ABOUT MY FAITH

I am frequently asked about my faith. At the end of my marriage to Ted Turner I became a Christian. For several years prior, I had begun to feel I was being lead. I felt a presence, a reverence humming within me. It was and is difficult to articulate.

Today I think I know what was happening: I was becoming embodied, whole. I had spent 60 years dis-embodied, trying to be perfect so I could be loved. You can’t be whole if you’re trying to be perfect. Now, as I entered my sixth decade and with much work, I could feel myself becoming whole and I knew: This is what God is. I was stunned when I read in William Bridges’s The Way of Transition, that in Matthew 5:48 when Jesus tells his disciples, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” it was a mistranslation of the Greek adjective teleios which actually means “whole, fully formed, fully developed.” Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to be perfect like God, he was telling them to be whole, like God.

This is what the third step of Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program means. It says we need to give ourselves over to our higher power, become whole (which addicts aren’t) by welcoming the Holy Spirit into our innermost selves.

I began looking for a container to house this fledgling feeling of reverence. Having grown up an atheist I had almost no experience of church and had never read the Bible but I had dear friends in my home-state of Georgia who found comfort and inspiration in their church community and they offered to open this world to me and “bring me to Christ.” Perhaps this would be the container I was seeking.

Unfortunately, my very private, tentative step into religion became a loud public misconception. A small- minded person, knowing about my quest, did an interview on a national website without my permission and said that, because of him, I had become a Born Again Christian. I had no intention of going public about my spiritual journey and in no way wanted to be tagged with the fundamentalism that Born-Again Christianity has come to be associated with. I found myself having to defend my action before I was entirely sure what it meant. I did feel reborn, I couldn’t deny that, but it had nothing to do with the perceived doctrines of fundamentalist Christianity.

Over the months, I went to Bible study every week, had it interpreted for me by biblical literalists, did my homework faithfully but, as time went on, I felt myself losing the very thing that had called me from within: Spirit. The literalness with which I was expected to read and interpret the Bible seemed to simplify and flatten out what I wanted to experience as metaphor. Christianity was beginning to feel shrunken, freeze-dried. Words like ‘Thou Shalt,’ ‘Salvation,” ‘Lord,’ and ‘Repentance,’ drowned out one of my favorite Sufi poems by Hafiz:

Every
Child
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
Nor the God of don’ts,
Nor the God who never does
Anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
Come
Dance.

As I diligently slogged away in my weekly bible class, doing the homework and studying the charts, I began to notice that the dance was gone. Try to render it literal, concrete, and it dies. I had started my journey with a powerful sense of the divine presence, but the linear approach seemed too rigid to contain this and I began to get scared: What had I gotten myself into?  

I had met some inspiring, extraordinary Christians, but there were others that came at me, fingers pointing in my face, demanding to know my position on this or that and if I could not say certain key words like “died for our sins,” it meant I wasn’t a Christian.

I winced when God was spoken of as a man. God is beyond gender, beyond being, and although gendering God as “Him” may not seem consequential to many, I think it belies the nonbeingness of the Divine. Seeing God as “Him” only serves to reinforce the belief that since God is man, then man is God-like and women are less-than.

Riffat Hassan, a Pakistan-born professor of religious studies and humanities at the University of Louisville says that in Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions there are three basic (and unwarranted) assumptions upon which the ideas of male superiority over women are founded: “first, that God’s primary creation is man, not woman, since woman is believed to have been created from man’s rib and is, therefore, derivative (As Carol Gilligan has said, “If you make a woman out of a man, you are bound to get into trouble); second, that woman was the primary agent of ‘Man’s Fall,’ and hence all ‘daughters of Eve’ are to be regarded with hatred, suspicion and contempt; and third, that woman was created not only from man but for man, which makes her existence merely instrumental.” From what I can see, none of this was Jesus’ idea. He did not see women as less-than after-thoughts. In fact, his friendships with women were revolutionary for that time. The more I study the teachings of Jesus, the more convinced I become that a foundational aspect of his teaching is the equality of women and men in God’s eyes, deserving of equal treatment. Look at the many women who followed him, sustained him. Look at the women who were shunned by all others but who Jesus touched and kissed and loved. Christian women preached and performed the Eucharist. It was to women that the arisen Christ appeared. After his death, when many Christians fled into the desert to set up Christian communities women outnumbered men 2 to 1.

