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What Was It Like To Be Xtian And Female?


flockoff
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Just an open question about something I'm wondering about.

 

In particular I'm interested in hearing about the perceived relationship you had with Jesus, what feelings you had toward him, how it related to your dealings with men, and anything you consider particular to your gender. I understand this is a personal subject, so I'd appreciate anything you would want to share.

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Interestingly, even when I was deeply indoctrinated, I wasn't entirely comfortable with the "Jesus" concept. I was far more comfortable with "God." However, I did believe I had a personal relationship with him, and that he wanted the best for me. I wore a promise ring for awhile (gag) which represented a promise to God, my parents, and my future husband that I wouldn't have sex until I was married. Occasionally, when I felt completely alone, I would ask God for a hug--and get a warm, happy feeling as if he had obliged. But I honestly believed that he cared for me and wanted me to be my best and when the time was right, he would send me the right man--though I often wondered why none of the boys I had crushes on in high school were "the right man."

 

I hope that answers some of your questions, and if it raises more, feel free to ask.

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Funny, because I was pondering the same question about guys. I mean when you listen to that Xtian worship music and Xtian rock bands - basically guys singing tender love songs to/about another guy. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit strange from a group of people who condemn gay people. :HaHa: So I was wondering how guys feel about singing love songs to Jesus and having to think of him as your fiancé and all that.

 

As for me, I never was "in love" with Jesus. It's because he was too perfect (in my mind - as he is perfect in the Christian concept). It's easier for me to have a crush on human beings who are not perfect, who have their good and bad points, their struggles and so on. It's what makes it interesting. I think a perfect guy would be too boring.

I sometimes worked myself up in a state of mind where I felt so sorry for him for having to die on the cross *for me* and I even cried because of that - but that was just the usual Xtian guilt trip.

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(speaking as male here) When I was trying to be Christian and trying to force myself to feel the feelings, force myself to feel God's presence and think it was real, I tried to imagine Jesus as a supportive best friend/big brother/dad figure. I must have did it wrong though as it never felt real and always faded away.

 

Thing is, I've always wanted a tough male mentor figure/role model and I've looked for different ones through my life, like obsessing over a particular rock star, political figure, explorer and trying to read about them, be like them, almost worship them. In my teens it was Jimi Hendrix. When I heard Christians talk about how Jesus was their hero and the ultimate male role model, the ultimate inspiration, I thought thats exactly how I see Hendrix. I thought I should read the Gospels and switch to emulating Jesus. But I just found it too boring. He seemed admirable, like in the story where he saved the woman from stoning and told off hypocrites, but it was a bit boring compared to Jimi and cool laid back partying.

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I absolutely adored Jesus. I liked him a lot better than the Father. I found the Father foreboding and scary and someone I didn't want to get the attention of. I saw Jesus as literally standing between me and the Father, protecting me, loving me, standing up for me. After all, he was the ultimate intercessor. It is sooooo obvious to me now that I was projecting the issues I had with my real father onto the God figure, and I never had a brother, as I'm an only child, so there was no one to stand between me and my father. And my father actually has a lot in common with the Father. As in he loved making me feel guilty, loved treating me like I was a worm, loved destroying my self esteem, and loved following it up with reminding me that no matter how little I deserved it, he still loved me.

 

My love affair with Jesus is probably what kept me in the church for so long. Losing that imaginary friend was really hard and I had to grieve over it.

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I felt like I was born completely wicked simply because I was born female. God had punished me for something by making me a female, and I especially deserved never to enter into heaven because women were naturally wicked and evil.

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Interestingly, even when I was deeply indoctrinated, I wasn't entirely comfortable with the "Jesus" concept. I was far more comfortable with "God." However, I did believe I had a personal relationship with him, and that he wanted the best for me.

 

I too was far more comfortable with having a relationship with god than with Jesus. I believed Jesus to be my personal saviour but only in the same way as everyone else - I never felt much 'intimacy' with him, in the later years of my xian journey I tried very hard to 'look to Jesus' as my example and to develop a relationship with him because I realised that other people talked about 'loving Jesus' where as my faith was more 'serving god' based. I did however crave the attention, love and discipline of God the father - most definitely because my own father was crap. I generally looked to older men within the church for the same reason, it was not sexual it was the desire for a father figure, someone to love, protect and guide me without sexual undertones. I still do it now.

