Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Christian Ex-Pat

I am Kevin, an Ex-Pat of Christianity. My grandfather was an itinerant preacher and I grew up being told from my youngest ages that I was going to be a preacher like him. I pursued that destiny into early adulthood despite the fact that I was always a weird fit with Christianity. I could speak the language, and preach in a way that inspired many but infuriated those ensconced power.
Leaving Christianity was the hardest thing I have ever done, it is my homeland and its language is my mother tongue for speaking of the sacred. Christianity was also an abusive lover. I was thrown out of churches for questioning and others for claiming love too radically and others for taking Jesus too seriously. Over and over I felt Christianity’s loving embrace by communities that would later be weaponized against me.

As I experienced repeated abuse at the hands of the church I became more and more aware of others who were too often at the receiving end of Christianity’s “loving” beat downs. It became more and more clear that women, people of color, the LGBT+ community, and other oppressed group were the church’s targets. America’s racism and bigotry was much more clearly on display than the Christ who said, “love one another,” and “the last shall be first.” In the end I could no longer see God at all within its boundaries and I became a spiritual refugee, dispossessed from my homeland.

But I have always been a seeker, and I can no more stop chasing after God than I can stop breathing. So I have made it my discipline to see the sacred in everything and everyone. If God is Love, which I believe and affirm, then every act of love is a sacred interaction with God. If God is just, then living in a way that seeks restorative justice is a sacrament.

So now, ten years after leaving Christianity where am I? I am still a refugee, but I have found a residency that feels a lot like home. My church is a stage. I produce theater, since I find that theater is the most honest place to both question and to inspire. I have love, acceptance, a voice, and a community. I practice live performance as worship of the divine.

I am not landed, I am still seeking, and still discovering myself and God both. I know like that lesson there are many others waiting and so much more to experience and learn.

I am Kevin, dispossessed and seeking the sacred.

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