After yesterday's post, I want to hasten to clarify, lest I portray the wrong idea-- I do not feel like I had a bad childhood. Nor am I ungrateful for the upbringing I had. My parents are awesome. They loved us kids, sacrificed for us, and nurtured us. They did an amazing job with what they had, and through it all, they stuck to their beliefs. And considering that their beliefs were rather in the minority in society, I admire their courage for sticking to them. The fact that I feel called to walk a different path should not be taken to mean that I scorn the path they started me on. So much of what they taught and modeled is still strengthening and empowering me today. Love you, Mom and Dad! (Whether or not you're even reading this.)
March 20th, 2013. Insomnia. I had awakened from a bad dream (that I didn't remember, otherwise I'd analyze it!), and was trying to reset my internal clock by looking at the glow of my computer screen. (This is a trick to help you not re-enter a nightmare, by the way.) I checked FaceBook, and one of the posts was from Peter Rollins' page (not that I actually read his books--too Christian for my taste [isn't that ironic]), advertising an upcoming conference called Subverting the Norm. I read through the description and some of the comments on the page. Part of me felt like rolling my eyes... another church event... but part of me was curious. One of the biggest problems I've faced throughout my life has been
loneliness, and it has become acute lately. Part of that is due to my situation, and will be alleviated when I get a more social job... But part of it is because I've
not felt safe talking to anyone about this issue of my faith and beliefs. This conference seemed like it might be a group of people who'd dealt with similar experiences, questions, logical processes, and emotional grapplings as myself.
And yet, these people seemed to be choosing, nonetheless, to stay in The Church. I guess the question that roared from my heart was, "WHY?" Why why why why why--after you wake up to the fact that The Church is not godde's only way of working in the world, that godde is (probably) not at all like what (today's iterations of) Christianity portrays, that there is (probably) no post-death consequence for choosing not to believe, and so on and so forth-- why would you choose to stay in an outdated system? I understand that many people are economically trapped, since they get paid by The Church, and don't feel they have any other means of providing for themselves and their families. But for those who don't work for a church... What brings them back if it's not truth claims? Is it cowardice? Sentimentality? Having a social group? Convenience? Amusement? A passion for reform? What is it?
Myself, I'm almost ready to walk away, and I'd love it if I never had to enter a church or be exposed to Christian-speak again (as unlikely as that actually will be.) I'll join parenting groups, gardening groups, book clubs, sewing circles, musical ensembles, and so on, for my social needs. Cowardice and sentimentality are not part of my normal modus operandi, so that part doesn't apply to me. (Though I'm deeply compassionate for those who do deal with these personality traits. I have flaws that are much worse than these two.) I can relate to wanting to reform or reach out to those still caught in their identity traps. But I have kind of assumed that the best way of doing so is to call to people from the outside, rather than try to deal with the messy process of redefining or re-framing everything inside.
If it's all made up anyway, why bother?
There were people at this conference from all over the world, many different walks of life. Why? What brought them together? What compelled them to contribute? I really want to know. I got a few great answers from some incredible people at the conference, but I still want to hear more.
What compels you to continue to identify with Christianity?