In Which It Would Have Happened Anyway

I woke up at 5am this morning feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Because of this, I decided not to go back to sleep right away, but instead stayed up and read.

I don’t remember if I was reading, or if by this time I had graduated to lying on my back in the dark, staring at the ceiling wishing I could fall asleep when all of a sudden it hit me: it would have happened anyway.

Back when I was in 8th grade, I had what I thought was a major life decision to make: where to go to high school. I had already decided against the public school for personal reasons I won’t post here, so the choice was down to the local Baptist school and GLAA. Great Lakes Adventist Academy. I visited both schools, write down the advantages and disadvantages in a little notebook I carried with me (I still have that notebook, those notes.)

It was at this time that, despite all my previous K-12 SDA schooling, I learned that Adventists have distinctive doctrines. Yeeeeah. 8th grade, for an Adventist born in the church, is a little old for that, but I digress. And so, I chose Academy, because I wanted an Adventist education. I did not want to get confused with wrong teachings.

My first year of Academy, I believed I had it all figured out. In the first few months of 9th grade, there was a week of prayer, preached by pastor… we’ll call him CJ.

Pastor CJ preached for a week about a life of total devotion to God. It was during this week of prayer that I realized something: I was only an Adventist because I was born that way. I had yet to claim Adventism, and Jesus, for my own. I was a cultural Adventist. That week, I vowed to give myself completely to God. To live totally for Jesus. I was no longer an Adventist in name only, I was well and truly an Adventist.

Also, I became a fanatic. I threw myself heavily into it, headfirst. I started reading Ellen White in earnest and put into practice her counsel. But I did so without asking myself why she would counsel such things. I didn’t take into account cultural context, and that things were different now. Cheese was “an article that should never be introduced into the diet?” Well, that wasn’t the reason I became vegan, but it definitely confirmed me in my decision. However, cheese is made very differently now than it was back in her day. It is not safe to consume. I did not know that, then. Ellen White forbade tea? Ok, I’ll give up tea. Not that I drank a whole lot of it back then, but I didn’t understand, in the 9th grade, the difference between the caffeinated tea popular in her day and the herbal mint tea I drank in the 21st century.

As most of you reading this well know, this type of existence cannot continue indefinitely. When a person is living such a life, full of fast and furious devotion to God, when a person has dived in headfirst and taken things way too fast, it cannot subsist forever. Something will happen that will halt you in your tracks.

And so my world crumbled around me, and rather quickly. In 9th grade, I only thought I had been questioning things. Really, I was only looking into why Adventists believed the way they did. I was not, however, challenging it. I was just assimilating their way of thinking without really stopping to question why they thought that way, why they interpreted certain passages the way they did.

The scary part was, when I challenged things, not just researched them but really got into the nuts and bolts of the issue, they weren’t there. The answers, I mean. I couldn’t find them. Actually, that’s not true; I did find answers, they just weren’t the ones I was looking for. Not everything, but a great many things, that I had believed to be true throughout my childhood were revealed to be lies, or at best carefully contrived and shaky truths.

When the foundation crumbles, the whole building shatters. My life, my religion, my world, everything shattered. Great had been my pride, now great was my fall. I will not post it here, but what I did I now refer to as “Candyland,” and have resolved never again to tell another living soul so long as I live.

Back in 9th grade, and even to yesterday, I believed it all happened because I went to GLAA. I believed that, if I’d never gone to GLAA and hadn’t gone through that week of prayer, I would’ve continued to live my life as a cultural Adventist. In 9th grade, I considered this a good thing: think how close I had been to never knowing truth! In years after, however, I Would come to regret it. Sure it would have been far from ideal, but at least that way I was happy. I wished I could go back to living life as a cultural Adventist. It was only in my first few years of college, and maybe not even then, that I resolved to not look back. What happened, happened. I couldn’t change it, so I had to put it behind me. GLAA has caused this, but I couldn’t focus on the cause, I had to deal with the issue.

