A watery resurrection

Marley awoke and there was water everywhere. Dark, murky water filled her mouth and lungs, but she didn’t need them anymore, because the same water filled her grave.
She’d resurrected the moment Jesus had appeared in the sky overhead. Even though there was 6 feet of earth and well over 20 feet of water between her and the air, she still knew. She knew the same way Bradford pears knew it was time to bloom, when all at once, seemingly overnight, every one of them burst into shimmering snowflakes of petals, all over the city. How did they know? Scientists still couldn’t figure it out, but scientists couldn’t measure the Spirit, and that was what was at work, both with the trees and with Marley.
She was lucky she’d been buried before “professionals” took over the laying out. When she died, her mother and her aunts had cared for her, just like they had when she was born. They took her down to the creek, a branch of the Stones River, and washed her body. It was like a baptism she’d never had.
She’d died at 11 in 1843 of diphtheria. One week she was fine, and then she got a sore throat that seemed to take over all of who she was. It weakened her heart and that was enough to send her out of this world. Little did her family know but if that disease hadn’t killed her, the strain of her having a child later would have. Better to die now, with no obligations, nobody to leave behind.
Her Granny had told her about Jesus, about his coming back, so what was happening now wasn’t a surprise. There’d been many quiet talks over the years while they quilted together or snapped beans for the evening meal out on the back porch. They had been looking forward to formally including her in the local congregation. That wouldn’t have been until the next summer when the preacher came by to do the yearly baptizing in the creek.
Sure, she went to church, when she could, when she remembered, when there wasn’t something she had to do at the house. There were always chickens to feed or weeds to pull, and these things didn’t do themselves, as Marley’s Pa was always saying when she tried to put the chores off until later. “Best do them now, Marley girl, before something else comes up what wants tendin’.” He was right, of course, but all those “have to” things took away from the “want to” things, and to her mind the creek needed swimming and the flowers needed picking and the insects needed catching just as much as the chores needed doing. The days were just filled with things that had nothing to do with chores, but there was no way of getting around to it all.
Marley always kept the Sabbath in her heart all her days. She was a simple girl, never one to pry or gossip. All children start off good, the only problem is that the clever ones were a quick study on how to be bad. It took smarts to figure out ways around the rules, and Marley was lucky in that she never had cause to worry about that being a problem. There was no school to go to, not for her, not for anybody in Old Jefferson. There weren’t enough families to pay for a building and a teacher, and there weren’t enough children to fill it. The nearest school was a three hour’s walk away and her family couldn’t spare her for that long with so many things to do around the homestead.
She knew it was time to rise from the grave, the same as if it had been a school bell calling her. The call was silent but just as insistent, just as impossible to ignore. And why would she? Who would want to play hooky from heaven? She shoved against the rotten pine boards of the coffin, sending them swimming lazily to the side along with thick clumps of mud. It took her about 20 minutes to reach the surface, which in this case was the bottom of the lake. It didn’t take long after that to swim up to the air, but it was hard work, hard for muscles that hadn’t been used in over a century.
Why was her grave underwater, she mused? Where did the lake come from? Where was her house? For that matter, where was the rest of her family? Surely they’d be rising with her, but she saw none of them nearby. Perhaps they were buried elsewhere? She didn’t dare consider that they might still be in the ground, like iris bulbs that had gone mushy, with no spirit left in them to bloom from the dark earth in which they were planted.
The Corps of Engineers had flooded the town of Old Jefferson late in 1966 to make a hydroelectric dam, big enough to bring clean, reliable power to them and half a dozen other little towns to boot. The only trouble was that the towns had to relocate to higher ground to benefit from that progress. Power doesn’t do you any good if your farm is at the bottom of a lake.
Moving the people and their livestock was hard enough, but then someone remembered the graves. There were hundreds of family cemeteries in the valley, often tucked away at the ends of farms, at the highest point, so that the well water wouldn’t be affected. Here the dead were laid to rest at the tops of hills so they be closer to heaven. But with the water coming, all the dead had to be relocated the same as the people. It wasn’t an easy task – living relatives had to be located, permission forms had to be signed and notarized. Many of the dead were moved to the Mount Juliet cemetery, but some stayed right where they were laid to rest however long ago that was.
Sometimes the family had moved on or died out, meaning they couldn’t be asked for permission. Sometimes the remaining relatives decided it was more respectful to leave their loved ones alone after seeing some of the other graves exhumed. Plain pine boxes and fancy mahogany ones all rot the same after a few years under the pressure of 4 tons of dirt from a standard size grave. It was a hard sight to see, all those coffins being dug up and falling apart. It wasn’t respectful, to their mind. Better leave them where they were.
