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The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism
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Minecraft has consumed me
Monday. 10.18.10 1:17 pm
New music. I'd tell you what it is, but it's all there in the playlist. Good stuff. New stuff.

There are enough articles out there about Minecraft that I won't bother going into horrifying detail. But the long and the short of it is... the game is digital crack. It's incredibly addictive for a game that's all about placing blocks and remove blocks and low-res environments. Makes you feel like a settler on an alian planet, with nothing but raw materials available with which to construct a refuge.

Nothing much going on in my life lately, as the long pause between blog posts suggests. Still working at the same job. Jenn and I just celebrated our 5-year anniversary. Jenn is currently unemployed, which really sucks, but she's working on her writing a lot, which is good. Hopefully she'll become a best-selling novelist, and can spoil me. heh.

Anyway. Back to work.

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The Problem with the Christian Condition
Monday. 10.11.10 09:01am
I'll start off by posting the status update from my sister that prompted this... whatever it is.

"i'm currently sitting in my room after spending two glorious hours at an empty pool. thoughts are somewhat collected. still much to think about and figure out like always but Jesus is helping with that. no music today. its a strange day i haven't felt like singing or playing or even listening. my mind is screaming too loud for me to hear anything else. its one of those days thats makes me long for so much more than what is right now. makes me yearn for depth and ache to laugh. i'm by no means sad yet there is something off that i cant wrap my mind around. i want to be sincere and truthful i want to be challenged and pushed i want to feel something i haven't yet. i want to change someones life and my own i want to give freely without holding back any of my sincerity yet there are so many questions and concerns. i want to love like Jesus. without hurting people without saying wrong things without holding back. parts of me think they know what to do yet so much is utterly and completely confused. i want to walk in the spirit yet my feet feel so fleshly. ugh its just one of those days. i cant deny that i love life and all that it holds in store. there is so much beauty in people and the place im at. its a beautiful life."

I remember having thoughts and feelings like this. Back when I was still going to church and I still believed in god. It about sums up one of the biggest problems with being a young christian. Feeling like you want to change the world.

If you've gone to a pentecostal church in the last 15 or so years, and you're under the age of 30, you may have had it drilled into your head that your generation is important, can change the world, and is meant to do something great. I know I did. My father was a pastor when I was a kid, so naturally there were "prophecies" spoken over my brother, my sister and I. Prophecies which were explained to us in detail when we were older.

When you combine information like that with the environment of a modern-day youth group.. where the music is modern and gets you pumped up... where the preaching is empowering and you're surrounded by people your own age feeling the same feelings as you... it's easy to believe that you're part of something huge and important.

The problem is, you aren't. The environment feeds off your teenage emotions and dreams and fills your head with grand ideas about missions trips and changing the world... and then you go home. And go to bed. And go to school the next day. And do your homework. And that all just fades away until the next week. Over time, in some kids, in myself and I begin to suspect my sister... it breeds frustration and depression. All that energy gets bottled up and doesn't go anywhere. If your church can't find an outlet for it, or you can't find one yourself, you end up stagnating. You're like a bottle-rocket bouncing around a glass room with no way out and no way up. And you can only bash yourself against the ceiling so many times before you start to have doubts.

These doubts manifest in various ways, most of which are harmful. You begin to doubt yourself. Maybe you're not up to god's standard yet. Maybe you still have sin, or are doing something he doesn't approve of. Blaming yourself is, of course, the easiest answer for a christian. Hell, we're practically breast-fed the idea that we're imperfect, that we're riddled with sin, and that almost everything we might enjoy out of life is wrong. So you start to analyze and second guess what you're doing. You make irrational decisions for your life bases solely on the fact that you feel like god wants you to do something.

My sister, rather than going to college or getting a job, has spent the last few years since graduating high-school at a christian school that cost a good deal of money to send her to. A non-accredited school. A school that did nothing to prepare her for real life, or being an adult. A school that only perpetuated the fantasy of being a christian youth. "I can change the world".

After leaving that program, she spent more time being cooped up and not doing anything. More church. More youth group. No job. She's finally found a job and settled down ("sort of"), but from conversations I've had with her she's already starting to feel claustrophobic. She doesn't feel "fulfilled" in what she's doing. Except the problem is, her expectations of fulfillment are artificially high because of all the crap she's been indoctrinated with over the years.

She's not changing the world, so obviously her job isn't important.

The worst part is, I can't say any of this to her. Her poor brain would react like a host-body to an infection. Any common-sense in regards to religion is met with hostility, denial, or an attitude of "oh, look at the poor sad atheist. I should pray for him so he comes back to god". So I keep my mouth shut, and hope that one day she'll come to her senses and realize that she's never going to change the world with religion. Or at the very least, that she'll grow up and be a christian who still makes logical, well-thought-out decisions about her life, instead of relying on that imaginary voice to tell her where to go next.

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