Spiral Dynamics Blues (and Yellow and Green and Orange and Red and Purple and Beige)

I don’t buy into Spiral Dynamics completely, but it has helped me see the world in a different way, a way that makes sense as to how people think, act, and interact with one another…

With that being said, here goes something.

***

I am on eHarmony, I mentioned this in my previous post, and things are going swimmingly with connecting with women, finding out about them and their interests and their passions, but then I propose my 3 questions in the dig deeper portion of the guided conversation set up by eHarmony.
I will be gracious in this, I am coming in contact with a lot of women who haven’t given much thought to my questions in an abstract way. Sure some responses I have received pertaining to the LGBTQ Community and God, Heaven, The Devil, Hell are very concrete in nature, but I have grace for them because I once was there as well.

It’s not that my life’s journey is somehow or somewhere better than theirs, I’m just coming from a looking back in hindsight perspective.

Still, I carry on. My roommate thinks I rush into these questions too quickly, that I should ease up a bit before going for the jugular heart of the matter. Maybe I do ask these questions too soon, but frankly I would rather know the answers to these questions, whether in concrete terms or even abstract ones, now then cultivate a possible relationship with someone only to ask these questions at a later time to only, well let’s be frank, cause a rift in our relationship.
I rather take my chances and put my cards face up on the table.

This hasn’t been too hard or too easy, I still feel like I’m baring my soul when I ask these questions to the women I engage with on eHarmony every single time, and I have to sit beside myself after I put myself out there because I don’t like feeling vulnerable; whether that’s something I do to myself or being put in a position of vulnerability.

But life and its wonders and its magical moments, I’m making headway! I know that when it comes to my questions I am not alone, and yet (and this is where the Spiral Dynamics part kicks in) I feel so alone sometimes / a lot of the time because of these things that are of utmost importance to me. I might seem very black and white about these issues, but I think know I want to connect with someone, someone I can evolve with and love, and having someone who’s more of the green yellow turquoise variant will make things easier for us as individuals as well as a couple.

***

Yet I realize there are issues that arise from Spiral Dynamics, it’s formulaic and life doesn’t always go by the rules, this categorizes people, creates/fosters paradigms of people…but still, there is something to how people attract similar minded and hearted people, and I realize in my life that there are people I gravitate to and people who gravitate to me simply because of our commonalities.

Which is why I still press on, why I still ask questions that make or break, still waiver a bit before hitting send but I hit it anyway. I want to believe it will pay off, whether here in eHarmonyland or offline!

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

You have questions, I [might] have answers!

Hi all!

I have a few posts that I will be putting up this week, but for now I will be making a blog post that’ll come out ONE WEEK FROM NOW Monday, May the 23rd addressing whatever questions you might have for me.

Sure it sounds cheesy, and some of your questions may indeed be cheesy, but as a sometimes Redditor I dig the AskMeAnything subReddit very much.

So ask away, leave no stone unturned! I will speak my truth to the most truthiness level ever.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Questioning everything as a spiritual exercise; day 20 of Ramadan

https://i2.wp.com/images.rapgenius.com/ch9zu4461vl1a4g2tp47vkecf.1000x1000x1.jpg

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

The other day my small group and I started a new book together; David Dark’s The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. I’ve read parts of this book before, but I am excited to go over it in a group context, for discussion and dialogue’s sake.

I have been in this community for a while now and I already have gathered that we’re from different places and perspectives in life. Different places and different perspectives aren’t bad things, it’s just part of life and it happens because we our experiences and perspectives make us inasmuch as we have influence (to a certain extent) to shape and create our experiences and perspectives.
One quote from the book that has resonated with me since reading it again is this:
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Questioning is okay, do you know it? Do you accept it as so or do you just let the chips fall where they may? Because whether you do or don’t allow room for questioning, even if you don’t there will be others who do! And how then do you live with that tension that might come out of questioning? Do you allow it or do you snuff it out before others start questioning as well?
I hope you allow room in your life to question and to allow others to question because it is human to question. Questioning spurs us on to seek out resolution, to not stay complacent and seek out better, it is what propelled us to explore the world and it is what still propels us to space exploration.
Questioning keeps things afresh, anew. It helps us to realize there’s more to life than just us, it helps us grasp that we’re not alone in this world, it points us to an interconnectedness between ourselves and others.

