Why would God send those tornadoes?

There is a national outcry against a man who massacres a crowd. We want to know “why did he do that?” and we condemn him. He has done a very evil act.

Brothers kill 3 and injure 264 at Boston Marathon. 100,000 die in Iraq war, including 4,488 American soldiers. Drone strike kills 4 in Afghanistan. Man kidnaps two teenage girls, little chance of survival. Man shoots, kills dad.

Why do we do this to each other?

Natural disasters since 1975 have killed less than half the number that Hitler killed, but it’s still a massive amount. And, as a Christian, I must believe that God is all-powerful. Theists have to ask, “why?” for natural disasters, too. Why would God allow this great evil?

Tornadoes kill 24 in Moore, Oklahoma. New MERS virus kills 22 in Middle East, threatens everyone. Tsunami kills 230,000 in 14 countries (in 2004, remember that one?).

Why, Lord? Why?

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I was a brat in 6th grade.

Journal from 12-3-05 (Tuesday):

I still haven’t gotten anything from my Pal (for gift exchange). I have been waiting for two days. I guess, since three people are gone today, my pal might be one of them, and yesterday, they may of not had enough time to get something because of, like, church. Whoever it is, I feel, like, I’m really, really (this could go on for days) really, really, (14 pages later) really, really angry. I feel like hurting them and making them regret not bringing me anything. I bet it’s Connor, Christian, Jordan, or some other evil boy. But I must remind myself that God wouldn’t want me to do that. Thankfully, Dylan (who I liked then) isn’t taking part this year. I hate Spencer. … If I had a choice, my “Pal” would be in the hospital right now. 😦 I’m sad.

5 perks of being straight.

Here is my snobby, egocentric, majority white-ass opinion. It reeks of ignorance. Please hate me for it. If you can be proud of being gay, then I will be proud of you and support you by not opposing you (which doesn’t actually help), but I will also have to be proud of my straightness or I’ll kind of feel left out of all the fun y’all have. Why can’t I be special? Of course, I don’t want to be stigmatized, either. Poop.

Why I like being straight:

  1. Sex. Oh god, yes. One male + one female + one bed (optional). Also, traditional male-female relationships have other perks – he pays, opens the door for me, and defends my honor.
  2. I have never had to hate myself for being straight, and I have never been confused about it.
  3. I am accepted by mainstream society. I don’t have to check the laws of the state to see if I can get married to my boyfriend here.
  4. I have a much larger pool of potential mates, since most men are straight.
  5. He knows he doesn’t understand me, so I can keep him confused and get away with being a bitch for a while, and blame it on PMS or hormones.

Why I hate being straight:

  1. I am yet again in the majority. I am already a white American. I have very little cultural identity as it is. Being straight again puts me in the “normal”, or vanilla, or background seat. Neither my skin nor my flag have any color. I can go anywhere, but I “belong” nowhere.
  2. I cannot empathize with the LGBT community. Even when I try to support and accept, I put my foot in my mouth and hurt their feelings. It’s easier to do nothing, then, so I don’t accidentally further Straight Oppression, so I sit on my hands way too often.
  3. I cannot hang out with the Gay Pride groups when I’m single, or I’ll risk being misidentified with them. That would be fine, if I were not looking for a relationship with a man who could be scared away if he thought I was lesbian or other.
  4. My mom is going to force me to give her grandbabies once I find my man. Dear Lord, the pressure to reproduce is strong! Or maybe that’s why I hate being a fertile woman.
  5. Guys are sometimes messy, vulgar, and gross. Loving a woman would be so much better in so many ways. Double the wardrobe, and she’d understand me and my love of pasta.

What is Christianity? Simple language.

So at the beginning of time, this all-powerful being we call God spoke everything we have into existence:  light, darkness, sky, the earth, stars, plants, fish, birds, animals, and humankind. The first people didn’t obey him, so he let them be able to die. Over time, more and more people filled the land, and he chose one man to be the father of a group of people he would pay close attention to, the Israelites, or Jews. God gave them a piece of land and said it would be theirs. But they were not happy with God, and they didn’t obey him. So God allowed them to go through a lot of hard stuff including slavery, being lost in the desert for a long time, sickness, and lots of wars.

God was mad with them. He punished them by letting other groups of people drag them away from their land three times, and then letting them go back after a while. But he always kept them together and did not let them all die.

They didn’t obey God. Even when they tried, they messed everything up. Today, they are still a group of people, and they still have their land, Israel, but they struggle with invading people, and are the center of warfare in the Middle East. They still don’t obey God.

About 2000 years ago, God’s chosen group of people were in their land, but being ruled by another group of people, the Romans. God wanted to enter the picture as a human, instead of a deity that feels far away and unrelatable. So he searched his group of people, and found a willing woman who loved him and had a good heart, and she was the mother of his son. This man grew up in a little rural village as a carpenter, and studied the history of God with his group of people. He learned to obey God, and made it his life’s goal to obey God. He became a “rabbi”, which is like a preacher, and which made him upper-class.

When he was 30 he started giving speeches about God in the local churches. The church leaders did not like these speeches because he challenged their traditional way of doing things. He pointed out what they were doing wrong and where they were not obeying God, which made them mad at him. They didn’t care about obeying God, but wanted to make the lower classes think they were perfect. This man ignored the social rules that put him in a position above women, people of other races, and less educated people. Some of these people were considered “bad people.” He cared about them, because they cared about obeying God more than looking good. They were his fans and loved his speeches. He spent more of his time with them than with the leaders.

This man also is known for doing crazy things like changing water into wine for wedding guests so the party could go on, and walking on water, and healing people, even bringing them back to life.

He knew what he was talking about, and it showed. People really liked him. Crowds followed him everywhere, so he gave his rebellious talks out in rural areas to groups of thousands of people, and in houses full of people. A lot of the crowd wanted him to become king and lead a rebellion to break their nation free from subjugation to the Roman people, but that wasn’t his plan. He kept ticking off the people in charge. so they had him tortured and killed a short 3 years after he started. The people were disappointed. Then God judged him in the afterlife, and loved him. God declared that this man had always obeyed him. He said that this man could stand as a representative of all humans who had ever lived or who would be born after him. Because this man obeyed God, then God will be happy with us if we try to obey him and his son, no matter how much we mess up.

So now, God says we can all become part of God’s family, as brothers and sisters of God’s son. He also says that when we die, we are not dead forever but God will bring us back to life when he comes back with his son for the final judgment of all people. Then, he will send away people who didn’t obey him to die forever, and keep people who did obey him, or tried to. We will then live forever in a perfect world (no tears, pain, sadness, or sickness) with him forever.

What could possess a man to attempt to massacre a crowd?

The tragedies light up our headlines. A movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newport, Connecticut. A summer youth camp in Norway. The finish line of the Boston marathon.

The first question I hear each time a new event happens is, “Why?” Why did that man (men) do that? What did he hope to gain? What would drive him to act in such a way? What motivated him? We are dumbfounded by his hatred. We can’t make sense of it, and we aren’t satisfied until we know what caused him to reach out in violence. (Then we argue over gun control laws or terrorism, and move on.)

He is mad. He wants revenge. He wants to teach them a lesson. Most deeply, he wants justice.

It’s simple enough, why. It’s because he has been let down by his society, disappointed and frustrated. He does not have what he feels entitled to having, whether he was promised it as a child, or expected it as what life fairly “owes” him. He does not have the recognition, power, fame, or ease that he expected. He “knows” that his life is wrong. It is not how it should be, and he cannot make sense of it. He cannot see that he is not alone in this. He does not recognize or care that other people have disappointments just like his. Life shouldn’t be this hard, he thinks. For some reason, he cannot comprehend or accept reality, that he is not perfect and his life has problems. The life he expected or anticipated and his life are not the same. He suffers for this, deeply grieved and daily irritated, and he sees himself alone and shunted by society. This builds over time, aggravated by increasing isolation and by people minimizing his pain (intentionally or not) with careless words and by treating him like dirt (or like less than a god). He learns to blame them, and his irritation grows. He may say nothing about any of this. To whom would he confide, who could understand?

The result: make them suffer. Kill as many people as he can. Make them feel his pain. Hurt them where they are most vulnerable. This is different from a terrorist attack, which is most often politically motivated. He wants them to suffer for suffering’s sake. He wants them to die for death itself. He needs them to pay. And he has held this feeling in himself for so long that he is in no hurry now, when he has passed the tipping point from agony to a will to act. He can take the time he needs to plan. He can wait for the right moment. And when the time is right, or when another trigger comes, he acts. People ask, “why?” but it’s not too hard to understand. The need for what he sees as justice against an evil and disappointing society has grown and overwhelmed even his own desire to stay alive.