Last night (or, early this morning, depending on how you look at it) it hit me like a truck full of cement: it would have happened anyway. All of it. Oh sure there are some ways in which my life was forever altered by ways that GLAA and GLAA alone could have done, but the majority of it, the fanaticism, the fall, candyland, my involvement with Campus, my inability to remain an Adventist, all of that still would have happened.

It is possible that GLAA expedited the process. It is possible that, had I gone to Baptist school, things would not have happened the way they did.

But you know what? They would have happened anyway. If not in High School, then College. If not in College, then after I graduated. And actually, if it had to happen, I’m glad it happened in High School, where I still had adults to shield me a bit from the consequences of my actions until I could mature enough not to perform such actions. If I had done the same things in college, it would’ve been a lot less socially acceptable.

It would have happened anyway. Why? Because I’m me. Going to GLAA didn’t cause me to start being me. I had this in me all along; GLAA just brought it out. And you can’t stuff who and what you are down forever. If I had gone to Baptist school, something there would have triggered it. If not there, something in college.

Because when a person has this inside of them, it’s going to come out.

This is freeing. I’ve been beating myself up for that decision, trying to imagine what my life would have been like if I’d never gone to GLAA. Now I know.

There is, in short, nothing I could have done to avoid the situation in which I am now. There is nothing I could have done to avoid being where I am today.

Or, at the very least, if there was such a point, it was not at that particular crossroads.

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In Which I Read and Discuss The Coptic Gospel of Thomas

This is one of the gospels I was already aware existed before I even picked up this book.

And I am extremely EXTREMELY glad that it did not make it into the bible, though I am surprised, as it fits in with the other sexist sections of scripture.

The Gospel of Thomas, theoretically, is a collection of Jesus’ sayings written down by Dydymus Judas Thomas. There are 114 of these teachings, and nothing else. There are no stories of any kind, nor does the gospel touch on Jesus’ death and resurrection. It focuses solely on the sayings of Jesus.

Now, I could actually see someone doing this. If one isn’t really a writer but has trouble remembering things other people say, one might keep a sort of journal in which one only records the important sayings of important people. So, just because the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is not included, that doesn’t mean the gospel is inherently false.

I can see, though, how that would be another reason this book was rejected for the cannon: if you can only compile a certain amount of material, you would want to include only the important stuff. A basic understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection is a requirement of salvation. Some of the other stuff Jesus said might not be. So if you can only have so much included, I can see why this book would be tossed out.

Some scholars have said that this book is actually closer to what Jesus taught than what we find in the gnostic gospels. I…sure as shit hope not.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Some of this is actually quite familiar to those who’ve read the gnostic gospels.

Example:

Gospel of Thomas verses 9: Jesus said, “now the  sower went out, took a handful of seeds, and scattered them. some fell on the road; the birds came and gathered them up. Others fell on rock, did not take root int he soil, and did not produce ears. And others fell on thorns; they choked the seeds and worms at them. And others fell on the good soil and it produced good fruit: it bore sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure.”

Example 2:

Gospel of Thomas verse 20: The disciples said to Jesus, “tell us what the kingdom of Heaven is like.”

He said unto them, “it is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all the seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for the birds of the sky.”

So we do see some similarities in the teachings of Jesus. A lot, actually, but to quote them all would make this a really long post, so I’m going to skip over the things we already know.

Now for the awful part. This is toward the end of the text, though I’m not sure if it is the end of the original text, or if only part of the text is quoted in this book.

Gospel of Thomas 114: Simon Peter said to them, “let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.”

 

Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Sadly, this is not actually an uncommon way of thinking, even today. I can not tell you how often in children’s literature I run into this. I think adult literature does it too, but I happen to read a lot of children’s books. Often, in order to be considered as good as the male protagonists, a female character must have as many masculine traits as possible.

For example, she must not like hair ribbons, dresses, or dolls. She must instead like football, getting dirty, or climbing trees.

Setting aside the fact that a girl can do all of the above masculine AND feminine traits and just be a well rounded person, this trope is disturbing.

