Thursday, April 9, 2009

Introduction: Read Me First

Hello, my name is Leslie and I am a recovering fundamentalist with occassional mystical experiences. I don't know if that makes me a mystic or not, but I do have experiences with God once in a while.
My feet are in two worlds, sometimes more in one than the other. I shift my weight back and forth to find some sort of balance which remains elusive. I don't seem to be successful in either, yet, I continue as best I can, hoping that someday I will find that perfect balance and the sense of belonging I yearn for.
I realize I am angry and frustrated at the Pharisees (religion), and haven't decided if that is a good or bad thing. Right now, it is just something I am working through.
I am ticked off by denominationalism while my friends and family seem content with the church in which they were raised–and I envy them their complacency. I haven’t been that lucky. I have actively investigated Judaism, Catholicism, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Brethren, Pentecostal and Church of Christ-isms, in addition to having read philosophy, most of the Nag Hammadai manuscripts, Lives of the Saints, NDE experiences, been addicted to Tuesday Lobsang Rampa since I was a teenager, and read some eastern religion to a lesser extent. I have always been curious, yet accepting, of other faiths (finding good in all) in contrast to my family that does not understand why I don’t just accept that I am a conservative protestant (like them), stop my restless search, and become a disciplined, obedient church member.
After years of watching me wander around, my family likens me to a wave being tossed from church to church and no longer care where I go to church, if I would just settle down and pick one. I feel guilty that I can't commit to a certain walk and would like to make everyone more comfortable with my religion, yet am past the point in my walk of conforming to a man-made religion of any kind–although I miss the fellowship. I have been led to believe there is something wrong with me that I need to fix. Very wrong.
For about 10 years I have KNOWN that there is more to the Bible and God than what we are being fed in our churches, yet could make no progress in discovering what it was. I have been hungry for the meat of understanding for a long time. I had a vivid dream about 7 years ago about thawing a huge piece of meat that my pet lioness tries to steal from me. I KNOW the meat of understanding is out there to be had (some even in the Bible) . . . if only I can beat off that pesky lioness (the church?) and get the meat to thaw, I will finally be fed. I am frustrated that the church that does not educate their pastors and prepare them to deal with hungry souls such as myself. I am nauseous of being fed milk in church (any church!) and crave insight and understanding. I live for the "Ah-ha" moments.
I have always thought that children did not belong in church during the sermon, that what was being preached should be for a mature audience, that the children should be instructed separately: if a sermon is understandable to the children then it isn’t strong enough for me.
Threats of hellfire tick me off. Pastors that yell threats from the pulput are bullies that push the masses around. If they believe so much in a physical hell, where are their tears? Can you imagine how powerful it would be if a pastor stood in front of the cogregation and simply wept for them out of compassion? That is the heart of Jesus. That is the heart I seek.
I have no tolerance for Christians that pray for rain yet aren’t carrying an umbrella. If you don't believe it can happen, then save your breath and don't pray for it.
It ticks me off that most denominations believe that everything God has to say to us is contained in the Bible, that he would not have anything to say to us personally.
It ticks me off that most denominations believe that the days of miracles ended with the apostles, that we should not expect supernatural intervention in our colorless lives today.
Missionaries stealing culture and systematically homogenizing our world tick me off. They are committing cultural murder as they "educate" indigenous populations in Christianity. Jesus has them covered.
I have never subscribed to the Rapture Theory. My parents are followers of Jack Van Impe (among others) and I have always argued that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, that there is no precedent (other than the Israelites being led out of Egypt) of God removing his people from times of hardship, that it is more in keeping with the historic God to equip and protect his people during difficult times and allow them to be honed in their difficult circumstances. I now believe that the "rapture" concept might be a metaphor for the process we are in mystically. But YOU try to explain that one to my literalist parents. Ha.
I am a very liberal Democrat that works for a ultra-conservative Republican politician. I am a poor excuse of a Christian living in a strict fundamental family, in a Bible-thumping region of the country. I am a single mother with two cats and a pre-teen daughter.
Four years ago, I moved to one of the poorest areas of the country and, last fall, moved into one of the poorest neighborhoods. My job is to help the helpless, lost and needy with their problems and I love helping MY people. I would rather spend a half hour helping a smelly welefare case get relief for his heat bill than swill martinis with at a posh cocktail party full of celebrities. And I have done both.
People that have had mystical experiences that have a problem with others talking about the mystic path trouble me. Do we go through life stumbling along finding what crumbs we can, or do we learn from each other?

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