, and He is in me. He is in us as a group of believers – Saint Augustine said, “Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man…. the fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does ‘head and members’ mean? Christ and the Church.”

I am too tired to write any more tonight.

How Far Do you Go?

I deal with a lot of health care practitioners – I have a serious, incurable mental illness. (Bipolar, along with OCD and ADD). Before my diagnosis I played around with different things to help my depression – Rescue Remedy, that I became psychologically addicted to, St John’s Wort, which I never remembered to take, and therapists.

Once I was diagnosed with depression I was adamant that I would never need drugs for my illness, and if I’d just cowboy up it would go away. We were talking about a “major depressive disorder.” Years later when I received a more accurate diagnosis they admitted me to the hospital and started putting me on medications. [spoiler] Five years later I take at least eleven pills a day. [/spoiler] I see a therapist every couple of weeks and when I need it I go to group therapies. One of the groups I was a part of was called Dialectial Behavior Therapy (DBT) It is based on Buddhist teachings, although I believe it never fell in to heresy.

I think the “heresy” is where my long ole post fits in. In the groups, we studied mindfulness, learned to avoid black and white thinking and radical acceptance. These are a part of Zen Buddhism. While nothing in the class offended me, I did read a book by one of the speakers that I thought was repugnant. He repeatedly and purposefully used the Bible out of context to prove that all religious teachings espoused the same thing. It was frustrating and I am at the point I cannot take any of his teachings graciously because he so offended my faith. Now, if his messages totally turned my life around, I may not be so quick to kick him to the curb, but ultimately I believe that someone so spiritually lost is not someone I want to take spiritual advice from, even if the temptation was great. If he were a psychiatrist, though, that would be different. My psychiatrist is from the Middle East and shared with me that she meditated, but we didn’t discuss it further. It’s not appropriate, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is an excellent doctor. If she was handing out crystals and fliers inviting me to worship them with her, that would be different, but she’s not.

All of this medicine that I am about to take is taken by someone who eschewed aspirin. Sometimes, when I get tired of it, I think, why do I do this? And the answer is, because you are going to die if you don’t.

I do want to be healed, most of the time. Bipolar can cave in on you if you’re not very careful. I am not willing to deny Jesus to do it, though. I think there are all kinds of practitioners that can do great work but I would not be willing to set aside my beliefs or relationship with God to have it done. I’m not passive, I just don’t want to be a part of it. I want my end of the equation to ultimately glorify God. For some reason I am thinking of that old “psychic surgery” scene in the end of the Man on the Moon movie. He has incurable, un-treatable cancer and he flies around the world for a “miracle.” http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xy53Un2AXpU (work safe) He sees that there is no miracle to be found.

I’m looking for a point to everything I just wrote. I suppose it’s this. I went far looking for help for myself. The best way for me to help myself was with medication and therapy – both decidedly “Western” although the medication more than the therapy. I also needed the body of Christ is work towards being well – that’s a Universal idea, right? I’m not ever going to be 100% well on this side of paradise, but I know that Western medication is going to push me along that path. Medication can be miraculous too, right?

Working is hard work

I’ve been working sporadically, but determinedly. Today I did an all day in a kindergarten class room with a sweet, intelligent teacher. The school is an inner city school and I’d put Small in her room in a snap. Remember Small’s kindergarten teacher? If you don’t, I won’t refresh you. It was that bad.

It’s dress rehearsal tonight. Seven year old Small is the lead. She sang a teaser to the congregation last Sunday and we got comments like “She should sing in the ensemble” (the church’s worship band). Everyone said she did a good job and in the second service she didn’t miss a note. The director of the play said, “Without Small, there would be no play”. So we’re proud and it may be that Small will have the acting career I dreamed of. I have never pushed her towards this. I think there is too much heartache, but she hasn’t had any of that so far. And she doesn’t know Carolyn Robertson.

But still, when I see her up there, the only actor who speaks with any sort of expression, the only one signing solos, the sweetest singer, the glowingish skin, my face beams. She’s all those things, and more than that, she is the one who is mine.

Why I am Not Running Away

This is a draft of a letter I am going to send to my (ex) therapist. Please leave feedback in comments.

J –
Thanks for calling me back the other day. I am sorry about the mis-communication regarding our last meeting. I hope to straighten things out a bit.

