Archive for November, 2014


Have you ever felt like you have backslid into adolescence? Have you believed that there would come a time, some magic year, when you would be a grown up? Has that year or that moment seemed to have arrived, only to disappear and leave you feeling like a child again?

In my twenties, I really thought I was all grown up. I landed a full time job as a Spanish professor by age 27; by 28, I owned a home; at 29, I married. Before I hit 30, I was Chair of the Spanish Department at a major university. I was an adult! Yay!

All I had really done was put on the trappings of adulthood, imitating my elders, doing what was expected of me, and following a script that I didn’t write and couldn’t have known how to write, anyway. As it turned out, I had married the wrong man, moved to the wrong town, taught at the wrong university and bought the wrong house.

Predictably, the crisis hit. My adult life unraveled quickly, because the child had made all of the above decisions. I left the job, sold the house, abandoned the town, and moved back to California. That was an adult decision. It was where I wanted to be. Then, sadly, the childhood marriage exploded and I was left alone in another ‘perfect’ house in Long Beach that I purchased thinking it was a Good, Adult Decision. I lost the house. Again. I lost my job. Again. The child continued to make decisions.

I met my current husband, and for once, the adult was in charge. I married the right man; and then I proceeded to allow the child to take over. The child wanted a nice house South of the Boulevard, but she couldn’t afford it. No matter; there were plenty of banks around just waiting to loan me 3/4 million bucks on a teacher’s salary! So the child plunged ahead.

Around the time that the adult realized that the house was draining away money like a black hole sucks up light, her child became that strange thing we call a “teenager”. Kirsten–the kid and the grown up–was really, really confused by this. I had thought that we were perfect parents, and that we had the perfect kid. My husband and I congratulated ourselves daily. We were both, however, children. We didn’t understand the coming changes, and as it turned out, we didn’t understand anything that our daughter was enduring quietly and with much desperation.

My husband and I had to sell the house, and I lost my self esteem. The child in me was badly wounded and insulted. Little Kirsten had done everything in her power to imitate what adults do: buy expensive houses, go antique shopping every weekend, brag about their perfect kids–but in the meantime, she discovered that once again, she had imitated what she thought grown ups did only to discover that she had made childish decisions and saw the world from a child’s point of view.

Teen-aged Kirsten and her husband ran away to the beach, rebelling against the bad banks, our difficult families, the frustrating jobs, and our disappointed expectations. After awhile, the adults returned and made some hard decisions. Adult me faced facts: you’re broke, you’re too far from your job and family, you’re done shopping, and you need to go home and recover from your Angry Teenager’s impetuous actions.

The adult made good decisions, but the angry child is throwing fits on a daily basis. I WANT A HOUSE. I WANT A BETTER JOB. I WANT TO TRAVEL. I WANT TO LOOK LIKE I’M 25. I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP. It’s hard, because the angry child happens to be 49 years old, and everyone expects her to have grown up, like, 24 years ago. I’m sorry, everyone. I’m not an adult. Better said, I’m only an adult part time.

What a shock to realize that you are not grown up when you’re ‘supposed’ to be. Everything I believed about timelines–“when your THIS age, you’ll have X, Y, and Z and you’ll feel like this . . . “–has completely evaporated. Your AGE has NOTHING to do with your MATURITY. I’ve met very old souls with astonishing maturity levels who are about 20 years old. I know some people in their seventies and eighties who are fully-functioning teenagers. I DON’T WANT TO DIE A TEENAGER.

It’s not what you own, your civil status, your income, the countries you’ve traveled to, your education, your status as a parent, or anything external to you that makes you an adult. It’s your spiritual evolution that decides if your a grown up or not. If you are engaged in drama of any kind, if you are suffering, if you are trapped by desires you cannot fulfill, then you are still a child.

And it sucks to be a child with crow’s feet and a saggy chin. People expect better from you.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

Read Full Post »

Resurrection of the Dead?

