Thursday, 29 May 2014

Angry Jim

Angry JimmyI'm angry.

But I know I shouldn't be. Its something I know will get better, and it is, but it keeps flaring up.

I'm angry at religion and christianity in particular.

I know, here I go again like so many others who have been ripped off, abused and disillusioned by traditional christianity. But I've done that one. No this is a bit more specific and its really about me in a way (isn't it always, lol!)

I've come a long way in my journey and can honestly say I no longer feel much of the sting of the lies of religion myself. But I see the horrendous trap that fundamentalists et al, get stuck in; a trap that shuts down their minds and hearts.

I've had so many discussions about varying topics with conservative fundamentalists and the most consistent problem I've found is their stoic unwillingness to even consider they may be wrong in any way, or there could be problems in their belief systems. They have developed mental processes that allow them to shelve and ignore glaring inconsistencies and hypocrisies and successfully divert all responsibility for their personal integrity on to a book. A book who's only claim to spiritual authority comes from itself, creating a circular argument that can never be resolved unless you have "faith".

Now the interesting thing is, I've been in that place myself, so I can really understand the processes involved that get you stuck in that trap, but because of the depth of my personal struggles in life that this belief system could never resolve, I had to live with incredible cognitive dissonance that caused a life of suicidal depression. So I get it, I really do.

But I'm angry that those who are stuck in that trap won't even give you the time of day, deferring their brain, heart and spirit to a book. I don't have a problem with the book as such (well, yeah, there are issues on a few levels). I have a problem when we hand over our intellect, reasoning, heart, compassion, and all that we are, to a belief system that judges, belittles, patronises, condemns and generally puts an unachievable burden of principles and regulations onto the most vulnerable and needy, let alone those who are apparently doing ok.

So yeah, I really hate it. Fundamentalist evangelical whatever you call it crappy biblical literalist bigoted dogmatists who think they have cornered the market on truth because of their faith in a book that has taken 1700 years of creating wild doctrines to try and hold together a mish mash of disparate opinions about God.

I'm angry about the damage that this filthy religion has spread throughout history - about the damage its done to so many innocent people struggling to find love and acceptance. I'm angry about the exclusivist club that claims to be the sole purveyor of truth and condemns the rest of the world to death. I loath that which drives people to ignore the fact that most of the world will never hear their message of exclusive conditional love but are happy to so blithely blame the lost for their own damnation.

Yeah, it gets my blood boiling!!

I refuse to associate myself with that farce of a religion called christianity, and yet Jesus (as far as we can tell from the 2nd hand documents we have about him) showed us what love (God) looks like. But I can't even trust the words in the gospels as we know them. After all, hundreds of documents were destroyed when the arrogant church leaders of the time determined what the "real" truth about Jesus was. I guess we will never know.

And then there's millions of people who think their precious opinions are the solution to all the worlds problems and yet refuse to even acknowledge that we ALL have subjective opinions and paradigms.

So what's my point??

Christianity as we know it is a dead, sick, pathetic excuse for spiritual reality. We may never know what Jesus was really on about.


I DO know that God is in me. That He/She is love - nothing but love. That I am one with love and that love is the basis for all we know and don't know. I am happy to dig through the bible to find this truth - its there if you look for it. Its there in so many other writings as well. And the same despicable crap is there in other religions as well. They are all just as bad.

I'm not angry with God, or people. In fact I've never experienced such love towards everyone, or closeness to God in ways I never knew possible. I've never felt more loved or loving. Its religion and all its filth that gets me fired up.

So there you have it. I love but I hate. I'm patient but I'm impatient. I want everyone to experience who God really is but I have no time for bigoted pharisees. Maybe I'm just human, on my own journey, happy to do and be the best I can, as I experience the best that's available to me, learning to live loved, and listening to every person's unique story in the hope of learning something and giving something.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Questionable Answers?

Do the parts make up the whole?
Does the hole swallow the parts?
Do cords of belief make a strong rope
    to choke the hope?

Do we question the questions?
Can we answer the answers?
Will we label the labels
    and disable the enabled?

What flight of fright strikes
    Deep into answers unseen?
What will open the hole whole?
Who will lift out the bright to
    Light the night?

Close up dusty pages?
Defy the scream of past ages?
Face the fickle feelings that
    Form framed fears?
Hear hearts with new ears?

Do paths make a way?
Does the way make a path?
Do we tread uncertain through the curtain?
Will questions remain
    And keep us sane?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


A short story... with no pictures.

The land was expansive. Really expansive. I’m not really sure you could say it had a horizon, although it did, sort of. It faded away into immeasurable distance, and I mean a really, really immeasurable distance. Well that’s how it seemed.

But that was just one aspect, although I must admit a rather impressive one.

There was light. You know, just like in the movies and C.S. Lewis books, and near death experiences. That sort of light. But you breathed the light and it felt like air in a light sort of way.

Anyway, this place was awesome, in an overawesome way that transcended the awesomeness of any other awesome thing you could think of. So really, I don’t think I’ll bother even trying to allegorise it, let alone metaphorise it. Let’s just say it’s beyond metaphor, or language.

So there’s this place and I’m looking around, and there’s these huge mansions scattered around. Quite a few of them really, spread out way into the fading horizon that isn’t really a horizon.

There’s a lot of space between them all though, forests and gardens, beauty that’s disorganised in a non-minimalist crazy person kind of way. Wild but knowable, untamed but playable.

The whole place, the land, whatever it is, was complete. Nothing could conceivably or inconceivably be added or taken away. You just knew that the entirety of ‘all that is” is here, visible or hidden, searchable for sure, maybe not findable, but there none the less.

So yeah, it was just the other day, or maybe it was tomorrow, or did I dream it, or will I dream it in another life? Anyway, there I was, smacking my gob at this place and wondering about the mansions. So I set off to the closest one.

Not sure how long it took, maybe an hour or a week. Just can’t tell in this place.

As I approached I could see this mansion was huge, really huge! But it looked really strange. Despite the obvious ostentatiousness of the place it was really a hodgepodge of add-ons and extensions. So much so that I had no idea what the original might have looked like. The windows were boarded up, which I though was rather strange given how incredible the view was – and who the heck would want to block out this light?

So as I approached I met a couple of people wandering around outside in these outrageous suits – like diving suits. You know, all sealed up with air tubes going back to the mansion and an airtight helmet with tinted glass so I couldn’t really see their faces, and we had to shout at each other to be heard. It was really, really weird. Maybe they all had some medical condition?

Never the less, they invited me in.

The front door was very impressive indeed with very ornate symbolism in the carvings and pictures all over it. But instead of the whole door opening to welcome strangers, there was just a little door down one side – just like those big warehouse doors have a little one so they don’t have to open the whole thing all the time.

We quickly entered and slammed the door shut behind us while they took off their suits in the rather comparatively dim light.

Together they welcomed me to the “Mansion of Light”.

OK… it was rather dingy, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

I was then given a map of all the places to see, in the correct order with the correct viewing times and who would be leading the viewing sessions and their qualifications, along with all the correct protocols to follow.

They wanted to personally take me around to make sure I got it right, but I hate guided tours - you know how it is – you never get the time to really find out the whole story. It was a battle but I assured them I’d be fine and follow all the protocols, sheesh!

Of course I didn’t have any intention of following boring tourist guides and protocols so set off exploring the moment they were out of sight.

All the boarded up windows were a puzzle, seeing as they had to rely on artificial light all the time and some corners, and even whole rooms, were really hard to see into.

As I went around the rooms I found endless groups of people mostly discussing what the land outside was like and the best ways to get around out there. Other groups were saying outside was a dangerous place and best not to venture out unless properly prepared, and proceeded to debate the best methods of protection. Many seemed to think that outside was actually evil and we shouldn’t even entertain the idea of going out there.

There were so many rooms some big, some small, some huge auditoriums, some little studies, but all with people discussing/debating/arguing, or just being told, how to deal with outside, or even if they should deal with outside in the first place. It was so confusing, even though each room seemed to basically agree amongst themselves.

Every so often though, I’d see someone sneak out and into another room, as if nothing had happened. But as I was going down one particular corridor, a whole heap of people suddenly ran out of one room down the hall and into an empty room, shouting wildly about the colour of the walls. Truly perplexing!

I began to wonder where I’d be if I’d taken the guided tour!

After a while I bumped into a quiet sort of guy walking slowly through a pillared gallery where some of the windows weren’t quite so well boarded up, and cracks let through small rays of light that shone on parts of some of the paintings and sculptures.

Thinking he might throw some light (as it were) on what the heck was going on this place, I straight out asked why the windows were boarded up?

He looked at me with a strange expression, as if I was either an idiot, or maybe it was a trick question and he was waiting for the other half of my question so it would make sense. After a few moments where he seemed to be trying to process the obvious absurdity of my question, he started on quite a long and eloquent discourse.

Around 5 minutes later he stopped to see if I was following, but alas, I couldn’t follow a single thing he was saying. It all seemed to do with ancient prophecies and traditions, and the elders of the ancient days who spoke of strange powers and beings and who knows what. I just wanted a simple answer as to why they didn’t like the light.

As he began his dissertation again I casually wandered over to a nearby window that was letting in a ray of light and went to look through the crack.

Well, what a commotion! He stopped in horror and began a tirade about respecting the light and having to wear special glasses, and you had to spend hours in preparation or be one of the elite before you could even glimpse outside.

This place was really beginning to creep me out. So I excused myself with many apologies and headed off for the stairs to see if I could quietly find some light and fresh air. After a while of wandering and working my way up, I found what seemed like a rather little used hall leading to a stair case that almost certainly went to the roof or a balcony, judging by number of flights I’d come up and the general layout as best I could figure it. As I reached the top of the stairs and began to look for a door outside, a very old guy suddenly threw open a door and light streamed in behind him creating a silhouette. He had been outside obviously, but was keen to come back in. He hesitated when he saw me and looked around, perhaps to see if I was alone.

He obviously didn’t know quite how to deal with my presence and stood there with the door half open, until he decided to ask what I was doing. I honestly stated I’d like some light and fresh air as it was getting rather oppressive inside.

Again he looked around and asked if I knew what it was really like out there. Well, of course I knew, although after being in this place for what seemed like ages, I was beginning to wonder if I did. All the confusion and different ideas that really didn’t make much sense to anyone who had actually been outside, were beginning to take their toll on me.

He grabbed my arm and pulled me closer. I saw in the silhouette of his face that he was wearing dark glasses, but he wasn’t in the suits that others wore outside. It all seemed very conspiratorial somehow, but never the less he seemed to think I was an ally of some sort who was in the know.

He reached into his coat and pulled out another pair of glasses, saying I’d need them before going out. I could see it was bright outside but not harsh or glaring, still, I put them on just to humour him.

We quickly stepped out on to the roof and I was hit by the incredible view. Simply amazing. But the stupid glasses made everything look dull and all the colours were wrong, and I couldn’t even see clearly into the distance. I guess it was my previous experience of the land which allowed me to appreciate it still. I put my hand up to take off the glasses but he jumped in horror when he realised what I was doing and knocked my hand out of the way, declaring me insane.

I stopped and decided to humour him. He was shaken but turned to look out with me. After a few seconds I pointed to another mansion some way off and asked who lived there.

He turned slowly and seemed to be struggling with my question. He then started a discourse, not unlike the other guy downstairs, about the ancients and traditions and evil forces and battles and who knows what, until after a few minutes I gave up trying to follow him.

This was all too much really. I politely interrupted him and said I couldn’t really follow him, but that was OK, I was just curious. I thanked him anyway and as I could see a staircase that wound its way down the outside of the building, I said I’ll just go and see them myself and took of the glasses to give back to him.

That was obviously a huge mistake. Apparently it was inconceivable that anyone could/should/would even think about doing that! He then preceded to pontificate in a strange voice about the curses of the ancients and the dangers of venturing out on my own and being blinded and deceived by the light because the nature of the land apparently could only be correctly discerned with their glasses.

It started to get rather ugly, and even though I apologised for any offence, and tried to reassure him that I was fine because the light was actually a lot better without the glasses and I just wanted to meet the other people and hear their story, he just got more worked up.

Oh well, I smiled anyway and quickly went down the stairs. I could still hear him shouting from the roof as I walked on to the grass and out into the wild/tame gardens towards the other mansion. He wasn’t making any sense at all by that stage and his abuse faded into the breeze as I breathed in the light and lost myself….

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

God is my strength?

Heeeelp! Gurgle gurgle...
This is a statement that is common to just about all christians. When times get tough and we don't have the strength to carry on or are struggling, in some way, to meet the demands of life, we turn to God for strength, claiming that He IS our strength.

So what does that actually mean? It seems that most of us can give some bible verses to back it up, but really, what the heck does it actually mean, in practical, hands on reality?

In fact, it goes deeper than this.

I have many christian friends who have reached a crisis or are going through hard times in terms of trying to understand how God's "direction" and leading in life works - how he guides us through the crap, and what the heck is really going on.

There may well be two separate issues here - acquiring His strength, and living in His will - but I see some commonality. We are taught in the church, by traditional understandings and doctrines, that when good things happen we are blessed and when bad things happen, well, we aren't so blessed - perhaps even "out of God's will" (whatever that means) or are even under a curse! This complicates matters somewhat because if we ask for his strength to get through bad/dark times does that mean we can't expect help if we are being cursed or aren't "in His will" or have been particularly sinful?

Again, I'm sure we all know scriptures to throw at this dilemma, but they don't confront the actual reality. Shit happens, and we want help to understand it and get through it unscathed. We don't want to suffer and we don't want to be out of favour with God, just in case that's the cause of our suffering.

I hold the bible a lot more loosely these days, so even though I think its an amazing book and holds incredible life giving truths, it's inconceivable that it holds all truth for everyone ever created for all time. So I look for bigger answers - yes BIGGER. Bear with me.

If we take a step back and look at what people everywhere go through, its obvious that we all go through good times and crap no matter who we are or what we believe. There is no rhyme or reason to the distribution of good and bad no matter how we try to dress it up. It just plain happens.

