AA meetings begin with "Hi, I'm ........., and I'm an alcoholic."
Hi, I'm Ginger, and I'm a *recovering* republican and evangelical Christian.
I say *recovering* because I still bear the scars.........and may always.
Once I was a member of an evangelical church that promoted cliques and exclusivity. I (and my son) still bear the scars of that experience. See, I was a single mother--divorced--and we were never really accepted "into the fold." There were a few truly Jesus-following people there whom I met (CC, DM, MW, and LW), and I will be forever grateful to them for the love they showed us; however, my overall experience was crushing.
I'll give an example, one that to this day sticks in my craw, and it involves their Vacation Bible School. When one signs their kids up, they put whom they want in their groups---do you get it? Can we say "CLIQUE" on steroids? What about the new kids, or the kids who don't really fit in? Where do they get "dumped"? To this day, my son hates that church and the way he felt excluded going there. In all the years we went, I can count 1 house he was invited to for playing. In the children's groups that met on Sunday nights, the "regular" homeschooled kids palled around. I had no idea when I started going there that it would affect him the way it has. Or the way it has affected me, for that matter. I pray one day I am able to escape the effects.
Why am I writing this? Because of Orlando...because of the hatred and silent voices from the so-called Christian community at large. Where is the outrage? I may be wrong here, but I don't think so; the Christian community has *mostly* remained quiet because they fear that to speak out against the carnage is to condone homosexuality. While preaching the fire and brimstone sermons of salvation (can we say a la Westboro Baptist?), they ignore the man of Jesus. What would Jesus do, or WWJD, was a very popular bracelet in the late 90s. Never before has that question, or slogan, meant more to me than it has in the last few years. Would/did he spout hatred towards gays? Would
he shun them? On the contrary, he hung out with the "least of these," the marginal, the oppressed, the people the sadducies and Pharisees and other "godly" people of the day spurned.
That takes me to being a recovering republican. In my experience, the evangelical movement bases its politics on two SINS (as if these are the ONLY SINS): abortion and homosexuality. Those pretty much sum it up; if a candidate is for ANY AMERICAN'S right to choose how to live his or her life, he or she will not get the evangelical support. An evangelical candidate himself can be a liar and a bigot spewing hatred, as I saw in the republican primaries this spring, but if he is anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality, he gets the evangelical support. What.would.Jesus.think? I envision him shaking His head at how His gospel has been bastardized. How what He preached about "loving your neighbor as yourself" has been forgotten, ignored, in favor of a set of rules promulgated by a political faction for their own selfish agenda/gain. Evangelicals, for the most part, espouse a society so foreign to the way He lived His life---an exclusive society whereby public schools are deemed the bastion of evil, and anyone who doesn't adhere to their way of thinking is a heretic.
I will spend the rest of my life recovering from this and following the Jesus I know; the Jesus who cared for the marginal of society. This time next year I will be retired, but it won't be a lazy, quite retirement (at least not totally). I will listen for *His* voice to tell me where I am needed--whether it is volunteering in my friend Joy's Saturday soup kitchen or hammering nails on a Habitat house, or anything else. I know His voice, and I intend to obey, no matter whom it is He calls me to serve: gay, straight, democrat, Muslim, agnostic, atheist-----------For the well do not need a doctor; the sick do... Those marginalized/hated by our American society. You see, I am a perfect person to empathize because I was marginalized.....because I was divorced.......the vast majority of the women my age in that church wanted nothing to do with divorced women....like we want their husbands...puhleze.....you can have married in your own church after your husbands......if you're worried about us, then your MARRIAGE has a problem.......for that reason, my heart bleeds for Orlando............and all the Orlandos.