Saint Kitty with Medallion

I worry sometimes that if I admit that I’m an Episcopalian and a great admirer and follower of Jesus, that I will lose readers who might think I am, therefore, unscientific in my approach to the survival of consciousness issue or some kind of religious fanatic that has closed her mind to other faiths, beliefs or theories. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I am Christian, but I am completely open to all alternative interpretations of life after death, reincarnation or existence in multiple dimensions or worlds. Some family members of mine are atheists, some follow Eastern religions, some are spiritualists, and some are fundamentalists of various stripes. I appreciate what they all contribute to my understanding of the world.

My mentor is Saint Christopher. He guides people over a tumultuous river. I strive to do the same in my life, leading my students and my loved ones to calmer shores when the storms of emotion cause the river to rise to dangerous levels. I don’t always succeed. In fact, there are many occasions where I feel that I have lost my charges to the currents and couldn’t help them. I do the best that I can within this human body.

Church for me is an experience of questioning and wondering. Sometimes–often, actually–there is church doctrine that confounds me, and I wonder what code the writers are using to make a point. This is the issue that vexes me at the moment: “Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória, Iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
Cuius regni non erit finis.” Translated from the Latin, “And He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his reign will have no end.”

For Christianity, there is this time period between death and the Second Coming where the souls of the dead are hanging out and waiting for Judgement Day, when bodies shall be raised up and restored to their original state. There are so many problems with this notion, that I can’t imagine that it was designed to be taken literally. Bodies will not LITERALLY be raised from the grave on that day, because that is something out of everyone’s nightmare, and it simply doesn’t fit with Jesus’ metaphorical and symbolic teachings.

This is a great site for this interested in pursuing the debate:


For what’s it’s worth, from a non-theologian’s point of view, this is what I think as a researcher into the paranormal and survival of consciousness:

You can’t convince people to give up everything to follow Jesus if they don’t understand what the reward is. Jesus often spoke in parables and metaphors so that his followers could readily understand complex ideas. It makes no sense to tell people that they will go to Heaven with Jesus if they have no body. We experience this life through our bodies, and we simply cannot fathom what life would feel like without one. The “resurrection of the dead” allows us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, since He too was resurrected in bodily form after three days of physical death.

If you accept that Jesus performed miracles, then of course he could appear as a fully-formed human being three days after his death. Christians who do not believe in miracles are missing the experience of joy and hope that Christianity provides for so many people (this same joy and hope is present in most major religions). However, the Bible seems curiously silent on the issue of soul/body after death. Does the soul separate from the body after death, awaiting the resurrection of its body? Where does the soul go? Do all souls go to the same place after death, or are they categorized according to their worthiness to be with God?

I think that this is where reincarnation comes into the picture. Physical death occurs for everybody. The soul needs a new body, unless it is to go straight to God, which I think is for only the rarest and most enlightened of human beings. For the majority of us, we must find our way to God through through another lifetime to work our way towards God. When our journey to God is complete, then we will be completely resurrected, in a new body–a transcendent, holy body that encapsulates our enlightened soul, now with God. Until that moment, we are “dead,” in the sense that we are not with God.

The “resurrection of the dead” refers, then, to the whole integration of our spirits, souls and bodies with God. Until then, we cycle through lifetimes of experiences seeking to learn, to perfect, and to purify our emotions, intentions, beliefs and actions so that we are ready for our personal resurrection. There is not ONE single resurrection; our time comes when we are ready. Time means nothing in the Bible; only the contaminated life of earth is bound by time. There is no date, no time, no future, no present, no past for God. That is why the Bible states that we must always be ready for the coming of the Lord, for there is no way to know when we will be called (see the parable of the Bridesmaids awaiting their Groom).

Although reincarnation is not official Church doctrine, it was at one time before Church fathers and scholars purged all references to it in an attempt to differentiate Christianity from Eastern religions. A quick Google search of “Reincarnation and Early Church Doctrine” reveals much interesting information. It makes sense to me that the one area of survival of consciousness that has been most rigorously studied, researched and authenticated–reincarnation–dovetails nicely with the Biblical notion of a ‘waiting room’ before the Second Coming. The reason that the Bible is so vague on the destiny of souls after physical death, I think, has to do with editing and expunging references to reincarnation in the first few centuries A.D.

I am prepared for all comments, positive and negative, and I will listen to anyone who would like to correct, modify or argue against what I have said here, as long as you’re nice about it.

A fellow traveler,

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

Read Full Post »