I don’t have the book right in front of me, but in one of the Chronicles of Narnia books… I think it was The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis writes something about how, “Lucy was almost as good as any boy.” The character of Lucy is praised for acting like a tomboy, while her poor sister, Susan, is damned to hell in the last book, The Last Battle, for wanting to be a grown up, and “wearing lipstick and nylons!”

It is therefore disturbing to read it here. It’s bad enough that, in the narrative, PETER says it. He’s a fallible human. On the other hand, here we have Jesus here agreeing with it. If this had made it into the Bible, women would be even more oppressed than we already are.

I’m unsure if the Coptic Gospel of Thomas and the things written therein actually happened, or if it was just someone writing shit and hoping to have it authorized. Either way, at one point and by at least one group of people, it was taken as cannon.

I honestly don’t know what to think. Were these other gospels that were not included in the bible excluded simply because there wasn’t enough room? Do any of these contain truth or are they just lies written by someone?

I think, actually, that that question should be asked of the entire bible. After all, the Gospel of Thomas seems to fit in with the 4 canonical gospels except for that last verse. How do we know what is supposed to fit at all when the whole bible is rife with contradictions?

How do we know that these gospels aren’t real and the other ones fakes?

Regardless of whether or not this gospel should be included or not, I’m glad it wasn’t.

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The Gospel of the Nazareans

Jewish Christians were widely thought to have preferred the Gospel of Matthew, since that one was written to the Jews too. However, there is evidence that, at least for a particular group of Jews, this gospel was preferred.

When it was written: It was produced somewhere near the end of the first century/beginning of the second.                Intended Audience: probably Jews

Why it was lost: possibly for two reasons:

1. Few Christians in later centuries could read Aramaic. It was actually thought, for a long time, that The Gospel of the Nazareans was merely an Aramaic version of St. Matthew.
2. Early Christians were suspicious of it because it was “too Jewish.” Antisemitism started early, I suppose.

Only fragments of this gospel remain, most of which are quoted in other sources. There’s this guy named Jerome. The author of this book assumes I know who that is, but he is sadly mistaken, and I think a lot of Christians even, and secular people who are curious, probably will not. Anyway, Jerome quoted from this gospel a lot, mostly in the Greek manuscripts of the book of Matthew.

These quotations reveal that, according to this gospel, Jesus was not born of a virgin, but was just a man chosen by God to be the Messiah because he was more righteous than anyone else.

Again, keep in mind that these ideas were highly contested in that time, and until NT scripture was fully formed, no one could really be sure of anything.

Now, on to the fragments!*

 (commentary on Matthew 25:14-30, which is the parable of the talents) For the Gospel that has come down to us in Hebrew letters makes the threat not against the one who hid the master’s money, but against the one who engaged in riotous living. For the master had 3 slaves, one who used up his fortune with whores and flute players, one who invested the money and increased its value, and one who hid it. The first was welcomed with open arms, the second was blamed, and only the third was locked up in prison. Eusebius, Theophania, 4, 22

I think I get what they’re trying to say here, but the way this reads is that the riotous liver was welcomed with open arms, the investor was blamed, and the guy who hid it thrown into prison. Maybe the person who wrote the commentary got it confused and did it backwards? Anyway, it’s an interesting take on the story and, in my head, makes more sense than the canonical version.

In any case.

There’s no context for this next fragment, but I include it anyway for the wtf factor:

But the Lord taught about the reason for the division of souls in the houses, as we have found somewhere in the gospel used by the Jews and written in Hebrew, where he says, “I will choose for myself those who are good –those given to me by my Father in heaven.” (Eusebius, Theophania 4, 12)

I have no idea to what this verse refers: predestination, perhaps? Supporting the doctrine that Jesus has chosen in advance who will be saved, and the rest can all rot in hell? Or is he saying something like, I will choose for myself among the people, and I will only choose people who are good? How is he choosing, anyway, if the Father is giving them to him?

This fragment makes no friggin’ sense. Or maybe it would with some extra context, I just don’t know. And who is Eusebius, anyway? And this Jerome guy is referred to a lot, who is he? I feel like we should be given some background about the commentators so as to understand why these fragments might have been chosen and in what light they were viewing said fragments.

