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bolt. last won the day on July 7 2013

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About bolt.

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  1. I would say, probably, that my current church is neither helping nor hurting either my mental health or my faith. My MIL's need is very large right now. Her husband's sudden decline, his behaviour changes, setting him up in long term care, and the fact that this is an end-of-life disease has her really leaning into her faith and her faith community. She regularly (before covid 19) got weepy and grateful about the thoughtful, kind, genuine support she receives from the church during the difficult time. They have a very strong role in her ability to cope with the devastation of my FIL's illness. It will be even more important when he passes. It's irreplacable for her. My faith is important to me, and yes, things are pretty dry for me, and I could use some kind of spiritual building up (I don't even know what that would look like) but mental health struggles are a dime-a-dozen (as you find out once you start revealing yours) and I can make do. I'm not having my world turned upside down like she is. No, my MIL is super fragile. Even suggesting that I'm not 100% behind her idealized view of this church would destabilize her and impact our relationship. She wouldn't here nuance. She'd hear, "Bolt doesn't like church anymore." -- and she'd want to know exactly why, then she'd argue the other side, then I'd have to either agree with her or share my own reasoning, then she'd feel beat up and made-to-feel-stupid about her faith. It would be a disaster. Super. Fragile. If I change, it would have to be, "I'm feeling excited about what's happening at xyz other church, and I think God wants me there. They need me more, etc." -- no hint of criticism or differences right now for her sake. I don't think that she thinks she is staying for us. She raves about how wonderful everyone is to her.
  2. That's a really good question. I'm going to be waiting anyways, so I have lots of time to ponder! I think it depends what one means by "doctrine" and what we think of as "big issues" -- we're all good on "God, Jesus, and the Bible" -type stuff. I mentioned some of the issues-of-differentiation above, where I am more progressive than the norm in my current church, but the official position of the church on all of those things is, "In matters of opinion, we have liberty." So all of my opinions are technically 'allowed' and welcome... but they wouldn't be terribly welcome if I wanted to have lengthy open conversations where I was clear about where I stand. They would raise eyebrows to be sure, and possibly end in some 'the elders would like to speak with you about something' meetings. Which I could handle, but I would certainly feel defensive about it.
  3. Thank you for your story. It helps me feel like this is not quite such an unusual problem: to be in a warm and sweet church that you just can't exactly feel proud to be a part of, where you have to warch your words lest your opinions end up hurting people, and where you aren't fully valued. It's hard. 12 and 15 -- and no, I don't want them shaped by all of these values. To value worship, to love Jesus, to enjoy the Bible, to care about one another in a faith community: yes. To consider women's leadership to be more dangerous than helpful above certain 'levels'? To find the faith of other believers questionable because of their views on homosexuality or gender? To turn a blind eye to systemic racism, and subtly joke about 'political correctness', and ignore local poverty while promoting white-saviour foreign missions, and to have one's voting habits assumed without question... ick. But, if it's any 'comfort' they are both more likely to leave organized religion behind before they caught themselves being shaped by those values. They aren't just my theology: they are the ethos of our family. They know that I consider those things 'old fashioned' and 'things Christians can disagree about'. Yeah, it looks like that. Would a new church really want a non-sunday non-member just to start coming (after covid 19) to a midweek offering? Do you think so? Maybe. That's a good thought.
  4. Thank you for your story. It's good for me to hear that 'the grass is always greener' is often true with new churches. I needed to hear that this isn't one decision with an instant happy ending. It's a robust process that will be a challenge no matter what. I appreciate you giving me that perspective. I could try, but I don't know what that would look like after things begin to take up in-person activities again. I could try to double-church for a while. I've had recent mental health struggles which have brought my faith to a comfortable "I'm glad it's there" level, but it's nothing like a rich full spiritual life where one could detect degrees of 'knowing God' more or less based on churching. I can definitely take my time, but I'm not praying a lot these days. As I get better (I have a therapist) I hope to return to more normal things like prayer. Spiritual hanging-on is an accomplishment here... spiritual growth doesn't seem like a realistic metric between the two. (Not that those aren't good questions, just that my personal factors make them difficult to answer.) A year after FIL is kind of my baseline plan. It seems like the most compassionate thing to do, but it also feels like a sacrifice. If I'm going to stay for *years* I need to check *in* instead of letting myself speculate and live with one foot out the door. I guess that means lowering my expectations and letting people be themselves, and respecting what they are offering in real time, from God, for all of me (not just my brain). The suggestion of a Doctorate is flattering, and interesting, but not a good fit in my life for at least 6 to 10 years. My life needs balance and self-compassion. I don't want to take on a project that wouldn't be sustainable.
