Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On Its Way...NOOOooooooooo!!!!!

So, yes, The Feather Ruffler is back and in full feather ruffling force. I completely understand that my recent Facebook posting on leaving church early the Sunday before Easter because I couldn't stomach the play-by-play sermon on the crucifixion, nor the gorey video shown prior has got some people thinking I'm a huge, hypocritical, closet atheist (or at the very least--closet agnostic), potentially wannabe Mormon again jerk. However, this is why I happen to have a blog...so I can defend myself in more than 420 characters (which is all my Facebook status postings allow). And on that note, "AHEM...Mi Mi Mi Mi..." here I go.

I hate Easter. Yeah, I said it. I hate that each year there is a huge celebration of a holiday that has an entire lead-in of sermon upon sermon about beating the holy living snot out of my Savior. I know that I'm using layman's terms here, but I figured I would finally say it how I really feel about it--I DON'T DIG IT. I'M NOT DOWN WITH IT. I realize that the purpose of Jesus was to come to earth in human form and pay the debt for the sins of all mankind so that we may in fact have eternal life. I get that (kind of--or at least I'm really wanting/trying to). What I've never quite been able to wrap my head around is HOW human beings can (and continue to be) so HIDEOUS to one another (and I'm guilty of this at times so go ahead and say it, "Hello Pot, this is Kettle"), AND I also do not understand for the life of me how God works and how He could do that to His Son. I love Him, but I don't get Him. Par for the course with men in my life in general. The Big Man takes the cake in this department though.

So where is all of this bitterness towards the big "Spring Fling" coming from? I'd like to claim boredom--but I really do think I suffer from PTSD when it comes to Easter. PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now listen up--I am not a war vet, and my entire life didn't get swept away by a tsunami, but I still have PTSD as bad as some of those folks do...only mine is about EASTER.

WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL...: When I was approximately 8 years old, my parents took me to church every Sunday. Most of the time I didn't think anything of it--it was just what we did. I didn't really mind it--it was fun to go to Sunday school and hang out with friends. That, and I loved going to the donut shop before church, which happened to be our Sunday routine--feed me a fresh apple fritter and the odds are good that I won't gripe about anything for a long time. I remember very vividly one Easter Sunday where all of the sudden everything about the crucifixion hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only did it scare me--it traumatized me. I was so hysterical with screaming and crying that my parents had to leave church. I couldn't even get out any words. Happy Easter, Mom and Dad!!!--you ruined me...and all you gave me in return were these lousy marshmallow peeps! Joking aside--I have never been the same since. I don't know why I've never been able to "recover" from my Easter experience, but I never have. I can't stand ANYTHING related to the crucifixion of Jesus. I stopped going to church for years for the entire month of March/April/May just in case I might be bombarded with more scripture about it. I can't even stand crosses--I have a handful of Catholic friends and it terrifies me to go to their church because they have what I consider to be "crosses on crack"--they are flippin' HUGE...and right in front of your face...and they have a giant Jesus on them. I have spent many-a-friends' weddings with my head bowed down and not looking up because I can't look at the giant crucifix statue in front of me. I am someone who absolutely HATES scary movies...but the crucifix is HANDS DOWN the scariest thing I have ever seen and I can't even stand to look. I can't even handle run-of-the-mill crosses...not even the Jesus-free ones. They all scare me. I won't have them in my house or wear them as jewelry. **SHIVER**Figures that I'd live in Lakewood with a view of Highway 285 that has the giant cross lit up on the hillside. Honestly, if you want to kill me--make me watch Passion of the Christ. I would literally die screaming.

THE BIG, SCARY, BLACK VELVET JESUS PICTURE: To add insult to injury of my crucifixion phobia there have been numerous instances in my life where I have been smacked upside the head with the crucifixion. I used to work at a nursing home as a certified nursing assistant prior to going up to Alaska for my degree in geology. I worked two 16-hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday and then would pick up Monday and Tuesday night shift. During the night shift it would be one nurse and two CNA's--and two wings full of mostly demented elderly people. One such elderly person had a family that decided she needed to have what is likely the SCARIEST picture I've ever seen of Jesus hanging in her room. Every time I'd have to go in that room I'd hide my eyes from that picture. This patient was hard of hearing and one night called on the call light to get up and go to the bathroom. All I could think was, "CRAP!!!! I don't want to go in that room!!!...AND CERTAINLY NOT IN THE DARK!!!!" As I slowly and quite apprehensively walked toward the entrance to her room I had a sinking feeling--like something bad was going to happen. It also just so happened that the scary black velvet Jesus picture was on the wall right where only a little sliver of light would hit it--just enough to make you want to run and hide. As I entered her room I called out to her and asked her what she needed. NO ANSWER. Again I called...NO ANSWER. I called out one last time to ask her what she needed--still NO ANSWER. As I turned and crept back out to the hall I hid my face from the scary black velvet Jesus poster and as I made it to the door I hear, "HEY!!!!!!!!!!! HEY!!!!!!!!" and I turned quickly to see this beaming scary black velvet Jesus poster and a patient sitting straight up in bed yelling at me and I literally ran out of the room with my heart racing so fast I thought it was going to explode. I thought I was going to die...

DENVER ART MUSEUM--YOU SUCK--or at least one of your artist's does: Yet another horrid experience I had was in elementary school on a field trip to the Denver Art Museum. While touring through all of the interesting paintings there was one that I thought was going to jump out at me, strangle me, and kill me. Some artist decided that it would be awesome to paint a picture of Jesus sitting in the dark, kind of looking over his shoulder with the most sorrowful/horrible/scary/crazy look on His face. Now to some, that much wouldn't be a big deal--except for the fact that His back was facing the viewer and they had literally shredded his flesh open--there was nothing there but muscle dangling off bone. All organs exposed. Skin hanging like it had been attacked by a badger. My stomach sank. I thought I felt vomit chunks crawling up into my mouth...Ugh...I couldn't handle it.

