This should probably be much more well-thought-out and much less rushed. I have been doing all my posting in a hurry these days. I am really busy with school and very happy with my progress. Studying/schoolwork is my top priority, then laundry, then cooking and finally cleaning. Blogging sneaks in between laundry and cooking usually, but it belongs at the end of the line. So, I have little time for composition and less for editing. Sorry.
I saw a documentary last night while I was doing homework.It was called "Born Again" and it was about a young girl raised in a strict fundamentalist home (like my husband's) who was never happy or at peace with herself. As a teen, she finds she is secretly attracted to other girls. She eventually goes to college, and after a long struggle with depression and fear of damnation, eventually gets a girlfriend. Along the way she becomes an atheist as well, and it was no simple process or flippant decision. Her family of origin disowns her, and only calls or writes to tell her they are praying for her and that she is deceived by Satan. She longs to be loved unconditionally, but only finds that kind of love from her girlfriend and the new life they build together. She calls it being born again. I totally get where she is coming from.
The thing is, I have written those kinds of letter to my own relatives. Ouch. I believed my love was unconditional, but it wasn't. My approval hinged on how well my family member fit in with my theology. Not fitting in with my theology meant (in my mind at the time) eternal damnation, and before I could even begin to relate on any other level, that issue had to be settled, for me. My loved one had already made her own mind up, and I wasn't going to be able to change it. Why did changing her mind mean more to me than loving her unconditionally?
I equated love with approval, and approval with love. I couldn't help myself. If I did not approve of your choices, and they were in my mind of theological significance, then I couldn't accept you until you changed your choice. I think it was charismatic T.L. Osborn who got me out of that ditch, probably unintentionally! He once said that if you believe someone is destined for hell, than why would you want anything less than the best for them on this earth- as this reality was as good as it would ever get for them.
Since then I have been reading many verboten books- The Shack, Love Wins, God of the Possible, and most recently, The Inescapable Love of God. I have been reading the Bible with new eyes. Taking off the lens of fundamentalism is harder than I ever imagined. I had no idea how many religious presuppositions I decided before I even began to read a passage, not until I started confronting some of them. Who knows how many more I have to face off with in the future?
I have also been adding up my personal experiences with church and church people. It's a really interesting personal inventory to take. And it's not easy. These are people the Lord loves. His body was broken for them as well as me. His blood was shed for them as well as me. These people, who are so picky about who is allowed to speak and what they are allowed to say, these people are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. And He is my beloved.
So, I guess this is enough rambling for one post. Peace and good will, SS