They Tell Me I Am Broken.

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Today in church,

They tell me I am “unclean.”

Unclean?

Yes, they said. “Unclean.” “Dirty.” “Broken.”

I said, “But how?

My legs carry me to quiet gardens. My nose catches the scent the honeysuckle. My eyes soak in the colors of the sunset. My arms lift heavy boxes and my hands stroke soft kitties. My feet keep me balanced and tap to contagious rhythms. My mind reasons, imagines, and creates. My spirit is always shifting, processing, feeling, listening to the undercurrent of words, movements and actions. My soul leaps when it comes across the Divine.

 

So “Why?” I ask, do you say that I am unclean?
You want me to feel guilty and grateful.

You want to control my feelings and actions.

You want to guide me into a certain way of thinking, feeling, living.

Always indebted, always broken, always failing, never enough, never enough never enough.

 

You tell me there is something inherently broken, something inherently wrong with me.

Yet I am supposed to love myself? To see my worth? To live in this body and soul and love them for what they are?

 

Then something is wrong. Something is wrong with the method and something is wrong with the reason. Because this, this is not what I am.

 

I am whole and always have been. I am human. I fail, yes.

But I am more than my failures, my alleged broken and “sinfulness.”

 

I am human and therefore,

 

I am also Love.

 

And isn’t that what’s the most important of all?

How do I tell them?

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I feel as if I have no place in mainstream fundamentalist faith/church anymore.

My beliefs, my gender, my questions, my doubts, my different ideas are unwelcome are deemed “heretical.” Possible options for me now: I’ve gone off the deep end. I’m “lost.” I’m no longer a Christian. I’m essentially a heretic. I’m a liberal (period). I bought into what secular society is selling. I’ve lost my way. I’m worldly. I’m letting the world change me. I’m becoming “of the world.” I’m screwed.

How do I even begin to break the ice on the concept of who God is to me now? And not just the concept but the feeling.

Damn. I miss that feeling.

That one where you’re held. Where you feel like you just know.

The one where God and Jesus make sense and all you have to do is tune into the divine and you’re emotionally recharged.

The one where the worship songs make you feel something. Make you feel connected.

The one where you’re excited to sing and pray and be taught.

Just being sure. Having a constant. Knowing who God is, knowing your place in church.

I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting the institutions, of asking questions and getting back answers that confirm what I feared was true. Of hearing lies and inequality and fear being taught. Of having all of it be bigger than me and feeling helpless in fighting back, in being a strong voice that offers a different opinion.

I think the thing that scares me the most, or that makes me the most anxious, is actually being asked or talking about all these changes, especially with my family or with someone who seems to be full force on the path I used to be on.

People who know what they know, ya know?

How do I tell them I don’t believe it’s a sin to be in a same-sex relationship (not in spite of the Bible, but because of it)?

How do I tell them I think gender is fluid, dynamic, and on a spectrum?

How do I tell them I affirm all queer people, included people who are transgender and want to have surgeries or simply identify differently than their sex?

How do I tell them I believe women should be leading in church? That there should be female deacons and elders and ushers?

How do I tell them I don’t believe women should have different but “equal” roles in marriage?

How do I tell them I think Islam is the same path to God?

How do I tell them that God is not Male? That God can be imagined as female?

How do I tell them I don’t know what salvation is anymore?

How do I tell them I don’t know if I believe in hell anymore?

How do I tell them I don’t know if substitutionary atonement is what I believe about the cross?

How do I tell them?

It’s a complete 180 from what I’m supposed to believe. How do you explain a complete switch, a complete flip-flopping of your beliefs?

They’ll think I’ve accepted too many worldly ideals for myself. But ya know, maybe that’s exactly what’s happened. Maybe instead of sexism, racism, homophobia, and blind faith, I’ve embraced equality, reason, and acceptance and love for all people.

If that makes me cracked, heretical, a lost soul, then so be it.

I’m a Mess…But It’s OK.

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Also, what’s up with this church/God thing? I’m losing it.

Came back to school. Went to college ministry that I went to for all of last year, and I left frustrated. I left angry. I left feeling like I was being fed BS and everyone else seemed to be OK with it, but I just wasn’t buying it anymore.
I don’t know why it is that the changes in me have led me to look at the service differently. But I can’t sing the songs anymore. The words feel false. I can’t listen uncriticially to the message because I can’t help but wondering Where does he stand on gay marriage, sexual orientation in general, on women as pastors and in leadership, on evangelism, creation, feminism, social justice?

I know this guy is a good man. But in the meeting I attended beforehand about a ministry area there, I just kept hearing over and over “We’re hear to keep you accountable, through worship and by the truth the pastor teaches.” They just kept saying the truth he teaches the truth he shares the truth he receives from God.

We have these small group type things with one leader who’s a bit older than us. They said “The leaders will help keep you accountable. If you miss a couple services, they’ll follow up with you and ask what’s up. If you’re questioning if you’re struggling with your faith, you can be honest about it with them, in fact this IS the place to be honest with them and they will share truth with you. Truth about what God and the Bible says.”

But I just can’t help but wonder how it is that their truth is THE truth? It made it seem like the struggles we present to them are things that they will have the TRUE answer for and will FIX for us. They’ll help us see where we’ve erred in our thinking and tell us what God’s Word REALLY says about that and then we’ll be fixed and be back on track.

What about the TRUTH I believe God is teaching me? How can you so confidently tell me that what the pastor and people 1-2 years older than me, have to say is THE truth. You cannot make those kind of guarantees or blanket statements.

