I wonder what Jesus thinks about while he waits for me to let Him in.

I am – I don’t even know. I had an epiphany that solves my WordPress title (“seeking whispers”). The last epiphany that struck me so much was years and years ago when I realised that my body is an integral part of me and that I had always considered myself “Me” and “My Body” but never as one whole. This is so exciting!

So, I grew up Christian. For the past two years I have casually been questioning the truth of Christianity, and more seriously over the past two months I declared myself an atheist, etc to have a more impartial view, and I was honestly getting ready to rid myself of a crazy illogic. A staunchly rational philosophy professor encouraged me in this. From every outside angle, Christianity is ridiculous. The “moral good” it produces started hospitals, yes, but also starts lots of wars. Oppression from imposing Christianity on conquered and colonized people, Bible hate-thumping, rejection of gay people and so many other pains littered the history and presence of the Church, and I wanted no more of it. The Bible didn’t even make sense to me, especially the person of Jesus, who you think you’d kinda have to agree with to join His Church at all.

So last week I fell in love with Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and he had a claim that started to erode my intellectual defenses: that Christianity is not a contradictory faith, but a paradox. When the eternal meets the time-bound, it cannot make sense. I can’t explain more of what he wrote, but his perspective answered concerns I never voiced and refreshed me.

Then, all the Breaking Bad references reminded me of one verse:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

I saw this a day or two ago, and had my revelation a little later.

My relationship with God: “seeking whispers.” I knew our relations were muffled. I can’t find him inside the house, but I hear him calling for me sometimes. I thought He was unreachable, or that I was lost, or never invited to His family.

My Sunday school teacher told me nine years ago that Jesus was knocking on the door of my heart, and all I had to do to be saved was accept Him. As it turns out, I was alerted to His presence there, but I forgot to let Him in.

For nine years, I would say, “I’m coming!” and “Please come in. Make yourself at home in my heart and in my life. Can I get you anything?” and neglect to open the door. I would look around, and think He had already left me.

I ask God over the phone, “Who is this at my door? Who wants to come in? I don’t know them. I only want You in here. Protect me!” And God answers, “That is me.” I say, “Whenever life gets rough, my house sounds like it’s going to fall apart.” And He says, “That’s me knocking. I want to hold you when you’re scared and sad.” But I never recognized Him. We have been together for a decade, but I have never seen His face and never knew what He looks like. How embarrassing, that I say “I love you” and “I don’t know you” to Him in one breath! Like a gentleman, He will never force his way in. I really respect that about Him, but I kinda hate the responsibility that courtesy puts on me to be an active contributor to our relationship.

I wonder what Jesus thinks about while he waits for me to let Him in. What does Jesus think, hearing my promises through the wood, hearing me call for Him, yell at Him for abandoning me, or questioning His existence because I can’t find Him inside, when he is standing on my porch (after 9 years!), patient and full of love, probably holding a bouquet of roses behind his back for me, smiling so happily when He thinks of when He will see me, sometimes frustrated that I leave Him outside when I need Him with me, still eager to finally get to know me in person.

With enduring patience, He waits still and may come in soon! I know I know deep down how to let Him in, but it isn’t conscious yet. I’m scared and I need to get over that. I hope that comes with time, but I may need guidance. And once I do let Him in, I have to remember to keep letting Him back in after I kick Him out or He leaves for whatever reason.

I’m so excited! I kinda found God.

Dream. Feminist.

Make an image out of this (from a dream I had):

a pretty woman is at a baseball game, and she gets harassed so she flees down to the basement/back/dark concrete to escape from them and cry, and gets mugged with a gun in her face. Images: they laugh she’s shocked / she’s crying on the ground and tearstained eyes look up at a gun. Like, there’s no escape from men.

Short dream dialogue, on cheating.

“I’m so glad I didn’t leave you and tell him that I needed him back, because Sarah’s teacher put me in charge of the PTA meetings, and all the other women did was discuss their sex lives. It’s like a high school drama. We have it so good. I love you, babe. *kiss* Cause I admit, I’ve had some problems with him in the past. Nothing you would see (not Sarah), and nothing in this house. But we did have issues.” ~he’s upset (betrayed), she’s relegated to sleeping in the basement for a year, and okay with that because she’s happy.

My last entry in my journal before this:

“don’t cheat (in a relationship). if you do, a good man has the right to destroy you. it’s not worth it.”

How we do prayer is really weird. 5 reasons why.

We are the “body” of Christ, in one metaphor. The Biblical precedent (using the OT here, since I don’t buy a lot of the NT) is that praying on behalf of someone else is done only for their healing (God, heal them), or as a part of the group (Lord, help us, give us something). I haven’t read anything that says, the group went around and shared prayer requests. And each person prayed for the person on his left. And God looked down and granted their requests.

