WARNING: Disturbing Content Ahead

Art by Caia Matheson.

Art by Caia Matheson.

This post carries the title it does because some of these thoughts have sent me into anxiety attacks in the past. It can be very frightening to question your reality.

As usual, most of my thoughts here come from my dreams.

Last night, I met a powerful religious leader. He had set up a communal society that looked like freedom from the outside. Inside, however, it was very repressive and dark. He had a forceful personality that was able to pretty much control the minds of whomever he came into contact with. People believed that their roof was supposed to leak because he said it should, for example. It made me think of how we say, “God meant for that (bad thing) to happen,” because a preacher has told us that’s the way the world works.

A woman was crucified on the side of a cliff by this man. Her bloody wings of flesh spread out in gruesome magnificence as she hung there. Religion does indeed crucify women, does it not? The people who participated in this crucifixion did not know they were doing wrong. They were following the religious leader.

They say that Jesus died for our sins. I think I have an inkling of what this means. Jesus was crucified by religion and other world power (government). He allowed it, I believe, so that we might see that religion and other world power is DEATH. To participate in those powers is to sin — ie. participate in something that brings death rather than love.

Not that love can’t be an outcome of someone who is participating in religion. It’s obvious that religion, to a point, can steer people to love, and that there are many loving people who practice religion. But at the point where religion becomes a hollow structure of mind control, well, that’s where the evil starts. And when you are the one leading people into mind-chains, well, woe unto you, right?

It’s okay to question things, even things you’ve been told about God since you were a child. I think God WANTS us to question. In fact, when we ask questions, He ANSWERS them! :-D

I also dreamed of worlds within worlds. When I woke up, I Googled, “world within worlds,” and found this article about theosophy. A lot of what I read rang true. I had already been imagining something very similar. This was like confirmation that my hunch could actually be true.

The thing is, matter vibrates at different frequencies. So you can have matter vibrating at a high frequency that you can’t see around you and matter that is vibrating at a low frequency that you can’t see around you as well. The article describes our visible world as an “octave on an endless scale.” So it’s possible that there are entities going about their daily lives in the same physical space we are in — we just can’t perceive them.

Unless you are born with superpowers, that is.

My sons have superpowers, as do many other people who have been labeled intuitive, psychic or schizophrenic. If this theory is true, they were born with senses that can perceive matter vibrating at frequencies that elude most other people.

It’s kinda scary to think of all this, and really cool at the same time.

I’m also starting to realize just how involved God is in my everyday life. I’m perceiving him in my reality more and more, and I simply love it. I asked him a question about some things Jesus said about the Kingdom of God the other night, and that very night he gave me a dream and woke me up at 4:44 right in the thick of it so I would remember His answer!

This is the type of thing that makes life truly joyful. It is the treasure in the field that makes you not care about owning anything else but that treasure.

We Are All Mentally Ill

we're all delusional
It’s easy to get a diagnosis of mental illness today, especially with the release of the American Psychiatric Association’s new manual, the DSM 5, which pretty much labels all human behavior as maladjusted. The DSM 5 has been subject to massive criticism because of this, but the thing is, maybe this manual gets closer to the truth than those of us who maintain that most people are sane.

The fact is, we are all suffering from a massive delusion. Collectively, we seem to be under the impression that violence is a solution to violence, for example. We have taken this idea to such an extreme that we are willing to risk the annihilation of the entire species (and several others, certainly) because of this belief.

We’re very quick to label mass shooters and someone who drowns her baby as crazy, and rightly so, but what about the rest of us? How are we any different? Going into a school and shooting fewer than 40 people is small change when compared to the carnage that our culture endorses on a regular basis.

We do psychological and theological flips to justify our behavior. After all, we reason, they might get us first if we don’t do something. They might take away our freedom. They might hurt us, somehow. They.

Earlier today I was trying to figure out what, exactly, the message of the Kingdom of God was that Jesus preached. I think I finally figured out just a bit of it. I think this is what Jesus was basically saying:

I’m the Messiah.

I will transform this earth.

You will be born again into the Kingdom.

I will transform your mind.

Do not sin. (Do not commit acts that are unloving, exploitative and dehumanizing.)

I am what God looks like.

The message of the Kingdom has been lost today. Jesus didn’t go around preaching that he had risen from the dead and was a sacrifice for our sins. He showed us how to be born again — transformed into a being that transcends the cycle of violence and retribution.

You hear a lot of stuff in church about accepting Jesus as Lord. What does this mean? I don’t think it is supposed to mean that we should think, “Well, okay, I’ll believe what you say so I can avoid pain later on.”

No way. Jesus as Lord means that we treat him as our Lord. A Lord is someone you respect and obey. You follow his rules.

So if Jesus is my Lord, that means I must obey the Sermon on the Mount, for example.

If Jesus is my Lord, then I will be a peacemaker. I will be light. I will set aside anger and judgement. I will love my neighbor. I will not put my perceived material or sexual needs above treating others with love. I will pray for my enemies.

And this, right here, is the cure for our collective mental illness. We don’t have to be crazy people who bomb those who don’t agree with us, threaten us or have resources we’d like to have. We don’t have to have violence in our personal lives, either. This is a delusion, and Jesus showed us how to overcome it. He showed us how to be. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard, either. We just have to decide to do it instead of searching for a magical formula that will somehow grant us eternity or blessings without growth.

Where Are the Healers? A Lament

heart balloon art

It is possible that moving to the country from the city was one of the worst decisions my family ever made. We moved from a place where my younger son was invited to so many birthday parties that I had to keep a closet stocked with last-minute gifts to a place where he managed to go through most of elementary school without being invited to a single one.

Of course, the fact that he has two sets of grandparents, three uncles, three aunts and three cousins here in our little town made up for it. Being surrounded by loving family can help to make up for the rejection of peers and even their parents.

Alas, this was my fantasy and not reality. No family member has taken much of an interest in my son — to the point where it simply wouldn’t matter where we live when it comes to his interactions with them.

Once the S disease showed its face, I noticed that it helped my son to be around people who distracted him from what was happening in his mind. Desperate, I became bold.

“Will you take Younger Son fishing with you the next time you go?” I asked one family member. “Why not include Younger Son the next time you decide to spend a day in (neighboring city). He would love that!” I suggested to another.

Nothing changed.

Next, I tried guilt.

“Why don’t you ever spend time with your grandson?” I asked my parents.

They didn’t fall for it. Nothing has changed.

More desperate still, I asked people at the house church I was attending. I said something like, “Younger Son really needs connections with other people, role models. Will someone consider taking him under their wing a bit?”

I wish I’d never asked that question. Coping with my grief over the lack of response has been difficult.

I have a friend who has a son who is emotionally disturbed. They don’t ask for help. I used to think this was perhaps prideful, but now realize it is probably realistic on their part.

Here’s the thing. There are any number of Christians who are happy to lay hands on my son and pray for him. I appreciate this. Prayer is powerful.

But.

When you pray for bonds to be broken and healing to take place, God often answers prayers. He is a miraculous God, and sometimes He does things in mysterious ways.

Often, though, He is quite practical. He uses the people in His church as his hands and feet to accomplish His goals. He uses their love.

He sent me and my son a friend who hugs my son. She includes him in some of her plans. She even buys him little gifts. There is now a third person in his life who demonstrably loves him.

I am thankful for this. Oh boy, am I thankful. I wonder though, what if even more people loved my son in a visible way? I know that love heals.

I’ve been reading the diary of George Fox, the man who inadvertently founded the Quakers — some of the few Christians in the United States who actively resisted the institution of slavery. Fox frequently went into the churches in England and asked “Where is your fruit?”

I relate to Fox, because that is just how I feel.

The fruit of Christians should be healing love and not rejection. What if every Christian in our communities welcomed someone who is hurting into his or her life? Can you imagine the difference this would make?

