Sunday, March 06, 2016

Jesus Magic - How Things Look Very Different Post-Fundigelicalism

This morning as I drove to church at the big mainstream place we've been attending nine years since leaving the Church of the Creek Critters (not the real name but quite close) I experienced something that would have driven me straight into the Jesus Magic thinking in the old days. In fact, I almost went right back into the looking for signs and miracles in things that are quite logically explained type of thinking anyway.

So what happened? Every single stop light I happened upon between Starbucks and the church turned yellow either as I approached or just as I was pulling under the light. All those yellow lights, perhaps as many as seven between my starting and stopping points, all turning yellow.

In the old days I would have taken all those yellow lights in a row as omens, something God caused to happen to warn me to be cautious of something or someone in my life. I would have spent weeks puzzling, praying, meditating on the meaning of all those yellow lights, because yellow lights mean slow down.

Just as I started to wonder if I was supposed to slow down or be cautious I caught myself, gave myself an interior smacking and laughingly said, 'They aren't an omen, they mean nothing, only that your speed and the settings of the lights somehow managed to line up just so to make that happen.'

I believe that. It was entirely random. Not any sort of 'god' sending me a message from the great beyond.

I used to believe there are nothing that was not spiritual. If I got the first parking space at the grocery store or some other minor thing worked out in my favor that it was God showing me his favor for being a believer. Just like I believed things like a streak of yellow lights was a message from God.

Now I look back at the type of thinking and wonder how I ever fell for it in the first place. I'm educated, I should have known better than to be sucked into the magical Jesus thinking. Knowing statistics and science didn't end that thought pattern. Nor has many years out of my old cult church either.

Part of me misses that, the simplistic surety over everything being 'God's will' and his favor.  Smug certainty of being part of the elect, that I was somehow superior to so many because I was a believer and gosh darn it, I deserved it!

Now it just looks like a type of spiritual selfishness, a righteous narcissism that demands that God is always going before you to smooth every stupid itty-bitty detail for you. How dare you think you are sooooooo important that God is scrambling to revolve everything around you and your needs.

So what does that type of thinking say about a deity giving you a close parking space or a sale on that mink vest you wanted, but allowing millions of babies to be deformed by the Zika virus? I wouldn't like that guy, I sure wouldn't want to worship that type of God. It is limiting and petty when you reduce the divine to some sort of white American Christian exceptionalism fairy plus you really aren't doing anyone justice.

It's just another one of those things I've abandoned since leaving my old church. God has enough serious real things to do without being an invisible personal assistant fulfilling the minute and petty.

But I still have to intentionally mentally kill off that magic thinking some days. It's just too easy to fall right back into it even after all these years of operating in reality and truth.


Karen said...

On one of our trips over the Sierra Nevada mountains, Husband and I hit an amazing run of green lights. Neither of us is superstitious, but it was odd... and enjoyable.

Then we hit a patch of black ice near the summit and trashed our pickup. Ended up getting towed and staying the night in a place with no nearby food, getting horrible delivery pizza, and staying awake most of the night because both of us were too upset to sleep. His brother came and rescued us and our stuff the next day. Insurance ended up paying for towing and repairs on the truck, but it took months to get everything right.

I now regard runs of green lights with deep suspicion.

Calulu said...

I would too Karen had I had that experience!

There's a short spate of traffic lights on Hwy 29 just north of Warrenton, Virginia near here that if you are going right about 60 miles an hour and hit it just so you can sail through all of them. But it's so rare to hit it that perfectly.

Glad you and yours weren't seriously injured in your wreck!