Saturday, March 17th. The 25th day of Lent.
I never gave my mind to the Church. Never. Even when I was a small boy and every adult that meant something to me was some sort of authority figure in the church, when someone would read a Bible story and it was clear that everyone believed it simply because it was in the Bible, a quietly defiant voice in me would say, “That never happened like that.”
I was happy to give my body to the Church. And even my words. Lying came pretty naturally to me. Not cruel or mean lies, but the kind of lies kids tell to get along with adults. The desperate, fearful lies a boy will tell to keep the big people he loves happy. And maybe because he is wonders if somewhere up in heaven, Jesus will be happy with him too. Those are the lies I told.
Even if the boy isn’t sure just how much of the Jesus story is true, there seems to be a larger Jesus-Consciousness that represents the collective desires of every Christian who ever lived. This cosmic, floating, ethereal, idea of Jesus seems to have a strange reality of its own. Maybe this idea of Jesus could be pleased or not pleased with him.
What does it matter? There is a huge, driving, emotional welling up of sorrow at the thought of Jesus made sad by his life. And an equally powerful rising of joy at the thought that Jesus might be pleased with him. If those things are inside him, what does it matter if Jesus is real or not? Those things were somehow planted in his heart, you see. Before he had any say in his life. Planted by the gentlest, kindest adults you can imagine. Mother and father telling Bible stories and holding him close and gently praying for him. Kind older women in Vacation Bible school who wept when he gave his heart to Jesus. They were so happy for him. Good people. And they only gave him what they themselves truly believed.
It’s pretty hard to get rid of Jesus when he is so deeply rooted in your heart. I haven’t a clue how to get him out of there. I’m not inclined to try.
But my mind has always been my own. I guard it fiercely. THESE are my thoughts. And I think them because they make sense to me. And THESE are things I believe. And I believe them because I have seen good evidence for them or I intuitively connect them with larger truths that I believe. And you can just stay the hell out of my mind, church man. I have cherubim of my own with flaming swords to turn you away from this garden. You will not gain entrance here.
I’m saving my mind for God, thank you very much. I have a thing with God, an agreement about my mind. And it’s my own thing with God. And the deal is that I’m happy to let God see into my mind, if God has a desire to look. If there is a God. Whatever. I don’t know. But my mind is an open book to God.
But only to God.
All others can stay the hell out of there.