We glibly follow the Nazarene in many guises. One of our favourite ones is the serious disciple, the believer whose big aim in life is to make Jesus, Lord. We play numerous church and individual basedl games in our zealous attempt at convincing ourselves that we’ve finally handed over the control of our lives to the mysterious Galilean. Now, as a recovering Holy Roller myself, one who played loads of complex Spirit games in my youth, I want to examine why so many Charismatic/Pentecostal folk eventually leave their initial, revivalist brand of choice.
May I be blunt? We can play an extremely plausible role within Spirit-focused faith, or indeed, within the many modern New Age alternatives and still not have yielded to Divine Love. I’d better explain. Ego, our wounded, and often frenetic, psyche-soul, adores religious or spiritual disguises. It’s a past master at the whole Angel of Light thing. Since time began, long ago in the mythic Garden, ego has wrapped itself in its psycho-spiritual skins to hide from the Innocent intimacy of Source, fearing that it has been spurned by Love and placed under a divine fatwa.
The Evangelicals among us were told that ‘the Satan’ used to lead the Heavenly choirs in their harmonic songs of adoration. In other words, a religious worship leader, or alternatively, a pseudo-spiritual vibrational expert. Maybe there’s some elements of truth in there, for ego, the faithful foot soldier of the aforementioned adversarial system, can certainly put on a good show. Ego loves religious devotion with all its directed hoop-jumping. It will commit itself to great depths of suffering and pain, all in the name of God. It will ‘serve’ and ‘love’ till it’s blue in the face and about to expire. Add a controlling pastoral or authoritative voice to the mix and ego will splash its cash to get some of what it appears to have.
Paradoxically, it’s all about trying to impress the Divine while being terrified of its pronouncements. Many of us, whether religious or spiritual, have played this game in our time, on the ever-spinning hamster-wheel of devotion. And yet, we all eventually fall off. Well, to be more accurate, we’re simply pushed off by the intervention of Spirit, in the form of Life. So let’s be clear; ego has vast resources of psychological strength, yet even these remain limited. At some stage in our sojourn Divine Love comes calling, loudly proclaiming, ‘Enough is enough. Time for aReality check!’
Now, it’s at this critical stage in our journey when we Holy Rollers, start rebuking everything in sight, in one last desperate attempt to remain in our religious delusion. ‘God would never let this happen to me – I’m a Holy Roller – get me outta here,’ we scream in frustrated sincerity!
And yet, in reality, this is the day of our salvation. Not the religious joining of a faith system through confessional game play, but rather, a felt and all too painful salvation. For Divine Love has decided to take us through cold turkey, weaning us off our devotional drug in a way that only Transcendence can manage. When Love strikes it heads straight for the dependency jugular. Yes, you’ve guessed it, ego. It only asks one thing – a surrender of control, an end to our illusory state of independence and strength. Of course, like some great lion with a thorn in its paw, ego doesn’t lie down lightly. Thankfully though, Source knows us better than we know ourselves, and the final act of compassion comes swiftly and decisively. We, or more accurately ego, is floored for good. Time for some thorn removal therapy methinks!
I look fondly back to my somewhat heady days as a Holy Roller. Divine Love was extremely gracious to me in many, many ways, and yet, all along It was planning to snatch me from the jaws of ego in the blink of an eye. ‘Do you miss it all’, I’m often asked. Well, to be honest no. Better to have ego, healed and reintegrated, rather than running around in its blind religious fervour.