I’m tired. I’m tired of being a Christian. People say it’s only a term, only a word but that word feels like the lead apron at the dentist’s office. It’s pushing down on me from all sides, clipped tightly around my neck. It carries the weight of the hearts that have been wounded and the spirits that have been broken in the name of Christianity.
It carries the weight of teenagers who have been kicked out of their homes — gay teens and unwed mothers. It carries the weight of women who have been told to submit to their abusive husbands. It carries the weight of women who question their value, their worth, because they were raped or had sex with someone they loved before they were married. It carries the weight of so many tears that have been shed after someone was verbally accosted by a Christian. It carries the weight of scars and wounds that run so deeply they’ve latched onto people’s identities and sense of self-worth.
And I’m tired. I’m tired of being a Christian. This isn’t irritation or angst; it’s exhaustion.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means I have to believe that I have a monopoly on ethical living or spiritual truths. If my personal creed needs to be forced on or applied to anyone other than myself, than this isn’t for me. I’m tired of the policing in the name of righteousness, which really just starts sounding a lot like I’m-more-right-than-you-ness. If enforced, unasked for “accountability” is the rule, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means I have to be certain. I want to be comfortable with “I don’t know.” I want to relax into it. To deeply breathe it in and out like the fresh, salty, restorative ocean air. I want to welcome my doubts, to open the door when they knock, rather than trying to hide them out of sight. If I have to know for sure or debate every little theological point until I can present a list of tenets worth defending until death (be it mine or my opponent’s), then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means spouting theological bumper stickers when life is crumbling, cracking all around like a house under demolition. If saying “Life is really shitty now” would be inappropriate for a Christian or somehow unfaithful or if it’d be expected that I add in a trite little “But God will work it all together for good!” at the end to ease the discomfort of my listeners and to showcase my faith in redemption, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means that it would not only bring dishonor to the name of God but that it would also be a sin if I were to stand in front of a crowd on Sunday morning and proclaim my love of God. My teaching would bring shame. My praises would be sin. If being a woman is so shameful that my words of homage would bring scandal and humiliation, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means that referring to God as Mother is heresy. A God who mothers; a God who kicks down the door to the Theological Boys’ Locker Room; a God who understands and welcomes me. If insinuating that maybe the Creator of the Universe is a little like me, a woman, is sacrilege, then you can let me off at the next stop. I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means damning love to Hell. I want the outgrowth of my faith to be love not protesting someone else’s family. I want to encourage, support, and defend romantic and familiar love. If I’m expected to picket and condemn loving, happy families, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means spiritual practices are strict and ridged. If writing instead of going to church doesn’t count; if reading poetry or coloring in the morning instead of reading the bible isn’t good enough; if praying with color, scissors and glue, and quiet, overwhelming feelings when there are no words doesn’t count as real prayer; if the fact that watching a sunset fills me with more peace and awe than reciting liturgy isn’t religious enough, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means saying that every fiber of my being is wretched, tainted, depraved. At the beginning of the world God looked at her creation and declared it good. And I’m part of that creation. There’s fire and magic in my personhood; there’s a holy hellion in my heart; there’s a wild mystic in my soul. If believing there are sparks of the divine in me and every person I come in contact with is heretical, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
I’m tired of being a Christian if it means silencing those who have been hurt by the church. If we’re just expected to read the bible every day despite the panic attacks; if we’re just expected to go to church every Sunday despite the scars; if we’re just expected to keep our mouths closed because our church experiences were traumatic and less-than-stellar, then I’m tired of being a Christian.
It might only be a word but it carries the weight of so much pain and sorrow. But somehow, despite it all, I still find myself clinging to Christ. As a child sitting in children’s Sunday school he seemed to say: “It’s okay, you’re welcome here. Come sit down right here next to me.” And now God calls again, she calls, Mother calls, welcoming me to sit down next to her. And I do. But I’m worn out. I’m exhausted. I’m tired.