BY DR. DORAL R. PULLEY, Today’s Church Tampa Bay
A monopoly is when a company, person or group owns and has all the rights to a particular good or service. For example, if there is only one gas and electric company and citizens have no other options for this resource, then that company has a monopoly. In a democracy, we work hard to ensure that goods and services are available to people from a variety of sources.
Many times people of various religions and denominations feel that they have a monopoly on God, the Word and the Holy Spirit. They feel that they are the only ones who have the truth or that God only speaks to and through them. God can’t be confined to one person, faith tradition or religious sect. God is the everywhere evenly present Spirit of Absolute Good. Good can’t be limited to time and space.
Christianity began as a sect of Judaism. Early Christians went to the synagogue on Saturdays and met in homes on Sundays. Because the church was a new entity, it had to distinguish itself from the old religious rituals and the doctrines of their forefathers and that took time.
Peter, the leader of the Church after Jesus’ ascension, thought that he along with others Jews had a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. They thought that people had to become Jews before they could become Christians. Peter had a dream at Simon, the tanner’s house (leather worker) of all different types of animals coming down in sheets. In the dream, God told him to eat the animals. Due to Jewish dietary laws, Peter refused saying that he did not eat anything that is common or unclean. God corrected Peter and showed him that nothing that he made was unclean.
The dream was not really about eating and dietary restrictions. The animals represented people. We are all God’s children regardless of our age, race, gender, culture, creed, educational level, socio-economic status, orientation, criminal background or family dynamic. We are all made in the image and in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28). No matter where we have been or what we have done, nothing disqualifies us from being God’s offspring. God is of no respecter of persons (Acts 10:38). God rains on the just as well as the unjust. God sends sunshine on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).
During my trip to the Holy Land, I had the opportunity to visit the house of Simon, the tanner. It was a mystical experience to be in the house where Peter had this dream that changed Christianity forever. It broadened my horizons even more and expanded my consciousness to a greater dimension of truth knowing that this all-encompassing God who can’t be boxed in or pigeon-holed.
Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Today’s Church Tampa Bay, 940 5th Ave. S, St. Petersburg (Staybridge Suites) and 5107 North Central Ave., Tampa.