I am not taking anyone’s Lord’s name in vain. Believe me. This is a memo to the heavens. I am not a whore. I am frustrated about this name that so many Christian men call me.
So, on Friday my sweet E and I went out. I had a very hard day. I wasn’t right in the head. I got really triggered and was having a bad day PTSD wise. Someone was talking about stalkers in a weird way and as someone who has been stalked multiple times, it was hard to chill my overtapped adrenal system. Welcome to PTSD, it blows.
This van says I am going to hell. I am making a very serious face.
We are walking in Walnut Creek where we live and there is a very colorful van, covered in angry condemning words. Telling the queers, the fornicators, the drunkards, the idolators, etc etc that they are going to hell. I mean, that we are going to hell. Because, well, I’m a queer fornicator who imbibes on occasion. Actually, I’m a drunk, queer fornicator with chronic PTSD from spiritual abuse from people who espouse beliefs such as this. And, dear readers, I am one of the nicest drunk, queer fornicators you may ever meet.
We find the people with the signs, and they are yelling at kids. Yup, apparently the way to introduce Jesus’s gospel of love, grace and forgiveness is to scream at kids and froth at the mouth. Didn’t Jesus say “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”? He did, it’s Matthew 11:28.
Which brings me to a problem I have.
I don’t think Jesus wants people who only believe because they are terrified of the post death mystery. When I renounced my faith, I was 15. Christianity didn’t mesh out for me. And I still don’t believe. This is one of the reasons things got very hard in the cult for me at that time. Because they really didn’t like people who thought outside of their dogma. It can get threatening. I told my mom that I quit. I didn’t believe. I have compassion, empathy and a moral compass. I think to say you believe something is true when you don’t is hypocritical. And I am not a hypocrite. To call myself Christian would be a lie. And I don’t think Jesus wants people lying on his behalf. I also think claiming a faith that you don’t actively practice is treating your faith as death insurance. I am betting eternity on this belief of mine. I also give myself permission to take up my Christianity again, should I believe. But if I do it will be real and sincere. It won’t be because of the guilty shadows of my upbringing or social expectations. So there.
Security was video taping the show. The preacher folk were video taping. (Is it still called video taping?) I went into the throng and asked who was preaching and a bunch of kids pointed me at one of the guys. This guy was frothing at the mouth. I went up to him and asked him where the love was. He screamed at me. “ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”
“Um no” says I.
“Do you have sex out of wedlock?”
“I totally do.”
“HE’S USING YOU! HE’S LYING AND GOING TO LEAVE YOU!!”
“Oh crap! E, are you lying to me and going to leave me?”
E smiles and rolls his eyes and says, “No, sweetie.”
“Oh thank god.”
“YOU WANT TO BE THE MAN! LOOK HOW HE’S IN THE BACKGROUND!”
“What do you mean I want to be the man? How do gender expectations play into this?”
“MY WIFE IS A GOOD WOMAN, SHE DOES MY LAUNDRY AND BAKES ME COOKIES AND SUBMITS. YOU’RE A WHORE AND HE’S A WHOREMONGER.”
I swear that is what he said. That’s when I got pissed off. Don’t assume what kind of woman I am or man I want to be. We are all precious unique frickin snowflakes. And some of us are drunken, queer, fornicating snowflakes with hearts of gold. I started to yell. Lots of stuff was said that I don’t remember. We are toe to toe, screaming at each other.
“YOU’RE NOT A WOMAN, YOU’RE A DEMON!”
“THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR! MY CHURCH PERFORMED SEVEN EXORCISMS ON ME!”
“WELL, THEY DIDN’T DO A GOOD ENOUGH JOB!!!”
Lots more words are exchanged that I don’t remember. He turns his back away from me. E is watching them tell a 12 year old Jewish girl that she’s going to hell for not believing in Jesus as the messiah. I leave the throng and we look at each other. He in his calm sensibleness says, “it’s cold, the security guard is shivering. Let’s go buy her a hot chocolate.” “ok”. As we walk to Starbucks, E says… “I know what a cheesemonger does. I know what a fishmonger does. Dude, did he call me a pimp? I should put on my green suit.” (adorable)
After cocoa, I grabbed a quick pose. (Knee high purple socks and tall black boots)
As we leave, several people identifying themselves to the preachers as Christian are pleading with them to stop screaming hate. Telling them that Jesus is love. And they are told they are going to hell for their permissiveness.
When we get back from our hot chocolate mission. The security lady can’t accept the cocoa because of terrorism. I keep it, it was delicious. A 16 year old girl comes up to me and remembers me from before when I was yelling at him. She says, “He told me I’m going to hell cause I’m bisexual. And he says I need to go to church and bake cookies.” E asks her if she likes to bake cookies. She says yeah, but doesn’t think anyone should force her to. And she’s right. She doesn’t have to bake cookies or go to hell if she doesn’t want to.
I am still pissed. People use the expectation of shame about sex and sexuality to harm and control each other. I am not ashamed about the fact that I am a lovely, hot sexual being. And sex is a creative force. Sex does not diminish you. I walk back up to him and he’s screaming the old if you’ve thought of the sin, you’ve done it and you are going to hell spiel. And I yelled, “NO! THAT IS BULLSHIT! THAT IS NOT RIGHT! I have been abused and suffered because of that! When I was accused at 16 years old for masturbating I never had! One of the elders in my church had a dream that I was masturbating. I had never touched myself. Because of that non-sin all of my hair was cut off. I was beaten and ignored for weeks. I had to tell anyone who asked me about my hair cut that it was cut because I was a sinner. You are spinning legalistic mind-control. But don’t worry, I got out of that church and I have since learned to masturbate and it’s been very healing. I mean, if god didn’t want women to have sexual pleasure, he wouldn’t have given them clits.”
For the first time he was quiet. I don’t think anyone won. He wasn’t there to talk or debate. There are probably now videos online with me screaming like a banshee about my clitoris. It was cathartic, but not productive. A lot of people came up to me afterwards and hugged me and said I was inspiring. I didn’t feel that way.
I want to close this post by saying no matter what you believe, be groovy about it.
There are other thoughts and opinions in the world.
Talk about yours.
Listen to other people.
But let respectful dialog prevail. I will endeavor to do better next time. I think the heroes of the day were the Christians, who peacefully asked them to stop their assault. The Jewish girl for holding her ground. And E for putting up with an angry Leo and buying nice people hot chocolate.
Oh, and I think the preacher guy has a baking fetish or something.