Have not slept well tonight. I listened to some worship music for a little bit and wrote a little bit on my other blog Diary of a HIV POZ Man about pain. So, you can check that out if you like from the link provided.
There are many ways to deal with pain and the stress that comes along with pain. I’m a good boy and take my pain medication and stress medications like I am told, but, that does not mean that it fully fixes the issues. That is when I turn inward for spiritual answers. I listen to some worship music to distract my mind, even if it is just for a moment. Sometimes I soak my feet in warm water or lay down to take a nap. Whatever it takes to get just a little bit more relief. If pain is a teacher, then I must have a masters degree already.
I can certainly say that dealing with pain and stress has made me a more empathic person. And while I’m not overly social, I can at least empathize with other that experience similar issues. I just wish the medical community here in Oklahoma had a stronger grip on empathy. Empathy is at the core of a real and spiritual christian life really means. Jesus’ ability to empathize with others was one of the defining characteristics of His life. Sadly, there are so many that call Him savior that either do not get it or refuse to get it. It makes me think that those in the faith that can empathize with others are like an arm that has been slept upon and lost feeling once the blood flow to the arm was cut off. You know. Then, you wake up and can not feel, then you try pushing the blood back into your limb.
If you really want to hear the Voice of God in your life, then spend a little bit of time with those in pain and stress, no matter what form it takes. Then, soak it in and feel. Truly, feel.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people giving a lot of negative attention to these words and others. I just finished watching a video about reclaiming words like dyke, fag and tranny on YouTube by Arielle Scarcella (aka GirlfriendsTV) and I’ll add Queer to that list. I’ve been called names for being gay throughout my life and I’m sure many of you have also. Words can be used to harm or for self empowerment or like armor as Arielle puts it.
I’ve used the phrase ‘Queer as Faith’ for my blog and twitter for a while now. And over that period of time, I’ve been treated bad in comments and an occasional question as to why I use it as the title to my blog – mixed with some negative words by the commenter. I do not see my use of Queer as negative; it is a broad term meant to include all christians that are gay, queer, trans and so forth.
There are a segment of people that tell me that I can not or should not be a christian because I am gay. As though being gay is some kind of exclusive club. For me, I take my faith as a spiritual journey. As for me, I can leave all the dogma out if it. It’s not to say that I won’t quote a scripture here and there. But, also will not let the bible or scripture become an idol to me either. Ideally, we need to follow our heart and not use words to harm others. But, that doesn’t mean that when people are using their faith to harm that I or others should not be clear on calling it out. And the same is true for words used to describe the LGBTQIA or gay community. If your intent to use the world ‘Fag’ is to harm then people will know. And if I feel comfortable saying that, “Yes, I am a fag. So, what?”, then, that too should be understood as fine because it is used as armor for self empowerment as a way to reclaim what the rest of the world has distorted.
So, I urge you to check out Arielle’s video (click here to watch) on the topic and hear what she has to say about it. And subscribe to her channel while you are there for some great videos on various topics.
So often we have an image of God. A god that lets people suffer or is waiting on us to win his holly lotto. Pastor Rutherford blogged this. It a perfect example what what I’m talking about, but with the truth at the end to fear not, we are all saved.
Imagine a God who would turn His back on a child screaming in pain….Who died too soon and missed out on some heavenly cut-off-date….And slipped and fell to cruel HELL to burn and suffer evermore…A God like this would have to change His name from LOVE to HATE.His mercy would have to abruptly end, His grace would have to fail…If He allowed a single soul to stay in any kind of Hell!His kindness and His gentleness…would have to BOTH cease to exist…And he would need to curl His out-stretched hand into a fist…And grit his teeth in deep frustration…. knowing that His great salvation…Didn’t take away the SIN of the world, as He planned it to…FEAR NOT! He saved us, every one! And His love will deliver YOU!
Don’t forget to visit Pastor Robert Rutherford’s blog and subscribe.
Pastor Robert Rutherford, a friend of mine, posed this question today on Facebook and here was my response afterwards.
IF there WAS a HELL….. and YOU were assigned as a caretaker….
would you be able to deny it’s inhabitants a drink of water or a break from the flames??
If they begged you for help would you laugh at them? Could you keep them in torment for thousands of years….. billions of years, for a mistake that could have happened to you?
Would YOUR mercy and compassion compel you to decide that their suffering was ENOUGH and it was time to allow LOVE to over-rule JUDGEMENT and set them free?
Is there ANYONE that you could LEAVE there in torture and torment?
Are YOU, then….more MERCIFUL than GOD?!?! I think not.
The only HELL that exist is the PORTION of it that exist on Earth. Hell only exist on Earth. So, although I would not – there are plenty that would deny water to the thirsty, they do it everyday and they call themselves Christians. Those kind of christians are fooling themselves into thinking they are following the spirit, are self-righteous and believe all sorts of vile things in the name of God. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus could be blamed for some he actually said and we followed that.
Be blessed -for you already are blessed.
When it comes down to writing about faith, spirituality or theology, I’ll take the person of Jesus to follow above all else. We are told that we will know him in scriptures through spirit and truth. I run across people in everyday life that are so bound up in a tangle of dogmatic webs.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24
There are so many labels I’ve related to in my life. Being a ‘worshiper’ is who I am at my core. I am a follower of Jesus the person, each day as I sense His spirit guide me. As a worshiper, one of the highest request I could ask is for Jesus to blind me. That all I have left is trust and the reaching out of my hand and a prayer, “Jesus, take my hand and lead me for I am blind.” Trust is the highest worship.
I’ve studied the scriptures from a young age. Often finding that I would study something on a saturday night, only to find on sunday morning that the verses were echoed by someone. I can remember hearing the voice of the Father speak to me as a young child; revealing thing, teaching me and bringing a level of intimacy that only an innocent child could have. So, this taught me from a young age to follow His voice.
As I grew and was still young, I sat next to my grandmother in the pew of church already being able to discern between flesh and spirit of various pastors. I was thankful for the spiritual filter that the Father taught me. I was able to hear His voice in a pastors message despite the truth that we are all simply flawed.
That is why I urge all christians and especially my gay christian brothers and sisters to dive deeper and deeper into worship – that you may build greater and intimate discernment that only comes by spending time inviting the Holy Spirit to invade our space. There are levels of worship – outer court worship, inner court worship and the worship of the Holy of Hollies, that some times is call the secret place.
Some might find worship uncomfortable at times. Many people are used to worship that is of an outer courts nature; which can be superficial or less intimate. Worship is a growing process that I urge you to press inwards, closer and closer to the Father and deeper into His presence.
Worship will change your view of scripture and guide you to a better understanding of scripture. Scripture is not our goal, it is not our prize or meant to be our idol. With a new found worship life, the scriptures will open up and become new. You’ll start to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and will notice the Spirit filtering what you read. In scripture there is much opinion, allegory, parable, and analogy. The church is filled with people that can’t discern the truth behind these writing styles. Should there not be a one single bible on the face of the earth, we have everything we need in simply having Him. So, I say, “Give Me Jesus” and I shall follow.
~ Ryan Nix
P.S. Today my inspiration was from the song ‘Give Me Jesus’ by Matt Stinton & Bethel Music.