Articles from 2020

I found someone like me who records memories for future self

I was reading a blog on NVLD when I came across a comment by Shava Nerad which read, in part,

My episodic memory is pretty good, but spotty. I can remember things going back to my toddler years. I started trying to remember events of my life when I was about eight years old when I realized that most adults didn’t remember what it was like to be a child anymore, and had the foresight as a gifted kid to try to “record” my memories for my future self so this wouldn’t be my fate (it worked!). My idea of my unfathomably ancient future self, in my mind at the time, was me-at-forty, lol, and here I am at nearly 60, still quite easily remembering my internal states as a kid.

I did this, too: When I was maybe ten, I read the Little House books, assumed they were all based on memory (not knowing that Wilder did some fictionalizing), and wanted to be able to do the same thing when I got older.  So I asked my psychologist to hypnotize me to remember everything.  I also started writing down everything, in diaries and letters and journals, and then backing them up: typing them, copying them, saving them on computers, locking them in fireproof vaults.  As I got older, saving e-mails became a new way of remembering.  Nowadays, I do my saving electronically, which is much easier to find room for and access at will.

So just like Nerad, I can remember many things from as far back as age one because I was determined to remember them.  I wrote down many old memories into Word Perfect; there are many things I’ve forgotten which I remember by looking back through these journals.  They are valuable to me, no matter if anybody else cares about the things I write about.  Even if nobody reads much of the memoirs I’ve posted here on my website, they are there for me to re-read and search through whenever I want to remember something.

And yes, I remember vividly what it was like to be a kid, to be a teenager, even at the ripe old age of 47.  😉  So when I see somebody my age post a comment online like, “Back in MY day, we didn’t act up in class/disrespect our parents/act like today’s spoiled rotten kids/etc. etc.,” I can say, “Um, yes, you did.  You were just as bad.  Spanking didn’t stop you.”

Too bad I can’t post a reply to Nerad.  I mean, I could, but this person’s comment was posted two and a half years ago….

Christians are being propagandized into a surreal bubble of nonreality, extremism, and hate

In the past few days, I’ve posted a couple of comments on blogs that I want to reproduce here:

[First post, a few days ago on the claytoonz blog:]

I had to unfriend a couple of Trumpers on Facebook on Saturday after the race was called. It was upsetting because they weren’t old high school classmates–They were people I see a lot (or at least, used to, in the Before times). I liked them, stuck up for them in other contexts. And here they were harassing me on Facebook with snarky comments.

One had been doing this for the past year, ever since I started posting about immigrants in 2019.

The other–Well, once he called one of my other friends [Enema] “slime” on Facebook for supporting abortion rights.  [Enema recently died of COVID; he was an awesome person who loved kids.]  Then he dissed modern Goth literarature/music/art (grrr).  Then one day I posted the Benjamin Corey post which starts by tongue-in-cheeky comparing the Antichrist prophecies to Trump (and ends feeling “unsettled”).  This person wrote, “My church teaches that the Catholic Church is the Antichrist/Whore of Babylon.”  That was a red alert right there, because the churches that teach that tend to be the extremists of the fundies.  I was fundie once, and we didn’t say that.

Well, yesterday I changed my cover photo to Love Trumps Hate.  I come back a short time later and find a comment that says (paraphrasing), “If PERVERT love is what the Greek Orthodox Church teaches, then I’m glad I was never a part of it.”

I’d been ignoring a lot of his comments lately; I wonder now what the other ones were like, if he could post this jaw-dropper.  And there he was with the other guy on another post, exchanging things like “I’ll never accept Biden as my president” and “I agree” with each other.  I’d had enough.

I’d heard from people in different minority groups that my town has issues.  Here it was right in front of me, which I didn’t see before because I mostly kept quiet on Facebook and in real life about politics/race/LGBTQ/etc.  Kept my mouth shut at church and at club, and as a white person, people treated me fine.  I start speaking up about minority groups, I start talking in opposition to Trump, and look what happens.  People start unfriending me, I start unfriending others.  I start to see the ugliness.  The blinders of privilege are real.

And these people are unapologetic about what they’re doing and saying.  These two people are not blocked; have they messaged me with apologies, asked to restore friendship?  Nope.