I suppose I’ll start from the end. I felt judged many times in our sessions and perhaps I should have been more forthcoming about that. Being told you did not want me to “run away” from my problem was a highly judgmental statement. I am not running away from anything, I just feel like our relationship has not been as nourishing as counselor and therapists could be. During sessions I spent a lot of time waiting for you to say something that felt New-Agey. I respect your beliefs but I do not share them and often felt proselytized. I feel that, if I have a spiritual issue I will discuss it with a pastor or even just a friend from my church. The more I thought about it I did feel offended by our last session, not for the sake of my own views, but the idea that we’re all worshiping one God and all headed to the same place. If Christians believe they are going to a place where the streets are paved with gold, they cannot have a life looking forward to reincarnation, as Hindus do. Muslims and Christians do share a similar version of heaven, but the same cannot be said of Buddhists. I think my comment about Buddhism being an atheist religion was what spurred our discussion. I should have said Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. I read recently that, for those of the Buddhist faith, there is no need for God when you have Enlightenment. This concept is not found in other belief systems. I remembering you said once that we will all return to the earth. This reminds me of Wiccan teachings, a religion I once explored. While Muslims believe something like coming from and returning to the earth, I think it is incongruous to believe in all belief systems and allow all of us to ultimately to arrive at the same place.

I often felt on edge during our times together. I didn’t (and perhaps do not) have the tools to address that, but I frequently felt uneasy during our sessions. It seemed like you were ready to try to solve things or assumed you knew things about me that (I hope) were not true. One time I came in with news about my old “enemies” who are doing quite well. Your comment, “Don’t you hate that?” was premature. Other responses felt like pat answers to, what I considered, difficult or complicated issues. I spoke about it with you then, in fact I addressed it then, but again, I didn’t feel like I could bring in issues like that.

As far as processing all of this, I have spoken at length with my husband. I do not feel it would be necessarily or valuable to spend an hour going over these things again. I hope you do not feel cheated by this. I hold nothing against you personally and wish you the best. I did often find your work to be insightful and know you are a popular, caring therapist, but ultimately I believe that we are probably better fitted to other working relationships. I wish you the best.


Ah, furlough (PG mentions cancer)

My wonderful missionary friend and her family of six are coming home to American three months earlier than they planned. Less than a year after losing her mother, her father has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Also known as, “The Kiss Of Death”.

I cried when I heard the news. My feels are still mixed about the whole thing. Of course I am so happy they are coming home and I will get to see her and meet her youngest baby. I am also joyful, and reminding myself I feel that way makes me cry harder. He was active and happy and served Jesus with all of his heart. He is finally going to meet God face to face and that gives me goosebumps. Can you imagine what he will see? Nope, you can’t. Revelation talks about it, but it’s just a hint about what we have to look forward to. It would be staggering to know someone I loved so much who loved God so much was going home to meet Him. I can only live vicariously through my friend – the joy must be insurmountable.

Still, the grief would overwhelm the joy. The joy would overwhelm the grief. I understand what it’s like to have all those feelings at once: It’s what I specialize in. Bipolar gives a special kind of intimacy and work because of the depth of emotion I live with. I’ve got this unless everything in my life is perfectly balanced, which it is not often. I don’t use heroin, but I can get what it is like to think you need it. There are so many instances like that. I can’t know what it is like to lose a father; I can’t even conceive it, but I know what it is like to have to deal with so many feelings at once.

Things are coming together for them and they will be perfectly orchestrated by the time they get here. It probably won’t go like we planned, but it will happen. I wish I could get them all they need – a car – a house closer to her father – more monthly support. All I’ve got now is prayer. It sounds so hokey, but what else do I have to give? I can make them a good cake. That’s about it.

If you’re a pray-er, please pray for this wonderful family. If you’re not, thank you for reading until the end of this. That means a lot to me.

If getting angry at her (PG)

“If getting angry at Malakoa did any good, she’d be cured by now.” So says my father to my mother. So he gets mad at me too, huh? I didn’t know. I get mad a lot, especially at my mother. It is something to realize your family is angry at you a good portion of the time. It’s not something I can do anything about, though. I’m always going to be at least somewhat like I am now. Some of it is bipolar, some of it is my sparkling personality.

I think I hate facebook and I’m thinking I am going to quit. There, I said it. It’s because I over analyze things. For example, an old friend remarried. She and I are no longer close, but she’s stayed in touch with a couple of our old friends. They were very close. They were IN the first wedding. She posted her wedding pictures and the friends were not in it. I have become a tad obsessed with why… It is strange to wonder why they wouldn’t even be at her event. I can’t pm her about it because I wished I didn’t care.

Here is my latest issue, though. There is this girl who was in Small’s class last year. We’ll call her Morgan. Morgan is very well behaved and received many accolades because of it. As for my daughter, that’s not how we roll. She doesn’t run in line, she explains to me, she skips in line. She is put next to the naughtiest boy in the class and the two of them jabber on and on. Personally, I like the girl and her mom and wanted to invite her to her birthday party. Small was jealous so we didn’t. Too bad, I liked talking to the mom.

On her facebook she posted that she went sailing at Paradise Point…. with the evil LN….

Now, I know that LN is yapping about me. She does that, there is nothing I can do about it. It’s her nature. She is not likely to change. I do not want to be friends with her anymore and I wish my old therapist who moved to San Diego was here to help me process all of that. He was good about it. The current therapist is not. We’ll get to her in a minute.