The solution: He needs people to come beside him and help him up, encourage him, love him, and make him feel like a useful, contributing member of society, or like he is human. He needs to learn to give and be appreciated. He needs something or someone that makes him feel like he belongs and he is one of them. This could be as simple as a hobby or club that gives him a glimmer of the life he thought he could never have. It could be love, or a pet, or anything that breaks through the shell he has built that makes him see the world as him, the unjustly forgotten and mistreated, versus them, who have collectively done this to him and shoulder the blame. It must include other people, though. He will not, indeed he cannot, change on his own.

Possible signs?: he is inflexible in some ways. When something new goes wrong, he does not care or he gets very mad. He lets go of all the dreams he once had or gets mad when other people are successful or praised or celebrated. He has trouble forming emotional bonds or understanding grief in other people.

I couldn’t pray out loud like they did.

Everyone prays differently. In church, they always prayed out loud, with lots of “Lord”, “just”, etc, and they prayed for a long time. I tried mimicking them and I felt so self-conscious! I dreaded praying out loud. This past year, I have been a member of my campus ministry’s prayer team, which has been a huge challenge and has stretched me in ways I didn’t expect.

I have a really hard time praying out loud. I am comfortable praying in my head and in my journal. Over time this past year, I got used to vocalizing part of what was in my head. I pray best when I have time to think, and especially when I have the Bible in my hands or verses floating between my ears. I think, “I have an audience of One”, but I can still only manage one-on-one talk with the Lord when I don’t have additional people listening to me.

A friend reminded me,

“Jesus already gave you what you’re going to say. You’re just sending it back to him. Why are you worried?”

While I am still way too self-conscious (read: concerned about my reputation, prideful), this makes me relax. I can humble myself to listen to what the Spirit brings up for me to pray, and use God’s own Word with him. I hope that the Lord will make me more versatile and confident in prayer that I may be a better tool for His work. But I am not a “failure” for being unable to stand in front of a crowd and pray like they do in church. Lord, teach us to pray.

The church hates free sex. I want sex. The church and I are enemies.

I am 20 years old. I have never had sex. I have never had a boyfriend. I have never even “touched myself” (sorry for TMI), and I don’t talk about sex, never ever ever. For the last big chunk of my life, I have craved sex. Why, then, am I so strictly chaste? Because that’s what good girls do. And I am a good girl.

My religion taught me from a young age that sex is bad and that I am bad for wanting it. Sex has been one of my most enjoyed thoughts and one of my deepest, tabooed and stigma-rich secrets. Since I was about 12 I have had sexual fantasies weekly if not daily. (I also have other, violent fantasies, probably from repression of these, but that’s another story.)

I do want sex. I do want a boyfriend. I want to be loved. I want my body to matter. Every day that goes by when I am alone puts another nail in the coffin of my desires. If I had not been forced to be religious when I was growing up, I really doubt that I would be like this. My best friend from elementary school got into BDSM. I’ve no doubt I would have been more like that, or at least romantically involved, without church to constantly yell at me and condemn me for having any physical desire for another person.

I can’t even touch people without my inner “good girl” critic yelling at me. My ingrained church rules effectively stunted my sexual development, and I am yet a virgin (their goal fulfilled!), but it’s a success carried out by shaming and guilt. This is partly why I hate myself now. No matter how well I hide it, I have always been attracted to sex (who hasn’t?), making me question myself and the “demons inside me” at every turn when my church leaders said over and over “sex is bad.” Then, if I want sex, I’m bad. I’m female, so it’s not even possible for me to want sex. I should stand up for my brothers in Christ who are taken over by their own desires and protect them from themselves, and that ends my involvement with sex. I am to be a brick wall until I flip a switch on my wedding night.

I can’t believe that the god who designed sex would give me these feelings and not have a safe place for me to vent, feel them, or even talk about them. My church was not a home for me growing up, and has never felt safe for me to express all of me, because of its condemnation of sexual desire, and its refusal to accept that I am both a woman made in the image of God and a body filled at times with lust and sexual desire.