My Story of Church Abuse
is not the story you think it is
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Goodness it’s been an introspective week. Probably because my edits are due back to my (fantastic) editorthis weekend.
It has taken me all of my 42 years to even begin to identify what I want in life. I could say I knew at 25 when I just wanted peace in my family or at 30 when I just wanted faith to be easy or at 35 when I just wanted church to feel okay again, but the reality is this: it takes a lot of quiet and a lot of questioning to peel back the layers of what I should want or what other people want or what I think I’m supposed to want to get to the core of what I want. The old trope about what do you want for dinner? I only almost always know what I do not want for dinner rather than what I do.
Recently I read a series of posts from a faith influencer on what “the church wanted” for her. The church wanted her to be feminine. The church wanted her to be married. The church wanted her to be a mother. The church wanted her to be silent. The church wanted her to be in charge of women’s ministry. The church wanted her to be thin. The church wanted her to adore her husband always. On and on, a litany of what the church wanted for this woman. On first read, I got it and even somewhat agreed, having seen the evidence in my own life.
In The Understory, I write, “Belonging was contingent on believing and so I acted my belief so I could belong,” and it’s true. At that stage of my life belonging was contingent on a lot of things and I twisted and turned myself into most of them, becoming unrecognizable.
But unrecognizable to whom? is the question.