 

I found it particularly hard in one church where men and women were encouraged to be segregated somewhat (not rigidly, but prayer groups, mentoring and social events were often gender specific which I struggled with given my preference for male friends!) Women were seen as having specific roles and of course me being me I didn't really fit their expectations. The biggest long standing issue is the fact that my husband and I had both grown up with a certain understanding of how husband and wife are meant to relate to one another and although we tried to shun some of the rather sexist elements of it all we still were ingrained to act in a 'husband head' 'wife submissive' role; we're still making effort to correct this as best we can.

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Funny, because I was pondering the same question about guys. I mean when you listen to that Xtian worship music and Xtian rock bands - basically guys singing tender love songs to/about another guy. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit strange from a group of people who condemn gay people. :HaHa: So I was wondering how guys feel about singing love songs to Jesus and having to think of him as your fiancé and all that.

For me, I only thought of Jesus the person through babble study, debates, etc. as opposed to prayer and worship where I envisioned a disembodied spirit without anything specific to gender, or humanity for that matter. Doing the former the other way around would throw off my train of thought and reversing the latter felt awkward. If it challenged my faith, I wish I'd tried it more often.

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The trinity thing confused me; I focused more on the "one god" aspect than on the three persons. I suppose that my god experience was closest to the Holy Spirit sort of idea. I looked for god living inside me. I had lots of conversations with "the one voice in my head that doesn't belong to me." He wasn't always there, but I did have semi-regular conversations with the familiar sensation of the warm golden glow. He even stopped me from suicide once. Part of deconverting was when I discovered that I could bring up that sensation at will, and figured that all this time I really had been talking to one of my own voices. I've never gotten the god feeling back in a non-christian context; I would like to try some time, now that I'm emotionally more distant. I have read some meditation guides that seem to direct you to a similar feeling, usually in meditations that are supposed to help with physical healing. It was a pleasant feeling of being loved and safe.

 

As for relationships with men.... ok, relationships in general, christianity fed my innate submissive nature. Which is weird, because there's a part of me that is very not submissive, but it's tangled up with other things I used to think were bad and had shoved all of it into a little box and have still not completely re-integrated it. I loved the idea of the woman being the submissive partner in a marriage because that meant that anytime anything went wrong, the guy would be stuck with all the blame (because he had all the responsibility to start with). It was the one setting where I was given an out of all the guilt trips. I also learned to never trust my own feelings. I never learned to set boundaries, which has been a huge issue in many areas of my life. I never learned how to have healthy romantic/sexual relationships because it was all abstinence only talk; you are a virgin until your wedding night, and there is no such thing as spousal rape. So when I eventually got into a sexual relationship outside of marriage, no one had ever told me that my consent mattered past the first time. Not that the guy forced me or anything, and would have stopped if I'd ever expressed my disinterest, it just never occurred to me that how I felt about it mattered (which made things rather unsatisfying for both of us). It's taken years, and the persistent prodding of a strong-willed friend who doesn't enjoy hanging out with passive people, for me to learn how to not be a victim or doormat.

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Funny, because I was pondering the same question about guys. I mean when you listen to that Xtian worship music and Xtian rock bands - basically guys singing tender love songs to/about another guy. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit strange from a group of people who condemn gay people. :HaHa: So I was wondering how guys feel about singing love songs to Jesus and having to think of him as your fiancé and all that.

 

 

 

not that weird. Lots of macho rock bands like Thin Lizzy and AD-DC I remember had affectionate loving songs about hanging out with their best male friends. In fact they were loving about male friends and cruel about women. I just thought you were meant to imagine Jesus as buddy, big bro, mentor and kind king rolled into one.

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I never felt like I had a "personal relationship" with Jesus - never got the warm fuzzies, definitely never got into any sexual/romantic transference. Although I believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, all three parts were abstract and distant to me. Jesus was more of a concept of sacrifice and forgiveness than a person embodying those traits. At the worst times as a teenager, when I was unable emotionally to deal with my non-belief within an environment completely devoted to Christianity, I begged Jesus to have mercy on me and give me belief... but I never was even able to trick myself into thinking that someone was hearing or responding.

 

My gender related problems were much more attached to the expectations that my Christian school had for women - submission, childbearing, and nurturing. I hated being female within Christianity. But I didn't pinpoint Jesus in particular to have the blame for pushing these unwanted roles. I come up against gender stereotypes in the secular community and even have seen some recent posts here claiming that women were such and such a way, so it's not unique to the church, it's more that within the closed environment, gender roles become dogma and pressure within the group to conform is more easily enforced.

