Nice Christian Girls don’t talk about it when they get hurt by their churches. Or effectively kicked out by their churches either. But then, I’m not a Nice Christian Girl, so that’s alright.
Of course a Nice Christian Girl would never tell her story, because a Nice Christian Girl would not have this story to tell. A Nice Christian Girl goes to church every Sunday and says all the right things, and then goes away and does all the right things to keep her nice place in her nice, safe church where she is comfortable and happy and everybody loves her and she loves everybody else and it just oozes everywhere, don’t you know.
Except if you’re not a Nice Christian Girl. If you don’t talk the Christianese, if you don’t know the secret code (not the one in the Bible, the other one). If you dare admit that hey, maybe you find the whole church thing a bit anxiety-inducing, and maybe it shouldn’t be that way. If you do that, you don’t feel the love.
Or maybe that’s just me.
I don’t know how it happened. I really don’t. I loved that church. Correction. I love that church. If I didn’t love that church, it wouldn’t hurt so much. We are all one body, many parts, and I do honestly feel that sometimes, there’s a bit of myopia going on. A bit of trying to turn you into a Christian cyber-man. (You know the one, where everybody talks and acts the same.)
The church that I read about in the Bible is this great (okay, also messy) thing. Broken people learning to be free and whole in the grace they have been given by God. We are meant to be this great world-changing organism – reaching out into our communities wherever we are and loving the people. And when the people come into the church, we are meant to love them still.
Even the ones who are a little awkward, who need the lights to be the same as they always were, who don’t talk the way we do, or move the way we do, or who drink coffee with loud slurpy noises.
I love that church, but I had to walk away. Because they didn’t love me.
I’m not a Nice Christian Girl, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. God still loves me. Just the way I am.
And God loves all the Nice Christian People, even with their secret codes and hidden agendas and fear. Yes, I said fear. Because that’s all I can put it down to. They must be too afraid to let their happy face guards down. Too afraid to be honest and truthful. Because there is no way people can be that happy every single Sunday (and Wednesday). Because apart from anything else, hormones. And another thing called Real Life.
But here’s the thing. Perfect love casts out fear. So if we all concentrate on the loving, maybe we could do a little less of the fearing.