Below is a personal journal entry I wrote for the class: Spiritual Leadership.
I want to become hopelessly addicted to grace. I have been in worship services… I can count them on one hand…. where God’s grace permeated the atmosphere. I wanted to soak in it and allow spiritual osmosis carry the luxuriant flow of grace to the deepest parts of my soul.
For much of my life, however, my addictions have been connected to shame. The shame grid deflected grace so that I only caught a whif of it, and the scent drove me crazy with desire and hope. Yet I cling mightily to the last vestiges of shame. Several years ago, God showed me how cigarettes were becoming my “Asherah poles.” Idols to which I cling which destract me from drawing near to God. Worshipping “Ashera poles” were an attempt by ancient people to convince or coerce the gods to allow fertility to pervade the earth and tribe… to allow the richness of life to invade a parched desert.
Culturaly, Asherah Poles may be making a come back:
I am coming to find that my smoking habit can diminish as I respect myself in relation to my love of God. It is tied to the experience of grace. During part of my journey, I found grace IN THE MIDST of my smoking habit! God loves me and speaks to me while I smoke. For me to truly receive my life and body as a wonderful gift from God, I want to treat it with respect and with a small amount of awe. I am God’s second gift to myself… the first gift being God. I believe this to be one of the lessons of the second telling of Creation.
All of this, however, is an intellectual undertaking. What I NEED, is a deeper one, that incorporates my body. I believe I am getting there… But still have more to go.