 In the Gospel of the Nazareans… [b]which most people consider the authentic version of Matthew,[/b] the man with the withered hand is described as a mason, who sought for help in words like these: “I was a mason who made a living with my hands; I beseech you, Jesus, restore my health so I do not have to beg for food shamefully.” (Jerome, commentary on Matthew, 12, 13)

Apparently the church fathers, like Jerome (fathers of what church?) thought that the Gospel of the Nazareans was just another translation of Matthew, and perhaps more authentic. Interesting, then, that it never made the canon, and presumably didn’t survive to do so.

I also find it an interesting take on the story of  Withered Hand Man. The fact that he was a mason would’ve made his disease even more dramatic. Perhaps he even hurt his hand by the very work he did to provide for himself, and possibly a family, if he had one. We don’t get to know. Either way, it makes the story a lot more personal and dramatic.

One last fragment I wanted to discuss, because this is the one that really stood out to me the most when I read this:

In the Gospel…which the Nazareans still use today…the following story is told: Behold, the mother of the Lord and his brothers were saying to him, “John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him.” But he replied, “what sin have I committed that I should go to be baptized by him? Unless possibly what I just said was spoken in ignorance.” (Jerome, Against the Pelagians, 3,2)

Very interesting. I’m not sure how to make of it. Is Jesus, in this quote, implying that his ignorance was a sin, or that what he was saying could be in ignorance? Could he possibly have said this before he had a talk with his Father and was told that, yes you DO need to be baptized? Did Mary and Jesus’ brothers ever actually get baptized by John the Baptist? Was Jesus actually with them when he got dunked? We Don’t Get To Know.

Should this gospel be taken as inspired fact? I don’t know that, either. Possibly not. It is, however, at least one group’s interpretation of events, and it does have historical context both in that respect and culturally. For that reason alone it is worth reading. Did Jesus really ever make such a statement? We’ll probably never know that.

I would, however, like to draw everyone’s attention to John 25:21

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John seems to be implying that there are other books about Jesus. Even if he isn’t, of course there would have been. Of course more than 4 people would’ve written these things down.

It’s my personal belief that these things are true in some way, because they were taken as truth at one point by a group of people, and so to them it became truth whether it actually was/is truth or not.

Maybe some of the things in some of these gospels are true and some are not. Maybe we have to take these gospels the same way we take ever other history book: with a grain of salt and a lot of other research.

You’ll have to decide for yourself, obviously. But know that wondering these things is not a sin, for if, in studying our holy book, we can only gain. If we find that the whole bible is crap, well and good. If the bible is true, however, such study will stand the test, and we will draw even closer to our savior.

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*In these post I am not going to quote every single fragment. That would take too long, and some of it’s just the same stuff that’s already in the Canon. I’m just going to quote the stuff that’s different, or note if a lot of it is similar.

Lost Scriptures

*Dusts off blog* I need to get back into writing. It’s hard, I’m fighting a major case of depression right now. Yesterday I slept almost all day, I was tired, I just didn’t care. I’m still having a hard time caring.

Anyway, since my life is kinda boring right now (at least to those of you who prefer to read canvassing stories) I’ll just post about what I’m reading.

This current book is fascinating. It’s about books that didn’t make the new testament canon.

Some background.

When I was a freshman in Academy, in Bible class one day the teacher brought up the apocrypha.

The what?

Teacher explained that these were books that had been thrown out of the bible because they didn’t fit in with what the rest of the bible had to say. I raised my hand,

“but how do we know that the apocryphal books were wrong?”

I mean, seriously; what did the teacher mean these books “did fit in?” a lot of the books in the bible didn’t fit in with each other, yet they were still in the same canon. And anyway, who decided this? What if the apocryphal books were right and the canonical ones were wrong, and it was the canonical ones we should’ve tossed out?

The teacher replied, “they just didn’t fit. They contradicted each other.”

