Sometimes, in life, you hit a moment. Where you realise you just can’t keep the status quo. Something has to change. Often, that is difficult and you don’t really know how to do it or where to turn. I’ve had that recently. Actually, it’s been building for a long time. Who knew the place I would end up turning to find my help would be Twitter! Through following paths of tweets and threads I discovered such powerful writers as Rachel Held Evans, such present and relatable clergy as Nadia Bolz-Weber and people grappling with the same issues I am such as Sarah Bessey. A new world of people who respect the LGBTQ+ community in a way most (but thankfully not all!) Church experience I had to date did not. People not afraid to speak out despite knowing the level of vitriol and trolling they would receive, in many cases from those professing to believe in a Prince of Peace. Those who would see my situation and rejoice in the redemptive story, instead of getting hung up on the path yet to walk. I found my tribe.
Yet the physical word I live in is just not there. I see Churches with incredible public facing profiles, yet deep rooted discrimination abounding beyond the doors. I crave full acceptance, love and care, yet the wounds of Spritual Abuse still weep. I sit in that liminal space, between knowing a physical Church home, and knowing there will be a new chapter of my faith story, within those walls or others, yet not knowing what that will look like. I turn inwards, in prayer and rest, to the God who dwells within, laying all my processing and confusion down in that space. And I feel gentle nudges. Study. Learn. Write. Share.
So I begin my deconstruction. I challenge the pressure to name my God as Father at all times and embrace her as the Mother she often is. I will use They/Them pronouns in recognition They are one and three, thankful for the gift of Theology around Gender Identity for this expression. I will study and hold my learning in liminal space with God, following the example of the Psalmist who sang “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word (Psalm 119:15-16). I will pray until the Holy Spirit within makes the way clear, for I will take the advice of 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”. For in every way I want to deconstruct my relationship with Church, I want to hold true to the God who nurtures, guides, blesses and comforts me throughout all things. For They are good, and I pray my writing will always point back to Them.
I may make mistakes. I may misunderstand or misinterpret. I may write things I look back on in years to come and cringe! I accept this as part of my journeying, I freely accept I won’t always be right and I invite critical yet polite engagement with my writing. I do however challenge any reader to respect my journey whatever their personal response to it is, and to share any comments kindly. Your journey will be different to mine, your conclusions may well differ to mine and that is what makes the world such a beautiful and varied place. It is not disagreement which sows disunity, but unkindness.
Peace be with you.
Thank you 😍
Thank you! You were part of the chain of Godincidences that brought me to this point and I’m very grateful for your counsel.
I am interested in what you mean by the word inclusive in the above description. Are you just talking about issues of sexual equality and LGBTQ+ issues?
I am all for equality in those issues and am aware that these are not the only issues in which there is inequality in the church. I am presently more involved with issues that personally affect me, disability and neuro-diversity. It is my understanding that it would be better to fight together. Fighting race issues without gender identity issues will still leave the church unequal, a long way from the full acceptance.
We need to fight our own issues but support each other in theirs.
I’m not sure about the blog title, Deconstructing sounds destructive, I feel more into enhancing Chuch by adding all the people who find church difficult, it would enhance both the church and them.
Hi Steve, I absolutely believe if we are an ally to one group we must be an ally to all – there will likely be a whole blog post to that later! Hopefully today’s post will give a little more context to the choice of the term ‘Deconstructing’ – chosen very prayerfully I assure you for the exact concern you point out.