i felt like i was in church choir

submitted by bf!anon

Hiya, me again. This fic is dedicated to wordstrings, the lovely lovely person.
I’m not wild about this one, it has *shudder* plot. - bf!anon

Sam sat in the library, leafing through yet another tome from the men of letters. Tracking an angel was a tedious thing to study, even finding something on them was rare because of their aloof nature to humans, until a few years ago at least.

He was not angry at Castiel for healing him. He was rarely angry at the angel for anything really. As Castiel had said, he understood Sam, and of course, Sam understood him. The unwavering devotion. Always having the best intentions. Screwing up, regardless of those things. Faith, first in God, then in others. Complete dependence on the idiot that was Dean Winchester. Whether either of them liked it or not.

Sam could understand Castiel’s attachment to Dean, and he had more than a few suspicions on that score, but it was strange to realise that this was one of the only times he had been alone with the angel, the two of them, but no Dean. Though they had a lot in common, they didn’t often spend time together.

Maybe it was time to fix that.

“Uuuhh, Cas?” He asked hesitantly, sticking his head through the door of the living area in search of the angel.

Castiel was seated at one of the large tables, looking through a large tome, a cup of coffee on the table before him. “Hello Sam.”

“Hey.” He said, walking over, “Find anything?”

The angel shook his head, “Regretfully, no. Though the men of letters have much more information on angels than I would have expected.” He smiled ruefully, “I believed we were hidden from notice for many years.”

Sam smiled, “Well you can be proud that no one else knew about you until you came down when we met. Dean didn’t believe in angels.”

“Many people still do not.”

“Some do. Even though they’ve never seen one, or had any proof.”

Castiel looked up at Sam and smiled in his slightly goofy way. “You did.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, feeling oddly proud, “I did.” After a moment he coughed, “Anyway, there’s this church in town having mass tonight with a visiting choir from Germany. I was going to swing by, do you want to come?” God knew why he felt nervous asking, it wasn’t like he was asking the angel out on a date.That’s Dean’s job. He thought, and fought a snort.

Thankfully Castiel looked happy with the idea, and nodded, “I do enjoy the music in such places.”

“Good.” Sam sighed an internal sigh of relief. He knew that asking the angel to come to mass would be a touchy topic, but thankfully, as usual, Castiel took the best from the situation, “I was gonna head off in about half an hour.”

“I may finish this book first then.” He said, taking a sip of the coffee. It wasn’t the same as when he was human, but as it was mostly one ingredient it wasn’t too overwhelming.

“Okay,” Sam said, “I’m going to have a shower, not really a good look to show up at church covered in blood.”

Castiel smiled, “It’s your own blood, which must be better than usual.”

“No blood in church, isn’t that one of the ten commandments?” But he was joking, and for once Castiel picked up on it and glared. Sam laughed and walked away, “I’ll see you in a little while.” He called back.

Later, when they were walking, Sam felt compelled to ask, “Hey, how have you been anyway?” It had rained, but had let up for the moment. The pavement were dark, illuminated only by the yellow glow of the street lights, reflecting off the puddles of rain.

The angel cocked his head slightly, noting the mirrored question he had received form Dean, “Better. Becoming human was… difficult, but returning to being an angel was harder than I expected.”

Sam smiled a little, “You really like humans that much?” Stupid question, really, but to choose a human life…

“Why do you think I fell in the first place?”

The hunter shrugged. “Dean yelled at you until you did what he wanted?” He teased.

The angel grinned. “That was part of it.” He admitted, “Dean… spoke the words I was already thinking. He has always been good at that.” Sam smirked, half-hoping Castiel might confess his feelings for his brother. “And his timing was… good. What they- what we were about to do…” He sighed, eyes glued to the ground. “But Dean did not make me doubt heaven, not initially.” Now he looked up, a hint of wonder in his eyes. “That was you Sam.”

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Oh, I didn't realize it bothered you.

I sing in the choir at my church, and almost every Sunday there’s a middle-aged white lady (let’s call her Susan) who sits next to me, who seems to believe that I, as the corrupt youth of this country, must be kept in line and corrected at every possible moment. By every possible moment, I mean that a few times, I’ve sat down during a part of the service where everyone stands, but only because I felt like I was about to vomit and/or pass out, and every single time, Susan felt the need to brusquely tap my shoulder and aggressively gesture for me to stand up, even after having been informed that I wasn’t feeling well.