14 (15?) year old me really didn’t know what to do with this information. I was not quite satisfied with this answer, and resolved to read the apocrypha. However, it was harder to get ahold of than I thought, and anyway, I couldn’t allow the very foundations of my beliefs to crumble. I was going through a period of downright fanaticism. Religion, at that time, was my life. I couldn’t allow that to crumble.

Fast forward a good ten years, and the questions I’ve worked so hard to stamp down have refused to be stamped down any longer. It’s not that I didn’t allow myself to question 10 years ago, I just wouldn’t allow myself to ask certain questions.

Toss into the mix my friend’s dad. He has always been into conspiracy theories, some of which are plausible, and some of which are downright weird. However, one day he started talking about The Book of Enoch. I would’ve dismissed it outright, but when he mentioned that The Book of Enoch is actually quoted in parts of the bible, it piqued my interest.

I remembered Rodney, when doing research for a paper, telling me that the apocrypha, even, was quoted elsewhere in the bible. I wondered how he could say that and still tell me that reading it was a waste of time. Even if it wasn’t canon, surely the apocrypha would at least give some historical context?

So I did what I always do when I want to read a book: I go to the library. I didn’t find the book of Enoch, but I did find this: Lost Scriptures: books that did not make it into the new testament, by Bart D Ehrman.

His introduction starts off by explaining that, after the resurrection, there were a lot of gospel documents out there. Things we think of as absolute fact (Jesus’ divinity AND humanity, for example) were highly contested in the first few centuries after He left. There is evidence that the NT as we know it was not put together until the 3rd century (4th? The year 300, these things confuse me…)

So anyway, the point is, at one point all these works were considered sacred scripture. What I have before me is not the apocrypha, I know that. I’m still working on obtaining a copy. However, I thought it’d be interesting to see what sort of scriptures were given the ax and why.

One more thing: it is very tempting to read this book through the 21st century lens. As I was reading some of the fragments, bible verses from canonical books would pop into my head, and the automatic thought was contradicted by, “well, this book must be false because the other book says–“

But wait! Who decided that this book was right and the other one was wrong? At one point, this book was accepted as truth. How, then, was it decided which was false?

I ask those of you with extensive biblical knowledge to put all that aside as we read these things and to keep an open mind. If, at the end of the day you still believe in the bible as we have it as the inspired word of God, well and good. What I do ask, however, is that you not dismiss these things without maybe doing some thinking and research into why it is the way it is.

I do not know what conclusion I have/will come to about the Bible, but I do know that the faith that doesn’t question, doesn’t doubt, and work to resolve the doubts and or admit that they are right, is dead.

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In Which I Post The Book List

I’m actually kinda surprised I kept up with this one, but at the beginning of 2012 I decided to keep track of all the books I’d read. I only included the ones I actually finished, though I might not do likewise this year. Mostly this was to see what kind of books I’m reading: do I read more fiction than non fiction? But part of it was to keep me accountable as to what type of books I was reading. 

I took a Children’s literature class, and that is why the 3rd category has been included. I also canvassed and babysat, and so some of the books I wouldn’t have read if I hadn’t been working (certain children’s books I read to little Gordon, for example. I did not want it thought that The Really Hungry Caterpillar is a book I’d normally pick up and read.)

Due to my iPod getting stolen, the numbering system got a bit messed up. As you can see, some numbers have been repeated twice. I wanted to write down the books in pretty much the order that I read them, and that is what I did. That is why there are, for example, 2 number 62s. I am too lazy to fix this, so even though it looks like the number is an even hundred, it’s probably just a little bit more than that.

Books that were started in 2011 but finished in 2012 are also included in this chart.

Anyway, enjoy. Or don’t…. I guess it’s your choice as to whether or not this is mildly interesting to you. 

Let me know your observations. I will make my own later, when I have more time on the internet or a chance to print it out.

