Tag Archive: Pride


Good Point, Melvyn Bragg

Why DID Jesus tell the disciples to take a sword and say ‘it is enough’ when they said they had two?  What did they need them for?  We aren’t told they used them.  I heard that and thought my whole anti-war argument was demolished.  I felt really embarrassed and wrong.  So did Jesus’ teaching contradict itself?  Did Jesus require obedience, or did he teach by tests and by allowing people to discover themselves to themselves?  He said ‘if you love me, keep my commandments’, so what commandments are we to keep? ‘Render to no man evil for evil but overcome evil with good’, or ‘take a sword’?

On Thursday morning I felt I had a moment of painful but completely cohesive understanding.  The writer of Hebrews (who I thought of as Paul, even though I know many if not most scholars reject that, but I had forgotten, so most of what I was thinking falls in regard to Paul) says in Hebrews 6:4-6 that it is impossible for someone who has tasted of the heavenly gift, if he falls away, to be renewed to repentance, as he has put the Lord to an open shame.  On Thursday morning I was thinking that it would be better if that had never been said or written.  But I was thinking of it out of context.  Its context was the return of Hebrew Christians to the old sacrificial system.

But I was thinking that verses like that as they are often understood and feared are the reason  for so much bandstanding when it comes to disagreements between Christians and insisting that we, really, love God.  I think so.  I think it is verses like these, coupled with some of the more heavily directive and dogmatic teaching that can be heard in church, that make us afraid to embrace ourselves and our thoughts and experiences and trust God that, if we face and handle and accept who we are, as and when in every aspect, that God will bring us through.  Rather than saying, ‘no, no, no, I love God’ without even allowing the thing we fear in ourselves to fully present itself.  We try to push it away rather than let it present itself fully to our perception to be ‘naturally’ rejected by us as Christians, recognised after a good long look, after exposing our inner eyes and ears, and just expelled by the whole person as foreign, rather than battening down the hatches and nipping even the thought and perception in the bud before it can develop to be understood and recognised.  If you don’t understand what you are rejecting, how can you REALLY reject it?  Is that why we so often struggle over and over with the same thing, because we won’t let it manifest in the first place to our recognition so it keeps coming back, because we are not rejecting it in the first place but closing our eyes in stubborn fear?

And the bitter arguments and the fear of each other, the denunciations, overtly or covertly.  It seems to me they are born of a fundamental fear, rather than a trust in the love and faithfulness and goodness of God.

For years I stopped telling God I loved Him.  I believed it was an assertion of something which was barely true.  Sometimes I would tell Him I obviously DIDN’T love Him, or I couldn’t do or be as I was.  I affirmed HIS love for ME and refused to lie, as I saw it, by saying I loved HIM.  Consequently I think pleading and asserting our own love for God in a discussion, conversation, disagreement or confrontation, or even in a public act of individual worship, can be an act of abuse and manipulation and a hindrance to humility and openness.  I think focussing on our love rather than His is a hindrance to deep and lasting change, more often than not.  Change is about more than performance.  It has to be initiated from outside of ourselves and should be something we submit to, not something we try to produce as an angst-ridden proof.  That is what I think.  Lasting change is a response to a truth which we know won’t move or change.  The truth puts pressure on us and we yield.  We don’t need to invoke God.  He is in the process and reveals Himself in the process.  In the process itself He draws us into relationship, with Him and with others.

I’m thinking a lot at the moment and having conflicting thoughts, but at the moment I would say I know this much is true, and that is where I will stop in this post.

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His name is Esteban.

(Copy with some tags I had to exclude.  First published 11.08 am Bulgarian time.)

I watched the recording last night of last week’s sermon by Kristian Lythe.  I had forgotten his name, I’ve not seen or heard of him for ages.  But Kristian mentioned him in his sermon, he had made a traffic lights illustration.  He was saying something about red lights, among other things.  I don’t know how much of the sermon I would need to talk about to have you understand.  It can be found at http://www.kt.org/media. (note: please don’t be distracted by the shouting and his insistence on having the word of the Lord or anything else you see and hear.  If any of it is true [how much of it can be?] it is still not the point).

