I’M CLEAN. MY hands glow, and my skin is soft against the robe. Like the woman in the water, a light burns inside me, radiating through my skin. I search for the beautiful lady, but only priestesses surround me now.
“What's your name, child?” The priestess’s voice is gentle and kind. Not quiet and good. But I don't want to be quiet and good anymore.
I lift my chin and smile. “My name is Peaches.”
“Welcome, Peaches, daughter of Araphia, goddess of light.”
“What happened to me?” I glance back at the other side of the pool where my dress and the filth have been washed away. How much was real? How much an illusion?
The priestess crouches down in front of me. Her eyes twinkle as she tucks a strand of her ginger hair—fallen from the tight bun at the nape of her neck—behind her ear. “We all have wounds, inflicted on us by others. Some by well-meaning people with callous words. Others by the evil-spirited who want to destroy all that is beautiful. Some by the jealous and envious. Others by those who mean to encourage, but lash out with critical tongues. The goddess has drained the poison from your wounds and brought healing to your heart.”
For the first time, I am whole.
--Excerpt from Daughter of the Goddess
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My story Daughter of the Goddess is about an abused and neglected child who is given as a slave to a temple of Araphia, the goddess of light. My character Peaches represents you and me, because we all have been broken and abused and are hurting inside. The abusive mother and the kind priestess represent people we know, those who tear us down and those who build us up.
It pains me when those who claim to be Christians say hateful things. When I was in college, I had some friends and acquaintances over to my apartment to play cards. Someone said a bad word. Oooh, how terrible. *sarcasm intended*
And someone said, “Don’t use that kind of language around me, or I just might have to hate you.”
I wish so hard that I hadn’t bitten my tongue and kept the sarcastic words to myself. I wish I had said, “Yes, because that’s exactly what Jesus would do.”
Jesus ate with social outcasts and sinners, and Jesus was never the nice guy either. He always put the self-righteous bigots in their place. They wouldn’t have crucified him if he was mild mannered and always courteous and respectful.
No, Jesus was wild and free. He was pure love. And he was a threat to the status quo of the lives of the religious elite.
It grieves me when people who claim to follow this man lash out with hatred toward those he wants to touch with his loving mercy.
The Bible says that we are to share the good news. So so-called Christians stand on their soap boxes and preach that we’re all going to hell. Um, where’s the good news in that?
So let me tell you my good news. When Jesus came into my life, he set me free from all the guilt, pain, and fear that plagued me. And I didn’t have to earn it. He did it for free simply because he loves me.
So is homosexuality a sin? I suppose that depends on your definition of sin.
Based on the teachings of Jesus, sin is what you do in your heart, not an action you commit. Based on the book of Hebrews, righteousness is trusting in God.
Sin is anything that you turn to to fill the empty hole in your heart that only God can fill. That could be church, money, career, TV, sex, food, sleep, reading, or writing blog posts.
We all have things in our lives that aren’t good for us, that we are addicted to and rather than filling us up, they drain our souls of every good thing. Homosexual or heterosexual, that could be a dysfunctional relationship you are in. Or maybe you have a loving relationship with your partner. That’s between you and God.
If you have a problem with how your neighbors live their lives, maybe you better start looking at your own soul a little more closely.