All babes go to hell.

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leaving Christianity / the godless side

A missionary friend of mine shared on Facebook some of her frustrations yesterday.  “I feel like I’m not doing enough, because I’m just home with the kids while my husband works in the ministry,” she wrote.  “But then my little girl [age 3.5 years] took out her Bible and asked me again why they killed Jesus.”

Okay, had to stop there for a sec.  What horrible, horrible imagery for a THREE year old.  OMG thats so frightening and terrible.  But that’s just the beginning of the beginning.

My friend went on to explain how she told her girl how Jesus had to die for our sins.

Okay stop there again.  WTF.  I get it, I *get* it, I grew up with that.  But, from an outside-of-Christianity perspective now, does anyone else get how absolutely TERRIBLE this is to teach someone??? Let alone a child???   “You are so terrible they had a KILL and TORTURE and SACRIFICE a man for you!!!”   Do you know what this does to the human psyche?? I feel sick.

The mom continued.  “I overheard her say a very heartfelt prayer in her bedroom, asking God to make her heart clean and take away the bad things in her heart.”

The moral of her story:  See, she is doing lots of great things for the kingdom of god even in her own home because she’s teaching her kids what terrible people they are that they have to pray to the man that was tortured and killed for them so that they can be seen as okay enough to pray to him in the first place.

My friend is a decent person.  More than that.  Their family has been some of the very few people I can look back on the mission field where we served and say “hey, yeah, they are actually making a difference in the lives of hurting people.”  I respect them.  But this doctrine?? It’s GOT to go.  But it won’t.  Ever.  Not as long as Christianity still digs its claws into humanity.

Her story was so disturbing to me that I carried it with me the entire rest of the day.  And then I started thinking about myself, which is how my thoughts usually turn.  I am sorry ALL the time you guys.  Like, so sorry that I get anxiety just thinking about going out in public.  Which I do, all the time, because I love “being out.”  But the ENTIRE time, I feel like I am just making a mess of disturbances for everyone around me and everyone secretly hates me and wants me to leave.

“Sorry about my toddler, I’ll go get her.

“Sorry I left my cart in the way, let me move it.

“Sorry we bumped into you.

“Sorry she grabbed that breakable thing.

“Sorry she’s making a ruckus.

“Sorry she tried on all the shoes! I promise we’ll put them back.

“Sorry my baby’s crying.

“Sorry we took so long crossing the parking lot.

“Sorry we took so long getting into the car, I know you were waiting for our spot.

“Sorry my girl doesn’t want to get buckled in.

“Sorry I dropped my purse!

“Sorry I didn’t go quickly enough at that green light and now you have to wait behind me.

“Sorry I cut you off, I didn’t mean to.

This is just a tiny slice of what goes on in my head, if not said out loud, while I’m in public. I feel like I’m always making mistakes and will someday be exposed for the horrible fraud of an adult that I am.

This sounds melodramatic, and I know logically I’m being just that.  But the thoughts are real.  And I have to wonder how much of it is sourced from the drilling into my emotions, my psyche, my identity for 26 years that told me that me, on my own, I am terrible person worthy to be burned in hell forever.  That me, without the blood of a tortured man covering me, am never, ever enough.  They had to whip and rip and spike and nail-to-a-cross a man that otherwise had nothing to do with me so that I could at least sleep well at night knowing that if I happened to die while in dreamland, I wouldn’t wake up in the burning lake of fire.  Because without his blood, I’d be less than nothing.

I think I have to stop there for a minute and let my emotions catch up.  This is heavier than I imagined prior to writing.  I have a lot of tears and anger for my own self that need to be released before I start a deeper analysis of the effects that this has on larger people groups and society as a whole.


Catholic Clergy Abuse of Children.

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the godless side

A movie released this past November.  96% movie critics’ rating.  Well done Racheal McAdams.  Very well done Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton.  But the worst part about this movie was also its best — based on real facts of a real story.  Here’s Rotten Tomatoes’ summary:

SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would…cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions…abuse in the Catholic Church…one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.


Back in our Christian days, my husband and I spent over two years doing what we felt like was the best way to fight human trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking.  In our opinion, (and this still stands), there is nothing worse than the rape of a child.

Add to this that the rape was done by an authority.

Add to this that the authority was a leader in the church.

Add to this that many many many other church leaders, including those in great power, knew about this rape and did nothing.

