An Apology

Confession: churchies make me nervous.

For clarification, a “churchie” is someone who self-identifies as “born again,” a “follower of Christ,” someone who “found Jesus,” and/or anyone who describes him/herself as “religious.”

I am not proud of this confession, but I share it now as we move into hearings on marriage rights, which is generally argued on religious beliefs.

Here’s the deal…churchies are the people who say things like the following:

On marriage equality: “Basically marriage will be completely destroyed, families will be destroyed, children will be hurt by this. And freedom of speech and freedom of religion, including in the pulpit itself, will absolutely be bulldozed over,” Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University’s School of Law.

After the Aurora, Colorado massacre: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose,” Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas.

On marriage equality: “Anything other than a man marrying a woman is two disturbed people playing house,” John Hagee, senior pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church.

After the Newtown massacre: “The question is going to come up, ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down?’ Here’s the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted,” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association.

These are churchies.

Let’s be clear: I grew up Catholic. My grandma’s best friend, a man I deemed my “other” grandfather, was a Catholic priest. I was 10 when I received my first bible. I was wrestled out of bed every Sunday for the Catholic dance – stand, kneel, sit, kneel, wine, kneel, sit, stand. I never felt connected to God in a Catholic church. I remember feeling closer to God during conversations with my grandma than I ever did sitting in a pew, robotically reciting the prayers I had learned in CCD class.

After my parent’s divorce, my mom took us to a Lutheran church. It was here that I went to church camp, sang in a choir, and joined a youth group. Church was fun and filled with volleyball and lock-ins. It was also here that I began hearing about “totally twisted perverts” – the homosexuals who could destroy life as we knew it.

I stopped going to church when I was a teenager. I haven’t returned. Well, I go when required – weddings, funerals, the occasional family outing.

Churches (and the churchies) make me nervous. And here’s why…

The God I have come to know – the one that asks me to be the best me – is not the God that these churches (or churchies) speak of. That God is scary. He believes we are all sinners – hate the sin, not the sinner. He is vengeful and spiteful. He shows his wrath by helping kill innocent children or desecrating cities due to homosexuality. The God of the churchies needs a mediator to hear you – a priest who can tell you what your punishment is for the sins you have committed. Churchies stand outside military funerals and claim their God kills soldiers because “God hates fags.”

I am not trying to get into a religious discussion – that can’t be done in a blog or on Facebook. I am happy to go to coffee and have a legitimate dialogue, as I have been known to do with many a Christian.

What I do want this blog to be is the start of a change. For me.

This is an apology to you, my Jesus lovin’ Christian friends. I apologize that I allowed these churchies to cloud my assessment of you. I am sorry that I let a select few corrupt my views of so many.

It is not your fault that a few of you are extremists. It is not your fault that a select group of you seem unloving or judgmental. It is not your fault that the loudest (and generally angriest) of you are generally the only ones heard.

Perhaps it’s because only recently have I actually met a few of you that helped me redefine what “churchie” means: that being a Christian means loving all and being the best you. It means having a relationship with God outside of your relationship to others. It means being comfortable enough in that relationship to not need to make others feel like their relationships are less than. Being a real Christian means that you spend your days being the best you and understand that others need to be the best them.

So, while you may not catch me at church every Sunday, what you will see is me being my best me.

More importantly, you will see me change…’cause we are nothing if we can’t evolve.

It’s taken me a while to figure this out, but I know that you will forgive me…it’s kind of what y’all do.

PS. Heard of the Reformation Project? It’s kind of awesome.