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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And Jesus said, "Lay Down Your Weapons and Follow Me"


My reaction to Apocalyptic Christian Militia in Michigan?

Tip of the iceberg.

My parents didn't want any of us to be stupid about guns. We were never allowed to play with toy guns. We were never allowed to use our fingers as guns and say Bang. We were never allowed to go out into the woods during deer season unless we had a really, really good excuse and only if we were in orange and within calling distance. And we, the first 4 or 5 at least, went through gun training during elementary.

Ironically, the ONLY swear word derivative we were allowed to say was "SHOOT!" So in that respect, there was a lot of shooting going on in our household.

One of my rites of passage was taking that gun safety class with the rest of my classmates during the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I still have a firearm endorsement on my DL.

But I hated guns. Liked target practicing, but hated guns. Loved the compound bow and arrow, but hated guns.

Everyone in town took that gun class. It was Deer Country. But did my classmates have apocalyptic dreams/nightmares where their family fended off a world gone to hell?

I still have those dreams.... nightmares that would be wet-dreams to the Christian militia. Before Jesus comes again, all hell may break loose. The US, Civilization, Morals, will unravel, and the only way to protect the people and things you love is to be armed and ready.

Where did I come across this shitty information? I'm happy to point my finger at the Southern Baptist Church, Assembly of God, various sermons, kitchen-table talk and a hard-core Wednesday night Bible study on the book of Revelations.

These dreams are just my brain's way of dealing with stress, memory, and the unknown.

My parents were borderline pacifists, despite the mixed messages about guns. "Never, EVER, even PRETEND to point a gun at someone." My Dad probably would have dashed for the border if he had been drafted into Vietnam - but thank god for flat feet and high blood pressure!

Does my family stockpile weapons? Fuck no.

But if the government thinks that taking one group out is going to fix the problem - o boy o boy o boy - this is where my dedication to optimism fails me.

I'm continually optimistic that young men and women will turn their backs on a life that puts more trust in their guns than in their gods... and for them to know the difference. I'm optimistic that people will walk away from churches and sects that preach apocalyptic nightmares. I'm continually optimistic that once these young men and women leave apocalyptic sects, that there will be people on the other side to welcome them, packing heat that only comes from the heart.

To put a positive spin on this sad Michigan story - I would love to hear an optimistic story from you... and frankly - I don't care what about. Change the subject. Change the story.

RELATED ARTICLE:

Christian militia plotted US uprising.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Random impressions/thoughts of a less apocalyptically bent nature before I hit the sack.

-Last Friday night, a rough-cut documentary called DMT: The Spirit Molecule was shown and I had a chance to talk to the director. 8 years ago he had ingested DMT in some form--ayahuasca perhaps?--and once he came down from what must have been one of the most profound 'reality tunnel'-shaking experiences of his life, he declared that he had to make a film about it. Here he was 8 years later, 100 hours of footage, and a film that, even though it was admittedly missing b-roll and needed some serious storytelling tweaks, held more interest than some recent finished docs I've seen. If edited better--hell, even as-is--this film could blow holes of light and possibility into many minds. Having been 75% of the way through the filmmaking process, I know exactly what he said when talked of his experience being like a year of college. I'm sure he met people in the course of shooting, as have I, that have changed his outlook and life forever. I'm sure that his experience was similar to mine in that talking to dozens and dozens of people from a wide variety of backgrounds in a compressed period of time awakens you profoundly to universal themes of the human experience. It's the best lesson in tolerance I know.

-The director spoke with a group of Christians who took some entheogen or other in order to more fully encounter Jesus.

-I've been wondering about the potential of structured experiences using hallucinogens, in particular rituals that cultivate extraordinary love, compassion, and the activation of what one writer referred to as humanity's "luminous" qualities. Perhaps this could be a project for future humanists as public attitudes once again become more open toward altered states of consciousness.

-The pleasure in contemplating the upward path of a friend. When I first met him--closed off to many things, capable of telling himself too many self-limiting stories...Now, consciously embracing creativity as a fundamental value. Now he speaks of holding his fears and doubts in compassion and letting go of hostility, resentment and anger.

