24 Feb 2012

Seeking Freedom From Negativity.

Submitted by Stephen Winters

I mainly started this website to have a place where I could think out my ideas, to explore what do I believe about various subjects. A large part of this process has been my trying to untangle myself from various erroneous religious ideas and beliefs. I would suppose that many young people have went through a growing up and thinking out who they are at a much younger age than me. In my writings (perhaps necessarily) on this website I've written a fair amount against religiosity and man-made religion and false beliefs about the Bible.

Somewhere in the New Testament it talk about false teachings that say "Thou shalt not .... Thou shalt not ..... thou shalt not...." (i.e. "Don't dance", "Don't smoke", "Don't drink", "Don't wear immodest clothing") as if true faith was built around the Thou-Shalt-Not's. As I look back on my role as a parent, too much of my "teaching" of my children has been based on the "thalt shalt not's" In my writing this mindset is part of what I've been rebelling against and trying to free myself from.

Recently I came across this video ""Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus" that further validated my frustration towards  man-made-religion. (If the truth be told, religion is just a system with people inside of it. Any religion is only as good or ad as the people inside it.)

Along with all my struggling to get free from religiosity (partially through my writings) has been the growing awareness and realization that I need to do more thinking and writing about how to live correctly. Instead of correcting or criticizing the the false things, I need to focus more on what is right.

Last night I ran across this article. "Four Reasons God Doesn't Need Me to be His Cop" Here is the text in that article that struck me:

"My daughter saves her deepest theological questions for bedtime. She doesn’t give a rip about theology, but she cares deeply about delaying bedtime. If Daddy is foolish enough to take the bait on Who made God-type questions, she wins. Ever though her greatest need is rest, she thinks her late-night allies are unsolvable religious questions. In the end, everyone ends up sleepy and confused.

So it is with following Jesus. Let’s talk about theology; let’s talk about church; let’s crusade against the high-profile fools of Christendom and expose them for charlatans--in fact, let’s do anything other than take the yoke of discipleship. Like stupid trolls arguing all night long about how best to cook a hobbit, we will be surprised when the morning takes us all.

I’m just wondering: have you ever seen anyone win a religious argument? The only reason a crowd gathers is simply to watch a good fight, never mind who wins."

More and more, as I write, I'm becoming convinced that speaking or writing against other peoples beliefs is not very productive. What seems more productive is about writing positive things about how to live. Some of this includes taking negative experiences and turning them towards the positive.

Over the past few years my daughter and I have not had a close relationship. I've wanted to connect more with her, but haven't known what to do. My efforts have seemed futile at times.

This morning before I went out to work in my garage I saw one of my 13 year old son's books on the table. I thought I'd sit down and see what was in it. (I like to keep track of what he is reading.) I began reading and read a lot more than I had intended, it was very interesting. Then, as my 19 year old daughter was sweeping the kitchen floor, said to me, "That's being really productive."

Her comment hurt me. Emotionally I wanted to snap back at her for not "respecting" her father, but I kept quiet, got up and went out to work. I was a little cross at her, but I didn't want to let it out on her. As I thought about it, she was right. It was late in the morning and I should have been out to work earlier.

My daughter is leaving this afternoon to go to work.  From there she will be going directly to a Snow Retreat weekend for the youth. I won't see her again until she comes back in a few days. My wife came out to my shop and suggested I come in and say goodbye to my daughter. So I followed her into the house.

I decided to put aside my grumblies and just enjoy a few minutes with my daughter. I was genuinely smiling as I came over to her. we talked a while, and then, with a smile and a happy expression I asked, "Can I have a hug before you leave?" She smiled  and happily said, "sure." So we exchanged hugs. As My wife and my daughter got into the car to leave, I stood outside smiling and waving at them. I really felt good about this experience.

If I had of stayed grumpy, then she would not have left with a positive experience with me. How much is this like our other experiences in life?.... I need to be continually remind that "If I want to change my situation, change myself."

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