Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If my faith should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my blog to take…
In the past 24 hours I have had a few unfortunate run-ins with some of my Christian sisters and brothers that have left me spiraling in a whirlpool of tears, just nigh of giving up. I even briefly fantasized that this would be the last Easter I would celebrate as part of a tribe that wields spiritual abuse with such calculating deftness. Praise be for other sisters and brothers (Mike and R. Jay) who lifted their voices in crystal clear support, offering solid theology of compassion and love in the conversations where my very humanity was stripped to the bone. This afternoon I received a private message on Facebook from Joanna that I can only understand as the in-breaking of the radical grace I blather on about. She has given me permission to share her words – not as a self-congratulatory, self-righteous post but as one that I hope will resonate with others as we stumble toward Easter.
Joanna, your message is most definitely a replenishing drink of grace for the parched heart of this Christian. You cannot possibly know how very much I appreciate hearing from you. The holy spirit certainly rushes in when we most need her presence. You are incredibly generous to share glimpses of your journey with me and to allow me to share that with others. I am grateful to know how my own journey of falling toward grace has impacted your own.
I doubt that you remember me, but I graduated from Agnes Scott three years ago. I attended a few of your services there and even tried to attend your online church, but I am hopeless at Second Life.
I just wanted to send you a message to tell you how much your posts and blogs over the past several years have meant to me. I try not to be a “blog-stalker” and comment or repost everything you say, so it occurred to me that you may have no idea of the profound impact you have had on my life.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, and I’ve struggled my whole life with the fact that, because of my sexual orientation, I was clearly flawed, perverted, evil, demented (you name it, I’ve heard it said). As a teenager, I railed the other way; knowing that I couldn’t change who I was, I decided that Christianity and religion must be wrong.
It took a lot of time, soul-searching, and reading to realize that I could be both a Christian and a lesbian. It’s still something I struggle with, especially when I see the vitriolic hate that comes from sects of the Christian faith, but I know what God has put into my heart, and I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I know this is trite and cliche, and I’m not trying to take up all your time, but this is where you come in. Your blogs and posts opened my eyes up to possibilities I did not know existed — that I could not only be tolerated in the Christian faith, but that denying my identity was to say that God has somehow made a mistake. The profundity of your writing often leaves me in grateful tears or quiet comfort.
Your writing not only opened up and healed a wounded, damaged heart, but your writing has been one of the sustaining forces over the past three years. After college, I moved to Birmingham for law school. Law school is a psychological torture all on its own, let alone being away from my girlfriend for the past three years, meeting all new people, fearfully re-closeting myself for fear of the consequences of being out in a conservative city, and then slowly and painfully coming out to all of them. If I didn’t have such a strong online community reminding me that love is out there, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to stick with it.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this an all-about-me letter. What I really wanted to tell you is that I appreciate what you are doing, and I hope that you will continue for many years to come.
By the way, I’ll be moving back to the Atlanta area in May (after graduation!). Any recommendations on churches?
We really never know all the ways we to touch the lives of others but this day Joanna has blessed me beyond my measure.
Please forgive me if I can’t wait - Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed!