stop trying to prove God exists

If you’re around Christianity for any amount of time, you’ll notice that Christians love to try to prove how God exists. So much so that there’s a name for it–“apologetics”– and there are books and training courses on it. It never sat too well with me, and now I think I know why.

Feeling the need to prove God exists assumes that you can’t see him clearly in the day to day. That he’s up there somewhere and you have to use logical arguments to get to him.

But what we miss is that the power lies not in arguments, but in definition. God is life itself. He’s fate. He’s order. Everything that exists came from him and is sustained by him. If he were to somehow retreat from our universe, it would shrivel and disintegrate into nothingness because doing so would literally remove all life and substance from everything.

So, how do I know God exists? By the very fact that I’m alive, that that apple tree outside my window is alive, and that the cat sitting on my bed looking for birds is alive.

Truth is, no one knows what it looks like to live apart from God.

Advertisements

the things winter teaches

Connecting to the earth in the winter is just as healthy as connecting in the summer.

By “connecting to the earth,” all I mean is allowing yourself to be swept up in its rhythms. I’ve talked about this before, so I’ll be brief. We humans like to think of ourselves as separate observers of nature, but we are just as rooted in that savage beauty as trees, spiders, birds, or horses. We’re part of it, it’s part of us. To neglect that connection is not only foolish, it’s harmful.

This year, I have been learning (very slowly) what it means to accept and live into that connection. I learned a lot when the weather was warm and I could go outside a lot. But then winter came and pushed me away.

I was working on a post a few weeks back about how hard it is to connect to nature when that nature is cold and dark, but since then, I think I’ve started to get it.

The problem wasn’t with the earth being too cold and dark; it was with me expecting that it is supposed to be accommodating and friendly all the time.

While winter has a lot of pleasant beauty, one of the most important things this season teaches is that nature doesn’t live to please you. You must learn how to experience and accept it, even when you don’t get your way.

I’ve only scratched the surface of all winter has to teach me, I’m sure. So, even though I’m cold and I wish the days were longer, I’m excited I still have a couple months to learn from it.

God as Yin and Yang

The biggest problem in Christian theology is the question of suffering. If God is so merciful, why is the Bible full of stories of him destroying countless countries–including his own people–over and over again?

I’ve always seen God as the source of all things and a personification of the life force itself. But I’m only just now starting to understand what that actually means.

To quote a magnificent anime, “the world is beautiful and cruel.” Consequences are impassive and properly harsh, no matter who they happen to. That’s the definition of justice. God is justice. He’s the balance in nature and that balance can be extremely cruel if you’re on the wrong side of it.

But God isn’t only the personified impartial substance of the world. He’s also an entity himself with thoughts and feelings and a deep, pervasive, heart-aching love for other beings. He wants to bend the rules for his friends.

He wants to take care of the consequences himself and find another way to keep balance. He wants to give second, third, fourth, and fifth chances to those who are trying, even when they keep failing. Because he’s not only justice, he’s also love, and love overlooks mistakes.

I often find myself wishing that we could just have the loving part without the justice, but what kind of world would that be? We need both. We need balance in order to thrive. Reality works in yin and yang, and I believe God does too.

my elemental friend is back

I truly didn’t expect to hear from them ever again. But over the last month, we have spoken a little. I don’t know why that is, but I care less about the why and more about the fact that I don’t have to say goodbye just yet.

Maybe our relationship has finally fully changed and it took a summer to do so. Or maybe I’m spiritually lonely again since I’ve grown disheartened by the church I’ve been attending and am still searching for somewhere new.

Either way, I’m glad I get to chat and learn from them again. I’ll deal with the why later.

Admitting I’m Human

Hi guys, long time no see!

Lately, I’ve been trying to reconnect with nature, as was suggested. I’ve been sleeping with my curtains and bedroom windows open (Just a crack, since it’s been getting colder. Also, I live out in the country, so don’t worry. It’s safe). I’ve also been driving with the window open and I try to go outside more often during the day. All this has been helping me feel more connected and healthy, both physically and spiritually.

I’ve also been trying to be more honest. I’m not a particularly dishonest person, but I do exaggerate, I tell people I like things when I don’t actually like them, I pretend to know actors and movies when I don’t, I tell people I’ll be at their party when I know I won’t.

My excuse is that it’s all for the sake of making conversations easier and avoiding conflict, but what it ends up doing, to me at least, is it creates a wall between myself and those around me, where I don’t know how they’ll react if I gave my true opinion because I’ve never given it. Which makes me feel anxious, bitter, and misunderstood.

It’s a lot of work to give my honest opinion without thinking too much about the consequences, but what I’ve found is that honest opinion shows trustworthiness and realness, and overall, people respect that more than politeness.

Both these ventures have been helping me accept myself more. Being in nature reminds me that I’m human and that what happens in nature does still affect me. Being honest with people forces me to be honest with myself. I’m not the life of the party, I like jokes but I’m usually the straight man, I’m quiet, distant, cynical, and I just can’t force myself to get on board the hype train for most things.

