Your child is not a Christian

Recently while listening to Richard Dawkins’, “The God Delusion,” I had to pause and let some of his words wash over me—they were cleansing, if you will.

I won’t quote him directly, but here’s the jist:

**There can be indoctrinated children, and there can be children of Christian parents, but there are zero Christian children.**

Obviously, a few years ago I would have wanted to battle back and proclaim that MY children were believers and students of the Holy book. I would’ve scrambled to find the flaw in his statement—- but deep in my noggin, I would’ve been arguing, not with Dawkins, but with my own indoctrination.

As much as I would’ve wanted to believe my kids WERE Christian kids, the truth was—every belief they possessed came directly from me or the Bible stories I’d allowed them to learn. Sure they knew scripture, but how did they learn it? –Me, a curriculum I’d chosen, a class I’d taken them to… Sure they knew the prayers, but how did they know who to pray to and the format of recitation? Me! These weren’t things they would’ve ever approached on their own. They were simply babies who wanted to PLAY! But my kids were my echo chambers, they were simply regurgitating by beliefs right back out at me. It’s scary to think how deeply I had sculpted their entire world view and reality. Shits terrifying, man. Wheeeew. Breathe. Even scarier is the way some folks never realize what they are doing….

Fortunately for me now, as a deconstructed exvangelical, when I read Dawkins’ words, I was in complete and total agreement. It was actually freeing to hear someone else saying what I knew from my own childhood and in raising my kids.

Every single attempt at raising Godly kids is a form of indoctrination. From reciting scripture, creeds, and prayers at young ages, to attending weekly services, to routines of the home. Every time a parent intentionally places their belief system into the mind of their child, they are indoctrinating that child. Every time a child declares they are saved or that they’ve had a God experience, it is simply a replication of what they’ve witnessed from adults around them or is a fictitious response to hormones released in emotional situations. Again, a fabrication of that child’s reality set up by someone else.

Children are born religion free. Again, when a baby is born, their brain has zero knowledge of any religion. Yet, they are divine. They come to us with an awe-struck curiosity for the mystical experiences of nature. They are bright eyed and eager to explore, they worship in the form of wonder. Wouldn’t it be grand to approach guiding them, with that same joy of learning that they implore. When THEY ask about God, faith, sins, the devil, as parents we show excitement and present them with timelines of all the major world religions, allowing them to see for themselves the bigger picture. There is NO indoctrination in that method. And, there is no right answer, therefore no pressure to conform out of fear.

I remember the fear that being a Christian places within parents. The “their blood is on your hands,” approach to training up children. Hell, I pulled my kids from school so I COULD INDOCTRINATE them to think like me.

I remember feeling afraid when they “sinned.” I remember crying out to God that he would guard their hearts. I spent literal nights awake trying to envision a way to best teach them so they’d know God’s Love….

But now I see, if you look at your child as a fallen being to be saved, you’ve lost the chance at letting the magic of life teach them. Their own Life is their best teacher. You are cutting them off from their own flow when you’ve set the default state of being as a religious one. They have very little chance at growing beyond that default setting, and for many Christians that is their hope.

How sad. But that’s what you get when generation after generation sits in the church pew and never does the work of thinking. You get uneducated worldviews, partnered with indoctrinated beliefs, sculpted into little robotic beings, passing off their ideals as the ONLY right way, all the way into their adulthood, and this then repeats itself with their children. And it’s ALL misinformation, but they live from default because it’s safe and requires no conscious effort to learn new ways and new information.  It’s frankly, an irresponsible way to live.

For me and for my children, I did the work of reprogramming my default settings. They will not have to deconstruct, they will not have to “go astray” or “leave the fold.” Together, we are free to let Wonder, Curiosity, and Life be our teachers. Please join me in ending the brain-washing of our youth-they deserve better. They deserve to be the joyful explorers that they were literally born being. Let us, as adults, give our children the space they need to be here, free from your default settings.

