Understanding

There are those who think I’ve turned my back on the Church, on Christianity, on God, and His son, Jesus. Those who pray I find my way back. I’ve tried many times to reason with them, talk with them, explain what I’ve done to them. I’ve learned, it’s useless. What I’ve done, the decisions I’ve made lie outside their understanding of the world, of life. To them, I’ve embraced the ways of the world, the ways of Satan. And I’m lost.

It’s something I strive to understand about the world around me. How people are the way they are. Why they do what they do. What they believe, and how what they believe drives them.

This week, I’ve had to continue growing my understanding of life, and people. This week, I’ve encountered more of news stories of Michele Bachmann. In the past her words would have outraged me, made me laugh and declare how silly she is. But, that’s simple lack of understanding on my part. Lack of reason. She is, like all of us, human. With her personal beliefs, and she does her best to live according to what she believes.

That’s not a reason to laugh at her. Nor is it a reason to pity, insult, or belittle her. She’s a human being, like you, like me. We are all mortal beings, with our own beliefs, our own ways, our own understanding of the world.

So, I’ve decided to examine what Michele Bachmann has said that made so many news headlines this week. But I’m not going to take a critical look at it, with the intent of discrediting her. No. That’s not what I’m trying to show. That’s not what I believe. That’s not who I am.

I want to see if I can understand what she has said, why she has said it, and what that tells me of what she believes, in the hope I can better understand her. So, let me find something she said. I’ll look here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/20/michele-bachmann-obama-rapture_n_7104136.html?utm_hp_ref=michele-bachmann

“Any nation that accepts God and his principles is blessed, and those who push away are cursed. That’s what we’re seeing happen to the United States. We will suffer the consequences as a result.”

Now, I have no way of knowing if these are her exact words. I know they are the words attributed to her in the news article identified in the link above. As a Christian, having read the Bible completely, the New Testament three times, and the Gospels countless times, as the son of a Southern Baptist Pastor, as a person who grew up in the church, I do understand what the above quote is saying, and I understand where it comes from.

Ms. Bachmann is being honest. She is stating what she believes. Whether she used the quoted words or not doesn’t matter. What matters is the content, the thought, those words represent. For those not familiar with the Christian Bible, it clearly says Jesus will return one day. Some call it the rapture. Some call it the second coming. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. It’s part of Christianity. Jesus will return, and when he does, he will gather his children and take them to safety. Those left will endure the apocalypse (for lack of a better word), with disease, famine, war and death. To survive, people will follow a strong leader most Christians reference as the antichrist.

To a devoted Christian this is a serious topic. It is a call to arms, to witness to as many as possible, teaching them of the Christian beliefs and ways, in the hopes they will become one of Jesus’s children, so that when Jesus gathers his children, he will also gather them.

As Christians also know, no one knows when the end will come. No one knows when Jesus will return. All we know are the words of prophecy in the books of the Bible, both the Old Testament and New Testament.

And there lies the problem. Dependent on how you interpret those words, the end times are upon us, or the end times will be much worse than the times we live in now. The difficulty is, there’s not a consensus on what the Bible prophecy says. To some people, it describes today, the world now. To others, it describes an apocalypse, such as a meteor strike, or comet strike against the Earth. To others, it describes a protracted fall of civilization into continuous war, blood lust and greed.

Given the broad countless interpretations of the end time prophecies, and the consequences of not being ready for the end times, I find her thoughts and actions agree with her beliefs. Given my personal belief that no one knows when the second coming will happen, I’m not surprised by her words, or her behavior. I would be surprised if she believed as she does, and said nothing.

I welcome her words, and her actions. I don’t agree with her, but that’s OK. We believe differently. That does not give me the right to condemn her, or judge her. Rather, I should understand her, understand what she believes, and thus understand her actions. I may wish for a compromise with her, but I know, based on her beliefs as I understand them, she can’t make such a compromise. She would have to betray God and His son, Jesus, to make such a compromise.

I chose to let her believe as she believes. I do not chose to humor her, or laugh at her, or call her names, or insult her, or her faith. It is not my place to judge another. Instead, I should be honest with her, and others who believe as she believes. I should seek to understand them, and their faith. And to grow that understanding so we may learn to live together without war, or fighting, or violence, while we wait for the second coming.


It’s April 24th, the 20th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 20th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter U. Tomorrow brings the letter V. I wonder what I’ll write for that.