In my town of 30,000, there are probably 10,000 people who attend church. These folks diligently give to food banks, the homeless ministry and other worthy causes. There are so many volunteers at our homeless shelter that it is ridiculous — they hardly have any slots to squeeze new ones in. Yet when I drive past the homeless shelter, the homeless people are always sitting outside the building alone.

No one should ever be alone in the midst of Christians.

Oh what a difference we could make if we gave ourselves over to action to complement our belief.

The lovely print is available for sale on Etsy — click on photo.

Vision of Hell

When my son had his vision of heaven, that wasn’t the only thing he saw. He told me that God also showed him hell. The reason was that he would then see why missionary work was so important.

Hell wasn’t like the popular depictions we see in cartoons or movies. It had streets, and there were rich people and poor people. There were demons, however, and there was torture.

In some ways it sounded a lot like earth, only with the evil and pain made more visible.

He saw a divide between heaven and hell. He told me that people could cross over from hell to heaven.

“How do they do that?” I asked.

“The people who are in heaven LOVE them until they can cross over,” he said.

I’m aware this is not considered to be a biblical concept. However, in recent days I’ve thought about that vision. Whether it is literal or not, it contains truth.

vision of hell

If we love people here on earth, they too can learn to love and be a part of God’s kingdom. And it’s really hard for people to love others if they haven’t themselves been loved. So we have to show them.

It has a snowball effect.

If everyone loved like Jesus said for us to, there would be no more war, no more gangs, no more bullying. All kinds of hell would be wiped out.

I think this is the main thing we need to remember. All this arguing people do about how to worship God and so on is ridiculous. The command is simple.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

I believe Jesus was God made visible. He showed us how to be. Then He left. He gave us the task of being him in the world. Therefore, we have no excuse for being anything but loving — loving people out of hell and into the Kingdom.

Vision of God or Schizophrenic Hallucination?

rainbow around the throne of God

This will never look the same.

I will never ever forget what my younger son told me when he was twelve. He said that he had visited heaven and had a talk with God. God had even given him a tour.

He went into a lot of detail. He described how God’s face cannot be seen because it is such bright white light. He said he saw Jesus, and that there were marks on his wrists. He told me how there are colors that can’t be seen in this world, and that there is a feeling of such indescribable peace that there are no worries or fear whatsoever. He talked to my Uncle Bob, whom he has never met. He saw hell because God wanted him to know it was real. God let him know that Love saves people from hell.

At the time, I was understandably thrown for a loop. Sage grew up fairly obsessed with Pokemon cards and being read the stories of Brer Rabbit, not the Bible — a fact I am not proud of. I had no idea where all this was coming from. It seemed odd content for a hallucination that would arise out of prior knowledge or interests.

I told his doctor about it, and he told me about the book If Heaven Is for Real. I told my mom about it, and she mentioned the same book. I bought it.

It is about a 4-year-old boy who sees heaven during a life-threatening surgery. I’ve always been pretty skeptical about these things, and it wasn’t on my reading list.

The book was a quick read, and after I finished it, I remember lying on the bed feeling almost paralyzed. I called Sage into the room. Having read about how the boy saw a rainbow around the throne of God, I asked, “Did God sit down?”

My son said, yes, he was sitting on a throne. “What did it look like?” I asked. He told me about how a rainbow went around it.

At that point, I my mind did a flip and I started to feel really afraid. My son said, “There is a dark presence in this room. God wanted me to tell you that we are going to be in a very large spiritual battle.”

Note that I don’t recall discussing things like spiritual battles with my son at that point. I remember I had just started attending church, after the dream he had where he was quoting the Book of Revelation to me.

So there it is.

I’m convinced this was a true spiritual vision — God forgive me if I’m wrong. I really think that if all this was only neurologically based, then the vision would have been of something else entirely. Like Pokemon characters. But no, his visions have never had that sort of content. It is always God, Jesus, angels, demons, and things like exploding nuclear bombs and parched earth.

