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Posts Tagged ‘wrestling’

I realize, in reading back over my blog, that there are a few things I tend to write about a lot.  I guess it could give the impression that I am a one trick pony.  I am really much more diverse than this.  I think my blog becomes that place that I can stop and wrestle, and think things through that are rattling around in my brain. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, these seem to run on similar tracks, especially faith and sexuality.  So lucky you, you get a view into my psyche again.

One of the most significant events over the last few months has been finally finding a church that I am pleased to attend. For many of you that is probably not a priority.  For me it is quite significant. I really relished the move to D.C. partly because I felt I had the opportunity to find a new community of believers.  I really loved the people in my church back in Michiana. They became my family when I had none. Quite honestly though, I was having more and more issues with actions and beliefs of the church the longer I was there.  I didn’t want to leave because they were my family, but in many ways I was itching to leave. [1]  After months of searching, and soul crushing isolation, I was on the verge of giving up and attending a church that was the best of the ones I really did not enjoy.  Then I found the Table on line, quite by accident. From the first visit I knew this was a church I could be proud of attending; a church I could be involved in and to which I could contribute. In short, I found a community again.

But this is not a blog about finding church.  It is instead about a conundrum that has emerged.

So there is theme one: Faith.  Enter theme two: sexuality.

I have been trying to get to know the people in this community. I am quite impressed with them.  Caring, generous, justice oriented.  Gracious, fun, human.  They are good people.  I signed up to be part of the worship band, something I didn’t think I would do again.  I find it a completely different experience.  One bonus, ever practice I have been to has ended with us going a local bar for a drink.  Despite my very meager bank balance, I really enjoy this ability to get to know others better. This last week, I went out with the other women from the team.  It was good.  Good conversation, good beginnings.  As per usual, I am fairly significantly older than either of them.  They were in their mid twenties.  One engaged and planning a wedding, the other in a significant relationship on the verge of engagement.

The conversation went like this:

Serious: So I think I found an apartment.
Ringbearer: By yourself?
Serious: Yeah. <to me> My housemate and I were about to sign a lease when she told me that she was moving in with her boyfriend, so I have finite time to find a new place.
Me: That really sucks.
Ringbearer: Why didn’t you move in with Significant Other?
Serious: He and Housemate have lease til May, wouldn’t do that to Housemate. It would be too small for me too.Plus. My parents would probably disown me if I moved in with Significant Other. Even though it would make sense, we’re together almost every night.
Ringbearer: That’s why I didn’t move in with Spouse-to-be. My parents wouldn’t be happy.
Me:<nothing to add>

One of the things I really struggle with today is the way church talks about sexuality.  You’ve heard me rant here before. One of the things that I struggle with the most is that the church is really bad about having the conversation about sex when it isn’t in the context of marriage.  We talk a lot about waiting for marriage, but not much else. I hear a lot of this growing up.  Thank god I had sensible parents who had  a more thorough conversation with us about choices, and consequences, and relationships.  But I am not 17 any more.

I am not even mid twenties.

I am 41.

And a virgin.

This conversation immediately put me on edge.  Not because I was faulting either of these women for their choices, but because I felt so….irrelevant isn’t the word…forgotten not either…perhaps archaic is. I felt archaic. I am used to being ‘suspect’ outside of church.  By this I mean, I rarely talk about being a virgin, because so many people around me think it is flat out weird, or they assume that it is simply because of the lack of opportunity. [2] This is really hurtful to me.  I am not a virgin because I am overly religious, or I bought into some simplistic idea of purity until marriage.  It is a complex and well thought out series of decisions on my part, and honestly, not always a decision I am pleased with.  Sometimes it is more a burden than I care to admit. The one thing I could always count on was, that despite my frustration with church, that was the one place where my decision was normal.  Almost all my friends that I grew up with were virgins when they got married.  I was just like everyone else.  Until they all got married and I was the only one left.  Now I was in a conversation where I had nothing to add, no experience to speak from, and the very nature of who I am is awkward. I am not normal. Instead, it is not acceptable to be me any more. [3][4] I have no place where being a virgin is normal.

To me this is the beginning of a conversation.  One I would like the church in general to take on.  I want us to wrestle with sexuality and purity.  Can we have a conversation where marriage/covenant is not the end game? Can we talk about what sexuality looks like when children are not a possibility? Can we talk about needs and longings? Can we be honest for a change?  I know I am not alone in this, but it feels like incredibly uncharted territory, especially in the evangelical christian world.  Please?  Some of us really need it, because it is beginning to feel like we don’t belong anymore.

I want to be a relevant part of the conversation, and not the circus sideshow freak.

Caveats:

1. For the record. I really am in support of some of the direction they have made in the last year.  I think they are becoming the church they need to for their community. I love them dearly, even if I don’t always agree with them.

2.  These people should just ride the metro with me.  I have had a number of prospects there!

3. Neither woman was in any way judgmental towards me. They don’t even know.  It is just how I was feeling in the conversation.

4. I cannot credit myself for this last statement. This came from a good friend, Amy, in a phone conversation last night.  Everyone needs an Amy for good conversations.  I am unanimous in this.

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