Are You a Still a Christian?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 18 comments

in faith

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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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie Jo April 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Oh, Chloe. I forgot how much I appreciate you until I reread this post tonight. Why you came to mind, I have no idea. I hope you still get notifications of comments on these old posts of yours. You and I are the two most opposite people – me, the ultimate prude who detests the F word, never talks about intimate details, and who “appears” to have it all together in the ways that seem to matter to modern evangelical – yes, even home schooling – church folk, and yet you and I share the same love, appreciation, and fascination for the same God who loves us beyond imagination, who extends his love, mercy, and grace even when his followers fail to follow his example. He’s not up there somewhere shaking a fist and acting all disappointed in you, but loving, accepting, and embracing you JUST AS YOU ARE, not as people may wish you were. He really is crazy about you, even through those rough patches where you’ve been wounded and mistreated by those who should have loved you best. Hang in there, Chloe, my (e-maginary) racy, scandalous, wild friend.

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Sandra May 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm

I hope Chloe is still out there writing and sharing her amazing insights! I just discovered her tonight when I needed to know if ovaries were of any use after menopause, because my doctors were going to take the one left when I have my hysterectomy this week, but because of Chloe’s post on female balls, I’m going to say, “No! And there will be %^&* to pay if it is missing when I wake up!” Chloe, I’m a committed Christian who, unfortunately, also likes to use the f word. You are fun to read, you are real, and you are important. Please keep writing. I’m going to find your most recent posts-if they are out there.

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John-Paul Allen Coffman June 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Can’t believe I’m seeing things I’ve been thinking my whole life put into words.

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Liv August 20, 2015 at 3:28 am

I understand this so well. Thank you for putting it into words.
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Jen August 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

I’m glad you are telling it now. I want to hear it. And while you may not be good at meeting the unrealistic expectations of the evangelical world, you most certainly are His beloved.

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Debbie A-H August 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Wow. Never heard someone say this — EXACTLY what I feel about being a Christian. I have no dramatic conversion story, but everything else. Yes. I haven’t cried about my faith in a long time, partly because there doesn’t feel like there is anyone to talk about this. Thank you.

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Jack August 11, 2015 at 5:34 pm

I have a few funny stories about things that happened when people told me I didn’t act very Christian like.

They kind of picked the wrong person to say that too, this insouciant Jew has way too much fun responding. 🙂
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Wendrie Heywood August 7, 2015 at 8:59 am

Chloe – I think all of us aren’t good whatever-it-is we strive to be. If we think we are than we are possibly mistaken… That personal experience with the divine is a tricky one, it’s why I am still hanging in there too.

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Sharon August 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

I love your blog. You write well, and you’re funny and make me feel like I am not the only “sinner” out there. Thank you!

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Jamie@southmainmuse August 5, 2015 at 5:44 am

The older me needs God — the personal connection that Jesus provides so I guess Christianity — more than ever. My faith and desire to talk with God is more intense now than ever. Life is so tough and complicated. I need the simple grounding of faith, hope and love. I’m taken with Henri Nouwan and savor his writing. I can imagine how hopeless life could be without my faith. xo

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Shorty August 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

Oh, how short we all fall. Thank God and his Son that there is still redemption.l I am far from a perfect Christian. AS IF there was such a thing; certainly, CERTAINLY there is not; otherwise Christ was not needed. I am so pained by reading how thrilled and proud others are of their rejection of Him. Would that I was a better witness and servant. However, I cling to my faith, faulty and shallow as it is at times- because I more than just believe; I know it to be true. ( I feel that you know that too.) Politics and culture do not define faith. We all, hopefully arrive there, as we were, and then choose how to respond once we hear the gospel and accept it for us. There should be no condemnation from Christians for those who have not yet heard; or who have chosen not to hear. But WOE! to those of us who DO believe and do … nothing… with our belief.

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Brenda August 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm

I love you. I remember this story and can’t wait to read it again.

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Pete Vanlaw August 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I’ve been struggling with religion all my life, as did my parents, who one could describe as Crypto Jews. Recently I’ve come to realize that I’m really an Atheist. While I believe in a god as a higher power, I don’t believe in God, as s/he/it is described in the Bible. Consequently, I don’t believe in organized religion either because of its hypocrisy and the amount of death and destruction it’s caused historically in the name of God, Jesus, Mohammed or fill in the blanks.
Good on ya’, Julie for speaking up and opening a dialogue.

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Suebob August 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I understand, Chloe. I am a not-entirely-sure-who-created-this-and-what-the-plan-is person, too. And I have a relationship with Jesus but not the Bible. So I’m either a terrible Christian according to most, or not a Christian at all, according to others, but I know what and who is in my heart. And that is far more than good enough.
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Ursula Joubert August 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Its still August 4. At least for another 2 hours. Lights already off. Backs already turned. Me, tossing and turning. He – midway between ife and death. I’m tossing because unlike you Chloe, I’m a good Christian woman and I’m now turning because WE DIDN’T PRAY yet. We didn’t pray last night either! Nor this morning. I’m losing my status as a good unshitty Christian woman. I MUST do something about it. I have to wake this newly converted pagan next to me and confront him about neglecting his priestly role. All flustered after a not-so-gentle bump in the ribs I asked the question: “Fred doesn’t it bother yoy don’t we not praying anymore?” Silence. (Expected). Attempt 2; “It bothers me…very much.” Silence. I’m starting to wonder while I’m thinking of my next step whether my husband (known for his long intense intercessory prayer) is still a Christian. I’m thinking of giving up on our “conversation”. Turned and saw my e-mail light flashing on my phone. Checked it. Ah, mail from Choe! The dragon tatto-ed lady! Topic:: Am I still a Christtian. Spot on. Perfect maul for my shitty Christian husband.

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Beverly Diehl August 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm

For the most part, when people define “what Christianity means to me” my response is, “That is why I will never be a Christian again.”

Christian means Christ-like. I am pretty sure if Jesus was walking the earth today, she would be a liberal, transgender black woman, whose day job was working with drug addicts or HIV victims, and be just as denigrated as the historical Jesus. Today’s self-righteous Christians = yesterday’s Pharisees and Sadducees.

Some of my best friends are Christians. And if more of them were like my friends, and like you, Chloe, I might reconsider whether I wanted to be one of them.
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Doreen McGettigan August 4, 2015 at 4:54 pm

I believe a Christian is someone who leads their life the way Jesus would and Jesus was not perfect. I chose to take in a homeless woman my husband brought home one night, was a foster and adoptive mom, volunteer for hospice and my husband volunteers to hold the hands of drug addicts and alcoholics while they fight their way back.
Recently a group of people informed me I was not a Christian because I post ‘bad’ things on social media, say the word fuck too much and I’m a Catholic. I told them to fuck off.
I am a pro-choice conservative which means I will never judge anyone for making a choice they have every right to make. I helped write the bill that makes the morning after pill immediately available to sexual assault and incest victims.
I get bullied from all sides.
The other day I was told I am lying and not pro-choice because I don’t support planned parenthood.
I don’t believe in judging anyone for anything. I do like or not like people because of what they do or don’t do but mostly because of how they treat others. The way I see it is if you are judging someone’s Christianity you better check your own because Jesus told us not to judge.
Just be your beautiful self and tell whatever story you want to tell the way you want to tell it and be your own kind of Christian.
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