A friend emailed in response to the post about dying. He mentioned religious dysfunction, which made me think of lions and tigers and bears … oh my.
Well, not really. Only lions came to mind, but still, what a weird thing to reflect on at the mention of religious dysfunction.
It’s because I’ve done some weird things in the name of religion. Just ask my husband.
Nearly two decades ago, I dragged him to Canada so I could fit in with God, or so I told both of us. Actually, I was trying to fit with my religiously dysfunctional family. One of them told me unless I spoke in tongues, I wasn’t saved.
Looking back, I think, “I should have been wiser than to listen to that sort of thing.”
Next thought, “Obviously not. I fell for his condemnation because of my self doubt and confusion and fear.”
Good thing, too. Or better yet, God thing, too.
When our assistant pastor talked in his sermon (at an Episcopal church in Pawleys Island, SC) about spirit-filled members who were roaring like lions in a Vineyard church in Toronto, I nudged my husband. I wanted him to take note of our summer vacation destination.
Next thing I knew, we were checking into Robin’s Nest, a bed and breakfast in the middle of a multimillion-dollar neighborhood in a neighboring country. Friends of our assistant pastor owned the place, so he and his wife suggested we stay there.
Before our bags were on the luggage racks, I was pacing to get back in the car. I wanted to make it on time to the afternoon church service. We attended another one the following morning before I admitted I wasn’t touched by the roaring, nor was I fond of the hour-long drive in crazy traffic to get to the church.
I was, however, touched (and moved to tears) by our quiet walks in the afternoons when we looked over each historical home for its character.
I was fond of warm blueberry muffins for breakfast, the balcony of our room that overlooked a garden, and an evening bubble bath that smelled as good as it felt. God showed up in it all, including the book I pulled from the shelf of the adjoined-to-our-room library.
I left Toronto spirit-filled and changed, just like I thought when I set out on our trip.
I also left believing maybe I need to stop chasing experiences that others tell me I should have with God and start looking for the ones he has in mind for me.
When have you attempted to follow someone else’s religious rules only to have God intervene along the way?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – God, spare us religious dysfunction that makes us believe we know your ways for others or that makes us think others know your ways for us. Intervene when we can’t hear you for the roaring.