Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Who Me, Christian?

Okay, here's the weird thing: I had no problems talking about God or discussing (beating to death - you choose the verb!) religious ideals when I was still hopelessly lost and searching for Him/them.

December 26, 2105 - A walk through down town Dayboro

And now that I've joined a church - which by the way is part of the Australian Christian Churches (Assemblies of God) not the Church of Christ like I said earlier which, although they exist, is just something I made up quickly to get on with writing - well, maybe you can tell by my obfuscation in this sentence, but I am a little embarrassed.

I mean, reading the Tao, the Bhagavat Gita, the Torah, the Koran, Tarot cards (all of which I have either done or at least attempted to do!): eccentric.  Studying the Bible (which I am doing now): lame. Middle eastern and Romani gypsy dancing?  Crunchy.  Singing and dancing in church?  Weird.
Turning to incense and oils and natural medicine and yoga and meditation (which I still do): kooky. Speaking in tongues (which I have attempted, more on that later!):  REALLY out there!

What? This old thing?!

I had no trouble hanging Ganesha on my wall and calling Shiva our household god or putting up a wall hanging about the meaning of the Hindu word 'Namaste', but hanging up a picture of Jesus or keeping the Bible out when company was coming over took a little longer.

Jesus, by the way, hangs out between two sayings by the Dalai Lama:

 "Love and kindness are always appropriate" and

 "In the history of the world, it has already been proven that the human will is more powerful than the gun."

Jesus and the Dalai Lama get along really well up there on my wall.

Ian, Andrew, Matthew 29/12/15 pre Star Wars

And I hope I haven't just put that last part in so that secular people will still think I'm cool.

The fact is this church kinda snuck up on us.  When we attended the outdoor children's nativity service last December 14, 2014, we THOUGHT we were attending a combined Dayboro churches event and that it would be fairly safe.  Then Pastor Gary didn't yell at us and call us sinners (like the Hip Hop Christmas at Potters House 2011), or talk about US involvement in Israel (like the Uniting Church in Kallangur 2013 which also had Jesus dying on the cross and made Ian cry so much I had to take him outside), or have a barefoot pastor and people running around with a Jesus flag (Vineyard 2012 which was actually quite nice but a bit out there for us, especially Damon!), or simply bore us to death (sorry Catholics Petrie, 2010 but we just didn't feel the enthusiasm).

Star Wars rocked (and put Ian to sleep!)  Happy B'day Dad.

Gary just spoke really positively and then invited everyone to go out for coffee.

Every week after was like a positive affirmation in personal growth.

By the time we noticed that Gary was mumbling things in a funny language, well, it just didn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

Weird lights on Mount Pleasant, December 31, 2015

And three months ago (right after my parents were here), when a visiting preacher asked who would like to accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, I thought, well that sounds great and raised my hand.  I mean, who wouldn't want a personal saviour, right?!

What I didn't fully understand until later, is that this might actually make me a born- again Christian. Although I haven't jumped into the plastic blow up pool out on the front lawn of the school hall yet.

And later that night - yes, I actually went to church TWICE IN ONE DAY because I wanted to!  (Did I mention my parents had just been here visiting?!)  Oh, later that night the preacher called on the Holy Spirit (who I always wondered about as a kid, who was that and why wasn't he mentioned more often?) to help us speak in tongues.

Hold on to your hats.

I fell silent.

December 26, 2015

Yup.  Me.  With everyone babbling and singing around me and a whole load of laying on of hands and praying, all I really wanted to do was stand still and listen.  (That and I kept coming up with words I had learned when I went to all those bas mitzvahs in middle school: I don't know that Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam counts as speaking in tongues, more like speaking Hebrew!)

But that's okay.  There are lots of other gifts of the Holy Spirit (which the Catholics apparently also believe in; why leave out like the coolest part?!): knowledge and wisdom and teaching and missions and service.  Although I can't claim to have any of those either.

I'm just happier now.  And more hopeful.

Reality versus 'Romani fiction!'

A few weeks ago Damon asked if I had been having bad dreams.  And I said, yeah, I had been driving demons out of people, but I hadn't really been scared because I knew I could do it.  Why, had I finally been speaking in tongues in my sleep?

Uh no.  But I had been reciting the Our Father and the Hail Mary at rapid- fire pace.  (Which, by the way, also works to ward off vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts and most anything monster-like in any of my dreams.)

Honestly, I haven't really changed all that much.

I've just finally met a group of people who are encouraging me to be who I always was on the