I used to care so deeply.
I used to care so deeply about right belief, about Orthodoxy, about the church’s teachings and how to best live them out.
I used to care so much about being part of the inside, part of the Right Crowd. I used to care so deeply about not being cast outside for some minor heresy.
Getting theology, and Church, and behavior right used to be a matter of life or death. Is it Calvinism or Arminianism? Is the Catholic Church right? Am I really in mortal error for supporting gay marriage? What about adoration of Icons and Saints? And is infant baptism a monstrosity? What about speaking in tongues?
These were the questions that weighed the most heavily on my mind – these questions that kept me up at night. Yes, I believed – as I still believe – that Love is the greatest law; that all is secondary to that, but that did not negate the power of the human church over me.
My membership in the Christian community used to be of utmost importance to me – more important than anything else – and the most vital questions of my existence were how to maintain that membership. This was about more than other people, this was about my connection to God Himself – what could possibly be more important than that?
But, like a motor that is driven too hard for too long, something broke.
Over the years of fighting to hold onto all the disparate elements of my life: being gay, being Christian, being skeptical in mind and mystical in nature, the pieces that held my give-a-fuck together finally blew apart. I was run into a deep, horrific, life-threatening depression. In order to get out of that dark place, I had to give up something precious: I had to stop caring about the minutia of my Christian faith.
Now, my faith is some wonky hybrid, unacceptable to the orthodox, blasphemous to the Old Guard of my Christian upbringing. That 6th sense that kept me magnetically tethered to my Christian community through right belief has been burned away – and the nerve damage is so deep, so complete, I don’t know if I will ever get it back again.
I feel astoundingly liberated. I am free in my faith – free to make my own choices, free to explore, and free to find God in my own way. I am tethered only to those I choose. It was a painful cauterization, but necessary.
I take responsibility for my own mind, and my own choices. I do not blame you, fellow Christians, for the psychic anguish and subsequent breaking. But, nonetheless, there is a moral in this story for my Christian brothers and sisters: if you want people to keep caring; if you want them to respect and hold dear the values you deem most vital, you must be kind. Be gentle. Be empathetic. Remember that life is hard, and that minds are fragile. Be kind to those who suffer, or we will have every reason to walk away.