Yesterday, my husband and I went for a drive, just the two of us. Windows down, radio off, no friends, no dogs, just to two of us, which rarely happens. As we were meandering down a randomly selected side street we drove past a church and he said something along the lines of “There are so many churches in this city. They are everywhere” which sparked a conversation about God, about faith. We have a very different stance of faith. We were raised in a strangely similar yet pertinently different way. His parents are staunchly Republican. My parents are moderate Democrats. Despite any political differences, we were both raised by devout Christians. He was raised Roman Catholic. I was raised Lutheran. God was deeply ingrained in our daily lives. Prayer before meals, church (or mass) every week, schools of our respective Christian divisions, confirmation, communion. My grandfather was a Lutheran pastor; my mother was the church secretary. We even lived in the apartment above the church office for the first few years of my life. My church tradition is very strong and I find solace in the familiarity of hymns, of prayer, of green jello, of God and also, the legacy of my grandfather that lives on in my faith. He was an amazing man whose fervor for equality has and will always be an inspiration to me but as I got older the hypocrisy of most modern Christian church and the political agenda it supported (which I never remember having been apart of my faith as a child) became clearer and clearer with each passing week. I slowly moved away from “the church” as an organized mechanism and found myself questioning whether I could believe in a God I was told hated gay people, who believed women to be inferior to men, who damned and deemed us unworthy. When I went away to college I stopped attending all together.
Guy and I got married in a Lutheran church, much at the prodding of my parents and we haven’t really been back since. When we joined the church we were married in I reveled in the familiarity of the church, the scriptures, the ritual, but as time progressed I realized that the problems I had with the church were particularly accented in the sermons each week. I was even referred to as an ornament on Guy’s arm at my own wedding and sneeringly called independent by the disapproving pastor. I’m not sure that Guy ever found the comfort in his relationship with God or the church in the way I did and when we stopped going I don’t think he missed it nearly as much as he had missed sleeping in on Sunday mornings. And to be honest neither of us missed leaving church feeling disillusioned and angry every week, especially at the height of Prop 8 (which Guy and I fervently and actively protested and continue to do so).
What I’ve been trying to get to is that I miss my faith. I’m not sure that there is a place for me, a feminist liberal woman who is married to a feminist liberal man, in the Christian faith. That’s not to say that I don’t have a relationship with God or that I don’t believe in the fundamentals of Christ. I believe in empathy, in peace, in understanding, in acceptance, and mostly, in love. I just don’t know where I belong. Is there a place for the justice seeking, human right loving, loud mouthed, strong willed Christians in the world?