I link to this article because it brought back memories from my experience with the church, and the many people that I know who are still active members. I do live in the South. It’s inescapable. I now work in civil rights enforcment, and I regret ever being a member of an organization with such deep roots in racism. That was never discussed in my new membership classes.
I am a reformed Baptist. I call it a phase in my early 20s. My parents did not take us to church, but my grandma was Baptist. My fondest childhood memories are of visiting my grandma and walking to church with her on Sunday and spending a week in the summer to go to VBS. I didn’t really like VBS because I didn’t have any friends there, but I did like shelling purple hull peas afterwards. In the South, I was the only person I knew in elementary school who didn’t go to church. In high school, I thought I was missing on all of the fun of youth group. My way of rebelling against my parents was going to church when I got to college and getting baptised in a southern baptist church when I was 20. Despite how I came to feel about the church, I’m glad that my grandma passed thinking that her grandchild was “saved.” I was an active member of the church for 6 years, but I couldn’t bring myself to join the groups that would go door-to-door to deliver the gospel. I didn’t drink often, but I did occasionally, and I didn’t like lying about it to my church friends. (How many baptists do you take fishing? Two, because if you only took one, he’d drink all of your beer).
I started to pull away at the election of George W. when one a church friend said that he didn’t know how a Christian could vote for a Republican. I was a closet Democrat. I couldn’t reconcile denying the poor their basic needs in the name of Christianity. I was even more closeted as pro-choice. No matter how fundamentalist my beliefs, I knew as someone who was pregnant at 18, but kept they baby how important it was to even have that choice. I broke up with the church with the glorification of the Iraq War. It was the Crusades to the Church, and I was disgusted. I was so thankful that my oldest was only 7, and he was not in the youth group to watch the video of soldiers being baptisted in the golden sun of the dessert. That was my last day at a traditional southern baptist church.
I wasn’t ready to give up on my beliefs in Jesus and God. Having the option of prayer in times of need seems so comforting. I wanted to know that there would be an after-life, and I wanted the insurance policy that I still believed. Then my husband and I finally admitted to the other that we were struggling, and it was the greatest relief of our lives. I thought my Christianity was a comfort, but it was really a burden. As a Christian, my every argument with my husband, for example, was a sin against God for which I needed to seek forgiveness. When I released myself from a belief in god, there is no longer a great unknown in my life for which I must always seek to please and feel as though I’m failing.
My philosophy now falls somewhere in the humanist/ agnostic/ atheist spectrum. It’s the nice thing about not having a religion. I don’t have to define my beliefs. I can just be.
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won’t save us any more than love did.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
My first ecard! This was inspired when last night my husband didn’t come home until 8:30. He wanted to know why I didn’t just text him when he wasn’t home after 6. Because, asshole, I shouldn’t have to chase you down. We’ve been married for 15 years. Have some respect and consideration for my feelings. I don’t care that you weren’t doing anything. Hang out with your loser friend. I don’t care. Just send me a fucking text. Then say you’re sorry and not, “you’re acting like my co-worker who just got off prozac.” And yes, I really do feel like 3 weeks out of the month I can roll my eyes at his bullshit and go about my business, but then once a month, I really question our future.
Downton Abbey, imma let you finish, but Brideshead Revisited is the greatest mini-series of all time. Perfection.