Here is a repost from my previous Wordpress blog. I realized this post got lost in the transition because I had it labeled in a different categy.
Almost everyone has been burned by the church to some degree. It's not so much a question of if this will happen as much as when.
In the past year and a half I have gone through some of the toughest times of my life because I was hurt very badly by people I loved that were in leadership at my church. It sent me into a tailspin spiritually and kept me from darkening the door of a church for almost a year. The situation made me not want to be a believer anymore and made me doubt my faith to the very core. I didn't want to be a believer anymore.
However, recently I have begun to move in a positive direction, out of the depression and doubts that have kept me paralyzed for too long. I know many people go through similar things and I was inspired to write about some practical steps I have been taking that have helped me tremendously. This article is not just for people who claim to be Christians, and I am not here to defend the church. I am writing this for hurting people, whether you claim to be a believer or not, to get some relief from the torment you are living in.
Step 1: Focus your hurt on the specific people that hurt you, not the ENTIRE church.
When it comes down to it, usually one person or several people associated with the church hurt you. Sometimes the way our minds work, however, is to make gigantic generalizations like, "ALL churches are like this," or "I'm never going to ANY church ever again." These types of generalizations are made in times of astounding pain, and tend to stick for a long time afterwards.
Try to identify any of these types of statements so you can dismantle them. Try to think of the situation differently: "This one particular person hurt me, they don't represent the whole church".
Step 2: Write a letter to those that hurt you.
Don't worry: The point of this letter is not to actually send it. It's for you to get out the emotions and pain on paper. Emotions are funny things, and usually it helps to vent them. It's easier to process something on a piece of paper than to keep them boiling in your heart.
So spill your guts. Curse. You might actually need to. (I believe God would rather you curse and vent emotions than die on the inside for the next 2 years). Word-vomit everything you've held inside. If you aren't much of the writing type, do this verbally. Lock yourself in your closet/car/bathroom and scream, cry, punch something (not someone or your dog). If you don't speak or write well, write a song, paint something, draw something, etc.
The point of this is to feel all the feels from what happened to you in order to let them go. You are not saying that what they did was okay, right, or fair. What you are saying is that you are not going to let it hurt you anymore.
The best quote I've heard on holding on to past pain is this: "It's like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die." (not sure who said this). The only person it is killing is you.
Step 3: But, Why?
Why is the first and most powerful question you are probably asking yourself like a record on repeat. Why did this happen to me? Why, God, would you let this happen to me? Over. and over. and over. Trust me, I get it.
Here is an incomplete answer: there is a bigger picture than what you can see right now. Parts of the church are broken and are hurting people. Hurt, angry, and imperfect people (in leadership, some not) end up hurting others. Trying to do the right thing is not easy. You are dissapointed with the church, and dissapointed with God.
Here is one important thing to note about God: He never promised anyone that everything would be roses if they followed Him. He promised He would be with them through it. Some people like to preach that the Christian walk is one of unending bliss and joyful circumstances, but these people are wrong. He promised He would be with them, and give them joy in the midst of trials (read: horrible things happening to you).
Pain and suffering is part of the package deal of Christianity. If you sign up to be a believer you are actually signing up for more of it. But there is also something more. Jesus wants to meet you, only if you want to, in your place of pain. He wants to enable you with His emotions towards you: actual real feelings of love and peace. I know this is true not just because His Word says so, but because I have met and spoken with Him myself.
I sincerely hope that this helps even one person deal with the pain and agony that comes along with church-burns. Truly, I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. You have every right to be as hurt as you are about whatever has hurt you, and it is not okay that it happened to you. God doesn't think it's okay.
All I know is that He wants you to be okay.
FiftyThree, the company behind both products, has created one of the best drawing apps for the iPad with Paper. It is delightful to use and extremely powerful. Whenever a new iPad owner asks me for the best iPad apps to get, Paper is the first one I recommend.
The Pencil looks like a carpenter's pencil and syncs wirelessly with your iPad so that you can rest your palm on the screen, use varying amounts of pressure to get different stroke widths, and use the back eraser to erase. If you use your finger while your Pencil is synced and active, it will work as a smudge tool, a tool not otherwise available.
At $50 for the graphite color and $60 for the walnut color (with a magnetic strip to attach to your iPad's SmartCover), the Pencil is extremely attractive in price and appearance.
My current favorite iPad stylus is the Cosmonaut by Studio Neat for $25. One of my only complaints about the Cosmonaut is that when you lay it on a table, it tends to roll of due to it's cylindrical design. FiftyThree seems to be addressing this problem with the carpenter-pencil-like design.
If the Pencil has the amount of design, delight, and polish of Paper, it will be a must buy for those who love to draw on their
I'm not a graphic designer, but this of project makes me wish I was one.
