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The People Behind the Ideas

The Phone Call

Mom! Thank God I got hold of you! I need to talk!

What's wrong, dear? Is everything all right?

Yes, I'm ok, but I don't know what to do. I've been studying Yoga all these years, trying to realize the God-self within me, getting out of the way, letting go and letting God work through me - and now, since I've been going to Danny's church, I'm getting confused. They're saying that the purpose of my life is to serve and obey God, but when I told Pastor Eric that I had been following my inner guidance, he said that I was being deceived, that I was listening to the voice of the devil! He says that the only true voice of God is the Bible, and that all the guidance I need is right there in it. Then he told me that meditation is dangerous - that I was running the risk of demon possession! Is that possible? He said the whole New Age Movement is of the devil. He was very convincing, and he's made me doubt a lot of things. I'm sorry I'm going on and on, but I've been trying to reach you since noon. Where've you been?

That's all right, hon. Just take a deep breath and relax a little. Joan and I went out after church and grabbed a bite to eat. But I'm here now. You can talk to me all you want. It's just so good to hear your voice! But I'm sorry you're so upset.

Well, it worries me now that Danny and I are engaged, you know? I mean, what am I getting myself into?!

What does Danny say about all this?

You know Danny. He's not really a deep thinker when it comes to spiritual things. He just wants us to belong to the church. It's where his folks went. He feels that it's important that we fit in with the community. Oh God, I feel like I'm making a big mistake! How am I going to fit in with that crowd?

Hold on, dear...not so fast. Let's try to look at this one step at a time. Are you sitting down? Why don't you get some tea and make yourself comfortable, and we'll sort this thing out. You're a very smart girl, Laura. Not everyone can deal with that. It sounds like you might have scared this Pastor Eric a little bit. Not all church-going people are looking for God, you know. Some are there because it makes them feel safe...even some of the ministers. They don't like questions.

But I wasn't challenging them or anything...I just said I was trying to follow my inner guidance!

I know, I know. But they see that as you questioning them...their whole way of thinking. They're very scared, you know. If it's not in the Bible, or at least not in the way they understand it, it looks threatening to them.

I don't see how I could be a threat to them. I'm a good person. I'm a spiritual person, and I love God.

I know you do, hon, and I'm sure they do too. The world is just changing too quickly for them, that's all. They're trying to protect their beliefs. You can't really blame them for that, can you? You probably aren't going to change their minds about that, even if you wanted to. The best you can hope to do is try to understand where they're coming from...and not talk about things they don't understand.

But I like to talk about spiritual things, Mom. You know that. I'd feel like I was lying if I just kept quiet!

Laura...sweetie...listen. Do they talk about spiritual things? Or do they talk about what they believe? Think about it - they're probably not into searching. They're into preserving a way of life - their Faith. They don't want to know anything different. And you know... that's ok! It's ok for them to be on the path they're on. If it weren't right for them, they wouldn't be on it!

But, Mom, they say things like Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. You always told us that God is in everyone...that we're all sons and daughters of God, that down deep inside we are God! They don't think that. They think everyone is born in sin, that we're all going to hell unless we believe the way they do. I just can't buy into that. It's just not true!

Yes, well, sometimes they do go too far. But listen, Dear...I'm going to tell you something, but please don't try to argue this at your church, because they probably wouldn't accept it. It's just a little thing that I think might make it easier for you to accept them. You're going to have to let go of wanting them to like you, though. You can't be positive and negative at the same time.

What do you mean?

I mean you can't give them acceptance and be wanting them to give it to you. You know... positive and negative?

Yes, ok, I'm with you. So what are you going to tell me?

Well, you know how New Age people are always talking about the ego and how big an obstacle it is to spiritual growth, and how the Christ in them is perfect, and that God loves them just the way they are? The people in your church hate that kind of talk, because they've been taught to see God as separate from themselves. God is "out there" in heaven somewhere. When they hear someone say, "I am God," that's blasphemy to them. They think we mean that the ego is God! And of course, we don't. Essentially, we're saying the same thing they are...that the Christ in us, the godly part in us, is the only part that is Godly. They think New Age people are narcissistic, that we're all on this great big ego trip. That's why they say that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. Their "sinner" is our "ego". They've just externalized the whole thing a little too much by saying that Jesus is the only person that has Godly qualities. But that's ok, you know? And, why not? Hell, who knows...maybe both sides are wrong. The important thing is that we try to understand the other person's point of view. It's the craziest thing in the world that all the good people want to kill each other!

So, that's it? That's what you were going to tell me?


Mom (three syllables)...I knew that!

Then why were you so upset? Christ, Laura, I thought you were going to break it off with Danny over this thing!

Mom, you know I love Danny. I would never let go of him. I just needed to vent a little. It's so frustrating sometimes. I wasn't really asking you to fix anything...I just love to talk things out with you, that's all.