I find particularly moving and plausible his special relationship with Mary, the apostle that is revealed in the Gospel of Mary. Jesus was love, not just love for some and not for others but…love…for all.

I think two thousand years ago, Jesus’ teachings, including and perhaps especially his respect for women, were so radical and so threatening to the Priesthood (Patriarchy) that they had to try to claim and cage and redefine him as “God in our [read male] image.” The formal church that grew up in the centuries following his death had to diminish the revolutionary content of his teachings in order to create a unified Christian church.

In my studies, I learned that 325 years after Jesus was crucified at the Council of Nicea, a gathering of Christian leaders, all men, decided by a show of hands and amidst bitter theological differences, what would be included as Biblical cannon and what was to be left out and decreed that Jesus was not only the Son of God but God himself.

In no way do I want to offend more traditional Christians, but if the content of the Bible was determined by a group of men (not all of whom agreed), then surely those seeking to know Jesus should not be demonized for looking outside the canons to what others (including women) had to say about Him.

I stopped my Bible study classes but was unwilling to renounce faith. I wanted to see if somewhere there wasn’t a perception of Jesus that reflected my intuition of him. This brought me to Elaine Pagels’s books on the Gnostics, along with various theologians’ and religious scholars’ interpretations of the Bible and the books of the early Christians, all of whom believed that experiencing the divine was more important than mere belief in the divine. I needed to move back into the reverence of metaphor, the language of the soul. That is where I know my faith wants to reside.

From time to time, there have been the awakened ones, conduits of perception, who, by fully embodying Spirit, have shown us the way—Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Allah, and others. Their messages have invariably been bare-bone-simple, remarkably similar and often embedded in metaphor, stories, and poems—all forms of art. Why? Because the non-linear, non-cerebral forms that are Art speak on a different frequency, they by-pass thinking, penetrate our defenses and jolt us open to consciousness.

For a while, I became a student at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta, the largest training center for African American ministers in the country. As a college drop-out who still has anxiety-ridden dreams of leaving a job unfinished, I relished being back in school and overwhelmed with homework: Biblical Exegesis, Feminist Interpretation, Systematic Theology. I was one of the few white students and, despite that, managed to come and go in anonymity—until Monster-In-Law came out and stirred up some excitement—the little old white lady in the back row is the one who kicked Jennifer Lopez’s ass!!

Over time, and, I feel, because I stepped outside of established religion, I was able to rekindle the spiritual experience that I’d been seeking. Some will say that because of all this I am not a true Christian. So be it. I feel like a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Jesus and try to practice them in my life. I have found Christians all over this country who feel as I do. They may not have been ‘saved’ yet they hum with divine spirit.

My faith is a work in progress (as am I) but I will plant my flag on the belief that God lives within each of us as Spirit (or soul). I like what Reverend Forrest Church says: “God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in all.” I believe that Christ was the personal incarnation of the divine wisdom in everything, including every form of spiritual expression.

Lots of folks go to church every Sunday and spend the rest of their time avoiding dealing with the question of consciousness. They try to pass time with pastimes, possessions, prestige. They think about God and talk about their religious beliefs but avoid experiencing Spirit. Thinking and experiencing aren’t the same. One happens in the head. The other is a flash, a rush of intuition that seems to permeate our entire being. That is what Jesus meant when he said that God is within us. That is what I am seeking, and I have found that since I have come to feel God within me, I experience less fear—of anything, including death. Sharon Salzberg, in her book “Faith,” explains it this way: “As our faith deepens, the ‘container’ in which fear arises gets bigger. Like a teaspoon of salt placed in a pond full of fresh water rather than in a narrow glass, if our measure of fear is arising in an open, vast space of heart, we will not shut down around it.”

Another result of my faith is that I have become a deeper, more embodied feminist. Helen LaKelly Hunt is right when she says in her book “Faith & Feminism,” that feminism is about fighting for the core beliefs and values of Christianity. “Religion and feminism are different expressions of the same impulse toward making life more just and whole.”


