Is Chloe a ChristianIn the past few months I’ve been asked if I’m still a believer, and even more importantly: Why?

When I’m asked if I’m still a Christian I must admit I feel a little stab of pain. Does my life in fact so poorly reflect my faith? And I guess I must be honest and admit that the answer is yes since I am 1) A liberal, 2) Pro-Choice, 3) Overly fond of the word fuck, 4) Don’t attend church anymore, and 5) Wrote about having sex on my driveway. By pretty much anyone’s standards, if I am a Christian, I am not a good one.

But Am I Still a Christian?

Outwardly, I don’t do a whole hell of a lot that would make anyone look at me and think, “Wow, there goes a really good Christian.”

In my defense, for many years I did my very bestest at being a good Christian, and it didn’t go so well. In my opinion, the reason I’ve failed so miserably at Christianity is because I’m saddled with a particular set of spiritual gifts that don’t go well with having a vagina. Why God would saddle me with both a vagina AND my unique set of spiritual gifts is beyond me. It’s like He made some big mistake, or something.

My biggest handicap as a Christian woman is that I don’t do that “stay home (except when we have some church work for you!) and be silent” thing very well. I suck at it like you wouldn’t believe!

The men in charge of the churches where I’ve belonged (and a fair amount of the women, too) would rather I be a lot more silent. And despite the fact that Jesus spent a lot of time hanging out with mouthy women–like that slutty woman at the well, and the lazy Mary who wouldn’t do her housework, and that whore with a penchant for pricey perfume–while letting them in on the great spiritual secrets of the ages, Paul and the Nicene Council agree with them and not with me. So now, to these men’s great relief, I demonstrate my obedience to their commandment of silence by my absence.

But you need to know that none of the very good reasons I’ve given you (that you already knew anyway) about why and how I’m a shitty Christian have anything whatsoever do with whether or not I am one.

Can You Be A Christian if You Don’t Believe in God?

I am a Christian despite the fact that I’m not entirely sure there is a God.

Well, how does that work, Chloe?

See, I’m open to the possible reality that God does not exist and our lives are utterly pointless. I’m open to the notion that right this very minute mankind might be sort of like an overgrowth of yeast in a big vat of bread dough that is rapidly running out of flour. It’s entirely conceivable to me that we’re proliferating out of control while our critical resources are exponentially diminishing. Sooner or later (but it’s feeling like sooner) we just might collapse in on ourselves, and the bacteria that are left will dominate the world once more.

Sometimes I think, “What if we—and everything we’ve created—are destined to become the future fossil fuel for the next big overgrowth of intelligent life?” That’s not something a good Christian thinks, or admits out loud to thinking anyway. But seeing as I’m currently a biological dead-end, I’m all over that shit. It could totally be the truth.

Except…

See, here’s the part where I get all sentimental. I’ve had this inconvenient personal experience with the Divine that brought me to my knees and, try as I might to rationalize it away, I just can’t completely walk away from a God who has demonstrated so much mercy, grace and love upon me, the least of anyone.

Memoir of a Meth Head

I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be writing this blog post. By all rights, I should be a toothless hag, or dead, or worse. By any stretch of the imagination I shouldn’t be sitting here having a life like this unless there is a God who loves me.

Except you ought to know that even daring to write that last sentence makes me feel tremendously guilty because I’m nothing special for God to love. Why should I have happiness when so many suffer? How does that work? How is God love when so many far more worthy and worthwhile than me suffer?

I don’t have an answer for the question of suffering.

And so I struggle with the global notion of the existence of a God who loves us. But I do have a story. And my story is about a God who loves me for some inexplicable reason. And if this God I’m not sure I believe in loves me then maybe the world is a place of hope and love, not pointlessness and extinction. And lately I’ve been feeling this pounding need to tell this story to those who’ve never heard it.

I want to be very, very clear before we begin this story that I am no one God should love. First and foremost, I never want to forget, and neither should you, that I am a woman who has done despicable things. I killed my own unborn baby for drugs. And everything that came before that, and everything that came after that, and the mighty hand of this unbelievable God on my life in the midst of that choice, is what has made me who I am today.

Why I Am Still A Christian

I’ve publicly told this story, in toto, only one other time and that was on a homeschool forum I was eventually thrown out of because it turns out that I’m a really shitty Evangelical Christian homeschool mom too. When I told it then I told it in parts because that’s the only way I could emotionally tell it. I have no idea how I’m going to tell it now. I’ve already used too many words for a blog post and I haven’t even started it yet.

To begin I’m going to steal from Charles Dickens and begin my life with the beginning of my life and record that I was born.

I was born.

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barcelona kissThat Fire Sale on my life I promised back in November of 2012 is nearly over. By this time next week, all of my earthly possessions will either have been sold off at garage sale, placed in a metal container at a self-storage unit, donated to the local humane society, or thrown into the trash.

Downsizing is Not For Sissies

If you really want to experience all of your emotions at the same time, let me suggest that there is nothing quite like putting your hands on every single, solitary thing you own, reliving every memory and feeling you have ever had that’s attached to that thing, and deciding whether or not that thing–along with all of its memories and feelings–will continue to be a part of your life or cast away as useless flotsam upon the ever-receding sea of your finite existence.

