Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Christian Atheist Chapters 4 and 5

     You know how you walk through the house calling for anybody to answer and then you realize they all left?  Where are all of y'all?  I'm just teasing!  You can still be a participant while reading along and not saying anything.

     That's kind of how I feel about prayer.  It is very personal to me.  I am so glad to be a part of prayer in church when the preacher announces prayer requests and concerns.  To me, the best thing about facebook is that you can have a prayer chain going in a matter of minutes.  We all need group prayer, but I don't like to pray out loud  in front of others.  Besides being afraid of saying the wrong thing, I feel very personal about my prayers.  When I see a prayer request on facebook or on a church email I pray right then, but quietly.  Some people like to pray out loud and lead others in prayer and I am glad because we need people like that.  I am just not one of them.

     My daughter Sydney's favorite saying is "everything happens for a reason".  I really do believe that.  I think we are part of a huge plan and God is in control.  Sometimes the kids will ask me for something for Christmas and I might get something else instead.  Then, on Christmas morning they are happier with what I gave them in place of what they asked for.  They didn't know they wanted it more, but I can explain to them why I chose it instead.  I don't know if that is the best example, but, for me, it is so hard sometimes when I feel like my prayers aren't being answered.  I have to remind myself that although God can't explain it to me right now, maybe there is something I need more but don't know it. 

     This brings about a really painful time when my sister and my brother's wife both had miscarriages several months apart from the other.  We didn't understand it at all.  My sister had 3 children at the time and had no problems so she had already told the kids they were going to have another brother or sister.  My sister in law was a little more careful because she had a high risk pregnancy with the twins.  We didn't know if her pre-term labor was because of twins or just the pregnancy itself.  It was really hard for everyone and we didn't understand why it happened.  Then...... a few months later they both found out they were pregnant again.  They were afraid to tell the other because of the previous miscarriages.  My mom knew so she knew when one could tell the other.  They were both scared when they went to the first doctor appointment.  When one had a good visit she was afraid of the other's visit the same day.  Everything ended up being fine and we added Sadie and Ella to our family.  They were born 2 weeks apart.  My sister and sister in law got even closer, enjoyed their pregnancies together, had a double baby shower, and even named their babies after their moms.  Sadie is named after my mom, Angela, and Ella is named after my sister in law's mom, Yvonne.  What was such a sad and painful time months before ended up being such a blessing to our family.

     Sometimes we pray for things and don't understand why God doesn't answer, but He does answer.  My dad used to say to me (and still does sometimes,now he says it to my kids) "I know you better than you know yourself".  God knows us and knows what we need way better than we do.  We can't see the bigger picture.  We just have to trust, although it is hard sometimes, that He does answer just not in the way we expect sometimes.

    The saying above "Everything happens for a reason" is not always easy to hear.  People say to us sometimes when we lose a loved one, or a job, or something unpleasant happens, that it is God's will.  It is hard to think that something that causes us pain or sadness and hurt is God's will.  I wonder if when we get to heaven God sits us down at a big screen TV and shows us our life and points out  WHY things happened when and the way they did.  I know I am wrong, but there are times I don't feel like things are "fair".  I believe we have a forgiving and loving God,  there are just sometimes that good people go through things that just don't seem fair.  Then, you have other people who aren't so good and may not deal with the same things.  I know it isn't for me to question, but I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way.  I am really glad the author put a spin on it and made this point:

     "But the good news is that God is not fair.  (Psalm 103:10-12 says, "God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.").

     Thankfully, God is not fair and we don't always get what we deserve.

     I am having to deal with some issues right now that I just don't understand why.  I haven't done anything wrong and have a completely clear conscious, but I am having to suffer because of someone else not telling the truth.  It doesn't seem "fair".  I know what I pray for concerning the outcome, but I have to completely trust in God.  He knows the truth and whatever happens I have to have faith that one day I will understand why me and my kids have had to go through some of the things we have had to.

     I would really like to know what you all think.  Even if you just want to give an opinion about the book in general.  You can comment anonymously and I don't even know who you are.  I have talked for three weeks and I would also like to know what you agree and disagree with in my views.  I am learning a lot about myself reading this book.  I really like the author's sense of humor and examples in making his points.  He really has a clear way of expressing his beliefs.  His stories are quite funny!  Please let me know what your thoughts and beliefs are.  If you want to comment on here you can, even anonymously, or you can comment on my facebook page The Sisterhood of Spiritual Single Mom Sisters.   On that page near the title, there is a "Like" button.  If you like the page will you click it?  I have 23 so far and I need just 2 more for my blue "f" on here, but would LOVE even more than 2! 

A pastor woke up Sunday morning as it was an exceptionally beautiful...
.... and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf. So... he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick and convinced him to say Mass for him that day.

As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room, Father Norton headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away. This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish. Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"

The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."

Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. It WAS A 420 YARD HOLE IN ONE!

St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?"

The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

On the first hole, he sliced into the rough. His opponent heard him mutter, "Hoover!" under his breath.

On the second hole, the ball went straight into a water hazard. "Hoover!" again, a little louder this time.

On the third hole, a miracle occurred & Fr. Murphy's drive landed on the green only six inches from the hole! "Praise be to God!"

He carefully lined up the putt, but the ball curved around the hole instead of going in. "HOOVER!"

By this time, his opponent couldn't withhold his curiosity any longer, and asked why the priest said "Hoover".

"It's the biggest dam I know." he replied.

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