 

  William Bridges,  The Way of Transition, Perseus Publishing, p. 196

Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the Woman Apostle” by Karen King of Harvard Divinity School

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  1. Wow, I haven’t said “YES! YES!” this often in my life, outside of the bedroom.

    Reading this piece was an incredible happenstance. Your theological (& feminist) comments resonate with me deeply, and articulate my experience with loving clarity. Thank you for speaking out about your faith WHILE also wanting to be left alone to experience it. I really get that.
    I was raised Catholic and am mostly comfortable there. That’s ironic, given my rebellious nature. But the Mass can still deeply move & comfort me.

    Unfortunately, some evangelicals ostracize Catholics, and when an evangelical “friend” scrutinizes my beliefs, they almost always mischaracterize them. In their eyes, I have not been “born again” enough to be a “real Christian.” Similarly, when a fellow Catholic corners me into a political position I’m not on board with, “because you can’t be a good Catholic and…” (disagree with them), it’s all painfully alienating. It makes me wonder where I belong.

    Finally, my husband and good friend of 34 years has continued to lose his faith, just as I’ve increasingly found mine. That’s a significant struggle, and a lonely one at times, but so be it. We all have our paths.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I think it’s far more universal than most people realize.

  2. Hi Jane,
    ​Thank you for taking the time to write back to me. You are so right about Vietnam. We participated in a cultural program in North Vietnam in December. We performed and gave female empowerment workshops in Hai Duong Province​, Ninh Binh Province ​and Hanoi. It was amazing. The people were so good to us. Since our last conversation we’ve had a huge opportunity come our way. UNESCO and UNDP have invited us to work with them to promote the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Having these UN partners would give us the opportunity to expand our cultural work exponentially. I am 100% convinced that people to people cultural exchanges are a pathway to world peace, health and prosperity for all. One of the segments of our program is entitled, “The Heartland Initiative”. It involves reaching out to marginalized communities in small town America-The Heartland. Many of these towns are populated with the country music demographic. They are generally suspicious of the UN, have anti globalization sentiments and are very resistant to something new. We are hoping to change that.
    Of course as with many non-profits– funding is an issue. Our organization is no different. We can’t move forward unless we secure the funds to do so. We’re doing everything we can to raise money on our end but its not enough. I’m so sorry to mention this. I know celebrities are constantly getting bombarded with requests for help. But I remember the passage that says “You have not because you ask not”. So I’m asking. Would you happen to know anyone who has a passion for UN causes who might be willing to get involved with our work? Would you be open to connecting us with them? Again, I’m so sorry to ask. And I wouldn’t except that our situation is a bit desperate at the moment. I hope you’re not mad. You can find out more about our work at http://www.oneworldcountrygirlglobal.org . My email address is [email protected] Thanks Jane!

    • No, dear Gabe, Of course I’m not mad. And I think the work you are doing is important, wonderful. But I am not able to help fund your work. I have my own 3 non-profits that I help fund plus a number of other causes that are central to my mission—climate, stopping violence against and empowering women and girls. Best of Luck. I will think of who might help you. xx

  3. Jane, I will try to post a picture on your blog, but if it doesn’t work out, it’s a young man wearing a tee shirt that says, “Metaphors be with you”.

    Thanks for helping people understand that there are many forms of Christianity, and that all people need not conform to just one. I admire your perseverance in your quest, and your ability to articulate your well-reasoned and heart-felt faith.

  4. Hi Jane, I appreciate your diligent search to understand God. However, by your own account, you have been shown the truth, yet have rejected it and detoured into believing a false gospel that is more palatable to you. This is a very dangerous spiritual path to choose. It ends in eternal destruction of the soul.

    The original sin was Eve desiring to be “like God” by disobeying HIS command and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then giving that fruit to her husband (see Genesis 3). That sin is why Adam was placed in authority over Eve and they got put out of the Garden of Eden before they could eat from the tree of life.

    Clearly, a woman who worships knowledge and accepts the “feminist interpretation” of what God says is deceived – just like Eve. The lifelong quest for “equal rights” instead of worshiping the LORD God and accepting what HE says as the truth is committing the same sin as Eve. That’s her legacy to all of her “feminist” daughters.

