“It’s not like I am saying you are a basket case or anything” reverberated from his voice to my ears on a get-back-in-your-place phone call with a male Baptist pastor.
For the last couple of months, I have found myself weepy and all around turned around emotionally. Yes, the state of the federal government under the reign of President Trump has something to do with it. However, the state of the South and in particular the beloved Baptist traditionalist church’s subversion in quieting the disdain of many, thus threatening to silence the voice of its worshippers, has rattled me in a profoundly unjust manner.
Kicked out of the church the day I voted for a woman president was almost too surreal to process. Over 10 solid years spent waking on Sundays with hot tea for breakfast and my trusty black Bible resting on my lap. Reading commentaries and other doctrine notables at the foot of my bed. Always on time of course, a late bird for the Lord will never catch the blessed worm.
To be fair, being asked to leave wasn’t solely a result of my political views. Weeks earlier I got outed by a “concerned congregant” regarding my liberal points of view on social media. I’m a writer, poet, and social justice advocate, and a fucking feminist, so when the word got out to my church, some weren’t too happy about it. Never mind, I wasn’t hiding or posturing under sanctimonious love poems. I also did my best to authentically speak my mind and unreservedly used the F word. Perhaps sharing it one time too many was just that.
Many church members – most of whom I adored, including the pastor – accused me of being mentally unstable and writing for the world. I had become a spiritual dissenter, a rouge radical writer forging my Christian existence in the eyes of the Lord, and by the Lord I mean “busy bodies” of Christ.
Receiving a phone call from the Senior Pastor of the church I attended for much of my adult life asking me to leave my post as a Sunday School teacher and to take some time away from worship service was not necessarily a shock, though. It was more like an insult.
Insulted on the inside and perhaps a little arrogant. I have been faithful and a servant. As a woman, I submitted to authority and took my rightful place beneath the men in leadership, leading as a teacher in a place where I was grossly unappreciated.
Perhaps that’s that… being subserviently submissive was the unfortunate impetus for staying and lingering in a space where I longed to be more than a dutiful woman in pretty shoes with a heavy smile on Sundays.
I was honored to vote for a woman for the first time for President, and reveled in her sense of character when attacked for her feminist values and for the fact she was born with a vagina rather than a penis. Sexism is a perverted mass of bull-shit used to intimidate women from their position in the hierarchy by men who probably have some small business down there.
After a job loss, divorce, and financial crisis, I expected to be treated with respect, and a hand up wouldn’t have hurt. Instead I received a kick out until I could get my life back into balance.
Newsflash, men: women are not out of balance when they face challenges and begin to stand up for their greatness. They are practicing with a straight wheel rather than just what some male provincial thinking may consider to be a broken axle.
If knowing who I am and coming into the place of my existence beyond that of pleasing maleness infuriates or causes problems, then hell yes, I am a M-Fing problem-maker. Women, never let a man shame you for exerting confidence and being true to who you were created to be — hell, you weren’t ever lost.
My last time at my sanctimonious church was quite memorable, and I kicked myself for not just walking out of the door on my own regard. Two male deacons and leaders in the church called me into an empty classroom and stood in front of me and began to question me about my choices. When I refused to answer, they peered at me with looks of disdain; I walked away to the profundity of murmured breathy nonsense.
Whether it was happenstance or conscious-driven control, on the day I voted for the woman in white, I was asked to leave the space where I wore white on first Sundays, serving communion for the blessed saints…eating the bread of forgiveness and drinking the blood of ill regard. Happily, God and I are fine. Our relationship is full of love, drama, repentance, and is an ongoing story of unconditional acceptance.
Kick me out of the church, send me on a sabbatical, refer to me as a basket case, tell others I need to get my life together…well sir, I’ll write about you and vote her in and the her is me. My revolt and last stance is to write and to publish all about the misogyny and hypocritical lack of deliverance resting in a most unholy place with a male figurehead talking down rather than across barriers. It’s called the church.
I do pray for the inclusive love of God to peacefully sweep through each leader and lay person for the health and wealth of the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.