The Jesus Situation
It’s been about six months from the start of my Jesus… situation. I don’t want to call it a journey because that sounds even more annoying.
“My Jesus Journey.” blegh.
It’s a situation.
I mean yes, it actually is very much journey. “Journey” is actually accurate. Because journey implies that I am nowhere near finished.
But it’s also a situation.
It’s also a conversion. Or a reconversion. Steeped in research, prayer, tons and tons and tons of other people’s stories, and talking things out with other people in a similar place to me, and with people who are more secure and who are better-versed than me.
I wish I could just share the real-time text chain with my other ex-new age friend, and all of the texts and voice memos we send to each other while we are trying to read the Old Testament.
I’ve struggled to write about all of this, the whole past 6 months. In fact, when it started, when I started feeling pulled to go in this direction in my own personal spiritual life, not only was I still triggered by the very name Jesus, but it was kind of the last straw for me. No! God!?! You are telling me that I have to write about JESUS?! This is where I draw the line!
But another part of me knew that I didn’t really get to be the one to draw the line.
Unfortunately, I knew, no matter what, I was going to have to write about it. Why? Because I’m the dumbass who thought it was going to be a good idea to become a professional writer. And a professional writer with no expertise besides my own life experience. I’m going to quit acting and become a professional writer! Full time! It’ll be so much easier! It’ll be way less pressure. I’ll be in charge of my own destiny!
Well, I’m coming to see very clearly how much I am not in charge of my own destiny. It seems now, way more likely, that God is. And, unless I’m fully deluded with this whole thing, which is always possible, God may have lured me into writing professionally, only to upend my entire life in 2020, and then in 2022, start my Jesus situation. And knowing that I’m too lazy to actually get a 9-to-5, and that my feet don’t fit into business-chic shoes, that I would be forced to continue being a writer, and writing about the situation in my life that I couldn’t really run away from: Jesus.
The Jesus situation.
I have zoomed past being able to write about my journey in real time. I have been drinking from a fire hose. I have asked so many questions. Gotten so many answers. I still have questions, but reached a point where I can have the questions without needing all the answers. I’ve read tons of the New Testament. Gone to different churches. Found a church. Cried inexplicably almost every time I hear “worship music” — often even if the song is lame. Joined a church small group that I now host in my house. Started 2023 reading the Old Testament with a daily podcast recap. Given UP the Old Testament in frustration. And then recently, started back up again. I had many days, when I thought ugh maybe this is all nonsense. And then, somehow, some way, something brought me back. Something was sent to me to answer a particular burning question, or something I watched put me at ease. And I was back.
What’s interesting too, is, I think… if I didn’t feel the pressure to write about this… either in real time, or, when that felt too impossible, just knowing I’m going to have to write about it in the future… I’d be having a way better time. Without the pressure I’d be having fun. I’m actually loving my research. I’m loving the ‘journey.’ What I don’t love, is seeing it from the outside. The situation, once I got past my own judgment and resistance, was knowing everyone else’s when I inevitably write about it and share about it. The situation is knowing the judgement, and wondering how I could ever explain it all articulately. It’s added worry and overthinking and over-explaining and justifying, even to myself, because I feel like I’m bracing for what I know people will think.
At the same time, I still think it (the Jesus situation) has all made me calmer. Happier. More hopeful.
But …I guess I actually have been sharing about it. Not any amount close to the information I am consuming. Not at all. I don’t have the words. But I have been sharing. I wrote those two posts I linked above about why I started down this path. And I’ve been sharing on instagram stories too. Instagram feels easy because it can be short and fleeting. I can ask little questions, post people’s little answers. It feels more casual. Even when talking about hell.
People ask me questions now about, “ok you believe in Jesus, but do you agree with church dogma?” Which dogma? There are so many churches. So many beliefs. So much dogma to sort through. I truly cannot speak on any of it yet, because I have so much to learn and sort through still. There are so many different beliefs within one umbrella religion. And I am actually still learning about half of them, and sorting through the rest. There is no part of me that thinks surrendering to one denomination and never questioning anything is smart. Or expected. Especially at this point in my situation. And especially when, I know, I am going to have to continue writing about this situation.
There is the one core belief, about Jesus, and salvation. But I’m not even good at articulating that part yet. After tons of initial resistance, I now believe that Jesus is who he says he is. That he died for us. That he rose. That the core of the New Testament is true. I didn’t used to believe that. At all. I’d sit in church when I was home from college and think I don’t think I believe this Jesus thing. But I believe in God. Does that make me Jewish?
But …my current beliefs make me a Jesus follower, and some version of a Christian. But there are so many more specifics that I am wading through. With so many questions. So much inquisition. I want to learn everything about every single denomination. I want to debate and discuss the differences. I want to learn about church history. I have genuine, genuine curiosity… and then… that pressure to figure it out quickly takes over because shit I am going to have to write about this aren’t I?!? And I do not want to SPEAK on MOST things until I know WTF I think about them.
What I also know, is that I want to stay far far away from trendy, new age, gnosis beliefs and practices. Because the dark side of those is what led me into this situation in the first place. Am I currently over correcting? Possibly, and only time will tell…
I just wrote a whoooollle looonnnng many paragraph breakdown of women in the church, and what the different beliefs are, and what I’m holding loosely to now. It was based on the last thing I read about women in the early church. But then, I went to go look up something in particular to prove that point, and found stuff I hadn’t seen before, so I thought ugh I have no done enough research on this to make a well-rounded and compelling argument. So, I deleted it all. This is one of the many reasons why I can barely write about this at all right now.
There’s tons of that stuff. Tons of historical context to wade through. Tons to learn. Tons to wrestle with. I have not even close to figured it all out.
All I know is: Jesus treated women equally and with dignity, which was radical at that time.
The other day, someone asked me a question on instagram: Why would a loving God, punish people to eternal damnation?
And I stupidly took it on because hey it’s a great question. And I had the same one. In fact, it was one of me biggest questions. Why would I believe in the Bible version of God, if it’s basically: Love me or be punished.