Dishwashers in the Revolution

Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.

Sexuality and the Church

It’s been 4 months since my last post. Someone asked me a month ago if I would get back up here and write again because they were wondering where I was at with things. Truth is, I haven’t written because I haven’t had too much to say. Nothing new at least. But I wanted to sit back down and kind of throw some things out there, and I suppose we’ll see where it all goes.

As far as my “spiritual walk”…my “relationship with God”…my “journey” (church jargon gets fun) – I’ve found the longer I am away from religion the more bizarre I find it to be. Maybe it’s cynicism from a lifetime of being indoctrinated by the church that has led me to run away. But whatever it is/was, I’ve found it to be totally refreshing and amazing. It’s allowed me to see people for who they are and not whether they are “saved” or “lost.” It’s allowed me to open my mind to different and new ways of looking at the way the world is – that science isn’t the devil’s tool. Or to look at things that happen to people, mental illness for instance, and not think that its some evil spirit causing someone to struggle or whatever, but rather a real traceable illness with real, powerful ways of helping (that aren’t prayer). My mind is free to think “outside the box” of Christianity, so to speak.

Christianity isnt bad. I think it’s good. I think it has some really good, really constructive truths in it that allow for people who live lives informed by that truth to live full and satisfying lives.

But Christianity can be bad. I think that it’s destructive when it’s taken too far. When words written 2000 years ago are taken and applied as interpretation to things here and now that they were never meant to interpret…I think that’s when things start to get messed up. And I think it messes up people’s lives.

Can I just say that I’ve seen too many of my friends suffer through divorce? Too many. It sucks. I can’t pin it on any one thing, but I can add my two cents to it as well.
A bunch of my friends chose to get married real young. Nothing wrong inherently with that. But here’s a dilemma – all us young Christian kids always said we’d get married for “the right reasons” – (aka, not just for sex). My friends, they fell in love with other people real young and then were told to keep their hormones in check. Rather than preach safe sex we preach abstinence. Not a bad thing. Abstinence prevents kids, STI’s, and real bad broken hearts. But preaching abstinence also means that you’re telling 18 year olds that you’d rather see them marry someone before they have sex – so because they want to have sex real bad, they get married prematurely. Honestly it sounds ridiculous I know, but listen – it’s a real thing. They all say they are getting married for the right reasons, but so many of my friends are now divorced for a variety of reasons – actually mostly infidelity. A bunch of abstinent kids go get married to each other, realize that sex isn’t what they imagined it would be like, then blame their unmet expectations on their partner and run away into the arms of someone else. This is how I’ve seen it happen. Emotional and physical intimacy with another individual is scary, and the threat of kids and STI’s and all of that can be really real – but maybe we’d save our young people the agony of divorce by preaching safe, monogomous sex with someone they care about rather than telling them to “hold on for dear life” until marriage. And let’s not act like it’s the unforgiveable sin that our young people have had sex. I feel like we’ve set up ourselves for failure here. It’s like young people become “unclean” in the Christian community and are looked down upon if they’ve had sex. It’s not a lie people – I lived in those circles where if we heard about someone who had had sex before marriage we judged them. That’s reality. Frankly, it’s not the end of the world – and frankly it’s probably more healthy for a young person to experience their sexuality rather than acting like it’s the plague their whole lives and then be expected to automatically be able to turn 180 degrees and love having sex once their married. Let’s not be afraid of sex before marriage and let’s be real about what it means to be a young person with hormones and a sexual drive without having to throw the idea of marriage around to 18 year old kids.

On the topic of sexuality, I’ve also come to support the LGBTQ community since leaving organized religion. Religion has always demonized certain groups of people as “sinners” or “unclean” ever since religion was organized. 100 years ago it was considered a sin to have interracial marriage. Now it’s accepted. How did that happen? People woke up to the reality that people are people – black, white, brown…we are all the same. Now the Christian community has set up homosexuality as the next terrible thing. We let parishoners who are adulturous in and out of our communitites, but if someone is a homosexual they aren’t welcome. Or better yet, maybe they are “welcome” but they are expected to change once they’ve been “transformed” by the gospel. Like it’s supposed to change who they are. I’ve had the opportunity to take quite a few different trainings at work about working with LGBTQ youth and families and I’ve come to really care about the plight of those being put down and outcast by the church and society as a whole for just being who they are. I could go on a pageless rant about this topic, but rather than do that I think I’d just like to say that I think it’s time that people woke up to the fact that there are people…PEOPLE…not animals, not “things”…but actual human beings, being rejected, neglected, and hated because of who they are. It’s time that we let go of the idea that homosexuality is a “sin” and realized that there are thousands and thousands of people out there who deserve better from the Christian community.

This post was maybe a melting pot of thoughts, but in an effort to put down some of the things I’ve been thinking about I think they all relate back to the idea that being willing to let my religious worldview go and begin to see things differently has allowed me the freedom to LOVE more fully and more sincerly. I suggest trying it.


4 comments on “Sexuality and the Church

  1. Nikki Park
    June 12, 2013

    We agree on a lot of things. I identify myself as a politically liberal Christian. I wasn’t writing for awhile but am determined to start again about just these things. I don’t know. My experience with Catholicism was far more oppressive than being Christian. I am pro-choice. I am all pro-gay marriage. And I love Jesus. Sorry, this is a big ramble. I’m glad your blogging again.

  2. ian comings
    June 12, 2013

    Hey Ryan, Ian here. While I don’t agree with some things here, I whole heartedly agree with the vast majority. I’m in Mississippi the “bible belt” and what made me ‘run’ away from church were the outright hypocrites I met at church. They say, don’t cuss but I see them at school or the bar and they are saying gd/fun/etc. I say a lot of those things mainly fu or f-that but I don’t tell others it is wrong to say that then do it myself. When I was enlisted I asked an army Chaplin about cussing, he told me that the only thing I should worry about is taking the lords name in vain….what ever that actually means. So, yeah, I agree with you. I have lgbtq friends from all walks of life.

  3. B-rad
    June 13, 2013

    i have so much to say, but don’t feel like this is the place for me to say it all. would love to get together if you want. i love your honesty and passion, ryan. i think the church community is broken just as much as those that aren’t “saved”. but as someone who has 10-11 years on you and has come from the other side and back again, i feel like i can help. but my job isn’t to really counsel so much as it is to point people to God…not necessarily the church. the church is important, but realizing that we are all broken is important whether inside or outside the church. anyways, love the post. i believe our job according the Bible and the Holy Spirit is to love everyone. agape love is different than our americanized love. and we are to point them towards God and let God do the work in their hearts. love ya, bro! B-rad

  4. Hannab
    July 1, 2013

    Amen, Ryan! I completely agree.

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