Friday, May 9, 2014

A Letter to Conservative Evangelicals: Of Halved Hearts and a Need to Love

Hi there, Conservative Evangelical,

    When my blood runs warm with the warm red wine/
     I miss the life that I left behind/

     I haven't been around in a while, I know. I've blamed school and illness for my absence, and heaven knows that's true, but not wholly true. And since I am starting to value honesty, here I am opening up to you.
    I have a library of thoughts I'd like to share, and maybe it'd be more appropriate in person, but since I'm a better writer than talker (and I'm scared of the look in your eyes), I thought I'd do it through writing.

     But when I hear the sound of the blackbirds cry/
     I know I left in the nick of time/

    I might as well just blurt it out.
    I never thought I'd doubt that the Earth was 6,000 years old!
    I never thought I'd question why homosexuality is supposedly wrong; I never thought I'd smile while seeing a gay couple embrace.
    I never thought my gut would tighten at the idea of hell. How could anyone not see the logic of hell or annihilation? I wondered. But I can't, not anymore. Now I wonder, how can anyone not see the wickedness of hell?
    How? How did this happen? I haven't stopped seeking God. So what went wrong? Did anything go wrong?
    I've turned, I've turned round and round, and I don't know what to do anymore.
    Do I want to be a Christian? Yes.
    But am I anymore? By the Nicene Creed, yes. But not by a lot of other definitions.
    Then hit the anger, a potent cocktail of rage and disgust. I've seen people mock progressive Christians as false teachers, knowing full well that, according to their theology, that person is heading to hell. Is that not evil? Don't you see?
    I've sobbed, I've shrieked, I've simmered. The pain will not abate, because, you see, the casualty of my angry cocktail is me.
    I'm so tired.
    When I wrote that post about leaving my faith at the alter, I hadn't experienced the difficulty yet. I hadn't seen Christians abandon 10,000 children over homosexuality, hadn't dreamed such bigotry (yes, it is bigotry) was possible. Honestly, I didn't know it was possible. I didn't know.
    Well this road I'm on's gonna turn to sand/
    And leave me lost in a far off land/
    So let me ride the wind til I don't look back/
   Forget the life that I almost had

    I know that Christianity is Jesus, but that's all I know.
    I still want Jesus.
    I just don't want many people in the church. I don't want to share with the mockers, the sexists, the bigots and the racists. I don't want to share with those who are ignorant not from chance, but because they choose not to understand.
    And that is evil of me, too - to want to slam the gate in your faces, to label you stupid and flee into the wild. I am no better than you, but oh, how I like to pretend I am. It's okay for me to hate you, but how dare you hate me.
    My word. The blasphemy of my selective criticism.
    I don't want to hate people, but here I am, consumed with bitterness. Ha, sin is all-pervading, isn't it? Is there no remedy?
    As I recall, you taught me there was. 
    And so I still crave Jesus.
    The longer I run/
    Then the less that I find/
    Sellin' my soul for a nickel and dime/
    Breakin' my heart to keep singing these rhymes/
    And losin' again/

    I am still distraught, brokenhearted, disgusted, livid. Weak and wrung out for refuse.
    I need to leave, to pull away from American Evangelicalism.
    This stuns me more than anything, but my heart is halved and my heart is dying, and so I need space. Maybe for a week. Maybe for a lifetime.
    Please pray for me, my friend. I remember you believed in prayer.
    (A sidenote: if my decision makes you rejoice or condemn further with a brusque comment - if your faith requires you to rejoice or mock another's pain - please examine your heart, too).
      Tell my brother please not to look for me/
      I ain't the man that I used to be/
     But if my savior comes could you let him know/
     I've gone away for to save my soul/

    Please do not judge me. I am still a follower of Jesus, a child of God, a member of the universal church.
I just need a break from evangelicalism, not Jesus.
    I am leaving not to call you "other," full of hatred, but because I want to love you again: sister, brother, friend. We are God's children, the both of us. And so I am leaving, to seek water for my soul.
    He who seeks shall find. Not all who wander are lost. One said by Jesus, one by Tolkien. Two of my heroes.
    If I wander til I die/
    May I know who's hand I'm in/
    If my home I'll never find/
    And let me live again.

    Somewhere, somehow, I must learn to love you again.
    I need to love you.

With tears, a runny nose, and a cracked smile,

**UPDATE** What I am saying: I've questions. Many questions, and they hurt. And when Christians react to my questions without compassion, I am further hurt, and so I take it out on them. That's a horrible cycle in which no one wins. I am confused and I need to spend time praying and listening to Jesus, not to myself, conservatism, or liberalism.
What I am not saying (and, God help me, will never say): conservative evangelicals are dumb/wrong, I am leaving the faith, or I think it's okay to ignore what God says.

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