Born Again: A Journey from Daughter of the Kingdom to Sacred Feminine Goddess, Part 7
I grew up in the conservative Church of Christ. We weren’t the most conservative of CofC’s, yet we had a fairly significant list of why’s and why not’s, should’s and should not’s, can’s and cannot’s, will’s and will not’s.
I was taught from an early age that the Bible is the ONLY doctrine to be used in determining how to please God in our worship. No book written by men would suffice. That same Bible was believed to be God-breathed, God-inspired, God-protected, and without error. Where contradictions exist, there is a logical and rational explanation, or they are minor and should not be cause for concern.
I was also taught that the Bible was to be taken literally…..unless it was speaking figuratively. As a result, this group has traditionally worshiped without the use of musical instruments, because we are to “sing and make melody in your heart” according to Paul’s letter to the Galations. We always take communion (The Lord’s Supper) on the first day of the week every week to emulate the final passover meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples, because he said, “Do this in memory of me.” If a person missed Sunday morning worship services and thus communion, it was always offered again Sunday evening, but never at Wednesday services.
We would dutifully snap (break) off and eat a piece of our tasteless toasted cracker wafer thing, then drink our tiny individual cup of grape juice to commemorate Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. In recent years, the church invested in pre-cut tiny cracker squares requiring only that the recipient pick it up out of the tray–no breaking required. Apparently that caused a bit of stress among the more legalistic literalists in the church and resulted in a double offering of both the toasted breakable chunk of cracker and the little pre-cut squares of dried flour-water.
Baptism by total immersion for forgiveness of sins was the only acceptable way to be saved from the fires of hell. That ritual was expected once a child reached the “age of accountability”. Doing so would result in our being “added” to The Church. Every sermon ended with and invitation that still echoes in my head, “Won’t you come….while we stand and sing.” The rest of the God-and-Jesus-worshiping world was lost, doomed to spend eternity in hell, because sprinkling or baptism by immersion for the purpose of joining a church was simply unacceptable to God for the purpose of salvation.
We were to worship as the New Testament church worshiped. The Old Covenant passed away with the death of Jesus, and while we are not required to follow the old testament, it was available for teaching and instruction…
And to remind us that God snuffed out Nadab and Abihu for introducing the wrong kind of fire, so we’d better be sure we are doing this thing right, or else.
It never really occurred to my very left-brained, rule-following self that there might be a problem with this insistence on literal interpretation. It never crossed my mind to question why this divinely inspired book that was to be interpreted literally was not being FULLY interpreted literally. We seemed to have a buffet style method of deciding what we wanted to interpret literally and what should be assigned to the category of passed away. The miracles and instructions to pray in tongues had passed away with the deaths of the apostles. Women prophesying was conveniently dismissed and ignored. Revelations was a book with too much symbolism, so it was most often pushed aside and used only on occasion…
…to remind us that anyone who adds to or takes away from the Word of God would BURN!
Many people contributed to the shaping of this belief system in me. I cannot attribute all that much of it to my family. Preachers, Bible class teachers, youth ministers, and college professors all played a role in planting and nourishing this doctrine, this pattern, in my psyche. I became quite good at regurgitating this concoction of double standards onto others who were my targets.
A career shift in 2003 led me to begin studying how movement affects brain hemisphere integration. The more I studied the concepts and practiced the movements, the more my mind expanded allowing me to see a bigger picture. My previously details-focused, legalistic-dogma-spewing self began to have a number of a-ha moments. Questions began to enter my mind. Why was this acceptable and expected, but this other is to be dismissed? Why do we insist on doing things this way, but these other ideas are simply not for today?
How is “a book” written mostly by men over multiple decades and even centuries, that was compiled by men, voted on by men, interpreted and translated by men multiple times, influenced by kings and world leaders, then presented to the world by men completely and divinely protected from error? It required a complete and total suspension of intelligent logic to believe such, and I was beginning to doubt the appropriateness of suspending logic.
However, the most important conflicting “issue” for me was that of Jesus’ miraculous powers of healing. In a rare case of unsuspended logic, The Church believed that all “true” miracles (those performed by a human) had ceased with the death of the apostles. The power of the Holy Spirit that landed on them with tongues of fire had given them the ability to perform miracles, and once they died, all the cool stuff stopped happening.
During my “brain integration” studies, I learned a bit about eastern medicine theories such as the energy meridians and acupressure points. It was relevant anatomy information that applied to the new concepts I was investigating. The concepts suggested that we all have energy flowing in pathways through our bodies. Many different things can affect that energy flow. Then I noticed a story of healing in which a woman touched the hem of Jesus garment and he felt the energy flow out of his body.
My logic brain with its new “big picture” gift began putting the pieces together. If this story is true, then Jesus’ healing was about transferring energy from one human to another. It was about clearing energy blockages in the pathways. It was related to healing practices that date back thousands of years. Why had we dismissed this “power” that is still very much within us? Why was it okay to “blow off” such a vital part of the ministry of Jesus as inapplicable and therefore unexpected of us today?
Could this “energy” be somehow related to the Holy Spirit?
My studies began to intensify.
They say knowledge is power.
That may be true, but asking too many questions and publicly presenting the answers can be hazardous to one’s status in The Church.