“Pray for me.”

Ok, so we’re a family. God is daddy, and my churchmates are my brothers and sisters. When do I ever ask my brother to go talk to Daddy for me? When I did something wrong and I think Daddy will be mad, I send him to give him the news. But God already knows. When I think my brother will be able to get a more favorable response, I send him. But will God fall for that? It might be trying to be selfless, like “I am not worthy to come before the throne and ask God for what I really want / need”? Real relationships don’t work like that.

When I am out of the country and can’t call my dad because he doesn’t have internet and I don’t have a phone, I email my brother to call my dad to send him a message. But we all have the Holy Spirit praying within us. We are all connected to God.

There is a psychological benefit of praying by sharing prayer requests; we share deeper things about us: our struggles, goals, desires, and pain. So, we are forced to grow closer as a group, when we know more about each other. We can work, in this world, through connections and abilities of the group, to provide comfort and support, and sometimes solutions (like, my bike broke. Hey, Mike can fix it! Or, I need a good lawyer. Susan can help!). Then, putting out the prayer request answers the prayer.

But there are also really bad detriments: to our feelings of confidence before God. I can’t pray for myself, I can’t talk to Him myself, I’m not worthy. Or, when people come up with really stupid prayer requests. We’ve all heard them. They may sound super-religious, like for humility or spiritual growth or more love. Or it may be the person who asks for the tenth time for good grades on a test, or the one who babbles in spiritual gobbledygook that’s all but speaking in tongues. They don’t focus on God, but on things that make us unhappy here, or on making themselves look good. It’s prayer that drips with privilege, praying for First World Problems. Yes, they are annoying problems to have. But isn’t there something more to do? If you’re a Christian and you’re not involved with anything bigger than yourself in a tiny world, something is wrong. Even if you just became a Christian, if we truly believe the Bible, shouldn’t we care that billions of people don’t believe, or that somebody a block away is hurt, or that my mom is really, really sick, or that there is bullying in the school, or that oppression on the basis of skin color is still a thing in many places, or that someone is hungry? I don’t mean to judge or shame. If you don’t feel that, take some time to fall in love with God. You walk at your speed when you’re walking with God. But the apostles didn’t keep themselves locked up praying forever. They went out, preaching, ministering to the sick and widows and orphans. They did real work, not just feel good work or self-help work. (Of course, if you’re super-missional, remember to be grounded in prayer. The constant presence and direction of God is your driving force to work.)

So, it’s weird. When we pray, are we family, or One in the Spirit? Why do we act as though there is a greater effect when We pray for you rather than just You pray for you?

Group prayer.

At the close of each Bible study, and the start of every meal with a Christian, I’m practically forced to pray. I had a dinner once where we were sitting down to eat, and one girl prompted me, “Will you say grace?” I said, “No” and she was shocked. Like, you don’t do that. But it’s so weird to me, to even be asked, “Sister, will you talk to Daddy in front of us?” Like, this is really weird. It might kind of be like going as a group to God, and selecting one spokesman to do the honors of saying Thanks. But this is a bad analogy. We all know God very well. Why is it so formal? Something needs to be said, but this method impinges on how I naturally talk to God. Can’t my relationship with God be private? How can I be expected to be called out to pray, or to have a ‘turn’ to pray? (To escape this, I have a rote prayer, “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest / and let these gifts, to us be blessed. / Amen.” I still get looks sometimes when I say it, like I’m cheating.)

Interceding is a little bit like tattling. And you know those passive-aggressive prayer lists?  *skin crawl*

In my experience, we routinely pray in groups. Method: chat about the week, share prayer requests, then pray about them. Like, maybe it “works” for some good with certain kinds of people. When in the Bible does anyone ever pray like this? Yes, prophets prayed for people. Kings asked prophets to pray for them. Hannah, in the temple, was approached by Eli the priest. He said, at most, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” He blessed her prayer, but she prayed (silently). Other examples:

Prayer from the prophet on behalf of the people:

“And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.”  Numbers 21:7

Prayer on behalf of the larger group:

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7

Prayer for healing:

And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her—please.” Numbers 12:13.

There are no “prayer request boxes” or the like to be seen. There are no church groups that sit around and pray for other people. No one seeks God on behalf of another. If someone has a real problem, it is conceivable that a group must support them, and that can include intercession. But the person prays for herself, too, and the group must provide more support than simply prayer, if at all possible (and it will always be possible. If someone is sick, you can’t heal them, but you can help them with chores, bring them food, spend time with them, etc.).

Two more bugs in religion:

Why testify? Give testimony, is like telling family stories? This is what God has done in my life. This is who I am in Christ. These can be really cool, and/or scary, or just weird.

People who say: God doesn’t exist, that’s stuuupid! but my horoscopes / ghosts / heaven / something does, for no reason.

