Saturday, December 4, 2010

Salvation Mantras

Salvation mantras are what I call statements that I can make to myself to banish fear.

They can take a surprising number of forms. One of the first ones that ever worked for me was, "Save me Jesus." This is a better version of the prayer that in a Chick Tract or Left Behind movie goes, "God, I know I am a sinner, and that I deserve to burn in Hell forever. But Jesus died to save me, and I humbly accept his gift." I was stuck in one of those versions for a long time, because it seemed the more sincerely you tried to claim belief, the more God was likely to believe you. (!)

If you actually find yourself wanting to say, "Save me Jesus," then you know as well as anybody can, that you actually do believe Jesus wants to save you. That is why becoming very conscious of your subconscious fears is so important. It was in the midst of a panic attack that I realized that what I wanted most was to believe that Jesus was good, and wanted to save me. In my mind, somehow Jesus is God and still separate from God, so that He could save me from that mean, punishing God, Who hovers ominously out of sight. So, I discovered as a third party might, by asking me questions at the moment that I was having the panic attack, as to whether I believed that Jesus could/would/had saved me. And that is all it takes in the frightening fundamentalism that I grew up in, to know that you are saved forever. (Being saved, just in case you didn't know means getting whatever the best deal is that God has to offer.) So, I am covered whichever way I turn, unless there is some true religion that isn't the one I grew up in, whose God is going to toast me for not having known about Him. But it is not hard for me to believe that my-best-friend Jesus is gonna be able to beat up that God.

1 comment:

  1. I think it may be important to believe in a god who is all-powerful, so that same is actually able to save you, so to speak.

    I wrote this "want ad" for a higher power:

    Wanted for Hire
    God, higher power, guiding spirit or guardian angel to serve as
    personal deity, object of and focus for spiritual devotion, and
    motivation for ongoing personal spiritual growth.
    Must be loving, forgiving, all-powerful, all-knowing, and have a
    sense of humor. Must be a team player – no prima donnas. Must
    be here-and-now rather than hereafter oriented, and should be a
    firm yet gentle guide to daily peace, acceptance, and serenity
    regardless of circumstances. Must be willing to work irregular
    hours and weekends as required.
    No taboos, please, but rituals, pilgrimages, occasional fasting or
    other observances and devotions are negotiable. Must not require
    inordinate blood or other sacrifices, self-mutilation of any kind,
    self-flagellation or other forms of penance, affectation of speech or
    gesture, or the wearing of special clothing or talismans.
    No homophobes, misogynists, bigots, racists, prudes,
    ethnocentrists, eschatologists, status quo apologists, nihilists,
    paternalists, fire-and-brimstoners, evil or “Satanicky” deities need
    Interested applicants should interview/audition in person or as an
    avatar via spiritual vision or dream, moment of clarity, sudden
    inspiration, serendipitous coincidence, or other form of visitation.
    No appointment necessary. Offer void where prohibited.

    ...and I wonder how this can really work, i.e., finding your own higher power. What properties does a higher power have to have in order to work, in order to fill the need that you describe, i.e., able to answer salvation mantras?