Lost: #NaBloPoMo Day 15
I wasn’t in town to go to church Sunday morning, but had I been, I know I would have struggled with attending. I know I’m not alone in my disillusionment with evangelical Christianity right now. A group I have considered myself a part of my entire life doesn’t feel at all safe or genuine right now, and I’ve seen this echoed over and over again on social media this week, so I know I’m not alone.
I love our church. It’s filled with good, no great, people who have consistently prayed for our family and blessed us abundantly. I’ve been a part of the women’s Bible study for six years now and our children love going to church and have the most wonderful teachers in the children’s ministry. I have several close friends that I met at church. My church does wonderful work in the community and consistently blesses many people and spreads the good news of Christ. This isn’t about my particular church or even individual Christians.
I believe and try my best to live out the basic ideology of evangelical Christianity concerning Jesus’ teachings and salvation. But on more controversial issues that sometimes divide our faith, I’m more liberal. I am politically pro-choice, although I do believe in most cases, abortion is the morally wrong choice. I grieve that my gay friends aren’t welcomed in most churches, whether that be literally or because they feel judged and unwelcome. I believe women should have equal opportunities in leadership in the church. I realize that in my religion I’m in the minority in holding these beliefs, and I suppose I’ve just reconciled within myself that I interpret scripture differently than a lot of Christians and that even people who share the same faith will never agree on 100% of issues.
What I’m feeling as a huge blow is that with their vote, 80% of people just like me (white evangelical Christians) aligned themselves with a leader whose values and policies I see as completely contradictory to what the Christian faith is all about. Many influential leaders in my faith endorsed a man whose words have demeaned and marginalized the “least of these”: the very people Jesus would have welcomed and embraced. I understand most good, loving Christians voted for Trump for economic reasons, against the other candidate, or as vote for the unborn, but at what cost to our witness to a hurting world?
I don’t know how I’m supposed to witness anymore. This whole mess has killed Christianity’s credibility. 80% of us decided that racism, demeaning women and admitting to sexual assault, and making fun of people with disabilities weren’t deal breakers. 80% of us decided that economic policies matter more than our government’s role in protecting the lives and freedom of the marginalized. I don’t know what to do with that. Who on the outside will want to be a part of that? I predict in the coming years, the church is going to need some major PR help.
All I heard before Election Day was that Trump would surround himself with Godly advisors- people who would ensure that his more extreme rhetoric wouldn’t become reality. But now Trump has chosen Steve Bannon as his right hand man. Bannon has close ties to the Alt Right, a group that includes and has given a voice to white supremacists. For a reality check on what the Alt Right spends some of their time doing, read this and this. This is not media hype, and I personally witnessed the attacks of these families on Twitter. 80%, where are you? Why aren’t you loudly and decisively holding your guy accountable? Where is the outrage?
Please, Christians, stop trying to minimize people’s pain and fear. You don’t know the details of anyone’s personal story and their circumstances. This week, I’ve seen a
post on Facebook where those upset were called “4 year old cry babies”: Posted by a Christian. My friend who is struggling with the church sent a prayer request to an entire church staff and heard nothing. Silence. That silence screams louder than any argument.
I’m not giving up on my faith, or my religion, or the church. God is bigger than any election and any candidate. But I do feel lost, confused and hurt in a place that I don’t really recognize anymore.
If you are also struggling with the Christian church right now, I found this really helpful.
Elizabeth. You are a brace woman for writing and publishing this. I am in awe of your strength. Thank you for putting this out there. People need to read it.
I don't want to get too political but I will say this to you dear friend. Our hope is in Jesus. Not a person, not a political party. His opinion, His “interpretation of Scripture” is the only interpretation that counts. Frankly I think that 99% of issues in this world are pretty cut and dried in the Bible. There are very few grey areas. People will fail you. And the church is made up of people and they will fail you. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Let Him give you His peace. Study the Word and let Him reveal it to you. He is the only One that never fails. Blessings to you my friend.
Honestly, I would say that since the Bible is obviously interpreted in vastly different ways by different people depending on what they want to “prove” or believe, it is anything but cut and dried. I believe in God (and Jesus), but I also think we have a moral right to look out for those in our community who are being marginalized and ostracized by people who are choosing to judge others as if they are God themselves. We can trust in Jesus and still be let down by the fallacy of Man.
Beautiful post, Elizabeth. I have learned so much from you and your words over the years, and it has truly helped me to grow as a Christian and just as a person and a mother. Thank you. <3
I don't know you, but I've been following your blog for a while. You are so brave to speak out when your views are different from the majority of your community. Keep up the great work.
What an amazing post. You've inspired me to start blogging again. I can't decide if I want to start a new blog or use my old one, but I have so much to say. I have battled with my faith for a lifetime because I am mostly liberal. My friends are gay, bisexual, all races, all religions and many beliefs. And I refuse to let anyone tell me they aren't welcome or accepted. Trump's nomination to president has considerably upset these people for just cause. And that breaks my heart. And his appointments of known racists/ spouse abusers makes this even more pronounced….
Wow, way to mess up the most important word in that comment. ::face palm::
Elizabeth, you don't know me, but I attended HCHS and your mother was my teacher, I knew your sister, and you know my sister-n-law from Wagon Tails. I have felt this way for many years. I have continual “discussions” with my family regarding my leftist views and how they do not in their minds “align” with Biblical teachings. Many times, my husband and I feel alone in our feelings and because of this have distanced ourselves from Church (we attend maybe 2x per month). I am so happy to see that we are not alone. I have been following you and your family's journey for years, and pray continually for your sweet family and son. Thank you for eloquently expressing how I feel. I am glad we are not alone.
Wondeful, brave post. I think many Christians have been clouded by religious leaders who have weighed in where they shouldn't and excused the inexcusable.
I am Christian, though not Evangelical, and I have been through a similar period of questioning. The denomination I grew up in wasn't terribly political and as long as I skipped “right to life” Sunday in January, I wouldn't encounter politically charged topics. That began to change over the years, and after one sermon in particular that was anti-gay marriage (a visitor next to us walked out which broke my heart) I just couldn't identify anymore. And then the head of our denomination testified before Congress against accessible birth control even though our denomination doesn't oppose birth control, which was the nail in the coffin. We switched to a denomination that fit our beliefs better. And maybe that sounds counterintuitive to religion-shop, but I don't think the Bible is black and white at all. Now I go to a place where I can learn and be challenged but not fundamentally disagree with so much. My husband is so disillusioned with Christian-politics, he can barely stomach a church we agree with. It's a sad state of affairs. Thank you for writing this.