So I’ve figured out more of why I’m getting the crummy feeling response.
The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to feel like these elements in relationships are pretty much exactly what I knew that I was making the choice to lose in returning to Christianity after the rebellious spell… and exactly what I’d found in leaving it originally.
I’ve sort of gone into this on here several different times in several different ways… but never really connected together.
It’s just been a few months back when I went into some of the details on the physical touch element, particularly with the hedonistic leanings… both in dating relationships and in just more physically comfortable friendships. Friendship cuddling level of comfort just doesn’t really happen in christian friendships much.
Though whether or not the words “appropriate” or “meaningful” could be applied might be somewhat debatable in some of the instances. Even if I might debate against them now, at the time they did hold meaning and did feel appropriate, so I’ll give it that one.
Attaching high value is another big one that I’ve gone into a bit on here in terms of working on issues. And how much it felt like leaving the religious value system meant that I suddenly went from being the fat chick with too many issues to being measured under the world’s standards… which are much more kind in my case.
The same circumstances that look like a mess to most church people look pretty average, or even pretty stable, to the rest of the world.
It’s really weird to go from the broken home, not quite together, never quite being right feeling…. to suddenly being surrounded by people who see none of that. Things like sexual relationships and single parenthood have no real major weight factor in the equation anymore.
Compared to a lot of the drama and messes and chaos and addictions, and everything else that is more typical of past family issues… having emotional baggage that doesn’t have a whole lot of massive damaging behaviors is good enough to pass for healthy and sane to a lot of the people I was connected with.
Honestly, even in appearances… I found that worldly friends gave a lot more latitude… and non-christian men willing to date a fat girl are pretty easily found. Even for one with a kid and baggage. Where church going men who take their faith seriously pretty much have pick of the litter of being easily outnumbered by single christian females just about everywhere.
Picturing a special future is pretty tied into that same thing.. worldly standards that hold less against you seem to be able to see much more of a bright future.
My friends in the hedonistic community thought I could do anything. They were the ones who would usually suggest jobs for me that were way above my head and experience level.. telling me that I was smart and could totally pull it off.
My christian circles… well… I’ve already gone into it on here about my frustrations at being told that maybe I just shouldn’t be trying to find a job, and need to work on improving myself and trying to trap a men, because that’s probably what I’m supposed to be doing instead of working anyway.
And even in areas of active commitment…. my non-christian friends were the ones who just sort of shrugged off all of my spells, good and bad, as part of the ride… and hung on for the trip.
My christian friends started bailing pretty much the minute I’d admitted having any doubts. Or decided to foster a friendship from far on the other side of the tracks.
And a lot of times even now, they are the ones that I feel like approve only conditionally… and quickly turn a cool side when I start leaning in directions they don’t agree with (even in things like going back to school, that should be a fairly neutral effect on a friendship.
And so… the more we get into this, the more it starts to make me feel crummy.
Because that’s totally and completely not how I see the church.
There are exceptions…. and probably the handful of you still actually reading this blog are the exceptions.
But in the majority of cases, I just don’t see that side of the church. I see it to some select popular people… just like the high school world was kind to certain types of people.
But not to the rest of the world.
And that’s where the blessing goes with its solution. It says that’s how you fix never having received the blessing, is that you turn to the church.
The first time I read that chapter, the only thing I could think was “Seriously???? Really??? Are You Kidding Me???”
And so somewhere in the midst of all of this… I feel like I’m watching an episode of Leave It To Beaver. Nice for the people who live there, not so much for the rest of us just watching and comparing up how much ours lives never had the slightest shot of coming close.
But the spot is even more sore for the time spent outside of the church…. and knowing that if I really wanted to, it could be mine again. All it would take to have a boyfriend and even a baby would be to settle for a guy who isn’t a christian. All it would take to have buddies to hang out with any weekend would be to settle for activities that I’ve decided lead to too much compromise in morals. All it would take to be around people who think I’m pretty normal and think positive about my chances in life would be to spend more of my time associating with people who don’t see sin as an issue or internal issues as worth worrying about because their lives instead focus on seeking the best balance of indulgence and responsibility to best maximize pleasure in life with fewest negative consequences.
And so I’m reminding myself that I’ve been on that side, and the grass wasn’t any better for seeming greener.
The decision to turn away from all that was made for a reason, and knowing that doing so meant that I would be giving up those things as part of the result.
But I suppose you got to love the irony of a sermon series that you know is aiming into another small group push… instead making you feel like running headlong into sin again instead.