Friday, October 21, 2016

Equality and the table

I didn't leave Bible College midway through my second year. But i should have.
I stayed because i thought i should. Because someone told me to stay unless i knew exactly what i should do next and i believed them even though it went against my deep knowing that i didn't belong there anymore.
One quote rang in my head over and over and that was "you need to get up from the table when love is no longer being served."
Its strange to think of love not being extended at a bible college. But thats the way it was for me. At that table, the one where i tried so hard to sit at, love was not unconditionally served to me. The appearance of love was. But not love itself.
Not after i came out as a jesus loving yogi. Not after i disclosed to a few friends that i was gay affirming. Not after i publically said i was a feminist, and what that meant for me.
Lately the body of christ has been making me really uncomfortable. I've had many conversations with friends and pastors and other people in my life about injustices in the church and how in all honesty it makes me not want to be the church. How because of it i don't strongly identify as christian.
Within the church i've seen so much injustice. I remember sitting in church a few years ago when they announced the demomination my church is a part of would not allow women pastors and feeling angry and broken hearted. If my church wouldn't allow women to speak for God what about me?
I remember anger rising up in me when the bible college i attended spoke about the dress code and how it put men's lust on my shoulders (i am sure unintentionally) and body shaming me by regulating what i wore and said and did and putting it out there in the name of protecting our brothers in christ.
I remember all my years of youth confrences and church services and bible school chapels and how i don't remember a woman preaching, or a person of color, or a person with a disability or who didn't identify as cis gendered and straight.
I remember listening to my sister talk about black lives matter and realizing i don't live out black lives matter. The world i live in doesn't live out black lives matter.
And it makes me angry.
When we do this, we are silencing the voice of God. We are furthering the message that God only speaks through and looks like certain people. We are saying only a select group of people get to sit at the table of divine love. We are making an us and a them. We are making others.
Personally i love my others. The people who have spoken God most clearly to me have been women and people of color and gays. In my experiences these people, the people we routinely shush in church services and religious circles, best get what the gospel was trying to say. That it is for ALL of us. That we are ALL in. And there are no others.
I'm still working through my thoughts on these issues. In no way is this my perfect compiling of my thoughts. Its messy, and raw, and real. It comes from a place inside of me so filled with the knowing that the way it is isn't how its supposed to be. God is bigger and more than we've made him or her out to be. And everybody is in.
I've always said i'd rather be wrong in the name of love than right in the name of drawing lines and i agree with that whole heartedly. I want my life to be love, to reflect divine love.
I want to continue talking about this issue because it matters. I want this to be the start of the conversation around equality in the church, and in the world.

"I want to be outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, second-chance givers, the radical grace lavishers, the ones with arms wide open, the courageously vulnerable, and among even—or maybe especially—the ones rejected by the Table as not worthy enough or right enough."