The last two or three Sundays that I’ve had the misfortune of being seated next to her, I noticed that she was unsettled by me cracking my knuckles (in other words, my hand was sore and so I cracked one joint, and she literally grabbed my hands and intensely whispered “Don’t DO that.”).

During the entirety of last Sunday’s service, while seated next to her, I would crack my knuckles as either the music swelled, or as the minister spoke a little louder. It was just enough of a noise that Susan would glance down, but not enough that anyone else noticed it, and of course, my face was peaceful and attentive to the word of the Good Lord Almighty. Susan never once caught me, but she was getting more and more perturbed as the service went on, and she was unable to find the source of this oh-so-terrible knuckle cracking.

I was raised with the idea of courtship since I was a child. I was always told that dating was not God’s plan for my life and that the ideal was one guy, no physical contact, always chaperoned with the intention of marriage.

As a homeschooler, the only interaction I had with boys was at church, with boys I had grown up with. I never really thought anything of courtship or dating, until a new boy started going to our church when I was 15. I developed a crush, which as it turned out, he reciprocated. It was innocent. We hung out in youth group, on youth group retreats, during choir practice or the occasional friend’s basketball game at the local Christian high school. We held hands once, something I felt very guilty about. I didn’t tell my mom, I felt like I couldn’t.

About four months into it, she found out, which is when I was promptly grounded, was forced to cut off communication with him and was handed the books I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl. I have not read them since then, but the thing I remember most vividly is when Josh meets his wife. How he describes her, her past, like she is/was something dirty. Her past affected HIM in some way, and he chose to FORGIVE her.

Even despite the fact I was raised in a similar culture, I recall that not sitting right with me. What does her past have to do with him? What right does he have to offer her forgiveness? How did she wrong him? As I continued, I grew more paranoid. Is that what a future husband sees if a girl has dated before? What level do I have to get to before I am considered not clean to a future spouse? What did this mean for me, as a teenager? All these things I wondered.

I never agreed with my parent’s choice to encourage courtship. I believe I was lucky in the fact that I didn’t allow it to totally brainwash me. That said, dating was and always has been a struggle for me. It took years and years before I stopped feeling guilty for my sexual choices, my dating choices, my bodily choices.

When I was 25 I was sexually assaulted by a guy I met at Pensacola Christian College. A nice boy, a Christian boy. When it first happened, I blamed myself. I didn’t report it, I couldn’t report it. I invited him over to my house at night, what did I expect would happen? I wrestled with it for years until one day, I just said, “No. Fuck this. This IS NOT MY FAULT.” It doesn’t matter what I wore, what I said or even if I initiated that first kiss. It doesn’t matter that I am not a virgin. I am NOT dirty, I am not used up, I am not someone that deserves the forgiveness of a future spouse.

I am 30 years old next week, single, never married. Relationships have always been a struggle. I can’t date anyone that even says they are a Christian. As messed up as that sound, just the phrase “Christian man” triggers me. The attitude and outlook on dating that the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye teaches is dangerous, for both men and women. I think Josh should know that, I think he should know what the book perpetuates. I don’t hold the book solely responsible for the issues I have had, but the book perpetuated the views that were forced upon me in my youth. 

Well, I was the cantor in my church choir when I was younger and I was in choirs all throughout highschool. I didn’t listen to much popular music when I grew up but I did watch a lot of movies, and I was always writing music. When I got into highschool I listened to a lot of rap and techno and eventually found different types of music that I loved like elvis and van halen. I remember myself next to my grandmother, we were singing Donnie Brasco, and for the first time I felt pleasure in singing. I’d also sing at the church, at school, everywhere… But it’s not something I work on. I have no discipline, no technique, I’ve never took any lessons. I just like to play with my voice, from the highest to the lowest pitch. When I listen to myself, the authority of my voice amazes me. It seems naïve to say that, but I love my songs, they move me to tears… When I find myself alone in the studio facing the microphone, I’m so free, capable of anything… I feel safer than anywhere else in these little “boxes” that are my songs. In life, I’m not good at many things: my only talent is to sing. In a song, I know how to express exactly what I feel, even more than in a conversation.
—  Lana Del Rey

