Christians are a buncha weirdos.
They use words like “blessed” and “prayerful.”
They’re always throwing around insane phraseology like “Kingdom mindset” and “Jesus-centered.”
Why are they always bringing Jesus into everything?
I grew up in a Southern church where we waved our hands around, spoke in tongues and weren’t allowed to give each other front-to-front hugs (because, of course, body contact is the devil’s playground).
And I played the part well. My youth group was its own cultural bubble and I wanted nothing more than to fit in.
When it’s considered “cool” getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning to drive 40 minutes across town and pray with your fellow teen believers, well… that’s what ya do.
When everyone in your immediate circle decides that listening to “secular” music might threaten your degree of holiness, you follow suit.
When your “unbelieving” friends who don’t find praying fun want to drink Zimas and smoke a cigarette they stole from their older siblings, you cut ties.
Or else, you run the risk of a one-way ticket straight to hell in a wine cooler-soaked handbasket.
Most of my young adult life was spent desperately striving to serve a God I didn’t really know, following rules I didn’t totally understand, all because I feared the alternative…
… a life lived in sin (whatever that means).
I trusted the adults in my life who pointed me towards church. They seemed like they knew what they were talking about and they didn’t really allow me to not go.
Plus, James Burkholder was hotter than mid-summer Texas asphalt and I got to ogle him every Sunday. I was okay with that.
But at some point in my early 20’s, curiosity (and burnout) overcame the fear of hell.
I wanted to sleep in on Sunday. I wanted to drink blueberry vodka. I wanted to move in with my boyfriend.
Mostly, I was tired of living under an oppressive regime dictating “this” was bad and “that” was good. I was tired of trying to fit into a culture that still gives me the willies.
I craved freedom and I didn’t really care about the consequences.
I didn’t really care about God.
But God cared about me. So, He let me go my own way, in true Stevie Nicks style.
For 10 years, I did my own thing. Along the way, I married that live-in boyfriend, got a dog, travelled a decent amount, I racked up debt getting a Master’s degree and had a couple of kids.
Motherhood didn’t quite suit me like I’d imagined. I ran smack-dab into quite a few of my own demons and discovered what a horribly flawed human I truly am.
That’s when I started to hear God calling my name again.
It was super quiet at first. Barely audible. Easy to brush off.
The whole “God” circus meant “do’s” and “don’ts” and fear and blind obedience.
And a church full of f*ckin’ weirdos playing nice. I wasn’t about to go that route again.
Still, despite my very best attempts to ignore it, the voice kept getting louder. And one day, for no reason whatsoever, I felt the urge to pick up my old high school Bible.
I spent the next three months reading through the New Testament gospels. You know, the ones everybody knows: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
I’d read them before. What good Christian hasn’t? I’d even studied them at my Christian high school.
But this time, I read them for myself. No outside input. Nobody telling me what to think or how to apply the words to my life.
Looking back, I think I was sorta hoping they’d put me off the whole God thing once and for all. Or at least force a decision one way or the other.
Living in the indecisive middle was awful – bitter about where my own faith had led me, but still too fearful to throw it all away juuuuust in case it was true.
Nobody wants to be wrong, after all.
I figured this was one way to shit or get off the pot, so to speak.
I read those four gospels all the way through at a snail’s pace. I didn’t go to church, I didn’t talk to anybody about it. I just sat and let the words speak for themselves.
They painted a picture of this guy, Jesus, who mystically appeared on the earth to do a bunch of cool miracles and say some really wise stuff. He was kind and compassionate.
He wasn’t at all how I’d imagined him.
Which kind of sucked, because He turned out to be a really cool guy who I wanted to get to know more, but I reeeeeeally didn’t want to be a C-word.
I still don’t (read more about my reluctant “conversion” here).
But I’ve started down a path that I can’t exactly come back from. I’m “in” this now.
And though I HATE all of the lingo and labels and fake niceness that usually come with the territory, that makes me a part of God’s church. Like, in the big, worldwide sense.
I’m still trying to figure out what that means.
But I know this: I will never fit in.
I cannot force the word “blessed” out of my mouth. I can barely utter “Jesus” or “God” and sometimes I can’t even sit through a whole church service without feeling like a caged animal and running outside to catch my breath.
I don’t see myself ever wearing a cross in any capacity. I mean, I don’t even wear a bra.
I think God is just fine with all of this. He created me. He shaped me through life experience. I don’t think He wants me to be some Christian-ed up version of myself.
He’s the one who crafted me to communicate better through writing than any other medium. He’s the one who gave me this God-awful compulsion to spew my personal business everywhere.
And that’s pretty much exactly what I’m doing here: showcasing my dirty laundry with a voice shaped in equal parts by Anne Lamott and David Sedaris.
I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where this is all going.
But I’m here, doing it anyway. Writing. Creating nonsense. Building a misfit community (read more about that here).
I can’t help but be myself – even when that means being a C-word – and at the very least, I hope it inspires you to do the same.
Lauren “Lo-Writer” Gonzalez
P.S.- Scroll down to listen to a brief introduction to this blog (and to me). It’s only 2 minutes and I only use 1 cuss word.