Help Me          

Title    Author    Genre    Read For class? (Or work?)
1. One Crazy Summer    Rita Williams Garcia    Fiction-Children    Yes
2. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret    Judy Blume    Fiction-Children    No
3. Luna    Julie Ann Peters    Fiction-YA    No, but I thought it might be when I read it.
4. Education    Ellen White    Spirit of Prophecy    No
5. Un Regalo de Papá Diego    Benjamine Alire Saenz    Fiction-Children’s Picture Book    Yes
6. Marie Grace and the Orphans    Sarah M Buckey,     Fiction-Children’s    No
7. Troubles For Cecile                          Denise Louis Patrick    Fiction-Children’s    No
8. Midnighters Book 2: Touching Darkness    Scott Westerfield    Fiction-YA    No
9. Midnighters Book 3: Blue Moon    Scott Westerfield    Fiction-YA    No
10. Iqbal    Francesco D’adamo    Fcition-Children’s    Yes
11. Deenie    Judy Blume    Fiction-Children    No
12. Pink And Say    Patricia Polacco     Fiction-Historical Children’s picture book    Not sure…
13. Beautiful Disaster    Kate Brian    Fiction-YA    No
14. Teach Us Amelia Bedelia    Peggy Parish    Fiction-Children’s picture book    No
15. Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping    Peggy Parish    Fiction-Children’s picture book    No
16. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes    Eleanor Coerr    Fiction-Children’s     Yes
17. Beyond Birth & Death    His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada    Religious Literature    No
18. Bird    Zetta Elliot    Fiction-Children’s picture book    Yes
19. The Complete Guide To Bible Translations    Ron Rhodes    Non Fiction–Christian    No
20. Five Children And It    Edith Nesbit    Fiction-Children’s    No
21. The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars    Jean Merrill    Fiction–Children’s Picture Book    Yes
22. The Diary of Anne Frank: Definitive Edition    Anne Frank; Edited by Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler. Translated by Susan Massotty    Non Fiction-History    Yes
23. Anne Frank: A Hidden Life    Mirjam Pressler    Non Fiction-History    No
24. The Name Jar    Yangsook Choi    Fiction-Children’s Picture Book    Yes
25. American Born Chinese    Gene Luen Yang    Fiction-Children’s    Yes
26. Aya    Marguerite Abouet    Fiction-YA    yes
27. Paula The Waldensian    Eva Lacomte    Fiction-Children’s Christian    No
28. Pollyanna     Eleanor Porter    Fiction-Children’s    No
29. Departure Time    Truus Matti    Fiction-Children’s    Yes
30. The Legend of the Blue Bonnet    Tomie Depaola    Fiction-Children’s Picture Book    Yes
31. The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of  History    Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow    Non Fiction-History    Yes
32. Pinocchio    Carlo Collodi    Fiction-Children’s    Yes
33. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian    Sherman Alexi    Fiction-YA    Yes
Seminole Diary: Remembrances of a Slave    Dolores Johnson    Fiction-Children’s picture Book    Yes
35. Pippi Longstocking    Astrid Lindgren    Fiction–Children’s    Yes
36. Recovery Road    Blake Nelson        No
37. My Friend the Star Finder    George Ella Lyon    Fiction–Children’s    No
38. The Bobbsey Twins: Freddie and Flossie go on an Easter Egg Hunt        Fiction–Children’s    Sort of
39. Down a Sunny Dirt Road    Stan and Jan Berenstain    Autobiography    No
40. Number the Stars    Lois Lowry    Fiction–Children’s    No
41. Colporteur Ministry    Ellen White    Ellen White Books    Yes
42. Papa Married a Mormon    John Fitzgerald    Historical Fiction    No
43. Daisy    Susan Warner    Historical Fiction (Children’s)    No
44. Called. Chosen. Faithful.                Campus Press    Non Fiction    Yes
45. What Katy Did    Susan Coolidge    Fiction–Children’s    No
