Reader remembers her own ‘God’s Penis Epiphany’

This was posted under the ‘about me’ tab on my site, but I wanted to move it  here.

Pamela Deering writes:

I want to tell you a little story about myself. I was raised with no religion at all; the only time I remember anyone mentioning God at all was on a fishing trip with my dad, when he something about God and the beauty of nature.

As an adult, I was always comfortably, uh… well, I have decided that the best way to describe my religion is “animist.” But, 25 years ago, I had a boyfriend who had gone to jail and Got Religion. He was putting a lot of pressure on me to declare myself in that way, but he had become a Southern Baptist and I was so not down for four-hour church services that involved mostly a lot of deacons posturing endlessly, and which seriously delayed lunch.

So I decided to become Epicopalian, because

a) it was somehow vaguely the religion of my mother’s side, although I was never baptized as a baby and we certainly never went to any kind of church,

b) it had much of the charm and mysteriosity of Catholicism, but they ordained women. Which I thought was only fair, and

c) I had a friend, a neighbor lady who went to a charming little hundred-odd year old Episcopalean church not far away. (a hundred-odd-year-old anything being somewhat rare in California)

Plans were made to baptize me the next time the Archbishop came through, a few weeks hence. But before I was going to be able to go through with it in good conscience, I had some Burning Questions that must be answered to my satisfaction. These included things like whether people who masturbated were damned (it’s in Corinthians, in the bible) and whether people who weren’t Christian were actually believed to go to hell. (just not cool, in my book.) But there was one question much bigger than all the others. So, when Mother Patsy (the female priest; the church had one man and one woman. Both married, but not to each other.) –when she came over to settle these questions with me, the first thing I asked her was this:

“Do you think that God is a man, with a long white beard and a penis?”

She said, “Actually, I’m more of a Holy Spirit person myself.”

Good answer! I went through with the baptism, but a few years later when the boyfriend and I broke up, I settled back into my native belief system with only a little bit of guilt.

I found out 20 years later that the neighbor lady herself was now a full-fledged, Goddess-worshipping pagan.

When I read “That Universe We Both Dreamed Of” today, I got a good chuckle out of that scene, with the same exact words I had used! It’s a wonderful story all around, and thank you very much. I am reminded of the immortal words of John Lennon, I believe it was at the end of “Let It Be,” the Beatles’ last album:

“I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”


Posted in Making a Writing Life

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