Posted by: celticanglican | May 20, 2019

At What Point Do You Say “Enough Already”?

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Yet another mass shooting, concerns of nuclear war, finger-pointing and assigning blame for political malcontent without looking inward, brick walls that hinder progress on social concerns, lack of respect for others’ rights to lawfully and peacefully protest injustices, etc. It never seems to end.

What can we all make of this, as people of faith or as non-churchy, yet concerned people? With a seemingly unending stream of awful or frustrating events, we need to find that right balance of spiritual answers and acknowledgment that those answers aren’t and probably shouldn’t be easy.

In my 18 years of formal church membership, I’ve come to realize that what falls under the heading of “religion” doesn’t always offer the answers we seek. Is this a bad thing? – far from it!

Without delving into an exhaustive history lesson, the “easy-peasy pat answers” approach to Christianity is relatively new in the philosophical realm. Many Catholic, Anglican, and early Protestant thinkers probably would have been just as disgusted with the “name it and claim it”, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, “We can’t talk about sin because it’s negative” thinking as many of us are.

As we see in a quote commonly attributed to William Temple, “The problem of evil…Why does God permit it? Or, if God is omnipotent, in which case permission and creation are the same, why did God create it?”

I think these are questions we shouldn’t be afraid to ponder. Our world is always rushing, it seems, and it’s easy to look to quick answers that offer little to no substance.

The Book of Job seems to exemplify how people often look at the various difficulties that come their way.  It’s easy to decide you need to search for answers, but it often seems a lot harder when there are no answers.

As one commentator once put it, the biggest takeaway he gets from the Book of Job and all recorded in it is “[Stuff] happens”. One of the most frustrating things about “stuff” is that there often seems to be no reason for all of it, and it’s easy to accept one of the “easy” answers, rather than struggle not finding answers.

We can and must do better. Maybe the answer to our struggles is that the answer isn’t WHY the difficulties happened, but WHAT we will do because of them.

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Posted by: celticanglican | May 12, 2019

Five Rules of Facebook Etiquette, Part 1: Thread Hijacking

She nailed it…people who want to say negative stuff need to keep it on their own timelines

It's My Life

Something happened on Facebook this week that made me contemplate how people act on social media sites and why. It’s been said that people are likely to say things to you via the Internet that they would never have the guts to say to your face. It’s a syndrome that’s often discussed relative to anonymity and the Web.

I think people are more likely to say things on Facebook that they would never have the guts to say to your face too, so it’s more complicated than hiding behind anonymity. Because hopefully you do actually know these people. Sort of.

So, I clearly have a close relationship with Facebook since, you know, I wrote a story about it. I spend too much time on it, and I do really love it. I love seeing vacation pictures from my cousin, and I love checking out cool blog posts recommended by my friends. If a big news event happens, I usually find out…

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Posted by: celticanglican | May 4, 2019

Ducking the Ax to Grind

ax in the stump Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I got sidetracked from my series on making the Internet kinder, but have decided to dive back into it. The series won’t stop with the publication of the fourth post. There is still a lot that we can all do to help make the Internet a kinder place.

Public Posts – The Wild West of Facebook

Being able to post a status update publicly on Facebook or any other social networking site is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, what you share might go viral very quickly. On the other hand, your post might attract anyone who has an ax to grind.

I saw this proven when commenting on a public post on a friend’s timeline. The OP stated some legitimate concerns about how some Christians horribly misrepresent what Christianity is about, and another commenter agreed, saying that as an Episcopalian, she feels they aren’t representing the dignity of every human being. I commented on her post, saying something to the effect of how it was cool to meet another Episcopalian.

My FB notifications let me know that someone else had reacted to my comment with an angry emoticon. This struck me as odd because  I had no idea why my comment would have prompted that reaction. Was this a drive-by proselytizer out to (try) to convert me?

Not Letting It Go

The woman in question proceeded to go on a rant against everything she found objectionable with TEC and its polity. Perhaps there was an incident in her past that impacted her in a negative way and she was lashing out. Whatever the cause, how she handled it was a problem.

It’s one thing to honestly speak out about a wrong committed, especially if those in a position to do something about it failed. However, it’s another thing to go on a rant and then post inflammatory comments directed against people whose sole “offense” is identifying with a group. I feel this person took things a step too far by posting negative reactions and comments against others simply because of their denominational background.

Drawing the Line

Sometimes, you’ll come across somebody online who has an ax to grind or otherwise finds a non-confrontational statement objectionable. The main thing to ask yourself: do you want to accept the invitation to an argument or decline? In many cases, avoiding the argument is best.

It might be tempting to jump into the argument headfirst. After all, how many people take negative commentary against their denomination sitting down? However, sometimes being the adult means sitting it out.

