Stages of development

Sunday school
-> Asked Jesus into my heart. Mock all you want – felt real to me – prayed on my way from school to the dentist – not so scared, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Men are pigs
-> Thought I was following Jesus when I wanted to preach.
-> Bloodied my head against Christian patriarchy.
-> “Let the women be silent.”
-> Got married.
-> Church leaders, “Submit, submit, submit.”
-> Oh, wait – that’s just for women.
-> Penises rule.
-> Didn’t Jesus have women colleagues?

Home to Mom
-> Got sick of the foul language – “Lord, Master, Father, King, brothers, sons.”
-> “No girls allowed.”
-> I’m outta here.
-> Fled to feminism, found Mother God in my own mothering.
-> Started praying to a Woman – healed my heart.
-> I’ll take Mother Mary – don’t need her son.
-> Read Julian of Norwich, “Our Blessed Mother Jesus.”
-> Hmm.

Women’s circles
-> Aaah – warm bath. Acceptance, affirmation.
-> No boys allowed.
-> No bible studies either, every word in that book clouded by hundreds of sermons.
-> No need for divisive theology.
-> Jesus is embarrassing, exclusive and narrow–minded.
-> Remembering a nya-nya Sunday School song: “One Door and only one and yet its sides are two. I’m on the inside, on which side are you?”
-> Ugh.

Oh, poop
-> Unearthed rotten truths:
-> Women can be bossy and judgmental.
-> Feminists can be fundamentalists.
-> Buddhists can be just as mean as liberal Christians can be just as mean as evangelicals.

Fashion trend
-> Suddenly everybody respects spirituality.
-> Yogic meditation, Buddhist chanting, Native dancing, labyrinth walks.
-> Believe what you want (don’t mention Christ).
-> Flying free felt great.
-> Then it felt crazy.
-> Like there’s no room in ‘spirituality’ for common sense.
-> Actual conversation at women’s spirituality group:
Me: “Yes, Nature is sacred, but I need a person-type God. I mean, the ocean’s awesome but it wouldn’t care if I were drowning in it.”
Her: “How do you know the ocean doesn’t care?” Wha?
-> Can’t park my brain at the door.
-> Need some facts – Back to history.
-> One more time – who was Jesus?

-> Roots.
-> Checked out the Bible again. – ignored the parts I don’t get.
-> Discovered lectio divina – read scripture, be quiet, be humble, listen.
-> Met Jesus again: If you want to know God, follow me. I’ve come so that you can have life to the fullest. If you want to follow me, prepare to die. Whoever’s determined to win will be a loser. Don’t just sit there praying – visit the prisoners, feed the hungry, love the person who hates you, forgive, forgive, forgive. Don’t worry and don’t be afraid. Stick with me and I’ll stick with you.

-> Jesus? still a conundrum.
-> But “If I say I will not mention Him, or speak in His name anymore, His word is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; Indeed I cannot.” (Jeremiah)

Donna-Jean Brown lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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