Where do I go from here?

I think this is the shortest amount of time I’ve given myself to write a potentially heavy post pretty much ever. So, I’ll try to keep it short, since I have about ten minutes to write my guts out.  I’ve been giving up on this blog. Disillusioned, and frustrated with all that religion has put me through, and everything it’s done to many many others, I just didn’t want to write about it anymore.

When I created PVX Pearls, it, like everything else, was supposed to be anchored in God. I wasn’t supposed to deviate or recognize any other experience, all that I created, that was supposed to be about God. And I hate that in saying all of this, I have to think about the past. I’ve really never been one of those girls who could just get over it. I dwell in the past and the negative aspects of my life that come from the past more than anyone else I’ve ever met.

Pearls was meant to be a desperate attempt at positivity when it all seemed so dirty, so boring, so bland. But that attempt was also a God-thing, again, like everything else in my life. So now that I’ve lost it, now that I can claim myself no longer Christian, where on earth am I supposed to go from here? Everything seems so bleak some days, and wonderful other days. Christianity twisted and molded me into a shell of a person, afraid to express herself. I fought back once, and Pearls was born. Maybe if I fight back again, I’ll find something else happens.

It’s interested to note that I did. I fought back, in Modesto. I wrote scathing Spoken Word poetry and I read it out loud to people who were in the thick of the thing I was mad about. And from that experience, I created Pearls. I thought I was railing against religion and the people, never God. But now, I’m done with God. I don’t feel the need to weigh in on the concept. But I do want to be there for people who have struggled.

I always forget that it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. I’m afraid to feel, to do well in life, to write and have people actually respond to me, but it’s also the thing I want most in the world. I may be done with God, and customers at my work may have the greatest capacity to annoy imaginable, but I am not done with every day people. I am not done with me. I am not done with Pearls.

Analyzing theCult I Lived Part 3- Purity Culture

Before I went to ministry school, I was offered an opportunity to travel the country with a group called Silver Ring Thing. They were a group, much to my excitement, dedicated to protecting virginity and teaching teens to wait until marriage for most kinds of affection. It was common in this purity culture to feel that relationships in general were  dangerous for your heart, your sexuality and your faith.

Continue reading

Analyzing the Cult I Lived Part 2- Blessed Are the Persecuted

Having walked away from the all-consuming fire perspective on God, that his love and his message were absolutely the most important thing, the true defining factor of a Christian, I can begin to see where I stopped caring about Jesus and kindness as much as caring about achieving absolute conversion. We started considering ourselves “true Christians” because we didn’t want to only do church on Sundays and drink, curse and fornicate every other day of the week. It was presented as a push back against the hypocrisy that appeared to be so prevalent in Christianity. Continue reading

Analyzing the Cult that I Lived Part 1- First Church and the New Youth Pastors

I haven’t published a post in a while and the reason is that because I’m not sure who reads my blog, I am afraid of who I might deeply offend and hurt. But, it has occurred to me that whoever reads my blog should know that it is in fact my blog. My thoughts are in it. So I say this: Whoever you are, if my blog is causing you concern for my spiritual life, don’t worry about me. If my blog is boring you or you’re irritated by various grammatical errors, I do apologize, I would love your feedback. But until I get someone who speaks up about my blog to me, I shall simply write what I wish and see what happens.

I’ve recently experienced an onslaught of past memories especially with regards to religion and the kinds of wonderful things I refused to let into my life by virtue of my Christian faith. In experiencing this onslaught, I began to really think upon and explore what Christian means to other people who are Christian.

It does not seem to be the same upbringing that I experienced.

Continue reading

The Color of Creativity is Worth the Risk

corporate-creative-2550x1600

When I was in ministry school, I had this epiphany that had been building up inside of me for quite some time. Hollywood, like anything else  is made up of people who have dreams, hurts and pasts that drive them forward. It occurred to me that every creative effort, no matter how small or uninspiring had some merit to its founder. Continue reading

Mourn The World’s Loss: A Tribute to The Boy I Never Knew

There is this grotesque culture out there that enjoys laughing about the misery of others, or they simply love to hate. At one time, I was a part of this culture. As a young child, I hated the popular crowd by virtue of their popularity. I always assumed that every person who was well-known and constantly-mentioned was evil, mean to me and entirely deserving of my spite. Now, as an adult, I realize that most of them did nothing to me. They were polite and easygoing but we never hung out. When some of those kids I knew from age 8 began to party, do drugs and sleep around, I expected a karmic vengeance for their behavior. I imagined they’d eventually end up strung out or stuck in a rut. That’s what scares me about how we express Christianity. We are so nonchalant about the inevitability of these consequences, as if that’s what being a Christian is about. But it’s not, it’s about love, kindness, everything beautiful that you can imagine– that’s God and that’s what I as a Christian wish I had reflected better throughout my earlier years of life.

People who laugh at the misery and misfortune of others, no matter how inevitable such an end may seem, are all over the world, and unfortunately, many are Christians. When a picture is taken of a gratuitously obese person, it is spread all over the internet for people to gawk at and comment upon, reducing this human being to a massive object and dehumanizing them.