Add to this that not only did these leaders do nothing, but they covered it up.  For years.

I can’t even begin to put words to my rage at the deep, deep levels of destruction such abuse causes to the identity of a child.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, more than 17,500 victims in America alone have made credible accusations of clergy abuse. – Boston Globe

In addition, the end of the movie lists hundreds of other cities ALL OVER THE WORLD in which cases of child abuse from clergy in the Catholic Church has emerged.

I knew about some of these allegations a decade ago when this psychological sickness phenomenon among Catholic clergy first came to light.  It’s horrible, sad, dysfunctional, abusive.  But in some ways, I have some sympathy for the clergy.  Many, if not all, came from pasts of abuse themselves.  Hurt people hurt people.  It’s not an excuse, but it helps me to have some compassion.

But here’s what sickens me so much about this and pools my eyes with tears of pain and rage even as we *speak.*  It wasn’t just that the clergymen themselves hurt children.  It was their leaders.  And their leaders’ leaders. All the way down to the highest heights of Catholic church authority.   HOW THE HELL does a religious INSTITUTION think they could possibly be doing ANY good in this world if they are KNOWINGLY ALLOWING CHILD RAPE to be occurring by the THOUSANDS and doing LESS THAN NOTHING to help fix it?!?!?! What could POSSIBLY be worse than that?!?

Mistakes happen.  Big, deep, horrible wounding scarring mistakes happen.  Because people are human and humans are flawed.  But part of the reason that religious institutions exist is to provide accountability for the individuals.  Institutions suck for a lot of reasons, but one of their strengths is their collective knowledge, security, and protection they offer – by design – to keep the individuals within it safe.  The catastrophic tragedy of child abuse within every single level of the Catholic Church has completely shattered any faith (ironic word) I previously had in religion.

A-theists can have Eternity too

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the godless side

The shortness of life and lack of eternal life, the ending of consciousness, the ending of relationship with my dearest loved ones, the inability to get all my questions answered and all the justice served in eternity —– these are all greatly painful realities that I’ve had to accept as an a-theist.

But something dawned on me the other day.  If we have the right perspective, our time can be eternal too — almost.

According to Einstein, time is relative.  It was perhaps his greatest contribution to the science community.  Just like the other 3 dimensions, time is affected by gravity as its own fourth dimension.  We think of time so linearly, so this concept is impossible to explain in a linearly developed language like English, but in learning bits and pieces of the language of quantum physics, time starts to take on a new shape.

But there’s good news — you don’t have to speak quantum physics to take on this new perspective.  You just have to take it’s word for the following axioms:

  • The universe is infinitely large.
  • The universe is infinitely small.
  • The universe is infinitely fast, relatively.
  • The universe is infinitely slow, relatively.

Have you seen Interstellar?  There are a lot of things I didn’t like about the movie; things inconsistent with science and major plot holes. But, there was this scene.  A scene I can’t get out of my head, repeating itself like a love song baby (aaah okay enough).   In short, the astronauts are on a planet in which every hour that passes equates to seven years passing on earth.  Click here to watch it, it’s just short of 4 minutes.

This scene illustrates how drastically relative time can be.  It’s not just numbers or theories, it’s a visual that, like I said, has stuck with me.  And an epic one at that.  (Thank you Hollywood).

What if heaven existed?  Let’s pretend it does, just for a moment, and let’s call our time in heaven “X.”  Because of the immense size of X, relative to us right now, there is no better way for us to currently explain “X” than eternity, infinite.  But, now let’s suppose we are all in heaven.  Now that we are in “X” our brains have to somehow make sense of this new reality of ours, so we have decided to divide it into centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.  But it’s still just a number.  Regardless of how big.

What if, instead, we were living on an electron (think Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who) and  the atomic nucleus cluster was our sun.  That would mean each “rotation around the sun,” each “year” per se, would be about 150 attoseconds according to Johan Mauritsson, an assistant professor in atomic physics at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University.  (This is simplistic though, because like I said above, quantum physics isn’t this simplistic.  But let’s just still go with this.)  One attosecond is to a second what our second is to 31.71 billion years.  My point: That “year” is really, really, really, really, really fast — relatively.

