Born Again: A Journey From Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 1

May 14, 2010 13 Comments

It was a mild October evening four years ago. The Church was hosting a Halloween trunk-or-treat, if memory serves me correctly. The kids were adorned in the cutest costumes and the adults were exercising the inner child with their tailgate and trunk decorations.

A week had passed since my debut as a women’s retreat speaker. I had always pushed the legalistic edges of my faith heritage through carefully worded questions and responses in Bible class, but that women’s retreat had seen me blow a few holes through the walls that marked the ultimate line in the sand for those with whom I had worshiped since a toddler.

The presentation had been well received, or so it seemed. Women I had long held in high esteem stood at the conclusion of my words and thanked me for having the courage to speak boldly and thoroughly about aspects of Christianity for which they had not had the courage to speak. Cards of encouragement arrived during the week thanking me and acknowledging my contribution to the event. Even my parents received cards of congratulations and appreciation for having done a good job of raising me.

I knew the words spoken weren’t really mine. They had come from somewhere both within and beyond me. They had risen up from the depths of a place or an energy  that wanted–no, needed–them spoken. I knew without a moment’s doubt I had truly spoken God’s message. It was a good feeling to be used by God, and the acknowledgment of others was a little bit of an ego trip. It was after all, my debut as a “preacher”.

But that night, the reality of why those women had never had the courage to speak as I had spoken walked right up to me in the shadowy, late evening air that hung over the church parking lot. He was an elder, not just older, but an officially-dubbed, ceremonially-installed elder of The Church. This man had watched me grow from a small child into a married woman who had birthed four children. I graduated from high school with his youngest son. He had been co-teacher in the Bible class my husband and I attended for several years. He had witnessed years of my sarcastic questions challenging church “law” and its abundance of contradictions.

Even though he had not been a witness to my women’s retreat presentation, word had gotten back to him of its message. Apparently all the negative feedback that didn’t find its way to my mailbox had instead found its way to his ear. He pulled me aside, looked me squarely in the eye, and said, “You really need to be careful what you say to others, particularly when there are those present whose faith isn’t as strong as yours.”

I’m sure there were some other words, but those are the words that have stuck with me, literally, as though a knife had been thrust straight into my heart. Didn’t he understand that it wasn’t really me? Could he not see that I had been a messenger speaking exactly what God wanted me to speak? God was awakening things inside of me that needed to be shared, and this message was of great importance. After all, I had been struggling with a nasty cough during the retreat, complete with the most inopportune of coughing fits, yet during the entire time I spoke to those ladies, I never so much as cleared my throat. By late afternoon I had complete and total laryngitis. It was as if God said, “You spoke what I asked of you, now shut up so you don’t screw it up.”

Adding insult to injury, the elder handed me a book with chapters marked explaining exactly what the Holy Spirit, my women’s retreat topic, is and how members of The Church are supposed to experience “him”. He indicated he wanted me to read the marked chapters and then he’d like to meet with me to discuss things.

I curtly accepted his “challenge” taking his book into my possession, yet the entire time feeling an incredible urge to vomit in hopes of somehow untying the knots that had taken up residence throughout my body between my throat and my womb. The ego trip of the previous week had suddenly experienced the ultimate smack down.

I could hardly wait to read his little book, for I had always been told The Church had no book of doctrine except the Bible. Yet there in my hands that night, I held what appeared to be the rights and wrongs of how a good Christian should conduct themselves in worship and beyond. I held the previously believed non-existent doctrine of The Church.

Go to Part 2.

13 thoughts on “Born Again: A Journey From Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 1”

  1. I thought your lesson at the retreat was awesome and have never regretted letting you be our speaker. Don’t get discouraged by one persons opinion. I love you Angie and always have

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. On the contrary, that whole experience has been the greatest gift toward spiritual growth and freedom I could have ever been given. I have always been grateful that you gave me that opportunity. It was life changing in so many ways.

      I’ve done my best to release any resentment (still working on it a bit), because it truly was the beginning of finding my own spirituality. I plan to share the entire journey here for all to see just how perfect it has been each step of the way. Hopefully I will be able to introduce you to some amazing and incredible women who have found their way into my life because of the journey.