When my brother fell off a small cliff and smashed his lip and broke two teeth while he was drunk, everybody saw the picture and they were laughing. Here, a young man, whose life was about to start, catapulted from high school, had experienced something painful, humiliating and physically scarring and people were making jokes about it. I was making jokes about it.

A boy who in high school had been known for rash decisions dove headfirst into a shallow river while drunk and paralyzed himself from the waist down. I knew his mother, I worked with her. She was heartbroken and rushed to live with him in a different state and take care of him.

A young actor overdosed on drugs and died. The whole world judged him in his demise and they judged his company on earth: the staff of the show by which he was made famous, his girlfriend in life and in the show, even his parents. People made assumptions and posted them as fact.

People judge, people hate, people act like they know. Myself included. But the truth is, we don’t know. I don’t know. Even though I’m a Christian, I know absolutely nothing. And I am paralyzed as I consider this most recent tragedy: the loss of a barely-acquaintance. I met him when I was 8, but I never knew him. He moved on with the party crowd, but beyond that, I didn’t know much more. Yesterday, while casually perusing my Facebook Feed, the confused, hurting wall post of an old “bully”-turned-friend stopped me in my tracks. He had been killed as a pedestrian walking on the highway and hit by two semi trucks.

I knew I didn’t know him beyond the rumors, beyond the fleeting moments at Science Camp when I looked at him and saw beyond his popularity status, I knew. But I didn’t care. In the middle of the bus, states away from where the horrific scene happened,  I began to cry. He was eight when I met him. Eight years old. And now he is, was, is 22 years old. And, people that once made me feel tormented are now grieving the loss of a dear life-long friend. And so am I and I feel like I don’t deserve to care. I don’t deserve getting to think about who he was. I didn’t ever think about him while he was alive. Why should I get to consider him and his friends now?

I am praying against what well-meaning but totally off-base things might be said to my friend. Things that Christians say to console those in grief. Things that Christians think or speak behind their backs. See, the world laughs at misery. Homeless people are the brunt of a joke, drunks are comedic relief, heavyset people are sent viral. But the fact that Christians join them, The fact that Christians say in our Bible Study times and as we fellowship, that homeless people are on the streets because they aren’t smart enough, driven enough or sober enough to make it in the world, or that drunks put themselves in danger and need to accept the consequences or that heavyset people need to diet or exercise or even sometimes be shot (people are cruel on the internet) scares me to death. It’s missing the point. What is lost here is a life. And the nonchalant attitude that God takes people when it’s their time or that people who party on earth will face an eternity of torture is what poisons Christianity. The afterlife and the cause of death are not our concern. Someone had life, had breath, had an impact on the world, and now, they don’t anymore. Their influence is halted, never again to be resumed. And people who knew them are affected. Hurting, crying, confused. Nothing makes sense. That’s how grief works. Let’s stop trying to make sense of grief and grieve with the broken. Let’s stop giving them platitudes and quick answers and just cry. Let’s stop blaming the victim and just mourn the world’s loss.

The world is a different place today because he is gone. I never knew him. Not that well. But his life mattered. Whether I let him matter to me or not.

Remembering 2014 and what led to the Birth of PVX Pearls

Moving into ministry school was the catalyst of courage that created PVX Pearls.

Prior to the move, my compassion extended to the people I know, and always within the context of strict personal adherence to Modern Pentecostal Christianity (being loud and excited about Jesus and the Bible with friends and with strangers). Being a part of a broad approach to ministry training made me want to do things differently, to have regard for each individual aspect of every person, including the rich, the famous and the twisted. I had always longed to write and was even given an outlet with Spoken Word writing through the church. I wrestled with the concepts that before I had tried so hard to ignore, and, in so doing, I found much more of myself and the kind of person I truly longed to become.

Coming out of it all, I was spiraling, there were so many thoughts clouding my mind, my heart, my attitude. For a short time, I was done with church, determined to think purely for myself and finally be me without having to “destroy myself to raise Jesus higher.” But, then I found a certain camaraderie and community within those who shared my once so dearly held beliefs, and I was reawakened to a newer, deeper form of my faith. One that believes in absolute truth, and very honestly, in God and everything he actually stands for, but does not believe that she, or anyone else, holds that truth absolutely.

All this being said, we enter a new year. I live in another state, my world is entirely different and my choices are like none I’ve ever faced. I miss California. My family, my friends, even my first church (my second will always hold a deep place in my heart, hope they know that.) And I will miss 2014 and the changes it brought. Therefore, I wish to post something now, that I never posted, because it was written prior even to ministry training. This post will be posted above the current one. Hope you enjoy! And feel free to share your thoughts!

Pearls in a Sea of Sand- Spoken Word

Image

Here is a poem I wrote while grappling with the Pearls concept. This is the story of my journey. I hope you will join me in choosing to find Pearls in Hollywood’s seemingly endless sea of sand.

Consider this:

Maybe the world isn’t out to get us.

And maybe its adages can have our trust.

People, not just Christians are made in His own reflection.

Yet, when the world speaks, we react with such rejection.

But imagine Continue reading