Skip to main content

Joy Unspeakable (part 5) Alien Invasion

By undercover agnostic ~

Alien Invasion

A couple of months after my mountain top experience at Bible camp, I entered Sixth grade, on fire for Jesus and ready to change the world. Sixth grade can be a tumultuous time for many kids, and my experience was no different. With the onset of puberty, raging hormones, acne and the insatiable need for social acceptance, it’s no wonder I have no desire to revisit 1974 even if my time machine could take me back with just the simple push of a button. To compound, an already difficult stage of development, my Christian zeal only added to the awkwardness. During Bible camp, I was warned that there was a cost to taking up my cross and following Jesus. I was told that I would be hated, ridiculed, alienated and rejected for being a Christian but the payoff in Heaven would be worth it all. When I threw my stick in the huge purging bonfire, on the last evening, I was essentially saying that I accepted the challenge. From that decision, emerged a recurring theme, one that ran contrary to my natural instincts. Just at the crucial time, when my greatest social need was to fit in, the Bible, my guidebook, the inerrant and inspired word of God said the opposite. I was told that Christians don’t belong here on earth. We are merely sojourners passing through on our way to Heaven. Our “real” citizenship is of a heavenly kingdom with streets of gold and a mansion waiting for us. Furthermore, Jesus was coming back very soon to whisk the believers away, and so my time on earth was going to be cut short. According to the traveling evangelists as well as the television preachers, Christ was going to come back before 1980 at the latest, and so I knew I had to be ready at any moment. Consequently, I entered sixth grade, bracing myself to be an outcast and even purposely alienating myself from the group at times to prove my allegiance to Jesus. While the other kids were busy passing notes back and forth and gossiping about who had a crush on who, and who was going steady with who, I was busy obsessing about being snatched up in the middle of the night when I least expected it, or worse being left behind. While this year marked a time of self-discovery for others, I was practicing self-denial. “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Christianity was about dying to self and resisting temptation.

Chuck, the new kid on the block, (funny how his name so perfectly fit the stereotype) with long blond hair and bangs in his face, was the boy every girl fought over. Apart from the unsightly plaque on his teeth, he was otherwise a perfect specimen, wooing hearts and then breaking them left and right with promises of going steady, followed by the terrible break up a week later. I must confess that I too had a slight crush on him, but I certainly never admitted it because I had bigger issues to worry about—namely, the rapture! I saw the whole boy/girl thing shallow and silly in light of eternity, although I couldn’t help but occasionally give in and secretly entertain my own decadent fantasies of forbidden trysts on the outskirts of the playground after school. Moreover, while the others were blabbering on about their heartthrob Donnie Osmond and cooing over the adorable Michael Jackson from the Jackson Five, I was memorizing Bible passages and looking for opportunities to witness to others about Jesus. I was constantly searching for signs-clues that other kids shared my passion for God, the Bible and Truth, but most of the students didn’t give spiritual matters a second thought. They were too busy telling dirty jokes and bragging about their sexual exploits like getting to “second base,” which I was pretty sure were partial, if not complete fabrications. There were two kids besides Jill and myself, who grew up in the Pentecostal church, but even they showed absolutely no hint of being saved. They both had come from very dysfunctional homes and were considered “white-trailer park trash” before the term was ever coined. The Mormon kids shared some of my zeal, but I was told they were a cult from Satan, so I couldn’t identify with them, either, though our beliefs were very similar. I remember at times, in the winter, retreating to the less trodden area of the playground and writing things like “Jesus Loves You” in the snow, hoping that someone would come along later, read it and get saved. To my dismay, however, not a single convert, to my knowledge, was ever made due to my proselytizing on the white canvas.

A Test of Faith

I was constantly searching for signs-clues that other kids shared my passion for God, the Bible and Truth, but most of the students didn’t give spiritual matters a second thought. For a few months, we had a young, vibrant, student teacher, who happened to be a peace loving, tie-dyed, granola eating, hippie with Birkenstocks on her feet to complete the image. The most scandalous news about her was that she, a white female, was “shacking up” with a black man. I’m not sure what was worse: that she was having sex outside of marriage or that she was in a racially “mixed” relationship, but the rumor mill had a hay day in our small conservative town while she was there. Nonetheless, the students were crazy about her because she was interesting and liked to think outside the box. One day she announced, that each of us had to dance in order to line up for lunch. Dancing was considered the “D” word in my circle, and definitely, a “sump’n we don’t do.” It was strictly forbidden in my church, along with smoking, drinking, going to theatres or pool halls, using face cards, playing with dice, wearing red lipstick or red nail polish, working on Sunday, listening to secular music and even mixed bathing (sharing the swimming pool with the opposite sex). Everyone else in the class giggled and started dancing their way into the line. But I knew I couldn’t partake. I was an alien, answering to a higher call. I had made a vow to God that I wouldn’t participate in “worldly” pleasures. So, awkwardly I stayed defiantly unmoved in my seat with my Smile, Jesus loves you patch sewn securely on my coat jacket for emphasis. When the last student had finally joined the group, the teacher noticed that I hadn’t budged. Puzzled, she asked why I wasn’t dancing and I informed her, in a pious, yet hushed tone that dancing was against my religion. “Against your what?” She asked, dumbfounded. “My religion,” I repeated, enunciating the words as if talking to a speaker of another language. “How could moving your body, be against your religion?” She asked rhetorically, shrugging her shoulders. The entire class looked back at me with puzzled stares. I could feel my cheeks getting hot. Shaking her head in disbelief, she motioned me to “just get in line.” I knew I had disappointed her. The class continued to follow my movements with a mixture of pity and mocking condescension as I quietly made my way to form the caboose, without so much as a hint of any gyrating.

My humiliation engulfed me until I got home and shared with Mama what had happened. Suddenly my soul welled up with pride as I was deemed a hero for standing up for my faith while my heathen teacher was villainized for inviting students into her evil little web of free love and debauchery. One would think she had forced us all into prostitution by the way she was so harshly criticized by Mama. But, what really mattered was that I had pleased God by my act of civil disobedience and I learned to equate embarrassment with spiritual maturity. The more I stood out as “different” and the more I alienated myself from my popular culture, I knew I was identifying with my citizenship in Heaven. There was a catchy tune, written by Tom T. Hall, that my hillbilly cousins taught me, when they came for a visit from Texas. It was called “Me ‘n Jesus,” which became my theme song:
“Me n’ Jesus, we got our own thing going,

Me n’ Jesus, got it all worked out.

Me ‘n Jesus got our own thing going.

We don’t need anybody

To tell us what it’s all about.”

My rose colored glasses masked the pain and humiliation of not fitting in. Instead, they showed me I had something far more valuable than temporary friendships or accolades from mere mortals. I had the creator of the universe as my best friend and he promised never to leave me nor forsake me. One day, we would get to dance on fluffy clouds and play harps together for all eternity. (Sigh…Yay.)


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro