STALKED BY JESUS
(first installment in an ongoing series, stay tuned…)
When I was seven I left the church, but only inside my own head. I continued to attend church for another six years, having no choice in the matter. I left because I found out that, according to the God of this church, my little Jewish friends were going to be cast into a pit of fire for all eternity. In fact, the rules were so strict that hardly anyone was going to Heaven, and certainly not me. This was not a God I wanted to be associated with. I would go to Hell with my friends.
I didn’t discard God and Jesus though, and certainly not the Holy Spirit, whom I understood as an invisible cloud of love and goodness that kind of floated around like Caspar the Friendly Ghost. The Holy Spirit was my favorite, or maybe Jesus. Jesus said things that brought tears to my eyes, like “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He was kind to sinners, healed the sick, gave people food, and asked us to love one another, and not to judge and condemn others. Judging and condemning were major activities in the small town where I lived, and I wished we could get rid of them altogether. I was a little fat kid with a crazy grandmother whose mother had run away with a guy who sold magazines, so I had a personal stake in lessening the amount of judgment in the world. Anyhow, if I gave up God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit I wouldn’t really have any friends at all.