[Second post, today:]

In 2003, in the EFCA church, there were people who wanted the pastor to preach about politics, but he said no.  He wanted people to make up their own minds.  I was a Bush fan, but we had at least 3 staunch Democrats in the church.  But the church was also tilting Calvinistic at this time, and Evangelicalism had been getting crazier and crazier (Halloween, Harry Potter, etc), so shortly after, we left.

2004 was the turning point for me.  There was Gitmo, stories of Bush allowing torture, the Patriot Act, doubts about the Iraq War–so I voted for Kerry.  I went first to a liberal church and then became Greek Orthodox, so there was no idolizing of Bush there.  The church was mostly cradle, not converts, so they weren’t affected so much by Evangelical nationalism.  But I saw it elsewhere, especially on Jesus Camp.

However, the couple who first influenced me into Orthodoxy–a convert couple I found online, who later moved to my town–was also right-wing.  *He* was a Libertarian and didn’t like Bush, but *she* was a Republican and sounded very much like the extreme side of Evangelicalism that I’d been trying to escape.  And *he* became a Tea Partier.  Even though he didn’t like Bush, he still hated Obama, thought he was going to outlaw Christianity.  So even though they were Orthodox now, they brought that Evangelical extremism with them.  At the time I was upset that they didn’t like my church and went to another one in a different county.  Now I’m glad.  That church closed, but they never started coming to mine.  We have Republicans and conservatives, but we also have Democrats, and usually conversation is about gardening or arguing over who left what mess in the basement.

Then over time, the right-wing converts in Orthodoxy have been bringing in the extremism, so I see it online.  I haven’t seen it in my church so much, fortunately.  Though for the past 8 months, I haven’t been to church….

I see it online, though: People I used to know in college or in the church where I grew up, posting about guns.  I don’t remember them ever mentioning an interest in guns before this past decade.  One person just posted a picture of herself with an AR-15.  One was in my church youth group; we never talked about guns back in the day.  Christianity was about peace and love, not shooting people, though shooting deer was okay.  Then I found one of my exes [Shawn] and friended him on Facebook; his wall was covered with memes about guns and Sean Hannity quotes.  I knew he was conservative, but I knew him for two years and he never mentioned guns!

Ever since I came out and started posting political things on Facebook after a 5-year break, the claws started coming out.  I was tired of people posting their conservative memes and assuming that I agreed with them because I never said anything.  People I thought were nice, started to actually harass me for my posts.  On Saturday I had to unfriend two people.  One of them made a nasty, homophobic comment that insulted me and my church as well.  When did this become Christian?

This could’ve been me, if not for the crises of faith I experienced in college.  Many of my beliefs on many things were tested in a college I thought would be a safe Christian bubble.  (They actually let everybody in and didn’t care what they did.)  Pat Robertson said God told him Bush would win re-election; that didn’t happen.  I learned that what he said about a LOT of things wasn’t true, everything from politics to Dungeons and Dragons.  Media class taught me that Rush Limbaugh was manipulating people.  My eyes were opened and, while I was still Republican for a while, I was moving away from it.  When Fox News came out, I knew better than to watch it, and stuck to the newspaper, news magazines, and occasionally CNN.  While everybody around me was starting to go nuts, I still kept my head.  Now I look at people’s social media posts and it’s like they’re in a totally different reality.  It’s surreal.

But I keep reminding myself that the Church has survived 2000 years of political upheavals and religious wars.  The German church turned Nazi for a time, but many Christians kept their faith.  The Church survived Soviet Russia.  I can’t let American fascism turn me away from it.

More on Jeff Durbin who calls woke Christians “sluts” and “Marxists”

Regarding my last post, about the guy, Jeff Durbin, who says that so-called “woke” Christians are evangelical sluts opening their legs to Marx etc.: I’ve been googling him this evening to find out more about him.  He is a postmillennial theonomist; not quite sure what that means, because the sources I saw disagree and get all word-salady, but it seems to be a form of theocracy.  Here you can find more information about his ranting sermon, and that he is buddies with Doug Wilson of Christ Church–which the Spiritual Sounding Board and Wartburg Watch blogs have covered as an abusive, patriarchal church that covers up abuses and tells abused women to stay put.  Durbin himself is the pastor of Apologia Church in Arizona.  Along with a couple of clips, on the Protestia post you can also read some of Durbin’s words in the sermon:

So in light of these issues, BLM, LBGT, and the abortion issue, evangellyfish woke pastors – you say ‘homolust is not a sin,’ even though Jesus said sin begins in the heart. You say ‘we aren’t under the law, we’re under grace. We don’t need God’s stipulated standards of justice.’ Yet you throw up your Marxist communist fists shouting, ‘No justice, no peace!’ You swallowed the member of the Marxist denying what God says about our unity and identity in the Messiah, and you teach people that our identity is in our color. Shame on you. You deny God’s own word, accusing people of guilt for the sinful color of their ancestors. Thus, you invalidate the word of God for the sake of your woke bullshit.

…The woke evangelical whore is a slut who lies down in the middle of a burning city, spreading her legs to the rioters and looters, spreading her legs to Marx, Engels, Alinksy, and Soros. Only she knows the history. Marxism and Communism plunge nations into poverty. There’s no money in this for her, but she wasn’t looking for payment anyways. The evangelical woke slut is a slut whose behavior makes Cardi B’s WAP ( A filthy song whose acronym is ‘Wet Ass Pussy) look like performance art for preschoolers.

…Pray that God removes these pimps from the pulpit and fills it with prophets who will keep his bride pure and faithful.

People apparently complained about his cussing.  But it’s not the cussing that’s offensive: It’s the misogyny, racism and homophobia! My searches led to this article, which contains a video of Durbin explaining his views on abortion.  He believes that women who have abortions should be subject to the same penalty as someone who, say, murders her teenage child–which can be the death penalty.  If you watch it, you can see him and his friends with long beards, apparently “hipsters.”  They’re trying to look cool, and Protestia compares his manner to “Mark Driscoll and edgy Youth Pastors everywhere.”

So–Mark Driscoll, Doug Wilson–both names that ring bells because they’ve been all over the spiritual abuse blogs in the past decade.  Is Durbin another spiritual abuser? Pulpit and Pen would say yes.  They have a whole post describing Durbin’s tendency to tape-record conversations and then use them against people later, including a private confession.  Not only that, but his church has membership covenants, which the Wartburg Watch and many other sources warn against.  One person left the church, and when he tried to join a different church:

Rod Boyd was an attender but never a member of Apologia Church, and yet Jeff Durbin was insisting that Jesus Christ himself would condemn both Rod and Daniel on the Day of Judgment for not recognizing Apologia Church’s discipline upon a non-member.   Luke Pierson reminded Daniel that Apologia members who left for Daniel’s [church] plant were not being “faithful unto death” to Apologia, as required by their membership certificate.

The post also describes incidents in which a 12-year-old girl was getting “sinful” texts from a member of Durbin’s household.  It doesn’t go into detail, but it seems clear they were sexual.  A member of the household also engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with her at a sleepover.  The Durbins initially slandered the girl as a predator, until they saw the “sinful” texts.  It isn’t clear who the member of the household was; was it an adult, or one of the Durbin children?  Was it statutory rape, or was it typical consensual behavior between kids of the same age?  I don’t know.  But whatever it was, the Durbins were spreading lies about the girl.

This video, by a Mormon who had issues with Durbin, reveals that Durbin throws around the word “Marxist” even when you’re talking theology he doesn’t agree with, and is very abusive with people he argues with.  He says at the end that Durbin and James White are manipulative liars with questionable moral character and judgment; he says their behavior (such as saying women should get the death penalty for abortion) is not normal; and that he suspects more people will start coming out with stories about them.

It is very concerning to see “pastors” such as this coming out with abusive language toward people in the churches who dare to have different political views than their own, who dare to look into the issue of systemic racism and consider whether homosexuality is truly sinful.  Basically, Durbin and others like him are setting themselves up to be the arbiter of what is the correct view to take on everything, including patriarchy, white supremacy, and LGBTQ+.  And if you disagree, they call you a wolf, say you’re antichrist, say you’re in sin, call you a “slut,” accuse you of “homolust,” call you a Marxist, and say that you need to be “disciplined” if you won’t take their “correction.” And they do it all with hipster beards and tattoos.