Voyeur

It was really interesting looking at the #thingsonlychristianwomenhear discussions on Twitter today. Why was I reading that in the first place?

a) Because I was procrastinating and
b) Because even though I don’t go to church anymore and am probably a godless heathen in the eyes of several people who care about me–I’m still a voyeur. I like to check in with Matthew Paul Turner and Rachel Held Evans. I also read National Review and Christianity Today so that I can at least try to understand some things.

A lot of the experiences that women shared in that thread were funny/sad. Some were horrifying. There was a lot of kindness and support in many of the feeds.

I also saw a lot of the following types of responses from both men and women:

“Look at these evil liberals attacking Christianity” and

“Wow, the way you’re focusing on negativity is really divisive. We’re called to unify” and

“Well then you were in a bad church, my church would never do anything like that, that’s not widespread, it was your church and only your church.”

There are a lot of reasons why I left. Those are some of them. Did every single Christian I’ve ever met act like that? No! Certainly not. But those are attitudes I encountered again and again. The idea that anything critical is an attack, and the idea that by speaking out about a problem, YOU’RE the problem, and the idea that anything bad that happened to you is an isolated incident.

There’s an experience that I was repeatedly advised not to be open about. Why? Because it might have backed up negative things people already thought about Christianity. Because it might have influenced somebody who was on their way to getting saved and then because of me, they didn’t. Because that was focusing on negativity. Because I needed to be better at forgiveness. Because it’s not a widespread problem. Because sure, it’s really unfortunate that this happened, but remember, #NotAllChurches.

Please let me be clear, this is not an attack on your faith if you’re a Christian. If you’re still reading, it means you’re probably someone who’ s take would be of value to me. d I don’t think you’re The Enemy and I’m also not in, like, an Athiest Coven. Primarily because I’m not an Athiest and also because that’s not a thing. Why am I still talking? Because for some reason, I really want Christians to Understand.

I can’t speak for everyone who leaves or falls away, but I can assure you that I didn’t wake up one morning and say “I hate Jesus. I’m not a Christian anymore.” That’s not true at all. And I didn’t get lured away by something evil and shiny. I did not think, “You know what I want to do instead of going to church? DRUGS!”

I got really tired. I got really worn down. Maybe I allowed myself to feel that way because my faith wasn’t strong enough, or was never real in the first place. It was the seed that fell on the stony ground and made a good showing for a while, but not long. Those attitudes I mention were not in the hearts of the people closest to me. They were just…so big. They were All Around. I couldn’t remember a time without them.

Those ideas can exist anywhere, and everywhere, and they do. It’s not unique to Christianity: “any criticism is an attack” and “just stop talking about it and it won’t be a problem.”

I guess what keeps me up at night is that sometimes, I feel like I take a step back in the direction I came from, and peer in, because I am hoping it will have changed and it will be different.

I keep doing this.

I have been doing it for years.

That probably won’t change.

Schadenfreude

So…there are these headlines today about a man being deported who is the husband of a woman who voted for Trump. She didn’t think it would happen, she only thought it would be “bad people,” she voted because of the economy, whatever.
I see a lot of gleeful responses and while I’m not surprised, it feels wrong. I’m truthfully very vindictive and reactive by nature. I swim against that current daily. I don’t want to be a person who’s glad that some kids don’t have their dad with them now. I’m not glad those kids don’t have their dad with them. This isn’t “Oh, we have to completely understand and empathize with everybody on every decision,” It’s “A bad thing happened to a family made up of individual people, and it’s nothing to celebrate.”
This woman – I don’t know her life. Do I disagree with her? Yes. I think she made a choice that was at best uninformed and probably more along the lines of “MY family won’t be affected, so I don’t care.”
I don’t think that we have to forgive everything or forget everything, but I think we have to allow individual people room to change their minds and accept that it’s an actual thing that can and does happen.
Everyone in my life already knows about my Great and Enduring Love for VP Forever In My Heart, Joe Biden. It’s not just because he’s funny, it’s primarily because he’s a strong advocate for preventing violence against women, and for cancer research. Issues that are close to his heart because of specific things that happened in his personal life.
Sometimes, that is what it takes. I don’t love directing anyone to research Joe Biden’s involvement in the Anita Hill hearings, but–I mean it’s the truth. It happened. It’s bad. He was on the wrong side of history. He failed Anita Hill.
He changed. I believe it’s genuine.
It can happen.
I appreciate that nobody in my life actually pointed out to me that before 2014, I never gave one thought to myriad of problems with health insurance as it is in our country. I didn’t think about it at all before I had cancer. I didn’t think about it until it affected me directly. I wish I was a person who thought about it before and cared about it deeply. But I wasn’t. My change in that area came about for selfish reasons. It became a big deal to me when it was a big deal for me.
All this to say, I already see the pile-on, implying that since this woman didn’t seem to care before it affected her, she doesn’t get to care after. I get it, but that’s not going to help. What if, because awareness was forced on her in one area, awareness comes to her in other areas?

Now, she’s not gotten it YET. She says “I wish I didn’t vote at all.” That’s…not actually it, but I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe she’ll get there.

That’s a really white thing for me to say. I can feel really strongly about the racism element, but it won’t affect me directly, and it never will, so I suppose what I’m hoping is for other white people to give people like this woman time to think about it and to dialogue compassionately. It’s like how men have to help other men not be misogynist, white people need to help other white people realize that racism is not over.
O’Reilly can go ahead and spontaneously combust, though.