So, let’s do the other side of it.  Galactic-ly, (the amount of “time” it takes for our Solar system to rotate around the Milky Way, approx. 230 million years on earth) one “year” ago the earth was seeing dinosaurs coming into existence.  Then we could continue, the speed at which our galaxy is moving within its Local Cluster of other galaxies, and then how fast that cluster is moving within the Virgo Supercluster.   These numbers are astronomical – literally.

The lifespan of the sun vs. the lifespan of a fly.  The lifespan of the universe vs. the lifespan of a subatomic particle.  These numbers are so large and so small that comprehension feels impossible.  So, what of the lifespan of a human?  It’s just a number. Relative to every other number.  Math.  Ones and Zeros.  Our day can be thought of as an eternity, because according to the lifespan of something, it pretty much is.  This brings an entirely new perspective to every action in my life.  Every. Moment. Matters.  Scientifically. and Mathematically.  So why not practically, too?

This means that my fight with my husband yesterday was an eternity.  And so was our swinging with our girls at the beach.  And this cup of tea.  And this bite of gouda goat cheese.  And the episodes of youtube videos I guiltily let my toddler watch.  And freezing cold rain soaking through our clothes and making us miserable at a farmers market.  Everything takes on a new value through the lens of math.  Let’s carry that lens with us because, regardless of how you look at it, we only have X amount of time on earth.  Let’s make our “X” full-to-exploding with authentic, worthwhile experiences and thus create our own eternity.



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leaving Christianity / the godless side / Uncategorized

I talked to my mom today on the phone for several minutes.  This doesn’t happen that often, and whenever we end the conversation, I remember why.

It usually isn’t just one thing, and today was no different.

“I just loved the video you posted on Facebook of Purple* [our 6 month old baby girl] laughing!  She sure is filling out though.  Quite chubby! It’ll be okay, as she gets older she’ll thin out,” my mother said with a slightly worried but trying to seem reassured tone.

WTF.  My baby is SIX MONTHS OLD!  How can “skinniness” even possibly be a concern for her GRANDBABY??? What’s more, even if she was 16, how dare she comment on her weight as if it were something to establish her value??  Oh man, it brought me back to my majorly flawed self-image days in which I calorie counted, weighed myself, starved myself, and desperately tried to maintain an eating disorder.  No wonder.  I wanted to smack her through the phone.  But instead, I just sort of talked it off and made this face quietly to myself:


But this wasn’t the only time this face made its way across mine.  “Does Pink* (our two-year-old girl) like dresses?”  my mother asked.

“Yes mom, she is seriously the girliest girl I know.  She loves everything Princess, is obsessed with dresses and crowns and frills and high heels and glitter and pink….” I went on.

“I’m surprised,” she said.  “With the way you and Silver are…” trying to be nonchalant but slightly annoyed, as always, at our attempts to be gender neutral with our children.

“Yeah, I mean we never discouraged her being that way, we just didn’t want to make her feel like she had to,” I defended myself.

And then this.

“Well, I’m glad that she’s a girly girl.” Laughing. “I like that she likes girly things.”

There are more things wrong with that sentence than I care to talk about right now.  Hashtag dysfunctional family for the win.  Do atheist families grow up with such an obsession with appearances? my god.

Mystery Revealed: God’s Voice

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the godless side


I know I’ve mentioned many times that Christians claim ownership over circumstances that I’ve now discovered to be widely universal, but yet another dawned on me today.

There are many terms for this experience, :…

Prayer Time.  God time. Prayer Closet.  Quiet time. Me time.  Alone time. Meditation.  Prayer. Chanting. Centering. Soaking. Self-hypnosis. Yoga. Retreat. Solace. Solitude.  (Aaaaand probably infinitely more that I haven’t experienced myself.)

…but the result is the same (sorry Christians, you don’t own this): deeply relaxed and/or motivated state, clarity of mind, quietness and depth of thought.  A time of listening to self (or “god) during which some sort of meaningful goals or healings were established.  Quiet. Peace. Serenity. Aaaaand (wait for it,) Revelation.

During my Christian days, my “time alone with God” cultivated my very relationship with him.  And honestly, it was one of the things I missed the most in losing faith. I felt so lonely without the ever-present voice in my head guiding me and assuring me of his love for me (so many things wrong with this, but that’s not the point at the moment).

