My transparency 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 +When I was a Christian, I looked at others with a sadness. I believed that if they just had the knowledge that *I* had, they’d be okay. +When I was a Christian, I thought of myself as a savior. If they could just hear me, speaking for God, they could have a relationship that changed them. +When I was a Christian, I truly pitied anyone who didn’t think like me. I was in full belief that my ideals (or my tribes’ ideals) were the only righteous ones. +When I was a Christian, I operated from a place of unintentional arrogance. It was normal for me to run into someone and immediately ponder in my mind, “Bless them, they’ve had it rough, is there a sin they are committing, leading them into these troubles?” +When I was a Christian, I met people with a silent judgement, but fake understanding. While I outwardly displayed the fruits of the Spirit, inwardly, I was pridefully attempting to encourage others to be like *me, therefore more like god. +When I was a Christian, I loved making sure others knew where I stood. I approached conversations with locked beliefs, unwilling to meet someone else where they were, but with the full hope of swaying them to agree with *me* +When I was a Christian, all I needed was my echo chamber. So long as I had my believing friends and pulpit pals echoing back to me what I understood about god, then I’d never actually need to hear anyone else out. +When I was a Christian I prided myself in speaking “truth” to everyone, even if I could sense they were uncomfortable. My brain was actually driven by this tension, to hurl my knowledge louder because these were the folks most in need of my knowledge, I could lead to the saving they didn’t know they needed. +When I was a Christian, I made a spectacle out of my childrens’ obedience/disobedience to me and God. I praised their attempts at witnessing EVEN THOUGH I was encouraging their false ego, even though I was inherently teaching an us/them worldview. +When I was a Christian, I doted on my kids as they *led others to Christ, and I began to cultivate in them, the same echo chamber friend system I had partaken in. +When I was a Christian, my goal was that my children would stand apart for the Lord. No, not they they would see the face of God in others, but mainly that they would see God in their own reflection and their peers in Sunday School. +When I was a Christian, I felt an arrogant sorrow for those kids who weren’t in Sunday school, oh how different their futures could be, if they had a mother like me… +When I was a Christian, I could not love people exactly as they were. I always had small internal hopes for the ways *I could rub off on them. +When I was a Christian, I operated with an ego so large, that I mourned the souls of those not like me, therefore not like God. I literally was a Pharisee by default. +When I was a Christian, I got high on church, I got high on Jesus, dopamine levels through the roof with 4 part harmonies or repeated chords.
But now, now that I am not a Christian, I’ve loved from the pits of my own despair. Now that I am not a Christian, I’ve loved with the kind of love that changes ME, literally reshaping my marrow. Now that I am not a Christian, those whom I love might change—— but not because of my swaying, not because of *my example, but because they are safe and FREEEEEEEE to be unconditionally themselves in my presence. Now that I am not a Christian, I look in the eyes of the humans around me and believe in my whole heart that they, *we* are perfectly perfect and not in need of saving, unless it’s the saving that time spent inside the metaphorical grave gives us. Now that I am not a Christian, I understand that there’s a glorious darkness inside that grave. And that this is not something you can prompt, that it’s not something an echo chamber can provide. That it is not something you can indoctrinate into your children. It isn’t in a church and it’s only alluded to through metaphor in scripture. Now that I am not a Christian, I recognize the quiet of the wilderness, the silence of the mountainside, the belly of the whale—— that is where the holy sacred work gets done, not the pulpit. Now that I am not a Christian, I run into hurting people and I sit with them in my own hurt, I am no longer mentally slightly above them. Now that I am not a Christian, I recognize that in order to eliminate our ego, in order to operate in humility, we must let go of everything we were taught and re-learn what and who we actually are. Now that I am not a Christian, people pity *my children, they’ve been proselytized and told that hell awaits them by their churchgoing witnessing peers— They reply, “oh you mean, Gehenna- no way, they turned that into a garden a LOOONG time ago, wanna see pictures, it’s worth a google” and they walk on. Now that I am not a Christian, I find myself explaining to my children in full compassion the way indoctrination works and how their peers are truly fearful for their souls, that it’s not a burn (play on words😜) Now that I am not a Christian, I have daughters who come to me tearfully, longing to be friends with ANYONE without an agenda, anyone who can fully love them as they are, without the line drawn. Now that I am not a Christian, the tables have turned, and I am not in the Cliques, I am not wise-council, I am not even invited to the table without an agenda. I know the hurt of being “just another neighbor, unworthy of hearing.” But now that I am not a Christian, there is no limit to my neighbor. There is no limit to what *I* can learn from those that I once set out to save. Now that I am not a Christian, *they* are saving me. Now that I am not a Christian, I sit on the outside of the gates of those who profess to follow Christ and yet, I am free to love like him more than I ever did———when I was a Christian…
At this point in my life, church has me jacked up——-The role that patriarchy has played in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and its dominion over the world is indignant and needs to be explored by not only women, but men. If you practice ANY of these religions and have not done the hardy work of understanding how patriarchy has helped in silencing, erasing, and controlling women- this is a call to do just that.
