Trail Blazer Ministries
Base Camp for Life: A Spiritual Journey...

A De-Conversion story. (the emotional side)

4:22 PM
You ever feel like you cannot be yourself? Like God is watching you?

      This was an unescapable fact of life for me.  God is so real, and in order to honor him with my heart, soul, body and mind I must guard my thoughts and actions.  In reality most Christians do not take this scenario to its logical, laughable conclusion.  For example, where if we really believed God watched us every hour of every day, knowing every thought, we'd act in a totally different manner...in fact live in a "scared shitless" state.  Now Christians talk about "freedom in Christ."  Yes, I've looked deep into at this and read John Eldridge's mystic way to look at God.  Many believers allegorize the stories within scripture, make it their own narrative.  For me, I'm waiting for that undeniable bit of evidence to hit me in face.  Until then I might as well believe in the flying spaghetti monster.
      So, in all the years of my growing up, I believed in God with all my heart, soul, body and mind.  I struggled when I lusted, when I heard someone say the Lord's name in vain, when someone swore, when someone taught evolution and on and on and on.  Being riddled with guilt in conjunction with being hyper-sensitive led me to be a very reserved "emo" child.  If a girl showed interest in me, I had "to much homework."  If I was invited to a party, "I'd have to play my cello."  Loser.  That's what I'd describe myself.
    Now we jump ahead to college.  My mission: find my own faith.  I left out one important variable: The actual existence of God.  So instead I visited 4 different campus ministries, went to 20 different churches...and left disillusioned.  This left me 2 options, become an unbeliever or a cynical Calvinist.  I chose the latter.  Someone has to be right, and those damn atheists are just in denial.  I didn't experience the Holy Spirit like so many of my Christian brothers and sisters, so now it's about doctrine.  The I'm right, everyone else is wrong mentality set in.  However, back to my hyper-sensitivity -- I slowly gave up my belief in Hell.  I couldn't function, believing something so real...so permanent.  So using conditionalist and universalist doctrine...I came to a peace in my own belief.
   Now racing ahead to 7 years after college, and at the end of my marriage, I've abandoned any belief in a personal god, and am left with an "unbelief."  Somehow, that is an incredible honest place to be...where I can stop pretending.  Let the journey continue....
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One Republic Apologize Cello sheet music

5:22 PM
Same chords over and over.  As a cellist maybe you could improvise through these after the intro and before the the band ramps it up at the end. (depending on your cover band)
Cm - Fm/Ab - Eb - Bb/D
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Letter to my wife. (before divorce)

9:10 AM
Dear wife,
Maybe writing you is better than talking, everytime I open my mouth I get in trouble.
First thing, I was purposely manipulated by Ron Smith. (not real name) I never saw it coming -- he started out by saying he was amazed we could even get along...we were so different. he asked about regrets, about what I want in life and what my future may look like without you. He mentioned he doesn't remember specifics, just the overall message...obviously a lie, ie the email to the pastor.
I can't even believe this church can be so backstabbing, I can never go back. I hear people ask Joe (not real name) about me because they know I see him on a regular basis. I just tell Joe, "Have them call me then."
One thing I'm working on is honesty. So, I tell the church what I don't believe, so...they make a public spectacle about my doubts...plus they talk about my affairs.
In keeping with honesty, I didn't want to break your heart. So I ordered the Tony Robbins course, maybe I could rekindle something. That all came to a crashing halt when Ron talked to you and you received the email.
I'm done defending what I've said in the past. I'm done talking-it only gets me in trouble. I'm tired of being accused of selfishness and emotionally manipulating you.
I have ZERO trust with you, and fighting at this juncture only delays the inevitable. If I don't love you like you deserve, we both may be better off.
I hope our encounters in the future are friendly. My family loves you, so I am happy you are going to my sister's wedding.
Best,
Husband

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Letter to a Christian family member.