 

There was never any doubt that I would be in relationships with men, and as a Christian, I knew that meant I would eventually marry one of them. Continuing to go in and out of relationships (with sex still being tied to guilt and shame) wasn't an option, at least not if I were going to remain in the religion. Most of the men I dated, even those who were somewhat "backslidden" also saw marriage as an inevitability, and relationships tended to get too serious too quickly, with getting back out of them turning into a drama. I married a Christian largely in an attempt to fully devote myself to being a Christian. When I deconverted, after divorcing, I haven't had any desire to be married or fulfill any of the gender roles that were expected in Christianity.

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I echo the others who liked god much more than ever liking Jesus. I thought it was all a little bit creepy. My old church/school really emphasized how Jesus loves us all and wants to be like a friend instead of a strict parent, which to me was just weird. As a Xian I saw god in a deistic sort of light anyway and not the Abrahamic tyrant.

 

The few times I attended my cousins' fundamental Baptist church, they made me feel really self-conscious and just completely worthless for being a girl...which only made me angrier and start to question everything even more lol. All the women there wore ankle-length skirts, high-cut and collared blouses, and had bad perms and that really turned me off to it anyway.

 

I never had a "promise ring" or anything but felt guilty for a few short weeks after having my first sexual experience with my boyfriend when we were 15. I beat myself up on the inside a lot (I was really close to deconverting at that point and was going through a super-Christian phase out of just pure desperation to not be sent to hell), telling myself I was a slut and that I ruined my body's "sanctity." Actually looking back on that now is pretty funny because I practically made out with two guys on the same night a few months before I started dating my boyfriend and never felt guilty about that haha. Anyways shortly after that guilt-trip I became a deist and realized I loved sex and wasn't going to burn forever for doing stuff that was human.

 

So I guess it's safe to say I was never severely fucked up because of religion's misogyny. My family wasn't really into that anyway, Dad didn't/doesn't "lead" me and my sisters and my mom as the head of the house or whatever. I've pretty much always been an equal wherever I go, in terms of gender. But a few of my family members who are heavy into religion live their lives believing men are just meant to lead women and that we as a sex are powerless and have no place in the world other than to birth and raise children, and I can say it's an awful thing to witness.

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Funny, because I was pondering the same question about guys. I mean when you listen to that Xtian worship music and Xtian rock bands - basically guys singing tender love songs to/about another guy. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit strange from a group of people who condemn gay people. :HaHa: So I was wondering how guys feel about singing love songs to Jesus and having to think of him as your fiancé and all that.

 

I never saw it in any kind of a romantic/sexual way, but fuck, I hated worship music. Always did. I never liked the crap we had to sing. Once I hit Jr High, I stopped, or just faked it in my private school.

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I don't understand how any female that knows the Bible would ever be a Christian without feeling a lot of hatred and anger towards god. I mean, the Bible basically says you're an inferior, cursed sex whose only redeeming quality is in child baring (it really says that's you're only way to be saved from hell). You're worth less than men, you're under the rule of men, and you're supposed to keep your stupid little mouths shut during church and don't dare try to teach a man with your inferior understanding of the world. Shit, even as a guy, this is one reason I took a serious critical look at Christianity and started to say, "you know what, there's some really fucked up, stupid shit in this book."

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I don't understand how any female that knows the Bible would ever be a Christian without feeling a lot of hatred and anger towards god. I mean, the Bible basically says you're an inferior, cursed sex whose only redeeming quality is in child baring (it really says that's you're only way to be saved from hell). You're worth less than men, you're under the rule of men, and you're supposed to keep your stupid little mouths shut during church and don't dare try to teach a man with your inferior understanding of the world. Shit, even as a guy, this is one reason I took a serious critical look at Christianity and started to say, "you know what, there's some really fucked up, stupid shit in this book."

 

I agree.

 

 

When I was a Christian I didn't really pay attention to these verses. Like Christians usually do, my church cherry-picked from the teachings of the Babble. They know, of course, that these teachings are repulsive and they don't talk about these much. I don't know how they reconcile these verses with female ministers like Marilyn Hickey.

