A friend and I were talking rather excitedly about my upcoming guest appearance on the Joy Behar Show. We were chattering away when she suddenly asked me, “How are you going to respond if Joy asks you what you believe about religion now?”
Well, to tell the truth, I was stumped. I mean, I do have an answer to that question, but the minute my friend asked me about it, my brain froze up and I couldn’t think of a thing to say.
Oh no, I thought ~ what if I get totally stuck during the interview? I’d better be prepared! I’m sure I won’t get a chance to to tell it all ~ but just for practice ~ and since I’ve been told that, “Everybody’s dying to know!” ~ here’s the summary that I’m planning to give if Joy does ask me “the big question”:
It used to be my goal in life to know God so intimately ~ so completely ~ that at the end of my life when it came time to stand before Him ~ face to face ~ I would not have the sort of “I really wasn’t expecting this” surprised feelings of one who’s meeting a distant relative for the first time. I wanted that meeting to have the feeling of a homecoming ~ like greeting a familiar, and very dear old friend.
Somewhere along the line, I had a complete change of perspective and now that whole idea of “knowing God intimately” seems silly ~ how could anyone really “know” a being or entity such as God?
These days, when I try to picture in my mind what “God” might be like, I do not imagine a supernatural being who is qualitatively different from all other manifestations of existence. In other words, I believe that everything that exists is all that there is ~ there is no “higher power” outside of and separate from whatever is.
I also do not picture an oversized male looking down from above, overseeing the affairs of “men” ~ and micromanaging every little detail of our lives.
And what do I think about Jesus ~ my former Lord and Savior?
This’ll be hard for some of you to hear ~ but, having devoted myself wholly to Jesus for over 25 years, I think I have a better than fair understanding of His teaching and His life’s mission. I used to be inspired by Jesus’ central message ~ that of the cross, of self-denial and laying down one’s life for others ~ but now, I think that such martyrdom is unhealthy and kind of twisted.If you don’t mind ending up dead, or wishing you were dead ~ then go ahead and follow Jesus’ example as He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and never opened His mouth in protest. But for those who plan to live out their lives ~ especially for those moms of many who need to stick around and raise their children ~ a lifestyle of complete self-abnegation is unsustainable.
Pouring one’s entire life into serving your husband ~ giving up everything for the sake of your children ~ this is a recipe for burnout and breakdown.
Particularly for women, Jesus example of submission to His Father’s will, is a set up for willing acceptance of oppression and abuse at the hands of those in a position of authority ~ no matter how benevolent and loving that authority is supposed to be.
I’m sure my friend will be disappointed if I go on the Joy Behar show and publicly confess that I am no longer inspired by Jesus and that, in fact, so much of what He stood for ~ submission, obedience, martyrdom, establishing the Kingdom of God ~ such things make me wince and I cannot bear to listen to His message for long.
I do still have some interest in “Emergent” ideas and Process Theology. I wish I had plenty of spare time to read up on all the progressive thought which is making its way into the collective Christian consciousness. Some interest … but not enough to actually make the time …
I know there are many who find solace and peace “in Christ” as I once did ~ and I don’t begrudge anyone their faith and sincerely held convictions. It’s not my intention to talk anyone out of their love for Jesus.
I’m just not there anymore ~ and it’s doubtful that I ever will be again.