Good morning, friend. We’ve made it to Easter. Resurrection Sunday! Jesus is alive! This is a day of rejoicing and celebration, the mother of all Christian holidays. But this year is different because I am different. This year at Easter I find myself for the first time that I can remember being without a church “home”, or rather a four walled building that I frequent week to week. This is my first Holy Week since I broke up with Evangelicalism, and I feel fine.
In years past, I wouldn’t have even given a moment’s pause to Holy Week– it was all about Resurrection. If anything Holy Week consisted mostly of hustle and bustle and anxiety to get ready for the big day on Sunday. There was no time to reflect on the Christ! If anything, we would pull out Isaiah 58 to use as a quip against our brothers and sisters who participate in Lent, leading up to Resurrection Sunday.
There were tasks to be done, lines to learn, programs to rehearse for, outfits to plan. Easter was one out of two days a year that we would target C and E Christians (those heathens who only attend church on Christmas and Easter) and make sure that they feel
the proper amount of guilt for their presence welcome in the house of God and sense the anointing of the Lord calling them back to the fold.
Since leaving the evangelical machine, I now have room to breathe. I feel like I am finally paying attention now that I’m not forcing myself to go through the motions for what feels like the first time in an eternity. I have given myself permission to reflect, question, doubt, and dream. I have cast aside a theology that romanticizes self hatred as sanctification. I have pushed back hard against my own self sabotage and am allowing myself to just “be loved” by God and extend that love to my neighbor. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I am curiously pondering if this is what it is to be real. Not having to force myself to transform into a Stepford Christian every Sunday and Wednesday is like a cool breeze on a hot day.
There is power in being okay with not being okay.
I know I am not alone. There are Christians everywhere who are square pegs so desperately wanting to fit into a round hole, but the Machine’s dogma won’t allow it. So we have created a community of misfits where our difficult questions and unconventional selves are welcome to the table, where all of our pegs fit. We are deconstructing every piece that has ever been given to us about this Man Jesus, so that we can reconstruct our beliefs board by board.
I don’t want to hang my hat on a set of bylaws, just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Until the Church no longer should be a place where space is made for all people and their questions, but actually is, I am happy finding Jesus in the small, unexpected places. What I am willing to do is bet the farm on the person Jesus. In all of our wanderings, he remains central. Resurrection when you are reconstructing is no solo project, but rather Jesus alongside you in your mess, your doubt, your crises.
Just breathe. Just remain. Just be.
Hope is alive.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.