Every single black church I’ve ever gone to drove me further away from religion. I remember one Sunday service, while I was attending this big well known church, the pastor just decided to blurt out that “We all know homosexuality is a SIN” really loudly. And people clapped and it had NOTHING to do with his so called message. He just felt like shaming someone in the name of his “beliefs” that day. This idiot has openly gay congregation members who pay his bills, he has people of all kinds of sexuality in his choir, service groups, etc. I am hetero sexual and this offended me because it was so unnecessary and stupid. There were children in the congregation too. If i had a child, I would never want them to be somewhere where they felt shamed rightfully in the name of some god, all because of their primal sexual functioning? I knew I would never go there again and I never have. 

anonymous asked:

What does spirituality mean to you? Sorry if this is too personal, but I'm really interested on your perspective. You have so many incredibly deep and beautiful things to say

For a long time I thought being spiritual meant a lot of different things. I thought it was words in a bible, or bowing your head and praying at the end of church. I thought it was showing up on Sunday in your best dress, and speaking like a lady, and singing along with the choir. I did all of that. For awhile. And I felt spiritual…I felt close to this “higher power”. But then life would get hard, and some days I didn’t want to get out of bed on a sunday. Some days I didn’t want to open up a bible. Or bow my head and recite a prayer. A few months before I left for Tahiti, I was really down. And not the “Oh, I’m just having a bad day.” kind of down, I mean down down. I didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to talk to anyone. I slept all day. On the outside, my life looked amazing. But on the inside I just felt like my spirit had been crushed. I felt really lost and confused. I still appreciated life, I was still thankful for all the problems I didn’t have, but I was just in a bad place for awhile. Then I had a really really bad night where some bad stuff happened, and I came home and looked at myself in the mirror and I was a wreck. On the inside. On the outside, too. And I didn’t even recognize who I was looking at, that’s what it felt like. And that’s when I knew I had hit my rock bottom. That night I cried so hard and I prayed. But this was a different prayer. It was me crying, and yelling, and being mad at this “higher power”. It was not me bowing my head reciting pretty words. It was a messy prayer, but it was real and there was magic in it. My higher power had hear my prayer obviously and the next day I got the call saying I was going to Tahiti. That phone call, there was magic there too. And the moment I got off the phone I knew this was God pushing me into whatever was next. When I got off the plane, and dove into warm foreign waters for the first time in my life, there was magic there. When the stingrays brushed along my fingers so gently when they could have stung me, there was magic there. When Amber and her sisters and I all huddled next to each other on the boat because we felt so sea sick from going out to see the whales, there was magic there too. What I’m trying to say is. For me, being spiritual means to see the magic, to see God’s hand in life. To see Him working, to see His grace, His love for us. His divine presence in everything. Being spiritual for me means that sometimes crying is a prayer. Silence is a prayer. And life is the church. 

Submission: I'm a Liberal, Feminist, Sex-Positive, and I Want a Church Full Of Loving People

I believe my parents enrolled us in Catholic religion classes as a formality. Neither of them were very religious, but had been confirmed and had fairly religious parents. It was clear from the beginning, however, that religion would not be forced upon us. We didn’t have to enjoy the classes nor continue them past communion.

On contrary to my siblings who abhorred the classes and mass (though continued to confirmation), I rather enjoyed them. There was something comforting about the candles we lit in class and the way the priest spoke in church. As a child I was deeply anxious about a great deal of things and would often stay up all night worrying. Reciting the rosary helped me manage my anxiety and relax. When I was in eighth grade I began singing in a small choir with just two other girls and grew to love rehearsals where we’d turn off the lights and sing in the dark or when the elderly monsignor would thump down the aisle with his cane, singing back to us in a deep, booming voice. Rehearsals and the teen masses we sang at were laid back and the priest would often talk about silly things like the football game that was on or a movie that just came out. I felt safe and at home in church because I felt like I could always confide in someone there whether it be God or a priest or one of the girls I sang with.

However, something always seemed off to me.

My parents are staunchly liberal and pro-choice. I still remember the way my mom rolled her eyes when I brought home a pro-life bracelet from religion class (it was gone the next day). I remember how I ran home one day after elementary school to tell my mom in a hushed voice that a girl in gym class had told me that she was going to Washington D.C. to protest killing “babies when they’re still in their mother’s bellies.” I remember how my mom told me that that girl was lying (I called that same girl a liar the next day and she cried). My parents made it clear from a young age that they didn’t believe in some of the church’s teachings but continued to haul us to our classes and to mass so we could decide for ourselves what to believe.