9:07 AM
Dear Sister,
Thank you for loving me despite my unbelief, my divorce and my emotional roller coaster.
You know those "emos?" I understand why they have the stereotype of wanting to "just crawl in a hole and die." They think they will save others from pain. Don't worry--even though I understand them, doesn't mean I think that extreme. :)
You mentioned that it's easy to stop lying....well, I'm doing my best lately. Even if it means admitting I have unbelief or understand I cannot love my wife like she deserves. Admitting the truth, searching the truth can hurt, maybe that is why I'm experiencing all the pain right now.
I know things will be better, they already are. I want to grow as a person who is respectable and trustworthy.
About our little text message conversation. I'm concerned about how my relationship with our family will be affected since I've walked away. First, here is what I experienced as I remember my childhood: I would stay awake worrying about our extended family and their eternal soul.
"Grandma is not a strong enough believer."
"Grandpa was afraid to die, yes he he denied Jesus but we don't know his last thoughts."
I gave up belief in hell a while ago, because it was easy to dismiss, even through Scripture. I also couldn't function emotionally if I knew 95+% of the world was going to be tormented forever.
I know dad worries about that doctrine, and I'm worried he will worry about my soul and that get's me worrying. I also wanted to use every variation of "worry" I could think of. :)
Now, I know every good thing is selfish unless the glory is given to God. (according to Christianity) I'm worried this will effect our relationship. I remember believing our extended family and fried's accomplishments or good deeds were just their "selfishness" clothed in "good works." I'm afraid I'll be viewed the same.
I just wanted to be honest with you, and I'm the same brother you've always known. You are right, time to stop the lying cycle.

Love,
Brother
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Daily Prayer...for an unbeliever

10:27 AM

Dear Impersonal God which whom I've tried to personally connect with,
Please help me deal with the people whom you've chosen to connect. They think I cannot be happy otherwise. How can I convince the elect that one can be happy without connecting with you. Maybe because I never have, and any previous childhood relationship with you was purely in my head. As my pastor prays..."Help me in my unbelief." As I pray, help my family through this. I think my dad is concerned I have changed and knowing his views pertaining to his unbelieving family, I'm afraid I will never have the same relationship with him again.
Psalmist David said in Psalm 68:5-6;

5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.6 God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Now LORD, please do not make me a "rebel." I want to believe, but I see no reason. God let my family accept me in my unbelief, so I do not feel lonely if my family rejects me.
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Nyan Cat Cello Cover

10:21 PM
Here you guys go!!!
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No Memory is Wasted

8:22 AM

-Jesse


I remember the way you walk

The way you smile

Your gentle kiss

Your smell


Now we are at the end

I look back and smile

I remember every memory

Pure pleasure


You have an amazing heart

And I hope you bless others

Keep moving forward

Remember His enduring love


I have failed

I am sorry

Please Forgive me


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Arms Open Like The Sea

6:11 AM


by Nathan Williams


My parents said, “Be careful who you marry.” Then I came home from school broken up with Faith and my mom cried, “We wasted our money! Why did we even bother getting you a Christian education?”

We were betrothed from birth, Faith and I. That is the way of it for most people, born into a sacred tradition, a holy marriage. I guess my mother never thought about her own engagement like I did.

I can’t, mom, at least not now. Don’t you see that if I was born in India or Pakistan I would be betrothed to another? Faith always told me I was blessed to have her— I would be eternally damned without her. You and dad said the same. But then I discovered other girls saying similar things. Don’t you see the dilemma?


“I feel like I’ve lost you. Was it a professor or some friends who filled your mind with these adulteries?” she asked. “What did I do wrong as a mother? I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.”

It’s true. Faith and I were always close when I was younger. All my friendsknew her so it just felt right, felt True. Faith, with her windy white dress, always looked so pretty. Sometimes I would spend my whole lunch period reading her love letters.

Then one day, just after a marriage class, some light caught Faith in her windy white dress, for a moment her hidden hips and heavy breasts illuminated like a holy ghost. I stared too long, and was never the same. Seeing the nakedness of one woman changed the way I saw all women.

My eyes were opened. All the other women—the ones said to be ugly and evil I soon discovered were beautiful—even kind, some of them. I met Ameena with her starry glances and smile like the moon, Bodhi with her spinning wheel, Nishtha with her four arms and lotus dreams, Cressida with her Gucci glasses and polyester pumps.

