Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Oneness with God

“God” Does Not Save

I am going to bet that a whole lot of people are going to be either offended or frightened by a blog that suggests that “God Doesn’t Save.” Bear with me here…..I promise there is a happy ending!  🙂

Yesterday while working through some specific areas of trauma – healing and releasing them through a protocol called “Brainspotting” (under the supervision of a licensed therapist!), I had a staggering realization:

God did not save me, rescue me or support me in the most traumatic experiences of my life:

God did not step in and save me from being raped.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse.

God did not protect me against betrayal.

God did not step in when the self-appointed inquisition harassed me, wrote evil letters about me, lobbied our local priest and bishop against me.

God did not step in while the Church broke my heart and refused to stand up for me, defend me or have my back when I was challenged, harassed and abused by the fearful few.

God did not step in when I found I had no choice but to leave the Church.

God sat back and did nothing.

Even after I had given my heart, my soul, my mind, my very being to God, dedicated my life to God, I got nothing back. I got nothing but pain for all I had given to God.

“I gave it all to God and got nothing back.” THIS is the very definition of co-dependency.  We give, give, give, give and get nothing back.

THIS is the “God” most of us have been brought up to believe in. A “God” who is “out there,” separate and apart from us.  This is a “God” who needs our devotion, our time, our attention, our worship.  This is a “God” who is fickle – who gives to those who have pleased “HIM” and takes from those who don’t.  But even worse, this is a “God” who takes even, or perhaps especially, from those who give.

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This is the “God” who sacrificed his own son. This is the “God” who let his chosen one be condemned, ridiculed, and crucified on a cross…..why?  “For the forgiveness of humankind????”  Let’s be honest, this is a ridiculous kind of God!  What kind of God kills his own son?  I’ll tell you what kind of God – one who is made in the image of “man” kind – specifically the unholy masculine (not to be confused with the holy masculine) aspect of humankind.  This is a God who was created by patriarchal, hierarchical institutions for the sake of their own power and control – institutions who created a God who is to be feared so that they could use this fear to manipulate their followers – a God who looks more like fearful, vengeful, fickle, jealous, angry humans than the God that Jesus spoke about who is LOVE.

So, no, God does not save – at least not the God who is the “old man in the sky,” out there who wants us to bow down to HIM and then just maybe “HE” will give us what we need to survive.

“God” does not save…..but love does.

God did not save me from rape, but love did. Love supported me in my grieving.  Love guided me to help and support.  Love allowed me to forgive….most importantly, love allowed me to forgive myself.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse. But love did.  Love allowed me to find healing and support.  And again, love allowed me to forgive.

God did not save me from the Church who broke my heart, but love did.

God did not rescue me from the hands of the fearful minority or from the priest and bishop who had been poisoned against me, but love did. Love allowed me to heal.  Love allowed me to create a new home for myself.  Love allowed me to stand in my own truth regardless of the condemnation.  Love allowed me to be obedient to love.  And love allowed me to forgive.

So while I gave and gave and gave to “God” and got nothing in return, LOVE was there all along, supporting, guiding, healing, transforming and bringing me safely to exactly where I need to be.

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This LOVE is not “out there” hanging out among the clouds or in some heaven light years away. This LOVE is not sitting on a throne of gold locked behind some pearly gates.  This LOVE is right here inside of me, and this LOVE is right there inside of you.  This is the LOVE that you are and the LOVE that Jesus came to know within himself and wanted everyone else to know.  This is the LOVE that is our true nature – that holds the knowledge of our life path, the path that will give our lives meaning and purpose.  This is the LOVE that tells us what is right and what is wrong, what is true for us and guides us toward that truth.  This is the LOVE that compels, guides, and leads us toward the many opportunities in our lives for growth, healing and transformation.  And this is the LOVE that helps us find our way through the devastating and painful experiences of the human condition to the new hope and new life that is on the other side of the disappointment and loss.  This is the LOVE that leads us toward those who will support us in this love and this is the LOVE that helps us to recognize them when they arrive.

LOVE is what saves, and if you choose to call this LOVE “God,” (or “Goddess”) then let it be so!

Posted in Being Human, Boundaries, Inspiration, men, Midlife Journey, Relationships, women

Calling the Good Men!

Today’s blog was supposed to be Part II of a rant…..but I’m not feeling very ranty.  Instead, I’m feeling a deep love and appreciation for the men of our world and instead of calling them out for the sin of White Male Privilege, I am using this forum to invite the GOOD MEN to don their Superhero capes, or sport their swords and shields and STAND UP in defense of those who are suffering under the current cultural paradigm which hurts them as much as it hurts us!  

