I don’t think I am the only person in this sharing that is in the place I am in. I think this post is valid in here though and hope that people on all sides of the view of what openness a church should hold will feel free to share on this topic. I think it needs to be added because we, in all areas of beliefs, tend to talk about our response to others without finding out how what we are doing affects them. I am in a different faith stance then when I was younger and sure of all that I believed a church should be. But this is the person who needs to share this with you, this person who stands on the doorstep wondering….
I am one of the outsiders who stand waiting for room at the table. I am one for whom your decision influences my welcome to your table. I am one of the few who can be here and listen to you all, knowing faces that matched each of your positions and still know my faith even as you discuss my verdict in your place of worship.
I am one like I am because I have walked through Jesus’ words, asking his father to forgive him as he hung dying, understanding that “they” don’t understand what they are doing. I have walked through the hell of being separated from the church by my own pain and confusion, and I am one who has had the stone rolled away in her own soul so that I can now begin to walk out into the light of living Christ. But I am not the Christ, so my life as a part of the body is tied to what you live as well. I am a trembling part, a broken bone mending. It is yours to decide if, within your halls, I will be accepted or not as I find my way in this new resurrection of faith.
I am one who remembers questioning and seeing in a different way in the earliest memories of my life. I am one who taught and shared, who understood Christ as a companion from young and who saw beyond the walls of family and church to those outside who felt loneliness and pain. And yet I was taught to fear rejection if not adhering to some code that to that church epitomized the essentials of faith so that her young mind became focused on thoughts of hell and death because she lived in a world where the decisions of others mattered more when it came to punishment then the truth of her life. I am one who could be harmed by your decision, if you decide to be God’s judge here on earth.
I am one who has walked the journey of becoming and has had too many moments in my life that I cannot explain except through my relationship with God that has shown to me so clearly by the representation of God’s Son that I am loved and accepted. I am the one that over and over was told in some way different to each setting where I sought connection to the Body that I was not acceptable. I am now in the family of the woman who dared to reach out and touch Jesus’ robes in spite of the decision of those around that she was not clean enough to do so. I am one of the outsiders of whom you speak.
I am of the family of the woman brought to Jesus with things in her life that clearly went against the law. I am a woman who lived through life knowing that being a woman made my guilt even greater to those who sat in the seats of influence in the church. I am a woman who has stood in the place of despair of ever being clean and heard Christ’s words of letting go. I am a woman who reached a place of walking away from the church, even of being suicidal, because I had been told my non-worth so often that I felt the best favour I could do was cast my own stones at myself so that I would not harm the Body of the one who I loved. I am the woman who felt to shamed she could only grasp the hem of Jesus’s robe and still found healing for herself.
I am the prodigal who tried to distance from the God she felt she was harm to. I am the prodigal who tried to find the love that she had been told wasn’t available to her because of her anxious appearance. I am one of those whose verdict you decide. I am one of those who stands waiting to know if I will meet the Father’s love or the brother’s judgment when I come into your halls.
What will you do with me and those who I stand with in being who I am? I have quite literally experienced the “brother” stepping away so that I was left in a space empty of others in a room full of people. I have stood in a crowded foyer and had people talk across my face without even acknowledging I was there. Will you step away as well? Or will you welcome me to my Father’s table laid there for us all because of the gift he gave through his Son? Will you do this so that I can find that place where I can finally be safe enough to struggle through the questions of living as a part of Christ’s body here on earth?
That verdict is in your hands. I am only glad that the verdict of my acceptance by God is in God’s hands by the mercy shown through Christ.
Though the details included can be validated as true, the writer of this chooses to be anonymous so that those who made these choices can have the chance to learn for relationships with others through conviction of a heart that truly would like to live love instead of as a response to shame