Today is the anniversary of a pretty traumatic time for me as a teenager. I also think it’s time for me to put this out there. I believe in God and have a huge heart for loving people through Jesus Christ. And because of that love, I can no longer represent American Christianity, Pentecostalism, Baptist, evangelicalism etc. I’m simply just a follower of the way.
I’ve made this decision after looking back on the local events and some of the articles people have been sharing along with the shift people of faith have gone through over the past decade. I’ve seen some of my nicest friends become radicalized. I’ve seen people who used to love and serve the poor and the orphan now call desperate unemployed individuals who have a hard time finding work socialists. I’ve seen some health care working Christians metaphorically give the middle finger to scientific sources they used to respect.
Before I had no idea what happened. After January 6th, I started asking questions. For the last month, I’ve been reading more about the Bible and how fundamentalism, dispensationalism, Jerry Falwell, Ollie North, James Dobson, Bill Gothard, Todd Bentley, RJ Rushdoony, Joshua Harris, Phyllis Schlafly, etc have all influenced our current state of the religious right. I’ve done this during my none working hours and during the night when I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been asking why anti-abortion, why the persecution rhetoric, why the obsession with the Cold War and Communism. I hate politics but it’s important because it shows why 1 Samuel 8 was written. Samuel was trying to tell the people that nationalism is a sin. Owning the libs isn’t new. Entitlement, meritocracy, and a need for a theocracy where God has dominion from sea to sea has always been the agenda above caring for the people who need it. I won’t try to prove it if one disagrees because all the info and history is a lot to take in.
Many years ago, I wanted my old high school to stop treating Christians like garbage. I wrote a militant dance song covering the subject that was played at a high school dance. The principal called me into his office, I cried persecution, had a meltdown, and was kicked out. After January 6th happened coupled with the whole Springs government court ordeal, I had to come to terms with the fact that what I did in high school over a decade and a half ago was almost as awful as recent events. Even when I tried to be more loving and less dominion driven, my entitlement for more “blessing and dominance” showed because in my mind I was the autistic kid who “God planned to prosper and give a hope and a future.” My need for authority to “rule” on this earth has now been completely replaced with the desire to serve and love others while calling out the disgusting attitudes I used to have shown by others. The truth is when I tried to take control or authority like a man the way I was raised, no one listened or they reluctantly did what I say. But when I loved people, they opened up to me and took me seriously. The truth is that people don’t want to be saved, conquered, controlled, or sold salvation. THEY WANT TO BE LOVED!!
I’ve also come across some posts that brought me to a self-diagnosis of RTS (religious trauma syndrome). Over the years, I was raised under the methods of James Dobson laced with a bit of Gothard ATI garbage. For those of you who know me, you’ll notice I experience various cognitive, emotional, and social difficulties offline. I can’t seem to master anything motor skill related, and can experience much confusion and “fish out of water” problems. Autism also amplifies this stuff and most of the time, church members are like “Just pray it away” or “cast out the demon” or “God will help you” blah blah blah. I was even called demon possessed a few times.
My big beef with religion as a whole is the need to control what we don’t need to control. I’ve been controlled and infantilized as a child and I still see how damaging that was to me decades later. I’m not saying we should give up personal responsibility. In fact I’m for being responsible provided we at least make an attempt to control what is within our power to control such as personal finances and keeping our houses clean so to speak. But trying to control what people see, think, and do with ridiculous guidelines and authoritarian intent never leads to a change in culture. It leads to culture fighting back. I’ve seen this from tons of women’s groups who have been sharing their abusive stories in ATI and similar cults and a friend who went through unspeakable abuse herself so this issue is personal to me.
Lastly, let’s talk about money. Last summer, I helped my aunt (a dentist who’s a millionaire) move out of her mansion in Oshawa. I discovered my late uncle hoarded generations of old tech, clothes, decorations, and antiques. It was tough selling and getting rid of it all. And yet some richer believers have the balls to literally live like kings when they should be giving chunks of it away. I realized that Christians aren’t immune to “mo money mo problems” situations. Having too much cash is way too stressful but some Christians prefer to be King Solomon rather than David. Once one passes, money and hoarded possessions become an unneeded stress that takes years to manage. I saw what my relatives went through after my uncle died and have decided if I ever make as much money as my aunt does, it’s going to causes I believe in while my wife and I travel. I only want enough to survive and to see the world.
This pandemic (dont get me started on all the Covid stuff) and the raids on the capitol have stripped me of my need to be someone respected, rich, special, known, or someone in authority. What Ghandi said is true. A lot of Christians today are so unlike the Christ they worship. They’re entitled, they don’t understand what real suffering is, they aren’t willing to be wrong, they hate failure, and they think working hard is what gives them identity when it doesn’t. And I don’t even have to look at the news or blog posts and articles to see all this coupled with hate and anger. I struggle with some of this as well. Not going to downplay how broken I am. I’m part of the problem. Not everyone is completely like this but depending on the comments I get below there may be hints of it.
I’m done with Americanized Christianity. I can’t do this religion thing even though part of me wants to. I love the so-called left-leaning Jesus I’ve known recently but not the “white Jesus” my friends and I grew up with. I’m still reading the Bible. I’m still praying…a lot. But I probably won’t be attending in-person church once it’s open again. I don’t want “Christian books” or “Christian music.” I don’t want to watch any sermons unless they’re from the two churches that actually are still very good to me. I prefer to be prayed for in private, and I may need to just take my time getting back together with those who understand what I’m going through as I go through hard deconstruction and reconstruction.