So with questions about life, question them, questions about where we’re going, question them, questions about heaven and hell, question them, question about God, question them, questions about whether God exists, question them, questions about what this is all for, question them, questions about love and goodness and beauty and hate and evil and why things go awfully wrong sometimes and other times it seems all so perfect, again…question all of them and question everything.

We might find the answers we’re looking for, we might not find the answers we’re looking for, and perhaps we’ll even have no answers to our questions…but regardless of what we may or may not come up with at the end of our questioning, we shouldn’t stop for anything, we shouldn’t feel like questioning puts us at a bad place. Questioning is human as I stated before, but it is also divine, and I believe God beckons us to question it all.

So with all that being said, questioning was my keyword on the 20th day of Ramadan. Thanks be to God, The One Who Can Be Questioned, who instills within all of questions that further our existence as well as humanity’s. May we never stop questioning and pursuing answers, but within that may we accept that not every question has an answer, and we know that when the time comes.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael

The Hurting Church

Recently it has crossed my radar of the group The Hurting Church on Facebook. For many of us including myself, we have been hurt by the church once or multiple times, and stumbling across this group has been a breath of fresh air and a cold drink of water on a hot summer’s day. Their about section sums them up nicely;

Want to share you personal story?
Public or Anonymous.
Email The Hurting Church.
Description

The church at its best is an amazing, breathing, living part of it’s community. It has the power to do many wonderful things. The church at its worst is exactly the opposite.

It’s easy to make a page where everyone focuses on the hurt and just leaves it at that.

We want this to be a page that gives voice to the hurt but also celebrates the redemption that is often experienced during and after the hurt.

For those who have been hurt by the church:

We understand. We’ve been there, we have felt the loss, aftershock, and disconnect. You may feel like you are alone and without community. But, you are not. Through stories that are shared on here it is our hope that you find some sense of healing, community, and resolve.

For those who are hurting for the church:

We get it. We hurt for the church too! So many times the church can find itself “stuck” and “out of touch” with the world around it. It becomes isolated in an effort to maintain it’s purity. Because of that though, it remains stagnant and in steady decline. It can also be a machine that churns out mindless followers instead of developing free thinkers who bring change and progress. Our hope is that through discussions, questions, and stories we can see the church move in healthy ways towards becoming an integral part of its local community with no regards to creed, faith, gender, or sexual orientation.

Ultimately we pursue healing and balance in both arenas.

We pursue free thinking.

We pursue common good.

We pursue finding beauty and God in all places and in all people.

-THC

Have questions or concerns?

Please email: mail@thehurtingchurch.com to contact the manager, content creator, or any admin.

We would love to hear from you!

Having read all of this, I decided I would submit one way I’ve been hurt by the church in the form of spiritual abuse. They gladly read it over and posted it here. Since I put myself out there for their audience, I decided to contact the founder and pick his brain on some things. Our conversation went like this (my questions in bold, the answer isn’t).

***

1. What is the purpose of THC? The main purpose is to be an outlet for those who have been hurt by the church and those hurting for the church. I want it to be a source of encouragement, challenge, and personal growth. I want people to understand that their story holds weight and the very act of sharing both the pain and redemption is something that will bring freedom. Not only for them, but others who hear it. Ultimately my hope is that people experience healing, balance, and beauty by being a part of our community.

2. What’s your tie-in to THC? I am the originator of THC. It was something that had been on my heart and in my mind to do for quite a while. I personally wanted an outlet where I could connect with other people who have gone down the same path as me. I was talking to a good friend of mine one day about my desire to do something like this. He not only encouraged me to actually do it, but also aided in helping everything look good in the process. He is someone I trust and someone who also has a lot of good ideas.

3. How have you been hurt by the church? I’ve been hurt by individuals in the church. More specifically those representing the church. I’ve been hurt to the point that everything I thought I knew and understood about God and the church went under the microscope. It was for the better though… I now have a deeper, more genuine view of who God is.

4. Have you hurt others in a Christian way that was unChristlike? Unfortunately yes.

5. How have you repaired the damage done? By going back to these people, apologizing, asking them for their forgiveness, owning my shit, and most importantly understanding that I am a person on a journey (as we all are)… continually learning, growing, and evolving.

