Wednesday, May 2, 2007

stumbling toward faith

i have to tell you about this book and give you a quote from it. renee altson writes about her fundamentalist/baptist/whatever christian father. and how he sexually abused her when she was a girl. and how the fundamentalist/baptist/whatever christian church was just another voice of shame and unworthiness. i was reading the first section yesterday and got so sad and angry - i mean, really angry - about the role that the church played in this girl's life. i mean, just fucking mad. i wanted to go to the temple of the fundamentalist church that's about sin and shame and unworthiness, and turn over some tables. lots of them. and tear the walls down.
maybe that's what jesus felt. i bet it was.
that's a big part of the book i'm writing now: that jesus told people that love is all that matters - and that anything that keeps people from experiencing and living in that love, has to go. to be dismantled. to be resisted. and i'm sad to say, but it's true, that much of christianity keeps people from experiencing and living in that love. it imprisons them in shame and dogma. it makes me very sad. and mad. fighting mad. like, really.
read this:
"i wandered through various religions, particularly the ones with strict rules and definitive boundaries. i was baptized a mormon, a jehovah's witness. i flirted with scientology. [altson was raised baptist.] in the end, i came to one conclusoin: the warm acceptance i felt in each of these groups was only there because i was conforming to that group's ideals. the people only loved me because they had to, because it was written in their religion that they treat others well. they only had faith in me because i shared their faith, too.
"the moment i doubted, or strayed, or showed independence, they became vultures. they told me i was unworthy. ...
"i don't even know what 'home' means, except that i long for it. i long to heal, to have this yawning chasm inside of me filled, to believe in something bigger than me, holier than i dare to imagine, more gracious and full of kindness than i dare to wish for."
thank you renee.
i'll let y'all know how it goes as i continue reading renee's book. you may have to help me through it.


nonprofitprophet said...

How about the United Methodist's new slogan "Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds"... Maybe for the Laity, but not so much for heirarchy. ~npp

Philomath said...

I read the quote from your post to the men's group last night. Basically it incapsulates what is wrong out there and at the same time the yearning our faith community is all about.