I've been thinking lately about the prophetic voice and who are our modern day prophets.
Well, on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2), I met one.
I know this because she told me so in the waiting room of the contact lens clinic. Anne was seated next to me, quite gregarious and loud with silver-tipped French-manicured nails and purple highlights in her jet black hair. I'd say that Anne could most probably be in her late 50s and could most definitely talk my ears off.
We (she) talked about manners and kids-these-days, how kids need limits, and the legalism of the Catholic church. I mentioned I'm Mennonite. "Oh, well they have too many rules too." Anne is a born-again Christian who met Jesus at her kitchen sink 20 years ago.
She doesn't go to church, though, because she has found that God isn't there.
"Isn't it lonely?" I asked.
"Would you rather be alone or married to a man you don't love?" she responded.
I knew this was a trick question, so I stayed silent.
Anne responded, "We need to eat wheat - that's our daily bread. But people at church are being fed darnel. Do you know what darnel is? It's a weed that looks exactly like wheat, but it has a poison in it that puts people to sleep. When's the last time you saw someone falling asleep in church? It happens ALL THE TIME! That's because they're being fed DARNEL, not wheat."
I pondered this for a moment.
"I'm a modern day prophet," said Anne.
"Oh, is this what you sense your role is?" I asked.
"No. It's what God told me I am." she said.
"So, do you just see someone and sense what you're supposed to say to them?" I asked.
"No. God knows what they need to hear. Not me. I'm just allowing God to work through me. I've been doing it for years. God gives me a message, and I write it on a piece of paper or I tell them."
What's my message, God? I couldn't help but silently pray/ask this just because I'm so darn curious. Never, in one million years, could I have guessed what God's message, through Anne, was going to be.
We moved into little cubicles to wait for the optometry students to see us. But Anne walked back to my cubicle to tell me more. She had to whisper because the students were finishing a lecture in the adjoining lecture hall.
Anne is against infant baptism, baptism by sprinkling, and baptism by immersion in a tub in your church that holds everyone else's germs in it. The only true baptism, she said, is one in a river which washes your sins away to the sea of forgetfulness. I had never heard of this place before.
Anne hates the church but loves spending time with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She asks God questions, and God answers.
"What kind of questions?" I asked.
"I asked him why is there sex. There's so much evil that comes from it - rape, abuse, you know. Why can't we just spit on our hands and shake them to make a baby?"
"So what did God say?" I asked.
She looked heavenward, triumphant. "She wants to know, God!" Then looking to me, said, "I'm so glad you asked. Do you know that part in the Bible where it talks about Jesus being the groom and the church being like the bride of Christ?" I nodded.
"Well, Jesus is the penis and the church is the vagina." She used hand signals just to make sure I understood.
"When the penis penetrates the vagina and ejaculates, that's the Holy Spirit bringing new life into the church. Isn't that amazing and incredibly beautiful? That's why we have sex!" Her whisper had grown dangerously louder, and I wondered who else was now benefiting from this teaching.
I did a quick scroll through my memory to see if I had heard any "Jesus is the penis" sermons in the past. Nope. None. Here was a new teaching. God? Is that you?
She continued. "Scientists have seen the sperm and the egg connect, and there's a spark of light when that happens. And when one sperm makes contact with the egg, all the other sperm run away. That's like Jesus too! When Jesus is there, all other gods run away."
"That's an interesting analogy," I said.
"It's not an analogy. It's the truth!" she responded. Anne told me that God has to be male for this to work.
"I like to think of God as spirit, as above any gender limitation." I countered.
"Oh Rebecca," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "You have so much to learn." She left for her cubicle.
At that point, students came to examine my eyes. One minute later, Anne returned with a slip of paper that had her name and phone number written on. "I can tell you have a lot of questions, and that you have a lot to learn. Feel free to call me anytime."
Was that my message from God? After my appointment, I literally giggled all the way through the parking lot and on my drive to get my girls from school.
I'd heard of the "Jesus as lover" idea, and it's never really turned me on. But after relaying this story to a few family members, I was told of the long mystical traditions -- Christian, Jewish, Sufi -- where the divine and human join in sexual union. And though I don't quite get it yet, it must have held meaning for more people than just Anne over the ages.
If nothing else, it just totally made my day because I had a lot of material to write about when I got home.
A little quote to leave you with (as if I haven't used enough words already):
"Three things faintly represent heaven: Sabbath, sunshine, and sexual union." Berachot 57b (Talmud)