Believing in Magic Part 1: Rachel Gets Personal

Updated: Sep 15

CW: Satan, misotheism, violence against women


Amethyst and flowers on the table

Is it real or a fable

Well I suppose a friend is a friend

-Sufjan Stevens

I was recently rummaging around in the 7th level of hell that is my GarageBand folder from my college years, and I came across a song of my own creation entitled “An INFP Confronts the Cosmos.” Strap in.


First off, while I do think that INFP’s are lovely, beautiful souls who deserve our unquestioned reverence, I don’t think I really was one—I think I was just mentally ill. Healthy me is more of your resident cult leader ENFJ, but I also think personality inventories are helpful-tools-but-can-be-limiting-anyway-moving-on.


The Problem of Evil has been my constant companion for most of my life. I remember taking a theology class in high school and asking my teacher where evil comes from if God created everything Good™. At the time, I didn’t realize this was such a fundamental question in theology, and I was disappointed when my teacher didn’t have a simple answer.


“An INFP Confronts the Cosmos” is a folk punk(?) jam wherein the early stages of my frustration with the problem of evil found their voice. The lyrics of the 2nd verse are as follows:


Tell me why you used such flimsy material

Tell me why you made it so you’d have to die

Could you not have chosen a better plot?

One that preferably starts with the ending of this

‘Cause it's our will to choose

But how limited the options!


Oh, the angst!


Fast-forward several years, and you’ll find me very seriously considering changing my religious views on Facebook to “Misotheist” and identifying with actual Satan while watching The Passion of the Christ.


I met with plenty of Christians who argued that free will was the catch-all answer to the problem of evil, the idea being that we couldn’t truly love God if we were robots who had to do good. "But," I would say in an attempt to escape this tired, dead end of a conversation as quickly as possible,


"if God truly is all-powerful, they could probably conjure up a way to create a system within which free agents had the proper conditions to do good and to love God. Also, how free can that will really be if the consequences of exercising it a certain way are eternal damnation? In any event, I’d say that being a robot is probably better than reading about female genital mutilation and then having to sing 'It is well with my soul.'"


The whole thing felt profoundly gas-lit, and I wanted out.


…kinda.


I sincerely hated God, but I also incomprehensibly LOVED God. If it sounds Stockholmy, you'd better believe I thought so, too. And not even in a sexy way.


I don’t have a clean answer for you as to why I eventually stopped hating God, but I did. I will say that my turn for the universalistic and interspiritual probably helped. I also followed a spiritual inclination to practice intensive HeartSync meditation, and something definitely shifted during that process. But that experience in itself did not answer a single question I had about the reality of evil. For some unexplained reason, I just wasn’t mad at God anymore.


Don’t get me wrong: this was not a rosy God’s Not Dead kind of resolution. I was not remotely sorry for how I felt and thought, I was irrevocably done with the Evangelical Protestant world, but strictly speaking about feelings (note: not inherently logical thoughts), my hatred of God had dried up.


These days, you can catch me literally blushing when I see pictures of Jesus, losing my mind over Asherah and Yahweh’s divine romance, and being genuinely stoked to go to a stained glass window-adorned cathedral for Ash Wednesday. Your guess is as good as mine.


I’ll have some tidy spiritual director thoughts and tips about this in next month's post, but today I just want to share.


Doggy-paddling through the chunky stew of spiritual wellness with you always,

Rachel



January 23, 2020 | Denver, Colorado



#theology #spiritual direction #spiritual advice

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