They attended the Baptist Church and enjoyed the blended family – – hoping to have a child together. Mom had two Caesarians and several miscarriages and was told that another child was unlikely and unwise. She wanted that child badly and I believe miscarried twice more before I was born. Love Letter – – part 2 from the beginning
The early seventies saw a resurgence of Pentecostalism in America — Full Gospel churches, non-denominational churches, Derek Prince and Oral Roberts rose to prominence. There was an emphasis on the giftings of the Holy Spirit to the detriment of the fruit. Did speaking in tongues become more important than love, prophecy higher than joy? In my memory and reflection yes. The instructions given in scripture are comprehensive for following after Christ and life well lived. But emphasis in our home was more on revelation than on the work of discipleship. Tied into this movement was an unhealthy interest, perhaps morbid fascination, with the demonic. First my sister then I was terrified by it. I was also taught that salvation was not complete without baptism in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues. That occurred at age 9 and I don’t remember the same love and reassurance that salvation brought. I remember Mom telling me that she would pray with me all night if need be. I still can’t tell you if that prayer language was real although much later I think it was. I just remember that the experience and many like it frightened me, and not in a holy way.
To what extent did supernaturalism govern our home? I was born in York, Pennsylvania – – the headquarters of York peppermint patties, barbells, and air conditioning. How did we get there? A simple transfer for my Dad? Not quite. Mom believed that California was under imminent judgment. When my sister was 8 and brother 11 they took a family vacation to Pennsylvania. They drove and of course packed for a week. That is what my father and siblings thought. Mom knew better – – they never came back. I didn’t find out about it until much later – – I wasn’t born yet. [193 miles from Singapore – – why didn’t you tell me that 10,000 miles is a long way?] Can you imagine saying goodbye to elementary school friends for Spring Break and never seeing them again? This is one of the bricks in sister’s wall toward Mom. There are many more. And what of my father? This is a defining story. I love him and our relationship was redeemed to a large extent. I lost him 4 years ago this week to metastatic sarcoma. I was with him when he died. So was my sister. In his last minutes of life I’m convinced that he waited for her. She forgave him and told him he could go. I did the same.
What did we forgive him for? Being controlled by my Mom. Being passive. Being good, but not good enough to be strong. Do manipulative women seek passive men? I think so. I completely believe that our genders are created equal by and before God. We have different roles spiritually. A man is to lead and love sacrificially. Before I was born, Dad betrayed the trust of his adopted children and Mom did a very bizarre thing in God’s name. Was it prophecy? No. Was it mental illness? Sister thinks so. Or was it something more common and dangerous than both? Was it going beyond what scripture says in favor of supernatural ecstasy? That’s what I favor – – not content to live out the great and precious promises that require a life of sacrifice.
Not much of a story is it? I haven’t even been born yet. Truth be told its the first time I’ve told it this way, even to myself. So Pascal comes – – pre-named and prayed for with bright red hair. The story I remember first was being wanted, and second being spiritually delivered from collick.
-to be continued-
Photo credit: Handwritten letter by Descarte: by PHGCOM [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons