Christian-ish

20 06 2013

I’m leaving for a two week vacation in France on Saturday.  Today is Thursday.   I have reached the “Okay, I’m done with this week” point, and I still have two more work days to get through.  It’s not like it’s awful here at work.  I just have my mind pointed somewhere else right now, and coming in here feels like an annoyance more than anything else.

Weirdly, one of the things weighing on me this week has been my former church.  I’m still connected to a bunch of people from there on Facebook, and it seems that this week was their meeting with the presbytery.  And at that meeting my former church was dismissed from PC-USA to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  Many of the Facebook postings expressed their joy at the outcome, which would be hard on its own given what this split did to so many people.  But then there are the added notes of how they’ll now be able to follow Jesus.  And those kind of make my head explode – in a furious, rage-y, not-at-all Christian sort of way.

“Now we can follow Jesus.”  Implications: We couldn’t before.  The people who left us didn’t and still don’t.  PC-USA and the people in their churches don’t.

So it turns out that this whole thing still does have the ability to make me angry.  I talked briefly about it with my mother yesterday.  She is undoubtedly more level-headed than I am about this – in her view, she doesn’t wish them any ill, and hopes that they can make it on their own terms.  While I’m seeing the congregation as it now exists as a festering pool of bigotry, fear, and misogyny that deserves to go down in flames… and I’m hoping that it does.

I’ve been reading in atheist blogs for the last few days – oddly enough, even before the news from the former church came out.  Greta Christina has been especially helpful to me.  She wrote a brilliant column six years ago on why atheists are angry, and she pulled very few punches.  It really is one of those “shut up and listen” pieces, where I need to turn off all my defenses for faith and religious practices to hear what she’s saying.  I need to check my own privilege, to not automatically fall back on “But I’m not like that!”

The truth is that I have been part of a religion that has systematically oppressed and marginalized huge swaths of humanity.  And while I wasn’t an active participant, I was still there as a passive presence… those years, decades, in the former church, knowing that they stood for something I didn’t, and telling myself that I could make a difference from the inside.  It was a lie.  I didn’t change anything; all my presence did was let them believe that I consented.

I’m as angry at myself as I am at them.

I found myself thinking last night about my history there, what I would feel if the congregation did go under.  I don’t know what the presbytery’s decision was regarding the building; historically the church buildings have belonged to the presbytery, so if a congregation wants to leave the denomination they have to leave the building behind.  I suspect that the presbytery in this case let them keep the building, or I would have seen more shouting on Facebook.  So I was wondering how I’d feel with seeing the church shrink and die, unable to keep up with the maintenance of a 150-year-old building, given how much of my life was tied into experiences in that building.  I had the oddest sensation of grief past, how you feel when you remember a great loss.  I haven’t entered that church since the day of the congregational meeting.  That was the day that my church died for me.

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3 responses

28 06 2013
forfemme

Christian-ish

The truth is that I have been part of a religion that has systematically oppressed and marginalized huge swaths of humanity.

Are you questioning Christianity itself (the gospel/your faith) or are you saying you have worshiped in a fraudulent congregation? If it’s the former let me fully support your disgust at these people and their twisting of the Church’s purpose. Of course, what they have done/believed has nothing to do with who you are or who God is. That there are people who will knowingly steal God’s good name and appropriate it for THEIR own evil (aka Republicanism) is neither on you or on God. Please don’t feel culpable in any way. We need to keep those of us who are actual Christians to do the real work of God. It is they who need to be abolished from Christianity.

25 06 2013
forfemme

I think most of them mean well but they haven’t really stopped and read slowly and carefully what the Word of God says.

I’m sorry. This is simply not true. Churches, both clergy and members, are highly trained in the gospel. They understand what the gospel of Christ is. And then they willingly and deliberately appropriate the gospel to further their own anti-gospel, hate-mongering beliefs. They’ve gone so far as to replace the holy gospel of Christ with anti-Christ beliefs and then renamed those beliefs Christian. This is far beyond a well-intentioned misunderstanding. This is willful blasphemy of the holy name of Christ. Everyday I think how I, were I Christ, would have to spend all of eternity striking them down just for that point alone. Slander of the gospel. Of HIS name. Of HIS message. That HE gave HIS life for. I can’t imagine what would be a worse sin than this? Suicide? No way. This accomplishes the exact opposite of the Church”s purpose. It drives the people away from Christ. Did you know groups like the KKK and neo-nazis rise out of the church? These are Christian organizations. And you’re saying these people can’t grasp what Christ is about? I deeply deeply disagree.

20 06 2013
metroneighborhood

First let me say I’m not preaching to you, I’m just sharing my feelings on the subject and I agree with you how frustrating this has been for me growing up, since I can literally remember, in the church and reconciling certain things. Unfortunately most churches are caught up in a lot of doctrine that is the very same reason Jesus was angry with them when He walked the earth. It was the religious establishment that persecuted Him. The expression, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind, I think most of them mean well but they haven’t really stopped and read slowly and carefully what the Word of God says. A majority of the established churches are a huge problem, God is not the problem, but people confuse God with the church many times. Five out of Seven churches listed in Revelations God expresses great displeasure and throughout the Bible He lays charges against the leadership. It is unfortunate how many people are turned off or shunned because of the finger pointed condemnation. They don’t consider their own sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:11 He charges them by saying “as such were some of you”. One of the “as such” listed is homosexuality. He’s telling them that some of them are homosexuals, The religious establishments take this and run with it and preach that somehow people who are homosexual can’t enter into the Kingdom or they have to no longer be homosexual. That is preposterous. The religious forget the other sins listed in those preceding verses and in Galatians. They forget the immutable fact that every single person is a sinner period and that can’t be changed no more than a homosexual can stop being a homosexual. What does change for the Believer is their sin is no longer adjudicated and they are considered not guilty because of Jesus, this goes for every sinner because we are all sinners. Even if there is a question over any one sin, it’s God place to address that as the relationship is between the child and the parent, just like in life, He is the Father and we are the children, it’s not for some other person to come along and start laying down the law. There’s lots of sin that goes on in the church from gossip, covetousness, idolatry and the list goes on and somehow they have strong delusion their nature of sinfulness is somehow different and exempt. All sin is forgiven, not just their sins. And many homosexuals will go to heaven while many people that warmed a pew for a life time might have some answering to explain to God why they chastised and condemned instead of following the commandment to love.

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