Sunday, October 02, 2011

I Hear Voices In My Head

I grabbed a beer with a friend yesterday evening, and this comic today reminded me of some of our conversation.  We have both experienced a "falling-out" from our evangelical church life and we noted that it changed the way we "hear" typical church speech.

I was never a fan of Christianeese, even when I claimed the name Christian.  However, now that I spend the vast majority of my time outside of Christian circles, I have become more sensitive to how awkward it all sounds.  Like Jesus indicates in the cartoon above, some phrases and terms just shouldn't be uttered by responsible adults.

The problem I see with even writing this blog is that no one will get it (unless you are in what Bishop Spong calls The Church Alumni Association).  If you are Christian, odds are you are fully immersed in this kind of dialogue.  You salt and pepper you conversation with things that God is "doing" in your life, or what he "told" you recently.  God is working in you, and you are trying to find the center of his will, or you are feeling guilty because you are just not serving him enough.  It all sounds perfectly natural... spiritual even.

Or, you don't travel in such circles because the few times in your life that you drifted into them... you quickly drifted back out.

I like how Jesus in the comic said, "... if your grown son ...."  I actually started to use that frame of reference a year or two ago to judge some of the things I heard said by various Christian artists, preachers, and church attenders.  How would I react if my son and daughter talked to me in such wording?

My daughter goes up to receive an award for a job well done.  Instead of a gracious thank you, she steps to the podium and points at me in the audience.  "This isn't about me, it's all about my dad.  I can't do a single thing without him.  My whole performance was garbage compared to him, and it is only of value because I am offering it to him."

or how about this one from my son....

"Oh Dad, I am so grateful that you chose to love me though my horrible-ness and wretched-ness. I am forever a failure before you and I am only worthy of your anger... yet because of my sister, you will talk to me ... I thank you for that!"

Gross eh?  I would be MORTIFIED if my children had that view of themselves or me. Yet that kind of talk goes on all the time in churches throughout the globe.

Or, there are the Christians forever running in circles, mumbling to themselves, trying to figure out "what God wants them to do". Does he want me here or there? Should I do this or that? What does he want? What does he want? What does he want?

I'll wager an answer for him since he probably has no intention of SPEAKING to you this evening.  I would venture a guess that he would like you to "MAKE A DECISION LIKE AN ADULT, STOP WHINING, AND LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ADULT CHOICES!"

Again, picture your adult children coming and asking your call about every detail in their lives... not advice, your call! You would really have to come to the conclusion that you had raised some truly helpless human beings if they were being that clueless.

The icing on the cake is that the person who speaks like this will tell you that God "told" them this or that. If one is a particularly intuitive person... they will get the reputation for being very close to God. Once you are at that status, anytime you "hear him" wrongly in future will be ignored and forgotten.

It is like this scene from South Park. Kyle thinks that his Grandma spoke to him though Jon Edwards (the psychic).  Stan goes to Jon Edwards to ask him to tell Kyle that the whole "speaking to the dead" thing is just a trick.

"We all hear voices in our head. It's called intuition. Get over yourself!"


Brandon said...

Great post! It's so interesting how strange religious talk sounds to someone who is outside of it. Loved the South Park clip, too.

Kay said...

One of the "nails in the coffin" of my recent "I just can't believe anymore" paradigm shift was reading a relatively liberal pastor write something like "I had a word from God that I shouldn't do this ..."

And I thought "Say what? God speaks to you about something so minor and unimportant but doesn't bother to speak up on, say, Sandy Hook?" It was like I had been punched in the gut. I felt sick that someone I admired so much could be so frivolous with his "definite" word from God.

Christian-ese is alive and well in the "liberal" community.

(I'm glad this old post popped up on Facebook.)

Andrew said...

You're right Kay, it is. I realized that same thing when I was reading a blog by a Christian liberal, but evangelical, feminist. Though I sympathized with her desire for women to have a stronger roll in the church, her constant phrasing of her position as if it were something "God" clearly wanted, while her opponents stated "God" wanted the opposite.... just suddenly looked ridiculous to me.

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