Born Again: A Journey From Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 2
Someone once said that every single person is doing the very best they can do in any given moment. That goes for the President of the United States all the way down to the kid who just robbed a bank. It’s a rather sobering way to look at life, especially the pivotal moments.
A shepherd is expected to care for his sheep to the best of his ability, giving his life in their defense if necessary. It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. There is a story in 1 Samuel 17 in which David, the boy shepherd, tells King Saul that he killed a lion and a bear while protecting his sheep. Modern day “shepherds” who lead churches also believe it is their duty to protect the sheep (members). If they perceive a lion prowling in their “flock”, it is not only appropriate but expected that they grab a sling shot and take aim. Whether the threat is real or only perceived is irrelevant.
That October evening, a loving and passionate shepherd sensed a threat to his flock of sheep, especially the weak ones. He took aim. The words of his warning to me were his slingshot. The book of “doctrine-that-doesn’t-exist” was his stone. He fired. It was the best decision he could make at that moment.
I was hit, and seriously wounded.
Limping off, I licked my wounds by bitterly sharing with a few others the details of the encounter. At that moment, it was the best I could do.
I made my way home with his book in hand. The irony of someone from THIS church handing me a book that wasn’t the Bible as a means of reprimanding and re-educating me was both fascinating and a bit confusing. It added fuel to my already smoldering campfire of contradictions. After all, this was the faith group who bragged about not having any “how-to” worship book other than the Bible itself.
I read the sections he had marked for me, mostly on the Holy Spirit. It grieved me to think there were people who had so little understanding of this “entity” that I had known about most of my life, yet had just begun to experience. The book described Spirit as something we were promised, yet it really didn’t or couldn’t do anything. Everyone just knew it was there. It didn’t do miracles. It didn’t enable people to speak in tongues (at least not in this day and age). It couldn’t even be credited with Divine coincidence. It was merely a comforter and the only way a person could know of Spirit’s presence was by just accepting that it was there. Somewhere. Because they said so. Doing. Nothing?
Then….what’s the point in having “it”?
Next, I flipped over a chapter or two and found the section on raising hands in worship. Yep. That book had an entire chapter devoted to why it was totally inappropriate and even sinful to raise hands in worship and praise to God. The primary reason, it said, was that doing so would draw attention to oneself like the Pharisee who prayed loudly on the corner with his arms raised. Better instead to be seen humbly as the head-bowed unworthy sinner shrinking meekly into a puddle on the sidewalk.
There was of course the section on instrumental music in worship and how that was sure to be displeasing to God since Galations specifically mentions that we should sing and make melody in our hearts and not in our guitars and pianos. The chapter on the importance of having communion weekly was also in there.
Unbelievable. Someone really had authored a book containing all of the previously unwritten but well known shoulds and should nots that had become the defining characteristics of this group of believers. It really existed. We had a doctrine, and it wasn’t leather bound with a red satin ribbon and gold block letters inscribing HOLY BIBLE.
Book of non-existent-doctrine read.
Detention assignment completed.
Besides feeling arrogantly resentful about “the book”, I had become almost obsessed with 1st Corinthians, especially chapters 11-15. There are some very specific instructions on worship and spiritual gifts in those chapters, and I wanted to know why we could insist that we were to worship EXACTLY like the first century church worshipped….except for these passages. And a few others. And some more over there.
I wanted to know why Paul’s instruction that women should learn in silence was applicable but his instruction to pray in tongues was not.
I wanted to know why some of the spiritual gifts still applied today, yet the “cool” ones had “passed away” and how we knew they had passed away.
I wanted to know why Peter’s commandment to “Repent and be baptized…” was the only way to heaven, yet Jesus’ promise that “…your children will do greater things than these…” could be ignored.
I wanted to understand why instrumental worship music was a cardinal sin, but air conditioning and sound systems were critical components of that same worship.
If things were so plainly black and white, right and wrong, yes and no, heaven and hell, first century or not first century, then why on earth were there so many things that had conveniently “passed away” with the first century church? Why were the most fascinating parts of first century Christianity not available to us? Or did we conveniently choose to ignore them? I was no longer buying the explanations I had always been given and had regurgitated onto others.
The contradictions had become too great. My narrow-minded brain had begun to expand. My vision had begun seeing a much bigger picture than that which had been painted for me by the religious teachers in my life. My faith was becoming my own, and it didn’t fit inside the old paradigm.
A showdown with my faith heritage was eminent.