Religious Confessional

I've off and on mentioned my experiences with the church, specifically being raised in the church and DH's family being church-goers. The following is basically my story of how I went from devout believer to cynic and why I don't regret where my experiences have taken me this far.

I was in the church ever since I can remember, non-denominational, evangelical- baptist roots. I never knew of a time where I did not know of Jesus and for this I am both thankful and regretful. We didn't have a video camera growing up but we had a recorder and my sister and I would frequently put on shows and radio programs featuring us singing church-songs. It's all I knew. Seriously. Listening back to those tapes I must have only listed to that kind of music because that was all I ever sang.

I was indoctrinated at a young age and expected to 'feel' what I had been taught. I never did. I remember my mom sobbing because of what Jesus did for ME and how I wasn't emotional about it. How could I be? I was barely in grade-school. I walked the walk, I talked the talk. I took part in 'slut-shaming' because that's how I was raised, I wore boy clothes because women's shorts were too short. I felt scared and insecure about my body because it was merely a 'stumbling block' to others and not my own. There was an incredible detachment from self there- your body is God's temple- not your own to do with as you will. Instead of instilling respect in this way, this teaching only instilled fear. Shame. Regret. For what? For being human. For being a female. For having body parts that caused men to 'sin'. For being me.

My personal religion turned to cynicism during the times I was in contact with the NIL's. I saw how bad religious people could be, I saw how they treated victims of abuse and encouraged unhealthy levels of contact between the abused and the abuser. This was not something I believed in.

There are exceptions, I appreciate honest and true Christians who mean what they say and are- above all- there for people more vulnerable than themselves. Truly, they are rare.

I snort when I hear someone offer to pray for another hurting person, and then go on to forget. I believe in God, but don't believe in the power of prayer to do anything but put off decision making.

Another thing I've struggled with is retribution theology- the thought that good deeds are treated with good blessings and bad deeds are punished with hardships. Being poor, as in one-car, living paycheck to paycheck, not being in debt but not living above our means- has really opened my eyes to this belief. Rarely do I see churches meeting their communities need for food or clothes for children. Most often than not, these ministries come from Catholic or non-Christian organizations. I've missed meals while people tell me they are praying my husband finds a better job. Thanks but no thanks. Due to my efforts and not your prayers- my son goes on blissfully unaware because of the sacrifices I make for him.

I'm still trying to find out who God is. I believe in him. I don't know what to make of him. Falling hard on my butt due to the Christians in my life who abuse and neglect- I don't know where I will end up in the end. Betwixt and between.

Comments

  1. Hi Grace, I've been reading your blog for awhile and feel like now is a good time to "de-lurk". I'm a Christian with a similar upbringing and experiences to yours so I have a lot of empathy for your situation. When my husband and I were first married and up until our oldest started kindergarten we also did without many things, only had one car and tried to stay out of debt. Things are starting to change for us but it's been many years of hard work and trusting God to lead us. I wanted to let you know that for us, prayer is a comfort. God already knows everything about us, all our needs, worries and joys. I truly believe that prayer is for building relationship and trust with him. It has helped us to get on with the hard stuff in life. I'm not going to pretend I know much - in fact the older I get the less I seem to know - LOL! Anyway, I just wanted to be an internet friend to you if you'd like. Many of the things you're struggling with I struggle with too - you're not alone. If I could, I'd put my arm around your shoulders and give you a big squeeze! And encourage you to keep up the good work - from everything I've read I can tell you really love your husband and son!
    DD

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    1. Aw, thank you DD! You're very kind :) I'd love to be friends!

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