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Graver's Religious History

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:17 pm
by Graver
My parents were both raised as Catholics and became pot-smoking hippies (My dad later went on to do pretty much every drug that was on the market in the 70s, while my mom got clean of everything when she had a miscarriage due to the drug use). During the 80's, after my father got clean, they discovered a a great deal of bad things about their priest and forever left the Catholic Church. They went to a black gospel church and loved it, then when they moved they landed in a pentecostal church for a short while but found the politics to be too much. Between my the constant moving (in my father's career, the only way to get a promotion was to move to a different location) and never really settling into a church other than the Catholic Church, they never really attended church much.

Because of this, I was raised in a Christian home, but was not raised in the Church. When I was 3 years old, my whole family went to a Christmas play at a church, where an alter call was given. I've always been told that I answered the call then, but I have no recollection of it, and I do no believe that a three year old is mentally or spiritually capable of making that kind of decision. I was raised to believe I was "saved" and that my Church was my family (my father even baptized me). When I was 15, my father had a heart attack, which was soon followed by a complete mental breakdown. Since then, the strong father figure became a weak outsider who posseses my father's body and speaks with his voice. Those are the only similarities between my father and the person who now lives in his house.

Well, you can imagine that that sort of thing, at that particular time in a boy's life can cause some major emotional, spiritual, and mental trauma. You'd be right, because it did. I felt God had abandoned me. I stopped praying because I felt that everytime I prayed for anything, that thing became worse instead of better. I went into a spiritual dark place, became suicidal, and doubted God's love for me. It wasn't until I was 17 that the walls I put up began to weaken. God kept trying to show me he was there for me, but that I just had to reach out for him.

It wasn't until I was 18 that he apparently decided to trump my stubborness and brooding. I was speaking with my best friend, and the only person who knew my spiritual situation, and she prayed for me and then started talking to me. To this day, I have no clue what she said. All I remember was that everything else stopped. I felt things happening in me that I had no explanation for. I left and went home and prayed for the first time in 2 years. While I was praying, something happened that I've never before experienced, nor heard anyone else tell of experiencing. I felt God looking at me. I groveled on the floor crying, praying, and begging for forgiveness and mercy. It felt like the roof of my room, the sky beyond that, and the universe beyond that had been replaced with one eternal presence that had all of its focus and energy aimed directly at me.

I don't know how long I was like that. I just know that when I got up, the ground where my face had been was soaked from my tears, and I had felt the presence of my Lord and Savior. I had given my heart to Christ, and in response, he had removed the decay and filth that had previously saturated it. Before that day, I couldn't understand why the people in the Bible "feared" God when they saw him. Now, I can't fathom anyone not quaking in awe at his majesty and grace.

Shortly afterward I joined a Church and eventually ended up working for the Church's office as the Children's Minister's Asssistant. I spent a year in that position before leaving the job and the church due to being fed up with the Pastor's constant attempts to turn our once-excellent Church into a clone of Rick Warren's. I'm still looking for a Church to this day. but have failed to find one that is satisfactory.

So, that's my story. Feel free to try and pick it apart if it so pleases you.

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:36 pm
by forgotten oceans
Wow.....I'm not as p****d off as I was, still alittle miffed, but, see, now I can somewhat understand where you're comming from. Thanks! :-D So how's your momma? You mentioned your dad, but not her. I'm not trying to tear your post apart, just curious.

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:53 pm
by Graver
My mom works two different nursing jobs. After my dad's heart attack, she realized that he wasn't going to be able to provide like he once had, so while he still had the sick leave (6 months of sick leave that he'd saved up from over 20 years of employment) she went to nursing school and now works two jobs (night-shift nurse in the post-partum unit of the local hospital and as a home-health worker).

During the time my dad was out on sick leave, it was discovered that his office (he worked for the post office) was $6,000 short, so he was demoted and sent to a different office once he went back to work. "The Lord works in mysterious ways" applied because later that year, the USPS offered a "early retirement" package only to people in my father's position and who had the Civil Service Retirement plan (which they stopped offering in 1983 in favor of a plan based on Social Security). It wasn't until my dad had been receiving retirement checks for three monthst that the USPS "found" the money that had been misplaced, which cleared his record. If there hadn't been that mistake, he wouldn't have been able to retire. He now works for a local real estate agent, so he gets two paychecks, and my mom gets two paychecks. They make enough money to pay their bills and I make enough money to pay for my tuition at community college (I work for the college bookstore, so my employee discount enables me to also pay for my textbooks).

My mom is very unhappy. My parents were childhood best friends, who were in a pure relationship from 14 to 18, at which point they married each other. Then, after my father's mental breakdown, the man she's loved almost her entirel existance no longer exists. The reason he didn't die from his heart attack is because he was in the bed with my mom, and she woke up and realized what happened. Now they sleep in two different rooms and the only thing keeping them from getting a divorce is their religious beliefs against divorce (they also claim that they need to stay together in order to be able to support my college expenses, even though I pay for it :)). Its been hard, but it hasn't killed me (and I haven't killed myself, even though that got pretty close back around year 16).

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:36 am
by SageWolf
I don't believe that, I actually believe that your parents still love each other, your a grown man and live basically on your own, I'm not calling you a liar, I'm just saying your not looking at it objectivly, If your mom is the kind of woman I think she is, she would have left a long time ago, I never believed in divorce either, then I got married to a man who thought I was stupid and never once stopped to consider the damage he was doing by daily calling me stupid, I left him not only because of that but because he decided one woman wasn't enough for him. He didn't even bother to protect himself or me, the mother of his children, so I left, I couldn't be with a man who didn't care if I lived or died, And I never did believe in divorce, but there are sometimes your just gotta, As for your mom sleeping in another room.maybe since your dads mental breakdown and heart attack he's not sleeping well, and with your mom working 2 jobs she needs her sleep, so she moved rooms, and it could have been at his suggestion, not hers, like I said I'm not calling you a liar, or even critisizing you I'm just saying that you might not know the whole of the story, the funny thing with parents is this, you might be an adult and on your own, but parents still look at you as a child, my mom still does and I'm 32, so... frustrating yes, ever gonna change nope. To this day my mom tells me I need to get my head out of my arse, where I've had it out since the day my son was born at the age of 19, I've made mistakes yes, as a parent and as an adult, but I'm not perfect, I try not to be, I just try to be me, but even then I still sometimes don't know who that is.

Your story was very moving yes, but I just don't think your mom is as unhappy as You think, working 2 jobs is tiring and wearing so that could be it. Yes your father has changed, having a heart attack can do that to a person, drugs can do that as well, if you do drugs for a number of years it messes with you when your clean, my dad was the biggest addict I knew and then he straighted up, if your dad did LSD then yeah he had a pretty big mental breakdown, if you get a bad trip on LSD then you get pretty bad flashbacks, it's kinda like a vietnam war vet who is dreaming they are still in nam, it's pretty bad.

Just my thoughts.

SageWolf

Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:12 pm
by Willow
Interesting I missed this.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:25 pm
by Graver
Sagewolf:
I can appreicate your opinion, but you have to realize I have a little bit more insight. My mother has asked me if I would hate her if she were to divorce him. She never says anything good about him unless its expressing shock that he "actually did something." She's done the whole emotional transferring thing where she tries to emotionally replace him with me (her son). I've gone through all sorts of psychological junk in order to avoid the emotional incest that would result in. Its been a horrible emotional toll on me and I'm hoping to get a therapist in the not-too-distant future.

Willow:
Glad to do it. Since i'm asking all these deep personal questions of you guys, I should be willing to share, eh?

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:24 am
by Windwalker
Thanks for sharing that.

Just so you know, Freud was a quack. :lol:

I still will never understand fearing one's deities. But I suppose that's an advantage of polytheism: If you piss off one immensely powerful being, there will always be another one willing to take your side against them :-D

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:43 pm
by Graver
Well, I suppose that's what happens when you believe in a single all-powerful deity. A deity has to be fearsome in order to be feared. I don't think I could really understand following a deity I didn't find worthy of fear. If God was a pushover, he wouldn't be God... he'd just be some pushover...

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:55 pm
by morgana
Yeah, but if God is so fearsome, then what makes him better than the local school bully? Or some jerky kid holding a magnifying glass over an ant to watch it burn?

For me, if God(s) and/or Goddess(es) exist, then they already know how all powerful they are, and will be highly evolved enough to know that being a bully is a pointless waste of time. After all, if God is some big scary jerk then he's no better than a whole lot of humans that have and still do exist on this planet, and that would also show a weakness as great as being a big pushover would because those who are bullying jerks never think that there could be someone bigger and badder than them out there. They usually end up finding out the hard way that there ARE in fact bigger, tougher fish in the sea. I think this scenario could be just as true for God(s) as it is for humans (go read any story involving the ancient pagan gods of just about any culture and you'll see what I mean, they are always bickering amongst eachother about who is bigger and badder, and turning eachother into animals, or disfiguring them, or trapping them just to prove that point).

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:54 pm
by Mahala
You know, Morgana, that is pretty much what I think. I wasn't raised to be a god fearing child. If we are pushed into believing god because of fear, we do not really believe him. Wiccans do not (Or should not) fear their gods because their gods don't threaten bad things if we turn away, they may seek to know the reason why, but they won't punish. I was told that if I turned my back on god, I'd go to hell, I'd be a sinner. That's what Jesus and God have to say, but the Gods I believe in now won't label me 'sinner'. Why should you follow a ggod when you fear them? I would distance myself from that god. Fear is no way to treat someone you love. If your god loves you, why must you fear him? #-o

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:57 pm
by Graver
Oh... I absolutely adore your analogy there! What makes him different than the bully with the magnifying glass? The fact that he is capable of wreaking unimaginable havoc and annihilating everything to a scale that we can't even comprehend ever imaging... and doesn't. He's the kid that has the magnifying glass and doesn't use it and occaisionally even brings us some sugar or breadcrumbs. Yes, he allows nature to take its course, and we're allowed to die when other insects come along to each one or two of us. The rain hits the anthill and food runs short. But he keeps the REAL bully from stomping on us or using his magnifying glass on us, unless we stray too far away from the anthill.

Essentially, he's the kind giant on the schoolground. There is a bully, but he's weak and only stands up to the kind giant when his back is turned while he cowers in fear if the giant calls his name.

Oh yes, I like your analogy of him being the kid with the magnifying glass. Its perfect. I mean, I'd rather than the kind giant than a bunch of kindergarteners staring at me, watching me, maybe helping every once in awhile, but when a bully comes around to stomp us they just cry or say "Hey! You shouldn't have done that!"

Yeah... gimme the kind giant that worthy of fear...

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:26 pm
by Ragnar
Graver wrote:What makes him different than the bully with the magnifying glass? The fact that he is capable of wreaking unimaginable havoc and annihilating everything to a scale that we can't even comprehend ever imaging... and doesn't. He's the kid that has the magnifying glass and doesn't use it and occaisionally even brings us some sugar or breadcrumbs.
We did NOT ask for a description of George Bush.

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:47 pm
by Graver
:P Give me your women and oil!

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:17 am
by katsu
Graver wrote::P Give me your women and oil!
Don't think the oil will be the hard part
8-)

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:01 am
by daibanjo
Mahala and Morgana have a very valid point. The Christian, Jew and Moslem, what the moslems call "The people of the book" All believe in this powerful and fearful god who will put you in a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth if you don't love him. He bullies his way ruthlessly. He allowed his own son to be tortured to death only so that those who like him for this act can then live with him after death.
The people who believe this commit an awful blasphemy. They take the supreme being, the creator of all that is. The one with supreme intelligence and wisdom, then give him the petulance of a small child.
"It's my ball if i don't play you can't either."
Graver mentioned the other bully. Well, in this particular myth i'm not so sure. The story goes that lucifer was an angel who rebelled against god. As an angel, knowing who god is he must have known he was backing a loser. No way could he have thought he could win out against the supreme being. But he went for it anyway. He rebelled against the greatest power in the universe, knowing he would fail, knowing he would have to pay the price, and still he did it. This is heroic fantasy on the grand scale.
There is much we could learn from these old tales if only we listen to them instead of trying to make them all literally true.