Cruelty in Christ

February 25, 2019 0 Comments

I’ve long defend­ed evan­gel­i­cals and fun­da­men­tal­ists alike, insist­ing that if they could only under­stand the harm they’re per­pet­u­at­ing, they would change.

But I can’t con­tin­ue, in good con­science, telling my non-Chris­t­ian, queer, non-white, dis­abled, and trans friends to give evan­gel­i­cals in their lives anoth­er chance.

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Haikus With Dani: Existential Edition

May 16, 2016 1 Comment

I’ve been rather exis­ten­tial late­ly. I mean, I usu­al­ly am any­way. But back to the “it’s hard to explain in any­thing except shards of thought” kind of exis­ten­tial. So. The con­tents of these haikus will like­ly turn into blog posts at some point. But for now, I serve them to you as the frag­ments they are.

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The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture and Shame.

April 1, 2016 7 Comments

I had a very eye-open­ing con­ver­sa­tion with my mom recent­ly.

We were talk­ing about my mar­riage to my ex, and she asked me if her hunch was cor­rect that I’d have mar­ried him any­way if my par­ents hadn’t giv­en us per­mis­sion. (You see, in our iter­a­tion of puri­ty cul­ture, even as a 22-year-old adult, I need­ed my par­ents’ per­mis­sion to mar­ry.)

I thought a moment and answered hon­est­ly: yes, I would have still mar­ried him. Then I clar­i­fied, “I hon­est­ly thought I had to.”

You didn’t get that from us!” Mom respond­ed in aston­ished con­fu­sion. “You don’t have to mar­ry some­one just because you slept with them.

Let me state up front: that’s an entire­ly true state­ment. I agree with it 100%.

And yet it was my turn to be shocked.

Because that state­ment flew in the face the entire nar­ra­tive of my first 20+ years of life..

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The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture Edition

February 18, 2016 2 Comments

Puri­ty cul­ture pre­pared me for a world that doesn’t exist. The world that does exist is both so much bet­ter and so much worse than I was led to believe.

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When I must be “The Bad Guy.”

February 1, 2016 6 Comments

I could explain my thought process­es for every step of these var­i­ous jour­neys. I’m very prone to explain­ing and dis­sect­ing and hop­ing beyond hope that I can just <i>make you see why and how,</i> make you see cause and effect, con­nect dots for you, con­nect dots for me. I want to feel jus­ti­fied, val­i­dat­ed. I don’t want to be The Bad Guy. I don’t want to accept that to so many, I am petu­lant and over-shar­ing and run­ning away from prob­lems that could be fixed if I would just try hard­er. But I can’t change, even if I tried. Even if I want­ed to.* And so…here I sit. The Bad Guy. It’s not com­fort­able. I don’t like it. But if this is who I have to be in order to be <i>me</i>, then so be it.

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Great expectations: basic human decency.

October 5, 2015 11 Comments

In short: the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor in all rela­tion­ships ought to be basic human decen­cy.

When Chris­tians tell me that it’s not fair for me to expect them not to tram­ple on my bound­aries or treat me with dis­re­spect for my auton­o­my as a human being, all I can hear is, “You can’t expect basic human decen­cy from me or my peo­ple.” More than that, I hear, “You don’t even qual­i­fy as human enough for us to con­sid­er treat­ing you dif­fer­ent­ly.”

Chris­tians? This is a prob­lem.

How will the world know you as lov­ing if you refuse to act lov­ing­ly? How can you say you pos­sess the love of Jesus Christ when this is how you treat unbe­liev­ers? You claim that you’re no bet­ter than us, yet treat us like you’re the Des­ig­nat­ed Adult and we’re the naughty chil­dren you must put back in our places. You insist that for me and oth­er unbe­liev­ers (or even lib­er­al believ­ers!) to write and live and share our authen­tic selves is a direct attack on you, and so you try to con­trol us through silenc­ing tac­tics and what you must think are counter-attacks. You can’t see the dif­fer­ence between some­one being hon­est about who they are and some­one exert­ing con­trol over a per­son? How can you not see the dis­re­spect of that? How can you not see the con­de­scen­sion? How can you pre­tend to be shar­ing Christ’s love when you refuse to see the image of God in any­one but those who look and think and act like you?

Despite being an athe­ist, I do think the Bible has a few nuggets of wis­dom here and there. And one of those nuggets is this: “Let us not love in word…but in deed and in truth.” In oth­er words, don’t tell me that you love me while show­ing me that you don’t.

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The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015 5 Comments

There had always been a dis­con­nect between what I was taught and what I observed and expe­ri­enced, between blind faith in invis­i­ble things and repeat­ably testable evi­dence. But as a child, as a teen, even into ear­ly adult­hood, I wasn’t giv­en the words to rec­og­nize the dis­con­nect, or even the tools to inspect or decon­struct my beliefs to see if there was any mer­it to them out­side of want­i­ng them to be true.

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Observations about relationships in Christianity.

May 8, 2015 2 Comments

What kind of foun­da­tion forms a last­ing friend­ship, then? I mean, friend­ships are a pret­ty per­son­al thing. There’s lots of aspects that are dif­fi­cult to pin down, usu­al­ly includ­ing com­pat­i­ble per­son­al­i­ties, shared expe­ri­ences, out­looks on life, mutu­al­ly enjoy­able activ­i­ties, etc. I think those things are a giv­en, no mat­ter whether you’re a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian or not. But in my expe­ri­ence, the ingre­di­ents that point to longevi­ty seem to be a pret­ty equal mix­ture of mutu­al admi­ra­tion, respect, and trust. The Chris­t­ian friends I have now who have been friends of mine for years weren’t my friends just because of our once-shared faith. We became friends through dis­cov­er­ing and indulging in shared inter­ests, sure, but we did it while demon­strat­ing respect for each other’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and per­son­hood. Our per­son­al­i­ties do click, but we also work hard to be empa­thet­ic, trust­wor­thy, respect­ful peo­ple. We care about each oth­er, what demon­stra­bly makes each other’s lives more mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing, no ulte­ri­or motives.

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For the well-meaning Christian: the rightly divided word.

May 1, 2015 0 Comments

Con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian men approach what I say in the exact same way they approach what the Bible says.

I know that’s quite a claim to make, but the more I reflect on how I was taught to approach the Bible and observe how these men approach my words, the more pro­nounced the par­al­lel becomes. What do I mean, exact­ly?

  1. They iso­late our words from the con­text in which they were writ­ten.
  2. Then they insist that nei­ther con­text nor autho­r­i­al intent can mean­ing­ful­ly affect a “plain read­ing.”
  3. Final­ly, they assert that any oth­er inter­pre­ta­tion is intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­hon­est.
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Always. Choose love.

April 21, 2015 0 Comments

You are so young. I am so young. We have much to learn, you and I, twelve years apart and still grow­ing.

But in the face of all of the unknow­able, unsearch­able future, let’s you and I promise to always choose love — for our­selves, for oth­ers. We’ll find our way from there.

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