All this to say,

I just can’t do it anymore.

I’m worried about what my friends will think. I don’t know how to explain this.

It’s like something in me has shifted and changed and I cannot keep doing that (going to this service) to my soul. It’s not good for me anymore.

I don’t feel You anymore. I don’t know what to read in the Bible or what to trust. How do I know what I’m even reading is me interpreting it right or wrong?
I’m still so passionate about LGBT rights and transgender acceptance, and women and how feminism and how faith CAN intersect with social justice for those who ID as LGBT. I’m tired of feeling that WHO I AM and WHAT I SUPPORT is not only not accepted by the majority but I WANT THESE THINGS/FEELINGS/BELIEFS/VIEWS TO BE SHARED by others.

I want to be in a community that accepts my beliefs…selfish? Yeah maybe, but I want a place where it is SAFE for me to say “Ok I don’t think the Bible really says this about homosexuality, and I don’t believe in the gender roles the church so avidly prescribes to, I don’t see why we rally and protest so much about being pro-life or pro-choice, why can’t we talk about BOTH sides? Why are we so set in our ways of bashing the liberals and the evil mothers that want to kill their babies as they say?, why can’t I say I want to talk about what and why people are pro-choice and why they aren’t all evil monsters? I want to talk about that fact that we DON’T TALK ABOUT WHAT WHITE PRIVILEGE IS and ask WHY AREN’T WE MAD THAT BLACK PEOPLE ARE DYING UNJUSTLY AND WHY WE DON’T CARE WE DON’T CARE WE DON’T CARE. Why don’t we see their rioting and protesting as their way of saying, WHY DON’T YOU SEE US, CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING?????

Why can’t we talk about feminism, how girls are circumcised, how we lift football stars above rape accusations, how I have to fell like I have to buy my sister mace because she’s coming to college, that I now understand why people hate Christans because we essentially preach hate and hypocrisy from the patriarchal pulipts. Where all the world hears is you can’t be gay you can’t be female and preach, you can’t be a wife and have an equal and identical role, you can’t ask questions, you can’t be a sexual being (unless you’re married), you can’t wear tight clothes or short shorts or own your sexuality because God forbid you LOVE your body. God forbid you EMBRACE the power and the beauty that is your body. God forbid you LOVE yourself, every inch. Because God forbid you start to ask WHY you believe what they preach.

SO why do I have trouble going back to this service?

I’ve changed. This ministry isn’t bad. They are good. It’s just that I see things differently now, and however much it would be easier to simply go back to the way it was, I can’t go back. It sounds dramatic. But it’s the truth. I literally cannot change how I see things now for better or for worse. But I’d rather it be this way, than safe and comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with this ministry or what they want to do. I belive they are genuine, I believe they love people. I believe they want good things for people and I KNOW the people there are kind and good and well-intentioned.

It’s me that’s changed and it’s not their fault. I simply must find a place where my doubts and my questions and my thoughts are heard and validated and held. Where these feelings and beliefs I have are not “heretical” or “unbiblical” but understood and accepted. Where I can see women in leadership and pastoring positions, where people of every sexual orientation and identity are not only welcomed and accepted but supported and upheld. Where those who are messy and broken and falling apart are told YES there IS a place for you’re here, with all your sharp edges. Where we are able to examine our doubts, where we are able to admit we don’t understand, don’t agree, don’t feel anything anymore. Where we can die and come back to life.

I just need some place or some people that are in the same place.

Church?

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It’s no secret that “the Church” is against LGBTQ people.

I’m surprised at how repulsed and angry and resentful I am toward Christianity and “Christians” for living in ignorance and fear of these people who are simply different from them.

My view, I feel, is unique, because although I am unsure of where I stand entirely in regard to LGBTQ marriage and relationships at this point, I feel very strongly that the stigma we have placed around them and the feelings and ideas we have preached have allowed us to rule them unworthy, even as “abominations” to God.

I feel my view, and my dialogue on these issues is unique, in that, I have GROWN UP in communities- school, church, family, that are the living, breathing, walking embodiment of the “gay people are bad” idea that is promoted by “Christians.” I have grown up being taught that, in school if you are gay- you’re out. People think it’s a choice. I say, BULLSHIT. Stop being ignorant people. You think people want to be hated on? Called fags? Abominations? Be persecuted and tortured and threatened?

If Jesus were still walking this Earth, I’d like to think that he would be THE Ally and friend to the LGBTQ community, that he would break that stigma and stereotype and BE with them. SEE them. Treat them with the equality and respect they deserve.

I am embarrassed and so frustrated that I am associated with this Christian culture that is SO HORRIBLE to the LGBTQ community.

In regard to church and inequality, when you do find a good church that you like, THERE IS RARELY EQUALITY FOR WOMEN THERE. No women pastors, no women elders. It’s like I’m forced to compromise my gender for my religion. The only thing held against me is my gender. AND I CANNOT CONTROL THAT. Yet, the blatant lack of equality is unavoidable in every church I’ve been in.

AND I AM SO DAMN SICK OF IT.

Jesus, give me courage to raise hell while I’m here, and patience while we wait for things to be made right.

I’m tired of injustice. I’m tired of inequality. I’m tired of feeling inferior, like my voice does not matter. I’m sad and broken for the people who are not accepted in the church. For the people that are discriminated against for their gender, race, sexual orientation. In short, I’m mad. I’m bitter. I’m tired. I’m frustrated.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,

ON EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.