  5. That's a good observation, and I appreciate your instincts here. I think I agree with you. I do have the sense that it is kind of a situation that I could 'get more out of' if I were to 'put more into' and it would certainly be "allowed" -- but with my current challenges and mental health resources, I really can't take on more responsibility. And I have tried things like that before and they always sputter out eventually. Very discouraging. Nothing is meeting in person here either, so it's not a decision I need to rush into. It's the exposure to other (more positive) online choices that has drawn my attention to how mixed my feelings really are about staying at my current church. A lot of it is about not rocking the boat, about my MIL and about just-plain avoiding conflict, but I'm not happy about that being a primary motive for choosing a church -- ya know? My kids are teens, and they are happy -- in spite of lack of programming and some amount of old-fashioned theology -- they like it. They are known and loved. (They go to a consolidated youth group that is run by another church but includes most of our teens.) I think they are interested in going somewhere that better matches our family's progressive views, but letting go would be hard. Yes, I can see that now. It is the primary real-life factor. Good advice
  6. I've attended the same small conservative-but-flexible church congregation since I became a Christian as a teen. I went to an associated Bible College, and then later began teaching at that same college. I'm now in my 40's.' The cons: My church has begun to seem too conservative. On many issues everyone says, "We're all allowed to come to our own opinions here." -- which is lovely -- but I've become quite progressive, and I talk less and less about my actual opinions. I don't think the church itself is going to make progress anymore. I used to think that, but it's been over 20 years and it's still an 'old boys club' in leadership with a lovely warm diplomacy to keep that from ruffling any feathers. I can talk *at* the elders if I want to, and they smile, and tell me how smart I am, but nothing changes. All of the direction comes from the elders, and there is a total lack of female influence apart from elders' wives. (Which is bad for me -- I feel undervalued -- and for my girls, as an example that they ought not to aspire to leadership. I do believe in women's leadership in churches.) Our most recent pastor is a novice: very good hearted, actually a friend of mine from before he became our pastor, but barely qualified. His preaching leaves me bored with platitudes, questioning his diligence-in-study, and much more interested in my own thoughts as I write notes and read the verses in context during the sermon. I've tried to encourage him towards better preparation (buying him reference books, etc) but he just doesn't have the time for it (he's part time, has a job and a family) nor the prior education that would make such study easier (I have a Masters, he has a Bachelors). It's not really something to criticize, but, it does leave me pretty disappointed. Overall they can be anti-intellectual, anti-woman, and generally stuck in the past about any issue of current importance. Rethinking things is not usually a welcome perspective. They are also not fulfilling any role as a church other than gathering together for worship. Neither community service, nor social justice, nor any kind of 'mission' has happened except on a tremendously rare and superficial level for 20 years. (And, no, I don't know how to take a lead or fix that myself.) The pros: I literally know each and every person who attends regularly. Lots of people look to me, know me, and appreciate me. I fit in there (and I'm not someone who fits in everywhere). I enjoy spending time there. I come early and stay late chatting with my friends and aquaintences. My kids like it -- they have some friends there, and the adults are all warm and kind. My mom-in-law attends with us (she began there because we were there). She's at a vulnerable time of life because her husband has an incurable condition and is currently in long term care. Eventually this will end in tears. The church has been very good to her, and will continue to be good to her. She needs them right now, but she also needs us. If we go, it will be very hard on her not to have us at church with her any more -- especially if she senses there is animosity. It's associated with my employment. Because I work at an associated Bible College, it might be odd if I leave the denomination. Not that there would be a genuine problem, just a sense of it being strange to continue to work within a denomination while choosing to stop worshiping within it, right? (The College is much more progressive than the congregation I attend.) Considerations so far: I was planning on not even thinking of transferring churches until after my dad-in-law passes, and there has been a decent interval for my mom-in-law's stability. (My husband doesn't attend church because he has chronic migraines and is usually incapacitated for part or all of virtually every Sunday. He makes it about twice a year, and he won't mind if the rest of the family switches.) But the pandemic has me surfing other online offerings, and I have found a very appealing potential church that I imagine I would like to transfer to. I don't want to hurt people, so if I transfer, I need to do a really good job of not creating trouble. (Brainstorming on that topic welcome too.) Thanks friends! I appreciate any observations or advice you have. What would you do if this were you?