In religion class, surrounded by pro-life teachers, I was confused. Who do I believe? My parents or my teachers? My parents or the priest, both whom I trusted? As I grew older, I began to understand the issue more as I grew aware of what abortion was. I tried to compensate my beliefs by taking a standoffish view towards abortion: it’s a horrible thing that people do and those people are sinners and I’d never do it, but I’ll never restrict someone from this. I thought this was a perfectly good way of viewing the issue. I tried to ignore pressures from other opposing views that the church had as well such as LGBTQ+ rights and the role of women while they made me uneasy. I thought if I just ignored them I’d finally learn to live happily in the church. Then, my class went on a retreat before our confirmations.

Our teacher at the retreat was loud, challenging and overwhelming. He publicly shamed anyone who looked remotely uninterested in what he was saying (which was about 75% of the class as we were eighth graders on a weekend) and seemed to look down on us. At one point, he made us look behind us at the empty chairs in the back of the room. This was when he said, “Those are the seats for our brothers and sisters who didn’t make it. They were murdered by their parents.” He continued on by urging us to pray for those who had been aborted and then started to shame people who have gotten abortions. Things started to come crashing down around me. I remembered earlier in the night how my friend had cried. He had been doing the same thing, but instead shaming LGBTQ+ people. She had raised her hand and inquired about her sister who was gay. In a tiny voice, she asked, “Is she going to hell?”

His response shocked me: yes, unless she gives up her sinful ways and turned back to the church. I remember my indignation. Being gay isn’t a choice. That much I knew. Being gay wasn’t something you could give up.

That’s when I realized that an abortion IS a choice. And that sometimes people have to choose it. That this man had no right to shame someone whose circumstances he wasn’t aware of. Like my friend’s sister whose circumstances he had no idea about (if he was insisting that she could give them up), he had no idea under what circumstances someone chose an abortion. I went home that night, fuming, and when I told my mom, we spent hours discussing abortion and how it’s someone’s personal choice and they have a right to it. I asked her if it makes you a bad person and she told me no. She told me about her grandmother who, in a drunken state, had confided in her about a time when she was 17 and had “made a baby go away.” She was not a bad person. She had gone on to live a full life with four children. She was not a bad person because she had made the decision not to deliver a child at 17. My mother explained to me that she had made the decision that was best for her and had she not made that decision her life would’ve been completely different in a way that she might not have enjoyed.

I did decide to get confirmed, but afterwards I resigned from church choir and have not willingly entered a church since then. After that retreat, I felt all the uncomfortable pressures come crashing down upon me. I saw the way women are treated, the way virginity is coveted, the way non-heterosexual people are rejected, and the overwhelming pressures and ignorance of a pro-life attitude. “Quitting church” allowed me to explore feminism, sexuality and choice. Now, at 18 years old, I’m sex-positive, liberal, a feminist and pro-choice. I’m in a committed, loving and sexual relationship where we’ve decided that if our multiple methods ever did fail we’d abort because now is not the time for a baby. I’m planning on working in Planned Parenthood during my college years. I’m also considering minoring in Women’s Studies along with my Political Science major which I intend to use to go into a political field where I will push for comprehensive sexual education, removal of abortion restrictions and more funding towards sexual healthcare.

I think about the church sometimes. On one hand, I believe that if I hadn’t left I would have been less likely to explore all that I love now: sexual education, feminism and politics. However, on the other hand, not having religion leaves an empty void in my life. Something less to hang onto when I lie awake at night. I plan on trying to find religion again in college. However, I’m looking for a Catholic religion that will support me if I ever need an abortion, that will not shame me for my lack of virginity, that will break down gender stereotypes, that will help me in encouraging my future children to engage in safe sexual conduct, and will accept my future children with love if they’re gay. I want a church that will stand by the belief that God will always love me and will always forgive me without the usual exceptions (“except if you’re gay…or want an abortion…”) I want a church full of loving people who follow the Lord’s teachings, not a church that uses them to hate and reject. I know that this is out there. I just haven’t found it yet.