I have an odd history with church as many do. On one hand I thoroughly despise the power and manipulation over people’s minds that is an inherent part of religion. On the other hand I know I will never quit going or finding a refuge in those moments when I come together with others, as a body of people, in a moment of reverence and peace. It’s a love/hate relationship. It’s like the government. We need the government for various reasons (some of which we can agree and disagree on), however every government, even the best of them, has corruption somewhere inside. Similar to the church. Great reason for them not to co-mingle. One of my favorite bloggers, Gigi, of hitandrun1964, recently put a quote by George Carlin up that I totally agree with. “I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death”. My parents were loud evangelical christians, who promoted a very heavy handed, conversion style, pro-discipline (read child abuse), ugly talking (read discrimination towards all sorts of people). Despite them, I came to believe in a loving God. I rejected that sort of christianity and still have a visceral reaction to those who promote God and political agenda out of the same mouth. However, I have a deep and abiding strength from my faith and belief in God. My husband is a minister. He got into the gig about halfway through our marriage (we’ve been married 25 years). One reason I was attracted to him as a human being was his ability to have a strong faith without being an asshole. However, little did I dream he would become a minister…ergo, I became a minister’s wife. He decided to go to seminary somewhere in his 30’s and ended up becoming a minister. He loves church ministry. He has a vision to make the church a vibrant and helpful part of the community. He had a very healthy and positive ubringing and relationship with the church of England (he’s a Brit). Think of all the things a minister’s wife might deal with and you are pretty much spot on. People make all kinds of assumptions about me. My family struggles with living in a fishbowl. However, he’s a great guy and very balanced which makes him a great minister. I’ve taken a number of steps to carve out a space for our marriage, our children and myself to protect our autonomy and privacy. On the way home from church today my daughter and I were listening to Sam Smith, the vocalist. What a voice that man has! His songs are filled with inuendo about church. His songs echo gospel, choirs and are filled with references to church. However, they are not church friendly. They are anti-church. His songs remind me of my internal dialogue and struggle when I see how people are manipulated by religion, strong personalities, sects, cults, brands, the religious right, political/church power. As a woman I find the church often male dominated and misogynistic. I feel alone on this subject. I resonate and identify with those who reject religion and have been bullied by people who say they speak for God. And yet, deep inside my heart there is a space where I find hope, healing and restoration in my Faith in God. Such a paradox.
*RHINO district, Denver*