I’m so grateful to have found y’all! I feel like I have been holding my breath for the last twenty years.
I grew up in Waco, Texas. The fact that I can still believe in any kind of compassionate, loving creator is proof of God’s grace.
When I was ten, I made a girl cry after she told me that my Jehovah’s Witness grandfather was going to hell, by asking her who she thought she was to say that out loud; I told her she’d better go talk to God right now, because I was sure she was in big trouble.
When I was twelve, I heard a “Christian” tell a girl that her mother had gone to hell because she had committed suicide.
When I was fifteen my dad said to me, “You’d argue with a stop sign,” after I challenged an associate pastor on his casual, post-Bible study assertion that women should not be in positions of authority. After being chastised by me the pastor did not cry. I did, though: I went home and furiously cried for the wrongheaded unfairness of it all.
Most of my friends, who didn’t drink the Southern Baptist Kool-Aid, went on to become atheists, understandably. I just kept yelling, in my head mostly, that no one is teaching Christianity correctly, or embodying it correctly (myself included, because my temper and patience are short, frailties of mine that keep me aware I’m probably not the right person to advertise my beliefs).
When people have asked me about my dogged belief in Christ, I tell them that I believe because I met Christ personally—not because I’m in any way special, but because when I was fourteen I cried out for help in a frightening, hopeless-looking time, and Christ met me there. And the God I know is Love. It’s the only aspect he has ever shown me, despite my struggles. I know that hatred has absolutely no place in Christianity. Nor do thoughts of “other,” or “better than,” or “more worthy than,” or “earning it,” or threats of damnation (although I struggle with that like a frightening shadow, because I heard it so often growing up: though it never really rang true with the God I knew, it’s still scary for me to deny the existence of hell).
A counselor asked me to describe how I thought God perceived the human tendency to try to boil God down into “rules thou must abide by.” I said I thought it must sound to Him like us trying to play His rapturous symphony on one string of an out-of tune-violin. I can only see one small part of my thread, He sees the whole tapestry.
I’m so grateful for the humor, humility and love on this site. I just found you an hour ago, and I’m looking forward to being more studious in my understanding of God. I’ve mostly done it by feel, so far. Thank you!!
Image found at the blog Infertility Mom.