If you want to know what downsizing is like, imagine going through the five stages of grief over everything you own. Over that old secretary desk you got at someone else’s garage sale twenty-five years ago, over the finger-painting your four-year old created for your birthday, over a roll of old Madonna and Child Christmas stamps you’ve been saving since the 1980s for some unknown reason you can’t quite explain. And on and on and on it goes.

My husband’s criteria has been very simple. He only asks himself one question:

“Do I ever want to move this thing again?”

Since I have a man to move my things for me–no matter how heavy or unwieldy–physics plays no part whatsoever in my decision-making. For me, it’s all about how I feel. There is a utilitarian component to it though, which is answered by my guiding question:

“Does this thing serve me?”

 

But that one question leads to many others:

  • Does this thing make me happy?
  • Does this thing make me sad?
  • Will I use this thing again?
  • When was the last time I used this thing?
  • Is this thing still in the same box I packed it in when we moved to the Mountain eleven years ago?
  • Do I like this thing?
  • Do I love this thing?
  • Have I always hated this thing but never had the courage to get rid of it?
  • Will I cry if I put this thing in the pile of things I no longer want?
  • Will I have a panic attack if I even dare think about not having this thing anymore? (This is the category that precious finger-painting fell into)

And on this will go until we reach the very last thing, which by my calculation should be sometime this Saturday afternoon.

The Answer is 42

And thus, the first leg of this twisty-turny journey my husband and I began on the second day of January, 2012, will be complete.

Or maybe our journey really began on the day we were born. Did the angels bet God that there was no way on earth these two people, so very, very different, and yet so very much alike, could possibly stay together through thick and thin?

Who knows? Who knows what manner of events, or the timing thereof, conspire to put us on the path to our destinies. Do we even have destinies? Is the trajectory of our lives God-ordained fate–Does Jesus have some wonderful plan for our lives?–or are our lives so entirely random that they are in fact utterly pointless?

It doesn’t matter now. What matters is that we’ve done it. We’ve really done it! We’ve let go of everything that was enslaving us to a life neither of us was happy living. And through it all, time and time again–even when it cost us dearly–we’ve chosen one another over every other consideration.

In November of 2012, we decided to walk away from our house after losing over $200K in equity, post-housing bust. And while there have been some rough patches–including California taking us to the cleaners in taxes–we’ve never looked back. It was without a doubt the best financial decision we could have ever made. Not having any other debt, our credit score barely felt the jiggle. But even so, we were willing to risk it. We were willing to risk everything for a life worth living with each other.

That house, and all of its stuff, was holding us hostage to a life that was making both of us miserable. It, and all of its useless–not-even-worth-moving-again–contents, failed to serve us. And we decided we’d be damned if we’d continue being indentured servants to some things.

Dreams Do Come True

In December of 2011, I had a dream (I know this because I have a post in my drafts file about it that I never published). I dreamed that I woke up and looked out the window of a house I’d never been in before, and everything that was stealing my peace and joy was gone from my life. What I remember most about this dream is how happy I felt. And I clearly remember the words I said to myself in this dream as the sun poured through that window. I said, “Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Maybe Kris Kristofferson was right and freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. All I do know for sure is that right now I have a peaceful, easy feeling.

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Living the Curated Life

Every month, I pay WP Engine® $50 to host this blog on a dedicated server. I also pay Bluehost money for some reason they’ve tried to explain to me over and over again but I still can’t figure out. Personally, I think it’s a racket. All I know is that last year when I stopped […]

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You Are Invited to a FLOR Design and Wine Event in San Francisco

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Outlander Starz Season Finale: Spoilers and All

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How AARP Membership Can Save You Money?

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I’m off to Life@50+ National Event in Miami!

At the invitation of AARP, I’ll be attending the Life@50+ National Event in Miami, Florida next week as a social media champion. It wasn’t exactly easy squeezing in a 6000-mile roundtrip for a couple of days between shifts at the hospital, but since my personal mission and AARP’s corporate vision sync so well these days I took them up […]

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How Dare Kate Be Prettier Than Us!

We’ve all see it by now, the glorious pictures of the beautiful, dare I say radiant, Duchess of Cambridge standing on the steps of the hospital next to her beaming husband, the future King of England, a mere few hours after giving birth to the angelic Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Kate, markedly unlike most of […]

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How to Be Happy

I’ve stopped and started this post dozens of times. Like most of what I “write” today, I imagine the words coming together so beautifully in my head while I’m driving to work, but it all breaks down into nonsensical babbling the minute I find myself sitting in front of my computer. Here’s hoping today it’s […]

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I Watched 50 Shades of Grey, and I Liked it. Sort of.

WARNING! SPOILERS! I just got back from seeing 50 Shades of Grey at a multiplex near me. If you don’t want to read spoilers then go away. If you don’t want to read another post about 50 Shades of Grey then go away. Unlike Christian Grey, I give absolutely no fucks (more on that later). […]

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