6. What can Christians do to be more Christlike and less like Christians? Hang out with “sinners” 😉 Just teasing… but not really. I think the real question should be “What can we do as humans, labels aside, to love one another better?”

7. Should Christians concern themselves with political matters? whether party alignment-wise, or even playing a part in taking on some role in politics. Yes… but not to represent their version of God… but rather represent the attributes of God: Love, Social Justice, Peace, Grace, Beauty, Equality, and Freedom

8. When did you realize your views of God were too small and too comfortable and too compartmentalized? When the shit hit the fan. When the carpet was pulled out from underneath me. When it was just me and God. All of a sudden He became real. Again, everything went under the microscope. Everything I thought I knew and understood… changed. All of a sudden He became a lot bigger in all kinds of ways.

9. Every Christian, whether they want to admit it or not, cherry picks from the Bible. What do you cherry pick, what do you leave out? I hate to admit it, but, I don’t really read the bible all that much. It does sadden me though when people use the bible to support their own agendas. If and when I do cherry pick, and I try my best not to, it’s usually in an effort to win out an argument with someone who is confusing “Loving their neighbor” with being the judge and jury.

10. What is the teleological/end goal of The Hurting Church? the end goal is Healing and Progress. Our logo, that my wonderful friend created, is purposely in the Shape of a church with a capital H! The H stands for healing. We find healing in sharing our stories, seeing the redemption, and broadening our scopes to finding God and seeing beauty in places we may not have looked before.

11. Favorite pizza & beer combo? Easiest question yet! Lou Malnatis Pizza and any goose island beer.

***

So there you have my brief q&a with the folks of The Hurting Church, to God be the glory in their ministry and here’s the goals and end goal they have.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Writing challenge needed/desired!

I enjoyed writing on a nearly day-to-day basis by way of the 31 day writing challenge…but it only whet my appetite, I want more!

Anyone know of a good 30 day challenge? For the month of June that is 🙂

~Nathanael~

P.S. Heck, I’d be up for 30 different questions from you the readers to write out 1 day at a time, sounds goods? Share the good word, as I don’t think I have 30 readers.

Questions from one of my readers answered

These following questions were asked by one of my readers in response to my post why I choose to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community

The reason why I’m answering them openly instead of just writing a response to my reader is because he and I come from two different perspectives in this matter, and because his questions err on the side of being harmful whether he realizes it or not, by answering his questions openly protects him from flack from other readers of my site. To which any comment he has posted has been hidden so you can’t play “who would say such things” and start looking around to find this individual.

His questions which you’ll read in a moment have bothered me, and to be honest the first one caused me to lose sleep the night he posted them to my site, I wept for him for maybe he doesn’t realize what he’s saying.

What he said is what he said, but I won’t let the cat out of the bag as to who it is, I’m protecting him tho God knows a part of me would just feed him to you the reader… His questions are as follows:

1) If I understand you rightly, your main goal is to get heterosexual and homosexual couples to practice monogamy? Fidelity is the goal, no matter what kind of relationship: hetero, homo, pedo, incest, bestiality, etc. ?
Well you don’t understand me rightly, my main goal isn’t to get straight and gay couples (it’s okay to use this language) to practice monogamy, that is something they need to work out on their own, but with the help of others if needed be. See, my perspective is that sexuality is primarily about responsibility, and for the believer regardless of sexual orientation that responsibility is between yourself, yourself and God, yourself and your partner, and yourself and your partner AND God. Trust and responsibility comes from a monogamous lifestyle and I lean to saying that when this takes place and God is involved, God truly blesses the heterosexual couple as well as the gay couple or any other couple that falls under the LGBT umbrella.
I speak of terms of human relationships in terms of gay, straight, lesbian and transsexual couples, whether you realize it or not (because I don’t know your heart and mind) but equating a gay couple’s relationship to having sex with one’s sibling or with an animal is very VERY offensive.

2) You hold to the call to monogamy from the Bible, correct? At least your interpretation of it?
Well isn’t everyone’s interpretation of the Bible an interpretation of the Bible? That is, there isn’t a way or the way to read the Bible, if we can remove ourselves out of the equation and read the Bible we should…but we can’t, we’re part of the equation. But if one’s to read the Bible in context, you need to read the entire Bible, because a few verses, a few chapters, a few books surrounding the passage simply doesn’t cut it.
It’s kind of hard to define where exactly the Bible discusses monogamy, there is the example of Christ and the Church as being bride and groom, but there are countless examples in the Bible of guys with many wives, guys with concubines, etc.

