The Wrong Question
The Question That Harms
The Wrong Question Would you tell us about the people you’ve brought to Jesus? Or How many people are you bringing to faith? These are not the right questions. These are the questions that harm. Faith is not a counting game. When I was asked a variation of the questions above in an interview for a scholarship toward mission development, I answered with honesty: I will never say to a Queer person that they should become Christian. I am woman, Queer, transgender. I felt the way Christians have twisted words of faith into weapons of hate, of fear, of exclusion. I feel the knife still expressed in Christian exclusion, Christian language underpinning the vitriol tearing girls from their friends in sport, the spite forcing children to endure the irreversible changes wrought by unchecked puberty. Christian language that says we are a disease, that our existence is akin to anorexia. Or nuclear holocaust.
And I experience the Christian silence that refuses to rage, rage against the dying of our love.I will never say, to anyone, that they should believe as I do. I will never believe that any who live in love are anything less than holy. My mission, developing, is not to walk in hubris, thinking I know the way. My mission is only to take joy in learning of the radical inclusive love I read in our books of faith, the Hebrew Bible, the Greek Bible, and all of the world of nature speaking in deep relationship. But I can never believe these three sources are all of the truth. I can only see the Divine through the broken panes of the window weathered by our human disregard. I who was denied Christian love through most of my life, who is still denied the love of vast numbers of Christians, see the beauty of my own faith formation in the loving hands of atheist, agnostic and broadly spiritual people. All of those who formed me, people who believe deeply in love, in community, and in doing the work toward justice. I did not get that scholarship.
I have the privilege to take joy in that loss.
I have privilege that I can state bluntly, the truth, that we who are Christian must stop this arrogance that we have some special path through Jesus. We must stop talking and instead, do the work of radical, inclusive love taught to us in Jesus’ life. Love. Love of the outcast Love of the overwhelmed Love of the marginalized Love without buts. Love with all beauty. And we must state clearly: There is no requirement on anyone to believe as we do. But we should require of ourselves to take joy in all the ways belief lives in our world, belief through lenses of the Buddhism, Wicca, Islam, Judaism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and deep spirituality of those who feel inclusive love surrounding us.
“07-29-21 Instruction-Created in the Image and Likeness of God(1).Pdf,” accessed December 14, 2021, https://www.dioceseofmarquette.org/images/files/07-29-21%20Instruction-Created%20in%20the%20Image%20and%20Likeness%20of%20God%281%29.pdf.
“19_0997_INGLESE.Pdf,” accessed April 25, 2022, http://www.educatio.va/content/dam/cec/Documenti/19_0997_INGLESE.pdf.
With apologies to Dylan Thomas’ poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
And I say again, to be clear, every Atheist, every Agnostic person I’ve known has believed deeply in community, in love, and in doing the work toward radical justice.