I don’t know how they get hold of information like this about people in my life, but it particularly concerns me that they have sufficient information about this man, Dr Gallo, to use a lookalike of him. Maybe my concern and the way I am handling it are stupid, selfish, treacherous and ungrateful.  I was assuming that they had the information through having had direct communication with Dr Gallo, but that might not be true.   But if it is true, although personally and emotionally I would like to come out and patch things up, I really think there is cause for concern here.  They had told me to leave the church.  I haven’t been there for over a decade.

What are they doing with something like this, it is none of their business, and neither Dr Gallo nor anyone else has ever brought this connection up with me. I’ve known for ages they do the same things with close family and past friends and acquaintances.  As I have said before, I do feel love and I do feel loyalty, but this is stalking, in a way the psychiatric team has told me doesn’t happen, or at least, isn’t happening to me, and they have partly based their diagnosis on my insistence that it does and is.

My Christian response is my biggest felt response, but also I need to keep identification with others in the psychiatric patient community (excuse terminology, maybe I should talk more in terms of mathematical sets, for which being a part of one doesn’t necessarily imply relationship)  and recognise that this is stalking, it is a step, or more like several steps, too far in ruling a church and church discipline and discipleship, I need to employ the term ‘heavy shepherding’ because people recognise it, and recognise myself that this is what is happening in this situation.

They and other churches I’ve been involved with have been challenged many, many times by me about this, in emails, through my blog, and emails are not answered and no conversation entered into through my blog.  David Shearman’s church bounces my emails back to me, whether I have mentioned his name or not in the address or body of my email (I no longer send them and have assigned any responses to ones I do send to the spam folder) saying david.shearman@christian-centre.org is not a valid email address.  If this is supposed to be heart talk for please come home, then I am sorry, and it is probably my loss.  That email address used to be valid, I don’t know if it is only me that gets that kind of response, or used to until I stopped emailing.

I’m very, very sorry, but this is awful.  I feel awful for handling it this way.  I’m not even fully convinced that they are wrong to do this anymore, and that is one of the reasons I need feedback and help from people in whom I have expressed trust who might be more convinced than I am.  I am too emotionally caught up to fight, and the way my readers distance me, on the whole, makes that worse. These people know who they are, and some of them know I love them because I believe they are the sort of people who would want to help and not cause injury.

I might be mistaken in my assessment, in fact at the moment I would like to cause injury myself and have obviously felt that way for ages.  I don’t think in a situation like this that makes me nuts or dangerous, even if under extreme provocation and in distress I even employ gestures to demonstrate how I feel when everything else is ignored.  When I was a kid ‘I’ll kill you’ meant ‘you have gone too far’, not ‘you’d better take steps to separate yourself from me and protect yourself’.  It might be crass and it might not be used in the kindest of relationships, but that is still the way it is for plenty of people who are not considered to be in need of incarceration.  I had it said to me plenty of times.  I’ve never thought of considering that anyone who said it should be locked up.  But maybe I should, on hindsight.  It is emotional thuggery if nothing else.

Ps I have heard Christian leaders involved in this say ‘prove it’.  In something like this that is neither honorable nor Christian.  Robb Thompson was one of them.  He might have been talking about something else.

Tommy, I really do believe this is something that needs to be dealt with, not only for my sake, but for that of others as well.  You have taught me well on that and I’m grateful (even if I don’t always feel I like you very much).  It is as close as a church can get to kidnap.  I know even this gesture towards you rather than coming to you directly is enough to break trust.  I feel that and it feels irrevocable. Partly I feel I’m disempowering myself in any way I could relate to you, and I believe you also need me to be empowered in any relationship we might have, as I need it myself.  So maybe this is just useless empty gesture time again.  I am implicating you, but I’m implicating you to try to empower you, if you think that is something I’m capable of.

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