In Marley’s case, it was a little of both. The family had moved away not long after she had died, too distraught to live in the same place where their child had died. It didn’t make sense for her to go so young. Mama blamed herself for not taking better care of her, while Pa lamented that he’d not had enough money saved up to take her to the doctor. They’d left rather than have to answer all those ugly questions hanging around like dead fruit. It didn’t solve the problems, of course, just pushed them off until later. Unanswered questions always have a way of not staying quiet.
The family had left the tending of their graveyard to the neighbors, who promised to keep the small plot mowed and free of trespassers. They assured her kin that they’d treat them like their own, and sent them off with sandwiches and a jug of fresh apple cider on moving day. In return they got the house and the farm signed over to them. Her family was ready to start again from scratch. They figured it was the only way to make up to Marley for letting her die.
When the time came to move that plot, the neighbors had said no, in part upset at the hullaballoo created by the other exhumations, and in part hopeful that the Corps would give up on their plans. They thought that if enough people left the dead where they were, the government would have to relent and let the living stay. They didn’t count on the fact that the government doesn’t have feelings about people, whether alive or dead.
It sure was a sight to see the dead come up out of the grey-green water that late August day. It was a Wednesday when it happened in Davidson County. The Rising had started a day earlier in Israel, and had traveled like a wave over the world, spending just as long in each area as the number of dead required. Some areas took longer than others. Some were full of the faithful. Some took barely a moment, in spite of the many thousands of graves there.
The Messiah appeared in the sky, exactly as promised, trailing clouds of glory. Signs and portents had pierced the skies for weeks beforehand, but only a few people heeded them. Likewise, dreams and visions occupied the nights and days of many people, but most wrote them off to stress and took another Xanax or drank some Nyquil. They complained about their insomnia on their Facebook pages, not taking notice of how many others were having the same experience.
It was a lot like when the first raindrops started to fall when the Flood happened. Nobody but Noah and his family thought it was going to keep on raining. It was a lot like when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed – all those people died, and only Lot and his daughters were mindful enough to leave. Noah, Lot, Joseph – they all heard the voice of God and took it seriously and lives were saved. Only those who took the messages seriously were saved.
This time, many preachers told their flocks to ignore the messages, because they hadn’t heard the voice themselves. Surely God would speak to them, they thought. Why would God waste God’s time on the sheep and forget the shepherd, they mused. The problem was that they forgot that Jesus was the Shepherd, and they were the same as their church members. They’d forgotten that they weren’t in charge of anything at all. When they’d decided to take up the role of minister and do all the talking, they’d given up the most important part of following God – listening. Only those who’d remained humble pastors were called to the great awakening. They were the ones who remembered the One who was the true leader of the Church.
Marley was listening, that was for sure. She rose up, high in the sky, and was greeted personally by Jesus. She asked him how this could be since she wasn’t baptized, and he said that she’d been baptized with the only baptism that counted, the one of the Spirit. He told her that a water baptism is something people do, for show. It wasn’t real. It was a hope, a promise. It pointed towards the real thing, but it wasn’t it. It didn’t mean anything at all when it came to being saved. That was something between the person’s soul and the Spirit, the presence of God in the world.
Like called to like, with the Spirit calling and the soul responding. Water wasn’t necessary, because the Spirit could use any element it wanted. An element from the Earth was helpful, because it was a sign to the body. The soul knew when it was recognized by the Spirit, when it was welcomed home. The body needed a little more convincing, however, so some sort of ceremony was needed to remind it. That was all baptism was, he said, a reminding, a remembering, a joining back together with the side that had been forgotten during childhood. He told her that we are created in heaven, in the Spirit, and as babies are still attached to that world. Marley, having never truly left it, didn’t have any work at all to do to be part of that world again as a soul in a body.
Many others had a lot more work to do, because being a soul in a body was distracting. It was so needy, the body, so demanding. It made them forget their commitments by replacing them with cravings. It provided daily (sometimes hourly) reminders that they couldn’t possibly survive in this world without constant and persistent re-turning towards the Light that is God.
So Marley rose, far up into the sky, flying among the great crowd of people who truly followed God. They were people who were humble and pure, those who could hear the Master calling his faithful home. They had waited for a long time, asleep in the earth. Today was their true birth-day.