    The Hebrew for the words God uses to describe women show that He views women as equal to men in value but not in function. The man was created to rule. The woman was created to help the man rule. But the order of authority is God over Christ over man over woman (see 1 Corinthians 11). This is for the woman’s protection. If this TRUTH confuses or angers or “doesn’t resonate with” you, then you need deliverance from the Jezebel spirit, which is a religious demon that counterfeits the Holy Spirit.

    THE FOLLOWING IS THE GOSPEL [Good News]; ANY OTHER GOSPEL IS FALSE:

    From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” – Matthew 4:17

    JESUS: “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me.” – John 16:9

    John 19:30-37

    When Jesus had tasted it, He said, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and released His Spirit. It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.)

    These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of His bones will be broken,” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on Him whom they have pierced.”

    1 Peter 3:18 – Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.

    Galatians 1:1-24 NLT

    This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.

    All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.

    May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave His life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

    There Is Only One Good News

    I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to Himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News, but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

    Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

    Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

    Paul’s Message Comes from Christ

    Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.

    You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.

    But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

    When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.

    Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother. I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.

    After that visit I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. And still the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn’t know me personally. All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” And they praised God because of me.

    Colossians 2:6-9 NLT

    And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

    Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

    John 3:1-21 NLT

    There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

    Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

    “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

    Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[ must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

    “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

    Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.”

    “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

    “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

  5. Hi Jane,

    Could you please read about the way I understand God’s creation of the human race.

    First of all, it is true that God created the body of the first man from the dust of the ground and the body of the first woman from the man’s rib. However, it was the breath of life from God that made them both living, spiritual beings. Without this breath of life from God (the Spirit of God within them) they would only be dust and not truly alive. Also, both man and woman were created in the image of God-to be like God, especially in regard to God’s holiness and love. They were created to be free from attachment to this world, which is what holiness is all about (you talk about being made whole). Also they were created to love God and others with a pure and selfless love.

    Now the fact that the man was created from dust and the woman from the man’s rib does not make the man superior to the woman in any way! In fact, we can say that man is dust and woman is dust refined. Of course this is only in regard to their bodies, not their spirit or the image of God within them, which gives them their true value and human beings. In that respect they are the same. But as for the man being made from dust and they woman from dust refined, if anything, it could mean that men have a certain weakness, that women do not have. The heart of a man might be more vulnerable, making him more susceptible so spiritual weakness, because originally he lost part of his rib, which is close to and protects the heart. For this reason, it might be very hard for a man to live without a woman, but in many cases a woman can still be very strong and independent without a man (I especially wonder about your thoughts on this part).

    Anyway, I do believe that men and woman are equal in how they were both created as spiritual beings in the image of God, which is the true value of a human being. It is a mysterious thing though, that God could make them different but equal! Maybe it is because their differences are so superficial compared to the glory of what is inside (the Spirit and image of God)! I guess, there are many such things of God that are mysteries to us humans. They require faith in God to accept them. Another example is the trinity. There’s the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but they are all one person and are all God. Are they equal? Each might have a different function, but they all work together for the same purpose! And, not one is any less God then they others.

  6. I meant to say that “not one is any less God than the others”

  7. Hey Jane, this is a wonderful entry. I really loved when you said “I think feminism is another way of teaching what Jesus taught, that we are all full human beings with the right to have our humanity seen and respected.” I love your views. // I was wondering what the address Is that I would use to send you a fan letter? I checked online but couldn’t find anything that I felt was accurate or updated. lol

  8. Jane, I am just reading this excellent post ion June 1 of 2017. Last night I was binge watching Grace & Frankie and came to a scene of you praying in a church. That reminded me that I have been praying for you for years and years! I LOVE the poem you shared here and believe with all my heart that one day we will all get to participate in the Dance. If your studies and experiences with small minded Christians made you feel flat, you were so wise to step back. I have known Jesus all of my life (I’m 62) and I can say without reservation that the sacred and holy does speak out through the arts and the Holy Spirit infuses us with joy. I am not a fundamentalist but am indeed an orthodox believer, finding great truth and much grace in the full counsel of both the Old and New Testiments. If you’d like to experience more joy, more excitement about God’s great and intimate love for you, Insuggest reading The Chrinickes of Narnia and the Space Trilogy by CS Lewis. You will see imagery of the Dance throughout these stories. Who am I to give unsolicited advice toy you?? Good question! Just a believer who noticed a softening and wonderment in your eyes after your divorce from Ted, and one who adores your acting. In addition to how fabulous you and Lily Tomlin are in Grace & Frankie, I adored your character in News Room. I think you are totally awesome! I may not agree with every political position you express’ but so what? Your tremendous talent mixed with your willingness to speak clearly on faith issues and your political activism are an inspiration to me and so many other. God bless you! From SC

