(Forewarning; if you’re not a Christian or at least have some semblance of faith in your life, a lot of this may not make any sense. Feel free to skip this post and read, here, about hangovers instead.)
(Also forewarning; this is me at my least gracious. This is my Ugly. This is my heart on Anger.)
This, friends, is a mildly immature way I’m deciding to express myself regarding an interaction I had this week. Back story; I used to know this one friend really well. We didn’t get along at first, and in fact had a frank conversation once in which we told each other, “I do not like you and do not want to be your friend”. We became buds again later, and then she got married and moved away and I did My Life sort of things around here. We are very different people. She has always wanted to get married and have babies and I have always wanted to road trip and travel and walk around cities at night. Neither of us is doing life incorrectly; we’re just different.
However, this long-distance friend of mine decided it was her place to tell me she’s concerned for my lifestyle and thinks it’s in my best interest to do things different than I am (specifically, to not go to camp and instead take on this unpaid internship role here…a role I would have to Missionary-style raise support for) (There is nothing wrong with missionaries raising support, its just not something I’m comfortable with for myself at this point in my life.) We got into a somewhat heated talk the other night where admittedly, I became more offended than I should have.
What offended me the most was when she had the audacity to tell me she wants me “to actually know Jesus”. Actually.
Once upon a time I was hanging out in the forest with a few thousand hippies (as you do) and this one Charismatic Christian boy was skipping around looking at flowers and pulling demons out of people’s eyes. I kid you not, he was putting his two fingers and thumb against people’s eyelids and pulling out invisible demons like strings.
I wouldn’t let him touch me. I was like, ‘nah brah, I’m cool. Exorcise someone else.”
He asked if I would please help him with the demons in his own eyes, and I told him I wasn’t qualified to give him that kind of help. He asked why not, so I went all sola scriptura on his ass and refused to play Exorcism with him.
He knelt real close to my face, squinting at each of my eyes, and then said this:
“I don’t see the Holy Spirit in you.”
A lot of my problem with the Charismatic church stems from this experience. I shrugged off his stupidity then, but reflecting on it later, (when I noticed a friend of mine slipping into the touchy-feely uber spiritual realm that poses as Pentecost-inspired faith) I realized I was furious at the church for allowing that kind of false-prophet spirituality. We just allow it because, hey, every family has their crazies, right?
I digress, but yeah, let’s talk about the harmful aspects of the Charismatic church sometime.
Just as that wanna-be-prophet in the forest had no right (and no true ground to stand on) in telling me I didn’t have the Holy Spirit in me, my friend the other night had no right to “speak truth into my life”, which is Christianeze for “tell you what to do”.
She is not a part of my life. She sees my social media posts and maybe gets a quick summary of what things are like over here. She doesn’t have the right to say how I should be doing things; she isn’t here.
So dear Haters,
You charismatic piece of shit in the forest, and you uptight conservative, you do not have the right to speak into my life. It is not your place. You do not know my relationship with Christ, you do not know my faith. You are part of a very American notion of Christianity; you with your dread locks and crystals, and you with your matching dishware. You do not know what its like to do life down here on the ground with the artists, the undocumented immigrants, the homeless and the activists. You don’t know how I pray. You don’t know what I read. Just because I’m not posting “how-to-Christian” articles on Facebook every other day, does not mean I do not fall on my knees in adoration and dependence on my savior to redeem my tiny existence and my broken heart. I cannot hear your pro-life rant over the sound of you not adopting any of these hungry kids I see every day. I cannot hear your admonishment that life is sacred over the sound of you supporting factory farming, which wrecks this world you believe God created for His pleasure, and destroys the creatures you believe He made up as an expression of Himself.
You are loud. You do not listen. You are insecure enough to need so badly to be right that you are blind to your ignorance. I don’t care, dreadlocked hippie in the forest, that you think you can prophesy; you didn’t help me carry that kitchen tent up the hill out of the forest when our week at Rainbow was up. I cannot hear your profession of love for Christ when you make fun of that girl on acid who can’t find her way back to her tent. I cannot understand you anyway, since you’ve misinterpreted the bible and think you’re actually speaking in tongues.
Hater, you do not know my life. You do not know that on that very night we talked and you “spoke truth” about how damaging my lifestyle is, that I was hit up by three different men to go “hang out” and I chose instead to Skype with my little sister. My lifestyle? You do not know my lifestyle. You have no place to say shit about my lifestyle. You are unwelcome here.
Had you been walking with me through the last two years of my life, your words would carry more weight. As it stands, they weigh nothing. They do not count if you are not in the here and now with me, just like I cannot tell you how to raise your baby or how you should treat the people in your life.
I do life in a very organic way with five women who have got the “speaking truth” thing covered. They hold me accountable. I have friends to tell me when I’m out of line. I have friends to tell me they love me, to go on bike rides with me, to pray with me, to drink coffee and bake cookies with me. How about instead of taking it upon your holier-than-though self to preach at me, you ask me what I’m reading these days. How about you ask why I love the things I love and why I hate the things I hate? How about you ask how the grieving of my murdered best friend is going? How about you ask how my heart is doing after that particularly awful break up? How about you send me something funny to make me laugh, to ease past these walls, instead of trying to barge in with you bible and your super clean way of viewing the world? Do not tell me you care about me. If you care about it, it is an an abstract memory of a past friendship. You do not know me now.
I know you are reading this too. I hope my anger translates. I hope you stop following this blog, my instagram, and get off my facebook. I was told by one mentor to block you. She was appalled at your completely out-of-line reprimanding and your condescending tone (“I say this out of looooooove”).
Just like that ridiculous kid in the forest, your words bare no weight, carry no truth, and have been dismissed. I know Jesus. I know service. I know dependence. I know anger toward those with their loud prayers and their beautiful robes. My faith walks and talks a little differently than yours, but it is a faith grounded in Scripture.
You want me to actually know Jesus? Puh-lease. Get up out of my grill, yo.
This, on repeat.
P.S. another mentor was like, “she needs grace right now! She’ll get less shitty as time goes on!” but I’m blatantly ignoring that mentor right now. I’ll probably delete this later, gator, but right now this is just going to be a thing.