Goodmen

For the Love of Men

I absolutely adore men. I am one of those girls who always felt at home in the company of boys and later men. I (mostly) get men.  I appreciate their interests and sense of humor.  I love the unique gifts they bring to the world.  Many of my closest friends are male, not to mention the three most important men in my life – my father, my brother, and my son.  MOST men that I know are generous, kind, loving, thoughtful, supportive, providers for their loved ones and families and not only value, but honor women for their uniqueness and as their equals.  That being said, even the men I love most have benefitted from white male privilege and while they might not be actively participating in it, they are being affected by it and in a very sad sense, they are somewhat responsible if they are doing nothing to change the face of male privilege, especially the practices which make women and people of color victims of this privilege.  Today’s blog, specifically addresses some of the ways in which women suffer under this paradigm.  And as much as we (as women) fight, kick, scream and cry for things to change, sadly, nothing about this is going to shift until those in privilege – THE MEN, stand up and do something about it.

White Male Privilege

White Male Privilege is the current cultural paradigm which values male over female, white over any other race, masculine ways of doing things over feminine, masculine structures, logical thought processes and ways of doing over feminine systems, feeling creative processes and ways of being, hierarchy over cooperation.  etc.  White Male Privilege…or as my business partner, work-husband, and personal Boy-Wonder, Ted would say, “The Plight of the Slow White Male,”  keeps us in a system where women are still only earning $0.73 for every dollar earned by a man and where there is a complete lack of recognition, honor or pay for women who are tending the home, raising the children, preparing the meals, etc. etc. etc.   White Male Privilege is most acutely obvious in Institutional structures – churches, corporations, academia, etc. where the highest levels of leadership are owned by men and if not by men, by women who had to be like men to get there.  Women suffer under this paradigm, but so do men.  White Male Privilege puts an awful lot of pressure on men (and women who have had to become like men) to perform, achieve, and conquer, often at the expense of their deeper needs for nurturing, intimacy and time to simply be. For the purpose of today’s blog, however, I am inviting us all to recognize that if we are unhappy with the effects of White Male Privilege, it is the GOOD MEN who will have to STAND UP, SPEAK UP and do something about it.  So, Good Men, as you are donning your superhero capes, here are a few of my hot-button issues (now here comes the rant!  🙂 ).  And if you would like to know where else you might help, ask your wife, your girlfriend and your sisters, they might have some ideas.  🙂

  • “Blurred Lines”  Really?????  Here’s the deal……NO MEANS NO, and a drugged, drunk woman who does not have the capacity to argue is still saying no.  As a survivor of rape, I feel as if the only just punishment due a man who rapes a woman (or a child, or another man) is castration….but I’ll let the courts decide that one.  But instead of working to stop rape,  old white men are busy making laws that are further blurring the lines around what is defined as rape and how rape is tried and punished.  Unless the woman has fully consented, is willingly participating and enjoying the action….then it is rape….period.

Good Men, we need your help in changing the culture of rape and the policies that that blur the lines around what we define as rape and how rape is punished.

  • Birth Control – again….old white men making decisions about our bodies, our decisions to become mothers and how we want to do this.  Shouldn’t this be the woman’s decision or at least made within the privacy of an intimate, committed relationship?

Good men, we need your help with this!  Your female partners need access to medical services and medications that keep unplanned pregnancies rare and sex safe.  I’m thinking you have an interest in this as well!  🙂

  • Abstinence Education?  Are you frickin kidding me??????  Old, white men again.  Keep your legs crossed kids, and don’t have sex.  But if you do….it is the girl who is to blame, because boys are just sowing their wild oats.  I call FOUL!  Kids are having sex.  And some of them are children (under the age of 13).  The sooner we ADMIT this, the sooner we will work our tails off to provide education about contraception and prevention of STD’s.  There is a reason that Amsterdam has the lowest infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rate in THE WORLD!  It is because they acknowledge that their kids are having sex and they are giving them what they need to keep sex safe and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Good men, we need your help with this.  I’m not saying we should condone sexual activity among our youth….I’m just saying let’s be real about it!  Keep our kids safe and unplanned pregnancies rare!!!!

  • Periods are gross – again, old white men in the guise of pharmaceutical companies providing pills that “stop your period.”  Ahem……women, we were meant to bleed.  It is natural and healthy.  Artificially preventing our natural cycle could have devastating and lasting effects.  Don’t trust what you see on TV or read in the magazine!  Belly up to the “Feminine Hygiene” isle and OWN your Red Tent time.

Good men, we need your help.  Support your female partners, daughters and friends in being comfortable with their bodies and all the functions thereof.  Speak out against campaigns that encourage women to stop these necessary biological functions.  Your voice matters here.

  • Menopause is a disease and something that requires medical (and psychological) attention and medication: Again, old white men deciding that the aging process is BAD (because is somehow negatively impacts their ability to be in control or to have great sex, or God forbid….learn to be open to emotional intimacy and vulnerability!!!!!).  The hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause serve the benevolent purpose of birthing the uniquely creative life of a woman beyond that of motherhood.  It is through perimenopause and menopause that women really come into their true power and when embraced….we are a force to be reckoned with.  This is not the time to seek out estrogen replacement or bio-identical hormones to calm our mood swings, ease our tempers, erase our wrinkles or so we can remain “juicy” down there….it is the time to ROAR, SHOUT, SCREAM, all the gifts we have been suppressing so that the people around us would be “happy.”

