Born Again: A Journey From Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 3
When I was ten years old, something inside of me shifted. I had heard the sermons warning that I was not promised another day, another hour, another minute in this world, and that failure to have my sins washed away in the watery grave of baptism would certainly doom me to an eternity in the fires of hell.
I had experienced the weeks and months of Bible classes talking about the plan of salvation: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, then Live the Life.
I made my decision. It was time to be “born again”.
I didn’t accept “The Invitation”, but rather cried through it. After services, my parents and I met with the preacher. I was, after all, a bit young as compared to most. A few questions later, he had determined I did in fact know what I was doing. I was prepped in the white stuff and led to the baptistry. It was warm. While others had gotten away with a simple “yes” or “I do” as an affirmation of their faith, he asked me to state my faith, resulting in a twenty word dissertation (for a ten year old), and probably the first (and last?) time EVER a female had “testified” in the presence of males at the front of THAT church. Looking back, it seems almost prophetic.
Then the dunking. Then the hugs and congratulations. My soul was saved.
I was a “win” for Christ.
Twenty eight years later, there I was having delivered my first real “sermon”, having been both congratulated and chastised for it, and having been assigned to read the “book of non-existent doctrine”. The elder had asked for a meeting once I had read the designated parts of the book.
That book. The one intended to show me the error of my ways. That book might as well have been kindling for my already smoldering fire of rebellion. Rather than correct my wrongs, it simply added fuel to the fire. I saw it as further proof that I was in the midst of a double-talking, arrogant, rule-driven religious group. To me, it resonated with everything Jesus had despised about the Pharisees.
Something inside of me was gestating. Growing. Taking shape. Begging to be born. That something was me. It was my sacred feminine spirit that had been locked away and held in check almost since leaving my mother’s womb. Though officially “born again” at the age of ten, I had been born again into a church full of tradition, rules, and female oppression. This was not the spiritual freedom we had been promised in “Christ Jesus”. Now my sacred feminine spirit was itching to be set free–to experience its own birth, and the labor pains had already reached the transition stage.
I dreaded the meeting Mr. Elder had requested. He seemed to suck the life force right out of me, and I didn’t want to be in a confrontation with him. The years of Bible class had been witness to many head to head encounters with him over differences of opinion about what scripture was communicating and its application in our lives. We were both passionate about our beliefs and perceptions. It was seldom very pretty.
Yet some how, some way, I called upon whatever it is that lives deep down inside a person that delivers the previously unknown reserves of strength and courage. It’s that energy reserve which enables a human to lift a car thus saving the life of a loved one.
With the nerves of a cat in a dog pound, I scheduled the “meeting” with him. To this day, I am not sure what either of us thought would be accomplished. Nevertheless, it was done. The meeting was set. The showdown was inevitable.
I requested my dad be present as a witness to the meeting. I knew I couldn’t trust my own memory to recall the events correctly. I wanted someone there to validate for me everything that happened. His presence also seemed necessary to me as a source of strength….my guardian and protector, as always, in case things got out of hand.
In hindsight, that was the most cruel and unfair thing I could have ever done to my dad.
As another of the church elders, he was unofficially sworn to stand by the rest of the elders in times of conflict. They could disagree in private, but where others were concerned, the “front” would always be united. It was his obligation to have the other elders’ backs. It never occurred to me that this pact would or even should somehow trump the father-daughter bond that I believed unbreakable.
As evidence of my father’s wisdom, he in turn requested a third elder be present for the meeting. I don’t know exactly why, but I suspect it was for similar reasons as my own. He wanted someone else to be a witness since this was HIS daughter. He couldn’t be JUST a witness. He shouldn’t be the ONLY witness. That role would have to fall to someone else.
As time for my appointment with fate approached, my stomach churned. I really had no idea what to expect or how things would go down. Nothing would surprise me, but that didn’t mean I was prepared for the experience.
We all entered the room. We seated ourselves around a long table. The elder who requested the meeting sat at the head of the table. I sat next to him on his right. My dad occupied the seat opposite him, and the third elder sat to the right of my dad.
The dual began.