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God or man?

As followers of Jesus, we are told repeatedly to follow God and not humans.

We are not to have religious leaders.

Mark 10:42-45
42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. 43 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”

We are to treat everyone equally.

John 13:13-15
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

Only God is above us – we should not take on airs and call or be called by titles. We are to be equal.

Matthew 23:8-12
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven.10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Jesus tells us that we aren’t even supposed to follow our own family.

Luke 14:26
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple.

We are to follow human laws, however.

Matthew22:15-21
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap Him by what He said.16 They sent their disciples to Him, with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that You are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You defer to no one, for You don’t show partiality. 17 Tell us, therefore, what You think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But perceiving their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? 19 Show Me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” He asked them. 21 “Caesar’s,” they said to Him. Then He said to them, “Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 3:13-15
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?” 15 Jesus answered him,“Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him to be baptized.

Matthew 17:24-27
24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the double-drachma tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your Teacher pay the double-drachma tax?” 25 “Yes,” he said. When he went into the house, Jesus spoke to him first,“What do you think, Simon? Who do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes from? From their sons or from strangers?” 26 “From strangers,” he said. “Then the sons are free,” Jesus told him. 27 “But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for Me and you.”

Peter and his fellow apostles understood this message. The Jewish leaders ordered them to stop telling people about Jesus.

Acts 4:19-20
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

And later, when they persisted in teaching about Jesus, they replied the same way.

Acts 5:27-29
27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us!”29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.

So why do the vast majority of today’s churches have ordained ministers, bishops, or elders? Why do we separate and elevate? To elevate certain members of the church over others means to make the others unequal, lesser-than. This is in direct opposition to the instructions of Jesus. If you are in a church that has leaders who are above you, be sure to follow God first and foremost. If God speaks to your heart and a minister tells you to not talk about it or to not do what God said, then you must follow God and not the minister.

(All verses are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Poem- we are all sheep

One of the problems
with the modern way that church
is done
is that there is a hierarchy
of minister
and congregation,
of leader
and led,
of shepherd
and sheep.

Jesus wants us to feed his sheep,
not be them.

Jesus wants us all
to be equal,
to be strong,
to do the will of God
together.

There is no lesser-than.
We are all servants.

Our only leader is God,
not a minister,
not a bishop,
not a pope.

We must remember
to never let any human
get between us
and God,
even if that person
says
they follow God too.

If s/he really did follow God,
s/he’d remember
that Jesus said
we were all to be equal,
that we weren’t to be
above each other,
that we weren’t to have
titles of authority.

For anyone
to lead in Jesus’ name
is to prove
that they do not know
the message of Jesus
at all.

Jesus came to give us back our power.
Jesus came to teach us
that we are all
equally worthy
before God.
Do not follow anyone
who says
otherwise
through their words
or actions.

Do not give away your power.

Go, feed people.
Clothe them.
Heal them.
Visit them when they are in prison.

But don’t join them in the prison
of following a person,
of feeling second-class,
second-rate.

Your freedom was bought at a high price.
Don’t give it away.

What should Church be?

For many people, church looks like this at the most basic level
cross

Yet remember that the angel said to the women who went to find Jesus at the tomb –

The angel said to the women “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why are you looking among the dead for the living? He is not here – he has been resurrected!” (Condensed Gospel rendition)

The church as we know it is dying.

The Christian faith tradition must change what it looks at in order to survive. It must change from being a religion of rites and creeds.

It must stop being an institution focused on
the historical Jesus
and the future Jesus
and learn to BE Jesus right now,
to the people in the world.

