Setting My Own Theological Table

As I tumbled through the last half of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, I simply couldn’t believe that I was finding the book to be so compelling. Was I really enjoying and recommending a novel about Jesus written by the Vampire lady?

Had I become so confused as a reader and a seeker that I totally forgot my literary and spiritual convictions?

For those who have only gotten to know me recently through these online epiphanies, it may be easy to shake your heads and declare that the lady doth protest too much. She should stop marveling over her newfound appreciation for Christianity and just, well, appreciate it!bk-christthelord

For those of you who know me offline, you may be wondering what new sparkly has got my attention this time and inquire what the next spiritual tangent might be. That is for those who have already wrapped their heads around the idea that I am pretty taken by whole spiritual quest thing, of course.

As bizarre as it seems to me that I should devour this book, an even more dramatic twist in the road of life must have brought Anne Rice to write this series about Christ. The Catholic school girl turned long time atheist who gave us the vampire that would be brought to the big screen by a blond, fanged Tom Cruise? Yeah, I guess Rice’s journey is probably more unusual than that of a young woman whose search for connection and identity brought her in a few meandering circles.

One reason I am not only fascinated by Christianity itself, but am also fascinated by my own fascination is that I never thought I would get to this place. This personal journey and the desire to discuss it publicly is all so contrary to my days of unabashed witchery and rejection, heresy and petulance. In many ways, I fear my attraction to the 2000 year old stories that have grown into the religious organizations I still hold at arms’ length. I worry about what it means to watch my rebel’s resolve fade away.

Of course, making peace with Christianity is it own kind of rebellion for me. I dash the expectations of those I met in Samhain circles (and trust that they will love me anyway). I confound the family who had resigned themselves to the Pagan in their midst and probably set them wondering if we will finally have our marriage blessed by the Church (no!).

If I am really willing to embrace what I worked so hard to deny even as I worked toward my diploma at a Jesuit university, what else is shifting in my life? Suddenly I realize the foundations that I thought I would build my life upon are much less permanent than I thought. Of course, it may just be part of growing up – realizing at 29 that you would never wish to be the person that the 19 year old version of yourself expected to become.

I am finding comfort in this state of flux, however. The pendulum will swing again.

I will find a place for Mary and for Christ at my own eclectic theological table.

tugboat printshop,
tugboat printshop,

The table will be set under a great beech tree and we will break (gluten free) bread after saying prayers in Arabic and Sanskrit. There will be rosaries and malas and yoga and herbal tea. There will be readings of Rumi and Teresa and Ramakrishna. We’ll celebrate Christmas and Imbolc and learn about holidays I haven’t even found on the calendar yet.

There will be connection and communion and dancing, dancing ever onward toward the One Light.

Who would you invite to your own spiritual table?


9 thoughts on “Setting My Own Theological Table

  1. brandi December 29, 2008 / 11:01 pm

    my own spiritual table has christ-and the magdalene who represents strength in spirit and femininity to me.

    it also has the buddha, kali and mother earth.

    I have come to be of the idea that it doesn’t have to be one or the other-which was my battle. Making peace with my spirituality and having a spiritual home-which I also fought against because I was supposed to be antiestablishment and anyone that went to church was supposed to be sheep-meant realizing that it’s an all inclusive table. 🙂 Fortunately, I have an all inclusive spiritual home so that helps. 🙂

    many blessings to you today and the energies that guide and support you in your journey.

  2. Ecoyogi December 29, 2008 / 11:09 pm

    Sounds like my kind of feast! A real smorgasbord.

  3. blisschick December 30, 2008 / 10:04 am

    I think you know how much I share and understand all of your feelings around this, Marisa. Your expression of it is spot on and beautiful.

    Funny…now that I think about it, it has been the whole Day of the Dead thing that has brought me back to Christianity. From there, I found and grabbed onto Guadalupe.

    And as a fellow literary snob, I will tell you that the second in that Anne Rice series is also wonderful! 🙂

    Though I could NOT get through her spiritual memoir at all. I felt like she was coloring things, not being fully honest, only telling the parts that fit the outcome. Take a look; I’d be interested to hear another’s opinion on it.