But guess what?? I think I’ve found an adequate replacement.  Recently I started a daily 1-hour-at-least time with just me in a completely quiet house.  With two small babes and a business run from home, this had previously always been pushed to the back burner as it was very difficult to maintain.  But due to a transition to a sun-deprived state (literally), I insisted.  And now my husband leaves with our baby and toddler everyday for at least 60 minutes, during which time I just exist.  In the quiet.  I try to quiet my thoughts, but I listen for the deeper ones.  What does that mean?  Basically, it gives my deeper unmet needs a chance to voice themselves.  Okay that still sounds pretty hokey.  I’m just saying that by minimizing the distractions in my life as much as possible (which is the very hard part, why this sort of thing is often called a “discipline,”) I am able to think.  Think.

Thinking means solving problems.  Like, “why is my marriage unsatisfying?” or “why was I such a jerk to my children?” or “why do I feel like crap today?” and because of our great analyzing skills as humans, we are usually able to figure it out.  This figuring out is often called enlightenment, revelation, or “God speaking to me” in religious circles, but it actually has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with setting aside time daily to think.  Thinking is how dreams are born.  How ideas come about.  How healing takes place — emotionally healing.  How someone realizes they need to apologize to their spouse.  Or move to a new city.  Or forgive their parents.  Or have a more structured life. Or create a better church, denomination, or religion itself (Joseph Smith anyone?).

These revelations are so infrequent because our lives are just so dang busy and loud that we mistake them for miracles, for “God’s voice.”  So those that take more time to listen, rather to think, are often mistaken as prophets, revelators, witches, fortune-tellers.  Really they are just humans that are utilizing a part of their brain away from the mundane.  You could do it too, just give it a chance.  Thinking that is.

I testify to you, that without any sort of belief in the divine whatsoever, I receive such revelations of my own.  And I, as a revelator of my own life and future, do challenge you to kneel before your bed, close your eyes, and think.  And if you do, with an open-mind, thoughts will come to you.

Religion -> Marriage, and Marriage = Dysfunction

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the godless side

“Parenting is effing difficult. Marriage is effing difficult.
If you survived either today, you are an effing saint. If you survived both today? You are an effing goddess.”

My post today in a closed facebook group to which I belong came from a deep place of frustration.  Monogamous motherhood is impossible.  We often barely scoot by because pleasing one’s children in emotionally healthy and loving ways while maintaining one’s marriage in emotionally healthy and loving ways while trying to somehow survive as an autonomous individual IS impossible.  It just is.  Daily, we sacrifice one of the three which puts strain on the other two, so somehow we manage to juggle and rotate them often enough and well enough that everyone survives with a smile on their face, sort of.

I blame religion for marriage and children.  Boom.

Society’s blind adoption of religious principles has created the status quo by which humans must live in order to gain any sort of social respect– that is, for every woman (and man, I suppose) to think she must be married in a lifelong monogamous relationship and have babies to be ultimately fulfilled, valued, and respected.  With very few exceptions, a middle-aged single woman is thought of as dusty, irrelevant, and socially weird.  She must be ugly.  And if not, what the hell is wrong with her??  Middle-aged single men are generally thought of as creepy, gross, and likely sociopathic or pedophiliac.

These are terrible prejudices and I blame religion for them.

What’s additionally frustrating is what I’m about to talk about will cause religious people to mentally recite their self-fulfilling prophecy that “once someone leaves faith, they just go down the slippery slope until all morality is lost,” being completely blind to the fact that they defined “slippery slope” and “morality” in the first place.  I neither accept your language (slippery slope??) nor agree with your definitions, so you are not allowed to define me by them.

But it won’t matter.  This will just confirm to them that I’m furthering myself down the road of debauchery and filth as I have lost the light.

For any of you left reading that aren’t annoyed, let us continue towards a real dialogue.

Monogamy is patriarchal BS that originated as a form of a diabolical ownership of the female by the male, demanding her loyalty and sexual purity using her virginity as a definition of her identity and provided the basis for her very survival.  Look up the origins of traditional wedding ceremonies and you’ll no doubt agree.  In fact, read the Old Testament with some sort of unbiased approach and you’ll see that YHWH too, in fact, was a patriarchal monster.  Some examples:

A woman’s period was often called her “sickness” during which she was always “unclean.”   Women who gave birth to daughters were considered twice as unclean as if they had given birth to sons (Lev. 12), and not only that, but she must atone for this “sin” with sacrifices given to the priest.  Women who were raped were to be stoned to death, (see Deut. 22), and if that woman was a priest’s daughter, she was to be burned by fire.   Are you guys reading this?!?  A FEMALE RAPE victim was to be BURNED BY FIRE?!?!  Sexual “purity” was a form of sexual slavery that we now celebrate with a ring on the finger and lifelong devotion.