Ask yourself:

  • If they’re being so confrontational, what will I gain by returning the favor?
  • Am I giving them what they’re looking for by taking the bait?
  • When actual past trauma is the reason for lashing out, am I helping or hurting by getting drawn into their drama?

As a fellow AOL board host once put it, let the back-and-forth stop with you.

Posted by: celticanglican | April 23, 2019

Giving – It’s Personal and That’s Okay

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Two memes related to raising funds to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral recently made the rounds on my Facebook news feed. They both revolved around a similar message: Billions have been donated, yet Flint, Michigan and Puerto Rico still need help, so money should go to those needs instead. The second added a mention of the crisis with separated children at the southern border.

Are caring about humanitarian causes and cultural/historical ones mutually exclusive? Are we treating the causes that people do or don’t support as a judgment against peoples’ values?

I’d say that supporting one type of cause doesn’t exclude other causes by any means. When we question the motives of people who decide to donate to rebuild Notre Dame but assume they don’t care about other causes as well, we’re being needlessly judgemental.

Peoples’ choices about giving are personal and we shouldn’t be telling people what causes to support or how to go about showing support. In the wake of a disaster, people might show public support for a rebuilding effort because of all the attention that surrounds the event. It’s unreasonable to assume that their support for one particular cause means that’s the ONLY one they support.

Donations from millionaires and billionaires naturally bring about a lot of attention because of their size. However, most donations are probably much smaller in scope. They are no less important just because of their size.

There are many ways to show support for causes besides donating. You can set up a social media fundraiser, blog about your cause, raise awareness with a profile picture or frame – your imagination is your only limit. It’s not the size of your gift, but the thought that’s most important.

Posted by: celticanglican | April 16, 2019

Just a Building? Why Losses of Sacred Spaces Matter

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During media coverage of the tragic Notre Dame fire yesterday, there were several references made to the idea of the Church being the people, rather than a specific building. As true as this concept is for most Christians (1 Cor. 12:12-14, Eph. 4:1-16), it does a major disservice both to these places and the activities that take place within them to say, “It was only a building” or “It was just a place in the woods”, etc. Sacred spaces mean what they do to people because of the worship and community activities that take place.

Many people believe that what makes a sacred space special is its religious meaning to the faithful. They celebrate milestones in life in these places, they worship together, and they come together to mourn in times of grief. All of these events, I think, help sanctify these places.

One thing that stands out after a tragedy of this magnitude is how much of a sense of hope people have despite the losses. Some important relics survived the Notre Dame fire, and the chancel area (a big deal in liturgical churches) also survived. Hope is important to humanity across faiths and anything that provides a little extra hope is worth celebrating.

Posted by: celticanglican | April 14, 2019

But Who is He, Really? A Scriptural Nugget for Palm Sunday

CelticAnglican's Ramblings

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8)

There is a lot of talk nowadays about the “historical Jesus”, Jesus as a great spiritual leader, and, in some New Age circles, Jesus as an “ascended master”. With many different opinions about who Jesus is, how is the best way to present the true Jesus of the Bible?

If I could sum up who Jesus is in a short paragraph, I would use the example found in Philippians 2:5-11 What does this say about Jesus? He was, and is, truly God. He emptied Himself…

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Posted by: celticanglican | April 7, 2019

Why Liturgical Worship?

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CelticAnglican's Ramblings

Liturgical worship dates back to before the founding of Christianity, and has its origins in Jewish worship. In reading the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy), we see that God mandated certain ceremonies to be observed by His people. By the time of Jesus, weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) services had a regular structure that included hymns of praise, reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, and a sermon on the text. These elements, have survived in traditional Christian worship.

The earliest Christians were mainly Jewish converts who continued to worship in the Temple and synagogues as well as with the growing Christian community. However, believers in Jesus were soon expelled from the synagogues. Christians of the New Testament era, due to persecution, originally met in homes. The Hebrew Scriptures and the books of the New Testament, as they were written, were read. A sermon would be given. An offering would be taken and prayers offered. Then communion…

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Posted by: celticanglican | April 4, 2019

Survival Tips for Dealing with Narcissists (and They Are Legion)

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Narciccists – ugghhh! It seems like they’re all around us and dealing with their drama is exhausting. I recently read an article that addressed narciccism issues amongst siblings that mirrored a lot of what I’ve dealt with with narcissists of a non-sibling nature. (I’ve often said that only children can find enough drama of their own with sibling issues- speaking from experience).

Here are a few observations I’ve made in dealing with narciccists over  the years:

  • Framing your own narrative of your life – When you have/had a parent or other family member with narciccistic tendancies, others in your family may only want to see a “perfect” image. They may be willing to overlook the bad side of your family life or deny its presence. One coping skill I have found is to realize that only I can frame my life’s narrative, just as others can only frame theirs – others’ fantasies about what they think has happened in my life are just that -fantasies.
  • Avoiding the victim game – Narciccists derive much of their power from playing the vicim, often making the objects of their abuse feel they have to appease them.  Folks, this is no way to live. I unfortunately learned too late that removing yourself from the narciccism games that some people play is one of the only paths to true freedom.
  • Narciccism is very much an issue where untreated emotional issues are concerned in some cases, and often creates a vicious cycle that makes it hard for some in the narcisst’s life to support them in getting the help they need. Rather than seeing it as taking sides, I think all involved in such situations can benefit from seeing it as being on the side of being a helper to all.

These are just a few thoughts based on how I’ve observed narciccism in families can impact relationships. I might revisit each of these points in further depth in future posts. Stay tuned 🙂

Please note that none of this is or should be construed as medical/psychiatric advice. Those dealing with such issues should seek the help of a professional properly trained to address them.

Posted by: celticanglican | April 1, 2019

No, You Didn’t Make Your Loved One Drink

alcohol-hangover-event-death-52507.jpeg

It’s a damaging, destructive lie that’s repeated all too often: if an alcoholic drinks, it is someone else’s fault. It’s bad enough when an alcoholic alleges that a loved one drove them to drinking, and even worse when they make others believe that lie.

How often have you heard some variation of the following:

I drank until I passed out because I hated my ex-father-in-law and he hated me

If my wife would stay off my back and let me be with my friends more, I wouldn’t drink so much and I’d be home sooner

My father hit me all the time growing up and my mother did nothing about it

Our son was such a lost soul and nobody understood him

The recovery website Sober Recovery recently published an article about 10 things non-addicts (or normies) don’t understand. One of the things they tackled was the idea that addiction is someone’s fault.

Believing that addiction is someone else’s fault is dangerous thinking for these reasons:

  • It denies the fact that addiction is a disease that may have more than one cause that science has yet to uncover all the complexities of – it needs to be treated as a disease that requires care. Trying to treat it as a moral failing or simple poor choice overlooks this important fact.
  • Trying to assign blame distracts loved ones from the fact that the person living with the addiction needs treatment – not enablers doing nothing to help. Lending a “sympathetic ear” while supplying the addict with their addictive substance is not the help they need.
  • Blaming others and the trouble such behavior causes makes it harder for the addicted person to start on the road to recovery in a safe emotional state. The starting point of a loved one’s recovery is not the time to dredge up old feuds against ex in-laws, former friends, etc.
  • Focusing blame on another person denies the addict’s ability to decide to take that crucial first step. Becoming addicted is not a choice, but deciding that living with the addiction is no longer acceptable is one the person living with the addiction needs to feel free to make.

The next time an addict pinpoints you as being responsible for their addiction or you hear of the blame being shifted somewhere else, remember that this is a more complex problem than larger society presents it as. Consider reaching out for help if someone in your life is struggling with an addiction.

 

Posted by: celticanglican | February 25, 2019

When Our Safe Spaces Are Violated

Originally published November 10, 2017

Facebook Sad React

This post diverges a little from my usual. It’s about the Sutherland Springs church shooting and touches on how clueless many people are about the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The fifth worst mass shooting in US history and the worst in Texas history, this incident shook even a lot of people outside the area to the core. The decision to demolish the building where this happened and rebuild has elicited a lot of commentaries, with some clearly not understanding why returning to the same place where this tragedy occurred may be too much for some who lost family members and friends.

I saw a lot of comments in the first few days after the shooting to the effect of how rebuilding elsewhere was “giving up” and how “everyone needs to think positive”. These sentiments don’t bring back any of the lives cut short or erase the painful images that are likely too fresh in the minds of the survivors at this point.

The reality is that PTSD is very likely to be an issue for many of those who experienced this tragedy firsthand. In addition to coping with the effects of trauma, bereavement is also a factor for the survivors and the loved ones of the victims.

My late father was medically diagnosed with PTSD and I saw what the effects were when he was exposed to something that needlessly reminded him of Vietnam. To me, it is very easy to see why the remaining members would want to find a different location.

A church or any place that fosters a sense of community ought to be a safe space. Shootings or other tragic events violate those safe spaces, and there are times when the loss is too great for the space’s sanctity to be regained – this may be one of those times for the affected congregation.

Rather than criticizing how survivors of a tragedy decide to move forward, support them with thoughts, prayers and meaningful action. We, as a society, owe it to all who have faced such tragedy in life, whether it’s war, terrorism or other human-created disasters.

 

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