If a leader is too combative and controlling, there’s a reason for that.
If a spiritual teacher keeps giving you tasks and obligations, you’re not learning spirituality or how to abide in Christ.
If a theology system makes God sound like a monster, then you’re not learning about the God who is love.
If you are fearful of God, then your teachers and guides are in error.
You aren’t crazy. Trust your instincts.
Christianity shouldn’t be a series of inconsistencies and shocking incongruities to be accepted at face value.
There should be mystery and uncertainty when encountering the divine, but if you’re repeatedly running into one red flag after another, you can stop explaining away the obvious problems or treating them as inevitable.
You can stop listening to the leaders who demand the acceptance of inconsistencies.
If a system of theology appears to be controlling, oppressive, and harmful, then trust your instincts.
Ask questions, seek the wisdom of trustworthy women and men with more experience, and explore other traditions and perspectives within the faith. What you find may surprise you.
There’s a good chance that other people have already asked the same questions and raised the same concerns.
My faith has evolved from assenting to a doctrinal checklist to consenting to the loving presence of God without any expectations or demands.
My hands are no longer clutching lists of things to do or inconsistent doctrinal statements that require defending.
When all is well, my hands are open, ready to receive from God.
I’m still angry some days at the Christian machine with its demands, obligations, and hoops to jump through. I forget that God is present, views me as a beloved child, and desires that I share this love with others.
At the very least, I can approach each day with the relief that I’m not crazy, that so many of my instincts about Christianity have led me toward a more loving and generous spiritual practice.
I don’t have to run from questions, doubts, uncertainties, and incongruities. There is a lot that I’m still sorting out and recovering from, but the survival of my faith no longer rests in defending insufficient answers to eternally complex questions.
I can rest in the mysterious presence of God with open hands and a mind that is no longer trying to fit square pegs into round holes.