  7. I wouldn't go anywhere near a medical professional who wasn't taking covid19 seriously. A mask won't protect us from that kind of foolishness. I doubt it will still be open by August anyways.
  8. My MIL would like to be called a variation on Mom, and I didn't feel bad about that until I had kids. At which point it clicked for me that people don't just glide into that role: it's decades of work. So I transitioned to adult-to-adult first names. And she needed to have a conversation about that because she noticed and didn't feel respected. (They are french-canadian, and there are customs and instincts of culture that needed to be navigated.) We compromised on calling her "Nana" (her grandparent name) even though she's not *my* Nana, at least it's an identifier we were both okay with at the time. I call my Dad-in-law "Grandpa" in the same way. My husband calls my parents by their first names. Since then, she has mentioned that I can call her by her first name and she (after the passage of years) can see that it is what most adult-in-laws and most adult friends and acquaintances call one another even when there is an age difference. She's no longer so settled in her old cultural instincts that it feels bad to her. But I'm still calling her Nana, except when it's awkward. We're used to it now.
  9. The PM as Head of Government is functionally identical to most heads of state and is elected in one of the normal democratic ways that are currently in use worldwide. A Canadian PM and a US President are peers on the world stage. The variance of powers between the two is a function of the styles of government, not a significant difference in their role within that government. The comparison between Truedau and Trump as more-or-less similar is a legitimate. This is a comparison that is close enough for most practical purposes. The comparison between Freeland and Pence is not legitimate because they are not at all similar. DPM and VP have nowhere near the same level or type of authority, and nothing like the same role in government. The news reporter made an error in identifying them as similar positions based only on the similar vocabulary of "Vice" and "Deputy" -- it's evidence of lack of research leading to a misunderstanding that was reinforced in public by her report. Ford was not praising a random high-level member of the other party's governing structure who had done nothing for him. He was not showing solidarity with the Liberals in the general sense nor indicating approval of all of their pandemic policies. He was praising her because he knows her personally, and she was helping him: directly and effectively. He was signalling, "Look at the loot I got out of the feds! I like it when this happens, I'm willing to work with them when it's to my benefit. Keep sending her. Keep listening to her. Keep the benefits to my province flowing." Do you have someone in your government structure whose specific role is to travel to adversarial states, schmooze with those opposite-party governors, and build up their goodwill? Someone who then communicates, tactfully, to the President all sorts of strategic things they might do to make those opposing states happy and grateful to the federal government? If so, that's who is "like" the person the governor would be praising: not Pence. (If not, possibly there is not American-based simile that would do the job, and perhaps the reporter should have made her point less pointedly.)
  10. I go to a really small church. I am a core member and a person who is known and noticed. I know exactly what you mean about a 'walk out moment' being a huge, big deal. I get that you are not at that point. But I also don't think your conscience or your family will be able to manage much more exposure to this kind of conduct. Your inner conflict is very clear. My advice is, if you *do* want to preserve ties with this church, it's not time for a 'walk out moment' but it's a perfect time for some polite nothings and just plain missing services for a while. Make excuses. Or state your thoughts with kindness as, "Just our family's take on things." They can't make you go. And they can raise very little trouble in the meantime. When (if) you are ready to church together again, it's much easier to say, "Thanks for your patience with us during that whole covid thing. Let's put it behind us." -- but if you endure service after service, snide remark after snide remark, passive aggressive hand shaking, glares and head shaking, a germ-gauntlet hallway exit past an assertively unmasked pastor, and your loved friends put at risk by someone who should be loving them and leading them better: week after week after week while you wait for a disaster (and then endure the disaster in your faith community) it's going to keep building up. Maybe something is going to snap, or maybe not. But the quantity of offenses alone will make reconcilliaton more difficult even if nothing 'hits the fan'. You will all endure better, and be better friends once it's over, if you can make some polite excuses not to be in each other's faces starting this week. Just say you are sorry you can't make it. Try to keep things light.
