Feeling Everything Tonight
So tonight as sleepy as I am, I can't seem to close my eyes.. Right now my heart is heavy with a myriad of conflicting and overwhelming thoughts and emotions. Today I was stuck inside doing homework for my Wisdom Literature class (Old Testament stuff). I know, sounds very sexy. But as I was writing discussion responses and casually glancing at social media, I noticed the rage that kept flowing under the surface of my outwardly calm demeanor. As I lay there, I felt so much anger. Anger at this nation, at this monster of a President daring to sit in the same White House my ancestors were forced to build for no pay. I felt anger and rage and fury against White Supremacy and all its insidious systems and staunchest supporters. Angry over the many human hashtags I'm trying to commit to memory, angry that there are so many dead Black people I must hold space for in my heart and mine. Angry because despite all the name changes, street art, claims to be "listening" and performative allyship, I know White America doesn't care enough to actually give us what we truly need: Justice for the blood of our slain.
But the place where my rage really flows deepest, burns the hottest was toward the evangelical church....specifically the Christian church in America. And if I'm being honest, specifically the churches and ministries and Christians organizations I was previously (or am sadly still) associated with. I watch the way my old pastors and fellow ministry workers mock my people as they are being slaughtered by law enforcement. I watch Christian churches/orgs I used to love defend and protect and worship structures, buildings and institutions, even the image of these beloved institutions, over the very blood of Black human beings...I watch the erasure....I see the refusal to speak up for Black Lives Matter, to denounce the genocide, to speak up for the undocumented immigrants who are struggling worse than so many of us in this pandemic. The First Nation tribes who have been ignored by this government all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with deaths tolling by the day. I see the silence in the face of the threat that the Trump administration has continually posed towards providing equitable and safe healthcare to Trans people in this country. And I watched Christians either encourage and support said efforts or mourn when they failed to keep equal rights from people that Christ died for. I see the misogyny, the arrogance, the privilege, the self-centeredness, the racism, the segregation, the religious pride, the legalism, the audacity (and the caucasity).....and while it of course makes my blood boil to the point I wonder if I'll burst out of my skin,I am now moving into other, equally painful feelings.
I feel the wound from the Western Christian church,, with its hundreds of years of false teachings, racist ideologies and white male centered interpretations of God, love, will never fully heal. Not when everytime I think I've moved beyond the betrayal, the disappointment the shame of having associated with their idolatrous Christian nationalism, I am again and again confronted with it. It's there in the eyes of the people I love, who recount their stories of being rejected by the very same denominations I worshipped in for years, just for being who they are. Whether it appears in the form of patronizing emails from "well meaning white Christians" who believe that the true issue of racism is not their socialization by a racist society but rather "Black people needing to show more forgiveness", or if it's waking up to find that a Christian website started a fund raising effort for some thug named Kyle Rittenhouse, who intentionally drove out of his own state to murder people marching at a Black Lives Matter protest with a gun the size of his body. Or even something as simple as seeing my old associate pastor, the man who gave me my first pink KJV Bible, proudly endorsing Donald Trump's bigotry, prejudice and scare tactics to once again silence minorities who are seeking equity and freedom from his oppressive government. #MAGA
I know what some of you must be thinking "
"OK BUT PEOPLE AREN'T GOD,"
"THEY'RE PROBABLY NOT REAL CHRISTIANS,"
"WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM THEM ANYWAY, THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN JUDGMENTAL HYPOCRITES"
(I know, but the few outliers made me have hope for the whole group....oops :(
While all of these are valid criticisms/comments, I really truly did expect more. I don't mean I expected perfection, no. I didn't expect when I gave my life to God at 18 and began a relationship with Her that I would be surrounded by perfect holy people who never fuck up. I didn't expect to join a church where no one was flawed, or a college where everyone always behaved perfectly. What I did expect was honesty....what I craved was honesty. And a shared language and community that was willing to look at themselves as well as each other, and care when they found something inside that was corrupt. I expected to be accepted as all parts of me, and that within the church, love could be unconditional, free, inclusive and vast, just like it is with God.
I was wrong.....very very wrong.
Whoever and whatever I understand God to be now can be found nowhere in White Christianity....every time I look there all I see is evil. And even though most days it makes me indignant....today it just makes me sad. Because, as my therapist says, all falsehood are mixed with shards of truth. And the truth is that somewhere in this bastardized, Manifest Destiny, segregated, misogynistic, Christian Nationalist, White Supremacist idealogy Americans called Christianity, is the actual Jesus and his most important teachings that are still true today. Love God and love others as yourself. In the past three years I have increasingly seen more and more of that unconditional love and affirmation from people who do not claim to follow Jesus. I feel safer outside of religion, not because I have, like my past religious teachers taught me "followed my wordly lusts". But because the church is toxic and hypocritical and quite literally killing entire communities of people from different sexualities, immigration statuses, skin colors, genders and faith beliefs. And I want no part of that.
P.C & BLM: by my lovely friend/coworker Clover Vasquez <3