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.
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.