  2. We sit back and wonder why people do not come to church, or why some have resentment towards the church. The way you were treated was wrong and for that I am sorry. There are others that were wronged as well. When Eben left so called Christians spewed hate towards him. I have said out loud just in the last few weeks “this is not what church is supposed to be.”
    I love you Angie always have and always will no matter what. Christianity is about relationships and loving each other and others, NO MATTER WHAT! People are droping out of churches and we do nothing to try to get them back, well untill we need their money. I understand a lot of what you are saying, I have been there too in recent months and it is very dicouraging.
    Please excuse the typos I am doing this from my phone and my fat fingers are too big for the phone.

    1. Everything is perfect and exactly as it should be. Eyes forward and never looking back except to see the blessings. That’s my desire through this series of blog posts.

      I have a saying taped to my office computer by Buckminister Fuller (interesting name given the topic of conversation). He says, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

      The way I was treated was exactly as it needed to be. Ideal? No. Necessary to move forward? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

      I have a new friend. A beautiful woman whose experience is eerily similar to mine. Her words say so well what I have been feeling, and I think you are feeling it too. She explains things we have experienced very logically in this blog post.

      She expressed my feelings so well in a forum we frequent when she said, “I’ve felt freer than ever before. I still have God…and I wonder what He/She looks like, stripped of organized religion, absent of labels we’ve placed on Him or Her (or Neither, might I suggest?). That’s where I’m at. Listening, waiting, learning.”

      She has another post that really struck a chord with me, and I think it will with you, too. She says, “Do we have such hard hearts and slow minds that it’s taken us this long to realize that Jesus’s words are simple. Hard, but simple. Love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. Whoa. Back up there. Love my neighbor? Am I doing that? That’s a huge task. It requires forbearance, love, patience, foresight, quickness, empathy, grace, and did I mention love? Love, love, love. It really is too messy sometimes.”

      We are stepping into a new era where the majority of people see themselves as spiritual, but not religious. I like that. I think that’s what Jesus was shooting for.

  3. Oh my goodness Angela. I just popped over from your comment on Renegade Conversations. And I read this post. And I read the post about Title IX. And I kept digging. Then just as I was about to post a comment – I saw that you have connected with Elissa. I found her a couple of months ago.

    I am on the same journey. Dance of the Dissident Daughter was an important jumping off point a while ago. Lately these blog to blog connections have been critical. Your experience with the response from your retreat hit me straight in the chest.

    I grew up in Petersburg. A Baptist. Still go to a baptist church in the Dallas area. I just wrote a blog post about the most demeaning Mother’s Day sermon I’ve ever heard. My parents, still in Lubbock, don’t get any of it.

    I am raising two girls.

    When I was in high school (’89) – I had to make a choice between playing basketball and taking a the first ever offered computer course – because it was offered across from girls basketball – and Typing II was offered as an equivalent credit across from boys basketball.

    I know I’m sort of just rambling here – but the crux of all of this is that I am so glad to have found your blog. Keep on preaching sister…. there are those out there dying to hear.

    1. I know where Petersburg is!!!! I work/teach with a sweet lady with Petersburg history.

      You will probably never know how important that last sentence is and will be to me. I have a signficant fear of offending and alienating some people I love, but I have a greater fear of keeping silent. There are so many of us who are “waking up” and realizing there’s so much more and we want it….all of it.

      I’ll pop over and check out your blog. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I want to state, for the record, that I have a beautiful new friend. Angie, I can’t tell you how much it means to find someone else who’s breaking free…who wants truth (whatever that may mean)…and who knows that Jesus meant something WAY different than what’s being touted in many churches.

    And can I add this? I was scheduled to speak at a Medical Spouses’ Bible Study last spring, and even after warning them that I might be a little different than they thought I might be, they insisted. A week before the event, one of the organizers got cold feet after reading my blog. Her take was the same as the elder in your story. “What will you be doing to ALL THOSE WOMEN whose faith isn’t as strong as yours?” First, may I say, quite humbly, that I do not control, nor do I think I control anyone’s belief system, and secondly, I would add, quite adamantly, that a person’s spiritual journey is between God and him/her. One’s faith has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with where you are on your journey.
    I simply provide more questions. LOL.
    Love you, girlfriend. Hold your head high. xo

    1. Elissa, Girlfriend, you rock! Seriously. I am so giddy with excitement about what is about to open up and break free. I am almost in tears. So freakin’ cool.

  5. So up in heaven, Peter asks John ” who are those people in the corner over there with blinders on? “. John replies “shhh! They are the church of Christ, and we have to be quiet around that area, since they think they are the only ones here!”

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