Good men, if you are supportive, loving, understanding and encouraging of your female partners  through this process….I promise that you will have your reward – a happier, healthier, more fulfilled partner who might just want to rock your world.  🙂

The Bigger Truth Here

Now, everyone take a breath.  There is a profound lesson to remember here and on which will save all of us – women and men were BOTH created in the image and likeness of God and are at once equal and unique.  If we want a better world, we are going to have to learn how to uphold our equality while honoring the unique gifts that we bring to the table – the feminine ability to be generous, to allow and receive, to work toward harmony, to encourage collaboration, consensus and peace; and the masculine traits of working toward goals, striving for accomplishment and making things happen….and that these gifts are not entirely defined by gender!!!!!  And if you think we have a long way to go in our country…think about other parts of the world where women can’t even get an education, learn to read and write, hold a job, vote, etc. etc. etc.  Our work has just begun baby!

And to the Good Men:  THANK YOU.  Thank you for having the courage to acknowledge white male privilege and to see where it hurts not only those you love, but yourself as well.  And THANK YOU for doing your part to help change this paradigm so that we can work together in creating a world rooted in love, honor and respect for all and where peace and harmony reign!

Lauri Lumby, known as Wonder Woman to some, is just a voice crying out in the wilderness, hoping to make the world a more loving, peaceful place.  Thank you for adding your voice to the cause of love. 🙂

Posted in Forgiveness, Spiritual Practices

Sexual Assault, Trauma Release and Forgiveness

Today’s blog continues the discussion on the topic of forgiveness….specifically, all the places we are invited to be loving and forgiving of ourselves.

Words of Wisdom

As I pondered about what I might write in today’s blog, the following words came across my desk from the Enneagram Institute:  In this week before Christmas, reflect on Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness. As a One, make this Affirmation today: “I forgive myself for my mistakes. I see my mistakes as opportunities for learning discernment and patience.” (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 362) After reading these words, I knew that I needed to write the blog on forgiveness that has literally haunted me and which showed up just yesterday through a terrifying nightmare.

Full Disclosure

In the fall of 1983 as a freshman at the University of Iowa, I was a victim of sexual assault.  I can’t tell you the details of the assault because I was either drugged or experiencing an alcohol-induced blackout.  For a long time, I denied that it even happen.  At the deepest part of my being, however, and supported by the glimpses of memory I did retain of that night I knew that I had been raped.  For years I either denied the experience or played it down as “no big deal,” primarily out of the profound shame I felt for “having put myself in that position in the first place.”  In other words, it was my fault.  ( for the record:  Sexual assault is NEVER the fault of the victim).  The nightmare I had on Sunday night woke me up to the guilt and the shame that I was still carrying from that assault, along with the trauma of the event that apparently still lived in my consciousness.  The appearance of this nightmare has given me an opportunity to take another look at forgiveness – specifically forgiveness of myself.

Nightmares

On Sunday night as I was sleeping, I found myself in the middle of a narrative dream.  The dream was harmless enough and seemed to be communicating something that was important for me to know.  And just as I was reaching to grasp the meaning of this “something important” I found myself wracked with physical as well as emotional terror.   I woke up screaming, “No” and like I was trying to defend myself against attack.  As I lay in bed trying to catch my breath and calm my pounding heart, I pondered the meaning of this dream.  Out of all the possible meanings, it was the sexual assault from college that kept rising to the surface.  I settled on that and asked myself, why is this showing up now and what am I supposed to do with it?   Then I remembered that I’ve been doing a lot of work around forgiveness and wondered if this was somehow connected.  DUH!

A Word About Trauma

I remember as a child being plagued by nightmares and being afraid to fall asleep because I didn’t want to have these scary and sometimes terrifying dreams.  I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to take away these nightmares.  And……God did.  Now, I’m not so sure that was a good thing.  One of the things I have learned about nightmares is that they are often our body’s way of releasing trauma.  When in the face of danger we choose freeze (as opposed to fight or flight) the adrenaline produced in the face of fear gets stuck in the body and until it is physically released, it stays there.  Trapped traumas cause physical, mental and emotional harm to us and can eventually become debilitating.  Nightmares are one way that the body gives release to the trapped adrenaline that might otherwise cause us harm.  So, nightmares aren’t necessarily a bad thing and in fact, can be a source of healing.  The nightmare of Sunday evening certainly served in that capacity….releasing another part of the trauma of sexual assault.

Forgiveness

So, I’m grateful for the release of that dream, but more importantly, I’m grateful for an opportunity to continue this practice of forgiveness that the universe has placed in my path.  I have long since forgiven my assailant, but apparently, I had not yet forgiven myself.  So…..this is the intention that I now carry thanks to that dream.  And the good news is that this is really all I need to do.  I hold myself in loving compassion and carry in my heart the Aramaic mantra of forgiveness knowing that it is God doing the actual work of forgiveness….I just need to be open to receiving it.  And in this particular situation, I am more than ready to receive.

Where are the places where you carry shame or regret for your own perceived “faults”?

How are you being invited to offer forgiveness to yourself?

What are the things of the past that you are being invited to let go of?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com