In my defense against an abusive God… what I forget and what I am learning By Sara Frykenberg

I spent a great deal of my life believing that the smaller and smaller I made myself, the bigger God would be in my life and the more power He (sic) would have to do the good things He had planned.  If I could just get out of the way… If I could resist my humanness… If I could be “alive to Him and dead to me,” as one of the songs we sang in my college church group reminded me.  I stopped believing this when I felt I had become so small and lost so much of myself that I couldn’t bear it anymore.

I don’t know how to explain it otherwise, but I had a physically violent reaction to any more of myself disappearing.  I yelled and snapped at people like a wounded animal; and when I reached out to members of my Bible study for help, I remember one woman suggesting that maybe demons were involved in some way.  I’m not sure if she thought I was being possessed or attacked, but I remember feeling like she hadn’t heard me at all.

I didn’t understand… excuse me, couldn’t understand why the God I was always taught to believe in, the God who was in control of everything and the God who purposefully made things the way they were, would plan for all the suffering and loss I saw around me—for the loss I was experiencing.  A man who is my ally and my spirit friend listened to me explain this feeling.  He then looked up at me and asked, “You think that God is abusive, don’t you?”  And I replied, “I guess I do.” Continue reading “In my defense against an abusive God… what I forget and what I am learning By Sara Frykenberg”

Speaking of Sacrifice and Rape Culture…by Xochitl Alvizo

Recently Gina Messina-Dysert, on this blog, wrote about rape culture and the church’s role in preserving it instead of challenging the norm of violence against women and victim blaming. And in my last post, after having just watched the last installment of the Harry Potter movies, I wrote about Lily’s love for Harry as being what saves Harry and not the sacrifice of Lily’s life; my point being that we need to give more credit to love as salvific and redemptive and not to sacrifice or suffering. For too long within Christianity,  Jesus’ death and ‘sacrifice’ have been held up as the core, the essence, the heart of Christianity – wrongly giving it a necrophilic emphasis that I do not believe is actually faithful to the Christian tradition. All this reminds me of why feminism is critical to my ability to stay within Christianity and that without feminism I would not be able to be a Christian-identified woman.

Every day in both small and enormous ways I see the effects and embedded patterns that result from the long history and dominance of patriarchy/kyriarchy. Everything from sexism and racism, to capitalism and the destruction of our world, these destructive systems are part of our daily environment and affect the quality of all our lives in devastating ways. And perhaps it is because I am a woman and I am directly and existentially affected, but, sexism, misogyny and violence against women are the things that most crush my spirit and break my heart. As I see these insidiously at work in many aspects of our society, and see the effects these have on us, women and men alike, I am saddened and angered to a level for which I have yet to find words to express. I feel it, the insidious trauma of sexism, misogyny, and violence against women, I feel their effects on me and others, but do so usually in silence or in tears. Lump in my throat. No words to speak. All I can do is continue in my commitment to live in a way that is different from these – in a way that is biophilic and affirming of all people as sacred and divinely in-Spirited. Continue reading “Speaking of Sacrifice and Rape Culture…by Xochitl Alvizo”

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