Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Different but Complimentary"

I cannot shake how similar that phrase is to, "separate but equal" 

I have attempted to write on this subject numerous times, but the truth is I am still too angry and raw. I just want to scream at everyone, "THIS IS NOT EQUALITY! THIS IS NOT LOVE! Quit trying to make your hateful messages sound less hateful!" I have so much frustration, people who barely know me constantly try and reprimand me for holding a different view than them. You are not my husband. You are not my father. You are not my stepfather. What gave you the idea that you have that privilege or right? 

How could life be different if we allowed people to pursue and question truth on their own? What if we stopped trying to control everyone? What if we all actually lived with the faith that God will reveal himself to those very people we seek to control? We all claim God is so much bigger than ourselves, yet I rarely see people acting like it when it comes to relationships. We all try to control and push people to where we want them to be, myself included. 

There is no way for me to write about this subject and keep my anger out of it. So I will direct you to a post written by a man. A man who happens to be the husband of my co-hort over at Mars Hill Refuge. I feel like what he wrote is what has been on my heart for a while now without all the anger and frustration. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Balancing Act

It's only April and I feel like I have accomplished more these past four months than I did in the two years prior. I suppose I am playing catch up for all the life I missed out on during my depression/quarter-life crisis/eating disorder/whatever the heck I was going through during that time.

With all of this accomplishment there isn't much time for rest. Recently I started work as a prep-cook in a local vegan cafe in hopes of saving money for school. I work the early morning shift and my days have been filling up quite quickly. After unemploying myself for three months this has been a difficult transition for me. I quickly became accustomed to deciding what I wanted to do with my time, and being able to fit anything in. Now I have to be more selective. I have to create boundaries. I admit this is something I have never been good at.

Therapy has helped me identify some major patterns in my life. One of them is a problem of causes. I have a tendency to completely lose myself in things I believe in. My identity suddenly becomes interchangeable with the cause. This tends to work out fine until something like doubt steps in, or when the cause no longer needs me to fight for it. When I lose a cause I feel like I have lost myself, and then the opportunity to rebuild presents itself. Usually I ignored this opportunity and set about finding something else to devote my life to (I went from being a hardcore evangelical to a hardcore vegangelical in the space of a year) Now I am trying to become more balanced.

Obviously this has been a challenge working with Mars Hill Refuge. There are days when I catch myself completely lost in it. I want to fight anyone and everyone who has a kind word to say about that church, or I spend my entire day combing the internet for information and talking to fellow refugees. Other days I spend a moderate amount of time on the blog, and I have time to have a relationship with my husband, family, and friends. Those are the best days and thankfully they are becoming more numerous.

This is when my 15 year-old self would have written about, "finding my identity in Christ" Now that phrase makes me want to vomit. When I hear people say it I tend to wonder if they really know what they are saying, or if they are just spitting out the same tired Christian rhetoric. What I will say is that I am learning. I have been created with many different aspects, and as much as I would like to always be the impassioned girl throwing caution to the wind to fight injustice, sometimes I have to sit down and watch trashy television with my husband, and that is okay. Someone else can pick up the fight while I watch an episode of Game of Thrones.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Please Sign our Petition!

You can find it here!

As most of you know I am a co-administrator over at Mars Hill Refuge. We worked on creating this petition with Stephanie Drury who runs Stuff Christian Culture Likes. A lot of people have been wondering why we focused on Mark’s views on sex and not his other more abusive or damaging views.

From Stephanie on our strategy;
"I met with social justice groups over the past week after news outlets have failed to pick up any of the spiritual abuse stories coming out of Mars Hill church. It's fucked up how Driscoll has a bestselling book on godly marriage while at the same time alarming stories from behind the scenes of his church have been coming out on sites like Jesus Needs New PR and Joyful Exiles. We've emailed major papers and news sites to ask them to spotlight the testimonies of insider experiences coming out of Mars Hill, andl the only one who would pick up the story was The Stranger. Not Christianity Today, not any of the Timeses type papers - no one.

So to raise curiosity about a problem (emotional and spiritual devastation coming out of Mars Hill church) that we have seen for years in our community and now spreading nationwide as Driscoll's fame and Acts 29 church network grows, we need to spark curiosity about what is happening behind the scenes. If demand is created then news outlets will cover these devastating stories of people who were once on the inner circle of Mars Hill church. Since Driscoll is a national bestseller and getting lots of media attention we decided to petition Liberty University to rescind their invite for Driscoll to speak on their campus on April 20th. We think that would get the conservatives and fundamentalists engaged as well. Once the truth is brought to light then healing can begin, as any survivor will tell you."

Liberty university is a fundamentalist institution. We felt the best way to capture their attention on the issue was to bring their attention to some of his more vulgar quotes on sex.

Personally, I don’t care about what he has to say on sex. I care about how he views a woman’s role in sex and marriage, and it frightens me that so many women are trying to live out his message, that they are quitting school to have babies and serve their husbands because Mark told them it was the right thing to do. I am concerned about the abusive stories coming from his church and I really just want to do whatever I can to try and limit his audience when he seems so hell bent on selling the world his version of the truth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My "Reconciliation" meeting is tomorrow.

