Am I still a Christian? I think it all depends on the definition used to describe the moniker. Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps, partly. I am content to live in the uncertainty. I am content to rest in the paradox of my faith/lack thereof.
Having recently joined Twitter, I am adopting the designation, #Exvangelical, to signify my ethical and religious convictions. I grew up in a religious family. We weren’t regular church goers, but my parents infused Conservative Christian ethics into their parenting. I didn’t ever not consider myself Christian. When I was in college, after enduring a two year long romantic relationship filled with assault and duress, in search of internal validation–in search of a renewed sense of purity, I found myself integrating with the Conservative Christian campus community. Back then, I would have said I “got saved.” Initially, I believe, my religious experience was authentic. I read some of the New Testament, by myself, and upon seeing the words “new creation in Christ,” I felt completely unburdened by all the “sin” I had committed up until then. I believed this new Christian lifestyle would enable me to resist all temptation–it would restore my purity–I would earn God’s favor.
It wasn’t long, however, before I began to question the validity of the message. After all, I did all the right things. I prayed fervently, I studied the Bible daily, I discarded my “secular” music, I dressed conservatively, I abstained from R rated movies. Nevertheless, my conscience plagued me because my mind remained impure. I suffered intense jealousy, I was intolerant of others, I felt hatred in my heart, and for these reasons, I knew I was no different than before.
For years, I struggled with this because so many others seemed to have their proverbial shit together. The message seemed to be working for them. Why couldn’t I be better? I mustn’t be chosen. I mustn’t have enough faith…
But then I started to realize that all these “good,” “pure,” folks were, likewise, filled with hate–filled with ambition–filled with fear. Nevertheless, it took me an entire decade to realize I wasn’t the one with the problem. I am full of problems, I’ll admit, but I believed for years that I was malformed–defunct–unable to conform to all that is right and true. Until I realized once and for all, that the system itself is malformed and defunct, unable to recognize glaring, obvious, trans-formative truth!
With that said, I am on an inward journey to reclaim my subjectivity, and as such, I am devouring psychoanalytic and philosophical texts, deconstructing the ideology of my youth, and hopefully rebuilding something far more meaningful. Am I still a Christian? I think it all depends on the definition used to describe the moniker. Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps, partly. I am content to live in the uncertainty. I am content to rest in the paradox of my faith/lack thereof.