The title of this post is taken from Charlie McDonnell’s video above with the same title and a story I can relate to
I’m scared. I’ve spent the last four years developing and growing in the Anglican Church, and identified my calling from God to others as a priest, and began studying and thinking in preparation for that. But over the last year I’ve begun to feel more and more isolated by the Church’s “leaders”, and I’ve become disheartened by the oppression that can come out of the Church in such painful ways. Women were denied the opportunity to be bishops despite so many people calling for them, gay marriage was made illegal in the Church by the government, and Liberal Christians want equality and for the Romantics and modern people to have a voice but Conservatives with too big a voice claim that they would be too offended, and for some reason their needs are superior, and are an excuse for the alienation of so many from what we call “God’s House”, and a body which is a representative of God in this world.
Over my last four years in the Church it has at many times been such a beautiful place, and has given me such strength and encouragement. I have met other people with the same love for God and others as I, and with the same love of what the Church can be in an intimate, loving setting where we are family, brothers and sisters.
But the pain inflicted upon me and upon so many others by the Church’s negativity and exclusions has become something I am struggling with immensely. I have begun to feel so alienated by the Church that I felt four years ago I had come Home to, found my place in. I felt that the Church was a place where other people truly understood God in the way that I had done for so many years feeling like I was alone in the world, and these people seemed to understand me, and I them. And I’ve made so many beautiful connections with people.
I’m bisexual. At 15 I fell for a girl who felt that she couldn’t be with me because of her conservative parents. At 18 I fell for a woman again who I met at university. I was called a faggot for the first time, and as in high school I began to get looks of disgust from passers-by who don’t know me. Holding my girlfriend’s hand is such a privilege, and one of the most beautiful things in this world. Why do so many of you I called brothers and sisters hate me now? Why is what I have to say to you no longer relevant? Why must I promise the bishops that I will never show affection for my girlfriend in public in order to be ordained into the Church I fell in love with? I can’t do that. I won’t do that. I love her. And with her I can be a better version of myself. I am supported on a deep level. I feel stronger. And with anger rising in me now I say, borrowing God’s words for a minute, I am who I am. And you might not understand me, but I don’t understand why people like tennis or Hamlet yet I’m not eye-murdering them for that or trying to take away their rights. We’re different. If you take a minute to get to know me you will see my passion and you will see my calling and you will see how much we share. To give myself to this world I have to be fully myself.
Now I feel restricted and oppressed by the hierarchy and the structure. I have begun to feel small and insignificant, and by many unwanted. A couple of years ago me and my friends joked that I could be the first female Archbishop of Canterbury, and I would never have wanted that job but with a passion for God and people and the Church I fell in love with I would have stepped up if I was called to, feeling a desire to change the world in a positive way, to show people love and give them strength and show them that they are not alone. But now I feel like the conservative leaders with too much oppressive power are looking down on me like an ant they want to squish under their feet. The Church I fell in love with has broken my heart. I desperately want the Church to become the beautiful place I imagined it to be, with its arms open, with God’s love shining like a beacon in this broken world to help people. But last week I found that I could not go up for the communion that meant so much to me. I felt turned away and unwelcome by the Church and right now I feel so very alone, distanced from the place I loved.
I long to be a priest, but the restrictions currently are so great. The clerical collar I would have worn around my neck in a few years time which God would have yanked at 7:45 to go to 8am communion would it turns out yank me in so many directions with bishops telling me I cannot bless or marry the same-sex couple who have devoted their lives to each other (though I could probably marry the 7th-time divorcees that have never liked church and don’t believe in God and are only doing this because they like extravagant displays), telling me that I am inferior to the male married with children race and must bow down to their rulings even when I know in my heart that God too is breaking His/Her heart over the pain that too many people are feeling in these exclusions.
I’m scared. I know that personally I cannot go into the Church in its current state. But I do not want it to die. I want it to redeem itself, apologise to the people for the 504th time but mean it this time and change its ways, actually love people rather than telling them that they are loved but inferior and to be beautiful and fully accepted they must change. That isn’t loving. And one day I would love to be a priest, but I can’t when I am looked at in the way I am for being myself.
I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m so sad. And I don’t know what to do. The Church can be a beautiful place, but now I see it as somewhere which is too often a place of oppression. So is the world granted. You might say that the world is like that, everything has good and bad. But the Church has been so oppressive so often, and it is supposed to be the moral role model. I long with all my heart for peace, but I am no longer sure if I am going to find it.
Now I’m scared of what you’ll say when you’ve read this. Will you stop visiting this blog? Will you be angry at me for telling people that I love a woman and the Church upsets me because you want me to be pretend to be something different to serve it now rather than maybe later? Will you pity me, because actually whilst your support would be greatly appreciated I want you to know how blessed I am to have found my girlfriend and how thankful I am for her, and I want you pity the Church that can’t sort itself out and I want you pity the world’s alienated people not just me. I’m scared that you’ll think this post was too Real and you’ll think that ignorance would have been bliss. But ultimately I know that however you respond in a way doesn’t matter. Because I know that God loves me, and I know that God loves you. And I know that I’m beautiful and blessed. I do however, hope for the best.
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision And you can be cured with some treatment and religion Man-made rewiring of a predisposition Playing God… America the brave still fears what we don’t know And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago…
And I can’t change Even if I tried Even if I wanted to…
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference! Live on and be yourself When I was at church they taught me something else If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned… kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are