Stunted Growth

I see it now.

That my growth at every level in my life has been stunted until recently. 

I truly am free now, never to be caged again by anyone or anything, unless I allow myself to be.  Some would call this new found freedom an arrogance of self.  I call it a gift from God.  In fact, all freedom comes directly from God.  I have been told for thirty years that you can't do that, it's not right.  You fill in the blank. 

It's not okay to be yourself, the way God made you to be.  It's not okay to have passion about something that doesn't fit the bill.  It's not okay to dream dreams.  It's not okay to not have someone controlling you.  It's not okay to step away from fruitless, religious establishments.  It's not okay to think for yourself.  It's not okay to come to a different conclusion than your counterparts. 

It's not okay to fly away...high above the noise and the roar of those around you. 

But now I've flown higher and farther than ever...away.  Away from all that keeps me from being freetothink, free to breathe again, free to roam, free to see with both eyes instead of just one.  Free to create and be a doer on all levels and free to dreams dreams.  Free to be sympathetic to every man's plight and free to help those who were and are just as caged and imprisoned as I was.

What caged me?  What enslaved me?  What kept me?  What ensnared my soul in attempting to perform the same acts of madness done to me to others? 

Religious, unclear thoughts being touted as a totally secure and crystal clear way of life, believing those thoughts with child-like faith and adhering to them and pushing them on others.  There really is a monster in the closet, mommy.  Why, yes, dear, there is.  Johnny, my mom said there is a monster in the very afraid! 

The dangers of teaching clarity on issues that are ever unclear, no matter the merry-go-round of tactics, are never ending.  The religious fetters of men were placed upon me and they could have a hold on you.  Cold, hard steel, unforgiving steel, was forged just for me.  Iron bars around me, around my freedom, clasped tightly around my heart and my ability to be fully whole.

I have been a pawn in the hands of religious men and women.  It will take some doing and much more undoing to stop this maddening cycle of playing chess with other people's lives.  Pushing people around on a board of my conjuring like mere pawns in my own hands, in my direction, must come to an end.

Because I believe the kingdom of God is so much wider than any direction I can take you in.  The Spirit of Christ is so much more powerful than my plans for you or my own opinions.  And God, His true nature, and His pure plan for just you is so much more wonderful than any religious replacement that another can create for you or that you create for yourself. 

So, yes, there was stunted growth, privately and publicly, secretly and prominently in my life.

And now, slowly, I am becoming acquainted with myself for the first time.  The God of heaven is like a mother to me, patiently waiting for her child to see, to experience, to grow and to develop and His love never waivers and His grace never falters.  He hears my cries of pain and He mercifully waits for me to come along beside Him.

I feel like I have been handed a billion dollars, but I am not quite sure what to do with it yet.  I am bound and determined, though, to take as much time as I need to find out. 

Superstitious Christianity

As a kid growing up in one of many neighborhoods in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where drugs were sold and yards were not places to lay your bikes, let's just say my mom and dad didn't make enough for us to live in a suburban neighborhood yet, I met some of the neatest kids.  We played baseball out in the street together and in the Summer we roamed in the evening and played hide and go seek.  Yeah, I don't know what my parents were thinking.  These kids were plucky, some cocky and some were just down right superstitious.

A rabbit's foot worn around the neck, a constant warning, "Don't step on that crack or you'll break yo' mama's back."  A secret handshake had to be done just the right way or the friendship wouldn't last.

Cute, isn't it?

Superstition can be quaint in children, but when you start adding it to Christianity then we have some serious problems I think.  And the ways some Christians are superstitious can really be  endless:

I can't associate with an atheist because, then, well, I'll become an atheist.

I can't eat at that restaurant because they sell liquor.  As if the liquor will jump off the waiter's tray and onto their table and then force its way down their throat and enough to get them cold stone drunk, right?

Don't even say the word demon because now I feel like there is one in this room.  Spiritual warfare is lurking around every corner even though it isn't. 

Don't put the bible at the bottom of a stack of books, it should be on top.  As if God's book wouldn't be just as blessed at the bottom.

Playing with pokemon cards will lead your child's soul to hell.  I heard this recently when I watched this youtube video:

To me, this is just fear mongoring, superstitious nonsense that does more harm than good in an effort to save children from the depths of evil. 

In church, I was always told that the cards and playing with them, collecting them were wrong, but it was never really fully explained why.  And there lies the other huge danger, being told something is bad over and over again with no real proof or the "proof" has holes in it from here to kingdom come, the belief being completely unrational, that, coupled with a lack of freethinking brain use on our part and we're in for a heck of a ride in our Christianity.

I recently had someone explain to me and my children after my kids pulled out their pokemon cards, "Oh, see, those pokemons evolve into other things, maybe they are pushing the thoughts of man evolving into apes on us.  There could be a subtle demonic power here wanting to take hold of you."  Let's just say this lady's comments freaked my kids out and one came home and cried. 

I hadn't really looked into the cards, but I began reading them and I see no harm in them.

I am using my freethinking brain and making a freechoice and I really don't want to let superstition creep into my Chrisitianity.  It's creeped in before and taken a hold on me with a suffocating grip and I'm really not wanting to go there again.

And really and truly, some choices are as simple as choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream.  Some choices don't need to be made in anguish or given much thought.  Every. Single. Time.  Some choice or decisions are to be made as easy as if you wanted to bake a pie or some cookies today or if you want to wear your green or red shirt.  Let's not spiritualize everything and therein becoming stupidly superstitious ourselves.