Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not All Fun and Games

The always-interesting Frater Rufus Opus has offered his take on the question of spiritual and financial trials. He offers a slightly different take on the subject.
Is your God regularly kicking your ass? That's an abuser, baby. What kind of example are you setting for your kids? You want them to grow up thinking it's ok if God hits mommy when he's drunk, cause he pays the rent on the trailer lot almost every month?

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

Knock that aluminum can of budweiser out of his hand, turn off the game, and kick him out. You need cops or a big brother to back you up? Call on Michael the Archangel, or better yet, the LOGOS. He don't put up with no shit out of any spirit that wants to play god and beat on women. I guarantee
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I would certainly agree that it is as possible to have a bad or a dysfunctional relationship with a spirit as with a corporeal person. If you are working with spirits and are getting nothing for your troubles but troubles, you may want to ask yourself "what is this doing for me?" You may be hosting a parasite or some other kind of ethereal nasty. If so, you need to take steps to rid yourself of your unwanted guest. And you certainly have the right to negotiate with and even argue with your Gods. (There's a long tradition of doing this in Vodou and other African and African Diaspora religions, not to mention most forms of folk Christianity. In resource-poor impoverished areas, those who will not work will not eat).

That being said, Galina and I wanted to provide some counterbalance to the idea that the Divine will never ask us for anything inconvenient or offer us anything but encouragement and positive reinforcement. If we are going to encourage people to engage with the Divine, we need to be clear on the risks as well as the rewards. Growth rarely comes without pain. When we put our lives in the hands of the Gods, They may strip away those things which hold us back from Them. This can be an extremely painful process, and can last for months or even years.

So how do we distinguish this from abuse? Those of us who have survived this process generally feel we gained more than we lost. We find that the suffering was necessary to our emotional and spiritual development. We may grumble but we prefer our chaotic, challenging lives with the Gods to a orderly and placid life without Them.

I admit this is not an entirely satisfactory answer. Many abused spouses feel their relationship is worth an occasional black eye, which they deserved anyway. And I can certainly see an abusive religious leader convincing victims to stick around because all the bullshit is "part of the Divine growing process" or similar rot. But ultimately we may have to trust Godslaves and mystics to set appropriate boundaries and pursue mutually beneficial relationships with their patrons.