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.

The Day Reality Started to Shift

First of all, I’m sorry for writing the boring Proverbs post. There are a million (boring) places on the Internet where you can go to read that sort of thing. It was soulless.

But I’m still struggling with the truth. I feel like I am about to strip myself naked and get flogged. Psychologically, this may not be an exaggeration. You’ll see. You may be the one holding the whip.

Ugh. The truth. So. Awfully. Painful.

This truth that I find it so scary to tell started with a dream. It wasn’t my dream, it was my younger son’s. He was 11-years-old, and it took him almost an hour to tell it to me. He was traumatized. It was one of those dreams where you feel like everything really happened.

I wish I had written the entire thing down.

He was a warrior. He was fighting a literal, but also spiritual, battle. He was fighting in another dimension. It was an incredibly difficult war to fight, because small gnat-like creatures would fly into the mouths of his fellow soldiers and turn them into something evil.

The thing is, he couldn’t tell they were evil, because they still looked the same. Their hearts were rotten, though, and they were like zombies being controlled by this other thing.

So he had to use his sword to kill these fighters who had been part of his army, but who weren’t, even though they looked the same. An angel gave him the strength to continue standing as others were overtaken, psychologically, by the enemy.

Eventually, the demonic gnats managed to infiltrate every other soldier in his unit, he killed them, and he was alone. It had been a spiritual Armageddon. He said, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”

New heaven and new earthHe kept talking, and began to describe how there was peace on earth for 1,000 years. But there was one gnat, one seed of evil, left, and it rose from the dust of the Middle East like a demonic Phoenix, growing into something horrible, and began to wreak havoc.

Later on, when I read Revelations, this reminded me of this verse. At some point in the dream, he mentioned “a new Jerusalem.”

I had no idea why an 11-year-old was talking about a Phoenix rising from the dust in the Middle East, Jerusalem, or anything else. To me, this sounded like the dream of a 30-year-old man who has read a lot of literature and knows politics and the Bible. I also had no clue why he was quoting from Revelations, a book I had pretty much avoided since becoming alarmed as a child when the moon had a red tint to it one night.

Here’s the thing. You might be thinking, “Well, Michelle is a Jesus-freak, and she’s probably taken him to her crazy church where he’s heard all these things, and he’s processing it all in his dreams.”

That’s not true.

Two and a half years ago, when he had this dream, I didn’t go to church. I had taken him for a while when he was in third grade, but neither one of us cared for even the occasional mention of hell, so we quit going. I didn’t read the Bible at home to him (or myself either, for that matter), and it was pretty much a non-issue.

After hearing the bit about “a new heaven and a new earth” spoken from my 11-year-old’s mouth, I did read the Book of Revelation. I found another verse that he had directly quoted, although I didn’t realize it at the time he told me. Sadly, having misplaced my journal, I am not certain which one it was. I am not going to put it here, in case I get it wrong.

At any rate, hearing my unchurched 11-year-old quoting from Revelations made me decide to look at the whole Christianity thing a little closer. And it’s a really good thing I did. So many things have happened since that morning that I couldn’t have handled without Jesus. They are unbelievable, really. But I’ll try to have the courage to tell these stories anyway.

zombie comic(Image Credit: Humourisms.com)[/caption]

Telling the Truth Is Scary

throwing Jesus off a cliff

Many people didn’t want to hear things that challenged their worldview.

Jesus always told the truth. People really didn’t like it. The very day He gave a sermon in His hometown, the people tried to drive him off a cliff.

We say that we want to be like Jesus, but do we really?

Do we really want to say the uncomfortable truths that people don’t want to hear? The truths that make people wish you’d just go away and not disturb their comfort?

 

 

 

Here’s one “unpopular” thing Jesus said:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

I don’t think most people want to go there. I know I’m scared to say things that might cause people to dislike me or not take me seriously. But my challenge is to do so anyway. When I think about my purpose in life, what comes to mind is sharing what I’ve learned from experiences that I hope most of you never have.

I’m aware that people like me better when I talk about the designer top I found on sale for $20, share uplifting Bible verses or compliment them on their hair. And those things certainly have a place in life. But there’s so much more. And a lot of it is painful, scary and paradigm-shifting.

So some of the people who read this blog will think I’m crazy. Negative. Too serious.

Some people will enjoy reading what may sound like a particularly bloody train wreck.

And that doesn’t feel good. But it is what it is.