Thanks for reading! XO

Dear Patriarchy

Dear Patriarchy,

I was placed into your grasp as a little girl. I ate the crumbs from your gnarled and mangled hands. I watched you work the system and create a breed of subservient little female beings. You chewed us up and spit us out and told us our purpose was to simply be present to help You. You needed our fertility, open our legs for your pleasure and your cum. Carry your babies so you don’t fade away into oblivion. We sit here now foaming at the mouth ready to rip your fucking throats out, and you tell us to smile, keep quiet, be a lady. Meanwhile, you’re lusting for the blossoms in the church pew, with your pious and godly wife sitting right there beside you. But she doesn’t know how to be the Slut you need. The Sacred Whore within, she’s never unleashed. You did that to her. You, Patriarchy! You told her to be good, but with everything you are, you like em bad. So so bad. You told us to be honest, but you’ve got your secrets. You snicker, and you smile, and you keep things under the table. Your army, your squad, your “good ol boys”—- they uphold you as the Man among men, and while your wife may be fooled cause she’s a product of her raising, just know-your daughter won’t bow down to ANY SYSTEM that’s degrading, she’s not just the winds of change-she’s a fucking tornado. She is tearing this shit down and you don’t know what to do. You hang on to your faith cause it ALWAYS WORKS FOR YOU. Cling to your traditions, the empire built by men for men, but your daughter yells, “No!” She’s watched and she’s listened to every command made on her mother and her sisters, she’s thirsty for the blood of every person whose ever said, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” She is harsh and bold and she is ready to hurt your feelings. She yells, “Fuck you and fuck your religion! You pieces of shit-stealing the minds of the innocent, and they can’t even think critically enough to harbor resentment.” Your daughters are coming for you, Patriarchy, are you shaking in your work boots? We are coming for you, right after we untie your shoes.

Written by: Stacy Johnson

Glorious Girl, a poem

So you’re turning 14

That’s a big number to mommy

You’re turning 14

I didn’t know it’d be this hard on me

See, when I was 14, I let my divinity go…

I cut my beautiful hair, I traded in lion king panties for lacy underwear

I went from having never been kissed to loving someone deeply, and being completely dismissed

At 14, my first heartbreak left me different but not totally broken

with threads of insecurity, my heart was stitched up but gaps were still open

At 14, I watched on confused as the light of innocence left me

Hell was coming, no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how much they preached grace, I still knew my place

After every sin, I knew I’d need to repent again,

and so this game of guilt and shame was one I could not win

At 14, I understood fear to be the driving force, behind every single of one my life’s choices

It wasn’t about following my heart, it wasn’t about using my smarts, I’d only be okay if I learned early to play it safe, stay inside the boundaries so I’d be covered by grace

At 14, deep longings for more, resounded in my spirit, but because of indoctrination the flow of life couldn’t heal it. My divinity whispered for me to draw near, but I simply could not hear it.

See, I didn’t know I was still perfectly precious, I didn’t know I was still totally infectious, Being a sinner is what I let define me, not the amazing woman who was hiding inside me

So, Baby girl I just have to share, you carry a warrior’s glare and you have a mighty stare,

Your wear your armor daily with your strands of gold and copper hair

YOU know your truth and with YOUR hands you build your empire, and don’t forget like a dragoness, my girl you can breathe fire,

Your veins hold the pulsing of women

who fought so hard to be here, hold up your hands and cup their courage should you ever find yourself in need, dear

You have fierce wisdom of Athena

And great beauty of Aphrodite

Put them together and channel that strength, it’s beyond almighty

In your mind you carry the intuition of Dione and you hold wilderness of Artemis, listen to the call from within, she won’t leave you mistaken

Baby girl, at 14, you can begin to manifest your dreams, you can leave people behind if they don’t align, don’t feel guilty and deep down just know, that’s how you grow

And don’t you for one second think a mess-up is reflective of who you are, when wounded be proud of your scars, and deep down in the marrow of your bones, know your beauty, your truth, and your worth.

And baby girl at 14, when insecurity creeps in, acknowledge her presence but don’t let her win, make her an acquaintance but not a close friend,

Remember you earned your place on this earth, you get to be here for this moment in time, and though you’re only 14, you’re able to see, that this in itself is truly divine

When mommy set out to write this for you, I let my mind go back in time, I don’t know why but I started to cry and so I stayed there for awhile.

That girl was beautiful with a heart of gold and smile she could not hide, but oh the sadness, such sadness were hiding in those green eyes.

I saw the Universe in those eyes, and I heard a whisper in the wind, you, JUST you, you are enough, so I let that voice rage from within,

I placed my arm around that girl sitting to my side, I said- chin up sister, it’s a matter of time, you’re gonna be just fine,

I gave her a hug and left her there

because 14 year old me, could not see it, much less try to live out and be it…

My baby girl now, I’m calling you out, I see your glory, your beauty, your grandeur….and at 14, if there’s only one thing you let engulf you and fill you up, please let it be that warrior raging within, “I KNOW I AM more than enough.”

Written by-Stacy Johnson, April 13, 2018

I wrote this last year on the eve of my daughter’s 14th birthday. I needed to channel the energy I was feeling into something positive, as 14 was a tricky year for me…

MY GLORIOUS GIRL:

******Today, I watched that 14 year old, stand before 150 high school band students and play a solo. A 3 minute piece that captured the magical essence that is my daughter. You see, my girl had only picked up a saxophone 9 months ago. Her teacher didn’t believe her when she told him she’d be first chair by Christmas, but SHE believed in herself, and that’s all she’ll ever need. She is not only first chair, but was was chosen to do that solo, I couldn’t have been prouder to watch her play up there. I witnessed the anxiety ridden tears throughout the week, but SHE GOT UP THERE AND NAILED IT. She cupped that courage and it paid off. I cried. And I’m giddy. She’s brave.

