Personal

Faith Wrestling

I was raided Christian. I’ve always felt different from others, like an outsider looking in. My mom mentioned to me once that while I was in the NICU she prayed the Holy Spirit would cover/protect me, hence the otherworldly sense I’ve had since I was little. It feels like being set apart, sealed as a believer before consciously coming to faith, converting, etc.

Fast forward decades. I am an adult and have gone through a bad church experience. I haven’t attended consistently since 2009. Yep, 10 years outside the box. It’s interesting stepping outside the Christianese world and glancing in. It’s like looking back at high school and remembering what was popular back then, recalling what you were like back in the day.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can return and trust the church again. My heart would love to, I miss the community aspect, but trusting other believers is a challenge. I haven’t read my Bible in a few years. Maybe I just need to take a step back, away from the verbiage that’s a first language to me.

I want to start from scratch. I still believe in God. I feel like part of the challenge is that Christiandom idolizes the Bible. God is bigger than the Bible, or any other book considered holy. I’ve also, wondered why other books that had been considered part of the cannon were removed, like the book of Enoch that connects the dots on so much. Is it a case of keeping non-clergy in the dark?

I’m still triggered by worship music. It’s sad because I have so many songs I love, but it’s just too, painful to hear them.

Do you struggle in a similar way? If so, feel free to comment or email me.

Book Review · Books

In The Image Of Man

If you like outside the box fiction with a spiritual twist, then you might enjoy In The Image Of Man. This book follows the journey of a little invisible god named Bob who starts out as a little spark until an old vendor repair man named Ray calls out, “Bob’s your uncle,” when he survives a car accident. Thus how the little god got the name Bob. This is Bob’s journey on how he learns to be a god and what it means for a god to have faith in those who believe in him.

Bob watches over his first believer Ray until he discovers a new believer by the name of Mary. She’s been going through a lot with her job and boyfriend. One day when Mary is upset, Bob spells out some words using her tears for her to be able to see that he exists. She is shocked and not quite sure what to make of it, but when interesting things start happening in her life thanks to Bob, she starts to believe in him.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Image Of Man by Mark Long via Booktasters care of the author. The views are my own and of my own will. This book explores the concept of belief and how believing in something helped both Ray, Mary and others. I think it was fascinating hearing the story from the viewpoint of Bob. It was interesting how Bob interacts with those who were raised on Western Christianity vs an Eastern faith. It’s also, interesting how Bob learns about humans and our society throughout the story.

Book Review · Books

Quaker Quicks: What Do Quakers Believe

Have you ever been to a Quaker meeting? I have a few years ago. It was the most uncomfortable hour of my life. Everyone sits in silence unless someone feels lead to share something. When I saw this Quaker Quicks book available to review I couldn’t help, but request it to find out more.

This short book provides a few basics about what Quakers are all about. Interesting things I learned about them is that they don’t have creeds, or a governing church body. I discovered they handle their meetings to make decisions just like they do their church meetings. In silence. I found out they utilize different spiritual books to educate and don’t favor one holy book over another, though most do have the Bible on their table that’s in the center of the group whose meeting together. This book also, quotes a number of different Quakers regarding how being a Quaker has changed their life.

After reading this short book I want to read more. Each Quaker group are independent of others and they each have their own magazines and books they publish. There are some aspects of Quakers that bring to mind Unitarians.

I received my digital copy of Quaker Quicks: What Do Quakers Believe by Geoffrey Durham care of NetGalley from John Hunt Publishing and Alternative Christian. The views expressed are mine. If you want to read more about what Quakers believe I highly recommend this book. This author has other books in this series about other aspects of the Quaker faith. It’s readable, fascinating and most of all enjoyable.

Book Review · Books

I’ll Meet You At The Lost And Found

I seem to be finding books to read that resonate with me on a deep level. It’s nice for my faith views to be stretched like taffy. Meet You At The Lost And Found is one of those books. This book is the meat and potatoes of why all our outer quests for happiness are short lived. We are taught from very young to seek happiness outside ourselves which everything outside us is merely a temporary fix. We aren’t taught to nurture our souls.

This book covers a lot of information that can at times be tough to grasp, especially if you were raised Evangelical. Some of the topics covered range from what our Ego is and how it gets distracted with the pretty shiny things it thinks we must have to feel complete, to how to love ourselves without judgment, how socially we are expected to follow like lemmings, how to in the now, and much more. Even though some of the topics are challenging, this book is very readable.

I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this book, so I can highlight and make notes in it. Not many of the books I own get this personalized treatment unless I really love that particular book. This book is important on many levels. It helped me understand a lot about how my Ego sabotages my life, what self love is all about, how our soul (core of who we are) has been neglected and needs more care than we give it.

I received a complimentary digital copy of I’ll Meet You At The Lost And Found by Sam Glory from John Hunt Publishing, LTD, care of NetGalley. The reviews expressed here are mine only. If you love spirituality books that challenge you then you may have met your match.

