It is past my bed time (9:30 to be exact) on a Thursday night and I'm at Steamers. I am hoping to meet with the crazies of a local coven and see if there is a place for me in their circle. Before driving over here, I was cruising the internet and hit a Christian ministries web site. It was linked from an e-mail on Wasatch Web to an article on how to use (or twist) that awful pagan holiday Halloween to witness for Jesus. The draw that got me to go to the site was someone wondering out loud on Wasatch Web if this site was serious or if it was a parody. So I looked at it with the object of passing judgment. If it is serious, they are just a bit naive. If it is parody, it is extremely subtle...subtle enough to earn some praise. But as I shut down the browser I was taken back to a place, emotional and mental, that I've been a few times before over the past 20 years. In putting together the quick notes for this journal entry I jotted down this phrase: "The awful lure of Jesus."
I'll be damned if there isn't a part of me that wants to leap into the abyss of belief and become a Jesus Freak. It is a difficult thing to write about. It is hard to be totally honest about it, or to find words to really relate what was going on. Relating it honestly almost brings the shame that comes with confession. The shame and the shock is that the pull is so strong I actually feel myself being sucked into it. And not in a small way...I mean I seriously feel myself getting ready to believe. Trying to describe it is like describing the difference between knowing that you could jump off that bridge if you wanted, and feeling the muscles actually start tensing, pulling you over the rail, and wondering if you will stop yourself or just let the motion have its way. I mean it is really, honestly SCARY.
So what is the draw? Why the reaction?
The first time I was in this place was on my mission, in a classic 'bash' where the guy we were talking to was really driving it home. It shook me up...bad. There may have been a few more times over the years when I felt this pull, but only one other before tonight stands out. That was listening to one of the authors of the Left Behind series of books being interviewed on NPR. But tonight was the worst.
So picture it. Andy as a Born Again Christian. Scary, isn't it?
Why does this happen? What is the draw? What is the attraction? Certainty is part of it. Xtianity is just so simple, so straightforward. All you have to do is believe, to accept, and everything else falls into place. Sure, there are still challenges and questions in life, but now there is a core of faith to hold to. So many issues that used to be shades of grey are now drawn to sharp edges, polarized to the twin purities of black and white. There is also the instant community that comes with it. All you have to do is walk into any four square gospel church in the land, announce your belief, and there is instant acceptance as family. More than that, you have that sense of belonging that comes from a feeling of 'us against the world", a sort of tribal or familial belonging.
On the drive to Steamers I saw the lights on at the district court building, third floor corner office. Eleven years ago that was my father's office. It sort of jerked me out of my reality and back into the past. There was no pointed epiphany, and no set reaction...just feeling the past nuzzle up against me for a moment before fading back into the background.
Flash I've been here a half hour and the coven mistress finally noticed me. This reminds me that I need to banish ego.
Crap...going way back to a previous post about the little blonde at steamers (you gotta go where the toys are), I thought I had noticed one of her ears being deformed. Yup, it is. Now I am picking up that the little twerp is deaf. But she is making noises, so I could be wrong. Mom is teaching her ASL, and she is picking up on it pretty well.
Gads. It is 10:00 and some people are showing up, possibly members of the coven. Baby bats. Why is it? Where are the middle aged people? Why don't the hang at coffee shops and join covens and just act like something other than reclusive farts? Then again, this is Utah. They're all doing their "Church Jobs".
If a bug had pants, would they have a fly??