Being honest with myself isn’t the same as accepting everything about myself as perfect. There are definitely things I am trying to change, but being honest in the meantime is therapeutic, because I realize everyone is “in the meantime” of their own stuff as well. And that creates a kind of misfit camaraderie.

goodbye to my elemental friend

I think my relationship with the elemental is officially over.

I went down to their forest today, as I have every few days since I’ve been home. I stood there, gazing into the quiet shaded green, trying to sense anything at all that would show that they weren’t gone. Even just for the sensation of being watched. But I felt nothing.

As I stood there, puzzled and missing them, I asked God why I couldn’t sense them anymore. “Because you have me in your heart, there is no room for anything else,” he answered.

That wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear and I fought him on it. Shouldn’t having him lodged in my heart allow me to have more room for others, not less?

He clarified that I didn’t have that aching hole in my heart anymore. I wasn’t reaching out to the elemental to satisfy my spiritual longing anymore. And then it struck me, like finally understanding a foreign language: he was the one who had brought the elemental to me in the first place.

At the time, I was lonely and not getting the companionship I craved. I was also spiritually starved, but my hatred of the church was keeping me from filling that need, too. I was stuck in limbo, and that spirit proved to be just the kind of friend I needed.

A lump rose in my throat and tears came to my eyes. I still miss my friend, but I am more grateful than ever for the time we had together. Wherever they are now and whatever they’re up to, I wish them nothing but the deepest blessings. And while I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again, I’ll keep an eye open, just in case.

Your Body Knows

Last night I had a chocolatey treat that I haven’t had for almost half a year: a single-serving brownie in a cup with melted chocolate chips.

I used to eat these almost every day, but when I went to Japan, the supplies for them were either extremely expensive or nonexistent, so I stopped.

Now, having it again, it’s too much for me. Like, WAY too much for me. Too much chocolate, too much sugar, too large a serving. I started to feel bloated and headachy and in the end, I wasn’t able to finish it.

As I washed out my brownie mug, I realized that I used to feel this way more often than I do now. I just never registered that maybe it wasn’t a natural way to feel.

Our bodies know instinctively what is good for them and what isn’t. But sometimes their sensors get warped from being flooded with toxins (too much of a good thing is bad, but too much of a bad thing is worse). More often, we hear the alarm but we just don’t listen to it.

I believe our spirits have the same alarm system. We just have to know what to listen for.

 

 

Brief but Meaningful

The elemental in the far woods (see this post) has not spoken to me since I’ve been back home.

I’ve visited their forest several times, listening for them, but I don’t even feel them anymore. And I don’t know enough about spirits to know why, or what might be going on.

Did they leave? Have they gone dormant for a bit? Has something changed in our relationship that makes them not want to reach out to me? Or has something changed in me that is preventing me from sensing them?

It’s frustrating and a little sad, but I’ve decided not to dwell on it.

For all I know, maybe our relationship wasn’t supposed to last forever. Maybe they had some knowledge to impart to me and now that I have received it, they have moved on to do something else, somewhere else.

I hope they come back, of course, but only if it is what is best. Sometimes things are only meant to last for a short time.

Stop Improving and Just Listen

My town was hit with a magnificent thunderstorm yesterday.

I watched it with the window open as I sat at my desk doing my homework.

Storms are the perfect time for cleansing and healing spells, so I set my little chunk of rose quartz and a cone of nag champa incense on my desk by the window. I asked God to bless them and use them to further his work, filling them with intention.

However, I soon realized that the scent of the incense was drowning out the gritty cleansing scent of the rain. I quickly put my incense away and left the stone by itself on the desk.

As a human, my first thought in any situation is how to make it better. But instead, my first thought should be to listen. It’s a difficult habit to break, but one I must work on if I want to start dismantling that wall between myself and nature.

Barn Cats

I grew up on a farm in the country where we had a large population of barn cats: cats that lived outside, caught mice, and generally managed themselves.

If barn cats are good at one thing, it is multiplying. There were always kittens around, who then grew up into adult cats, who then had their own kittens.

You’d think we would have eventually been overrun with cats, but we never were. And the reason awes me even to this day.

The cats would go through seasons of increase. Kittens were born, cats were living to old age, and the population was climbing. But then, when the population reached a certain number, there would come a season of decrease. Cats would die from sickness, get hit on the road, die from freak accidents, or just disappear altogether.

I don’t know why births and deaths didn’t just happen alongside each other: for every kitten born, an older cat dies. But they didn’t. They happened in seasons.

Nature is governed by seasons. In the summer, grass grows and fruit ripens. In the winter, everything dies, clearing the path for new growth.

Life seems to work this way as well.

I don’t know why it’s this way, and sometimes I wish it wasn’t. Especially when I’m in the season of death and clearing.

But I know that once the clearing is finished, there will be new growth in its place. And eventually, that new growth will become old and another season of clearing will commence, to make way for new new growth.

And in that way, nature manages itself. In that way, there is balance.