3) But you apply it to all relationships, widening the scope of “marriage” to include not only hetero, but homo as well. When it only applies it to heterosexual marriages in the text (the text never speaks of a homosexual marriage in fact), how do you use it to apply to homosexual couples also?
I believe that as one reads the Bible they need to remember they were not the original audience nor these modern times was the context, and if we’re to examine within context what marriage was Biblically it was essentially sex, there wasn’t an exchanging of rings and vows, there wasn’t a reception with someone playing sappy songs mixed with newer upbeat ones, that’s a more modern Western marriage. The language Jesus uses when he spoke of “in my Father’s house has many mansions” was marriage language that was understood loud and clear by the people of his day and age.
God isn’t on the side of the conquering, he came into this world by way of Jesus by simple means. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, in humbleness and humility, he didn’t come to conquer and drive the Romans back whence they came, he came to share of God’s love and how we can have a relationship with him. I doubt Jesus had in the back of his mind “when I’m gone I hope they start a religion in my honor”, if anything we’d be a sect of Judaism, The Old Testament and New Testament is hinged on Jesus and Jesus alone, Jesus prayed for our unity and that we would be known for our love, how can we say we love the LGBT community if we’re not willing to engage, if we’re not willing to love tangibly?
Marriage if carried out as it should be, should be a sacred bond, a union, that part about “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part” doesn’t have a part in where it says BECAUSE WE’RE A STRAIGHT COUPLE, so why shouldn’t these vows be taken by gay couples as well? Are straight couples the only ones who can honor such wedding vows? I think not!

4) Do you interpret the union between man and woman and the divine institution of marriage to be the Bible saying “this applies to all relationships”? And equally, the verses about adultery always imply man and woman. But you throw it up to mean “all relationships.” Would this include the kinds mentioned in #1?
I do believe there’s something to a man and a woman getting married, I do, it’s called they’re a straight couple. But again, we’re not the original audience with the Bible, most of us are also reading a translation of a translation of a translation! If we all knew Biblical Hebrew and Koiné Greek, wouldn’t that be something? 🙂 I can’t wait to learn it once I go on to earn an M.Div.

There is something to marriage being something of a gift to us from God, but I don’t see that it is a heteronormative right only. Some members of the LGBT community who are followers of Christ interpret the Bible and glean from it that they should live a life of celibacy, other members of the LGBT community who are followers of Christ interpret the Bible and glean from it that they can have a relationship, so it all depends on the individual and honestly I’m fine with either interpretation of the Bible, but I will say that if either group is infringing upon the other group’s interpretation, conflict can arise and it shouldn’t be tolerated. I also think about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9 when he said “…But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” Again, who said this passage was intended for straight couples only?

If you ever want to show the love of Christ to the LGBT community in a tangible way, let me know.

All is Grace,
Nathanael

George W. Bush is gonna have to wait till I ask him my question…

My alma mater for college has started something new this year, they’re calling it a “World Leaders Forum” and since I graduated there in Dec. there’s an opportunity for me to go and listen to…

George W. Bush speak.

Now I would definitely like to go to this, but my reasons are mostly self-motivated; I want to ask him a question if there’s a Q&A and I kinda want to keep it from being a Republican Party party at my school…but Dubya has to wait because I’ll be working with my church’s high school youth group.
I do wish I could ask him my question, especially in light of the recent wars we are in, and while politics is mostly a battle over who’s shit smells nicer, shit is shit and regardless who’s in charge it isn’t going to change by much (this is coming from someone who voted for Obama last term). My question is about defining what a “Just War” is and then proceeding to ask him if he thinks then the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “just”.
Granted I probably could not get the question out as there are probably people who will be monitoring what’s said, but I wish I could ask it nonetheless because I want to know his thoughts on the matter.
We’re getting into the basis for the Easter holiday with the high schoolers, we have some neat things lined up for them in regards to it, may God move in our midst and our hearts during this time.

Sorry Dubya, till next time okay?

~Nathanael~