How Real Deal Christians Schooled This Yogini on Love and Forgiveness

Yoga-mat-carrying-chics could learn something from bible-carrying chics. I should know. I got schooled by some sassy, suit-wearing lady-preachers this past year when I moved back down south to Virginia, land of the notorious Bible Belt.

A few months back I had a big ole’ fat case of the poor-me’s. A mind gremlin had actually wrapped her slimy webbed palms around my head and heart. She was ruthless, loudly blaring things into my heart space that made me wanna’ give up on my dreams and get in bed with a box of Chex-mix and a block of cheese.

Luckily, my mama (Vera) was around to pull me out of funk-city, dragging me kicking and screaming to a bible study. The last time I had been to bible class I was wearing MC-hammer pants, braiding friendship bracelets and listing to Toni Braxton. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled at the prospect of revisiting that awkward time of my embodiment.

“I demand it,” she said. “You are coming with me to my ‘little’ bible study.”

My mom always calls it her “little” bible study. Its as if by adding a diminutive qualifier to the whole charade she can somehow fool all the other non-Christians into overlooking what clearly proved to be a Jesusy-Tantrik, Christ-Worshipin’, Lady-Witch gathering, complete with scented oils, speaking in tongues and the laying of hands.

Little, my ass. There is nothing little about my mamas bible study. Not only are most of the women buxom and juicy, but the unapologetic spiritual dexterity and prayer-filled dedication of these Jesus-loving ladies made me wonder if we yogini gals had a few things to learn from them.

Let me explain….

About half-way through the study’s lesson on faith and surrender, it became obvious to the group that I wasn’t sharing much (an oddity for me in any lady-group circle, let me assure you). With much trepidation, I admitted to the group of women that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing and connecting with them because I could feel myself holding so much pain and anger against the Christian church.

“What are you angry about,” said the leader-lady, a no-nonsense woman with a loving matriarchal tone.

“Well, Im angry that a bunch of middle aged southern men made me feel so bad for being a sexual, sensual creature. Im angry that at the age of 13 I had to sign a “promise” stating that I would never have sex before marriage. I am angry that I was subjected to lock-ins at the age 14 where me and my Jewish friends were shown graphic low-fi videos depicting non-Christians’ eventual resting place – the fiery lakes of Satan’s, teeth-gnashing hot wonderland. I was angry that I was stuffed full of Krispee Creme donuts and Mr. Pibb throughout the night, and at a hazy, sugar-drugged 3 AM, asked whether or not I wanted to be a child of God or not. I was so angry, and even sadder, that the single most intimate aspects of myself –  my body, my sexuality and my connection to the Divine Creator of the Universe was co-opted by a patriarchal religious system that was so afraid of my vagina that they wanted to keep it on lock-down through prepubescent pseudo-contracts and fattening me up with donut creme.

As I finished my tear-stained rant, the preacher-woman stood up and came over by my side. She put her hands on my head and I closed my eyes as she entered into some sort of Christ-loving lady-trance.

“Lord,” she proclaimed, “Free Katie from this burden she is carrying, oh Divine One. Lord, may all the thoughts inside Katie that were placed into her by these men in bad suits and bad hair cuts, be removed from her right here and right now. We know Lord, that she is your sacred jewel, your most beloved possession. Lord, we know that she was created by you, in perfection. May all these thoughts and feelings she has inside of her that tell her she is damaged, that she is dirty, that she is shamed, be removed from her right here and right now, Oh Lord. This child of God is a light for your love. This is how you see her, Oh Lord, and let her see herself in this way from here on out.”

As she continued praying and laying hands over me, I felt the store house of years of 13-year old-girl-sadness and angst leave my body. I felt relief, knowing that there was a group of people that embodied Christ’s nonjudgmental love and acceptance. With my eyes closed, I saw my whole body fill up with light, tears streaming down my face, as I let this woman of God midwife the exorcism of the thought-forms that the southern Baptist charade had mistakenly planted into my body.

