Should I stay or should I go?
This lesson addresses any institutional relationships that may be doing more harm than good. The work I did here came directly out of the questions we were asked about faith earlier in the week. These are answers to those questions and address the sort of stay I am putting on making a final decision about my relationship to my original faith community. . .
I’m not entirely certain I made the transition from old tapes to faith institutions. Most of my old messages came from my family of origin. I think I just gave them more authority than any religion or church. Though I grew up in a small West Virginia town, I managed to experience diversity in faith traditions. It wasn’t until I was old enough to interact with my own faith on a denominational level that it gave me any real stress. Ever since I have gotten one of two very extreme messages. I have either been completely appreciated and welcomed or entirely discouraged and diminished.
This year is a pivotal one for the denomination that I was raised a part of. Like many others, we are revisiting discussions concerning sexuality. And I am no longer willing to whisper politely, much less be silent. I don’t think, until the end of this year, that I will be making any grand decisions about my own membership and future leadership.
What I will say:
To not include anyone in leadership positions or major life rituals on the basis of their gender, race or sexuality is without a doubt against everything that I believe about God and humanity. There’s some pretty strong Christian theology behind it as well, but at this point, I deem it irrelevant for my own journey through this matters intricacies.
If I chose not to belong to my denomination or participate formally, my entire history would not be erased or negated, and ethnically and culturally speaking, I still plan on “owning” my place in the church’s history.
The area where I was raised is perhaps the most conservative (to the point of being out of line with their own “beliefs”, oddly enough) but I am still claiming them and demanding that they embrace what they helped make . . . ME.
I am willing to speak all these things to them, and as a result, feel the freedom of flight– even if eventually the flying is away from the larger group.
I have studied, struggled for, and loved this institution every day of my life. In some cases and at some events, my heart still flutters wildly in the presence of those who have done the same.
My silence regarding my own journey has not helped anyone– despite the fact that my training as a spiritual director, arts therapist and expert on personality and vocation have. I have shared knowledge and need now to find a way to infuse it with my own story.