Conclusion: I don’t understand prayer. The way my church likes to pray is neither logical nor Biblically based. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to pray?

Fighting God’s will. Will I die?

There is a lot of resistance from the world. It’s like I’m destined for doom. Lots of things go wrong. My flight to the forbidden land may be a scam. What a relief that would be! Then I could gladly do His will and find peace.

So last year I was planning to study abroad. I applied to go to New South Wales, Australia. I prayed about it when I received my confirmation email, before I saw whether I would be accepted or rejected, and asked my Lord (as I called him then) whether or not to go. I heard an answer, from my own head, the Holy Spirit, or something malicious, I don’t know and I don’t know how to find out. I hate that unknown. I said: “Should I go?” It said: “If you go, you will have a really good time, better than if you stayed here. I will not stop you / stand in your way. (quieter now) But don’t go.” Somehow, though, my mom found out that I was accepted and I have finished the remainder of the application. I have been considering and fighting that thought/message/Word over and over. Every time I try to say, “I’ll change my plans and stay.”, my parents dissuade me. I don’t know how to trust these words, and God has revealed nothing more to me on the subject. Since then, I have even had to say that God does not exist for a week at a time to be able to have any peace with myself and my actions. I am set to fly out to Australia tonight. I am asking God: “Why? Why should I stay? Why should I not go? What will that do?” And I ask, “Will I die there?” And I meet silence. “Will my plane crash?” Silence. “Will the world be worse off?” Mournful silence. Will my choice to fly down there cause a chain of events that will be bad, or will my presence itself down there be bad? Silence. And why am I promised a good time? Will God be down there? – that is something I am scared to think about. Will I lose my faith with a big stroke against Him? Will my untrusting actions kill the life He meant for me to have? I was so scared when I was initially faced with this decision that I would go against the Will of God. I asked my friends what to do, saying I was scared of missing something. They only considered missing friends, concerts, classes, and the new freshman class. No one mentioned the only thing I was thinking about: that I would miss out on God’s will for my life. I did not feel bold or free enough to bring it up myself – it sounds so foolish! Now, it’s too late. Now, I feel locked into the choice that I made, and I don’t know how to escape it. I have prayed constantly for God to somehow prevent me from going. But He said that he would not stop me. I have recently been praying for God to change His Will and plan so that this will be good for the world. I don’t know what to do, and I am sick with regret and powerlessness to do what is right. I think that message was from God. I don’t know if I will be hurt, if other people will be hurt at home or in Australia or elsewhere, or if I will miss something that God had planned for me, or if I will prevent someone else from meeting God. What if some of my prayers will never be answered because I am not there to receive them where God wanted me? I will never be able to sit well with myself if I do wrong by God. My life already has no value to me; now it will be worthless, or less than worthless, to the world and His Kingdom. Is this mortal sin, to knowingly go against His stated will? It’s in the Acts: Paul was instructed to not go preach in Asia. It is within reason that God will tell me not to go to Australia. He should mark my path out for me. Yet the ambiguity and doubt lets me do this. If I could be absolutely sure that word came from God, I would not go. As it is, I have been dragging my feet and turning everything in at the last minute to give God every opportunity to tell me, “Yes, go,” or “No, don’t go,” or to provide me with a new opportunity. But he is silent.

In this frantic search for answers, I have discovered that I really want to go to China. I will not have the opportunity to do that in my college career, except perhaps over next summer, if I don’t have to take classes to make up for what I’m taking less of this semester. If I had to guess, I would say that God wills for me to stay home with my parents this semester, and take it off from school. I am too worn out by classes and the shards of relationships littering my campus to do well this semester if I stay, which is what motivated me to go abroad in the first place – for a break. It should still be a break, and since I don’t want to graduate late, it will give me transfer credits. And this will save me money – tuition is less than half the price there than it is here. But I would do God’s will at any price – so I say. If I would not give up my pride and talk to my friends honestly about what I’m considering, or talk to my friends, am I really working towards God’s will? Or is that something I just say, to make me feel good? His Will be done if it is easy.

“If changeableness that repents itself; partiality that elects some to be saved and others to be lost, or that answers the prayers of one and not of another; if incompetency that cannot heal the sick, or lack of love that will not; if unmercifulness, that for the sins of a few tired years punishes man eternally, – are our conceptions of Deity, we shall bring out these qualities of character in our own lives and extend their influence to others.” -Mary Baker Eddy

If in changing we do not change, if some are saved and some die for unknown reasons, if some prayers are answered and some are not, if some sick are not healed because of inability or lack of will to do so, if man will be condemned because of his sins when he was tired and worn, if these are the actions we commonly ascribe to our “just and loving” God, then we will become more like that false God, and influence others to also be unchanging / changing in cycle, unmerciful, partial, and unwilling to heal when we are able.