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.

A Realization and Confession Long Overdue

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I’m kind of realizing. Ever since I was little I was taught gays are bad. People who do drugs are bad, people who curse, smoke, drink, lesbians, trans, bi, these people are NOT us. They are not following God, they are “living in sin.”

But it’s dawned on me, that by preaching and teaching and conditioning us to see these people as being SO DIFFERENT from ourselves, to see these people as sinful, dirty, DIFFERENT, we are putting up walls. We are closing our minds and our eyes and our hearts off from seeing past the label we’ve slapped on them. We label them as a certain type of person and that’s that.

And inadvertently, I feel like what we’re being told and taught is that these people’s differences are BAD. While they don’t come right out and say it, that’s the unspoken message. That all we see is the “sin” (and I say “sin” because the community I grew up in considered it that). We don’t see the person.

I am so crazily guilty of this. I can preach it because I have lived it. I saw (and am working on unseeing) gay people as bad, evil, dirty, gross, living in sin, people. THAT IS SUCH A F-ING STEREOTYPE. Because of that theory, we put up walls, just like Satan wants us to.

But guess what? And here’s the kinda crazy thing. Jesus didn’t put up walls.

He broke down the walls. Jesus didn’t pay attention to the stereotypes and labels the Pharisees and the people put on to others. Those who were “unclean” were not just labeled “unclean” to Him. They had a name, they mattered.

He shoved through those walls, past the labels, past the stereotypes, past the so-called “evil” and saw and met the person.

He didn’t let the label, and the walls others put up around these people deter him from seeing that these, yes these, are the ones he wanted to, and wants me to touch and see and love.

That maybe their labels to Him weren’t just giant signs saying “turn back now,” “evil,” “sinful,” “different.”

Maybe He said “Hey, these are My people. These are the people I want to, get to, need to love.”

I’m sorry for seeing you as being different from me. I’m sorry for choosing to see only the label. Forgive me and give me a second chance.

And hey, practicing what I preach on this is a completely different story, but I don’t want it to be. I want it to real. So Lord, here I am. Forgive my ignorance, my blindness, my pride, and the walls I’ve put up. Help me, teach me, make me more like You.