10 Things The Simpsons Taught Me – #8

Simpsons Taught Me
Clockwise from top left: Homer, Marge, Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Bart, Snowball II and Lisa on THE SIMPSONS on FOX. © and ª2000 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/©2000FOX BROADCASTING CR:FOX

Don’t be a Religious Weirdo

Who can forget the famous Flanders. He is a religious nut who lives next door to Homer.

Ned

He says things like, “I’ve done everything the Bible says – even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!” He accidentally pokes fun at the religion which he is very serious about. I think when I first became a believer in Jesus, I followed a lot of what other people were doing around me. Many of the “rules” were probably beneficial for me, but some seriously limited my exposure to the world.

FLanders quote

Over the years, I still have a very deep faith in Jesus, but it looks a lot different than it used to. I am not sure how to explain it to others, except that it looks so much different than when I was a bible college student. A lot different.

I went to bible college for a year in Missouri and a few of the rules are below:

  1. You may not go to the movies at all.
  2. You may not wear shorts on campus unless you are playing sports.
  3. You will attend chapel daily.
  4. You will keep yourself to the highest level of morality.

There were a ton more, but I did not last more than a year there. I realized that even in American Christianity, it mattered less about who you were than it mattered who you knew. I saw minority students kicked out of school for marijuana use on their first discipline referral. I also saw students who were clearly not following morality rules, yet they were speaking during chapel. It really rocked my world, especially when I started dating a young lady who came from a pretty troubled past. I made my share of mistakes that I regret.

I ended up leaving bible college to never continue.

I still ended up doing ministry off and on for eleven years. I wanted so much to be in the crowd of ministers. They would tell me I was gifted for the ministry and would often work me to the last ounce of my energy. Ultimately, I gave up on vocational ministry in 2012, and I have never felt so faith-filled and authentic in my faith.

My faith has always been integral in my life, but I see it more evident now, just not in the way that many people would count it. Now my faith means the most when I am teaching my middle school students. I want them to find a way to make sense of their life.

I am glad I am no longer the Flanders of my neighborhood.

 

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