Let’s pretend for a second, though, that we can completely ignore the foundation from which monogamy originated.  Isn’t it just so lovely that a man and woman come together to promise to only to squish their genitals with each other and each other only for the rest of their lives on earth?   Isn’t this how societies thrive?

People change.  So much so that very strong cases are made in the science community that not only am I not the same person in any single verifiable way that I was five years ago, but I’m not even the same person I was 5 minutes ago!  (Thanks Mike for that one 😉 ) How can one person make a choice for someone that doesn’t even exist yet to commit to someone else that doesn’t even exist yet??  My husband and I are each SOOOOO very different than when we first married.  Luckily for us in the eyes of society, we still get along.  We still choose to commit to each other daily.  And we still believe a partnership makes our life better as individuals and with our children.  But to expect that of everyone else is preposterous.  The future is unknown to all.

What I DO believe is that it takes more than one person, more than TWO people, to raise a child.  Why does it have to be one man and one woman?  I strongly, strongly believe that living in community with others is absolutely vital to our own emotional health and the emotional development of our children.  But why in the world does that mean single, isolated monogamy?  And I also believe that companionship is a human need, but why does that have to mean single isolated monogamy?

We scarlet-letter every divorcee in our society and by doing so pressure people to stay in abusive and dysfunctional relationships.  It’s unhealthy and dangerous.  How much domestic abuse would be eliminated if we didn’t put monogamy on a pedestal?  I shudder at the thought.  And how much depression at bleak entrapment into an emotionally unhealthy relationship would be eliminated?  Okay I’m digressing a bit here, but the point is the same.

This is already getting too long so I’ll have to write about children and religion and more about sexuality and society in another post.  What I am wanting isn’t sexual promiscuity for the world.  I honestly have no desire to have sex with anyone but my husband, but that shouldn’t matter, at all.  What I am wanting is liberation from the bondage of isolation.  And I believe one of the greatest causes of isolation in this western society is monogamy, especially for women.  Monogamy creates single family units and single family units cause isolation.  Monogamy causes oppression for women and demands women’s sexuality to be enslaved to their husbands.  We aren’t meant to be effing goddesses.  We aren’t even meant to be effing saints.  We should just be effing humans.


Human experience and/vs. memory.

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the godless side

My life philosophy now, “live in the moment,” is pretty much the only one that makes sense of a life typically only lasting 80 years and much shorter for the unlucky.

But I’ve always had this lingering dissonance with that philosophy: Memory.

What is the point of an experience if there is no memory of it later?  If I had no memory of my life before this point, what would my life be?  I wouldn’t be able to reminisce on my childhood family camping trips and dance recitals and BFF necklaces.  I wouldn’t remember my wedding day, honeymoon, life as a missionary overseas, and the birth of my children.  I wouldn’t remember what it felt like to be scolded to tears when I accidentally left my books in my locker at school or when my first baby first cried.  I wouldn’t be able to see my daughter’s squinty eyes as she smiles, or my baby’s tongue sticking out the corner of her 4-month toothless grin.  I wouldn’t remember walking on a glacier in barefeet, bounding through the leaves as a 6th grader with my new puppy, or speaking in tongues for the bondage of my in-laws to be released.

Obviously, the list goes on forever.  The human experience, my human experience, consists of as-close-to-infinite as it comes of moments.  But will all of those moments become memories?  No.  And even those that do, will those memories even be accurate? No.

Death scares most people.  But for me, a loss of memory while I’m alive absolutely terrifies me.  Because a loss of memory means a loss of my life. Living does not just mean having a heart beat.  I won’t recover experiences in an afterlife.  There won’t be a big movie screen playing in heaven for me to be publicly shamed about that time I stole my friend’s toy from her or praised for the hours I spent on my knees praying.  If I lose a memory, in many ways it’s as if it never happened.

So this begs these two questions:  What is experience if not memory?  And what is memory as it is unreliable?

This brings up deep questions about consciousness, about self, about experience.  If we really are just a collection of cells and chemical reactions, what does it mean to be “me”?

