EXCLUDED: A YEAR LATER

My church broke my heart a long time ago. Still, I stayed.

I asked, How do I help to bring about the change I so desperately believe it?

How do I make this work?

What can I do to better bridge the divide between what currently exists and what I, and others, hope for?

I was hurt, but I had hope. I believed that I only needed to wait.

It wasn't necessarily easy. It wasn't always enjoyable, but I waited.

Then, a year ago, my church all but shattered what little hope I had left.

The policy that I found then, and still find, to be incredibly Godless was made known. Excuses were made and I saw many, many choose to defend a handbook that only a select few ever see over faithfully following Christ.

Souls were crushed. Lives were lost. The questions I was asking changed.

A year later, instead of asking how, I ask why.

Why am I fighting to stay?

Why do I want to be a part of this? 

Really, why?

There are those who ask the same question: why do I stay?

People I've known for years, people who know I'm struggling, people who haven't the slightest idea but assume that because I'm physically in the same place they are, that I'm also on the same page mentally and spiritually.


They ask, why don't you just go?

Why can't you leave it alone?

Some ask sincerely, but others seem to spew it, as though the church is better off without those that question.

And maybe it is.

But I believe in a living church just as I believe that Christ lives. If we are to truly be the body of Christ, we cannot remain static.

Questions and thoughtful agitation precede change. Standing up for what is right and true, regardless of who you're standing against precedes change.

We praise Eve for choosing the greater good, yet we seem to write her off as doing so after having been beguiled by the serpent. We fail to give her credit for what was likely a process of pondering and seeking after truth before making her very calculated decision.

We praise Abraham for having the faith to sacrifice his son. We fail to ask if that was really what he was supposed to do. Did God want to see if he had the faith to go through with it, or was he testing Abraham's ability to question what is right and necessary. Was the ram in the thicket a reward for Abraham's faithfulness, or a merciful God saving Isaac?

I believe God sees his faithful children- the ones trying to follow, without question, what they believe is right in the face of a world they believe is against them. God loves those children. They are valuable to him.

I believe God hears his faithful children- the ones crying out to him as they try to discern what is right and true, even as it goes against what others believe to be right. God loves those children. They are valuable to him.

In the past year, one thing has been made abundantly clear to me: I am no more, or no less, valuable because I have questions about things others easily accept and seek answers that not everyone wants.

I want to follow Christ. There is space for me to do that, and I'm trying to find where that space is.

I had hope it was where I am. Now, I'm unsure.

I heard this hymn yesterday, and felt it fitting. In my moments of bitterness and anger; when I'm frustrated that those I hope to follow Christ alongside act anything but Christlike, I remember I have as much to learn about loving them as I want to teach them about loving others.

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain thy presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

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