46. Cinder    Marissa Meyer    Fiction–Young Adult    No
47. Torn    Margaret Peterson Haddix    Fiction–Young Adult    No
48. Marie Grace Makes A Difference (book 5)            No
49. Cecile’s Gift (book 6)            No
50.Chu Ju’s House    Gloria Whelan        No
51. Story Time    Published by Pacific Press        Yes
52. The Rescue                                  Nancy Rue        No
53. Secret Adversary    Agatha Christie        No
54. My Friend Jesus    Etta B Degering        Yes
55. The Judas Virus    David Best    Science Fiction (Adult)    No
56. Little Women    Louisa May Alcott    Fiction    No
57. Forgotten    Melody Carlson        
58. Christ’s Object Lessons    Ellen G White    Spirit of Prophecy    Yes/No
“59. The Bible Story Volume 1
”    Arthur S Maxwell        Yes
60. The Female Brain     Louann Brizendine, M.D.        
61.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar    Eric Carle        
62. Number The Stars    Lois Lowry    Fiction–Children’s    No
62. The Mother Goose Board Book    Published by Scholastic        Yes
59. THe Great Controversy    Ellen G White        Yes/No
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm    “
Kate Douglas Wiggin”    Fiction–Children’s    Yes
Little House in the Big Woods    Laura Ingalls Wilder    Historical Fiction    No
60.The Bobbsey Twins    Edward Stratemeyer    Fiction–Children’s    No
61. Pollyanna     Eleanor H. Porter    Fiction–Children’s    No
62. Pollyanna Grows Up     Eleanor H. Porter    fiction–Children’s    No
57. What Katy Did At ASchool    Sarah Chauncey Woolsey/Susan Coolidge    Fiction–Children’s    No
58. What Katy Did Next    Sarah Chauncey Woolsey/Susan Coolidge    Fiction–Children’s    No
59. Stop Dressing Your 6 Year Old Like A Skank    Celia Rivenbark    Comedy    No
The Ringmaster’s Daughter    Jostein Gaarder    Fiction    No
73. Freedom Crossing    Margaret Goff Clark    Fiction– Children’s     No
74. The Time Machine    HG Wells    Science Fiction    No
75. Surfing for God    Michael John Cusik    Religious Non Fiction    No
76. Memoirs of a Bookbat    Kathryn Lasky    Fiction– Children’s     No
77. Diary of a Wimpy Kid    Jeff Kinney    Fiction –Children’s    No
78.Clover    Susan Coolidge/ Sarah Chauncey Woolsey    Fiction –Children’s    No
79.Fingerprints #2 Haunted    Melinda Metz    Fiction –Young Adult    No
80.6 More Chances    Dr. Pipim    Non Fiction (Religious)    No
81. In The High Valley    Susan Coolidge/ Sarah Chauncey Woolsey    Fiction    No
82. Voyage of the Dawn Treader    CS Lewis    Fiction–Children’s    No
83. Dork Diaries Book 1    Rachael Renee Russel    Fiction–Children’s    No
84. Puritan Adventure    Lois Lensky    Fiction–Children’s    No
85. Listen for the Singing    Jean Little    Fiction–Children’s    No
86. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone    JK Rowling    Fiction–Children’s    No
90. The Tales of Beedle The Bard    JK Rowling    Fiction–Children’s    No
91. Tomorrow Girls book 1: Behind The Gates    Eva Gray    Fiction–Young Adult    No
92. Tomorrow Girls Book 2:Run for Cover    Eva Gray    Fiction–Young Adult    No
93. The Princess Test    Gail Carson Levine    Fiction–Children’s    No
94. Keep Sweet    Michele Dominguez Greene    Fiction–Young Adult    No
95. Quiverfull    Kathryn Joyce    Non Fiction (Religious)    No
96. The Christmas Cookie Killer    Livia J Washburn     Fiction–Mystery    No
97. Tomorrow Girls Book 3 Among the Enemy    Eva Gray    Fiction–Children’s    No
98. Meet Cecile (Book 2)    Denise Lewis Patrick    Fiction–Children’s    No
99. A Surprise for Caroline (book 3)    Kathleen Ernst    Fiction–Children’s    No
100. Tomorrow Girls Book 4: Set me Free    Eva Gray    Fiction–Children’s    No
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
           