Perhaps the issue then is not what happens, but what we do about it? The whole concept of being blessed by God is astoundingly simple minded (not the same as childlike) and flies in the face of everything around us. Its an attempt to live by legalistic formulas to make life tidy and predictable.

We claim God's strength, and then try to figure out what we are doing wrong so that we can adjust things, get out of the curses we bring on ourselves, and move into His blessings. Many of us turn ourselves inside out wondering what we've done wrong. Sure we know God is loving and faithful to forgive, but we get obsessed with the consequences of bad decisions, fearful that nothing will change or get better.

So in reality the picture is pretty bleak if we are honest within the limitations of traditional christian beliefs- we go through crap, looking for meaning, and wanting strength to carry on so we don't get into the crap again.


Back up! Like I said and we all really know - shit happens! It just does. "It rains on the just and the unjust". So when we pray for strength, what are we really wanting/needing?
LOVE! Doh!
We just want, and need, to be loved. If we experience love we can not only get through anything, but come out the other end better for it! Sure it may not make the situation any easier, but love changes US, not the situation (usually, sometimes it can change both).

To know we are loved in the worst of situations brings peace and reassurance. So when we cry out for Gods strength we are crying out for love.

Million dollar question!! - how do we get this love??

Its already here. God is one with us, intrinsically part of us in every way, holding us together. He is the love that unites and binds all energy and life. He IS. We have all we need and will ever get - every single person ever created is part of God whether we know it or not. And that's the problem - knowing it.

We must repent, (oh ye sinners! lol!) because repenting simply means changing your mind, no great self abasement (although you can feel remorse if you want, sometimes that's a good thing).
So we change our minds about being one with love.
We change our minds about anything to do with blessings and curses, about being in His will, or being sinful. We change our minds about God dishing out blessings for random reasons.
We change our minds about God being external to us in any way.
We change our minds about who we actually are.
We change our minds about struggling to be anointed and holy.
In fact, we change our minds regarding just about all doctrines that man has invented.

We, and God, are one. That's it. Everything we do is "his will" because we are one.
We are loved, because He is love, and we are one.
We ARE a little piece of God - it can be no other way. Am I saying we are God? Gasp!!!!
In a way, yes! God is all in all. We are part of "all", we are part of God.

Back to the topic.

The strength we need is US! Its in us already. We are part of the strength. We are part of the solution. God doesn't arbitrarily help some and not others based on how much they cry out and sweat and struggle. We are it. We are love. We are one.

Repent - change your mind!

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Ex-gay psyche

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and make some assumptions about people I don't personally know. Not something I would normally do, but bear with me.

As most of you may know by now, I spent many years in ex-gay reparative therapy. In fact most of my life involved some sort of attempt at becoming "straight".

My most concerted effort was with Living Waters, a part of Desert Streams ministries run by Andrew Comisky.

Without spending ages going into the details of how it all worked, there was a disturbing psychological aspect that I began to see in everyone who claimed to be healed/set free/changed etc. I call it religious obsession. I'm sure a psychologist would have more interesting terms for it!

What seems to happen is a purposeful setting up pf a system of dualism in their minds in an attempt to subvert the "temptations of the flesh" (ie homosexuality). This involves embracing the view that we are worthless scum (generalisation, but basically true) and focusing more and more on Jesus and the aspects of his blood and crucifixion. The pull to keep deferring to the religious activities of confession, humility (or perhaps self abasement), self examination etc, become obsessive as the core issue of being gay refuses to go away.

The result of this is an avoidance of the real issue by smothering it with religious activity - activity of the mind as well as ritual. Constant efforts at self-brainwashing through reading the bible, supportive literature, accountability to other equally obsessed people until that's all they can think about.

The end result is people who have deep sexual incongruity, low self-esteem that is forever being propped up by religious performance, judgementalism, and an inability to communicate with anyone outside of their paradigm.

Andy Comisky is a very clear example of this, especially since he has converted to Roman Catholicism. Reading his more recent blogs, its easy to see how he has become totally lost in this obsession in an attempt to override and divert his mind from the core issues. This is really common amongst all these guys, and when you take a step back from it you realise how creepy and disturbing it really is. The longer they go on, the more detached from reality they become.

Time and time again we see guys involved in ex-gay ministry "fall". But they don't have affairs or encounters with women, as one would expect if they had been cured and were tempted like straight guys. They go back to their core sexual identity... hmmm.

There is an incredible unreality to it all, a lack of integrity and congruity. There's a retreat into a fantasy world. Its a denial of all we are in God, a slap in Jesus' face and an exercise in creating a God of our own design.

It would just be sad if it wasn't for the deceptive power these people hold over weak and vulnerable guys, desperate to understand who they are.

So yeah, I've made something of a judgement on Andy and others like him. But I've been there and know how it works. I've seen it and experienced it. What a waste of life.