"Deep calls to deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." Psalm 42:7
"For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me." Jonah 2:3The King James translation of the Bible has a lot of mixed baggage for me. As a young child in an irreligious family, I voluntarily decided to start attending a fundamentalist church at the invitation of our neighbors. The King James Bible was the authoritative translation. The flourish and poetry of it's words still echo in my mind, years after leaving fundamentalism behind, and they can sometime trigger a tailspin into the pain of remembering being controlled by misogyny and homophobia. It has shaped the way I write, and no wonder, as it is one of the most influential texts in the English language. As an adult, I've grown to love it's poetry and it's failings as a translation. It is, like any other translation, full of human error. What has stuck with me are the beautiful turns of phrase. So when it came time, years ago, to name my blog, this is the old KJV song that had been stuck in my head since childhood.
Throughout my life I have strongly resonated with the story of Jonah. Wanting to run, to leave, and hoping that instead of my enemies coming to God's forgiveness, that she would just destroy them all. I have felt like an unlikely and unwilling participant in this story of Jesus Christ who came to save. I have tried to leave my faith behind so many times, exploring Hinduism, Atheism, Neopaganism, and Buddhism. You can see my moments of "apostasy" throughout posts on my blog. These times of fluctuation are just as much as part of my spiritual journey as my times of intense faith, as my time as a fundamentalist. There is no erasing the King James Version, or Pema Chodron, or crystal lore, or Bible College, or my time as a hardcore Rachel Held Evans groupie, or Yoga, or Catholicism, from my faith journey. Ultimately, through dreams, signs, and visions I don't seek out and don't want, I end up coming back. Reluctant disciple. I am Luther at Diet of Worms, "Here I stand, I can do no other," I say to Jesus with a look of defeat and resignation. Or I'm more like Simon Peter, who says with conviction, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"
"If you cannot trust him to let you know what is right, but think you must hold this or that before you can come to him, then I justify your doubts in what you call your worst times, but which I suspect are your best times in which you come nearest to the truth-- those namely, in which you fear you have no faith." -George MacDonaldI do not share my faith journey as an example to be followed. I simply share it, knowing that I'm not the only one. When Christianity is coupled with abuse, it's hard to forge a faith that will impress others, something I was far, far too preoccupied with for a long time. In the musical Wicked there's a lyric, "Some questions haunt and hurt, too much, too much to mention/Was I really seeking good/Or just seeking attention?" And I know that for a large portion of my journey, it has been the latter. From a troubled childhood I was seeking the approval of others, people who seemed steady and charismatic and had leadership qualities and were devout. And I think I've become a disappointment to every single one, and I've come to grips with that. I will continue to fluctuate, to prod, to ask questions, to despair, to boldly claim, to sheepishly inquire. I will continue to let people down. I will continue to worship the God/dess who is at times very unknown to me, and at other times feels closer than my own breath.