  4. Nita December 30, 2008 / 2:01 pm

    This is such a beautiful and courageous dissolving of rebellion. I appreciate your risk taking and your fluidity in following the call of your heart and being spacious enough to allow everything to fit.

    In one of my favorite books there is a teaching from a yogini in the Himalayas that says to be in true nakedness (mahamudra) we must even drop the spiritual veils before they harden. I see this great teaching here in your post.

  5. Barbara December 30, 2008 / 8:54 pm

    Being a bit “post-rebellion” at my age, I would not invite all the same people. Would n’t know how to converse with some of them. They are welcome to drop in, though. Rebellion is such a time of bubbling ferment — get everything you can from it and enjoy it! As Teresa, I believe said, all roads that lead to God are the right ones.
    I would invite Teresa, Julian of Norwich, a flock of Beguine mystics and Meister Eckhart, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Madeleine Delbrel, Ryokan, Rumi and Etty Hillesum. Jesus? He needs no invitation — he’s a fixture already. You bet there would be dancing. I am not sure about the menu, but I suppose we could start with bread and wine.

  6. Tess December 31, 2008 / 9:29 am

    I smiled at your remark about a “new sparkly” – that’s so me as well!
    I would invite so many of those mentioned here, and I agree with Barbara that Jesus is a fixture already.
    Probably: Rumi, Hafiz, Julian, Eckhart, Merton, Magdalene, Abraham Heschel, John the Baptist. Brother Sun and Sister Moon, both literally and as names for Francis and Claire.

    • girlwhocriedepiphany December 31, 2008 / 3:21 pm

      Thanks to all for sharing the guests who will sit round your tables – I am writing down all of the names you have offered. Thanks to Tess and Barbara for giving me a few more guides to meet along this journey.

      Dear Brandi, Ah, the resistance to sheep-hood always tries to rear its head, doesn’t it? I used to have a lot of trouble with the whole image of Christ as shepherd and being a member of a flock. But, I am learning to take a lot less literally and personally and am finding a lot more joy in life and spirit.

      Dear Egoyogi, We live in an interconnected world that has given us all global palates, why not have global spiritualities as well, right?

      Dear Bliss, It is always a comfort to know that you are out there reading this and experiencing so many of the same gorgeous, conflicting emotions. Isn’t it funny what grabs and leads us back into all that we thought we had to leave behind? For me, it was in a huge hotel ballroom when Caroline Myss described her experiences with Teresa of Avila and then it was a few months later when I sat in a tiny yurt listening to Andrew Harvey who looked to me and wondered if I had yet met the Black Madonna.
      I will definitely ILL the Rice memoir (thanks for the heads up that it probably not one I need to add to my shelves) and I’ll let you know what I think. Literary snobs unite!

      Dear Nita, Thank you, Nita. It is new to me to recognize the shifting places that rebellion has taken in my life. Dropping the spiritual veils before they harden… I love this. What book is it that talks about this? I would love to learn more.

      Dear Barbara, I will enjoy these last gasps of rebellion (especially since they seem to be a little more productive than the first time my independence reared her somewhat angsty, radical feminist head!). Thank you again for the wisdom and counsel you always bring to this virtual table. I cherish it.

      Dear Tess, Consistency? Bah! Yes, let’s bring on the fresh sparkling snow and the newly discovered sparkling stars and the sparkling dew of a fresh spring morning.

  7. yolanda December 31, 2008 / 4:46 pm

    I really like this word. I hope you have a wonderful new year.

  8. Nita January 1, 2009 / 6:28 pm

    The book is called Tantric Quest written by Daniel Odier. It is his real life account of his encounter with a yogini named Devi in the forest. It is her teachings that come through in this book and they are quite exquisite. Not the Tantra that has bee co-opted here in the West. I can affirm that this encounter of his has really happened as I am studying with another yogini who was a student of Devi’s. I found it to be quite profound and un-dogmatic. Just reflections of beauty in a page turning adventure.

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