Many of my friends responded to my previous note on Facebook, with all kinds of concerns, admonitions, and encouragements.
And it's 8:22am, I'm working at the polling place in Northgate with nothing to do because we get about five people an hour, and I only help the disabled voters with the AVU, of which we've had a grand total of 0.
Plus, I forgot my copy of Brothers Karamazov at school, so I can't read that until I go down to the library during lunch and pick a copy up.
So...some clarifications, thanks, and responses, in general. I'll start with a general overview, and then some individual responses.
The first response is that I would love to go to Gwinn or coffee (or better, tea) with any of you guys, or stop by for a chat sometime, and I'll do my best to do so - talking to people is how I figure things out, alongside writing things out, so if I don't get back to you soon, be sure to hunt me down, because I really do want to talk to you guys.
In general...some clarifications as to what my feelings are, what I'm thinking, and what the general tone of the note was, or should have been, after some more thinking. Some of my note was stream-of-consiousness style, which is unfiltered and may be more extreme than what I actually settle on after thinking about it, so I may have seemed angrier or more distressed than I was. Basically, I'm very type-B, so I don't get too stressed out or angry about much of anything.
As far as being a bad Christian, I didn't mean to imply that I was terribly distressed about it and think I'm a horrible person that's going to hell. It was just a statement that if I'm going to be a Christian, I actually have to start putting some effort into it, which I haven't. It was looking forward to improvement, not looking back at failure. So don't worry about me in that respect - as far as I'm concerned, I've only been a Christian nominally for the past 19 years, so I can only improve - lukewarm Christians are the worst, says God. The fact that I actually care and am giving my faith serious consideration is an improvement.
Also, the "box" isn't as big a deal as I may have made it out to be. It's certainly not going to prevent me from doing anything that I want to, like being a Christian. I'm also not really angry at anyone in particular, mostly just frustrated by it. And I certainly DON'T think that I have to conform to the package to call myself a Christian. As I have said before, if that was the case, I couldn't be a Christian. It's just kind of annoying and frustrating, but I can deal with it.
The reference to various atrocities by the church throughout history wasn't to rip on the church, or discredit Christianity, or anything like that. Mostly, I wanted to point out the dangers of the church being over-involved in the government - it's always led to bad things, and I don't like the idea that America should be a Christian country, because it's not, and shouldn't be. There are a lot of Christians here, but there are also a lot of non-Christians. Our country was founded on religious freedom, and codifying Christian morals into law just doesn't make sense to me. Another thing that I wanted to point out is that just because the loudest Christians say something, doesn't mean it is critical to the faith.
And about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll. As I said, I went there for the first time in a long time. I'm not saying that I agree with everything he says, or even everything Mars Hill believes (in fact I know I don't), but I do agree with him for the most part on the subject of how men should treat women.
I know there was a whole hullabaloo last year about Driscoll being a chauvinist and all. I admit, I haven't actually seen that sermon, I plan to do so and get back to you on that. But here's my position, from what I have heard, and what I think. From what I've heard, he was grossly misrepresented. Just because he detests feminists (who also drive me nuts, by the way), doesn't mean he detests females. In fact, the primary concern of mine (and I'm pretty sure Driscoll's) is that we as men need to respect women, put them before ourselves. It's not about patronizing them, it's about loving and respecting them. If you as a woman have a problem with that, I'm sorry, I'm going to annoy you.
But to be clear - I'm not declaring myself a Mars Hillian, or hanging on every word that comes from Driscoll's mouth. It's just that in this specific case, his views lined up with mine, and it got me thinking. That's all.
A little more generally, I don't have a grudge against anyone specific. I am extremely grateful to my parents for raising me like they did - I can't imagine where I would be if they didn't raise me in a Christian home, instilling the morals and education in me that they did. Just because I don't agree with them on some things doesn't mean I'm dismissing them. I am frustrated with Focus on the Family, and the various other Christian organizations, but moreso at the environment that they have created. I don't think they're terrible people, or that they're really stupid. What they're doing works for them, but it doesn't for me - I think Christianity is big enough for the both of us, when the things that are different are the fringes, the package, that isn't important to salvation.
So basically, a summary of what I want to say to everyone...I am probably not as angry as I seem. None of this is going to keep me from being who I want to be, be that a Christian, a democrat, or what have you. And I still am not entirely sure where I land - I just know that a lot of what I believe is Christian, and a lot of the problems I have with Christianity are not with issues that are critical to the faith. Christianity is one of the things that I'm trying to reconcile in my life with what I believe, so we'll see where that leads me.
And to those who are concerned about me, I know you guys love me and care about me which is why you respond. So don't be offended by this, but I don't need a sermon at this point. I've had plenty of sermons in my life, I know the Christian line. I would love to have a chat with all of you - don't get me wrong. But it would be just that - a chat, a discussion, an exchange. At this point, I'm not looking for a mentor. I need to make this decision for myself, and I'm still nowhere near settled in a path to need a mentor at this point. I don't need to, or plan to, agree with you guys on everything, and that's just fine with me. I'd love to answer your questions, and hear what you guys have to say, and discuss things with you, and go back and forth, bounce things off. I love you guys, and look forward to our chats - my schedule is on my Facebook :)
Note: The original note included some further individual responses to the original Facebook note, if you want to check them out.