(here's a letter i wrote my dad last week while in the throes of a mild faith crisis. just thought i'd share it. we all go through something like this, right?)
[snip - stuff about his 61st birthday]
I'm writing because of a bit of a crisis I'm going through, and I've been going through it for a while now. It's about faith and how Christians practice it - on the most basic level. It's not about scripture or doctrine or anything intellectual, but about basic Christianity. I realize that I'm more progressive in my ideas than most others; I tolerate gays and lesbians, I actually think the poor should be taken care of, I oppose this administration and its policies, I drink a little, I smoke a little, and no - I'm not a virgin, either.
So I realize all that. I realize that more traditional Christians would probably look at me and think, She's not really saved. Whatever. I look at them, and at all the screaming fundamentalists and self-righteous church people, and I see how unloving they are. How narrow and smug and unlike Christ they appear to be and I get angry. I get really angry. And sad. But mostly angry. And I feel disgust that they could call themselves Christians when their hearts are so small and their brains even tinier.
You know, like the Dobson/gay sponge bob thing: why can't Christians stop hiding behind scripture. We all know what those 7 verses say about men laying with men. We all know it. Just say what you really think and TEN let's see how Christian you are. Dobson should say it: "Gay people are disgusting and shouldn't be allowed to live around decent folk. We don't want them in our schools, neighborhoods, churches. They don't deserve families, they don't need to work around us. They shouldn't be tolerated at all. Shun them, hate them, disavow them because they are sinners of the worst kind of sin."
Why can't the church say what it really means, deep down underneath the piety and the churchiness? Why can't the church look into its own heart and say the things that live there? SAY IT! The veneer of righteousness over this dishonesty and callous unconcern makes me sick.
I still pray and I still go to church and I'm still faithful (despite various struggles, whatever) and I still Believe, but I have to admit that looking at these people who would rather save an embryo than care for the woman who's carrying it, who'd rather let the poor sink to the bottom, who'd rather impose their faith on others while lining up to protect the interests of the rich - I look at all this and I start thinking that present Christianity is all a joke.
It's not that I'm suddenly going to turn into an atheist. It's just that I'm beginning to harbor some really harsh feelings and thoughts about my 'fellow' Christians. I wish they'd shut up. They're ignorant, selfish, anti-intellectual, racist, misogynist, self-righteous, hateful and generally wrong about a lot. Am I wrong about a lot? Probably. When my reckoning comes, I'm sure I'll be totally surprised with stuff. But you know what - that's MY burden. That's MINE. Not anyone else's.
In May, I'm going to be officially a deacon (you can't forget that you said you'd come to Chicago for it); one of the things I'm looking forward to is volunteering for intercessory prayer. We have a little chapel and every Sunday a deacon volunteers to sit there, waiting for someone to come in for prayer. Everyone avoids that duty, but I actually want to do it. That's how I'd like to see my faith - a quiet thing waiting for someone to join in so you can partner and petition together. It's a community of shared burdens.
What I see around me is so different than that. There's no shared burden.
Ach. I guess I just want you to tell me that these people who are making me hate my own faith are just a tiny minority. That most Church people aren't like this.