No, I haven’t been struck dead or down for launching this blog…which means either your prayers are working, or they aren’t. 🙂
It’s been several weeks since I posted an article here. Why? A few reasons…
Reason 1: Family Finally Reacted
If you listen to the podcast, you know that neither Hubs’ family nor mine initially reacted. That changed.
The reactions range from supportive to hostile. I think my favorite came from my Grand Aunt Trudie. This eclectic, fun woman who’s lived some pretty cool adventures in her 90+ years on the planet called me up and said, “Becky, what’s going on with this Free Evangelical – no, that’s not it – Freevang – oh, you know. I couldn’t quite understand so I just decided to call and ask you.”
I love and appreciate this response so much. Can you imagine what would happen if we did this with everyone? Instead of screaming at a political opponent because of something we read about him/her on the internet, just call the person up and say, “I don’t understand. What are you trying to say? What are you about?” And then listening. That’s exactly what Aunt Trudie did!
But Aunt Trudie’s wasn’t the only response. Sometimes, family is supportive. A couple times, they’ve been angry. Beneath the anger, I think it’s hurt. I think somehow my rejection of evangelical Christianity equates to a rejection of them. That may not make sense to people reading this who are not of the evangelical Christian persuasion, but try to understand that when you’re in that community, your entire identity is based in it. Every single part of you is sold out to it (or at least all of me was, and that’s how I was raised to live it). So, when someone says, “I’m not a part of this belief system,” it can easily feel like the person is saying, “I reject you.”
I hate that I made people I love feel as if I don’t accept them. It is wholeheartedly, 110% not the case. I love my family (even the ones who’d just as soon never speak to me again). I love them enough to not lie to them about who I am or what I believe. I appreciate that they love in that manner as well. If I happen to visit my family on a Sunday morning, I fully expect we’d all be sitting on a pew in their church. I’d go because I love and respect them.
Part of processing through all that had me wondering if I should shut down this blog. I don’t want to hurt my family and friends and it felt like maybe the blog was doing that.
But in the end I came to the conclusion that it isn’t the blog – it’s the truth about myself that I’m saying within it that’s causing the hurt. I could shut down this blog, but I’m still going to be who I am and believe what I believe (or don’t). That’s really the issue.
That all took a while to process and, in the meantime, I stopped posting in case doing so would cause more harm.
Reason #2: I’ve Been Reading…a LOT
If the librarians in Collier County were to glance at my account of late, it’d look like I’m going for a PhD in religious and faith studies! I wish I had the funds to do that, but I don’t and so I am VERY grateful for the public library system. For the first time, I have truly come to appreciate the power of access to information.
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been reading:
The Living Goddesses by Marija Gimbutas
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain De Botton
Mother Nature’s Herbal by Judy Griffin
Dynamics of Faith by Paul Tillich
Reason #3: I’ve Been Talking…a LOT
Y’all, this is probably my single most favorite outcome of starting Freevangelic. It’s as if in admitting my struggles, doubts, fears, frustrations, and decisions out loud, a safe space was made for other people to say their true things, too. Ironically, this blog has made a place where that verse from Isaiah walks off the Bible’s pages and into real life.
Come, let us reason together.Isaiah 1:18
“I’ve never understood how a loving God could kill all those people in the Old Testament either!”
“The Bible is not the underpinning of Christianity.”
“Do you think you’re just angry at God?”
“Catholicism has so much that that the Protestant church has done away with – and some of it may help.”
“This is just a part of the journey the Lord has you on.”
“Here’s where I went when I left Christianity. I’ll tell you about it if you want to know.”
“All your issues are because Eve sinned in the garden. Your problem is with her, not God.”
These are snatches of the conversations I’ve been having during the time between postings. I’ve treasured every single one. I love how each discussion happens because we humans are trying to figure things out, to authentically believe and be.
So, I’m still here. Still searching. If you want to talk, reach out. It might take a day or it might take a lifetime of lifetimes, but I’ve come to fervently believe that if we live in authentic, caring search for Truth, the time is well spent.