Women complicit in the pain and wounds that patriarchy subjugates on other women are abundant, especially those who participate in these religions (many religious women unintentionally support their own cages). Therefore, we must do this hard work alone, because sadly, folks are too comfortable to make changes that can benefit women.
So, let me speak some truth to the nature of the feminine wisdom. For far too long, women have been made to carry the burden of the Eden Myth. But are you aware that in the earliest of days the serpent was a symbol for that of feminine wisdom and goddesses? Yes, snakes were thought of in relation to the innate divinity that women alone captured. Can you see the beginning of patriarchy unfold, as the writer of Genesis uses Eve and a serpent (her own internal wisdom) to be the fall of man?? Even WAY back then, finding a way to pin sin, death, and darkness on the shoulders of women ultimately leading an entire world view to deem women in need of a man’s guidance. How utterly TERRIFYING, that such a fear of womanly wisdom lingered even then….
Follow me, because of such ideals embedded in “holy” scriptures women have been in roles of submission and servitude for damn near all of modern humanity. When we look to the Bible which was written by Men for Men, we have to look HARD to find the female voice, because it’s almost non-existent. Even our modern hymns and liturgies, prayers, and creeds flow with male pronouns. This is not fair. And yet women are so numb to it, they hardly notice….
But, enter Jesus who was mostly egalitarian by nature. Women chose to even fund his travels. After his death, women were full participants in leading, teaching, guiding all-yes-even men. It stayed that way for close to 200 years. Until Paul’s epistle of 2nd Timothy makes the rounds. It is at this point, based on Paul-a recovering fundamentalist Jew, whose entire world view was wrapped up in women being 2nd class citizens and frequently abused and mistreated, shares in his letter that women should keep silent, neither teach-preach-or lead men. Paul never met Jesus, Paul did not ever see that Jesus had been equal in his treatment of all. And yet we apply his words to our modern day world-view, BACK UP- Paul!
Then on the timeline of Christianity, things get political and ‘Following Jesus’ for women, takes a completely submissive role. From church councils all the way to home worship, women would become the behind the scenes handmaids. I cringe when I read the words the Church Fathers spoke over us… but here we are perpetuating a religion that doesn’t care to even speak kindly about us.
Because of this, most religious women have cut themselves out from the voice of the Divine Feminine. ‘She’ will try to rouse us, shining light on glimpses of patriarchy in our own lives, but we silence her. Often, women don’t go looking for their Voice as they are used to the roles patriarchy has established for them and because it is believed woman should be non-confrontational. Ever noticed how men and women who implore patriarchal roles dislike powerful and vocal women??
There are sleeping women- those who will not even attempt to believe there is anything wrong with or more to the story than what we currently live out. There are those who are tossing and turning, wrestling with the reality that they hold their own worth and wisdom. And there are women who are awake—SCREAMING to let us partake in EVERY TASK that we so desire with BLATANT EQUALITY, we have found our inherent voice and our worth—-the voice of our Feminine Ancestors rattling the very marrow of our bones.
I ask you now to please, please do this work, the work required to dismantle these norms in your own world, not only for yourselves but our children. Sue Monk Kidd once said, “It’s a peculiar thing, isn’t it? How women can prefer the safety of cages to the hazards of freedom.”
Until all can look at women and serpents and think, “Beautiful Goddesses full of the Wisdom of the Ages” and not “lust, temptation, sin, death,” women will forever be in cages.
Thanks for reading, friends. We must STOP allowing religion to pit woman against herself, against her own value, worth, and wisdom. Allow yourself to see it for what it is. And, if you partake in a structure that props up patriarchy as a norm, please invest in extensive research, although it will potentially unravel your world view. This is the work that MUST be done. We cannot settle for comfortable—- we deserve more. We deserve Truth.
💜🖤💜 ***This was written based on the notes I took while reading, Dance of the Dissident Daughter, by Sue Monk Kidd—— required reading, Friends.
One of the struggles I face most after leaving the Christian faith is an inability to quiet my mind’s desire to unhinge the religion. I so wish to pick each and every part out that damaged me, and announce to the world-how we can fix it, I so badly want to SCREAM, “You have google at your fingertips, Christian people—— research the shit out of this——you are DAMAGING your thinking children, and you won’t know it til it’s too late!”
Imagine one of those billboards that stream their message flashing from left to right. That is precisely what my thoughts look like running through my mind. And what’s strange is that I’m up and about, going and doing, but ALWAYS in these two places. My head is invested in whatever my hands are doing, but the flashing billboard is zipping by, sometimes slow, but usually fast. When it’s rapid firing, I notice that I’m tense, my jaw is clenched, and I have to force myself to loosen up. So much of this is based on the fact that my subconscious is hurting and angry. The systems at work inside Christianity are so degrading and I was raised in them from birth. I torment myself at times by mentally listing the ways it warped me, here are a few things I believed and in the parentheses is the reality:
You are worthy of hell, (but there’s not one)
Your natural state is sinful, (I’m actually innately good)
You must ask forgiveness for Every Sin, (harm no one and there is no sin)
Women caused the fall of man, (Patriarchal folktale)
Women are weaker minded, (FALSE)
Women need leadership, (FALSE)
Women must submit, (FALSE)
Women can’t teach men- only children, (laughably false)
Your body isn’t yours-it’s your dad or husband’s, it’s a temple, (She is fully mine)
You can’t trust yourself, (Always Always trust yourself)
You can’t trust your questions, (ask and research EVERY question for yourself)
Women have roles in the home that men shouldn’t, (Patriarchal BS)
You must not divorce unless there is an affair or physical abuse—-but really you should stay to work it out… (Get out the moment you realize they aren’t who you thought they were.)