It was a supermarket of enticement, each woman’s arms open like the sea. Yet they quickly informed me, with sincere psalms and smiles, shady super- natural curves, and Pandora-box secrets beneath their clothes that I was doomed if I did not marry them.

To marry a girl because I loved her and we generally got along would be so nice. But Faith—dear love—along with all the other strange and beautiful women ordain marriage a grave choice beyond what feels True, even beyond love.


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Where are you God?

9:42 PM
Where are you God
I see you in nature
but fuck it, how do I really know
We are but molecules
We are just star stuff
I can reason and think
but I don't understand
This alone cannot imply faith
I remember the times where I cried out to God.
I felt comfort after...
There were times I prayed
he answered...in the positive
I read apologetic books
They affirmed my worldview
Then came post-modernism
Empiricism
utilitarianism, idealism
and every other philosophy under the sun
All is forgotten...
I read opposing views
I argued finer theological points
all-meaningless
Now I've lost the faith of my childhood...
God I cry out...how does my soul worship you?
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A Michelangelo in Embryo

9:06 AM

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
-Socrates

There is a scenario in Socrates life that speaks directly to me. What if....

Xantippe and Socrates had settled down and lived in a cottage with a vine growing over the portico, and two rows of hollyhocks leading from the front gate to the door; a pathway of coal-ashes lined off with broken crockery, and inside the house all sweet, clean and tidy; Socrates earning six drachmas a day carving marble, with double pay for overtime, and he handing the pay-envelope over to her each Saturday night, keeping out just enough for tobacco, and she putting a tidy sum in the Ægean Savings-Bank every month—why, what then?

Well, that would have been an end of Socrates. [1]


I'm not claiming to be the next Socrates or Michelangelo by any stretch of the imagination. But I lay down at night and full symphonies nurse me to sleep, (all original) I paint pictures with my cello as I navigate through chord progressions, it's within me. My fear in marriage is that I am "tamed." I am not longer a great artist in embryo, but a respectable man and future father.

You see, I just resigned my membership at my current church. I have to take a break. I can no longer feel right about taking communion, proclaiming vows of prayer, reciting creeds and confessions...it all feels boxed in. I will miss playing music in the church, I will miss the community; but will not miss the "closed hand" issues we all recite.

My wife and I just met our pastor for counseling, I respect him and his way of handling people. The only bone I had to pick with him was a certain statement. "Would you give up cello playing for your wife?" Okay...hold on!! Take a paintbrush away from the painter, a pen away from the poet, an instrument away from the musician and it's akin to taking the voice away from an effective communicator, the legs from an athlete, or the sense of taste and smell from a cook. I play music for a living, I know I'm not world-class; but I have aspirations. If you rip out my dreams, I am just a dried, shriveled-up shell of what I am or hope to become.

Success Magazine put out a great article. [2]
In the excerpt below, the author lists 10 question that must be answered yes too.

Are You Ready to Put Your Dream to the Test?
OK, you may be saying to yourself, I’ve got a dream. I think it’s worth pursuing. Now what? How can I know that my odds are good for achieving it? That brings us to these questions:

  1. The Ownership Question: Is my dream really my dream?
  2. The Clarity Question: Do I clearly see my dream?
  3. The Reality Question: Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dream?
  4. The Passion Question: Does my dream compel me to follow it?
  5. The Pathway Question: Do I have a strategy to reach my dream?
  6. The People Question: Have I included the people I need to realize my dream?
  7. The Cost Question: Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?
  8. The Tenacity Question: Am I moving closer to my dream?
  9. The Fulfillment Question: Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction?
  10. The Significance Question: Does my dream benefit others?
This is the struggle for an artist: we may hurt people along the way, the ones close to us. We pay the price to achieve our goals and are willing to fail.

