i will give you ulcers

i will give you ulcers cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“I Will Give You Ulcers” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

Doesn’t it make you wonder why the church and Christianity can be so troublesome? Do you wonder if it’s just because that’s the nature of religion?

Or is it possible that Christians believe life is to be full of trouble, so if there isn’t any trouble then we have to make some?

But then… our symbol is the cross. Not a lotus. Not a star. Not a candle holder. Not a circle of balance. A cross! A symbol of suffering. If we aren’t suffering, something’s wrong! We aren’t being good Christians.

I wonder.

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  • I believe it’s Hinduism/ Buddhism is the system that has teaching that everything is suffering.

  • And it is most folk religion and natural religion which knows that there is suffering and cross in life, which we may escape by appeasing the right god, wearing the right amulet, incanting the right spell or prayer, changing states of consciousness through pleasure or pain or other things… It does not usually work out. So the hope is always for the next life, anyhow, or extinction.

    In Christianity, God has born the suffering and shared, which is a completely different story. And whether you find it ridiculous or not, it is supposed to be historical. Examine the evidence for yourself. As Jesus said to those who questioned him and doubted him, “Why don’t you look around and see what I’ve done. Why can’t you see or hear?”

    And the calling of the Christian is to rejoice, to rejoice at all times, even while weeping for the moment. It can be done together. There is a hope and joy which can animate everything.

  • Shary Hauber

    I agree “If we aren’t suffering, something’s wrong! We aren’t being good Christians.” Christian seem to think things are suppose to go wrong so they concentrate on the bad. It is really rather strange that the religion that is suppose to bring joy and peace is interpreted by many of its followers to a religion of sadness, fear, and conflict.

  • People who pray, pray for good things to happen.

    But it seems these days like if I can’t bash on a Christian, I am suffering from bashing withdrawal.

  • I’ve noticed this too, about the cross, but I saw it as a healthy thing. When I look around me at society at large, I see a people who is incapable of bearing suffering, or of living outside of our comfort zone. I’m not talking about individuals, I’ve seen enough comments here to know that there is a great amount of suffering here; but it seems to me that American culture strives to avoid suffering and discomfort at all costs, even when it’s good.

    It seems to me that nothing good comes without suffering, there is always labor involved with creation, always pain in growth; sufffering is always required for maturity, and new birth must always come through anguish. God knew our hearts, and He knew that if He simply came down, wiped away the Romans, and stepped into the New Creation in total and complete victory, that we would all come rushing to His side to share in that victory. Not because we loved Him; and not because we shared in His vision of what the world should be, but simply because we like to win, and hate losing. So Christ acheived victory through suffering, and then told us to take up our own cross and follow Him. The path to the New Creation is a hard one that will require us to submit to God’s molding and shaping of our character; and by submitting to the cross, he knit the example of His suffering into the heart of what it means to be a Christian: we are those who die by living, who lead by serving, who become first by being last, and who conquer through defeat.

    In short, we shouldn’t seek suffering, or create suffering where none exists; we don’t rejoice in others’ suffering, and we don’t need to cut ourselves to smile; but if we are serious about become mature in God, if we are serious about following His course, then we shouldn’t be surprised at the storms, and we shouldn’t run from them when they find us. We must become as Paul, content in all circumstances; and the martyrs, who were able to rejoice and sing even as they were led into the colosseum.

    We are the people of the crucified one; we follow where He leads.

  • “In this world, you will have trouble”, Jesus said. Then he added, “but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

    Of course there’s trouble in this fallen world full of fallen people. That’s just the way it is. But we don’t dwell on it. We work and pray and laugh and cry and make it through it.

    And when we finally do go to the cross, ourselves, for the last time, He will be there to raise us to a brand new, trouble-free, tear-free life, with Himself. For if He was raised, then we will be also (Romans 6).


    Do you know what they call people who have no trouble in this world?

    Mentally unstable.

  • Carol

    In it’s emphasis on the Divinity of Christ Jesus, the Church has neglected to contemplate the implications of the humanity of Jesus, which reveals the worth and dignity of our true humanity.

    If you want to begin to understand why, although it is acceptable to be a “person of faith” in our secular culture, the Christian religion so often evokes a negative response this post may provide some insight. The message that many are proclaiming as the “Gospel” is so heretical that it has become a total corruption of the biblical Revelation to which it claims to be witnessing:


    The Trinitarian view of sacrifice is totally lost when the Christological Mysteries are separated from the Trinitarian Mystery, as they have been in much of the contemporary theological thinking in the Latin/Western Church.


  • when I read the blog from your first link, it made me mad. I didn’t read it with unbiased eyes, and I’m admitting that, but I think that the thoughts that came to me in that state are valid, even if they aren’t valid responses precisely to what he was saying.

    When I read through his ten reasons, I heard the football players from Steubenville, OH saying “Why can’t you just forgive us? Why must there be punishment? Why can’t you just say ‘everything’s ok’ and then let us go back to playing football?”

    I think that when we look at ourselves, our sin, and God’s reaction to them, we are prone to thinking of our actions as not being really that big a deal, that they’re normal, ok, and in line with what everyone else is doing (similar to how those teens thought about their behavior from that night). Then when we hear God saying “Sin no more,” we hear a vengeful, wrathful God punishing us for breaking His arbitrary laws, for having the gall to disobey His will.

    I think we need to stop looking at sin and immorality as purely spiritual realities without real connection to the real world; and we need to stop seeing righteousness as an end unto itself. Because the God I see in Scripture is not wrathful, petty or vengeful. The God I read about holds up pictures like the garden of eden (pre-snake) , the sermon on the mount, and the new jerusalem (Rev. 21&22) and says “this is what life is supposed to look like, this is what I meant for you.” Then he holds up pictures like Steubenville and says, “this is where you are; if you want, I can get you from where you are, to the shalom I have always wanted for you; but you’re going to have to trust me. There are behaviors and actions that contribute to this Hell in ways that you don’t understand. I have already forgiven you for the things you’ve done, but you’re going to have to stop doing them now.”

    Grace is free; but it is not cheap. Following God means giving up a lot of things, and the cross leads us in that path.

  • Carol

    Jonathan, perhaps the reason so many people don’t take *sin* serously is because we have been conditioned to think of *sin* juridically, as breaking a law/commandment, rather than relationally, as harming someone.

  • I think that that is an excellent thought, Carol. And we think of righteousness as keeping the rules instead of as behaviors that encourage and embody God’s peace.

  • Georgina

    More importantly, the cross is a symbol of torture! It justifies their vision of hell, and allows the burning alive of any enemies of the church.
    It validates the scapegoat system, glorifies torture and symbolizes Hypocrisy: the catholic church keeps a figure of Jesus nailed to their crosses, a violation of their own 2nd. commandment –
    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image … “