I feel as though I am need of rescuing. The feeling of disillusionment that came long with my writing of the “Called Out to Get…Real?” post hasn’t really left me. Listening to podcasts like this one doesn’t really help matters at all. Part of me feels like I ought to stick to my church, even though their authoritative, black and white, literalist (did I use enough adjectives there?!) approach to the Bible is driving me crazy. Why? Because if there’s one thing my church rocks at, it’s creating relationships. I’ve found friends, mentors, and teachers at my church. Sure, a lot of the theology they buy into is fundamentalist and goes against the grain of everything I’m now exploring, but the fact remains that at the end of the day, these women have reached out to me and fed me and encouraged my walk with God. And that’s a rare and precious gift.
It’s just so hard to see those gifts and strengths when I’m constantly deconstructing and criticizing so many things about my church right now. Like the fact that their sermons and Sunday School lessons revolve around one thing: proving the literalism of Genesis. Or the fact that I genuinely don’t feel safe asking hard questions there – partly because of the emphasis on biblical literalism and partly because nearly every hard question I’ve ever asked there has been shot down or oversimplified.
For the first time in my life I feel like an outsider looking in on all the happy faces of my peers, faces that are so safely cushioned by things like their parents’ beliefs, their religious upbringing, their church’s teachings, their friends’ influences, etc. (and yes, even their genuine faith in God. I’ve got to grant that, too). Meanwhile, I’ve looked at all those fluffly, deceptive cushions and I’ve torn them all to pieces. I don’t have a safety net anymore, I don’t have the rigid simplicity of fundamentalism anymore…and it makes me feel like an outcast in my church.
It’s frustrating…and I don’t know what to do about it, or what the solution is. I can’t change my church overnight. I probably can’t even change it at all. So what should I do? Accept that my church is the way that it is and just leave it? I don’t think so—like I said, that gift of relationship is such a strong one in my church. So maybe, instead, the solution is the hardest one I can think of: be vocal and honest about how I feel, and hope for the best.