Slowly, each of the ten women came over and put their hands on me. I felt safe, knowing that these women loved me for exactly who I was as they cried out Amen and whispered “Yes, Jesus.” I felt healed. I was being healed by the MAMAS of the Christian realms. I felt the whole wily band of Christ’s cheerleaders placing their loving mama-hands on the wounds that had wrapped themselves on my heart like tentacles.

But Jesus wasn’t done with me yet…

The leader-mama actually got down under the tall table, on hands and knees, in her sleek black lady-suit, and anointed my feet with oil, just like in old-school Bible times. She freaking anointed me with oil. She was fearless. She put it on my feet, praying that I may be protected wherever I walked.

She put it on my hands, saying that my hands would act as servants of love in the world. She put it on my forehead, saying that my mind would be a clear vessel for Christ. Finally she looked up at me and said, “Now Katie, do you FORGIVE them? Do you forgive those men in suits? Do your forgive the church.”

Oh hot damn. She was asking ME to be the forgiving one. Not the men in the suits or the church, but ME. She was asking me to do what Jesus Christ would have done. She was skilled at her craft and I was ready. “Yes,” I whispered.  And I did forgive. And forgiveness washed through me like a cool river. Like love.

These women, acting on behalf of the love of Christ, saved me. 

I got saved – saved for the second time. Not like the first time, out of fear-coercion and childish innocence, but saved out of love and forgiveness.  I was saved from the memories that lived in me of how bad Christianity had been to me. I was saved from all the anger that I was carrying around. I was saved from myself and my own limited view of what it means to be on the real-deal spiritual path. I was saved from that limited sense of self that told me that I knew what I needed. I got saved.

My Christianity may never look like my parents’ version, the Church’s version, or even that wild group of Christian lady-witches’ version. But what I do know is that I am a Guardian of Love, chosen by Christ to continue to forgive and love, forgive and love, forgive and love. Thats how Jesus is alive in me.

And that was how my mama’s ‘little’ bible study went down.

To conclude, here is what I learned from real-deal Christian mamas:

  1. They aren’t impressed with the political and economic use of Christianity – they are impressed by acts of great trust and love.
  2. Lots of cool Christian women (and men I assume) are NOT happy with the way things have been going down in the Christian church. That real-deal preacher woman told me that oftentimes it is the very leaders of religion that are closest to “the devil” himself. I knew that, but to have a preacher woman SAY it. Word.
  3. Prayer is something Christians go to – like everyday – to help support one another and themselves. These ladies are praying for each other ON THE DAILY. When was the last time you sat your hot yoga-toned bootie down and PRAYED for your friends? Maybe we could start being fearless enough to do that for ourselves and selfless enough to do it for one another.
  4. Circles are good for study. These women get together weekly to deeply study their sacred text – the Bible. When was the last time you got together with your yoga mates to dig deep into the Sutras or Rumi or a rad Tantric text? We can learn so much from these mamas. Gather in circles. Talk to one another. Not in your “yoga voice,” but in your most vulnerable, real-deal voice. You know, the voice that your friends from high school would recognize as you. Bring the spiritual book of your choice, it doesn’t matter. The bible says that when 2 or more are gathered in “my name,” Love appears.
  5. Real-deal Christians are doing the same thing that real-deal yogis or Buddhists or Hindus or Jews are doing. Call yourself whatever you want – the end game is the same for all of us. Its love. L-O-V-E, love.

What lessons have you learned from unlikely places that change how you practice yoga – on the mat, and in life?

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22 thoughts on “How Real Deal Christians Schooled This Yogini on Love and Forgiveness

  1. WOW!!!
    This really hits home for me during this time. I have felt so sad, lonely, depressed and angry these last few weeks and have been screaming for some kind of help or guidance. I have found the courage to open up and express my inner demons to those who are closest to me and I finally feel light is at the end of the tunnel. My grandmother is so close to God and she is trying to help Jesus into my heart and feel his love for me and know that I am safe with Him.
    It makes me feel so good Katie to know you are human just as much as I am. Its ok to feel the sadness and we are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives to help pull us out of the doom and gloom and back to sunshine and rainbows.
    You have certainly brightened this little bunnies day 🙂 Thank you for being you and having this amazing way for me to connect with you.
    Love from me to you,
    Amanda

  2. This one hit me close to home. As I write this I have three, count them, THREE, holy cards/medallions in my wallet that have all been given to me by my God fearing parents that I simply cannot get rid of. This, written by a highly frustrated Catholic who stopped going to church decades ago and initially refused to receive the act of confirmation at the age of 13 despite Father Francis’ protestations.

    Being raised by a Catholic feminist, it was impossible for me to ignore the dictates put out by an antiquated board of clergy made up of mostly soggy and sagging old men who believe they know better than us how to live our lives and dispense compassion… despite what has become a Religious Industrial Complex, I stick around. The thought of officially leaving the church tempted me for many years (especially in my late 20’s and early 30’s), but where to go? I transitioned to being an agnostic seeker, as I believe, very firmly, in the energy we absorb and emit both in our living moments and beyond; and while I do not believe in the bearded man who resides in the heavens, I do believe in Light.

    For now, I’ve chosen to stay aboard, if only to be that annoying guy who voices what I believe many Catholics want to voice, that gay people are people, that women should not be relegated to inferior roles in life or in the church (or within their own bodies, for that matter), that money and God do not mix unless it is to remind us of it’s ability to make us lose our focus, that its dictates to procreate without sex education causes more harm than good…. I could go on forever.

    I dig Jesus. I believe that he was of a compassion and love that few have expressed or witnessed. The new pope gives me hope (and my rhymes are dope) that he will bring the church back to its roots: closer to the people it is tasked to serve, and further away from politics and the harsh judgement that too many in this country choose to deliver in its name.

    Great piece, Katie.

  3. Well well Miss Katie – Guru
    Your youthful wisdom has always inspired me and caught me by surprise. Your ability to write such intensely personal account and provide solace in your vulnerabilities is wonderfully remarkable. You are a healer because you allow healing in your own world.

    Much love to you –

    Thank you I needed this today.

    Lori

  4. honored and BLESSED to share space with you and Jesus and join you in the real deal Christian mama circle! you are Precious and Wonderful and i still can’t wait to walk in the woods 🙂

  5. This is brilliant! And just what I need after a day responding to pretty severe, certainly hysterical bible-bashing accusations of witchcraftery and anti-Christ activities from a rabid radical right – only because I teach Yoga, for free, in our local community. Humour and a little perspective are such good medicine. Thanks!

  6. this is gorgeous Katie; we all have to heal our relationship with our first introduction to God and Jesus the Christ; and to forgive those who have done such incredible damage in his name. Reminds me of the Ghandi quote” “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians; your Christians are nothing like your Christ.”

  7. I am happy to know you have found solace with your god on a personal level. Which I feel is what god, if there is such an entity, wants in the first place. However, the fact remains that the leaders of ALL religions are still a bunch of patriarchal masochists using THEIR god and THEIR scripture to hold dominance and power over humankind. No amount of prayer and annointment of oil can gloss over that fact.

  8. Love this, thank you. I’m reading Zealot and thinking a lot about the radical love of jesus the human, how tantric he was, how not the religion.

  9. Pingback: What I’m Into — July. | Life Altaring

  10. In reading through this didnt know if it was a joke or just a fictional story ….but i find it troubling. To me it isnt brilliant, or beautiful or gorgeous, it is a misrepresentation of Christianity, and what we know of God and Christ through His word. So many want to make up there own beliefs, their own gods, their own interpretations. How about sharing some of those truly life changing testimonies of Gods saving grace. The book…it does matter…the women…they didnt save you….Salvation belongs to our God and to the lamb…Rev…

  11. I love this. So glad you got to experience the real deal. The LOVE. The Forgiveness. That’s what Jesus preached. He came into the world to abolish religion not start it. I love love love this blog. Preach on sista Katie

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