-My mom, always a good woman, seems lately like...Here, let this example express what my tired brain can't quite at the moment. The setting: recently at a gas station in the smallish town where she lives with my dad. She noticed some redneck bastard telling a Hispanic woman to "Go back from where you came!" My mom approached the woman, hugged her and said, "I love you and I'm glad you're here."

Hopefully some of that has rubbed off on me.

-Eric

Riverwolf, said...

Very sad--and doubly sad because most of theses "Christians" dont' realize that their perspective seems mainly an American one: that of the end coming where individuals stand up for themselves against the mean ol' guvmint. Reminds me of my childhood Mormon friends, and they weren't the compound-living type. No, these were the Mormons with a beautiful 2-story home, 3 handsome, tanned sons and a beautiful daughter. But they had an attic FULL of canned goods and supplies, you know, just in case...

But here's an optimistic story for you. Despite growing up in this type of environment, in the South, surrounded by racism, homophobia and a limited world view, I grew up to escape all that. I didn't give in to fear, mine or others. In fact, I think I took those religious/spiritual values more seriously than most others did. So I couldn't lie about my sexuality, I couldn't hate others who were different. And today, I like to think I'm a relatively well-adjusted gay man whose world is so much bigger than I ever imagined it could be. And despite all the scary stuff, I'm still optimistic enough to recognize that it's wondrously beautiful.

Christine Vyrnon said...

Eric - Thanks for the DMT documentary plug. I look forward to looking into it. I also really like the story about your mum! And... thanks for the introduction in a previous post!

Riverwolf: Thanks for the "beautiful" perspective! Yes - different is not something to fear. Your ability to leave that behind and remain compassionate is inspirational. Beautiful!

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Wow, I read the Spirit Molecule Book--Great Book, can't wait to see the film.

I have to respectfully disagree though that this could help people who live in constant fear. Set and Setting are very important in the use of these substances, but also, with the truly scientific studies of their application, so are the pre-existing mental health conditions of the people who chose to imbibe them.

A frightened person full of ugly images will most likely have a very bad, catastrophically scary trip.

Because if this automatically were true, that it could open minds like that and facilitate [automatically] a positive cognitive leap, then the Manson Family would have turned out far different, and the experiments of the U.S. Government with hallucinogens including but not limited to Lysergic Acid, Mescaline, etc., would have also turned out different.

Slipping someone a micky in the hopes that their mind will open is highly unethical and dangerous. I have interviewed people who have lived through such experiences. It terrified them and scarred them for life.

As for the rest, I still maintain that End Times mentality is a mass suicidal ideation that the rich and powerful use to manipulate the poor, the miserable and the mentally cuckoo.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Just to be clear, I never suggested that anyone dealing with serious mental health issues should be taking hallucinogens as therapy, or for that matter, giving these substances to people without their awareness. I'm aware of the power of these substances and believe they must be handled with caution. They're certainly not for everyone.

Having said that, there is a growing literature and anecdotal body of reports going back decades suggesting that these drugs can have powerful therapeutic uses. The latest information I've encountered on this has to do with the use of ibogaine in addiction treatment. I'm not aware of any statistical reports on this, largely owing to our country's prohibitions on above-ground research, but the anecdotes appear to have surprising consistency showing that after one or several treatments many (most?) are able to beat even multiple substance addictions against which every other mode of treatment has failed. The legal and responsible LSD tests from decades ago were showing this also.

As for the group of tripping Christians to whom the director referred, I have no reason to automatically assume they were doing it to self-treat dysfunctional psychological states. The director only mentioned that this group of religious trippers existed and provided no further details. If I had to take a guess they were believers of a more liberal variety, not those who might watch Pat Robertson's 700 Club.

-Eric

kriss the sexy atheist said...

We didn't have guns growing up. Have a great weekend.

Kriss

donn w2Nz said...

This week at the Minnesota Zoo I was in the monorail with the "Duggars" and when the guide mentioned something about evolution the Dad said "Hey kids, millions of years?" and they all started laughing. Who cares if "they" (authorities) talk about evolution, we don't care.

My hotel had to post a No Guns Allowed sign because of the concealed weapons legislation..really?

I see that Manifest Destiny thingamabob in the outrageous flaunting of old glory on bumpers,caps and what-nots. The gawdamn gawd-given right to do whatever the hell you feel like is percolating just beneath the surface.

I watched Nazis In America (History Channel)
the night before and witnessed the perfect storm of racism, religion, and armed insurrection...from the KKK to post WW2 "other" Rockwell to Waco & Timothy McVey...
that whole subculture of individulaistic entitlement and abusing the 2nd amendment has given these "christian" anarchists the great religious cover... much like the Taliban hides behind a pseudo Islamic front...
the white power Christians in Amerika, suckers in the disenfranchised and that bled out into the health care debate..it really attracted the crazies.

This recent idiocy surrounding the Obamacare rebellion was enough to re-open that mercenary/survivalist bullshit and now I see that all of the Governors need extra protection? Really?

Bill Maher said that the Democrats job was to drag the (fringe far right )Republican Hillbillys into the next Century..which for them, was the 19th...which would be funnier if it wasn't so true.

The Oklahoma Bombing threw cold water on this movement and scared off the hangerson but now they are back and out in the open.
Very scary.

Anonymous said...

I think it's about time someone called out Christ for tarnishing the good name of the love-starved Jesus. Here's Christ stalking around like a hell-damning street corner madman, leaving graffiti on bathroom walls about "faggots", warning about the sin of masturbation, upturning stank chalices of lies, clapping minds shut with angry spite and buying ammo to fight the White House Marxist who's come to read poetry to the country when he's not fighting wars that Christ himself screamed into being from some shit hole in Texas in 2003.

Isn't it about time we allowed Jesus to rehabilitate his good name? Love didn't die, and neither did the bisexual Jesus, laughing and engorged with lust for life, the one with the soft neck; He with the lightening chariot bringing organic wine to parched lips, and pot to the pained; He--the one who is ready for tomorrow and knows what to wear, the one who loves to fuck and puts a smile on your mom's face, not necessarily at the same time, but maybe; He who doesn't laugh at the boss's jokes; He who mounts the metal stairs and takes His clothes off upstairs; He who gathers up the homeless from the streets of New York and the east side of downtown Vancouver and wraps them with purple robes made from the minimum wage labor of hedge fund managers; He who watches women-friendly erotica and takes his boyfriend to the prom; He whose wounds are the signs of love and not a promise of revenge.

Yes, that sexy fuck-yeah! Savior, the one we--the ones who care--know will yet come down from the mountains and himself be saved by the sinners, among whom he will live with no stripes on his back.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

You are thinking about the experiments at Harvard in the 60s with Theology students. There are several books that come to mind,
Hallucinogens, A Reader and, LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process: based on the Groundbreaking Research of Oscar Janiger, M.D.

There are whole organizations that are dedicated to the responsible theraputic and spiritual application of hallucinogens.

It should be pointed out that when I think of the loonies I see hoping/planning/praying/instigating for Race Wars, Armageddon, Raptures and the like, and then imagine them on LSD---I don't get pretty images and I find it hard to visualize a positive outcome for them or the rest of us.

In fact I haven't been too impressed with a lot of the *healthy folks I meet that have used hallucinogens regularly.

Jump-starting spiritual enlightenment without having done the grueling footwork inbetween cognitive leaps, tends to make for a very shallow sort of enlightenment.

An issue that is addressed in the book, DMT-The Spirit Molecule as well.

I haven't seen that Western Culture has done much [largely speaking} to differentiate between proscribing medication as apposed to self-medicating for various conditions either.

As for the *slipping people the micky comment--I couldn't imagine actually convincing individuals of the sort hinted at in the discussion to purposefully ingest these substances, knowing that it could alter their entire perception of reality and of religion and spirituality --I doubt they would go for it anyhow. Basically you are asking someone to risk their perception of a stable reality with the possible outcome being so catastrophically different that it could cause them to loose their grip on reality period. Loosing their grip on their perception of the godhead would simply be one more cut in their psychological arteries. Only one of many.

Kare said...

I am finding you site very interesting. I could not tell by this post whether you are for or against guns. Since you used to be a fundamentalist you must have went by a certain standard of what was expected of and for you. What standard do you ascribe to now? What is to keep you from outright killing like you mentioned you did not agree with with church shooting? I am just wondering.

Christine Vyrnon said...

Kare, For starters, I'd suggest that there are a lot more options than being "for" or being "against" guns.