Silver and I had a long conversation tonight about this and it came down to this question I asked him:

“Would you rather have an experience and have your memory wiped of it entirely, or never have experienced it but have a memory implanted in your brain that it did?”

If we live only in the present, then of course, bring on the experience.  But our present is also a collection of our past in the form of our memories.  Yet, our memory fades and has been studied to be incredibly formative and unreliable.  Check out this TED talk and this Rationally Speaking podcast to hear about memory from the experts.  Basically, human memory is terribly inaccurate.

This is actually incredibly disheartening to me.  I don’t even know what to do with it.  I was telling Silver tonight that this is the reason why I sometimes obsessively take photos and/or videos of our life.  I’m documenting it so I can reliably remember it later.  Because if I don’t remember it, it’s gone.  And even if I do, in a very real way — it’s still gone.  And that terrifies me.

I don’t want to spend my life behind a camera lens or screen and miss the present.  But every time I don’t, I’m robbing my future of my past.  The same can be said of any art, actually.  Is art any more than just a form of desperation, frantic attempts to capture and preserve moments of the human experience upon which future selves and persons to reflect?

I am gone in a maximum of 60 years.  Will I spend that time enjoying experiences or making memories?  And how is it that those two are both exactly the same yet mutually exclusive??



The final Nail.

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the godless side

I’ve moved a lot, travelled a lot, visited many many places inside the USA and several countries overseas.  But every. single. place I’ve lived was due to my devotion to the cause of Christ.  I never set down roots, even if temporarily, anywhere that I didn’t believe I was called to, that I didn’t believe I could further the Kingdom of God, that I didn’t believe I could live as a missionary.

Since I was a child, my heart has always been along the coast.  But god called me to be a missionary to Mormons in Utah.   And that was the end of that dream.  Until now.

My husband and I picked up our two girls, packed up our apartment and business, and moved to Oregon.  Two days ago.  And this was the very first time I’ve ever travelled for the cause of Teal.  I’m doing what I want to do, for me, for the first time in 28 years.  You guys!!!! That’s CRAZY!

Even though we transitioned out of faith about two years ago, Utah continued to be our home, despite the pain and lack of community.  Ever since god called me to it, Utah was “my goal in life” for a long time because it was always My Place to live as the Anointed One among the Deceived to help bring them into the Freedom of Jesus Christ.  Leaving Utah this week was the final nail in the coffin of religion for me.  It felt uncannily emotional for that reason, but incredibly freeing.  I didn’t even know that I was still living under the oppression of religion until we were finally on the road away from it — in a very literal way.

I didn’t think this move would become our reality so soon.  I wrote the following only a few months ago: “My dream is to drive up the Oregon Coast with my family and eventually to live there someday, and for someday not just to be ‘someday.’  And to own a teahouse there 🙂 Redwoods.  Ocean.  Rocky Coast.  Sunshine.  Storms. Gorgeous Rain.  Open-minded people.  Hippies 😉 . Tea drinkers. Coffee lovers.  Community-builders.  Activists.  Progessively-minded.  Gender equality.  Support for one another.  I long for these things, and feel they are more prevalent out northwest.

I want [my baby girl] to be free.  Completely.  Free to be, act, dress, think, live how she wants.  I want her to feel fully loved and supported by us.  And I want us to provide a safe haven for her, free from all fear.  I want her to know true, unconditional love.”


Here’s to a life of making dreams a reality.  Here’s to full, authentic, Real Glory in the Pacific Northwest.  And here’s to you finding and fulfilling your own “Pacific Northwest.”


Pentecostalism = Paganism

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the godless side

Something just occurred to me: Christians claim contradictory things: (1) No miracles are necessary to prove that their god is the one true god because “faith,” yet (2) they use miracles as signs to justify that faith.

So, if a miracle occurred inside the faith, then *boom,* all of the thousands of claims of their doctrines are true.  But if a miracle occurred outside their faith (in other religions, such as paganism), then they would use Satan as an alibi.  “Satan can do miracles too.” Miracles were only ever used to validate their claims, regardless of where they occurred.

Pentecostalism is an interesting breed of Christianity.  Life for a Pentecostal isn’t just about following religiosity such as the reading of holy text, the discipline of prayer, the practice of fasting, the attendance of church service, the participation in community, etc., all of which are more universal practices among various religions.  In addition, Pentecostalism defines itself by a very physical engagement with the supernatural that manifests itself in what normal life would categorize as weirdness.  Some examples: speaking in tongues (babbling incoherent syllables that make no linguistic sense, also called glossalalia), miracles of physical, relational, sexual, and spiritual healing, exorcism (although we never would have called it that), uncontrollable shaking and trembling, uncontrollable laughter, vivid hallucinations (dreams and visions), fortune-telling (prophecy), psychic readings (another form of prophecy), out-of-body experiences, and group hypnosis through chanting, repetitive music, and hypnotic tones (praise/worship service) to achieve the above.  There are many, many more of these weird manifestations to include pretty much anything someone can dream up.  Seriously, I’ve heard of a pastor who got under a table and barked like a dog because the Holy Spirit asked him to.   ?????   But this isn’t just an athropological explanation based on observation.  This is a personal memoir based on my own experience.  Coming from a Pentecostal denomination (Assemblies of God), I have engaged in each and every one of the above — both as the recipient and as the “giver” unto someone else.

Yes, I’ve had demons cast out of me and I’ve prayed for them to be cast out of others.  Yes, I’ve prayed for a man with a broken knee to be healed, causing him to be able to jump around, and I’ve been prayed for and experienced physical healing with my carpal tunnel in my wrists.  Yes, I’ve led worship music playing and singing to “get the congregation drunk in the spirit,” and I have been in the audience of thousands as we experienced a group hypnosis — a hypnosis that caused mass fainting, falling, babbling, visions, trembling, shaking, laughing, on and on and on for houuuuuurrrs. I didn’t eat for days.  Barely slept for days.  And was as high as a kite on the “spirit.”

After the group hypnosis ended, I would still give myself another hit on my own by going for a drive, putting on the same hypnotic music, and gettin’ all manifest up in the drivers seat with a plethora of personal weirdness pentecostalalia.

My disbelief in god crashed, burned, and obliterated this truly magical world in which I lived.  Everything used to be colorful, sparkly, purposeful.  In a very real way, I had rainbow-colored glasses that made everything glittery.  I was chosen, important, the anointed one– prophesied to me over and over about how magically endowed I was.  Divinely called and equipped to transform the world.  I was living in a fairy tale in which I was the hero, through Jesus.

It took time to adjust to reality. Not unlike CS Lewis’ Great Divorce in which heaven is so real it’s painful, so I experienced pain as I adjusted to the new sharpness of reality.  But now, I’ve been able to take my own paintbrush to make my world colorful.  Appreciation is deeper and more meaningful.  And mostly, I’ve stayed away from crazy magic.

Until last weekend.

I attended a Mother Circle for a pregnant friend of mine.  It was a baby-shower alternative, a celebration of the mother and baby to come.  As each of the many women attending came from different walks of faith (most either “True Blue” Mormon or post-Mormon/agnostic/atheist), paganism was a safe median.  Wait, what?

It was a flashback to my pentecostal days.  The rituals may have been named differently, but the physical engagement with the supernatural was extremely similar.

I honestly have no idea how many of those women actually believed in the magic they tried to create, but it was an obvious escape from the cold, patriarchal world outside her doors by giving each woman the power of “the divine goddess.”  It definitely pumped me up.

The squeals, the shivers, the tears as The Universe and Mother Earth brought together meaningful gifts, herbs, crystals, and words for this woman reminded me of spiritual moments at an intense Bible study.  Girls would wave their hands like they were fanning their faces with pure, magical glee.  “God is just sooooo amazing!! Jesus did this tonight FOR US!” we would comment about silly coincidences and “blessings” of abundance.  The same thing happened here, just with a differently named god.

This very pregnant woman cried from all the glory of the “good energy”and “good juju” in the room.  “Wooooooow!!!” we all ooh’d and awed as the yet another woman adorned the salt bowl with rose petals.  Mother Earth must really be trying to send a message with rose petals to the birthing mother, they all agreed.

“The rock you gave me matches my mandala rug!!” more squeals and tears.  I was trying to get caught up in drifting through the dreaminess of the magic of the moment, but a big part of me was desperate to keep from rolling my eyes and bursting out laughing.  Were they serious??

Yes.  “You guys, you are not alone.  Mother Earth loves you SO MUCH! Because you ARE her, and she is you!”  Those words blew me away.  Wait, Jesus? Mother Earth? Wait… this is the SAME EXACT thing that I experienced as a Christian, just with different labels and different lingo!

