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My Story, So Far.


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I grew up a broken child in an even more broken home. I can always do details later if anyone cares to hear them, but long story short, there were two divorces, a loss of siblings, raising the remaining siblings, emotional and mental abuse, occasional physical violence, neglect, and a complete lack of any sort of support system.

 

My father was, and is, agnostic, having been raised by fanatical evangies. My mother, raised in a family with a reasonable belief system but subjected to a borderline-cultish church due to family ties, is New Age. At the age of 14, I was desperately seeking acceptance, support, and answers. I ended up attending an Assembly of God church and converting to a very strict belief system. I now know that I did that because I needed a measure of control over my own life and hope that things could improve.

 

I went to a private school that I thought was Christian (didn't take me too long to figure out the difference between Christian school and Christian-affiliated school - the latter basically just has an agreement over who will run the campus chapel). I met a Christian man and married him, dropping out to follow him 1/2 way across the country so he could pursue a career in the Marine Corps. About that much, I have zero regrets.

 

Over the course of our many moves, I always tried to find a "church home." At the time it provided me with a much-needed locus of support and a pseudo-family, since I was young (19 when we married) and was more than 18 hours from the nearest family or any other sort of support system.

 

As time went on, I found a great distaste for the evangelical denominations restrictions. I was irritated by the hypocrisy over alcohol, how it was not against church doctrine or even against the Bible to consume alcohol, yet there was great judgement if you did. Yet, everyone did drink it and hid it - it was maddening! As a strong-willed, strong-minded woman, I found that I didn't "fit" in that world. I wasn't comfortable resigning myself to staying quiet, serving in the nursery and kitchen and attending our women's Bible studies to learn how to be submissive, quiet, good wives and mothers. I wasn't happy to have my opinions and contributions devalued due to my sex. I was also irritated by the amount of extra-biblical doctrine to which the evangelicals adhered, and their cavalier attitude towards worship. I operated under the belief that if there was a God, surely he would not want worship that was supposedly dedicated to him to actually be all about providing an entertainment experience and glory to those performing it.

 

Initially, I converted to Anglicanism, a far more traditional form of Christianity. I liked that they had no rules against alcohol, very few extra-Biblical beliefs, valued women as their intellectual equals, and had a far more reverent approach to worship. I even taught at my parish's preschool for three years, which I was pleased to see accepted and accommodated all faiths. I had students from Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Atheist, Secular, and Jewish homes, and it was lovely.

 

Last year, I was elected to attend the synod (annual operations meeting) of our church, which was not held until June of this year. Still, my doubts came before then as things heated up politically. Our church began to take positions on things like Amendment One, and the Affordable Care Act's employer birth control requirements (which is asinine since our church doesn't ban contraception). Not only was this distasteful, but it's also illegal. Their stance on this issues go against all my political beliefs, which also became a point of contention. One of our deacons (leaders) publicly declared that any true Christian had to vote Republican, to which I and many others vehemently objected.

 

Despite my feelings, I went ahead to the synod, where I was bombarded with a full week of lectures on how liberals are wrong, homosexuality is wrong, etc. This flew in the face of everything I hold to be true and right, and I found it to absolutely be antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. My doubts about my faith increased, and I have not been back to church since.

 

I now question everything - the virgin birth, the presence of God, the existence of "heaven" and "hell," you name it.

 

My husband is still a Christian. However, he is very understanding of my journey. He does not push, prod, or proselytize. Nearly daily we still both engage in short prayers together, over food or before bed, because while I may not subscribe to mainline Christianity...or as I like to call it, Churchianity, I still hope that out there somewhere is a loving and merciful God who understands and appreciates our feeble struggles to come to terms with our own existence.

 

In the mean time, I have come to this place seeking sanctuary, as it were, from the sanctified, as I deconvert and try to extract my life from its deep entanglement with the church.

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Oh, I meant to, but forgot to mention, that I have since left my position as a teacher at the parochial school, and have returned to the school I left when I married my husband. I attend online, and to be honest, my school's absolutely minor affiliation with a religious organization isn't enough to threaten me or really even the most staunch atheist. I am hoping the the next two to three years I spend at home finishing my degree will give me enough time to sort things through in my heart and mind.

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Hi, Kate. Sorry to hear of the tough times when you were growing up. But I am happy to hear that you have a good marriage. I'm sure that makes your life happy!!

 

I relate to everything you said about your church experience. What you said about the hypocritical view of alcohol in many churches reminds me of a joke:

 

How do you keep your Baptist friend from drinking all your beer when you invite him/her to your house? Answer: Invite two Baptists friends to your house.

 

Wow, that trip to the Synod must have been really tough. I can certainly see how that would turn you off totally.

 

It is good to question everything. That's what almost everyone here did, too. If you have any specific questions or issues you would like to discuss, feel free to post them.

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Hi Kate, and welcome.

 

It can take time to settle into beliefs you are comfortable with. It has taken me about 11 years out of the 12 since I left my church. But it wasn't all anguished searching, much of the time I was content to believe in "I don't know." And I was much younger and lacked your feistiness.

 

Your husband sounds like one of the good guys.

 

Good luck with your degree. What are you studying?

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Hi, K! Welcome to Ex-C!

 

I can relate to your story, in that I too went from a fundagelical church to an Anglican church. My intellectual torment persisted (although it transmogrified by the transition) and in my journey I found the promises of God to be empty, regardless of denomination/branch of Christianity. I have come to the place where I believe Jesus was a legend that the apostle Paul made into a religion. Looking at the origins of Christianity, it struck me that Jesus is not who we thought.

 

Anyhow, I wish you peace in your journey. I'm glad you are working through your questions. Above all, I hope you find peace!!

 

Keep us posted! smile.png

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