“I have lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.” ~Joan Didion
Eons ago, back in 2012, I sat, somewhat begrudgingly, in a “spiritual counseling” session. In case you are wondering, spiritual counseling is about what you would expect from any interaction with a moderate/semi conservative, evangelical, Christian institution: full of prayer, a little judgmental, over-simplified, and exhausting. On that particular day, we were in the midst of discussing my personal history because I suppose to bring you back into the fold (which is suppose to fix your brain), church leaders need to know about your childhood baggage and why you weren’t popular in high school. Whatever. I played ball and told terrible stories in a bored voice and with dead eyes that said “My mental illness is killing me and you aren’t helping the situation by subtly shaming me for not waking up early on Sundays and attending services.” Or taking communion. My God, my counselor, Jane, was obsessed with the idea of my taking communion regularly, an idea that terrified to no end. Before I go on, let me just clue you in on why taking communion is horrible and dangerous and I will do so with THE BIBLE itself. When I was a kid, my parents were firm believers in the importance of bible verse memorization and when it came to communion their favorites were I Corinithians 11:27-31 which states.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
To sum that up, before you take communion, you must examine your conscience and make sure you are right with God. According to the Apostle Paul, those who failed to take proper inventory of their spiritual state before communion became “weak,” “sick,” and “have fallen asleep”…that means they’re dead. In bible language, God smote them. The bible full smiting and to drive this point home with me, during my childhood, sometimes my parents would NOT take communion during church services, signalling to us that they were not spiritually ready that particular morning. As an impressionable kid (and as a crazy adult) what I took from all of this is that communion is like playing Russian Roulette with God. I have NO idea if I’m spiritually pure by God’s standards. Probably not, and because of this fact, I have no desire to roll the dice. I’m already mentally ill. There is no reason to invite further smiting. Quite frankly, in my opinion, it must take balls and a lot of arrogance for anyone to voluntarily take communion. Anyway, I’ve gotten off topic here, but the point of this rant is: Don’t take communion. Its poisoned!
But back to spiritual counseling: What I remember most about that session is that Jane found it difficult to reconcile who I had been as a conservative, straight A, church-going kid to the mentally ill, gray person with flaming liberal ideologies I had become. Or in her words, “There is such a marked change between who you were as a child and who you are now.” (see below)* I wondered at the time whether Jane was being snide or simply making an observation. Not that it mattered. I was only attended the sessions to keep myself busy. Let’s face it, if suicide seemed like a viable option then spiritual interrogation couldn’t be much worse. Whether she believed me or not, it was/is true. With each mental breakdown from my teenager years until now, I reinvent myself. From the ashes of mental illness, I am reborn every three to five years. The only consistent theme being that each version of myself becomes more liberal, more in love with the bizarre and broken, and a little less in touch with reality as most people see it.
The point of this post? Well, I’m not sure there is one, but, mainly, don’t take communion!
Note: I was a right wing, rule following, repressed evangelical as a teenager. You do the math.