I am a female, Christian Psychology Major who has experienced some of my own hell. I do not wish for anyone of any standard, conviction or world view, to experience feeling abused, neglected or misunderstood. Finding and gripping onto the ability to love people unconditionally is what I mean when I suggest that we pop the bubble!
I see bubbles around church groups and around political extremists most dominantly. I'm going to speak into the church groups...I've been a Christian since I was thirteen. What pulled me into this magical, supernatural and eternal opportunity to experience God was his unconditional love. I was drawn to understand what love truly looks and behaves like.
My siblings and I grew up with a bar in the basement. At first there were some parties with family members, then more parties with their friends and even larger parties with friends of their's! It grew and the things I witnessed did not feel like unconditional love.
Having been introduced to the church at a young age through a Methodist Sunday school, I knew enough to know that I could actually have conversations with God. After a roaring party, you'd find me sneaking out of the house where many drunken guests lay passed out on our living room floor, and to the backyard swings. I'd climb up the playground and sit on the roof, totally enamored by the sky and my imagination of what was beyond it! Heaven, God, supernatural peace and unconditional love. So on the playground, I would pray for my family and pray for my community. I didn't know religiosity then, I was just meeting God and I knew He loved anyone drunken and asleep on my living room floor as much as He loved me in that moment.
I enjoyed this vision so much that I had my parents change my bedroom theme to the sky! I wanted blue skies and fluffy clouds displayed in my rugs, my bedsheets and comforter, my pillows, everything! I loved the idea of what went beyond our natural thought process or decisions.
If I didn't get a ride to church from our neighbors, I'd bike. Most of the time, my parents were sleeping until noon to make up for a late night party. My research began in the Methodist church, then carried on in random Catholic Mass services with my Grandparents. As I grew older, I tried to understand behavior and love through other nondenominational churches. I absolutely was spun around and confused by one church with many cult-like tendencies in Ottertail, MN. It was absolutely not displaying unconditional love. Then I came to a mega church in Kansas City and found many people were able to love well but only to a certain extent....
Have you ever said "Amen" before the Pastor made it even halfway through his/her sentence?
Have you ever agreed with the guest speaker simply because they hold the microphone on the stage?
Have you ever felt so happy, filled with peace and then within an instant, became so serious when someone came to randomly pray against something more serious?
Have you ever based a decision off of the majority vote before considering what you actually believe?
If you agree wholeheartedly with certain convictions, standards or worldview, great! If not, great! It is valuable absolutely important to know what you believe independently. You have the ability to experience a deep wisdom guiding your discernment, all on your own! Without a hype service, without the small group you attend or comment in on Facebook. You can actually agree or disagree with whatever you like! This is your free will.
I've been called Jezebel a few times. Now I'm not trying to play that card of manipulative, alluring or seductive, no, my point is to encourage unconditional love and being self-aware of your belief system regardless of your neighbors and protocol.
I feel a sense of alarm when I hear friends talk about things they admire and give all credit to someone else as if they are a god. "My church", "my Pastor", "my mentors", "the Bible says"....without hesitation and on repeat, I feel concerned. I feel concern because I have talked like that! Like I'm in a bubble and sounding my thoughts to only like-minded people washed in one mindset. It's not very safe...my darling Uncle made this clear to me. As I spoke about the church with many cult like tendencies with him, at the time, I was all about it! I was in the love with the Pastor's son and I bent to any perspective they fed me to keep this hot flame of love alive! I said things like "Well, Pastor P said this so..." or "That's not what the church believes". I was losing ground for myself. I was becoming codependent on people who swore they knew God and love. I was losing my identity and raising havoc just to appease this world view.
What I've found is that the church seems to display the most conditional love and that's off key when we believe in a man and admire Him because of His unconditional love for us.
It is totally okay to agree with the people and organizations you look up to! It is only worrisome, to me, if there is a defensive line and if the sounds of it only declares what they've said and believe in.
What do YOU believe? Is it okay that someone might think differently than you? Do you agree with this group completely? How long did it take you to decide that? Try to process alone first and find loved ones who are open to your thought processing before you totally decide to be an extremist for or against something.
I just opened a can of worms...It's 10am on a Saturday, I'm writing this thought out that I had last night and over a social media break I saw a post that made my stomach ache. I opened the can because I wanted to believe this person was functioning in unconditional love before deciding to protest a Drag Queen Story Time.
It was uncomfortable for me to begin opening my mind to different perspectives. As a Psychologist who wants to help and support anyone feeling pain or confusion, an open mind is mandatory. This was especially difficult in my Psychology of Gender course. While active in a campus ministry prayer group, my wheels began to spin. Prayers began to sound like,
"Lord, I pray you would make their convictions parallel to mine so that I'm comfortable with them. In Your Name, Amen."
It sounded that way to me as I was finally opening my heart and mind to first understand someone. I was learning to listen to understand and not to listen just to respond. There are broken hearts out there and hearts we could easily take from a pure and whole state to broken if we display love as so conditional.
The woman leading this protest responded to me in a civil manner. We had good conversation! At the end, it resulted in her saying that she does have a lot of research to do before leading this protest. I had asked her, "Have you been to a story time with Drag Queens? You seem open minded enough to consider most people affected by this...being a Psychology major yourself and a follower of Jesus, you need to be. What you're really protesting is vulgar language with kids then, right? Not that the Drag Queens are reading to them but how they choose to? Is that right? Or are you against any interaction between a child and a drag queen? Maybe that needs to be known before you lead this protest.
She carried on in her research. She was open to considering the hearts of other and not just to appease what is familiar and comfortable to her. I personally agree with Taylor Swift that we need to calm down (Listen: You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift). Regardless, this woman feels passionately against something! But fighting words are never meant to include Bible verses and "God said this". The Bible is not meant to be a weapon, it is meant to be a guide from someone who's experienced all we experience or may experience. It is meant to help us to have the world peace every Miss America contestant pleads for. It is meant to connect us with God, not for us to be codependent upon or to memorize and mimic.
Can you form your own thought processes without the people you surround yourself with? Can you decide against or for something without needing approval? Can you speak for yourself without saying "he/she/they said this"?
It's time to pop the bubble. I encourage unconditional love. Understand where others come from and why they live as they do. We all are heavily influenced in this world by one thing or another. Allow it to actually make sense in your mind, where someone different from you came from before applying your criticism.