Sunday, January 22, 2012
A Letter to My Friends
Hello, poor neglected little blog. :) A lot's been going on in my life lately that's made me completely neglect my writing here. The biggest: baby number 4 is on the way and making my life more miserable than I've ever experienced. I know that he/she will be worth it, but for now, puking, sleeping, and trying to take decent care of my other children is consuming all my time. Hopefully I'll get the urge to write something interesting one of these days. Until then, I thought I'd post this letter I recently sent out to all my friends and family on Facebook. Hopefully it will be an encouragement to you all and help you in your own journey toward authentic, genuine life. It was my biggest "coming out" moment yet. And so freeing!
A Letter to My Friends
There is a lot of angst among my friends these days, in real life and the communites I frequent online. The problem: me, apparently. Many people have expressed concern about my spiritual walk. They seem to see me on a slippery slope to the hot place. (Or, if they're Reformed, a slipperly slope to skidding into heaven smelling like smoke. Wood, hay and stubble and all that. Like I might be the exception to the eternal security of believers. ;)) I hear the rumblings and rumors. "We don't know about that Darcy....she's flirting with apostacy or something." I hear words like "heresy" thrown around a lot. I'm getting a lot of "concerned" messages by people who think they understand enough to judge the state of my soul.
But let me be real here for a moment. Let me give you a glimpse into my heart and my journey. Then if you still wish to judge me, go right ahead. At least you'll be getting your information from the source and not rumors or fear of the unknown.
I am not throwing away my faith. Not gonna happen. As much as I've been angry at God, have questioned Him and questioned my beliefs, one thing remains: I know Him. He is the constant in my life of insecurites and chaos. I believe Jesus is the Word, the Logos, of God. I have many friends who have rejected Jesus or God or Christianity but that's their journey. It isn't mine so stop judging me based on your fear that that will be my journey as well. It is an unfounded fear.
I have been, in the last 10 years, completely turning every belief I was raised with up-side down and inside out. I have thrown out so many beliefs because let's be honest here. I was taught some crappy stuff as a kid and a teen. I believed a lot of stupidity back then. I take full responsibility for every wrong belief I held, and it's because I take full responsibility that I no longer hold most of those beliefs. This is not a personal thing against my parents, teachers, or friends that still hold many of those beliefs. It is just my personal journey of examining everything, throwing out the bad, and trying desparately to hold onto the good. Do not be offended if I throw out a belief that you are still holding onto.
Can you listen to my heart, my friends, for a moment? I've lost faith in church as we know it. I'm disillusioned with American Christianity. I value relationship over religion and religion has been ruining relationships for me. I walk into a church and come out feeling like something is very wrong. Conservative churches are too uptight, too rigid, too fear and shame-based. Modern churches are very fake. I don't do fake. But within these church structures are good people, awesome people, and I'm trying to figure out how to be in relationship with these people without conforming to the insitution of "church". Because that institution is killing my soul. The church was always meant to be an organic body of people who are defined and recognized by their love for others. Not a building where we go to "do church". Not a mission statement or a deacon board or a congregational meeting or budgets or programs or membership classes or the perfect worship team. I walk into most churches and I see a business. I am not satisfied with that. If you are, great. That's where you're at and I'm glad you're happy. Don't judge me because I'm not.
I now hold a lot of so-called "unorthodox" Christian beliefs. Yet they're not really that unorthodox. They're been around and held by fellow believers for centuries. I don't know what people are so afraid of. The three main beliefs I hold that get people's panties in a wad these days are Preterism, Egalitarianism, and Old Earth Creationism. I've held to Preterism for a good 12 years now. So don't act like it's some new kick I'm on. I no longer believe in male headship or hierarchal authority structure in God's economy. Men are women are completely equal in God's kingdom, in position and function. This riles a lot of peole but I don't get why. Why should it matter to you that I believe women are free to use the gifts God gave us? How does that threaten you enough to proclaim me on a slipperly slope to hell? Really? I'm no extreme feminist. I don't believe women are better than men. I believe in true equality. I believe that is what Jesus came to restore after mankind messed it up so badly. Does it really threaten you that my husband and I respect each other as equals? That neither of us seeks to be "over" the other? That we're teaching our kids not to conform to the confines that people want to place them under? That we use the Golden Rule and the "one-another" passages of the Bible under which to operate our relationship? If you want to have a "head" and a "submissive" in your relationship, that's your choice. We chose differently.
So I no longer believe the world is 6,000 years old. I interpret Genesis different than you, as have many of our fellow-believers for centuries. Only recently have christians decided this was an affront to the gospel. Only recently have Christians decided that one is saved by Jesus plus a belief in a young earth. I reject that. But if you reject my status as "true christian" because I think the world is millions of years old, that is not my problem. I will still love you. I will still desire relationship with you. Because I don't think it matters whether the earth is 6,000 or 6,000,000,000 years old. YOU, my friends, matter more to me than this.
There's a lot of people like me out there. We're the ones condemned by the church for questioning the status quo. We're the ones who seem lost, who often feel lost, because we can't reconcile what we've seen and experienced with cheap Christian "answer's" and cliches. Because our Christian friends are more concerned about their religion than our relationship. We are branded "rebels" and looked at as threats. The very worst thing you can do for us is to judge our hearts and dismiss our questions. To tell us we "just don't like what God has to say" and are just "rebelling against Him". If you want the questioning ones to run as far away from you as possible, go ahead and do these things. But if you want to restore our dwindling faith in Christianity and strengthen our faith in God, then come alongside us and just love. Trust that God will finish what He started and you don't have to be the Holy Spirit in our lives. He's got that covered. You can help, or you can hinder.
I don't pretend to know it all or have it all together. I will never pretend to be something I'm not. I think what matters more than these issues that people are using to reject me is love. You can know all doctrine and understand all mysteries, but if you have no love none of that matters. I would never question your salvation based on whether you believe women and men are equals or the earth is young or old. I would never reject your friendship or treat you like you're ignorant. All I ask is that you do the same for me.
You people know me. Many of you have known me for a very long time. You've watched me grow up and mature, get married, have kids, and walk my journey. Some of you have walked it with me. You know me well enough to know that every decision I make was carefully thought out and considered. You know I don't just wake up one day and decide to believe one thing or another. Give me the benefit of the doubt that I know where I'm going and what I believe and can defend those beliefs just as well as you can defend yours. Stop telling me I'm "throwing out scripture" or "cherry-picking" because that just shows your ignorance of me and your fear of what you don't understand. If you want to know why I believe what I believe, stop name-calling and judging and just ask me. If you are more concerned about my soul than your paradigm that is threatened by my beliefs, then you will care enough to ask me. But if you'd rather just judge my heart and condemn my soul, or walk away from relationship with me, that's your choice. I am sorry for you, but it's your choice.
I love you all. If you're reading this, it's because I've formed a relationship with you and respect you. I know that most of you care about me very much. So I want to tell you all once and for all.....don't worry about me. I am passionate about my relationship with Jesus, I will never stop pursuing truth, and I will fight for the relationships I have with the people I love. I will be gentle with you on your journey and love you for who you are. Can you do the same for me? If you're truly concerned for my soul, can you come to me and talk about it? Can we talk through these things without judging each other's walk? Can you be my friend instead of playing god in my life?
Under much grace,
"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand." Rom. 14:4
"Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." 2 Tim. 1:12