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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2008
Why do women stay in abusive relationships? Here's how, I discovered: there is a cost to leaving, a huge price to pay to fall out of the societal acceptance and comfort that comes from having a husband and a homeeven if you get screamed at for hours every night behind the walls of that home.
I'd had run-ins with Jesus' people over the years. The strangest thing about these fervent believers, I thought later, was how none of them asked me, in their attempts to sell their faith, what was going in my lifewhat was missing or what I was searching for. None of them told me how Jesus could make my life better, because they didn't ask what needed fixing.
'You realize don't you,' God said, 'this means no more sex until you get married?' I am the only person I know whose salvation story begins with a direct request to stop fornicating.
It had never occurred to me that the Bible said I could have anything: I thought it was a list of what I couldn't have. For all my spiritual searching I'd never really looked at the Bible. I'd been told it was a patriarchal, misogynistic book written by early church leaders to repress women.
I had no idea what to make of statements like 'Jesus' finished work on the Cross' or why Christians focused so determinedly on Jesus' murder when really the only "good news" I could find in the story was that three days later the guy came back to life.
To my utter consternation, Jesus claimed to be the only path to abundant life and the only way to get to heaven. As maniacally devoted as I was to the idea of romantic monogamy, it hadn't occurred to me that spiritual monogamy might be a good idea as well.
If the Bible was true, I faced some major changes in how I thought about life. I had always believed that spirituality was about mastering my positive thinking and burnishing my personal wholeness and self esteem. I had never imagined it would be about Jesus, admitting that I was entirely sin-prone and fighting off an evil being who wanted to devour me. Suddenly this Christian thing seemed like a bizarre Star Trek episode where I had to master the hidden forces of some new galaxy in order to survive. But as I read the Bible, I felt God saying: 'This is the self-help book you've been looking for.'
The thing I noticed about Jesus that I didn't see in most of his front men was that He really got in there and loved people. He loved them in a personal, relational, helpful way, not in that arms-length love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin way.
I tried all those gods, along with the gods of money, cute outfits, and having the flattest stomach on the beach. Not to mention my ongoing quest to worship Mr. Right, not matter how not-right he might be. Like Baal in the Old Testament, when these gods were put to the test by the fiery trials of my real life, none of them had any power.