Thank you to:

My sister over at The Irresponsible Blogger, she reminded me that today was International Women’s Day and this poem goes right along with celebrating women, healing women, and empowerment of women. Thank you for reading, Friends!

My BEST GIRLS and Me (plus one sleeping lil guy):

Paper Clip Castle, a poem

You left your coffee mug on the counter,  I saw your Adidas on the floor. I breathed heavy  down the hallway and saw your jacket hung on the closet door. 

I walked passed the recliner, it’s a newly empty seat, for 14 days it will not be the place you prop your feet.

I journey to our bedroom, then replay our moments in the quiet. Tears swell, I let them fall,  cause your side of the bed will be silent. 

I miss you for these moments, I wipe  the sadness from my tired eyes, I walk to our kids’ bedrooms and declare, “It’s an  Uno game kind of night!”

I pretend that I’m not broken, I pretend I’m strong enough, I act like I’m not waiting on my savior in his silver Ford Truck.

I do all the laundry, give the baths, then sweep the floors, I do ANYTHING to busy the thought that you’re not walking through that door.

I embrace your hoodie for a moment, take in the dirt and work and sweat. Hold it close before I wash it, so your scent I don’t forget.

I cheer on all our babies, I give kisses and hugs goodnight. I try to be everything to them, but as Dad, I’m just not right…

I play podcast after podcast, listen to lectures on repeat, I blast my mind with so much noise to distract from my reality. 

I praise you for your willingness to make a living such as this, I know you let your tears fall down, driving opposite of your waving kids.

But then it is your go time, down to strictly business, and in the meantime I hold down the fort with thumb tacks and paper clips…

(written by Stacy Johnson 3/6/19)

Momma whooped dat Uno booty tonight!

Is Jumping the Answer We’ve Always Needed?

🤔 Hmmmm. I was at the Trampoline Park today, and it dawned on me, “Wait, what? What is happening to all the humans here, right now? Why are we all so happy, so giddy, so joyful? What is it that has reached the oldest of gents to the tenderest of tots, spreading smiles amongst all?”

Jumping!!!! Unified Jumping is what!

I looked out and laughingly embraced the genuine, true, heartfelt smiles beaming from one person to another. There was no shame. Age didn’t matter, size-shape-color-gender-class-socioeconomic status-political party-religion-sexuality, none of it mattering as we frolicked like that of antelopes from one trampoline square to another in our matching psychedelic socks.

With giant leaps, and super strides, we all take our shot at suspending gravity’s pull, our time in the air is held with grins that are real, extending from our mouths to the wrinkles at the corners of our eyes. There is no faking, these are the smiles of time-less fun.

I people watch a moment longer and I nearly cackle. The variety of jumpers is pure hilarity, and each kind of jumper has goals.

There is the gazelle strider, allowing only one foot to touch each patch as they swiftly glide from one end of the entire park to another. They are unaware that anyone is around them.

There are then the knee-tuckers. They spend time in one patch really getting a rhythm before moving to a neighboring square. Usually, knee-tuckers are young and they falsely hope that by tucking the knee, they’ll achieve more air-time, instead they plummet.

There are the spread eaglers. From one square, they accomplish toe touch after toe touch, after toe-touch, until at once, a leg buckles, they wobble and become uneven, sometimes falling, they must rest.

Also, there are the big boy bouncers. They rain down without warning onto whatever black patch is nearest them. They have no care for who is in their way, rocketing small children into the air, often leaving parents confused as to what just happened. Their force propels them furiously multiple squares away. As if they’d never been there at all.

The stiff-leggers are usually middle age, and they either can’t move the way they once did or simply have forgotten how to loosen up and bend at the knee. They stay in one black square for at least 3 minutes before stopping and walking to another patch.

There are also the runners. These are the folks who enjoy the spring of each bounce, but they do not jump, instead they launch into a sprint, having enough control to dodge those younger then themselves. However, at times, a runner’s front half moves faster than their feet, leaving them face-planted on two patches.

We also have the adolescent gymnasts. Often, they use several patches to display the parts of their floor routine applicable to the space they’re allotted. Onlookers are awed.

Next, there are the tots on their one black patch, trying to escape their care-givers with fierce determination. The care-givers are those who have sheer frazzled terror on their faces, as they understand their child is one gazelle-strider away from being booted into eternity.

