Thursday, April 3, 2014


Demi-gods

I grew up in a mountain town in the Cascade mountains. I loved it. I did not appreciate it as much as I would have had I known that I would spend most of my adult life far away from the evergreen and granite that poured so much of their strength into my life. Poetic perhaps, but if you have ever been there, you would understand.

There was this one day in the fall of my junior year. I remember the afternoon so well. The weather was chilly because I was wearing my Dad's old army coat, but I was also trying hard to live up to the gentle nudge toward fashion (for the day at least) of a friend who bought me a maxi skirt and soft sweater for my birthday. I stepped off of the bus, hoisted my bag over my shoulders and tugged my waist length blond hair out to throw behind my back. Then I set off toward work. It was a beautiful life giving afternoon. I walked quickly, as I always have, and I was grinning in pure enjoyment of life. My sister happened to drive by during this moment. She said that  I got off the bus, tossed my hair like I was in a Pantene commercial, and walked off like I owned the world. 

Her observation has always stayed with me. Mainly because in many ways she was right. I did not think that I owned the world in an arrogant sense, but that afternoon certainly was filled with that invincible life-is-grand-I-will-live-forever feeling that comes now and then, hopefully, to us all. I admit to probably having that feeling more often that I should have in my teenage years. 

I paint that afternoon for you because whenever I think of demi-god status that afternoon is what I picture in my head. Demi-god status is what I have come to call those days when we are on top of our game as humans. We are healthy, we are full emotional, mental, and physical strength. There are no major stress events happening. We find ourselves on the giving end toward many grateful people. We are like little gods. We walk like we own the earth. 

But it never lasts. As I get older, I gain demi-god status less and less often. When I do have those days they are tempered by humility because I know that I will be the recipient of love, grace, and mercy on someone else's demi-god day soon enough.

This mainly comes to my mind when I think of the evangelical church. I often feel like we try to maintain demi-god status as Christians. I totally get that we don't want, or need, to share our inner hurts and troubles with everyone. But there can be an awful sense of perfection.

This is because of the transformation that Christ does in our lives. Except sometimes we don't wait for Christ to make the transformation. Instead we try to live perfectly on our own. We don't want to take two years, or ten years, or a life time to work through false guilt, or alcoholism, or any other particular issue. We don't want a time of spiritual darkness. We race away back to where we are safe - in our doctrine, creeds, Bible studies - and keep pressing on toward getting whatever "lesson" God is teaching us. We insist on being demi-gods because we don't want the non-Christians to see how untransformed we really are. How exhausting!

 It makes my soul tired just thinking about all of the constant monitoring of oneself that goes on when we are trying to be demi-gods instead of  creations in the middle of change.

You may still see me walking off like I own the world because I am typically happy and enjoying life. But I am too old now for demi-god status. I am content to just know the one that is God.


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