by Rachael Ward
Collectively, I’ve spent my twenties brushing off abuse from family dynamics and religious institutions which formed my upbringing. Through these words, thoughts and actions of such abuse, I have carefully crafted a narrative to aim at my own being.
It is self-hatred. It is shame and it is deadly.
I am tired of living into the narrative someone else programmed me to believe into and asked of me to lift for my own. I am exhausted with living disconnected from my mind and body out of continued internalized homophobia and regret of my existence.
Who wouldn’t be tired of such a subconscious and conscious assault upon your person?
This is where my mind lives these days. Battling between the illuminated truth and the false narrative of disparage of who I am as a human.
But, there is a new shift here for me in this struggle. I have found the on switch to my body, the on switch to the origin and the on switch to being able to call this treatment abuse.
Here’s what I do know:
Parents/People whom wield “religious” views on a child / adolescent when they are most developmentally vulnerable is religious trauma. And, is developmentally disabling for a child, who has yet to identify with themselves at their core.
By doing this you are not allowing space for individual growth. Shunning a child / adolescent who’s in discovery cultivates a dangerous shame narrative that will carry forward into adulthood.
The impact of such direct / indirect attacks on a core piece of a persons development can result in the loss of that person.
Are we really willing to push a person to death based on the principle of being “Christian?” How did we even get here? Twisting the gospel of Jesus into a sword to harm?
Religion isn’t a killer, but we wield her to be. We have lost the ability to access the intangible imagination of spirituality and thus placed so much undue pressure on the tangible that our foundations can no longer breathe with the gospel – a living, breathing, moving piece of literature.
What if the foundation we built upon wasn’t meant to be of concrete, but of which the dirt we came? What if this foundation was of substance that is able to shift, breathe, see others around us, acknowledge difference and grow – instead of further cultivating a family nucleus that looks the same, excludes and furthers hierarchal order?
Our fear of change, of difference, has altered our ability to engage with the gospel in a way that moves forward Jesus’s teachings of reconciliation to our modern day. And, just as they were then, people are hurting, unable to thrive and ultimately dying at the hand of stagnant, immovable fear of the unknown.
After all it was such great intangible imagination that first brought us to tears, broke our spirits and had us fall to our knees to exclaim our belief in Jesus.
Where has that vision gone?
Here’s what else I am living into:
God is joy.
Spirituality is joy.
When I tap into the immense depths of imagination of God’s love / joy covering me – life is easier along the ever so heavy and rough edges. Continuing to uncover and engage with my heart to this is life saving.
I want all queer people and marginalized voices to have access to it.
And this is why this work of inclusion is so important to me. And so vital to my continued uncovering of my own trauma and healing. It’s not a buzz word – it is someone’s life & creation at stake.
I feel as believers, humans, Christians it is our responsibility to protect it.