Neither Right nor Left
Since I began my blog two years ago I have been asked if I’m a far-right Christian. My answer is always no, I’m not that kind of Christian. I’ve been asked if I am against LGBTQ+ marriages. Again, my answer is always no, I’m not that kind of Christian. More recently I’ve been asked if I am a Trump Christian. The answer is a resounding no, I am not that kind of Christian. And now, by firmly declaring that here, you all know too. This means you’re saying “hey, me too! or you’ve either unsubscribed and are about to leave”. But I pray you won’t leave because we need each other to do some really important work.
I have wrestled here, in this space, with a conflict that many writers grapple with; who is my audience? I’m here to encourage people to do the hard work of walking in love and living an authentic life as the person they were created to be. But who are those people? Aside from myself, because let’s face it, I am here to encourage myself to do that same hard work, who else needs what I have to offer? Further, how do I live authentically, as God created me, if my words can’t pick a lane to drive down?
The desire to have my work be read far and wide, to publish books, and expand the blog audience is an egotistical one which has kept me in neutral. Neutral. Neither moving forward nor backward. Just kind of sitting. Jesus doesn’t want me to sit. I know this both from the Holy Spirit nudging me all the time and from the back pain that I get when I sit for too long. It hurts when I sit still, in neutral. Idle. The only thing moving me being gravity or the rails at the car wash; both pushing me along when I’m not in drive.
Neutral has meant stepping on the fringe of issues so as not to offend. It has meant writing as a shakily designed bridge. It has meant making sure that members of right-leaning Christian women’s groups can pull something from my work as much as a left-leaning Christian woman (or man – yup, there are a few men who hang out here too). It has meant carefully crafting words that can sometimes be, well, neutral.
Here’s the thing; I’m far from neutral. But my desire to be a popular writer within certain communities kept me idling.
God did not create me to sit idle.
He also didn’t create me to create chaos or to deepen the wedges that divide us.
He created me, and you, to do his work for him here on earth. Right now. Today. All days.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk Humbly. (Micah 6:8) That’s my call and my struggle. It is also my voice.
And so, this fall I’ve been shifting from neutral to drive. I attended the Evolving Faith virtual conference. I attended The Ally Tour. I listened to the stories of women cast out of their homes and families, churches, and jobs because they have evolved into a new faith; one in which they see that all people are created in God’s image and likeness. I’ve witnessed and prayed and learned. I’ve read about what it means to be an anti-racist. I’ve sat with my staff and listened to their mind-blowing struggles. I have left my affiliation with a writing group I dearly loved because it cannot seem to stand on firm ground on the issues that keep my own moral GPS set to God’s factory setting of true north.
While this place will not be political and will hopefully continue to be a piece of the peace we are working for, it is evolving into one that is clearer because I am ready to be clear with all of you.
I’m not that kind of Christian
I am flawed, my faith is messy, my learning endless and my seeking ongoing. I get angry at God when he doesn’t show up or I can’t find him. I struggle and dig and exhaust myself with the continual asking of why. However, of this I am sure. I’m not the kind of Christian who believes some are worthy of God’s love and others are not. I am an anti-racist and an LGBTQ+ ally. God created us all in his image and he loves the whole world, as he created it. I do not imagine God would make us in his image and then ultimately reject himself by defining people’s worthiness in a discriminatory caste system. That narrative simply doesn’t add up.
I believe in science and wear a mask because of it. I am not a literalist. I love the bible but will not use it as a weapon because it isn’t one. I am pro-choice which does not make me pro-abortion. Who is pro-abortion anyway? It’s not as though supporters of choice are hoping people access that painful medical intervention on the regular. That said, you can also consider me pro-life, especially when one is being taken violently because of their skin color or because a gun is in the wrong hands.
I am pro-love which is so much harder than pro-hate but infinitely better. And that means I also have friends who I respect and care about even when we disagree. Jesus, God’s only son, came to us to show us the way, and it is his walk that I try to follow (but his feet are bigger than mine so I will never, ever fill his sandals)
So that is the kind of Christian I am and it is freeing to declare it here.
I hope you too have found the lane that you need to drive in and can get out of neutral and move forward in love.