 

 

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I don't understand how any female that knows the Bible would ever be a Christian without feeling a lot of hatred and anger towards god. I mean, the Bible basically says you're an inferior, cursed sex whose only redeeming quality is in child baring (it really says that's you're only way to be saved from hell). You're worth less than men, you're under the rule of men, and you're supposed to keep your stupid little mouths shut during church and don't dare try to teach a man with your inferior understanding of the world. Shit, even as a guy, this is one reason I took a serious critical look at Christianity and started to say, "you know what, there's some really fucked up, stupid shit in this book."

 

Within the Baptist church, I encountered many women who actually wanted to be under the rule of men. The idea of female inferiority was so engrained in them that they didn't see it as offensive, but merely the way the world was. Actually, my own mother is like this - she truly thinks that men are better leaders, that a family needs a male authority, and that women aren't good at big picture decisions.

 

But there was also an attempt at telling women that female roles were the only thing that could empower them. There were women's conferences and classes where having children and being nurturing was celebrated. And of course, all those dumbass books about how women have meek and gentle hearts. The problem was that these were held up as the only things about women to be celebrated. And the flip side was revealing the evil baby-eating feminists as being women who were secretly unhappy and unsatisfied. As a woman who has never had the least desire to have or raise children, this isolated me in a big way. But it made a lot of women for whom children and being a SAHM was their main or only goal feel important and like they were doing the right thing. And I think it's harder to question your beliefs or the inherent problems in an organization when you're part of a subset always being held up as a model. There's also an effect, not only within Christianity, where many people are satisfied to be inferior to another group as long as they get to exert authority over a group under themselves. And the women who were best at being nurturing usually got to be the women's leaders and dictate the children's activities.

 

Something that I've been trying to deal with for a while is how to not join in in looking down on these women too. I think it's too easy to feel as if you've gotten out of that mess yourself, you're a special case, but still be agreeing with the church in seeing all those other women as inferior. It's hard for me not to see my old church members and Christian school classmates exactly as the church saw them - as air headed, gossipy, breeder-brained sheep who would be better off with someone smarter telling them what to do. But really, it's just asking for a change in your own oppressors.

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Funny, I never felt inferior as a woman in the church. I'm sure it's because I glossed over those passages. It's funny though, because I did look at Feminists as "evil" (not really), up until recently. I'm a SAHM and I personally love it. Now I realize that I'm a SAHM not because this is what God wants for women, but just because it's my personailty and I happen to really enjoy it. But then again, I have a college degree and worked for several years before I even got married. I didn't feel like I had to be dependent on a man.

 

Let's see, as a girl growing up in church, I always said aloud that "Jesus is my best friend; he is my life..." , but now thinking about it, it was probably just talk, because that is what I was supposed to say.

 

I was always very modest and always looked down upon girls who dressed or acted "like sluts". When in reality, they were probably just acting like typical teenage girls. I hate thinking back at my attitude because it was horrible. It really screwed with my head because I would see a girl wearing something low cut and bash them verbally. Then I would have my own sexual thoughts and have this horrible guilt cycle knowing I was in sexual sin.

It also screwed up my feelings about sex and being able to relax enough to enjoy it. I always saw sex as bad so it was a huge shock when I got married and was supposed to be enjoying it. This is something I'm still working on. My husband and I had to go to counseling early in our marriage because of it. He was also a Christian but he couldn't stand the rejection anymore. Thankfully things are much better.

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I always felt distant from Jesus. Abraham's god too, though I later got angry as hell at him for what he instructed be written about women.

I had a huge problem fitting in with the Baptist culture. I'm a feminist at heart (though SAHMs are not people I look down on, and I actually see motherhood in general as a very respectable thing - if chosen), and a bit of a fighter. I took karate while at the christian school, and everyone assumed I was a lesbian. I'm not, nothing wrong with lesbians, but I do like men.

I always got very angry at how feminists were depicted by fundy christians (angry lesbians who hate SAHMs and men, and get abortions for fun). I could never see Jesus as a surrogate for a boyfriend, I thought promise rings were idiotic, and I knocked the snot out of a boy who tried to grope me in the hall. I also screamed at the headmaster when he wanted to first SUSPEND ME, then just let the whole thing drop, because "boys will be boys." I let my fury loose, and told him I'd alert all of the media if he suspended me. I also asked for AT LEAST a letter of apology from the groping little shit, since I already gave him a shiner. I don't remember if I got one or not. Whatever, I also punched him on a train in France on a school trip.

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