If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know I have opinions about all kinds of things. In other venues, like this blog, I have been more circumspect about my opinions because I have been told repeatedly that business and religion and politics need to be kept separate. Maybe my faith can be mentioned in a polite manner, since it informs my artwork, but absolutely, under no circumstances ever should I mention politics because I could offend someone and then they may not want to buy artwork from me. And it’s all about business, right?
Well, I’m going to wade into dangerous territory. Can I be blunt? I’m about to break another rule (always appear successful): art isn’t exactly flying off the walls around here and what the heck, I’m just going to be honest and tell you that if you’re offended by my religion and by my politics then you’re probably offended by me, period. What is my art but a product of all that I think and believe and am? So either you’re open minded enough to like my art despite all of the things that make me who I am, or you’re not into my art. Or something like that.
After all that I’m going to disappoint you and not talk about politics at all right now. (It’s bound to come up sooner or later, have no fear.)
First I have to tell you about my faith and how I got to this point.
I grew up in a family and a church that put way too much emphasis on rules but I managed to be attracted to the love of God nonetheless and asked Jesus into my heart pretty young. (Totally weird way to put it, but how else do we talk about it?) As a teenager, I went to see a movie with a young man, which was strictly verbotten, and I realized that it wasn’t actually a sin. I knew that disobeying my parents was wrong, but there was nothing inherently wrong with the movie theater as I had always been taught. This was a seminal event that led me to question everything I had been taught. If they were wrong about this, what else were they wrong about? Eventually I decided that if it was in the Bible, I would take it, but if it wasn’t (and theaters certainly are not) then I would toss it. I have lived by that basic premise ever since, if imperfectly, because I am human after all.
However, after I was married I had had enough of churches and most people in them, as had my new husband, and we avoided them whenever possible. He joined the Army and we moved first to Alabama and then to Germany and it was while we were in Germany that I had the most amazing experience of my life, nowhere near a church.
At that point in time I worked as a graphic artist for the Army, doing things like designing flyers promoting the Officer’s Club and such. Like most offices, the Department of Morale, Welfare and Recreation was a great place to hear what was happening, in our case, in what amounted to the small town of the Army post we were located on. There was talk of satanic stuff going on around post, and a couple of my fellow believers were scared to death. This was around 1990 and new age religious ideas were prevalent; Shirley MacLaine had a hugely popular book about things like out of body experiences and it was a period of searching and questioning for me as well. Not content to let other people tell me what to think, I was looking and comparing things to what I knew was in the Bible and making up my mind for myself, thank you very much.
So one morning, in this environment of questioning and fear from other Christians, I started questioning as I began my morning routine of getting ready to walk the dog. “God, are you really there?” And the craziest thing happened. I got an answer,”Been here the whole time, just waiting for you to come back.” Wait, what? Wasn’t that a rhetorical question? Apparently not. Just to be clear, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but there was absolutely another voice in my head, no question about it. At this point, you might just write me off as a crazy person, and that’s fine. Or you can play along.
God and I had quite the conversation that morning, all during walking the dog and getting myself to work. At one point I asked whether or not I should be afraid of demons and the like. A car drove by and I coughed on the exhaust. “Nope, it’s just like that, my spirit is in you and will repel the evil ones as naturally as your lungs reject that exhaust.” I thought that was totally cool.
I can’t remember everything from that morning but I remember getting to work and excited telling my friends that I had been talking to God. They
looked at me and smiled and nodded. As you might be now, and that’s okay with me.
Not long after that, I had my first prodding to speak. One of the gals I worked with was getting into some dream experiences and telling me things about it. Talking to God about it, it was clear that I had a message to give her. “Things are not always what they appear to be.” Uh, yeah… I’ll pass on that, it’s none of my business, thanks. But I couldn’t pass on it at all. Telling her that simple thing was my job and if I didn’t tell her that I would simply feel like I was going to explode until I did. It was her business how she responded and that was perfectly clear to me, too. So I told her and I didn’t explode and heaven knows, maybe she just racked it up to the crazy woman she worked with who had apparently gone totally round the bend.
That was a long time ago, but maybe you’re starting to get a better picture of what is going on now. I’ve had other things to tell other people over the years and now it seems like I need to start a new chapter and start writing things.
Don’t think that everything that I write here is like that, it actually doesn’t happen that often, but writing this post is definitely one of those things. Maybe it’s for you, maybe it’s just for me to get it out into the open. Up until now, I have been very careful who I told this stuff to, but I guess it’s time to start being a little less careful.
Peace, my friends. And feel free to tell me what a crazy person I am below.
P.S. It was still years until I went back to church, but I did. And the people I go to church with are pretty cool, just FYI.