It must stop the idea of “Bringing people to Jesus”
(preaching the Gospel)
and start living the idea of “Bringing Jesus to people”
(living the Gospel)

Many people have left church because they know that something is missing.

There are many large abandoned church buildings.
abandoned1
abandoned3
abandoned4

And at the center of them is the altar, a shrine to death, to sacrifice.
abandoned2

For many, church is a place of divine insight, of sudden epiphanies

light1
light2
light3

But then when they leave, the everyday world is dull and boring.

For many, church is a sanctuary against the storms of life

lighthouse1
lighthouse2

But does this teach them to live in the world?

Perhaps Church can be seen as a boat, to rise above the dangerous waters, or to safely travel to visit or help others.
boat1
boat2

Each person gets their own boat. They learn how to row it themselves. They develop the strength to help themselves and to help others.
boat3

It is a place where we can each learn how to learn and grow safely. Others watch our progress and make sure we are not going to get hurt. They cheer us on.
belay1

It needs to be a place where we can learn that right here is where God meets us – that God loved us enough to come down to Earth to be with us and live among us. That God loves us enough to still be with us right now, right where we are. That God wants to work through us, and with us.
here1
here 2

Church should be small, human sized.
small1

It should be intimate and personal.
small2
small 3
small 4

Why have we so long built churches that are immense, that dwarf us, that make us feel insignificant?
big1
big2
big3

They feel lonely, cold, isolating.
big4

They are out of proportion with us.
big 5

When God came to earth, God came as our size. The Temple is not a place, but within us.

Often churches are built far away, high up, hard to get to.

far1
far2
far 4
far 5
far6

This is especially true of monasteries. They are places to retreat from the world.

Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be in the world – not apart from it. Jesus trained them to feed, to clothe, to help – everyone, not just those who are “in”.

For so many, God is seen as immense, and difficult to get to.
far 3

There are narrow paths, and gates, and boundaries in the way
gate1
gate2
gate3

We need to break apart the idea of church. We need to see through it, to reinvent it.
apart 1
apart 2
apart 3

Even modern churches, while looking different, still have the perspective wrong. The focus is on the preacher – on one person. The people sit passively, staring in the same direction. If they speak at all, it is from a script (a hymnal, a prayer-book) Only one person is allowed to speak something different, to direct the service.

pew 1
pew 2
pew 3
pew 4
pew 5

This sets up a hierarchy – of one person higher than the rest. This is directly opposed to what Jesus wanted, who wanted us to have only God above us. To have a person above us is to make them into an idol.

I’ve met many people who’ve left church for all of these reasons. They felt lost, alienated, alone. They too read the Gospel and met the real living Jesus and made a home for him in their hearts. They know that Jesus says that the Church is us – people, doing the will of God here in the world.

Yet, God says that people were not made to be alone. We are meant to be in community. We are meant to live and work and be together. No one person has everything required. We must work together.

Church needs to be all of us working together to help others. It isn’t a building or a place. But even if we remove the idea of the church being a building, we still have to remember the ideas that have long been part of church, so even when we take the Church out of the building, we must still make sure the old ways don’t come along.

It must be open to all.
It must be human-sized.
It must not be led by a single person – all must participate.
It must be a place where all can grow.

Again- it sounds like I’m talking about a place – an institution. I’m not. Certainly, people need to gather together occasionally. People cannot truly connect online. But, the money raised from members cannot go to a building or a salary. It cannot be inward-based. This will cause self-collapse, and is the opposite of what Jesus wants. The Church cannot support the church. The Church – the Body of Christ, must give aid to the world. That is where tithes must go. Outward.

People can meet in small groups, in each others’ homes.
They can meet in school gyms (they are not being used on the weekend)
They can meet in community centers or hotels.

There are plenty of already-built places that have meeting areas that are either free or inexpensive.

But when they meet, it must be a place to organize to go out into the world, to bring Jesus to people, by feeding, clothing, healing, visiting.

Not by preaching the Gospel,
but by living it.

