Today I have two (possibly three…we’ll see) posts for you, in honor of the 2014 Queer Theology Synchroblog! The theme this year is Coming and Going. I’m proud to host this guest post by P. Stay tuned later today for another guest post (and possibly a post by me, if I can work up the courage and energy!), and be sure to check out the other synchroblog entries at the Queer Theology website!
I detect some sadness in her voice, too. It has been years since I have gone to church, or counted myself as Christian; my mother has sobbed at me going to hell. But what can I tell her about why I left? About what I saw – about coverups for abuse under the guise of forgiveness, or obedience? Or how people like me – who liked to question, or liked to imagine that God loved us all, queer, straight, genderqueer, agender, female, male, cat, dog, whatever – were made to feel unwanted in a house of God? That stumbling blocks were placed and then I was the one to blame when I got tired of stumbling all the time, and just left instead of being humiliated or dismissed or being told constantly I’d burn in hell for one reason or another?
When I asked about God, in God’s own house, I was met with silence or that I should just listen to the priest. The Church could not be wrong, after all.
But I saw it was wrong on so many things.
And yet I was to blame, for leaving. For going out.
It isn’t as if I don’t want to return. Christians have no monopoly on a loving God, or on the teachings of kindness and compassion; the teachings and gospel of Jesus is remarkably similar to the teachings of Buddhism, for example. And in my time away, I have explored that. I have explored the radical idea of loving myself, of being kind to myself, of truly trying to do unto others as I would want to be treated. Would I want to be told I’m going to burn forever because I’m not silent on abuses? Or that a struggling single mother should be condemned instead of helped? No. I would want to try and help, to do what I could. Even if it was just listening.
But can I return?