The Well of Shame
In my teenage years I went rather spectacularly off the rails and, flying in the face of my socialist family, became an Evangelical Christian. My nights were spent in the tremors of biblical exposition and prayer; in a state of stunning abjection I would exhort God to release me from the dirty flesh into a state of transcendent enlightenment. Shame had marred my childhood significantly, slipping into my own subconscious like a snake. The situational shame of having divorced parents—rare in the 1960s—had dispersed into a more permeated, and permanent state. My enabling escape at the time stubbornly became God, whose mythical omnipotence seemed to lift me out of a nexus of compounded mortification. In late adolescence I became a career Christian; gaining a place at theological college, I intended to transform my discomposure through the ideals of ministry. The Church promised, through the sacrament of cleansing and renewal, to turn my selfhatred into a gift. It gave me a space of potential transformation, a romantic parable of love triumphing over iniquity.
Ring any bells?
Meantime, as a young adult living in a rural religious community in Dorset, England, I was falling in love with women and finding ways to worship Him and, surreptitiously, her. But, a year later, came my own traumatic