Sheltered Beliefs

When I was a young lassie with hair like a neon sign and skin whiter than snow, I thought quite a few things that I now know not to be true. I’m not going to say I was sheltered, but I was sheltered (and thank God for that). Here are a few examples of my innocence and partially submerged fantasy consciousness.

Kissing masks

When people kissed in movies, I thought they had mouth guards of some sort because, um, hello, why would you kiss someone if you weren’t married to them? I would always look closely at the screen to see if I could make out a glimmer of plastic or something of that sort. I concluded later that they must edit the guards out so that it appears more natural to the movie watchers. I could believe in editing and CGI, but not kissing.

Thou shalt not swear in music

I honest to goodness thought that you were not allowed to. I knew that people swore in real life, but I honestly thought that there was a rule that you couldn’t do it in music. I just had never heard it before and that resulted in the belief that there was a law or something that you couldn’t. My shock when I heard my first swear in a song destroyed that belief pretty quick.

Pop! There’s a baby

I was never told the stories of a stork (until around three days ago I thought it was a swan) or anything like that, so I came up  with my own concept of how a baby is conceived: when a woman and a man get married, God simply implants the baby in the woman when it works with His plan. There were no other factors. God decided a baby needed to be born so He made a baby. That’s basically how it works, but there’s a couple more steps mixed in. Imagine my confusion when I heard the term “out of wedlock pregnancy”.

A lake under every house

My childhood consisted of Harry Potter and running around with a wand in my hand casting spells, and in the books, all the plumbing underneath the magical castle goes to a lake, so naturally I thought that underneath every house there was a lake holding all the dirty water and pumping clean water back up. The fact that my grandparents live on a lake and always refer to the tap water as lake water did nothing to dissipate this fantasy.

Tubed souls

They always talk about your soul being inside of you at church, so I envisioned an actual physical thing that looked somewhat like a marble column that ran down between the center of your chest and your belly button. Even now when my pastor mentions a soul I still get a mental image of a marble column inside of me. It’s quite disconcerting.

Chris Tomlin and Bonnie Tyler

Continuing off of music from before, I didn’t know any genres of music other than 80’s rock ballads and Christian contemporary/hymns. I had an inkling that other genres might exist but I had never heard them. It’s difficult to believe in something you’ve never heard, and so I didn’t. Rap, pop, country, were nonexistent.

But thankfully, one childhood fantasy has never been disproven and I’ve held on tight to it over the years, that Narnia is at the back of a wardrobe. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m 100% confident it’s real. I mean, how could that awesome of a place not exist?

 

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My Chemical Romance

C9H13No3 + C8H11No2 + C10H12N2O + C43H66N12O12S2

That up there is the chemical formula for love, or at least the feeling you get when you’re in it. It can be made in just about any lab, or completely natural when your brain releases it all by itself. Epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Overdose on any of them could result in extreme paranoia, schizophrenia, and insanity. Some call it evolution’s way of continuing the human race, because it totally has a plan for the future as a lifeless, heartless “natural happening”, which is obviously a possible thing.

Or it could be because there’s a God who cares about us and wants us to continue making new life so that we may live to glorify him and get just a small earthly taste of the amazing love he has for us and-

Psh. That’s ridiculous. Disregard the very thought of it.

The Downsides of Being a Christian

Hello! This is for all those new Christians out there.  You wouldn’t believe how happy I am that you’re here. Congratulations and all that. You’re probably feeling better than you have in your entire life and searching for a good church and buying the new 365 day devotions. Heck, you might’ve even bought the Jesus fish decal to put on the back of your car.

But I have a few things to warn you about before you get any more entangled in this crazy business. For me, it’s too late. I’m sucked in. But for you, there is still hope. Nobody tells you about these little downsides, so I figured that that makes it my job.

First of all, the people you will meet as a Christian and as part of a church family are just plain old insane. They’re awesome. Way too awesome for words. And unless you “awesome up” you’re going to feel like you’re in the presence of giants. Their knowledge of the Bible is beyond your comprehension, and they seem to have six more hours in their average day than you do because they get so much done. They packed meals for Thanksgiving and did the stocking stuffers for Christmas and are going to a mission trip to Thailand after they help out at the homeless shelter. It makes you wonder what kind of wacky time travel technology these Christians have!

And your family? It just got ten times bigger. You are now everybody’s sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or child. There is no reversing this process. You now have the coolest family in the entire universe for the rest of your life, which is just peachy. I have a friend who calls just about everybody his sibling or parent, and at first I had no idea if he actually had any biological family at all or if it was just people from church.

While we’re on the subject of family, these people will love you like no one else. You’re feeling down? Hugs and comfort along with a middle-aged woman carrying a casserole of mysterious origin to your doorstep within the hour. Happy? We’ll share your joy (seriously, what does that even mean? It’s my joy. I’m not sharing it with you.) Feeling guilty? Forgiveness is waiting for you. It’s downright mad that anyone could have that kind of love unless it was given to them by an all-powerful God…oh wait.

May as well just forget about losing ten pounds. You go to one single potluck and it’s all over. I swear, that dessert table has its own gravitational pull! No one can resist it. Also, what’s up with having the dessert table be six times bigger than any of the other food tables? It’s like they want you to die from obesity.

Remember the days when you could sit around on a Saturday morning doing absolutely nothing? Those are gone. You sit tight doing nothing for more than thirty minutes and your conscience will itch you like a bad mosquito bite. You could be spreading God’s love to someone at this exact moment. A soul could be saved if you got of your butt right now. You could potentially be planning the Christmas dinner for homeless people…if you actually were doing something with your life. It gets so bad that suddenly, while you are doing something you believe to be productive, you drop what you’re holding and stare emptily at the wall as you realize that if it doesn’t add to the glory of God’s kingdom it is completely meaningless. “What is this…why am I not glorifying God right now? What am I doing EATING?”

If you’re somebody who swears, it suddenly becomes four billion percent bigger of a deal when you do so after you become a Christian. Before Christianity: “*@#*~!” Yeah, whatever. After Christianity: “#!^&!” All of the sudden shots are fired, sirens are wailing, mothers are rushing inside with their children, glass is being shattered, and a tornado appears over the horizon to come suck up your soul. Enjoy your moments of verbal freedom, my friend.

Let’s talk about arenas for a second, just as a side note. Let’s say you got tickets to a football game or concert or whatever. You get there, big smile on your face, as you stare at this arena. It’s huge. Millions of people could fit inside it. Then, suddenly, you cock your head slowly to the side, staring at the numerous seats, and wonder what it would be like if there was a preacher standing in the middle of the field instead of a group of cheerleaders. Sanctus Real instead of a secular band. Now, any time you go to a place meant for entertainment with many seats, all you’ll be able to think about is what it would be like if it was filled with Christians praising God. Big events = ruined.

I could continue, but I think you get the picture. It isn’t all empty tombs and rainbows. There are some serious downsides.

I just hope you know what you’re getting into.