Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dreams

Last night I managed to kill an animal (what kind of animal? And how, pray tell, did I kill it, dream? Mind bullets?) but then was confronted by the fact that I needed to skin and butcher it, and all I had was a little vegetable paring knife. And of course, not being as awesome as my mom, who has a long history of awesomeness, I was also concerned over how I was going to skin and butcher something without fainting or getting sick over all the blood involved. Luckily my brain gave me this dilemma to ponder but never actually got down to the business of butchery.

And hey, while carrying around the dead animal, I got to hang out with my sister Joelle, and if I can't see her in person very often, being able to hang out with her in my subconscious is still fun. She and I share the ability to have vivid, intricate dreams. I love dreams, because they are a brush with the mysterious and the uncontrollable and are reliably poorly understood by the scientific community. And I take pleasure in the fact that after having read that it is impossible to read in a dream, my mind set out to prove otherwise, providing not one, but two dreams that had text I could see and understand. I don't remember the latter, but the first had the word ABORT written on the marquee of a theatre that had been converted to an abortion clinic, in a chilling future in which abortion was not only highly encouraged but also considered a form of recreation.

I've experienced a wide variety of dream tropes, from flying to falling to trying to run with legs that have become leaden, or finding that I'm missing pants. I've shot someone point-blank with a shotgun and missed (my subconscious refuses to make me proficient with anything I'm not proficient at in reality). I've been myself, I've been myself as a man, I've been women or men completely unknown to me living out lives that have nothing to do with mine. I've loved, I've lost. I've been on the run from tornadoes or other disasters.
I also dream in color, and have seen verdant fields that practically glow, outstripping even Ireland for their emerald hues. I've had horrific dreams which I was grateful to wake up from, and dreams so pleasant that to wake was loss. I've had dreams so embarrassing or disgusting that they will never be shared with anyone, ever, lest that person afterward start looking at me askance, wondering just what monstrous depravity hides in my subconscious. I've killed myself (a broken fluorescent light bulb stabbed into my heart) because I knew it would make me respawn somewhere else and enable me to escape the things hunting me.

I had a dream once, as a child, an innocuous one where I was walking through the woods at night, holding something in my hand, with a friend on either side, only to experience exactly that later while camping. Since then, many times, I have experienced a strong sense of deja vu and had the feeling that what I'm doing is something I've done before in a dimly remembered dream - and not common things that anyone could do in reality, then dream about, then do in reality ad infinitum with nothing strange about it - the latest time I experienced that feeling of having dreamed the reality before the reality occurred was when we went blueberry picking, something I had never done before. Adding to the oddness was the fact that after I mentioned my sense of deja vu, my husband said he was also having a sense of deja vu. And yes, I do understand that the feeling you've dreamed something before is not the same as actually being able to say 'I've dreamed this' - but I do like the mysterious feeling of deja vu.

I think that's enough rambling for now. I feel the need for coffee.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lacking

My previous post was sparked by a post sparked by a discussion on Calvinism, apparently, and the Calvinist view of God as a micro-managing puppet master. Honestly, the more I see and read about the Calvinist perspective, the more it horrifies me. It causes this little shiver deep down in my soul. Pondering this, I realized why it causes this reaction...

Calvinism is completely devoid of faith, hope or love.

(Edit: For the sake of clarity, and lest I cause offense unintentionally, I see the teachings as devoid of these three things, but do not extend that devoid state to everyone that believes the teachings.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hmmm

I'm not sure how someone can read the Bible and come up with the idea that God can (and probably does) lie.

Now, it's true that the ten commandments do not say 'thou shalt not lie' but rather 'thou shalt not bear false witness.' But it seems to me that trying to establish a difference between lying and false witness is a matter of splitting hairs.

It seems to be a notion at odds with Satan having been crowned the 'Prince of Lies' and with God hating false witnesses and all. And is there any passage at all, marked as a statement of God, that we can point to and say 'this was a lie?' Both Psalms and Proverbs use the term 'lying lips' in a very negative context, and in Proverbs 12, where the wicked and the upright are contrasted, we find the following: "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight." It seems odd that a trait specifically ascribed to the wicked should be one which the Lord possesses.

It also seems odd considering that in the (only?) instance recorded in which someone was struck down by God in the New Testament, it was for attempting to lie to the Holy Spirit. Everywhere in the Bible we see truthfulness extolled and falsehood and deceit condemned. Would God condemn His own actions? Are not His commands intended to show us His divine nature, and our own fallen nature; to reveal how sinful and far from perfection we really are?

I'm sorry, one can claim logic all one wants, but there's really no reasonable basis on which to base a belief that God lies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Praise God

From whom all blessings flow! My husband starts his new job at the end of the month, and will be starting at the same salary he started with in his present employment. Which means he takes a pay cut but we're still quite comfortable financially. It'll knock about 40 minutes worth of driving out of his day, a good thing with the current price of gas. He'll no longer be working in a field of employment so stressful that it's sent him to a doctor for two different stress-related medical conditions. He'll no longer have to spend large chunks of time with the worst humanity has to offer. He's happier and more peaceful than I've seen him in years.

