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?

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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.

Welcome Back to Earth

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It’s quiet. Ahhh. I’ve been waiting for this for a while.

The solitude gives me shivers. Shivers of happiness and joy.

This is where I learn to be. This is where I rediscover me.

 

The cool grass folds beneath my feet as I walk. I savor the feeling of the grass between my toes, the dew that makes it stick to my feet. The feeling of walking barefoot and unencumbered.

Touching the ground— skin-to-earth is one of the best things there is. It’s like I’m back where I’m meant to be.

 

I smell. Oh, the smells, the smell of the trees. The ground, the sweet grass, the dandelions, the other weeds that are some of the most exquisite flowers I’ve ever seen.

The breeze, I almost forgot. The breeze, is what makes me want to cry. It takes me to a different place, a person, a spirit, a feeling, a word, a world.

I’m held. I’m seen. I’m loved. I’m felt. I’m someplace else.

Wiggle your fingers and the air whistles through each of them. You know nothing’s there, but you feel the wind in the spaces between your fingers and can’t keep from thinking that you feel your hand being held. It’s as if the Holy Spirit has slipped her fingers into yours and your hands are interlocked as you walk along.

Where do I find God you ask? In the untouched, unarranged, and beautiful disarray of nature.

Whatever or whoever God is anymore, I couldn’t tell you exactly. All I know is that nature and trees and grass and skies and wind and scents and anything green and brown is holy.

Walking barefoot across the grass.

Iron and Clay

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I am made of iron and clay.

I am strong and hard and do not bend,

yet

I am constantly shifting molding and melting.

I can be brusque and tough and never falter,

yet

I can be tender and malleable, constantly fluid.

What am I made of?

I am made of iron and clay.