Now, this is where I need help. I told someone recently I am a "ship tossed in the ocean." I love my wife dearly, and she admitted to me after the counseling session she is willing to explore other philosophies, change aspects of her life so we can find this "emotional connection" that has long been absent. I appreciate that, and we our best friends; I find her easy to talk to, great to do activities with, but often I find music to be my way of communication feelings of love, joy and internal struggle. In fact, I'm a terrible communicator through the medium of speech; if I could just play a musical soundtrack of my day I'd be much happier. My wife could ask, "how was your day," and I could sit down and play some rhythmic tracks exploring my underlying emotions then live-loop some melodic motifs describing conversations I had during the day then finally adding some harmony to fill in some of the complexity I experienced. Maybe I should do that one day and put it on my youtube channel. Now I have to meet my pastor later this week and "decide" to give my wife 100% or...I should divorce. I could write another post on how divorce effects the community in the negative and how I may end up. Like Socrates, I married for "discipline." It's so I could control my sex drive, it's so I could "settle down" and create art within that marriage, it's because I love her...


Footnotes:
1. "Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Philosophers" by Elbert Hubbard

2. "What is your Dream" by John C. Maxwell - Success Magazine


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Counting Blue Cars

9:30 AM
I found this article very good, speaks to me in a way I haven't heard before.

Counting Blue Cars
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One Republic Secrets cello sheet music

10:54 PM
I haven't seen the cello sheet music online, but the whole song is only 4 chords same order/tempo all the way through. D-F#m-Bm-G. The cellist plays an arpeggiated pattern through these chords. (check out the sheet music) Sometimes he varies the pattern some; I could explain the subtleties in more detail; but the audience will not know the difference if you are planning on incorporating the cello in the "Secrets" cover.
For the sheet music to Apologize click here.




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How to use Twitter.

10:31 PM
My first username was @jesseahmann. I abandoned that due that nobody cared my name is Jesse Ahmann. Why would they? To them, I'm some random twitter user trying to sell stuff. I didn't add people, or know who to add, it was all overwhelming. Some random people started following me, then I felt honored! I connected twitter to my facebook account and I was all set. However, with twitter I wanted to promote my MLM, so I found myself deleting my FB posts so I wouldn't spam my friends. Big mistake. With twitter, no one likes spam or will click through. You will lose credibility. I changed my account to @silver__collect. This was okay, I connected with a few like minded precious metals collectors. Yet, I didn't engage very well...I just pointed them to a blog of mine on silver investing. Lame. I followed as many people as I could using a program call twitter karma to unfollow those who didn't follow back. I found this to be a good way to build followers. I still hadn't figured out the "mention" feature, and that was a travesty. With following so many people how am I going to keep track of what they are saying? Finally the new twitter came out! I found the platform to be much easier to make lists (this is key) check my mentions and see my main timeline. I changed my twitter handle to @improvcellist. This is who I am. I could finally be who I am. My followers responded well, and watched my improv videos. I talk about politics, theology and music. Since then, everyone who responds to me I put in a list. This way I keep track of those who actually care to converse on twitter and don't just spam. Hope this helps!
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I am wrong and you are right!

8:30 AM



Did I just commit a logical fallicy?
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Family and their perspective on Hell.

10:18 AM

My dad just said to my sister “why would you want to spend eternity with non-christians.” It seems I can get along with non-christians better than christians. “Well maybe family”...now that shows the tragic part of Christianity, they have a heart for their family; but to spend all of eternity with them? I'd rather spend eternity with many of my “unbelieving” friends just as much.



Everyone, whether Christian or non-christian...is equally deserving of “eternal” life.

I just don't fit in anymore.

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What do women really think of sex??

12:24 AM
I'm just a married guy posing a question. I've heard many opinions from my guy friends, but I'd like to hear what ladies have to say. Do you enjoy sex more than the man, less? Does only good conversation turn you on, or are there other factors?
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Sometimes we can't see grace...

8:55 PM
As my sister is going through brain cancer, it's hard to see "Grace." I believe grace is a state of mind, a place of rest, not just some future "Blessed Hope." Jesus came to offer us a fuller life, a life abundant. Even when all is dark around us, the glimmer of God's grace can be seen. I can express myself better through music than words. Here is what I mean.

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