Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Evangelical’

I received a comment recently from someone wanting to hear how my faith has been impacted by my journey.  That is a fantastic question, but I’m not sure that I have much of a definitive answer.  I guess the reason for that is because I am still in process.  My faith is still figuring out where to land and is still dealing with the negative side-affects of all I’ve gone through.  So all I can do is tell you where I’m at today.

Here’s what I know:

1.  My old faith is dead.  What do I mean by that?  Well, it means that my new faith doesn’t look like what my old faith looked like.  I literally cannot move in conservative Evangelical circles anymore.  I just can’t do it.  I can’t go to those churches.  I can’t listen to those messages.  I can’t agree with that narrow theology.  It just doesn’t fit me anymore.  Now don’t get me wrong…I haven’t thrown all of those beliefs out.  I’ve just only held on to the core beliefs of Christianity and really don’t even want to get into a discussion about all of those “extra add-ons” that so many churches adhere to.  And most of all, I can’t subscribe to a moralistic philosophy of ministry anymore that is all about trying to make you a better person by doing all the right things and not doing all the wrong things.  I can’t do it.  I don’t believe in that.

2.  My new faith is not “solid as a rock”.  It’s in flux…and I’m perfectly happy with it being “in flux”.  I know more of what I don’t believe now than what I do believe.  I’m OK with things being up in the air…with things not being resolved…with not having all the answers…and with my pursuit of God being more relational and less theological.  I don’t need to be right and I am SO okay with that!

3.  My new faith has a lot more room for people.  There was a time when I pigeon-holed people and put them in categories based on what they believed and how they lived their lives.  Not so anymore!  I now believe in a much-wider Kingdom of God!  I’m not running around deciding who’s “in” and who’s “out”.  Instead, I have become open to seeing how God works in people in so many different ways.  I am ashamed for how much I used to put God in a box.

4.  My current faith isn’t concerned about “getting close to God”.  I used to believe that I was closer to God the more I prayed and read the Bible.  If that is the true definition of being close to God, then I’m failing!  But I no longer believe that is true.  I now see God as being a part of everything, rather than being relegated to a “quiet time”.  I know I am close to God all the time because He’s always with me!  I’m still not really sure how I feel about prayer anymore.  And I’m still not really sure how I feel about reading the Bible anymore.  But you know what?  I’m ok with that.  I know that this is a season…and God is 100% in the midst of this season with me.  So I feel very content hearing a reading of Scripture and reciting written prayers at church services.  Those readings and prayers give voice where I currently have no voice.  I hope that makes sense.

5.  My new faith is just fine…and I can minister from exactly where I stand today.  A conservative Evangelical person reading what I’ve written here might consider me a “back-slidden” Christian, unfit for pastoral ministry.  I beg to differ.  I think I actually have more to offer now than I did 3 years ago.  In fact, I’m able to speak to the millions of people who have been wounded by conservative Christianity and yet who still want to seek God.  So many of us have walked away from the faith.  But I refuse to do that.  God is way bigger than all of that church crap we all put up with.  I have faith, and in many ways, it is bigger than before.

So no, I haven’t lost my faith.  It’s just different.  And I’m very happy with my new faith.  If you want to “correct” me and help me to regain my old faith…don’t waste your time…I’m never going back.  Jesus talked about “new wineskins” and I am definitely into the new wine!

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I am a dad.  I will always be a dad.  I love my kids no matter what.  The moment they each were born, I fell in love with them and will love them until my dying breath.

The problem is, my kids don’t want me to be a regular part of their lives right now.  They are hurt.  They are wounded.  They are embarassed.

I haven’t spoken to my two oldest kids in over a year.  They refuse to speak to me…they refuse to see me…they refuse to interact with me at all.  They are both in high school and they have basically chosen to write me out of their lives. 

My youngest kid didn’t want to see me at the beginning of this year…then he let me back into his life for several months…and now he doesn’t want to see me again.  I think it hurts him too much and he’s too embarassed by me.

I can’t tell you how much hurt I have experienced in the past year because of my estrangement from my kids.  It is a pain that just won’t go away.  And no matter how hard I try to change things, I can’t.  Nothing works.  So I am forced to let go and ride this out.  My counselor told me a year ago that it could take 10 years for my kids to come around.  I just didn’t know that it would be so painful in the process.

I have cried a lot over all of this.  It’s a horrible feeling to be so completely rejected by your kids.  I know that part of this is because of past mistakes I made with them.  Part of this is them punishing me because they are so hurt.  Part of this is their faith, which tells them that I am a huge sinner.  Part of this is their mom, who is letting them make their own choices about how they relate to me.  It’s one big giant painful mess and this is, by far, the worst part about my journey in the past year.  A large piece of my heart has been torn away from me and there is nothing that can heal that pain right now.

Some might chide me and say, “Was it worth losing your kids in order to gain this new sinful lifestyle you now have?”  That way of thinking is ridiculous.  I didn’t choose between my kids and my sexuality.  I had to choose life over death.  My former way of life was killing me and I had to make changes in order finally to begin to live.  It’s just that the cost of life and wholeness and health ended up being my kids…at least for now.  I trust that over time, we will be able to work through all of this and have some sort of relationship in the future.

I desperately miss my kids.  I can’t write any more right now or I’m going to break down into tears.  So I just have to say that this loss is far more painful than I ever imagined.

It has definitely been a while since I posted.  Life has been very crazy, to say the least.  I will have to take a couple of posts to get updated.  The big things are that I have a new job and have moved out of my former home.  But today’s post will focus on the backlash that I have experienced in coming out over the past month.

The end of December and beginning of January was a roller coaster of negative backlash in my life.  For a while, it seemed like every day brought a new negative response from people in my life.  It was a VERY emotional time for me as I dealt with the pain of tons of anger and rejection.

The backlash began with a friend stabbing me in the back.  I won’t go into the details here but suffice it to say, this friend was upset with some of the decisions I was making with my life.  The ensuing fallout with the friend got very ugly and even spilled over into the new church I am leading.  The wounds of a friend cut deep, to be sure.

Additionally, my former boss (senior pastor) found out about the truth of my new life much faster than I had planned.  His response was typical of conservative Evangelicalism and I am pretty sure by my phone call with him that I am now considered to be the spawn of Satan.  While I would love to repeat some of the things said to me for shock value, I will choose not to do so in this forum.  I will say, though, that I am very glad to be out of conservative Evangelicalism and will never look back after what I have experienced in the past couple of months!

Finally, I have experienced a great deal of backlash from my kids.  At the moment, none of my kids want to see me nor are any of them speaking to me.  This, by far, has been the most painful thing that has happened in the past month.  Though my marriage has really been over for a year, the fact that I am already in a relationship even though my divorce is not final has not gone over well with my kids.  Ultimately, I understand their feelings and know that there is no way that they can walk even for a minute in my shoes.  So I just have to be patient with their process.  I miss them like crazy and hope that they will be able to forgive me someday.

It feels like I have lost a lot in this process.  I know there are probably still some relationships that will be lost as the news of my coming out touches more and more people.  Though there has been a lot of backlash and pain in the loss, I am positive that I have done the right thing by being honest about who I am.  Change couldn’t possibly happen without backlash and pain.  But on the other side of things, I am now happy and content.  Hopefully over the next year, things will calm down and I will be able to rebuild the trust and love that I once had with my kids.  And I imagine that I will find out who my real friends are in this process.  But in the process, I am boldly taking one step forward at a time…knowing that my happiness and destiny are now beginning to come to fruition.