|Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus) by Salvador Dali (1954)|
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
For an exercise in Christianity, she pretended belief in case behavior changed experience. Actors do it all the time, she mused. They pound tables in pretend anger, for example, until they pound angrily.
So she pretended to believe in Jesus Christ and the Resurrection, as if Jesus was not a son but God himself, God in human form. The hardest part was calling God Jesus.
She practiced until “Praise Jesus” came to her lips easily; she heard God in Jesus’s Biblical voice; and witnesses experienced her as Christian. She decided she needed more practice, though, because to her this was still performance, not reality.
She practiced until a congregation grew around her; she enjoyed testing her leadings with the people who gathered; and weighty elders felt she was one of them. She testified and listened, taught and studied scripture, wrote letters and poems.
She decided she needed more practice, though, because Jesus had not yet appeared to her. And though she had joy, she also had questions—questions she asked God and waited for answers while acting in the name of Jesus.
She practiced until the day she died. Her congregation held a small memorial meeting mostly in silence. Someone wrote a book about her Christian faith and practice.