  11. The video is very good about covid, but there's a misunderstanding in comparing Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister) to Vice President Pence. In fact, Canada doesn't always have a Deputy Prime Minister -- it's a nonstandard position that has been implemented at this time by our federal liberals *specifically* to handle in-country diplomacy with adversarial premieres. Freeland has international diplomacy (foreign affairs) credentials and is both DPM and minister of intergovernmental affairs. She is the person responsible for wrangling, sweet talking, and legitimately bridging gaps and reducing tension between the provinces and the federal government. She is good at listening to people like Ford, convincing them that she is ready and able to help them get what they want from the feds, and then actually doing that. Because that's her job. And she's good at it. So it isn't surprising to hear Ford praise her -- she's a bridge builder. She amplifies his voice and gets him (some) things that he wants. Its in his best interests to work with her. A Deputy Prime Minister is not a Vice President: she's a high ranking minister and cabinet minister, but not a back-up head of state. Her function is flexible, and, in this case specific to working with the geographically split voting that showed up so strongly in our recent election.
  12. Bras: are they actually uncomfortable for you? Focus on physical comfort, we all know that bras can help with social comfort levels. Please add comments if you think there are factors (like, maybe, cost/quality of bras or abundance of b00ks, style of bras, etc.)
  13. One factor that is my own opinion is, strangely, Doug Ford's mother in law. (Yes, I know, that's a weird theory.) We all know that people take covid19 more seriously when they see it closer to home. Doug Ford is a populist conservative Premier of Ontario (a high population province with many of our early cases), who might have followed a fairly predictable path of prioritizing economic activity and resisting health department perspectives. However, that didn't happen. I think what changed was that in mid-April (when critical decisions were being made) it got very personal for him when his wife's mother was diagnosed positive. Of course, we can never say what 'would have happened' -- but Doug Ford has seemed out of character to me since that news. And if Ford had pursued a more standard business-first science-maybe-later course of governance, other provinces with Premiers of similar ideology (Kenny, etc) would have felt more free to follow suit. Instead most provinces have been remarkably in line with the Federal understanding of disease-vs-economy calculations: which is 'Liberal' and (roughly) more social- and less business-oriented (in general) (and thus often in conflict with said Primers). It's odd to see conservative provinces noticing things like, "Maybe these are the reasons we don't shouldn't be cutting healthcare and education funding. Maybe requiring them to be run as bare-bones operations isn't the most efficient thing. Is it possible that robust funding makes things work better in advance of a crisis?"
  14. Definitely 1 and 4 -- I forgot how much of individual medical decision making is influenced by they price ticket for Americans, and I wasn't directly impacted by job loss / work sick dynamics. Those are definitely major factors (above the ones I identified). It's much simpler to follow good health practices in situations where good choices are as painless as possible. Paying for testing when symptoms 'seem like nothing' is risky. Paying for care is worse -- no wonder people wait! Working while slightly unwell is more tempting when the risk of job loss is devastating rather than just unfortunate. Sitting through a shut-down that effects your job is simpler when you can apply for something-like-ongoing-wages as an individual, instead of wondering if you can make life work on a campaign-style population-wide stimulus check-or-maybe-two at unknown intervals. Although, you'd think without socialized medicine, Americans would be more protective of themselves (if not others). If any member of our family gets Covid19 and needs hospitalization, that will be a terrifying health scare -- but it might turn out just fine, and we will be left thankful for the care we receive. We won't be left with medical bills -- which I understand are no joke. Why doesn't the potential cash penalty for catching this sickness incentivize greater self-protection behaviour in the US? Why doesn't the lack of cost make Canadians the complacent ones?
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