  9. Dear Jane,

    I send this with the best of intentions, please take the time to listen,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgou9QDR4KM

    With Love,

    David

  10. Hi Jane
    I have been a great fan of your films work etc and as a Christian I was curious about your faith as I remember hearing about this backalong. I found your writing in this message really wonderful and although we may have a few differing opinions on a few matter what is so clear to me is your open honesty about your faith as a Christian. May you always dance in His presence and be bathed in His love.
    I have recently joined Netflix so have ‘found Grace and Frankie’ I have now watched all three series and eagerly await the next.
    Thank you for being an exceptional human being – God bless you always

  11. Dear Jane

    Thank you so much for being so honest about your faith. I too am a Christian and luckily while I was searching was turned on to the Lord because I experience true love in the words that someone said to me. They were simply that if I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and God raised him from the dead I’d be saved. That was it. Although I was raised Catholic I had never truly made this commitment. God just wants a deep relationship with us period and it comes through his son. I understand why you’ve been turned off by Christians who at times come across as self-righteous and judge mental. I’m so glad I met someone who told me the truth in love otherwise I would have looked elsewhere. Ghandi’s son admitted his Father realized Jesus was the only way and would have become a Christian if he had not met one! Anyways God is a big God and has a lot of room for all of out points of view. Many of us are filled with doctrine that has been passed down by self-condemnation. I find that as I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me He does. It’s a simple love relationship which I sense in your blog you reach for. We have been forgiven of all our wrongdoings 2000 years ago and one we’ve received Jesus as Lord God just wants to love on us and spend time blessing us with his amazing presence. Blessings to you my dear sister and may God continually shine his grace and truth through you.

  12. “The literalness with which I was expected to read and interpret the Bible seemed to simplify and flatten out what I wanted to experience as metaphor. ”

    Beautifully written and shared from the heart. The words in this message resound deep within my soul. For every skeptic and judge of your faith, there’s a “me too”… and I’m one of them.

    Here’s to the continued listening of the hum of the Divine. <3

  13. Dear Jane,
    Being 65 years young and growing up in North Carolina, and remember Daddy getting our first t.v. back in 1960, you eventually arrived in front of our little screen down the road, and have fond memories of seeing you on t.v. and the like as you remind me of my Aunt Lena who is in her late 80’s; still elegant with that thick southern draw which you would love I am sure if you heard it. It would seem males in your life have contributed to a lot of pain in your life as well as some good for sure, just like me. Growing up in red neck country where you are effeminate and called sissy at the age of 5 doesn’t make it easy for any young male. Most of the male images in my life caused me great sadness as I never measured up. The hardest thing to take in is when your Daddy tells you being the oldest male that you are not the male he intended to have as a son. That really hurts. But what I am trying to get at is that I found Someone who took this very very broken little boy at the age of 10, and gave him meaning and purpose and worth in this life, and that is Jesus. I remember crying out to Him when I was young when I was so bullied from school that I didn’t think I could make it, and He was there giving me the strength to go on. We can philosophize Him all we want and put Him into our own realities, but all I know is that He is real, and He has kept me these 65 years and His love and acceptance of me has never changed. You know, He tells us we have to simply come to Him as a little child. Well I did, and I still see myself as His child, and look forward to what is ahead and must not let the past overwhelm and try to destroy me. I heard you are coming to New Zealand, and would so love to see you, as I immigrated here by God’s grace 20 years ago working with a Christian humanitarian group called Mercy Ships. But my New Zealand pension is limited so won’t be able to fly up to Auckland and see you, but Jane remember that He loves you, and He loves me, and if we are loved by Him, nothing can separate us from His love. All my blessings and love in Him go out to you dear one, Gary and Molly ( my dear and beloved Basset Hound)

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