HEY AMIGO !...I HAVE A GREAT IDEA FOR THIS EASTER!!!: Do you ever watch the news and see the people in foreign countries who take Easter to an extreme? I'm not talking about the people who sit there and sob/scream/cry/pray excessively--I'm talking about the people who decide that they need SO much to feel what Jesus felt that they actually crucify themselves? I've seen snippets on the news about these people. They actually have their friends nail them to wooden crosses to the point where they are almost dead and then they finally get taken down right before they're knock knock knockin' on Heaven's door. I'm sorry--I am shaking my head even as I write this. I can't believe some of the things we do as humans to celebrate the "life of Christ". It blows my flippin' mind. Maybe they live in countries without jelly beans and Paas?

THE GODHEAD v. TRINITY: Some of you might be saying, "Huh??". Let me tell you--you are not the only one. I grew up Presbyterian. I don't pretend that everything always made sense to me biblically. I actually went through an entire phase of what some might consider being "agnostic" in my late teens/early twenties. I converted to the Mormon church in my mid-twenties. This may surprise some people, especially because I'm such a big fan of my Champagne Fridays, but it's true. I actually attribute the foundation of my relationship with God and Jesus to the Mormon church and will always be very thankful for that--the years prior to joining I had all but given up on God. I no longer attend the Mormon church. I have a ton of love in my heart for the church and for all of my friends who are Mormon--if any of you are reading this I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! However, I now attend a small baptist church locally. I'm not baptist. Part of the reason I'm hesitant to join the church is because I had a hard time picturing myself as a baptist. As a matter of fact when I lived up in Fairbanks, Alaska, it was the baptist church that would have the giant red flashy marquis that would sling hate words at the Mormon church across the street. They would literally post running weekly banners about how Mormons were going to hell, etc. I don't know--it all just seems a little silly to me. Especially knowing how much my "Christian" friends and how much my "Mormon" friends love God and Jesus Christ. I know some of you might be thinking, "HEY!...Mormons aren't Christians!!!" Well--that seems silly to me, too. Mostly because they are firm believers in Jesus Christ (which is where the word "Christian" came from--they are followers of Christ). Not only that, but they are technically called THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS so they have you doubters silenced just by their very name. Anyway--Godhead v. Trinity is the internal thing that bugs me on a fairly regular basis. I may be getting caught up in semantics here but it's a topic that is a big issue to me and it manifests itself quite heavily around Easter time. Why? Because the Mormon church believes in the concept of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit--three completely separate beings that are interconnected); the Christian church believes in the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit--the three-in-one person package deal). It becomes apparent to me that even though I don't attend the Mormon church I'M STILL HALF MORMON. The concept of the Trinity makes absolutely ZERO sense to me. Even when I was listening to my pastor this previous weekend talking about Jesus being on the cross and pleading with God saying, "Father, why has Thou forsaken me?" it made absolutely NO sense to me. The Trinity states that God and Jesus are the same person--even though Jesus is technically the Son of God. Don't worry--I'm confused, too. I'm further confused by why Jesus, in all of his anguish, would be sitting there pleading with himself during all of this if indeed he was God. IT MAKES NO/ZERO/ZILCH/ZIPPO sense to me. Under the concept of the Trinity, God sent himself to earth to die for people's sins? And when he was raised from the dead he then went to sit up at the right hand of...himself??? Sorry--I am more apt to believe the word "Trinity" means that the three separate beings work together synergistically. The one-in-three person concept is just beyond my comprehension--but then again, I am blonde.

I JUST REALIZED HOW LONG THIS BLOG WAS GETTING: Indeed I just realized that I could go on all day about the various things that have happened to me that make me feel the way I do about Easter. It's not just the violent death of Jesus that bothers me--the violent death of ANYONE bothers me. I used to watch "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" with my parents and they would show tribal people who would meditate and then have people stab them and shove giant fish hooks into them and hang them from a tethered rope by the fish hooks (why? I don't know--I was little...this is all I can remember). I literally became hysterical and passed out cold. I woke up with my mom shoving my head between my knees until I was able to regain conciousness. I would never make it through The Passion of the Christ--they would have to put me in the ICU. I couldn't even handle the sermon last week in church about the crucifixion--I got up and left. I can't handle the horrible things we do to each other as humans. I understand that the purpose of Jesus was to pay our debt with His life--but I don't pretend to get that either. I have a very hard time understanding how a loving God could put someone through that. I'm also reading the book of Job right now and I can't quite understand God in that, either. The act of killing people boggles my mind--it is for this same reason I don't watch violent movies, the news, and I absolutely hate shooter video games. It all makes me sick. And the sad part it--a lot of it is considered "entertainment" which bothers me even further. I must admit that it is very hard for me to grasp my religion in its entirety at times--it becomes abundantly more clear to me every Easter how much I don't "get" things.

I'm still going to attend: All this being said, I love God...and Jesus...and I'm a big fan of the Holy Spirit. I'm still going to attend church--just not on Easter...or the week prior to Easter. I admire those of you that don't have crucifixion phobia and PTSD like I do--but I do. As I bid you farewell from the longest blog I've ever written I want to wish you all a Happy Easter. Regardless of whether or not I can handle it, I am certainly grateful for Christ and everything He has done for me. So enjoy your Passion Plays, your church services, your wiggly ham, your asparagus, marshmallow peeps, jelly beans, and robins eggs malted milk balls. I'll be back in church a week from this Sunday. ;)

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