Anyway, I’m mostly fine about LN. I do not feel betrayed because there is nothing for me to be betrayed about. I knew this was the way she was and for a while (like, a year) I believed there were really legitimate things wrong with the people she talked about. I’m sure a good percentage of the mommies hear what she said and think differently about others because of it. The more they get to know her, though, the more they have got to clue in on her distorted view of the world.

I had a boyfriend who did that. I don’t want to get in to it right now.

Anyway, I’m really trying to stay away from LN. Not necessarily avoiding her, but definitely not seeking her out. I make no effort to find her after school, or go out and see her while our kids are playing in the culdesac. I’m done. Really. I didn’t defriend her, but I blocked her wall from showing up and am just SO OVER IT.

Sure, yeah right.

So, Morgan’s mom has her own Facebook page. That’s how I found out about the sailing. So what, you say, ignorant of my love of water and dreams of sailing. One of my dreams is to go sailing. I went once when I was as little girl, but I hardly remember it. I want to go so much! It’s a dream. I’ve come close to getting to go. Once was in the late nineties. We were going with above boyfriend’s parents, but the weather was ugly, thunder and lightening. We didn’t get to go. Later my husband’s friend at work had a boat and we were supposed to go one weekend but there was some kind of mis-communication so we didn’t. Two close calls. I wouldn’t even know how to go about getting to do it.

I wrote the first part of this post yesterday. I feel pretty over it, now. I’ll get to sail one day, but today is not that day and tomorrow is not that day either.

* * * *

Weight Loss. I put on a pair of my husband’s shorts and a tight brown t-shirt. I don’t look nearly as lumpy as I did in a great big grey shirt from a few months ago. It was nice. No one told me nicely to go upstairs and change.

I’ve lost 28 pounds. We got a great big bunch of candy from the pinata at a little girl’s birthday party and I’ve been munching away. We’ll see how that shows up on Tuesday.

* * * *

I think I’m getting a new therapist. Last time for some reason she went off on this tangent about religion and Gods and god and how all religions really worship only one God. Oh yeah, that’s what I did: I told her that Buddhism is an atheist religion. Every one I know raised in the faith does not believe in God. They don’t worship a great big ol’ God, they worship their ancestors. She didn’t like that because I think she thought I was “judging”. I am so flippin’ tired of the whole principal of “judging.” Of course I don’t want to “judge” other people, I don’t know what they’ve been through any more than they know what I’ve been through. If I’m going to be berated for my beliefs, what is the point of being “non-judgmental”? We slid through Hinduism. I think a true Hindu would be pretty offended to be told they worshiped only one God, when there are thousands of Gods. After her minor diatribe, resulting in a deadly ethnocentric interpretation of world religions, stating that ultimately, all religions worshiped one God. Now, I have heard that every path leads to heaven. (Like all road lead to Rome.) But I think this is different. To say there is one God that everyone worships requires a twisting of faiths I am not comfortable. I can see how the “all paths” might even be a necessity for a therapist, but the way she arrived at that deduction is what troubles me.

She loves Eckhart Tolle, I’ve seen videos of him. His m.o. is living in the moment. I have no problem with that. It’s a good idea. Nothing controversial there. His books, on the other hand, are the lost leading the lost. He twists scripture from major religions to point out they are all talking about the same thing. This can’t e true. If it was true, they would have more, real life similarities. There are lots of Tolle critics on the internet, but many of them haven’t read any of his books or seen his videos. I saw a video, I read as much of his book as I could stand. A critic “call(ed) his ideas and looping ways with language New Age twaddle.” I still don’t feel like I qualify as a critic…. that said, when people say things about all paths go to the same place it usually means to me that they have not examined the directions. I know there are many folks who are on one path and criticize openly and loudly the people on another. They usually criticize a path they don’t know anything about and are not likely to find out more. I’m not an expert on world religion, but I have studied enough to believe every American Buddhist I’ve known has been an atheist. She said that they were Buddhists in one right and atheists in another. No. That is not what I said, saw or understood. She said after that if she offended me she didn’t mean to and that she usually doesn’t discuss spiritual things with her patients. I am glad to hear that. There was a point earlier in our relationship I almost told her I didn’t want to touch spirituality with her at all. I already knew she and I differed greatly in our beliefs. I can’t just let it roll over my back. My friend, CH said that I had an “intense” faith. I had great, long-term relationships with two therapists that did not have the same spiritual practices or beliefs. Honestly, it just never came up and there was no desire to correct or adjust my “intense” beliefs. I did not break my back trying to share the Four Spiritual Laws with them, either. In fact, I almost didn’t keep going to the first one because she wrote I was, “preoccupied with religious pursuits.” It turned out not to be a problem.

But I’m sensing this is different. If anyone can help pinpoint the problem, I would love to hear from you. I’m leaning towards finding someone else. Let me know.