Aren’t We All Right?

When I was in junior high, I was an avid youth group attendee and spent every Sunday night worshipping and celebrating the Lord with my fellow Christian peers. There was always one big difference between their expression of spirituality and mine. With the exception of a few others in the group, I was never forced to go to church by my parents. My parents fostered an environment where if I was curious about something, they would find ways for me to explore this curiosity. They encouraged me to ask questions and find acceptance in the idea that sometimes there aren’t always answers. This is how a Methodist youth group ended up being a big part of my life from age 12-15.

During that time, I learned so much about the wonders of God, but often felt scared to do things like read the Bible because I knew I wouldn’t agree with a lot of what it had to say. Being in a culture that so heavily relied on the Bible, this ONE book of stories about ancient peoples and their understanding of the world at that time, made the endeavor of reading it terrifying to me. What if I had put my heart into this belief system that was actually shunning large groups of people because this ONE book said they should? I knew I felt the Spirit, God, that thing inside me that they all talked about, but I didn’t necessarily agree with the way that relationship was being expressed in the church. I knew, without having read past Genesis, that I didn’t feel a connection to the Lord or Jesus like that book said I should.

I felt a connection to the people of the Earth. I felt like all of our beliefs somehow coincided with one another and was perplexed by the idea that one religion could be more correct than another. Some of these doubts grew when I started questioning my sexuality. How could this church tell me that God loved me, but not if I was gay? I felt God’s love as they described it, but very quickly felt like that could all go away if I was honest about my desires to love another woman.

I can remember the moment I started to edge away from the church, and it was completely wrapped up in my sexuality. While passing out water bottles at a local park in an attempt to bring new people to the church, my youth group and I came across a gay male softball league. There were gay men and lesbians there with their families, innocently watching their closest gay besties play softball. My youth group was utterly appalled by this. Gay people having fun like all people do? CRAZY! Maybe it was more of a reaction to the unknown, but we left the park very soon after coming across this haven of sin, even though the point of the water bottle activity was to bring people together.

That was the moment that I lost my faith in the Christian idea of God, and began to embrace and discover that you could love God and be loved by God in whatever way is right for you. Now, I don’t really even refer to it as God. For reasons I can’t explain, praying to the Universe feels more tangible to me. The key here, though, is that my way is not the only way or the right way to feel that connection. However any of us tries to express this weird thing that we feel inside of us, whether it be God or our consciousness, it shouldn’t matter that we call it what we do. All expressions of spirituality are valid regardless of the words we use to express this spirituality.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Aren’t We All Right?

  1. One of the biggest challenges Chrisitans have to face is the fact that we at times do not love as Christ loved. We say things that are meant to make our mistakes OK, like hate the sin and love the sinner, but even with that statement it is interpreted as hate the sin and the sinner. The response to that situation was in no uncertain terms unChristian. But there are a number of matters that do differentiate Christianity and other religions. Are there parts of the Bible I don’t like? Absolutely. There was a Bible translated by Thomas Jefferson in which a number of “offensive” parts were left out. What I do read in the Bible is that the brokenness of humanity is always going to keep us seperated from God. Israel as a Nation was to live in such a way that others would see thier lives and praise God. This obviously did not happen because they began to be prideful in who they were, instead of honoring God with their lives. Jesus came to earth to show us the way to live. Jesus did not come only for the Jews, though he came as one. He came so that through the cross the power of God can be realized throughout humanity. This was not only for Israel, it was for all nations and races. For me this has been a learning point. Thanks Jess for your thoughts, your friend. George Barcus

  2. While your point is valid and I agree that all people should find their own way to worship and believe, I have to be in defense of the Christians. Before everyone jumps down my throat, I am NOT talking about the “Christians” that let you, and all of the gay community, down that day in the park. Although all we hear about Christians in the media is the Christian Right and people like Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman who continuously tries to tell us that “Christians”, and in that, “God” condemn the gays, there are Christians and Christian communities making real strides with learning that Christ was all about love and acceptance. When Jesus walked on this earth, he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and although he means “neighbor” figuratively (MEANING EVERYONE), I literally have gay next door neighbors, and Christ wants me to love them just as much as He loves all people. I personally grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America synod and we now ordain gay/lesbian pastors. In my personal church, we have several openly gay members singing in our traditional choir, and we love having them. There is an alliance of Christian churches trying to make a difference in this sector. Here’s a good website with resources for gay/lesbian Christians and supporters. http://www.datehookup.com/content-resources-for-gay-christians.htm Check it out! I know that there are Christian congregations that do not feel the way I do, but they’re hypocrites. You can’t teach love while you practice hate. Heck, God sent Noah a rainbow as a promise and a symbol of hope, and I don’t believe in coincidences.

    Also, Jess, try reading the New Testament. I think you’ll find some stuff you like in there. If you can get through Proust, you can get through Luke. Just remember when you read it that it is the Word of God, but it also had to be accepted by the Catholic Church many many years ago, and as such, it is not only a religious, but also a political document.

    Jess, I love you and so does God, whoever he may be.

    P.S. Check this out too! http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_chri.htm See specifically: Step 3. This is where I respectfully disagree with Rev. Barcus. I don’t think love of any type is a “sin” that I should “hate”.

  3. Katey,
    First I believe there is a missunderstnading here as to what my point is. When I referred to the stament Christians have made on numberous occasions, to hate the sin and love the sinner, That statement is often interpreted by the person who is the “sinner we are to love” as if we said hate both sin and sinner.

    Second, I have a problem with your last statement in regard to your use of the word love. In our world and more specifically American culture in general today, the word has too many meanings. Because “love of any type” can be very sinful. When we say I love money, I love apple pie, I love my car, I love my wife, I love God, I love the smell of rain, or I love beating people, these statements are made in very different contexts and so love can be very sinful.

  4. Clarifications:

    I do not believe that loving someone of the same gender is a “sin”, in any sense.

    “Love”, in this context, is genuine, romantic love between any two people, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc. (I don’t think anyone thought we were talking about the love of beating people. Maybe I’m wrong.)

  5. Also Jess! I think this discussion kinda proves my point AND your point! Christians are on all levels of the spectrum on SO many issues, including this one. You have to find the spirituality that fits you best.

  6. Thanks for posting Jess. I think all those thoughts are valid, and I hope you never stop exploring what you think about this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s