We don’t watch the news and never have. We don’t have television since I discovered that watching it was causing him to stutter several years ago. So I can’t attribute this to something he had watched a few days prior.

I am so thankful for this. This vision caused me to completely desire to follow Jesus, to give my life to God. I count myself as very fortunate, as my intellectualism had set up many arguments against much in the Bible being literally true. Being a part of this experience has forced me to put my feeble human arguments aside and simply praise God that he permitted me to see.

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Revelation 4:3

A Tiny Touch of Grace

drawing

My husband.

There’s nothing quite like a yelling match with the person you love the most to make you feel like a piece of slime that needs to be cleaned out of the refrigerator’s bottom drawer.

The morning started out with my younger son telling me that no, he could not go to the “bamboo forest” on the local trail with his best friend because he felt too anxious. I’ve wrestled with agoraphobia for years, and this was not welcome news. No one wants their child to live in a box of their own mind’s making.

My mood dark, my husband and I got into a disagreement within seconds of his having got out of bed. It was the kind of disagreement where after about five minutes, one person goes outside and angrily smokes a cigarette while the other person cries and slams doors for sheer physical release.

After I finished slamming doors — yes, that was me, I don’t smoke — I got into the shower. I said a prayer. I was still crying and I didn’t say much. I did ask God to help me not to give in to hopelessness.

Then I went into the back room to draw with markers. I am like a child that way. Darkness recedes when I am using the creative part of my brain, as opposed to the mean tormented part of my brain, say.

I tried to draw a tree. It didn’t go very well. I turned the tree into a face. It turned out to be my husband’s face, and I made it into a card for him.

I think this is how miracles work — most of the time, anyway. It’s like God touched me with a bit of His grace, saying something like “It’s okay — now here’s some love you can give your husband.”

Because believe me, I was not feeling very loving when I was making scribbly marks on the paper.

The hand of God works in little ways that end up being quite big, really.

Answers in Front of My Face

raising chickens
I want to be a farmer. Seriously. I’d like to move to a few acres, build a hobbit house and plant pomegranate trees and snow peas, raise chickens and goats, become a regular at the farmer’s market.

I’ve had this desire for a while, although it seems so ridiculous that I don’t usually talk about it. I do, however, own a collection of books on alternative building, herb gardening and the like — the result of years of vicarious living.

My younger son shares this desire. He is always talking about how he wants to grow vegetables, and in fact, uses our meager front yard to grow a variety of shockingly hot peppers.

We would do more, but our backyard is a nicely landscaped brick patio, and is entirely shaded. So to implement this dream even a little bit, we’ve got to do something different. Hence my post on Facebook about how I had my eye out for three or more acres close to town.

I’m serious.

Here’s why I mean it.

Last week, my mind was stuck in a rut. I was engaging in either/or thinking and driving myself bats. I was beating myself up for looking at endless medical research and not trusting in God to help with the S disease. My talented and thoughtful friend Kelvin, however, provided some needed perspective by basically asking me why my mind was not open to God’s answers in all aspects of life — including medical research.

I have a complicated answer to that. I am an educated person who is aware of the genetic basis and many of the environmental triggers for the S disease, but am still convinced there is a spiritual component. I won’t go into it right now.

Nevertheless, Kelvin is right. His response made me think.

Of course I pray for understanding and healing of the S disease. Yesterday, I realized that God has indeed provided some answers and continues to do so.

You see, a couple of years ago, my younger son went on an extended campout with his scout troop. I remember how he came back looking tan and trim, with none of the “Aspie” affect and behaviors that he usually had. There were no dietary changes that I’m aware of, unless you count eating worse foods — like endless hot dogs and pop tarts — as a change.

The positive effect had to have come from being outside almost continuously. Being free from electronics was no doubt a factor, but it wasn’t the only one, as we’ve experimented with this at home, and have found it helpful, but nowhere near a “cure.”