(All pictures are from Pinterest)

The parable of the good Samaritan

There was a man who wanted to justify his actions and said “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus answered him by telling a parable. “There once was a Jewish man who was attacked by robbers as he was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. They took all of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him lying half dead on the side of the road. When a priest walked down that same road and saw him, he crossed over to the other side and walked on by. After that a Levite did the same thing. Then a Samaritan, sworn enemy of the Jews, noticed him and had compassion. He kneeled beside him and put healing ointments and bandages on his wounds. Then he put the man on the animal he had been riding. Walking all the way, he led the donkey to an inn and continued to take care of the man throughout the night. The next day he gave the innkeeper two day’s worth of room and board. He said ‘Please take care of him. I’ll pay you back when I return if the bill is any higher.'”

Jesus asked, “Which of the three people would you say was a neighbor to the man who had been waylaid by the robbers?” The man replied, “The one who showed him compassion.” Jesus told him “Go and do likewise.”

LK 10:29-37

The prophet Hosea speaks to us now.

Thousands of years ago the Jewish prophet Hosea had words that are coming true now. In the words of Jesus “21 And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:21)

The church as a whole is changing. People are leaving in droves, and not because they don’t have faith. They are leaving because they can’t find Jesus in the stilted, wooden service of their parent’s churches, or in the stadium-like megachurches of today. They seek a real relationship with Jesus, not an empty ritual or a superstar minister.

Hosea speaks to how some ministers can be a stumbling block to the faithful. They are leading the flock astray.

Hosea 5:1
Hear this, O ye priests, and hearken, O house of Israel, and give ear, O house of the king; for unto you pertaineth the judgment; for ye have been a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.

The icons and statues in some churches aren’t aids to worship, so much as blocks to it.

Hosea 8:4
4 They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

God wants us to do good, not just talk about it. Our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving mean nothing if that is all we do. It is better to spend an hour working in a food pantry or building a house for Habitat for Humanity than singing hymns and collecting tithes.

Hosea 6:4-6
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away. 5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. 6 For I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.

Just because they say they are connected to Jesus doesn’t mean they are.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Hosea 9:2
2 The threshing-floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail her.

Jesus tells us about new wine in Matthew 9:17
17 Neither do men put new wine into old wine-skins: else the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins perish: but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins, and both are preserved.

What are we to do? Seek God, and re-connect to the true Vine. Look at what churches and church members do. Look at their “fruit” – are they serving the poor, or themselves? Have they spent more money on houses for the homeless, or their own house of worship?

Hosea 10:12
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to kindness; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek Jehovah, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

John 15:1-7
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Micah 6:8
8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Matthew 25:34-40
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? 38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.

Jealous

I remember a time when the priest at my old church was talking about this non-denominational church that had started up in Nashville. She couldn’t figure out why they had such a hugely following. The unspoken part was that it was huge in comparison to the attendance at her church. Average attendance was about 80 at hers, and about 300 at this new thing.

I felt it, but I didn’t have the words at the time. I now know. She was jealous.

Instead of being glad that the Gospel was being shared, instead of being happy that more people were turning towards Jesus, she was jealous that this church was getting the numbers and hers wasn’t.

Like it is about numbers.
Like it is a popularity contest.
Like it is about her at all.

The fact that she was jealous is why nobody showed up at her church. She had made it her church. She had held on to it so hard that she had forgotten who was in charge of it.

It isn’t the minister.

It is the One who never ordained anybody, and told us not to have Fathers or Rabbis or Teachers, because we have all of that in God.

If Jesus is the head of the Church, all will go well. When it is a competition and a popularity contest, not so much.

She said “We have all of that, and we have sacrament!” as to why her church, her denomination was better. But who needs an empty ritual, a show of communion when you have true Communion with God through Jesus, when you have a living relationship with him?

She was afraid of the relationship I had formed. None of the classes offered there taught about how to have this kind of relationship. I’m surprised she even allowed people to go to Cursillo, which is all about meeting Jesus in person.

But then, she didn’t want me to go to it. She thought I was being called to be a deacon, but Cursillo would have been too much.

The fire still burns in me.

I still wonder about a denomination that confuses someone who wants to help people with someone who should be ordained. Surely, wanting to be helpful should be normal, not so unusual that it requires a committee and Bishop approval and homework and years of study.