Finally, there are my favorites, the humpty dumpty jumpers. They bounce, flop, roll, twist, face-plant, back-plant, ricochet, and donkey-kick all in their own little space. They are content. And, I like watching their joy! I get completely cracked up as I see them ricochet off the side trampolines with fervor and smiles. They don’t give a shit about anything but landing their jump. They range in age from 5-65.

Anyhow, today-as I tried to keep my one year old out of harms way, I just took a moment to embrace ALL THESE PEOPLE who paid money to be able to become mutual jumpers. Jumping in mass brought us all to a common place of shared happiness. I decided that perhaps Congress should meet under this circumstance of shared jumping. “Perhaps, jumping was the answer to all that is wrong in this world, perhaps jumping was the way of the future?” I pondered. Did our ancestors use jumping to bridge some kind of gap, I mean, we are all here, and we are all loving this, it’s like it’s in our DNA…

Before my very eyes the walls that divide us, were being bounced into oblivion. And, while I can’t put my finger on exactly how, I know for sure that jumping is taking us places…

Could mutual jumping be the next frontier????

🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂

(Yes, this is me being a dork, this is my weird humor, I find random moments-hilarious at times, ima crazy- I know!)

When I don’t Exist…

Do you ever let your mind go to the place where you no longer exist?

You’ve lived. You’ve done your time. You’ve journeyed your path and then you close your eyes and are no more? 

Sometimes, while I nap in the recliner, my brain starts reeling with intensity, “GET UP! Get up!! There is so much you haven’t done, so much you haven’t seen, wake up, you’ve got to get to it—-life isn’t waiting.”

I’ll nearly leap from my recliner, gasping for a panic-ridden breath.

Urgency. 

I’ll pace the floors a bit, prioritizing cooking dinner, or running away to Paris, or writing the book that’s been brewing…..Mothering wins, I turn on the stove and lose myself in the stir of the hamburger helper.

Slowly,  I blend the seasonings and the steam warms my arm…I welcome my existential thoughts back and give myself space to process the sorrow of knowing that it’s true. 

One day, I will not be here. The history of humanity will carry on and I will have come and gone.  My snippet on the timeline will be set. My face will be remembered by my children, their children, and MAYBE their children. My name will be carved into a stone somewhere, leaving passerby’s wondering, “Who was this beloved mother, Stacy?” If even that…

And while I don’t know about an afterlife, no one on earth really does—we have our choice of myths, metaphors, and musings to satisfy our need for there to be something—-anything after this life. I’ve come accept that just because we believe something with our whole hearts, that doesn’t make it true. And just because we want something to be real, that doesn’t mean it is.

That was hard to reconcile as a former fundamentalist Christian….. oh, how religion keeps us wrapped with its false promises…. an abusive affair indeed.

I stir on, and I let myself feel the warmth. I look at the sunlight beaming in. Dust particles float in the rays, a  shimmering glitter dancing suspended in a haze. 

I am here now. I am here now. Feel your breath, in through your nose, out through your mouth. 

Letting go of what’s to come, holding with gratitude what is. 

I am here now. “Okay, kiddos, dinner is served.” Four faces fumble into the kitchen, eager for food. I watch them, they are my sacred endeavors. They are my cycle, my season, my continuation…

One day, I will not exist, but because of them, parts of me always will…

Thanks for reading… XO

Adding the Littles

Sometimes, it just hits me outta nowhere that our family of four GREW! It’s not four anymore, there are six of us now. And it’s at seemingly normal moments that this epiphany occurs.

Tonight, it was dinnertime. Year after year, as I prepped dinner plates, it was simply four plates.

11 years of prepping dinner for 4

But then tonight, as I made our “big people” plates, it dawned on me with intensity, “Oh my word! There are two more little plates to make, two more little mouths to fill, two more personalities at the table.” My heart was all bursty-like as I prepped their classiest of Paw Patrol plastics😂

The littles are always adding a pop of color to every situation
The OGs
They taught me the most about love

Our First Batch💖💖

Because we were young parents, poor and working through college, we decided it’d be fun to start over in adding some littles during this more secure place in our lives. We wanted to know what it felt like to say, “Tonight, we make a baby!” Previously, our kiddos were wanted surprises!

Addition #1, 10.3 lbs of pure 💜

My 3 daughters💜💜💜
We thought we were done…

But one extra ovulation day and a date night later, we were given our sweet son.
The bigs and littles first professional picture together…

I carried them, but they created me…
(sorry bout the tag squares!)
Christmas with my whole crew🎄🎅🏼🤶🏻🎄
(again-tag squares drive me mad!”
The Second Batch💜💙 fresh outta the tub, so glad we started over…

And now, the thing that led me to my nostalgic momma moment in the first place:

Making dinner for this whole crew, 6 of us to be exact💜💜💜💜💙💙

Thanks for reading, friends💖