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Sunday, June 6, 2010

SEXY SUNDAY: Name Your Poison - Jesus or 1554 New Belgium Englightend Black Ale with a Knob Creek Chaser?

Yesterday I walked into my coffee shop and encountered a weekly phenomenon… a line to beat all lines of about 20 thugged-out boys in their mid to late teens with their adult male counselors. They saw me at the tail end and encouraged me and another civilian to go to the front of the line. We civilians hesitated… we can wait in line. But they insisted and formed an opening for us to walk through and ahead – encouraging us to the front – insisting we budge ahead. This act of human kindness, Minnesotan or not, cannot go unsung.

At the front of the line, one of the boys explained to the other civilian – “We’re from the Minnesota Teen Challenge – a Christian chemical counseling group. We have all sorts of politicians visit us. We do this every week, get coffee and walk around the park. Don’t worry about budging. It’s all good.”

I of course, being Xtine of hotforjesusformerfundie who did a shit-ton of research on Faith Based Initiatives/Organizations last semester, I perked up at the descriptor “Christian.” With caffeine in hand, I plopped down on a park bench, whipped out my BB and found out entirely too much information. So here I am 24hrs later, same place – same drug (caffeine). The fact that a few very hot adult male counselors circulate through the group is not going to stop me from passing on the information I stumbled upon as a result of that random act of kindness. Here’s to loose lips sinking ships.

6/24/09 MN Teen Challenge target of church-state complaint: Minnesota Independent

1/19/10 Faith-Based Funding for Teen Challenge Stirs Debate:

Want the quickie? From the second CP article : “Teen Challenge says its mission is to help youths and adults overcome drug and alcohol problems by applying biblical principles with the hopes people can be mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually healthy.” – Assemblies of God biblical spiritually, fyi. They are reported to have received about 10 million dollars from the federal, state and local governments.

If this were a Muslim group doing the same work, would we be disturbed? Shoot – I forget – Islam is the religion of Peace and Christianity is the religion of Love. “It’s all good.” Right?

Beyond state-funded proselytizing, the reason FBOs draw criticism, and one of the main criticisms with the MNTeen Challenge, is that they only hire like-minded Christians. That’s government funded religious discrimination.

Why does this group get so many kudos and photo-ops with politicians? Because of its 80-90% success rate at sobering kids up and keeping them off the juice.

Of course they have that high rate of success. The fear of eternal damnation or choice of eternal heavenly reward, a life-long imaginary best friend, the creation of fellowship, community and family, talk therapy – which many churches are awesome at – why wouldn’t someone stick with the program? It’s one thing to have adults choose between damnation or thousands of virgins in heaven to keep them sober, but sending federal money to a group that pushes this philosophy on kids too young to vote is not okay. For those of you who have spent any time in an Assemblies of God church – they mean BUSINESS about Hell versus Heaven… $10million dollars worth of business.

I have a bone to pick with most AA/NA groups too… and I do so fully aware that I have friends that would have stayed down the rabbit hole without it… or worse. I know people who have turned into Jesus Freaks in AA and others who have found a new relationship with a Higher Power/God/The Universe. One of the few Higher Power explanations that doesn't make me squirm is a best friend who describes the Higher Power as the Group itself – the humans - the people who surround and support him in his much-needed journey.

Alcohol was entirely missing from my life as a Christian. My born-again dad gave up boozing when he gave up jazz for Jesus. One of his sayings – right along with practice makes closer to adequate and by Grace am I saved... was “Never Take The First Drink!” I was so steeped in the Evils of Alcohol that even at the age of 4, upon finding a bottle of a neighbor's home-made wine in the fridge, a gift to my parents, I FREAKED OUT!!! Crying, sobbing, I was sure I was going to lose my family because if my parents drank the wine our family would fall apart. The reaction from me and my siblings was so strong that my parents threw it out.

Someone pointed out that my father may have been a Dry Drunk. I would venture to say that born-again churches are wall-to-wall dry drunks… people who are sober and have Jesus in their hearts plugging the hole that alcohol, drugs, sex, food, music used to fill. I learned to be self-righteous and smug about my “Never Take The First Drink” no-drinking Baptist sobriety. Post college, fellow thespians got me drunk at a wrap party and I learned to enjoy alcohol and Jesus – but until I entirely left Jesus did I learn to enjoy the guilt-free principles of moderation.  Sometimes I drink too much.  Sometimes I write too much.  The important thing is, I've learned my limits.  I respect my body and mind.  I've gotten the rebellion of drinking out of my system.  Some alcoholics think everyone is an addict – much like some religions think everyone is a sinner. “I’m an alcoholic” is a sister phrase to “I am a sinner.”

For some alcoholism IS a Disease. It can kill, maim, and hurt.  For some there is no Moderation button.  As someone who makes money off of encouraging people to eat, drink and be merry, as a yogi, I can only conclude that one’s relationship with alcohol is personal and worthy of examination and awareness… much like sex, religion, and food. We all have our addictions. We’re all human. Know Thyself.  Love Thyself.  Forgive Thyself.  Get help if you need it!

So – yeah – I’m pissed off about the government giving $$$$$$ to a chemical dependency program that only hires Assemblies of God kosher Christians and teaches “biblical spirituality” to people under the age 18. I’m NOT pissed off that kids get their lives back – their bodies back. I am pissed that we think that it is okay to federally fund Salvation programs.  Go ahead – read up on the history of the MnTeen Challenge… but most telling – read up on the Testimonials – and then tell me this isn’t state-funded religion.

What an Imaginary Friend we have in Jesus – all our sins and griefs to bear.


FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES: Feeding the Poor by Executive Order of the King.

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1 comment:

krissthesexyatheist said...

There is one AA/NA recovery program that I have heard of called Rational Recovery: they help without the belief of the imaginary dude in the sky.