Book Review · Books

Becoming Starlight

Do you ever have a book that just slaps you wide awake spiritually when you are least expecting it? Becoming Starlight did just that for me. I fell in love with the cover first. My favorite colors are blue and purple, so my eyes naturally were drawn to it, to find out what it was about.

I’ve only read a few books on NDE and had never heard of SDE (side death experience). An SDE is where a loved one experiences death alongside the person whose passing, where they go out of their body and go along with the person whose passed away, but only to a certain point, then the person experiencing the SDE returns back to their body in the physical realm. This memoir of this women’s SDE experience took me on the spiritual ride of my life.

Mrs. Prentice talks about how she met her husband, Steve and how her first introduction with death was the passing of their daughter, Stephanie. Her description of grief that deep and raw is palpable. Mrs. Prentice discusses how in that deep of grief she tuns out everything, but her anger and rage at God for not saving Stephanie. If you’ve ever been furious with God you’ll be able to relate to her pure hatred.

This would not be Mrs. Prentice’s only reason to be angry at God. Steve gets sick and the doctors for the longest time can’t figure out what’s wrong.

This is Mrs. Prentice’s memoir of dealing with her anger, rage and hate at God for what He throws at her. She keeps her emotions stuffed down until the moment she doesn’t want to have to ever experience. Steve passes. Her anguish unleashes in the hospital where she has an SDE, supernatural experience. This experience throws her for a loop and is outside her traditional Christian comfort zone. What Mrs. Prentice experiences is life changing.

This book was eye opening for me. The things that the author experienced and shares just clicked with me. I had a few, “Ah ha,” moments and I highlighted a lot. I definitely want to buy a physical copy, so that I can highlight and make notes. I don’t know how I’d react if I got to go alongside a loved one whose died and see them after the fact. It would be comforting to see they are still alive in some form you recognize them in, but still a unique experience.

If you are needing a book to think outside the traditional Christian box then this book is the perfect read for you. Did the author’s experience rekindle her faith? Have you ever had a night of The soul experience? Do you ever question what you were taught about God? Have you had an NDE or SDE experience? Read this book to find out more.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Becoming Starlight by Sharon Prentice Prentice from Waterside Press, care of NetGalley. The reviews expressed here are mine only. This book is one you are going to want to highlight, dog ear (gasp), get coffee stains on from reading it multiple times, etc.

Book Review · Books

In Focus Meditation

This short book was outside my personal comfort zone. I haven’t read up on New Age Spirituality till this book. The main focus of this book is the different types of meditation. Other topics covered: chakras, spirit animals, Mediums, Tarot, Angels, spirit guides, etc. I almost wanted to DNF for spiritual reasons, but I pressed on and finished this book.

Honestly, after reading more in depth on this popular subject some of it I found superstitious, cheesy, but some parts I did find meaningful and helpful. I do want to start meditating. I do currently practice deep breathing to aid with calming and lowering my anxiety.

I received a digital ARC copy of In Focus Meditation by Jacqueline Towers From NetGalley. This review contains only my opinion. If you are looking for a book that gives you a basics 101 overview of this subject, then this would be a good book to choose.

Book Review · Books

Shunned

Shunned will break you. This memoir of faith, struggle and rebirth will have you on the edge of your seat. The author, Linda A. Curtis, was raised a JehovahWitness. She was the good girl, a Pioneer putting in many hrs of door to door evangelism. She never envisioned herself going down the road of doubt until one such door to door encounter had her hearing her message from the viewpoint of the receiver. Linda knows doubting is dangerous, but are worldly people that bad? Is what she’s been taught something her conscious can live with? Shunned is Linda’s journey to find out what happens when you step out of your assigned religious box.

If you are questioning the religion you were brought up in then Shunned just might be the book for you. Linda is honestly raw in her account of her journey. This book had me laughing, crying and cringing. There were times I just wanted to sit and weep along with Linda. I, myself, was not raised Jehovah Witness, but I know what it’s like to have your set beliefs ingrained in your brain and to step outside that belief is scary.

I did study with a Pioneer a few years ago for a few months. It was fascinating and intriguing. I felt challenged to explain why I believe what I do, which I think is good. The Pioneer I studied with thought for sure I was a Jehovah Witness because of my Bible knowledge, but I reassured her I was raised Protestant. Their study materials are impressive and they are highly organized. When I came out I pulled away from my studies because I know their view on homosexuality. I had hoped said Pioneer would still be my friend. A real friend. Sadly nope. As soon as I backed away it was like she never contacted me. When I reached out to check in I was advised I knew where I could find her. The Kingdom Hall. As long as I showed interest then you’d think she viewed me as a close friend, but as soon as that opportunity went away then I got black listed. Did she truly care about my spiritual walk and soul? Honestly I don’t think so. It came across as a numbers game. Glad I stepped back.

I received my free ARC of Shunned from NetGalley care of She Writes Press. This book has to be my number one 2018 book. It’s brilliant, respectful, insightful and most of all hopeful. Thank you Linda for sharing your heart.