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Part one

“Are you interested in me because I’m a girl or because I love Jesus?” “I am interested in you because I like you.” “But if I didn’t love Jesus, would you still be interested in me?” “I would like to think that I would be interested in you no matter what.” “But if I didn’t love Jesus, I don’t think I would be the same person.” “If you didn’t love Jesus, I think in some ways you would be the same person.” “But I wouldn’t see the world the same way, I wouldn’t read the same things, I wouldn’t make the same choices, I wouldn’t be around the same people.” “But I think you would still like a lot of the same things. You would still be a ski instructor in the winter. You would still spend the summer here on the beach. You would still run. You would still bodysurf. You would still be physically very beautiful. You still would be a person who cares about other people, and you still, probably, would have taught me to bodyboard.” “But I used to be a person who didn’t love Jesus. I used to make different choices. Like when I was a freshman in college, there was this older guy, and he used to come into my room and sleep in my bed and he knew how to do things with his hands and his mouth. He knew how to make me feel things.”  

“You didn’t have sex with him even though you didn’t yet love Jesus.” “I didn’t have sex with him because I had an idea of Jesus, but I didn’t yet really know Jesus. I thought I did, but I didn’t.” “But you prayed to Jesus, didn’t you?” “I did pray to Jesus, but not in tongues.” “When you start to pray in tongues?” “When I was filled up with the Holy Spirit.” “Is that when you stopped messing around with this guy?” “No. It was later. There were other guys. In Madrid, this one guy took me to an R.E.M. concert.” “Did it make you feel dirty to mess around with him?” “No. It made me feel good. But I still felt empty inside.” “How did you learn how to pray in tongues?” “I prayed to be filled up with the Holy Spirit, and then I was given the gift.” “Can you do it on command?” “I can do it anytime, if that’s what you mean.” “Can I hear you do it?” “Would you like to pray with me?” “Will you do it if I pray with you?” “When I pray I do it. It comes naturally.” “How do you know what it is you are saying if you are speaking a language you don’t know?” “I don’t know what I am saying. It is my spirit that knows what I am saying. My spirit is communing directly with God’s spirit. I can’t explain it, but I can feel it, like this energy pulsing through me.” “If I held your hand, could I feel the energy, too?” “I feel like you are being glib.” “I am not being glib. I just feel like this is something I don’t understand but I really do want to understand. I want to be a person who is open-minded to new experiences.” “Take my hand. Here. Take my other hand. Let’s pray.” “What did you think just now, when I was speaking in tongues?” “I thought a lot of the sounds were repeated and there were a lot of consonant clusters. I heard maybe some sounds that sounded like German and some sounds that sounded like Hebrew or Arabic maybe. 

There were also a lot of sounds that you don’t make when you speak in English, like rolling your R’s and flattening out your O sounds.” “That’s true. I have noticed those things, too.” “Do you ever try to think about recording what you say when you say it? Like, maybe you could do some code-breaking and make a dictionary.” “Again, I feel like maybe you are being glib.” “Hear me out. I’m being serious. The idea is, you are speaking a language that people don’t speak on Earth, except people who speak the language of angels. So consequently, if you follow the logic, it’s a real language. So wouldn’t it have the things a real language has, like grammar and syntax and vocabulary? And if that’s so, couldn’t you study it just like you could study any other language?” “That’s movie stuff. That’s like something starring Patricia Arquette.” “Why not, though? There’s people who do this for a living. They go over to Papua New Guinea or wherever, and they spend time around a language, and then they reconstruct it, even though when they first get there they don’t know the first thing about it.” “That’s missing the whole point.” “Why?” “Because if you knew the language, then the purity of the communication would be lost. You’d start crafting all the words instead of the spirit that indwells in you crafting the words.” “But—and here I’m not being glib, I’m just trying to understand—don’t you want to know what it is you are speaking to Jesus or the angels or whatever?” “You don’t pray to angels.” “But it’s an angel language, right?” “The idea is that you’re not in control. You’re giving yourself over to it.” “Is that why you jerk your body to the left when you pray in tongues?” 

“That’s a manifestation.” “Why do you do it?” “I don’t do it. It comes over me when I give myself over to the Spirit.” “Does it happen to everyone who speaks in tongues?” “Some people fall down like they are dead.” “That’s slain in the Spirit.” “Right. Some people fall into fits of laughter. Some people bark like dogs, but not too many people. I don’t want to judge, but I think sometimes when that happens a lot it can be for show. But I don’t know.” “That’s something that worries me. It’s a little bit frightening, don’t you think, like on TV, when a lot of people are doing it all around, and there’s this ungodly cacophony?” “That’s the fear of the Lord you’re feeling.” “How can you be sure?” “How can you be sure of anything? You know. I know. I know that I know that I know.” “Here this stuff is at odds with logic, maybe, I think.” “I think that’s a wrong way to think about it, but tell me what you’re thinking.” “I took this philosophy class. Dr. Willard Reed. He was talking about the distinction between belief and knowledge. He said that knowledge is problematic. You can’t really know stuff that isn’t somehow verifiable. Like you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or experience it yourself, or there hasn’t been some kind of consensus among the people who study the thing. And even then there’s problems. How do you know you aren’t fooling yourself? Or how do you know the consensus might not be wrong? Like the consensus used to be that the earth was flat. And on top of that, how do you know that the universe didn’t just begin two seconds ago? After a while, everything starts to be belief.”

Feb. 16, 2017, 3:44 p.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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