Friday, April 25, 2014

When We Were on Fire (book review/thoughts)

I just finished reading this book, When We Were on Fire, and I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I have had due to its powerful words making my head spin, bringing back painful memories (and somewhat good ones too) from my days as an evangelical Christian.  I'd like to take a few moments to reflect on how this book affected me, what I thought the outcome was going to be, and where I'd like to go from here. 

Addie Zierman, the author, goes through her faith story from age 14, up to having her first son.  She talks about how she survived her first heartbreak from another Christian boy, the expectations of other Christians at school or in church, getting married young, church hunting, depression, and drinking to deal with that depression. 

The book opens with her standing at a flagpole outside of her school, praying in the pouring rain.  As soon as I started reading this, tears welled up in my eyes.  I could barely remember that I had done that, and suddenly I remembered the "See You At the Pole" prayer circle we had every year with my youth group.  It was supposed to set an example, students would see a group of other students praying at a flagpole, and perhaps it would plant a seed in them that prayer was something people still did.  A subtle way to preach to young people we didn't know.

This was before I was overtaken by my evangelical friends.  This was when I was going to a Protestant UCC church, where they still told us not to have sex before marriage, but I think the general views of the church were pretty liberal.  I remember finding out there was a difference in churches, and between my current youth group not-so-close-friends, and then my super close marching band friends.  My marching band friends were all somehow going to church together, without me, and if you've read anything about my faith story, the main reason I went to church as a kid was to make friends.  I was jealous, and I thought I should be part of THEIR church group, instead of the one my mother was very comfortable with me attending.

They were the EVANGELICALS. The BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS.  The REAL Christians.  My UCC church suddenly was described as LUKE WARM Christians.  They weren't quite so faithful about God because they weren't preaching enough about Hellfire and whathaveyou. 

This blog in particular, I started when I was going through a terribly tough time in college.  Well, to be more fair, most of my time in college was very rough.  And a lot of that had to do with God, but then with friendships that were negatively influential and transparent, and with my eating disorder, and mostly with a boy that I thought loved me because we both also loved God.
Now I no longer really write in this blog.  I also no longer use my prayer journal.  It sits under my bed collecting dust, like a forgotten novel that I got bored with and didn't care to find out the ending.  Perhaps this has happened with things in your life that you used to be very passionate about, and then suddenly either moved on to something else, or you have felt depressed during certain points in your life because you've lost any passion.  You've felt guilty, disjointed, without direction. I often wonder whether anything I do in my faith is ENOUGH.  A common theme I have with how Addie often felt growing up is this yearning for acceptance, not just with other Christians or with God, but perhaps with herself.

I'd like to take a better direction with my blogging, and perhaps vlogging. I'm thinking of starting a new youtube channel, or just recommitting to my blog, and not associating it with "India Pearl the actor, the comic" but making it about a 20something female who doesn't always know where she belongs in the world because she's a Christian.  I'm an ABNORMAL CHRISTIAN.  I love God, but like I've said in past blogs, I also love vulgar humor, drinking too much wine with my gals, and my boyfriend who doesn't go to church (though I do wish he'd go once in a blue moon aside from begrudgingly on Christmas). 

Lots of REAL CHRISTIANS would have a problem with that.  Just like lots of NORMAL PEOPLE are shocked that I even go to church.

So where do I belong?

Well, maybe if enough people read this, I'll be able to find at least one person who's just like me.

Next blog: more specific topics will follow, though I have yet to decide the order. Perhaps I will pick from the book and go from there on how it related to my growing up and where I'm currently at. Stay tuned.

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