Thank you, God, thank you!

And thank you, all of you that took the time to offer a prayer on our behalf.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Amazing Grace

There will always be a kernel of sorrow in my heart over the knowledge that my children have died inside me and that there was nothing I could do to save them. Seeing pictures of babies in their first year of life may cause me to need to wipe my eyes for the next little while, because my hands and breast will never be able to welcome the two little ones that are lost to me.

But this grief is just a trickle in an overwhelming river of peace, the peace that passes all understanding. I am in awe that my God loves me - loves me - enough to give me solace in sorrow, and in truth this knowledge brings more tears than does the sorrow. As a psalmist once said "what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that you think of him?"

I am nothing and I have done nothing to deserve this kindness. My good qualities were first honed by my parents, and after that, God Himself took on the task of molding this stubborn clay. I've seen the darkness in my human heart and I've knowingly and willfully embraced it. I've run from the knowledge of what He wants me to do and what He does not want me to do. My heart has been hard.

And yet He continues to shape me into a vessel for His service, and He treats me as His child, and comforts me and shelters me from the worst of the storms.

I am in awe that God loves me.




Friday, May 06, 2011

More ranting, different topic

So, after the miscarriage, things still seemed wonky, so I finally broke down and scheduled a visit to the doctor. As my husband said, doing so would at least give us a chance to rule out anything serious and give us a baseline on my general state of health.

Well, the tests brought a surprise - I'm pregnant again. That was unexpected, as I'd taken a test just a couple of weeks prior to the doctor's visit and it had given me a negative result (apparently I got the 1% inaccuracy rate). I was happy, of course, as both my husband and I still want more children.

Because there were indications that the pregnancy might be at risk, they wanted me to get an ultrasound. Unfortunately, the results were not good - I was at least seven weeks pregnant (indicating I'd been pregnant since not long after the original miscarriage), they could not find the baby's heartbeat, and the radiologist said the pregnancy did not look 'normal' - whatever that means, as they did not elaborate, but simply sent me home to rest and told me that if the ultrasound reading was correct, there was nothing they could do to prevent the termination of the pregnancy. So, joy had turned to ashes, but I had just been reading Job recently, and what he said had stuck with me - shall we accept blessings but not adversity? So, while naturally I am not pleased with this outcome, I am in a state of peace granted by the Comforter.

Enter the medical system, that wants to destroy peace and invoke fear in its place. Yesterday, I received a call from a nurse at the doctor's office, telling me she'd set up an appointment with a gynecologist. Not so much as a 'by-your-leave' or 'would you like to do this, and if so will this time work for you?' And to add injury to the insult, it was a male gynecologist. Nope, nuh uh, no way. My husband is the only man to have ever been given access to that area, and it's going to stay that way if I have anything to say about it! So, I told the nurse I was not comfortable with a male obgyn, and she said she would see what she could do about it. Apparently, that meant leaving the appointment on the books and assuming I'd show up for it. So, today, the original doctor (a general practitioner) calls, wondering why I hadn't gone to the gynecologist. So I explained why.

Oh, but this was an emergency! Surely I could make an exception...

Really? That's funny, I didn't think a miscarriage was an emergency - so I asked for clarification. Was there any indication this was an emergency? Was it an ectopic pregnancy? At which point she had to admit that no, it was not ectopic, and it was a visit to check on me in case it became an emergency situation later. I told her - firmly - as soon as I could get a word in edge-wise (because my goodness, that woman can talk!) that I understood the risks, that I preferred to go through this with my family, and not in a doctor's office, since there was nothing they could do to save my baby if the pregnancy had terminated or was in the process of terminating. (Which though she hemmed and hawed, she had to admit was true, because it is so early in the pregnancy.) I explained - politely, but very firmly, that it is my body, my pregnancy, and my choice as to how I handle the situation. All of which she had to concede to, but not without first attempting to guilt me by reminding me of the possible risks, and then to remind me I had other children to think of. (My husband had flames coming off of his face, as this was all on speaker phone, but we were both remarkably calm even so.)

I remained calm, and polite, and would not budge an inch from my stance. My husband and I had discussed this already and he supported my decision. My husband and I would seek emergency care if it became necessary (and yes, I understood the emergency care might have to come from a male doctor - obviously my choices would be limited in an emergency, but it was not an emergency as of yet). So, sounding resigned about consigning me to my inevitable sad fate as a stubborn, clueless individual with no sense of self-preservation (this was not said, but some things you can guess from the tone of voice) she finally gave up. Phew.

That right there is why I hate the medical system. Oh, I don't hate the people. A few are arrogant scumbags, but most are just institutionalized into believing whatever they're fed without question. They buy into the fear, and they push the fear, and they think you're wrong if you don't feel the same fear and make your decisions based on it.

