“In the fifties, my family moved to Riverside, California, and we attended a Baptist church. We were taught that if you die as an infant, your soul automatically goes to heaven. They sure lucked out, I thought. Twelve is the age of reason and, after that, you go to hell unless you are saved. I had reached that dangerous age. I was on thin ice.
“About that time, my family went to a huge tent revival by Oral Roberts. The sermon was dramatic. The evangelist told about Judas betraying Jesus, and I can still picture him making a noose out of the microphone chord as he tearfully pleaded with Judas not to hang himself—“don’t do it, Judas, don’t do it”—and slowly placed the noose around his own neck and enacted the whole scene before our very eyes. I felt an urge to go forward and did so with the blessing of my parents.
“Afterwards, those of us who had come forward were directed to a side tent. A nice woman knelt and prayed with me. I felt nothing but the chill in the air. Nevertheless, like Pascal, I thought I had better cover my bets and was baptized.”
Yes, those (experiences) were not epiphanic, but the opposite.
An epiphany is a moment of insight or revelation. My experience had subtracted insight.
They moved you farther away.
Listen to this on God: An Autobiography, The Podcast– the dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin.
One day Jerry had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.
2 thoughts on ““They moved you farther away.””
Jo Nell March 2, 2013
Jerry, I think you are an amazing person. For years I have understood and acknowledged that we are not separate from God and that we or our souls are somehow one with God. However, to know and to “be” what you know are two different things. How do I take the leap from just understanding to actually “being”, right here right now, what I have come to understand?
Jerry L Martin March 16, 2013
Jo, speaking only for myself, I am not a fan of spiritual striving. When a guy told me that he had set out to be a saint, I thought, that is someone who will never be one. My personal advice is not to worry about “being” this or that, but simply to live each day open to the divine presence, in whatever ways and however faintly it is available to you. If anything seems like a divine hint, pay careful attention. Try to get in synch with it. If you do that, you will be in proper attunement with the divine.