The pictograms for the Rio 2016 Olympics are fun and informative. Conveying a massive amount of sports (28 according to Wikipedia) without words is impressive, but doing it with this amount of personality is what makes this great.
(via Shawn Blanc)
I've been spending a lot of time with the Tedeschi Trucks Band's new Album 'Made Up Mind' lately and I'm extremely impressed. Their first album, 'Revelator', won the 2012 Grammy for Best Blues Album and rightfully so. If you haven't heard it yet, listen to it. You'll thank me later.
In 'Made Up Mind', their sophomore album together, the married couple, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, form a holy union of funk, jazz, blues, and southern rock in a fresh way. The band showcases their massive dynamic range of styles and intensity ranging from face-melting, growling rock to sittin'-on-the-back-porch southern blues.
Susan Tedeschi, the lead vocalist on the album, is the freight train on the album cover, while the buffalo is your ear drums about to get pummeled with her cutting, gritty blues vocals.
Derek Trucks, the lead guitarist and husband to Susan Tedeschi, is one of the best guitar players to ever walk this earth. Subsequently, 'Made Up Mind' contains some of the most organic, musical, and beautiful guitar solos to ever be recorded.
My favorite thing about Derek is that he doesn't use any guitar effects. It's just him, a guitar (usually a Gibson SG), and an amp (a custom PRS). The way it should be. His guitar tone (the subtle characteristics of his guitar sound) is undoubtably warm, smooth, and alive. While listening to some guitarists soloing is like pounding shots in a night club, hearing Derek's soul ooze out of his guitar is like enjoying the smooth pour of your favorite craft beer and a great cigar on your back porch on a summer night in Alabama. There's nothing like it.
Most of the time Derek plays using a slide: a glass bottle on his left ring finger, right above his wedding band. Here's a picture.
He looks emotionless while playing, but that's definitely not the case. It's simply that his heart has a direct connection to his guitar, skipping his face and the rest of his body. It's truly something to behold. He is the most emotional guitar player I've ever heard.
Derek doesn't look like your typical rocker, in fact he kind of looks like one of those YouTube kids who learned to play in his bedroom starting at age 5, but he's not the kind of guitarist who shreds 1,000 notes in 60 seconds. He truly understands the soul of blues guitar, and his solos are thoughtful, emotional, and gutsy. He's had is own band starting at the age of 12, played with the Allman Brothers since 1999, and has an unbelievably prestigious career.
His signature guitar style is making his guitar sound like the human voice singing blues. On several tracks he does this insane falsetto octave jump thing that brings me to my knees every time. (For those not familiar, a falsetto jump is when a singer goes from their lower range to super high pitched very quickly). It's absolutely sick. Listen to "All That I Need" starting around 3:50 to see what I'm talking about. My other favorite solos are on "Do I Look Worried".
If Susan's singing and Derek's playing weren't enough reason to get this album, the songs are fantastically written and executed. They have a seasoned band of 8 other musicians, notably including two drummers: J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell. It may seem strange to have two drummers, as it did to me when I first found out, but it really does enhance the sound. The album is mixed to have one drummer in the left and one on the right side of the mix (this is very apparent with headphones). The benefit is that when they want to, they can kick your teeth in with their rolling, thunderous rhythm. Listen to the tracks "Made Up Mind", "Whiskey Legs", and "The Storm" to get an idea.
The rest of the supporting cast is insanely talented, but I'm not going to bore you by going into too much detail. You really just need to hear them in action.
Do yourself a favor and listen to 'Made Up Mind'. Much more important than being tremendously talented, the Tedeschi Trucks Band knows how to play the strings of human emotion. It's evident in their music that they understand that people want to connect emotionally with a song, not to be stimulated intellectually.
They make music because they love making music. Period. So if you love great music, even if this isn't your genre, I'm confident you will love 'Made Up Mind'.
Here is a video compilation of some great Derek solos, including one with B.B. King and John Mayer, where King says, "That's some of the best I've ever heard." Yeah, he's that good. There are a ton of great solo clips on YouTube, just be warned: they are addictive.
Here's another YouTube clip of Tedeschi Trucks Band live playing "Bound for Glory", a track from their first album 'Revelator'. It's lengthy at 10 minutes, but really shows how much fun these guys are having and that they know how to jam. Derek does some sick falsetto stuff at the beginning and insane solo work in the middle around the 3:00 minute mark. It was hard to pick one video to show you what TTB is capable of, but this one pretty much covers it. If you like what you hear, there are plenty of great live recordings on YouTube.
If you just want to hear some great Derek guitar solos, I've also made a YouTube playlist of my favorite clips that I will continually update. Enjoy.