So this week I posted an article about Spirit Husbands and the ridiculousness it entails. I also linked to that article in the comment section of the original ad on Facebook. Yeah that might have been a bit “in-your-face” but I really wanted to say something to the poor women being sucked into that idiocy.
And what a shock, before long, I had some man trying to tell me how I was blindly being led astray by the demonic forces of Hell. Such a surprise. Dear Godfrey (that was his name) was attempting to save me from the fiery pits no doubt, but unfortunately he couldn’t get past the standard cliches. I played his game for a bit and enjoyed the banter but let him know I’d heard it all before. Eventually he gave up and went away.
But Godfrey did make a claim that I’ve heard often enough now to want to address. Seems the standard Christian assumption when someone walks away from their religion is that “some person or church hurt you or let you down and you’re taking it out on God.” I also saw a question recently on a Pagan discussion forum asking those who were former Christians if they were mistreated by Christianity, and if being a Pagan was in part a rebellion against it?
I took some time to really think about that one, because there is no doubt I have some resentment towards the church I was a part of. And yes, I do feel a bit of a chip on my shoulder toward organized Christianity as a whole. But am I angry? Am I following the path I’m on now just as an act of rebellion?
Am I little more than a teenager throwing a temper tantrum?
Some Things I Am Rebelling Against
Well, first off, yeah there are definitely some things I do that are rebelling against the rules in the UPC. I have to be honest. I almost never wear a skirt any more, because I was forced to wear nothing but skirts and dresses for 20 years. And because jeans are massively more comfortable. I cut my hair quite short partially because I wasn’t allowed to cut it at all. And partially because it looks badass and I love it like this. I love jewelry, and wasn’t allowed to wear it before. But then again, I was a bit of a jewelry queen before I joined the UPC. Same with makeup.
But yeah, if I’m being honest I do still feel a little bit of “screw you!” when I do those things. A bit of rebellious satisfaction. Not nearly as much as when I first did them, but its still there.
What about Christianity as a whole?
Well, the truth is I had walked away from the church and Christianity a good year or more before I began exploring Paganism. I definitely do feel that as I began searching, the one thing I did NOT want was anything Christian. It might be easy to assume that is because of the people and man-made rules, etc that I mentioned above.
I’ve been quite clear that Christians are what has turned me against the religion itself. But what about God?
Can God Let You Down? YES!
Christians have an assumption, because it’s part of the teaching, that God cannot possibly have let anyone down because God is perfect. But quite honestly, God DID let me down. More than once. There are some things I won’t share here, even though I am anonymous on this blog. Things that are still too personal. And I imagine one day someone is going to figure out who I am.
There are some examples I can relate: “I’ve never seen the Righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread” is a quote from Psalm 37:25 that is oft repeated in churches. But you know what? I had to beg bread plenty. I spent time on food stamps, begged and borrowed repeatedly from my parents and other relatives. My husband and I were righteous, prayed-up tithe-paying Christians. Doing all we could to honor God and make ends meet.
But for that matter, what about ALLLLLLL the righteous innocent children in 3rd world countries who are starving to death? Christian children even.
I decided, quite clear-headedly, that I didn’t want a Deity that claimed to be perfect and all-powerful yet allowed such things to happen. There was something about the personality of the Christian God that I just couldn’t accept any longer.
No, it wasn’t just the “rules.” It wasn’t just that I wanted to do whatever I wanted – although yes that did have something to do with it. But I think – especially considering this has been about a three year process for me to go from Pentecostal to Pagan – that I can safely say no. I am not walking the path I’m on now out of anger and spite. I’m not here because people let me down and I’m taking it out on God.
I’m here by choice. I’m here because this is RIGHT for me. And that’s that.