I just read a book called Foreskin's Lament (could be the best book title ever) about a guy who grew up in an ultra-orthodox Jewish home. It's about his life in that culture but also how that affected his faith and life and thinking about God in his adult life.
When he says something overly neurotic, his wife says to him "Wow, they really did a number on you, didn't they?"
I felt a little pang every time I read that in the book, because I certainly could say that to some people I know and love.
And you know what? The God's honest truth is...that pisses me off.
It really makes me angry that "religious leaders" (and I use those quotes very, very intentionally) and others have done such a number on people I know and love.
It makes me really angry that they claim to represent God and then do things that are completely opposite of who my God is.
It makes me really angry that they have hurt people I love...and that they don't even care.
It makes me really angry that not only do they not care, they turn around and blame those people for being hurt by what they've done as though it's somehow the hurt person's fault.
It makes me really angry that these people continue to be in positions of leadership in churches.
It makes me really angry that there are some who know everything these "leaders" have done and yet they continue to consider them leaders and stay under their leadership.
It makes me really angry that people are so quick to believe what a church leader says, rather than finding out the whole story from everyone involved.
It makes me really angry when men in churches treat women as lesser beings.
It makes me really angry when women talk about how wonderful it is to submit to those men who treat them as lesser beings.
It makes me really angry when people are more concerned with following "God's calling" than taking care of their families.
And I don't think I'm wrong to be angry. I'm pretty sure my God is royally pissed off about those very same things.
So to anyone who has been hurt by people who are misrepresenting my God...whether it's because they said you have to act a certain way or dress a certain way, or whether they told you that the feelings you have for another person are wrong, or whether they made you to feel less than worthy, or whether they demeaned you, or whether they used their power to turn people against you, or whether they put down other religious groups, or whether they abused you...
Because that is NOT who my God is.
And I'm sorry that those of us who know the truth and know who he really is aren't doing more to stand up for you.
I'm sorry we didn't say "Enough!" to those people who were beating you down.
I'm sorry we didn't stand up for you sooner.
I'm sorry we didn't speak more truth into your lives and say "You are valuable. You are wonderful. There is nothing wrong with you."
I'm sorry we put up with bullshit from people in the church for so very long, so very quietly.
I am truly and deeply sorry.