I’ll Try So Hard To Learn Your Ways

OK, God.
There’s something I would talk about
With you on this day.
And I know that you already know
Every word
That I would say.
And every question
I would ask
Today.

But I’m going to say the things
That I feel I need to say.
And I’m going to ask the questions
That are eating away at me
Today.

And I know
That doesn’t surprise you
One damn bit.

First I wish to say thank you.
For making me the way you have.
For the differences
In my neurology
That I was born with.
Because I’m learning
That those very differences
Are the source
Of the differences
That I’ve been blessed with.

Thank you
For placing me
Outside the little box
That makes up
The society
In which I live.

I can’t help but believe
That you made me this way
So that I would come
To understand your ways
Better than I could have
If I’d been made
Any other way.

I’ve lost count, God
Of how many times
I’ve heard a Christian say,
“I saw a man
Wearing a dress.
And it made my stomach turn.”

I’ve reached the point
Where I find I can’t
Remain silent any more
When I hear that.
Because while I hear those words,
I hear something else
That remains unspoken
To this day.

“Someone kill that fagot,
And get his kind
Out of my world.
They all deserve to die.”

And you know, God.
That just doesn’t strike me
As the way that you want
Christians
To really be.

Now, I know that homosexuality
Is something that you don’t approve of.
I understand that
Very well.
But, damn-it, God,
I just can’t understand
Why Christians can’t see in the least
The sins they are committing
When they carry in their hearts
Hatred,
And violence,
Of the kind I see
When they say such things.

I mean, hell, God!
It’s not like none
Of those devoted Christians
That say such things
Are without sin themselves.
Hell,
I have to wonder
How many of them
Get their jollies off
In the bathroom
With a magazine
Or a raunchy book,
And their own two hands?

I assume they’ve never read the words
Of the Bible that declare
How much of a sin
That masturbation is.
If they have,
I sure can’t tell it
From the way that they behave.

And you’ll never convince me,
God,
That any male I’ve ever known
Has never humped his wife
Without imagining she was someone else
At least one time.

Sin is sin.
Let’s be honest now.
It’s no wonder
You know,
That I can’t go to churches
Filled with people
That live that way.

There’s many things like this
That I don’t understand at all,
God.
And I know
That you already know.

Like the questions that I have
About the Bible,
God.
I do believe,
You know,
That it’s the best interpretation
That we mortals have
Of the words
You’ve shared with us.
That it’s the best tool
We have ever had
To learn your ways.

But, I keep running into people
In the Christian ranks
That conveniently ignore
How the Bible was created.
How it came to be.
The way that it was written.

If you ever want
To piss one of them off,
Ask them how Abraham,
King David,
The 12 disciples,
And Paul,
Managed to gain such favor
With you, Lord,
Before there was a Bible
At all.

And then you can tick them off
Even more
By telling them the facts
Of how the New Testament
Came to contain
The books that it contains.

Talk about politics.
It’s a hell of a story,
God.
And the effect
That the politics had
On the final content
Of the Bible
Are well known.

Anyone can go read them
If they want.

But no.
Too many people that I know
Look at such a topic
And they scream at me,
“Shut up!
It’s all a lie!
It’s just a test
Of faith to me!”

As if they’re screaming
At the top of their lungs,
“I’ll believe
What I damn well want to!
Don’t bother me
With the facts
From history!
I don’t care how things happened.
That doesn’t matter in the least
To me!
I’m going to cling to
The things that I believe,
No matter what!”

Hell.
We may as well have stayed
Back in the days
When the Earth was flat,
And the entire universe
Was centered on it.

Why can’t people
Just look to you
And do the simple thing?

God,
There’s so very much
In this life
That I don’t know.
And I don’t understand.

And I know
I fuck up
Every single day.
And would be lost forever
In the darkness
Of this life.
But for one single thing.

You’re son
Gave his life
For me.
To pay for the mistakes
That I make
Every day.

I don’t know
Where all the other shit
Came from,
God.

I really,
Really don’t.

It’s like Christianity
Has lost it’s way.
And can no longer hear
The words you say.

Help me to do things
Your way.
I know I’ll fail.
Hell,
I’ll fail miserably.

But I know
That through your love
For each one of us,
Despite the sins we make
Every single day.

I can be forgiven.
And if I’m blessed
With another day of life
On this world that you made.

I’ll get to try again
On another day.

And that’s what I’ll try to do
For you
My King.

I’ll try so hard
To learn your ways.