I was raised quasi-Christian. We celebrated Christmas, and my mom let the local Baptist Church have temporary custody of me for a week every summer for Vacation Bible School. We didn’t say grace, but my mom would whip out a bible quote if she wanted to snark. I felt somewhat comfortable with my sense of spirituality, although I wasn’t so thrilled with the company.
I grew up in an affluent neighborhood, although we were dirt poor. I had a lot of life experiences with the Sunday Christians…you know, the ones that go to church on Sunday, but gossip, bitch, and make snide remarks about the help for the rest of the week. Needless to say, I didn’t really feel welcome at any of the churches in our area; mostly, I just felt pitied as they gave me colored sugar water and cheap candy. I wasn’t surprised many years later to find out that the pastor was having a long standing affair (at least 15 years) with the church secretary. Strike one.
Then there are my aunt and uncle. Aunt A and uncle D are baptist missionaries in Mexico, and viciously mean spirited. At my aunt M’s funeral, instead of offering words of comfort and love, uncle D delivered a blistering sermon on hellfire and damnation (literally; I’m not being euphemistic). Strike two.
Last but not least, there are the Christians who were friends with my daughter, who proclaimed to be her BFF’s. That is, until Aub began vocalizing her support of her LGBT friends. All of a sudden, those Christians who were so full of love turned on her. One girl, who practically lived at our house for the previous school year, decided that Aub no longer existed. Because Aub loves, this friend (and I use the term quite loosely) would not look at her in the halls, talk to her in class, sit with her at lunch. Strike three.
I was pretty sure I was completely done with Christianity, mainly because I had never had any contact with others who felt the way that I do about the bible. I don’t think it is meant to be taken literally (it’s been translated how many times??). I think it needs to be considered in the context of the culture in which it was written. Mainly, I feel that if someone is going to be a Christian, they probably shouldn’t ignore all the stuff that Jesus said about turning the other cheek, loving thy neighbor, and loving in general.
When I came across a blog post by John Shore about how he became a Christian over a weekend, but stayed friends with his gay friends, still felt that women should not suffer abuse because of some church dictate, and believed that Christians could be friends with folks of other beliefs, well, I was shocked. I was even more amazed that there were others out there that felt the same way.
John decided to start his own cult (and he states that loud and proud) called Thruway Christians, and I jumped on that bandwagon. Did I suddenly start going to church and quoting the bible? No. But I find comfort that there is a group of people out there that follow the most important mandate in the bible: “Above all, love.” It gives me hope that not everyone in this country is an evangelical nut who wants to burn me or my daughter at the stake. Yeah, there is a lot of comfort there.
So if you are looking for a movement, some way to make a change, a positive force for good, based on mutual respect and love, check out http://thruwaychristians.com/, then spread the word.
“In all my dark despair…”