The time is set, and I am finding it difficult to figure out the words I need to say. The text that follows was originally emailed to a few people in hopes of advice. I have a lot of questions and feelings right now, and I felt like this could make a good blog post as well.

Thanks to the Stuff Christian Culture Likes Facebook page I read this post for the first time today. I especially loved this section;

"My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different      than you.
Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even [gulp...] hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home.

Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by.

Reach your arm out and put it around them.

And then, tell them they’re all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you lovethem.

If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that’s where we’re gonna be able to do it. That’s where we’ll start.

Every. Single. Time.

Because what you’ll find, and I promise you this, is that the more you put your arm around those that you might naturally look down on, the more you will love yourself. And the more you love yourself, the less need you’ll ever have to find fault or be betterthan others.  And the less we all find fault or have a need to be better than others, the quicker this world becomes a far better place to live.

And don’t we all want to live in a better world? Don’t we all want our kids to grow up in abetter, less hateful, more beautiful world?

I know I do"

While I could just say, "This article is meant for those people at Mars Hill" and not apply it to my own life, the truth is sometimes I can be very guilty of what he says in this post towards people from Mars Hill, "You are anti-gay, anti-woman, or anti-whatever?Well I am anti-you" The answer to hate and judgment is not more hate and judgment, and yet I can find myself there way too easily. 

Do you feel like you are constantly going in between observing and judgment? Do you ever find it hard to not judge (especially Mark and others like him)? How do you keep yourself from judging?  How do we love this way, with people who may attempt to manipulate us? It's such a dangerous place to be, but it feels like the right place to be. I suppose the slippery slope is getting steeper and muddier by the minute over here.

Hopefully all of these thoughts and questions will help me with my, "reconciliation" meeting tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A couple of weeks ago the wonderful Christine Marietta shared this amazing article with me. It details all the ways the modesty doctrine negatively affected the author. From making her afraid to work out lest doing a squat cause an unwanted erection in a nearby male, to contributing to her eating disorder. It is a very interesting read regardless of where you fall on this issue.

The author also wrote another amazing article on how the modesty doctrine hurts men as well. I can't claim to know how men are affected by all of this, but I think she makes some excellent points.

As a teenager I completely believed in the modesty doctrine. I bought all of my clothes two sizes too big. When that didn't stop men from yelling about my ass from their cars, I began to dress like a man. I thought I was doing it all right because there was no possible way to discern a single curve in my over-sized In-and-Out t-shirt and basketball shorts. The truth is, this didn't stop the yelling either, no amount of, "modesty" was ever enough. Then I suffered from my own eating disorder. I watched as my curves slowly disappeared, thankful for a moment, and then quickly back to grabbing handfuls of, "fat" wishing it would disappear as well. Like the author says, the only acceptable body was a sexless one.

Then one day I decided to give up. I began to wear what I wanted, which is still on the conservative side of dressing. For the first time I felt that my body, my mind, my spirit, and the other aspects of me were attractive and enough. The judgment and opinions of others lost the power to define myself and my body.

I will leave you with this quote from the author, "The modesty doctrine is a game that no one ever wins. It perpetuates fear and contempt in men. It oppresses women. It needs to stop"


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Dreaded Question.

"What Church do you go to?"

"Oh, I haven't been going anywhere"

"Have you tried ______? I think it would be really good for you" (This is usually coupled with a concerned look and condescending tone)

I have had this exact same conversation way too many times. I get so frustrated that my salvation seems to be tied up with my church attendance for so many people. While I know this isn't true, and I try to not let it affect me too much, I just wish it was different. These posts by Rachel Held Evans have really helped me process through this.

On leaving the church
On returning to the church
On the slippery slope

For me I experience church when I sit and have discussions with my closest friends about our thoughts on faith and experiences with God around my dinner table. I see it as church when my husband and I listen to podcasts in the car and discuss them together when they are finished. To me a church isn't a building, it is the people I surround myself with on a daily basis that I hope to serve and love as much as possible. It is learning and living with them. At this point I don't feel called to enter another building that is labeled as a Church. My faith has grown far more outside of such buildings.

It may not always be this way. I don't want to convert anyone to my way of thinking, or prove how I am right and everyone else in church is wrong. My only hope is that everyone would be more accepting of how everyone will have a different personal journey with faith. I include myself in this statement, I hope to be just as accepting of those who subscribe to the typical church model as I am to the rag-tag bunch of people I choose to be with.

I am very curious about different opinions on this subject. Why do or why don't you believe in being part of a large church body? What have been your experiences inside and outside of churches, and how have they led you to the beliefs you have now about church?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Song Lyrics That Really Spoke to me Today

From, "Living on a Rainbow" by Angus and Julia Stone. 

Who will lead us when our faith is all but gone
who will be the light when daylight doesnt come
Who will be the ones to sacrifice their souls
who will be the men to live just for love

I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow
I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow

I can see now how the child can grow old
and I can see just how the darkness takes it's hold
and I have seen how the compromise is made
and I can see how a light can loose his way

I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow
I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow

Who will lead us when our faith is all but gone
who will be the light when daylight doesnt come
Who will be the ones to sacrifice their souls
who will be the men to live just for love

I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow
I've been living on a rainbow
I was living on a rainbow