The New Year’s Post

The New Year’s Post

Usually at the end of each year I try to reflect a little on the previous one.

I haven’t felt like doing that.

This year started off ok. I was surrounded by safe people, or, on a bad day, halfway safe people. Mostly I’m referring to last year’s missionaries, and no, I don’t just mean Callie. (Though even some non missionaries who used to be safe people but aren’t…)

Ahem. And then I went on a mission trip to Florida. I didn’t get to see dolphins, but Kiana hugged me a lot, and Callie said I could come visit, so it all worked out. In Florida, I had a few experiences. Actually that’s a lie, I mostly didn’t do anything. James trained me in giving Bible studies (the rest of us thought he was certifiable) and that was about it. Most of my memories of Florida involve sun; lots and lots of SUN! (and the baptistry… will NEVER forget that baptistry.)

Then over the summer I decided to go canvassing (I won’t say here what I must’ve been smoking…) I think I’ve very well recorded here what a disaster that was. I didn’t even get anything for finishing the whole dam program: no sense of satisfaction, no monetary reward (I hear there was sorta supposed to be one), nothing. Not even a “good job Abby” or a, “congratulations?!?!?!?!”

Callie said that canvassing changed me. When I asked her how, she replied, “you’re more broken now.”

Erm, how is that a good thing?

It’s not. It just makes me…

broken.

In the summer I went back to College, expecting things to be the same as last year but nervous about what James had in mind as far as, “We’re going to use you more for evangelism!” went.

That went well for like, a week. And then I started having problems. Or, maybe some old ones just came to the surface. I started having questions I couldn’t answer, or at least, not satisfactorily. Started noticing contradictions GLARING at me from the pages of my bible.

I wasn’t looking for them, so PLEASE don’t tell me that, “those who look for contradictions will always find them.”

I started noticing contradictions with EGW, EGW/bible and EGW/EGW and EGW/Reality.

At the same time, James started pushing me more. To give personal bible studies, to lead Wed with Jesus, to be rebaptized.

He would say, “this is what the Lord told me.” I would then sit there wondering why, in some cases, God (“God”?) had told me exactly the opposite. James would say, “but don’t take my word for it, ask God himself.” But it was clear from the way he spoke that if God didn’t tell me the same thing he told James, I was hearing from
The Wrong God.

All this depressed me greatly. I did not know who I could talk to, at least, who I could talk to that could possibly help.

The small pool of safe people I had was fast shrinking.

To date, I have exactly one person at College who I can talk to about all this. The person’s very presence has probably been the only thing keeping me sane. Just knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts.

But the person’s got a sane mind. Zie can take what zie observes and accept that the worldview of others is not going to be sufficient.

It all whirls in my head: if I believe/do the right things, I will go to heaven. If I believe/do the wrong things, I will go to hell. What exactly are the right and wrong things? Who is right? The Bible is no help; it can be interpreted in a thousand different ways. So who’s right? Even if we stick with just Adventism, there are a million different SDA religious styles. Who’s right: the conservatives? the liberals?

I’m not describing this well at all. I need to go to bed, but cousin dearest hasn’t shut off the tv.

All this swirls around in my head, leaving me more and more depressed.

I keep getting told about various things I should do to heal my depression: pray more, exercise more, focus on others rather than yourself, clean your room, etc.

These things may help some people. However, when I’ve exercised on a regular basis, it hasn’t helped the depression, and in any case, depression makes it near impossible to do these things.

So I’m trying one last option: a combination of drug and talk therapy.

I mean, what if I’ve been opposed to anti depressants all my life and been wrong? What if one tiny little pill has been, for all these years, the only thing standing between me and mental health? Oh sure it’s not a permanent solution for everybody, but it is for some people. I mean,there definitely are other issues that need to be addressed, but what if, for the most part, this is a chemical imbalance in the brain that could be corrected by medication?

What if God doesn’t want me to “just pray more?” What if he wants me to use my brain and see a doctor?

2012 has been rough, bumpy, uneven. I wonder if 2013 will be any better, or if this is the year I finally give in and do what I’ve known I needed to do since the moment I first heard people actually do that.

Help Me