Sorry, but I'm aware that driving five minutes down the road to Wal*Mart carries greater statistical risk than a non-ectopic miscarriage. I'm not making my decisions based on fear of what-ifs. My life is in my Father's hands, and those are the very best hands it could possibly be in. Yes, I'll admit, I do fear leaving my children, just as I have to admit God can see them raised to adulthood just fine without me. It's pride to think my children's future would be ruined without me.

I also have to admit I would be irked if complications arose, because I don't want her to get to say "I told you so!"

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Extrapolation

I'm still chafed about the notion that if I have a greater affinity with the justice in God's nature than with the mercy in His nature that I am a lesser Christian, and that if I - and the other Christians like me - could learn to love mercy above all else, everyone might be saved.

Some people like to speak of forgiveness. Compassion. Mercy. Example of X Christian that converted from a life of murderous depravity that now devotes their time to serving the Kingdom in a mighty way. Example of X Christian that converted others through their overwhelming sweetness and light in the face of adversity. Jesus died so that others might be saved, how can we do any less?

People had Jesus performing miracles right in front of their eyes, and still they rejected him. He healed lepers, the lame, the crippled, the blind, the deaf, the diseased, the demon-possessed. He raised the dead to life. He offered forgiveness for sins. And still they rejected him.

When he sent the apostles out to spread word that the Kingdom of God was near, He did not tell them to remain in cities that rejected them, to plead with them over and over until finally they were swayed to repentance - he told them to shake the dust from their sandals and move on.

Nowhere did he promise that his death had annulled the need for justice. Nowhere did he promise that all would be saved (even though we know this is what God desires). Nowhere did he promise each man 75+ years in which to repent, no matter what depraved acts were committed in the meantime.

In Matthew 18, we find that if our brother wrongs us, we are to first speak to him privately, then bring witnesses, then take the matter before the church, and if he still refuses to repent of the wrong he has done, then he is to become as one we have no fellowship with.

Also in Matthew 18, we are told to forgive our brother seventy-times-seven. Yet the parable that follows speaks of forgiving those that ask for mercy. It does not say that the servant went to his fellow servant, and his fellow servant spit in his face and said "I ain't gonna pay!"

Now, someone spoke of death as being the end to our chances to repent, and thus we should never prematurely end someone's chance to repent. Even if I believed that death was truly the end of our chances, how does it follow that we should give a murderer all the chances in the world, when he might go on to murder others that have not yet repented? Why give one man 75 years in which to repent, when he uses those 75 years to send hundreds - perhaps even thousands - that had not yet repented to hell?

Someone that has shown they are willing to end another human life out of malice, greed, passion or selfishness does not have their ability to do harm stopped by being put behind bars. Prison guards have been murdered. Other prisoners have been murdered. There have even been instances of someone serving life in prison planning murders and having them carried out by free colleagues. Why should all of these people continue to be at risk, just because the murderer *might* use the extra time to truly repent, instead of continuing in their evil ways?

Is that really what mercy should look like?

Monday, May 02, 2011

While pondering my earlier post and the Facebook discussions that sparked it, I came to a realization - for all that these people are pushing mercy and compassion, and seemingly claiming that the need for justice has been done away with by Christ's death on the cross, what they do not understand is that if you make justice cease to exist, then mercy ceases to exist with it. Why does anyone need forgiveness for sins when sin will not be punished? Earthly justice foreshadows heavenly justice. People don't understand why mercy is a priceless, undeserved gift unless they first understand that their actions merit punishment and not mercy.

Mercy cannot exist without justice.
I'm getting annoyed. I don't care that Bin Laden is dead. I felt nothing - no emotion whatsoever - when I heard that he was dead. I am skeptical of the whole situation, but that's not really important to this post.

So, apparently there are multiple reactions from Christians about this, and one is to rejoice that justice has been done, and another is to say that we should not rejoice over the death of a sinner. This latter crowd is getting on my nerves, because they're making it clear that if you've rejoiced, or if you're not saddened, or if you support executing murderers at all, that you're a bad Christian that doesn't truly understand the heart of Jesus. One woman even went so far as to say that instead of killing the bad guy, we should choose to sacrifice our own life in order that it might save them...

Okay. First of all, Someone already made that sacrifice to save them - and that sacrifice, which was freely offered, was freely rejected. Unless you subscribe to the theory that all will be saved, then you have to admit that some will not, no matter what nice things are done for them or what kind of forgiveness and love is extended to them.

Secondly, it's all very well to speak of sacrificing your own life, but when it comes to allowing murderers to live, you're not sacrificing your own life, you're sacrificing someone else's life. The staff in the prisons, the other inmates in the prisons, even people outside of the prisons - all of these people are in danger from someone that has proven they are willing to end a human life out of malice, passion or selfishness.

Paul is one example they're trotting out of someone that was the author of wicked things but that was saved and went on to work mightily for the Lord. What they seem to be ignoring is the fact that Paul himself wrote that God gave governments the responsibility to punish evildoers. That when they do so, they are acting as His agents.