I have felt the presence of God within me since I was very young—even before I was told that I was a sinner who would go to hell if I did not accept Jesus into my heart. I thought He was already in my heart. But, at nine years of age, I came forward at the altar call and gave my life to the Lord. I didn’t feel any different afterward. I got baptized the next Sunday. Still, I did not note any change in what I was already experiencing inwardly.
I was raised in church—it’s all I knew. I was taught that God punished those who do not do what He or the church said to do. It was all written in the Bible, which was said to be infallible. I was taught about the rules to be kept, and if I did not conform to them I would be separated from God.
After I left organized religion in my early 40s, I learned how the Bible came to be a collection of writings. Certain writings were chosen, others were omitted in order to form a canon of scriptures that everyone was expected to follow. Books left out of the Bible were those that gave credence to the significant role that Mary Magdalene played in the life and ministry of Jesus. She was the apostle that Jesus loved more than the others. I have recently been reading the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and it feels very much in agreement with the teachings of Jesus that we do have in the Bible. [Read more…]