We chanted, meditated, danced in circles, healed, prayed.  And during the times of meditating about my female anatomy parts, I was immediately brought back to moments in which I was enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  It was very surreal.

My Christian friends would say what I experienced last week was satanic.  My universalist friends would say that it’s all just different paths to the same god.  I say the disparity and stark contradictions between the various explanations is evidence that such experiences are merely made up — even if subconsciously– in our heads.

Everyone thinks they are unique.  That their magic is somehow different.  But if a Pentecostal would be able to experience the glimpse into paganism that I witnessed with any sort of open mind, it would shatter all facades of uniqueness.  Christianity is not the only place to find the miraculous, or even the only place to find a god that loves unconditionally (which I can actually make an incredibly thorough argument about why YWHW and his son are anything but full of unconditional love).  Point is: beneath the surface, no religious claim or experience is unique.  It’s the same concoction of chemicals in our brains regardless of the name.



My first real experience with alcohol

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the godless side / the post-God side

brandy-585796_1280I’m 29 and I’ve never had as much alcohol as is in my system now.

I just wanted to write down my observations while I felt the substance.

  1. How could anyone drive like this?? I am extremely aware of the fact that I can’t move normally.  Do people get less aware the amount that alcohol affects them the more alcohol they have?
  2. I feel clumsy and like the world around me is spinning.  My head moves much faster than the environment in which it is (don;t know how to word that better right now), so it feels very much like I’m in a spinning, confusing deep water pool or something.
  3. This doesn’t feel good to me.  It doesn’t feel bad either.  But it’s definitely not something I feel like I need to experience often other than just the fact that its a human experience and I want to participate in it since this is the only life I have.
  4. I like the relaxation that alcohol provides, but I feel the same level of relaxation on a much less disturbing-of-normal-things amount– meaning, I can still feel relaxed without feeling out of control.
  5. I actually really hate that my movements and thinking are slow.  My typing is slow.  My fingers don;t wrk as well.  My actions aren’t as quick to ensure I can handle things correctly.  Mywalking is difficult. And that’s incredibly annoying to me. I want to live clear headed and not take 10 minutes to make homemade popcorn on the stove to ensure I don’t break anything or burn myself.  Annoying.
  6. Out of control is fun  .  Maybe? But more just as an experiement, like I was saying above.  This isn’t in any way shape or form the way I want to spend my life perpetually.
  7. What does it mean to be drunk? Buzzed? Tipsy?  Idk where I am because I don’t know those standards.  I don’t like that my vision doesn’t keep up with me, that my movements don;t keep up with me, but I don’t feel like I’m completely out of control.  So…. I don’t really know if this is what its’ like “to be drunk.”I only know this is the most experience with alcohol I’ve had.
  8. The end. I’m tired of writing now.
  9. Bullet point observations:
    1. my tongue is loosed
    2. everying blurred
    3. i just want to laugh and cry my emotions are right here so surfaced.  bt i am in th eback, held, controlled, trapped
    4. thick tongue.
    5. wan to speak in tongues
    6. numb mouth
    7. wriling world
    8. first really frustrated.  now like a circus
    9. tngue is super thick. wants to be loosed


Sober now, I’m reflecting on my experience.  I remember actually hating it a lot.  I love so many things about being alive in the human experience, and I like things that make that experience heightened, but this felt like it dulled and dimmed and slowed the human experience for me in a negative way.  I felt like the real me was trapped in a body that wasn’t working correctly and nothing that I did could get it back on par.  Talking was difficult.  Thinking was difficult.  Simple tasks were difficult.  I didn’t trust myself to hold my baby unless I was securely sitting on the couch.  Everything about that felt really annoying.  I hated feeling trapped in my own body and mind.  The definition of impaired means weakened, damaged, disabled.  That sounds like the opposite of what and how I want to live my life.

How could that get addicting??

If it’s to let off some steam or relax, I feel like there are a million other things that I would rather do.

Does this mean I’ll never have a drink again?  Certainly not.  Does this mean I’ll never have enough to “get me drunk” again?  I don’t know.  Not any time soon.  It just wasn’t a positive experience for me.

One positive reflection, though:  It was really nice to feel completely free to make that choice on my own without having any sort of guilt.  And I am equally as free to not choose to do that again.  Freedom really is quite wonderful.