|raisedbymoogles (raisedbymoogles) wrote,|
@ 2012-06-03 01:41:00
How I "fell away," as the saying goes.
With the national discourse unable to stop talking for ten gorram seconds about Teh Gay, it was pretty inevitable this episode would pop up in my head. Gather round, kiddies, it's Storytime With Moogle.
Why I'm Not A Christian Anymore, by Moogle Girl
I was what you might have called a 'Jesus freak' growing up*. I was the kid who willingly slogged through the whole Bible a chapter a night (took me two years, but I finished the damn thing!). I was the kid who always said her prayers. I was the kid who dragged her parents to church. And at the (here unidentified) church where I spent my last three years of high school, I was an active member of the youth group, a member of the church tech committee, and sang in the choir. That place was my home even more than the Internet. (My family didn't get off the dial-up until some years later.)
I loved my church, and I loved Pastor Anne**, the senior pastor. Sweetest woman in the world, always had a big smile and a hug for me whenever she saw me. And allow me to convince you, flist, that no matter who you are or what you look like, even if you were decked out in Full Fear-Me-I-Am-Goth Uniform with tattoos all over or those gauge earring things or any of a thousand other things that would give your average 'church leader' an instant heart attack - I could have brought you to my church and introduced you to Pastor Anne, and she would have welcomed you with open arms, fed you cookies and lemonade and asked you about your day. She would. Have. Loved you. I say this with complete confidence. She is what I still think of when I picture what a Christian should be like.
Which made it all the more devastating when she was caught in the middle of a schism that halved our church's membership. What happened was, a lesbian couple brought their baby to the church to be baptized, and she did it. And half of the people left the church because of it. The fallout was so stressful for Pastor Anne that she actually stepped down from her position to go on sabbatical, and I never heard from her again.
Like President Obama, my views on homosexuality were evolving at the time. I had gay friends at school; I read slash on the Internet. I struggled to reconcile this with my faith; I'd been convinced by osmosis that Good Christians Don't Approve Of The Gay. But the level of poisonous contempt those people showed for that couple and their baby (an INFANT, oh my god, what was the matter with those people) was utterly shocking to me. That baby wasn't a monster. The two women raising the baby weren't monsters for wanting their child to start off hir life with a religious ceremony***. But they were treated like monsters because of who and how they chose to love and form a family.
I have no idea how the people who stayed really felt about the whole thing - I was too afraid to talk about it with anyone but my mother. They may have been quietly thinking 'sinners' at the lesbian couple. They may have thought that Pastor Anne should have prioritized the unity of the church over the baptism of a baby. Or they may have not given two flicks of an angel's wing one way or the other. But they stayed. God bless them for that.
I stayed at that church for another year or so. The new pastor was no Pastor Anne, but he was very nice. But in college... well, a lot of things happened in college, but one of the things that happened was that I lost my motivation to continue on my walk of faith. I looked at mainstream, respectable Christians; and I looked at gays and goths and punks and kinksters and assorted other 'freaks' who only Pastor Anne would have offered cookies to; and I saw the sharp dividing line between them. And I knew on which side I saw more of what I had been taught to call "the love of God."
And that's the side I wanted to be on.
(Nowadays I realize of course that the line isn't as sharp as I thought it was. And if someday my path leads me back to Christianity, then I'll be content with that. But it will take an extraordinarily rare community to lure me back in; I don't ever want to feel like I have to choose between God and love again.)
*If you were an asshole, or you listened to DC Talk. I was a member of the latter category.
**Not her real name.
***I never actually met the lesbian couple. They didn't stick around long. I don't blame them.