Sunday, March 1, 2009

Created in the image of God: Part II

Created in the image of God: Part I is HERE

Well, I didn't refuse, I really liked him a lot and loved him as a friend. But about two months before the wedding I started having real doubts, the thoughts that maybe I was a lesbian were getting rather loud in my ears. But I shrugged it off to "cold feet", and besides I had laid out a good chunk of money towards the wedding, the invitations had been sent and my Dad was so happy and proud and had also spent quite a lot himself. I liked that I was making my Dad proud.

I got married at the chapel in Yosemite on December 4, 1988.

I knew two months after we were married I had made a huge mistake. But I didn't believe in divorce except for physical abuse and he was not physically abusive. I decided I would make the best of it.
It helped that for the first year and a half my ex worked graveyard and I worked swing shift. At first it wasn't too bad, I just knew I didn't love him like I should and I had to fantasize about women in order to be intimate with him.

I did quite a good job of fantasizing and our first son was born almost two years after we were married. I stayed home for about a year with him. I didn't want to leave him, I really wanted to be a good mother and dreaded the thought that someone else would see all of his "firsts." My ex liked the idea also as his mom had worked two jobs to support he and his brother.

When I stayed home that first year, I didn't know many people outside of work, my whole day was wrapped up in my son, taking care of the apartment and my ex. I was very lonely, and decided to go back to work.

I went back to work for about another year and a half until my second son was born. Day care was way too expensive for what I made so this time I just stayed home with them. Only I made an effort to meet other stay at home moms and do things with them and our children. I enjoyed it much more this time. It was nice having adults to talk to while the kids would play together.

When my youngest was about a year old, we bought a fixer upper on 7 acres outside of a little town called Silver Springs. It was great, I set out working on the yard, clearing sagebrush and doing little things to fix up the place inside. The town was about 5 miles away and we didn't have close neighbors, so I joined the church to meet people. Besides I felt it was time the boys started attending and getting that good old "ole time religion" instilled in them. I didn't really worry that my earlier experiences would be repeated. I was after all a married woman with two children. And I sure as hell wasn't going to talk to anyone about being attracted to women.

It was in this town and on the 7 acres that God began to show himself more fully to me, maybe because it was so quiet out there, not very many distractions and I had lots of time to read the Bible and other books when the boys were napping. My ex was working a lot of hours, he would come home, eat some dinner, drink and then go to bed. Since I had made friends from the Church, we formed an informal Bible study once a week. We would study on a topic, like love or faith and it was nice because we could talk freely about anything related to God in our lives, no one would say the other was wrong or right but we would offer our own opinions and debate ideas, certainly we would all have things to think about until the following week.

I have not been a "literal" believer in the Bible since the exorcism and subsequent studies on my own. I felt that God showed me that believing the Bible is inerrant can be a form of idolatry. I came to realize that sometimes people can worship the Bible itself, and not the God who inspired it. Jesus often said when referencing what we call the Old Testament, but he would have called the Torah or Septuagint, "you have heard it said.....but I say unto you......" And spoke of the Spirit of these and not the "letter of the law." Jesus was not much into literally interpreting passages either. It was through these informal studies that I really began to understand this concept. I do believe it is largely inspired and that from it we can begin to understand the nature of God and of ourselves.

I also began to study more about the historical context of some of the more bothersome passages. Like slavery, polygamy, genocide and capital crimes for seemingly minor offenses and yet rape was punished by forcing the rapist to marry his victim. There really isn't a good way to put historical context in these things. Slavery has always been wrong, it was wrong then. The fact that it would be outlined and have laws and rules for owning slaves in the Bible is because simply these things existed. Women were considered property, so once raped she was damaged goods to her family trying to marry her off, the rapist had to marry her to provide her father with the lost dowry.

There are voices in the Bible, voices speaking out against these things and more. These voices were the Prophets. What do we think Isaiah was talking about when he says in chapter 1 verses 16 and 17: Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. And in 21 - 23: How is the faithful city become a harlot! She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth bribes, and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

I began to see that women and children have always been important to God, as is justice, fairness and truthfulness. Who would be the oppressed? Why the slaves! As well as the poor, women and those who were treated unfairly or discriminated against. Even 3000 years ago there were voices speaking for those with out voice, with out rights and with out justice.
God it seems is indeed unchangeable. It is only some of humanity that has changed.

Part III to follow.........

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