When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not.

When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not. June 9, 2013

It’s the cool thing in more progressive branches of Christianity now to talk about how EVERYONE is welcome at the communion table. I should be glad about that, I guess.

I mostly just serve communion to myself (sometimes a cat or two joins in) while locked in my bedroom nowadays. Not much of a “communion,” I know. I’m probably committing all sorts of blasphemy, but that’s the best I can do right now. Maybe if I swapped the leftover pizza that I use as the body of Christ for some Zoloft I’d be getting dressed for a “real” church instead of sitting here writing a blog post in my Mario Kart pajamas. Maybe going off my meds just made me paranoid. I don’t know.

But this trend in Christianity where EVERYONE is welcome scares me.

Maybe it’s because of the time when a former friend of Abe’s, who knew my back story, told Abe and I that we had to be grateful that Jesus forgives rapists. Who told us that because we could not see rapists as sinners just like us, we must not know Jesus like he does.

Or maybe it’s because of the people who cut off all ties to me because I’m not all that cheery and positive in my critiques of abusive systems and ideologies. Those same people who talk about how they long to sit down at the communion table with popular spiritually abusive leaders in a show of grace and forgiveness.

Or maybe it’s because of the way I see so-called progressive Christians in powerful positions react when my friends who are gay or trans* or disabled or people of color say, “Hey, this person/ideology is oppressing us.”

EVERYONE is welcome. But more and more it seems the “EVERYONE” that Christians are really going after is abusers.

And why not? How radical and Jesus-like does that sound? Abusers and survivors, sitting at the same table. Sharing the same bread and wine. The lion lying down next to the lamb.

Sure. That sounds great. Excuse me while I go have a panic attack or two.

I don’t know how to respond to this trend anymore. When I express discomfort about calling a rapist my “brother in Christ,” people accuse me of being a  bitter,  grace-hating person. When I say that I can’t get over the hurt my abuser caused me, people tell me to get over my “perpetual victimhood.” When I ask for a safe space, people tell me I’m acting just like the exclusionary fundamentalists, and that I need to learn that Christianity isn’t about being uncomfortable.

There’s no grace for me, as I try to work through all the festering hate toward my rapist that I don’t know what the hell to do with. There’s no grace as I try to figure out whether I ever want to forgive a man who hurts me more each day even though we haven’t spoken in six years. Maybe they’re right and I am the bitter, hateful person they think I am, but what about all this talk of grace?

Is progressive Christianity spending so much grace on abusers, in order to show the world how “radical” and “subversive” they are, that they have only scraps left for survivors?

I’m not really interested in asking for space at the communion table anymore. I’m welcome, I know, I know. As long as I check my much-too-strong  feelings about abuse and abusers at  the door, I’m welcome.

In other words, I’ll go back to serving cold pizza to my cat. The body of Christ, broken for us, Princess Buttercup.


[Note: this post was inspired by this fantastic piece by Toranse. Read it, please]

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