Something happened to me in Mexico recently. Don’t worry, this is good news.
In early December we took a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We hadn’t taken a real vacation for about two years. It was so-oo-oo-oo nice! It refreshed all of us!
And at some point, something happened!
I changed. I became happy again.
- Singing “Fa-La-La-La-Laaaaaaaaa!”
The last four years have been a time of major transition in many ways. One of the transitions has been the re-evaluation of my faith and religion and the loss of much of that faith and religion. So it has been a time of deep reflection accompanied by a gamut of emotions. But somehow, in December, I think that I moved on. I accepted myself for who I am at this time in my life.
These days I find it hard to “believe” in things that are patently absurd.
I could probably believe in a limited amount of absurdity if there was good reason or some evidence to do so. I might be able to believe that a virgin conceived a child if there was reliable evidence recorded at the time of the event by credible witnesses. I can also think of many strange, hypothetical circumstances that would lend evidence to such a “miracle.”
There are some things that I can believe.
I can believe a man named Jesus was born in the first century who had a close and special relationship with God (assuming arguendo there is a god). I can believe this man traveled, evangelized, started a movement and was sentenced to death. I don’t have any problem with that per se. I can believe there have been many peaceable, wise, spiritual people to walk this earth. Assuming the existence of a supreme God, I could believe such a God started the process of creation.
However, to believe that God made a mud pie in the shape of a human and then blew magic breath into it and the figure came to life?
This pushes my rational mind too far. I cannot permanently suspend my disbelief on this one. I just can’t do it, as I can’t believe that somewhere an Italian boy named Pinocchio began his life as a wooden puppet or that near Hansel and Gretel’s home there really was a cottage made of gingerbread and candy.
Even if I could believe the following: that a virgin gave birth to Jesus, whose father was the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was half-God, caused miracles, explained the wisdom of God to us, was crucified, rose again and then ascended into heaven in front of his disciples; there is no contemporaneous evidence that any of these things actually happened.
In the last month there have been at least 10 suicides of young people who were gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or somehow *queer-identified. These are the suicides that we know about and that involved kids with a queer identity. I am sure there have been many more whether they occurred last month or some other month. Many queer folks have struggled with their sexuality and have faced depression or attempted suicide but thankfully have lived to tell the tale. GLBT youth face a whole host of woes, difficulties and dangers due to their orientation and identity and our society, schools, churches and christians are failing them.
*I am using the word “queer” to include a diverse group of folks that include gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and trans people and those with other sexual or gender orientations and identities that differ from a binary male and female heterosexual norm. This is my first attempt writing about these issues so I apologize in advance for offending anyone by how I label or discuss things. Feel free to let me know if you take issue with anything I am saying here.
In case you weren’t familiar with the plethora of recent, tragic suicides, here is a nice background post from blogger Progressive Scholar about them. http://progressivescholar.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/lgbt-suicides/
The way the church deals with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other queer folk has greatly affected and hastened my exit from church life. We have a HUGE problem in this country and in our churches that we fail to love and accept people who do not fit into the heterosexual norm.
When my first child was born, I felt such a love and acceptance for my child that I knew I would love my child no matter what her orientation, genetic make-up, inclinations, choices or actions would turn out to be. My child will always be my child and my love for each of my children is ABSOLUTELY UNCONDITIONAL.
FAITH YEARS AND THE BEGINNING OF DOUBT
PART ONE: COLLEGE FAITH YEARS
A little more on my journey and what caused me to begin to doubt……..
I haven’t talked much about my journey yet but I can tell you where I am today. Today I am happier and less angry than I was a few years ago when felt I had reached my breaking point with Christianity and religion.
I became a born-again Christian when I was 18 during the spring of my first year of college. After being born-again I was water baptised by immersion and baptised in the Holy Spirit, complete with the gift of tongues.
For the next four years while earning my bachelor’s degree, I worked and served as a student evangelist in every free moment. I attended multiple weekly bible studies, led many evangelistic student groups, attended church at least twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday night!), and devoted an average of (at least) 1 to 3 days a week to evangelistic outreach. I helped run and man an outreach table in my college student union providing bible tracts and engaging students in conversation about God and Jesus to evangelize. For about five years I studied the bible for *at least* an hour a day, on average. I don’t want to belabor the details here. It makes me tired just thinking about it.