Let me preface this by saying some amazing humble men of God kindly and lovingly told me they could not support me any longer for my beliefs/ or questions surrounding those beliefs&convictions. I was hoping to be ordained with an amazing denomination, but I know I will not be, and the leaders do as well. Again, these are godly men. And let me say that I am not at my home church anymore, because I can’t answer questions like I used to. I love my home church, and my old pastor. We know each other. He’s a godly dude, too. I just can not pray for people or serve on any ministry or small group with the questions that I currently have.
Through this and the past three years, I have been extremely humbled as I have courted the emergent movement at night, while maintaining a semi-conservative relationship during the day. I do not see this as being unfaithful, but more along the lines of Nicodemus sneaking out to see Jesus. This movement of radical grace intrigued me. It sounded like the God who grabbed me from the clutches of death that I experienced when I was dying. I could no longer tolerate this mentality of earning your godliness that I saw perpetuated in many churches. I would double over and cry through sermons that seemed to misinterpret scripture in exchange with twentieth century understandings of churchianity.
I used to be a little bit of a heresy hunter myself. After my first year at Southeastern University, I had a little bit of knowledge and I wanted someone to get past my drug-addict past to see me, the new minister of God. Except, I went about everything in the wrong way. I was very combative to what i assume were cults or factions of the true faith. I let bitterness pump through my heart and I went head strong against my father who was in the “Word of Faith” facet of Pentecostalism. After all he started to believe in Universalism around 2006 when other Bishops came out and said they believed that Christ would save the whole earth. I vehemently attacked my father, using my new 5000 dollar words and everything I could muster from my theological education. I also attacked anyone I perceived as being legalistic and judgemental. Yes, I was the fundamentalist who wanted to argue.
and I attacked out of that. There was no love. no praying for my enemies. No hoping to see anyone else as a person made in God’s image. I felt like I was a prophet and I had to attack the religious system and tell it, it was wrong. But all that was based on hurt. and then I dated this guy who was hurt three times more than me. He too was a heresy hunter. wanted everyone to listen to his preaching because he had it right. I saw my disgusting selfish pride in him. He taught me more about me than I cared to learn. I broke up with him. I wanted to break up with this part of me. So i began to pray dangerous prayers like “rid me of myself”, “make me like Jesus”, “humble me”, “tare down my pride”, and “break me so you can use me.”
God worked in my heart to remove offense. One by one, I walked in forgiveness towards people. I also would encounter others from other backgrounds who helped me heal. I felt so hurt by one lady, every time I saw her I wanted to punch her in the face. And then God healed that. I forgave her. I got over offense. She even would speak accusation at me still to this day, and does every time she has the chance, but all i see is a hurting woman who loves God but can’t get beyond that hurt. piety drapes her viciousness and hides daggers. But daggers conceal hurt.
It was less than two months ago when things clicked. Sitting near leaders at the Wildgoose conference I began to think about forgiveness and offense. I came home and heard a sermon by an amazing woman of God on the subject. Like someone bent down near the bricks and grass, turned the spicket: I was flushed by water that renewed my soul. Suddenly, I felt like I could perceive my intentions before speaking. I knew the motives of my own heart. God’s love had healed me, and I no longer wanted to hurt anyone- even those who I perceived had hurt me. It was over. I felt so free.
Within a month’s time, I was in trouble ever other week for something I had said on Facebook about loving the LGBT community. So I met up with my home pastor who was also a presbyter in my denomination. I spoke about my convictions through tears and in humility. He told me in love that my convictions would prevent me from serving in ministry. He told me I wouldn’t be allowed to stay in my denomination. I was ok with that. I just wanted him to know I loved him and loved people. I didn’t mind the communal shame. I really did not even want to convince him of my beliefs. I was no longer worried. I really felt like God had given me an identity that could not be shaken, even by the loss of community or approval from those who I desperately wanted to see me as more than a rebel, a drug user, or a sinner. And I loved my old church. I grieved for days. They are such godly people. But I don’t have all the answers anymore. I am not sure about hell I mean, I know there is a trash pit somewhere outside the city. I know Jesus referenced it a lot. I am not sure anymore that people who love God outside of Christendom are going to hell- actually, I never believed that to begin with. I have met devout God-fearers who aren’t christians and I am fine to say I believe they are children of God just like I. I really do not know what Jesus meant when he said I am the way, the truth, and the life. I do not read scripture as speaking out against monogamous queer relationships. I do see it speaking out against lust, a lack of hospitality, injustice, rape, arrogance, gluttony and pride. I don’t believe that speaking in tongues is the first evidence of being filled with the holy spirit. I am not sure about a rapture, it just doesn’t make sense, but I am sure that God will renew the earth. I am sure that you can drink and smoke, and it might make you smell like hell, but doesn’t have to be abstained from. I really don’t know a whole lot else But Jesus Christ, bent time and space to come to purgatory, hell, the afterlife, the grave, whatever to rescue me from the death that covered me after I had an overdose and I told him my life was his. I am following Jesus. and his teachings. And I am going to love Queens, Atheists, Bahai, Muslims, Jews, transgendered, Bikers, Goths, Lesbians, thespians, Seminarians, Pagans, Christians, and Christ-followers as Much as I can. and that is why I am not fitting into most churches.