…as long as you stay inside the box.
I went to church this morning with my best friend for the first time since January. It felt… different than what I wanted.
Let me start at the beginning… I’ve been a member of the same church since I was born. I grew up in the church. Lots of my friends were from this church. I was involved in music, I was confirmed there. I was married in this church. My children were baptized in this church. Some of my best friends are at this church. This is a place that has always been there.
Yet, today as I sat in the pew… it didn’t feel like home. Maybe it’s the fact that after a year plus of being away due to a pandemic, we are still settling back into the “normal”. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s summer and a lot of the young families are gone on vacations and such. Maybe I’ve changed.
I belong to a denomination of a Christian church that believes that no matter who you are, that you are accepted. LGBTQ+? No problem. Have a past? No problem. Struggling with your faith? No problem. We even make sure that we mention it… we accept you unconditionally.
But… do we?
As I looked around the service this morning, I couldn’t help wondering… if they knew what I knew, would they still accept everyone? If they knew about who smokes weed or who has experimented with harder drugs, would they be accepting? If they knew which marriages had suffered hard times, had affairs, or which marriages were ‘open’, would they be accepting? If they knew how many of us had been on the brink of suicide, would they be accepting?
I don’t want “accepting” to look like someone telling me “how they can save me” or “how I can change”. That’s not acceptance. I want someone to look at me and say “I accept you. I love you.”
Unfortunately, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think most people are there yet. I think it’s very easy to say, “yes, we accept you all”… but when it comes to things that are different than what we are used to, we struggle. However, if you fit inside the box…well, then we will most definitely accept you. I want to be accepted for who I am and who I am choosing to be. It makes me realize that I wear my mask here, because I don’t think acceptance would come if they knew my truth.
I love my God. My faith has changed over the years and will continue to do so. Right now, I am in a state of belief that I know my God loves me and accepts me for who I am…unconditionally…even if the church does not.