Disclosure: The following barrage of “I statements” is more than I am comfortable making, but the only way to avoid that would be to write in the third person, which is even more annoying. (You’ve seen those blogs, where the About page for the laptop blogger sitting on the couch reads like it was written by a PR person.) However, I do believe you should know who is behind this particular laptop-blog-from-the-couch so that you do not wonder if I think I’m writing a Big Truth, or God forbid, the Final Word about anything. I’m under no such illusion. In fact, my blog will provoke questions rather than provide answers. After all, it is exactly what the title says: a contemplation. My contemplation. Maybe it will inspire your own contemplation. Your own questions for or about God. Maybe it will let you know that it’s more than ok to question.
I am the Mad Servant. I’m also a baby boomer. I came of age during the times that were a changin’, in the late ’60s and early ’70s (pre-disco, thank you!) when we young and disgruntled dreamers believed in love, peace, and rock ‘n roll, not KC and the Sunshine Band. We’d had air raid drills in grade school. We were the first TV generation. We saw our President, a civil rights leader, and a presidential candidate all shot in the head within a five-year span. We watched the Vietnam war while eating supper, along with protest marches and riots, tear gas and billy clubs, and college students shot dead by the Ohio National Guard. We admired bra-burners and tree-huggers. We invented the smiley face, ecology now, and peace sign stickers decades before emoticons were a twinkle in the interweb’s eye. We were anti-war, anti-segregation, anti-patriarchy, anti-consumerism, anti-pollution, and anti-establishment, which included established religion. We really didn’t trust anyone over thirty. My teenage years wound down with the first-ever resignation of a President of the United States. A fitting end to troubled times.
So yeah, we smoked a lot of pot.
Jesus Was Our Favorite Flower Child
We weren’t completely without (a longing for) hope. Coincidentally (?), we were the generation of the Jesus Movement, which also ran from the late ’60s to the early ’70s. AM radio (our playlist) played Jesus music often enough that even hardcore non-believers knew all of the lyrics to Oh Happy Day, Spirit in the Sky, One Toke Over the Line, Put Your Hand in the Hand, Jesus is Just Alright, Day by Day, and of course the entire Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. For those who wanted one, we even had our own translation of the Bible, The Living Bible, “The Way.” I had one and it was damn cool.
Then it was over like wind-spit on dead dandelions. Our revolution for change buckled under the weight of the country’s collective adrenaline fatigue. Everyone seemed emotionally exhausted from too many years of discontent, chaos, and uncertainty. It was time to party. To dance to music without a message. (The real reason for disco?) And I was really pissed that the counter-culture was breaking up just when I was finally old enough to join a commune, write for an underground newspaper, be a vegetarian, own a goat, and have children named Patchouli and Ocean.
Instead, I married a steel worker and tried to be normal.
But that was then. This is now. Now I’m older than the median age. I live with my third (and final) husband, two dogs, and two cats in Cincinnati, Ohio. I haven’t changed a damn thing in the world.
I consider myself a “recycled Christian” because I was, then I wasn’t, and now I am again, only in a different way. I am a disciple of The Way that Jesus taught and the first-century believers lived, which looks more like love, peace, and protest music than it does most of today’s churches. (I believed in Jesus even when I did not believe in God and bitterly rejected Christianity, but more on that here.) To much of American Christianity I say, “I’m not that kind of Christian.” I pray (almost) daily to become a better servant by being a better disciple.
I also pray that God continues to inspire other seekers who are mad for him, who persist even against those who claim they have authority over what the rest of us believe, and that he challenges religiosity, especially any remnants of my own.
(And I pray that I become a more consistent pray-er.)
I started this blog in a moment of optimistic excitement that faded. It sat for a year before I decided to take it seriously. (We’ll have to see how that plays out.) My main motivation is the constant voice in my head (Holy Spirit?) saying that despite sometimes thinking I am an anomaly, there are a whole bunch of people just like me.
I am obsessed with contemplation. Mulling things over. Ruminating. Supposing. Wondering. Imagining. Asking questions. I over think damn near everything. I want to know the 5 Ws –Who, What, Where, When, and Why– of it all. And by “all” I mean “all.” Google and Wikipedia are my BFFs. From there I frequently end up in what I call “periphery information rabbit holes.”
To this day, I am afflicted with an insatiable spirit of curiosity with whom I have finally learned to live in peace. It led me on a 40-year journey away from Christianity through a myriad of –isms, including (but definitely not limited to) atheism, agnosticism, paganism, and occultism. I tried them all. And then some. I’ve even stood in the middle of an open field during an intense lightning storm, fists raised in rage, and dared God to strike me dead. (No really. I actually did.) The only thing I never stopped believing was that there was a first-century Jewish rabbi named Yeshua who turned his religion on its head. Like Jacob, I wrestled with God and survived. Like the Israelites, I was guided through 40 years in the wilderness, wrongly assuming that I was lost. Like the prodigal son, I ran away, squandered it all, yet when I returned I was greeted with love and grace.
My intention is to write about the conversations in my head, the contemplations, the what-ifs, and even the memes that I react to. (I make no promise that I’ll never blatantly navel gaze.) And I hope to hear from you. What do you question? What rolls around in your head? How are you doing your journey?
A Final Note
My “Mad Servant” moniker was inspired by Rhoda of Acts 12. She was an over-excited Gentile servant who was so carried away by her excitement that she didn’t do the most reasonable and obvious thing. And, perhaps more importantly, she didn’t let those who had authority over her convince her that she was a babbling fool when it was they who lacked faith.
You can read my retelling of her account here.
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