We’ve even went so far as to not use electricity for a week or so, reading by candlelight in the evenings like Abe Lincoln. We thought perhaps electric lights were part of the problem. That experiment didn’t have much of an effect.

No, the outdoors is the deciding factor. I’m sure of it. Nature has a healing effect. God made us to live among the trees and in the fields, not in particleboard boxes.

So I think of my son’s request to move to the country and my own increasing desire to do so as well. And I realize that this desire is likely God’s way of nudging us towards healing. Towards eating a natural, organic, non-GMO diet. Towards getting enough sunshine and vitamin D, in which almost all people with the S disease are deficient. Towards getting more exercise. Towards health.

I do not know how to make this happen right away. I shared this epiphany with my husband, and he asked me to inquire about buying some land across the street. I did, and discovered it had already sold. But if it is supposed to happen, it will. I will keep looking.

I like how the answer to my prayers is likely already embedded in my heart.

Getting Called Out as a Hypocrite

faith in jesus touching his robe
My younger son simply can’t stand his new counselor. The last time we went, he asked if I would sit in on the session with him. He wanted me to understand why he was dreading his counseling sessions.

As I sat in the office listening, and listening, and listening to the counselor drone on and on in a guru sort of manner, I understood what my son meant. There was no dialogue, and the guy was using jargon far above an eighth-grader’s understanding.

So he won’t be going to that counselor anymore. But I’m thankful to have met the man, because out of his mouth came the words that God has been trying to get me to understand for the past two years.

I had just finished explaining why I didn’t want my son being taught yogic philosophy*, and was stammering a sort of apology for seeming so “fundamentalist” when he said, “You know, I see so many Christians who don’t practice their faith.”

I felt smug for a moment, thinking of course I wasn’t THAT kind of Christian.

“These people don’t trust in God like they tell other people to do. They don’t hand it all over to Him,” he continued.

The comfortable feeling I had quickly went away and was replaced with unease. The next day, after letting his words simmer for a while, I realized that he had been talking about me, whether he knew it or not.

Psalm 40:4 points out my error.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

This verse hit home in three ways.

First of all, I have not been trusting God. During the past three years, I have read at least 1,000 studies, articles and abstracts about the S disease trying to find answers. I enrolled in a counseling program trying to find answers. I’ve emailed countless experts trying to find answers.

No answers from these sources have been forthcoming.

Second, I have been looking to the proud. Smug people who are 100 percent certain that their education has provided them with all of the knowledge they need to deal with an illness, if not cure it. If there was a picture next to the word “smug” in the dictionary, it would be of the counselor we saw last week.

Finally, I have been giving import to the sayings of a false god. The field of psychiatry has become a false god in our culture. We look to it for answers, but diagnoses are more forthcoming than cures.

Don’t think that I’m the only one who thinks that psychiatry is a god. A few months ago, I received a copy of Counseling Today, the publication of the American Counseling Association. I had become a member of this organization when I was in the counseling program.

One of the articles said that “counselors are the new priests.” In other words, people turn to counseling for their problems instead of God. The writer seemed perfectly okay with this idea, and gave advice on how to counsel people from religious backgrounds that counselors might feel uncomfortable with, like Christianity.

God's eyeGod is big. The S disease is not. [/caption]All of those articles I read were the equivalent of praying to our society’s version of Baal for help. Why should I be surprised that help never came?

Here is the thing I have been having a hard time wrapping my head around, and I’m not sure why.

God is the creator of the universe. He made us. He can handle the S disease.

I don’t get to choose the outcome of the S disease — God does. But I can trust that He knows what he’s doing. I can pray. I can live my life in a manner that Jesus tells us will get results when we ask for things in His name. (More on that later.)

I know that the whole thing is confusing and controversial. But I’m trusting God to give me the eyes to see clearly.

Amazing colorful artwork is over here.

*I have very, very good reasons for being mistrustful of Indian religious teachings and practices, including yoga. If you are wondering why, feel free to contact me and ask.