Thursday, May 9, 2013

Come, Let's Skip Church and Go Watch Some Strippers

  Good god, this has been quite a week.  4 days straight of migraines.  They call them migraines but they feel like little serpents coiling around the corner of my brain, slithering from one side to the next at whim sinking their fangs in the areas located behind my eyes.  Pleasant sensation.

  So when I informed my boss this morning that I had been fighting this for 4 days and using drugs (perscription ones mind you) to be able to stay at work and moderately function enough to get drawings finished... She came over to my cubicle and said, "Go home." to which I responded, "Let me finish this project." "It's not a rush, go home." "Well, then I can finish those other PDFs before I go." "If we need them, we'll get them done later today some other way, or you can do them tomorrow.  Go home."

  Well... I had done my best to perform my job, yet three times my boss "rebuked" me.  Thus scolded, I went home and promptly lay down.

  I swear, an hour later and the migraine doubled in force.  Sleep was theoretically supposed to have helped me but someone forgot to pass the message along to my friends the slithering serpents.

  At any rate, I have more time to write today.  So perhaps you will benefit from this.

  The Saga of the Shirt

  Back in 2008, not long before I completely abandoned "Church" my wife and I went to Las Vegas with some friends.  During our vacation there, I happen to spot this wonderful shirt.  It said "Support The Performing Arts" and had the sillhouette of an erotic dancer on it. Of course this completely tickled my anti-religious funnybone and I bought it.

  Not a week after we returned from Las Vegas we had our Bradford family reunion.  The Bradford side of our family is extremely religious.  Good ol' Bible pounding, firey preaching religious.  We came from a long line of religious folk, especially one dude who was on the Mayflower when America was being settled.  Religious tradition was our mainstay.

  Well... not mine.

  I decided I would wear the shirt.  I'm not sure what motivated me.  Maybe I was drawing a line in the sand, maybe I wanted to see how they reacted.  Maybe I just had a dark sense of humor.  I'm not sure.

  They did react.  One of my Uncles just shook his head, another completely cut me off.  This guy wouldn't look me in the eye the rest of our trip there.  The same guy who was always willing to give me a hug, and a warm word, rejected me because of a T-Shirt.  My sister wasn't much better, she rebuked me for wearing the T-Shirt.  My mother just patiently shook her head and sighed.

  My dad was the coolest of the lot, he and I have always had a similar sense of humor.  He just laughed.

  Anyways.  My work was done.  Later on it dawned on me what I had done.  I had played "Spot the Pharisee".  It seems to me, and this is just a theory, that sex is to Pharisees that Holy Water is to Vampires.  More on that later.

The Saga of the Young Pharisee

  Going further back in time.  In 1992 my family and I were involved in a homeschool curriculum out of ATIA. (Google it, if you're curious) Now to paint the picture properly, you have to understand that ATIA is very much like a decentralized Amish, or Hutterite... "community" and I use the word losely.  The curriculum is centered around extremely fundamentalist theology and doctrine.

   In 1992 they ran a program for youth to be trained in Indianapolis.  How they got that leaders of that city to involve their brand of crazy in their probation officer set up I have no idea.  That's what we did though.  For an entire week, at the age of 16, I was trained in their "technique" of dealing with young offenders.  After which we would go to the homes of these teenagers who's lives had gone off the rails and somehow rehabilitate them with this rather bizarre program.

   I won't go too much into detail about the program but I will say it was full of Old Testament theology, spiritual warfare, and no small amount of brainwashing.

  As a 16 year old however, I was extremely impressionable.  Being surrounded with so many other youths my age there was a sense of "belonging" a synergy that just... bonded us all together.  I had never before felt such an overwhelming sense of community.  I loved it.

  Toward the end of the seminar, many of us would go up front and give teary confessions of all sorts.  Well, not to be outdone I had to come up with the most deepest darkest confession I could come up with.

  Bravely, I went before this crowd of about 2,000 teens and confessed my love for porn.  Oh yes, how sorry I was that I had given satan a stronghold in my heart.  Alas, how porn has ruled me.  I had now brought my sin into the light and I would be forever victorious over it.  Rah rah.

  I came home not too long after and started preaching in my Church and a few other places.  For a year, everywhere I went in public I wore a suit and was extremely proud of myself.  Ah, yes, I was so pure.  I was so biblically correct.  I knew how to tear down strongholds and build myself towers of righteousness.  Aren't I special.

  I don't recall what brought me to my senses.  Maybe it was porn.

  I think most of all, God let me eat so much of my pride cake I became sick of it.  I literally could not stomach my self-righteous love of self any longer.  I stopped preaching, I knew it was all for love of self.  I stopped wearing suits, I knew I looked like a dumbass.

Pharisees = Spiritual Vampires

  I'm quite certain the whole reason I wore that shirt was because I hate religious pride.  I have this overweening desire to offend religious pride.  Religious pride is so beyond ridiculous.  What do we have to be proud about? 

1 Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (NIV)

  Everything we receive is a gift from God, our faith, our food, our clothes... everything.  Especially our sexual drive.

  I would rather go to a strip bar than go to Church.  I really would.  The people in the strip bars are far more honest about who they are and what they're about than any pharisee is.  In fact, Jesus spent his time around the degenerates of the world when he was here.

Luke 7:34
34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

   The prostitutes themselves were more open to Jesus' message than the pharisees were. Matt 21:32

  There is much much more I can say on this.  Yet, for brevity's sake I will cut to the heart of the matter.

  I believe God is much less concerned with sexual sin than he is with the sin of religious pride.  Such pride is rampant in Christianity today.  Which do you think Jesus hated most?  Religion? Or Sex?

Contrast John 8:1-11 against John 2:13-17 and tell me which one pissed him off most?

Travis Penner