Trip Me Up

After a long text exchange with a friend, we started talking about the Gift of Prophecy.  It’s one of those terms that makes me cringe apprehensively. I asked her what prophecy meant to her.

I’m not who I was, I think.

Or maybe I’m not who I think I was.

I’ll never be sure. I used to be able to navigate those waters quite effectively: to be agile and swimming inside Christian Jargon Lake: Showers of Blessing, Waves of Mercy, The Eyes of my Heart. I didn’t understand those terms 25 years ago, but I thought I did. Today, I’m positive I don’t understand those terms, and I’m not sure anyone else does.

I’m tangling my self in my own thoughts.

Abstract terms and extremely metaphorical and vague ideas tripped me up. Even Biblical ones like Son of Man, or Kingdom of God, used to give me trouble. It’s funny. I think in wholes, and in concepts. Metaphorical thought is second nature to me but not, I guess, Church metaphors.

The Church itself hasn’t reached much of a consensus either; or if it has, it’s an unspoken agreement where we just don’t examine the terms by which we worship. When was the last time you asked yourself, really dug down and thought about, what some of these terms mean? The Eyes of my Heart? Really?

I guess somewhere along the line I lost the ability to communicate with the people I spent most of my life with, and I never even realized it. It’s like working with a phantom limb: you feel like it’s there, but you know it’s not. And for mercy’s sake, it hurts sometimes.  I was feeling good, and liberated from all the nonsense (in the literal meaning: stuff did NOT make sense to me), until I spoke with an old friend and discovered that I really have not got any of that connection today. The words I once used make me vaguely uncomfortable. This is odd because you can holler swearwords around me all day and I won’t blink. But say “he’s a prophet” and a dozen scenarios roll like dials on a slot machine past my eyes, none of which seem to fit three lucky sevens.

It makes me vaguely sad, like I’ve lost my tongue, or at least the part of my brain that allowed it to work.

I’m not sure if any of this makes sense to anyone but me; I’m not certain if it makes sense inside my head either. Thanks for letting me vent. Skip this post, if you will.


9 thoughts on “Trip Me Up”

  1. I’m not an intellectual…no matter how one defines the term, but my feelings run just as deeply as do anyone’s. As a child, I was told about “God”, and always encouraged to believe in all things Godly. However, the choice of pathways leading to salvation were always free for me to choose. If I chose Christendom, my family would have been accepting, even delighted, but my developing mind chose another road…far less traveled, and I have never regretted my decision…not even for a second. In my opinion, every path is the right path, and all religions, or lack thereof are equally valid.
    The words, after all, are just words…but the feelings we each harbor inside of ourselves, although indescribable, are the genuine ‘stuff’ of what makes us, us.


  2. Hey Brian-

    You may feel that you are not making much sense, but I hear you loud & clear. I have had more than a few conversations where I was trying to express my current worldview to others without using (for me) the ‘churchy’ words of my youth. Those ‘churchy’ words no longer hold meaning for me. For that matter, neither do ‘churchy’ people. I find myself grasping for language to express myself – but I will admit that those conversations hold a greater meaning than any I had in my younger days.

    Thanks, as always, for helping us think.



  3. I understand this frustation as well. Just yesterday I was trying to describe the Babtism of the Holy Spirit, and that is kinda what makes Assembly of God different tfrom other denominations. I couldn’t put the words together in a complete sentence to define it. Basically, eventually said “Have you ever heard the terms ‘Holy Roller’ or ‘Slain in the Spirit’, well that’s Pentacostal, and The Assembies of God is part of that. And then to describe the Assemblies of God further…I said ” Have you heard of Jimmy Swaggert, the fallen from grace evangelist/pastor.. well he is Assemblies” Well if that should make everyone want to part of this denomination. Point of all this, I don’t know.


  4. Maybe it’s time to make sense of some of these phrases. Maybe it’s time for someone to say, “Stop using that if you don’t know what it means!”, as if they have a sharp machete they’re waving around. God is all about our relationship with Him, our hearts and love, not all this other crap. Everything has to flow from that. It’s religion that maims and kills. I also know if you ask for wisdom on any of these concepts, He will hear you. And none of us mortals has all the answers 😉


  5. This does make sense to me. Even with religion–maybe especially with religion–we have to have the courage and sensibility to figure out what works best for us, even if it does not fit into a proper or recognized ‘framework.’ This process is ongoing and, well, uncomfortable at times. But I know that some of the best people I have ever known have not been ‘Christians.’ Still, I would rather be like some of them than I would many Christians who spout beliefs and rules and values without even really listening to themselves. My dad, for example, found spirituality in nature but never in a Church or in a God that wasn’t tangible to him, and I respected and loved him immensely. He was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever known, stopping to help stranded motorists and even hitchhikers–though we kids were warned never to pick up a hitchhiker. And he loved us and we KNEW it. He was quietly proud of and supportive of us, and we were the only legacy he cared about. People who knew him loved him–and had a friend for life. He lived a virtuous life by example, even without all the ‘instructions’ of a religion, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather be like. ❤


    1. I think the story of your Dad is a beautiful one, Susan, and exactly how I feel about things. So people are aware, when I was rambling in my post, my sadness is about loss of a part of myself, and not at all a comment about leaving a religion. Maybe, like Reagan, the religion left me. But my lament is really about the loss of vocabulary. I can’t find the common words to speak as easily as I used to. It’s like the words themselves became vague and opaque to me. If you lose the words, you lose the ability to communicate, to empathize, to pray; in short, you lose everything. I don’t regret the change. I stand in silent sadness over the loss.

      Still not making too much sense, am I? Oh well.


      1. Actually, you do make sense. I think it’s like any addiction: you give up the thing you were addicted to, but you still miss the rituals and trappings of the addiction, be it food, or alcohol, or cigarettes–whatever. But you know it’s bad for you, so you don’t want to go back…you just miss pieces and parts of it…?


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