It seems strange to hop on here with a post like this after not posting in so long, so I’m sorry for the strange re-entry. This is a post that I’ve had brewing in my heart and mind for a few years now and finally this month typed up. I’ve been sharing lots of quick thoughts over on Instagram so you’re welcome to follow me there if you want to see what I’ve been up to while the blog has been quiet. Love, Callie
I should be a shining example of all the beliefs you stand for, a testament to your disciplining. Instead you’ve lost me altogether.
I was raised deeply rooted in your circles: homeschooled, always in church, educated at a Christian university. And it was a happy life. For years I absorbed your messages and allowed them to develop within me. I touted your beliefs wherever I went and defended Christianity as I had been taught. I was ardently pro-life. I believed whole-heartedly in your teachings and shaped my life around your doctrines.
I am so very different now.
You see me as a failure, as walking always from all those beliefs. Yet I carry those same tenants of faith with me today. I haven’t walked away from my beliefs; I’ve simply given them space to grow and mature and the outcome isn’t what you expected.
You taught me to be pro-life. That abortion was one of the worst sins and that it must be fought at every turn. But I grew up and opened my eyes to the racial disparities around me. And so being pro-life for me means boldly declaring that black lives matter. It means listening to the weary voices who have been saying for so long that our country has a problem with race and that something must be done about it. It means amplifying their voices and standing alongside them.
You told me about purity and how the sexual revolution had corrupted our society. And yet it was your purity culture that corrupted me – my view of myself and of other women was bombarded by your lessons against sex. My worth somehow tied up with the width of my tank-top straps and the length of my skirt. I wasn’t taught consent because if all sex was forbidden than I should have been saying ‘no’ all along.
Your teachings on religious freedom were meant to steel me to fight for Christianity and look for religious persecution at every turn. But what I see are people of other religions being mistreated or underrepresented. So when I fight for religious freedom now it is with the hope that we can all live together with peace and understanding and respect.
You told me that God created this world with intent and placed it in the care of humans. Yet you also taught me to distrust science and to ignore the voices that are issuing warning. Instead I see a reason to care about the environment and feel a call to protect it.
You told me that God loves the little children. And yet I was there. I saw you not reporting abusers within your ranks, not believing the child victims. I saw leaders teach that God endorses corporal punishment inflicted onto tiny children and I knew I would not stand for that. I will not entrust my precious children to your Sunday school classes where my daughter would be told that she wasn’t as worthy in God’s eyes because of her sex. My son won’t learn that some families aren’t valid or worthy in your eyes because they have two dads or two moms.
You told me that God loved the world and so I too love this world as I seek to do good to the people around me. You taught me to vote with my beliefs and so I do. Yet my vote counteracts yours on almost every issue and almost every candidate.
You hate what I have become and yet you, Evangelicals, were the ones who seeded these beliefs so deep within me that I cannot let them go.
And this is what I want you to know, what you need to reckon with: there’s more than one way to live out these Christian beliefs. You don’t have the monopoly on virtue. Evangelicals are far from the only moral majority.