The Introductory Bit!
Greetings, friend. There are a number of reasons why you may have taken an electronic stroll onto this baby blog of mine; whether it’s interest, worry, or by mistake, you are welcome here.
The purpose of this blog is largely therapeutic, so frankly readership loyalty means very little to me. I identify with the type of person who, as defined by British educationalist Sir Ken Robinson, lives in their own head and slightly to one side. I think many things and very often, so I thought that blogging would be my best organizational option. My hope is that others might identify with my ramblings, should they choose to read.
Introductory Bit concluded.
And now, I feel that I owe an explanation.
The Christian concept of ‘calling’ is a funny thing. As a teenaged kid steeped in semi-Conservative Pentecostalism, I was certain that calling looked like God sending the Holy Spirit to you like a bolt of lightening and enlightenment in the midst of a worship service and that said calling was infallible and static. I also believed that, subconsciously or no, the highest form of calling as a Christian teen was a call to vocational ministry. At the age of 17, I was certain that I had heard God’s voice steering me towards the Promised Land of a pastoral career, complete with a youth group of my very own and the popular status that I had so frequently seen modelled in Christian media and youth events. It felt right and honouring to God, so I naturally didn’t think twice before applying to only one school (Bible college) and snarkily mentioning to my friends that I was going to Bible college, so the mainstream university experience didn’t apply to me. I marched through the doors of my school on Orientation Day, head held high, certain that I had finally arrived. And boy, was I wrong.
I tried to make the most of my Bible college experience. I truly did. Socially, I struggled to fit into a seemingly prescribed standard of behaviour and personality. That felt polarizing and weird; like I was never truly allowed to be myself. As my interest in feminism, gender, and sexuality (topics that I often felt inexplicably guilty researching) grew and developed into lenses through which I liked to consider the things of God, the more tense and inhospitable school felt. Learning more about these topics and searching/studying the Bible for answers on my own time while being unsatisfied with the institutional values of my peers and professors created frustration. I could no longer rationalize a Church where the value and leadership potential of women was still being debated or where LGBTQ+ people couldn’t serve or enjoy the same rights as everyone else. To me, that didn’t reflect the God I was interacting with. Asking questions, challenging negative attitudes, and calling bullshit was interpreted as “having an agenda” and “damaging my reputation”. I was miserable in class, miserable doing assignments, and miserable with my roommates. I spent a good amount of time assuring myself through tears that if I remained faithful and “stuck out” my undergrad degree, that God would reward me for the barrage of negativity. At the peak of my frustration and anger, I was reprimanded for writing a sermon for my Homiletics class that sounded “too affirming of the gay community”. And that was the final straw. That was my sign that there wasn’t room for changing the discussion, nor was there room for me as a queer student.
Having been raised in an environment where I believed my only option was to be a straight woman, coming to terms with my gender and sexual orientation was (and to an extent, still is) a long journey of undoing suppression and internalized shame. It has been a process of finding language that best fit the feelings and parts of me that have always been present but I was afraid to address. I can now appreciate that God has made me they way I am for a reason and that His love is not for those who fit the unobjectionable, often stereotypical standards set by evangelical Christian communities. I can say with pride that as a follower of Jesus, I am also a non-binary, demisexual person (for those who need more explanation, a follow-up post is coming).
My definition of calling has shifted from one of aspiration to one of contentment in who I am in Christ. Wherever the peace of Christ is is His will for my life and I am called to be the truest version of myself in Him. Becoming a Bible college dropout has been one of the best things I could have done for my spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being. I still carry love and respect for the institution and all of the people in it, but acknowledging that it was not the place for me was the wisest thing I could have done. I’ve begun to depart from the entrenched Pentecostal theology and evangelical subculture of my upbringing and towards an affiliation where I can see the beauty and diversity and acceptance that I believe should be characteristic of all believers. So to those of you who may have been concerned, rest easy. Things are just changing.