Besides the basic false teachings of the church, the folktales that were told to me as fact, as God’s word, that I’ve had to research and tear down the walls of, I’ve also got these corrupt brain hi-jackers, that were embedded in me, that aren’t as easy to silence as a mythical Bible story. I know they aren’t true—-but I believed with my whole heart every bit of it, and that means for most of my life, I believed I was not good. I was a child, believing that I was innately in my core, bad. That is some tough shit to recover from. So the flashing lights stream on, playing over and over. This is simply me trying to pinpoint where the pain is coming from, me trying to undo the abusive talk of a subconscious that was herself, abused.. Sometimes I just wonder who I could’ve been had these systems not been at play. I mourn and lament for her…
Recently while listening to Richard Dawkins’, “The God Delusion,” I had to pause and let some of his words wash over me—they were cleansing, if you will.
I won’t quote him directly, but here’s the jist:
**There can be indoctrinated children, and there can be children of Christian parents, but there are zero Christian children.**
Obviously, a few years ago I would have wanted to battle back and proclaim that MY children were believers and students of the Holy book. I would’ve scrambled to find the flaw in his statement—- but deep in my noggin, I would’ve been arguing, not with Dawkins, but with my own indoctrination.
As much as I would’ve wanted to believe my kids WERE Christian kids, the truth was—every belief they possessed came directly from me or the Bible stories I’d allowed them to learn. Sure they knew scripture, but how did they learn it? –Me, a curriculum I’d chosen, a class I’d taken them to… Sure they knew the prayers, but how did they know who to pray to and the format of recitation? Me! These weren’t things they would’ve ever approached on their own. They were simply babies who wanted to PLAY! But my kids were my echo chambers, they were simply regurgitating by beliefs right back out at me. It’s scary to think how deeply I had sculpted their entire world view and reality. Shits terrifying, man. Wheeeew. Breathe. Even scarier is the way some folks never realize what they are doing….
Fortunately for me now, as a deconstructed exvangelical, when I read Dawkins’ words, I was in complete and total agreement. It was actually freeing to hear someone else saying what I knew from my own childhood and in raising my kids.
Every single attempt at raising Godly kids is a form of indoctrination. From reciting scripture, creeds, and prayers at young ages, to attending weekly services, to routines of the home. Every time a parent intentionally places their belief system into the mind of their child, they are indoctrinating that child. Every time a child declares they are saved or that they’ve had a God experience, it is simply a replication of what they’ve witnessed from adults around them or is a fictitious response to hormones released in emotional situations. Again, a fabrication of that child’s reality set up by someone else.
Children are born religion free. Again, when a baby is born, their brain has zero knowledge of any religion. Yet, they are divine. They come to us with an awe-struck curiosity for the mystical experiences of nature. They are bright eyed and eager to explore, they worship in the form of wonder. Wouldn’t it be grand to approach guiding them, with that same joy of learning that they implore. When THEY ask about God, faith, sins, the devil, as parents we show excitement and present them with timelines of all the major world religions, allowing them to see for themselves the bigger picture. There is NO indoctrination in that method. And, there is no right answer, therefore no pressure to conform out of fear.
I remember the fear that being a Christian places within parents. The “their blood is on your hands,” approach to training up children. Hell, I pulled my kids from school so I COULD INDOCTRINATE them to think like me.
I remember feeling afraid when they “sinned.” I remember crying out to God that he would guard their hearts. I spent literal nights awake trying to envision a way to best teach them so they’d know God’s Love….
But now I see, if you look at your child as a fallen being to be saved, you’ve lost the chance at letting the magic of life teach them. Their own Life is their best teacher. You are cutting them off from their own flow when you’ve set the default state of being as a religious one. They have very little chance at growing beyond that default setting, and for many Christians that is their hope.
How sad. But that’s what you get when generation after generation sits in the church pew and never does the work of thinking. You get uneducated worldviews, partnered with indoctrinated beliefs, sculpted into little robotic beings, passing off their ideals as the ONLY right way, all the way into their adulthood, and this then repeats itself with their children. And it’s ALL misinformation, but they live from default because it’s safe and requires no conscious effort to learn new ways and new information. It’s frankly, an irresponsible way to live.
For me and for my children, I did the work of reprogramming my default settings. They will not have to deconstruct, they will not have to “go astray” or “leave the fold.” Together, we are free to let Wonder, Curiosity, and Life be our teachers. Please join me in ending the brain-washing of our youth-they deserve better. They deserve to be the joyful explorers that they were literally born being. Let us, as adults, give our children the space they need to be here, free from your default settings.