I Want Our Christianity Back!

by Rev . Dr. Denise Donnell

I want my face back!

Those were the first words out of my mouth last week in the dermatologist’s office.

Soft. Smooth. Glowing. Clear. To be envied. These are the adjectives people once used to describe my face, not Scaly. Dry. Itchy. Inflamed. Puffy.

I want my face back!

While I educated the doctor about the advancement of the rash, I confessed I am a person of faith. I shared how I’d bargained with God to stop complaining about the rash if God would relocate it to a part of my body unseen by the public.

The rash appeared low on my neck, in my cleavage and on my back. God had listened. That’s what I told the doctor. She just looked at me.

The rash persisted on my face. I told the doctor God stopped listening.

Again, she just looked at me. 

She didn’t say one word, but I heard her loudly and clearly. She thinks I am spiritually unhealthy, that I have an oblique theology.

How do I know that’s what she didn’t say? Because I recognized that look. It’s the same look I give to people who passionately argue a person cannot be both LGBTQ and Christian.

It’s the same look I give when people ask how I can consider myself a pastor and not condemn “homosexuality.” To that I add the roll of my eyes.

It’s the same look I give when people ask me if I’m concerned I’ll spend eternity in hell for not showing LGBTQ persons the “error of their ways.” To that I add the roll of my eyes and the shake of my head.

It never ceases to amaze me that “Christians”’ have a problem with me choosing love over hate, embrace over tolerance, community over segregation, liberation over bondage.

Honestly, I think the persons I referenced are spiritually unbalanced.

How is it that my claim to believe God tangibly answers my prayers makes my Christianity suspect while beliefs about God’s vengeance, wrath and exclusion declare those proclaimers the great defenders of our faith?

“Being transgender is a disease.” –Mark Green, former presidential nominee for United States Army Secretary.

“When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qur’an, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being human.” –Rick Brattin (R), Missouri State Representative.

People of faith should be enraged by these remarks, not fortified!

Forget my face.

I want the word “Christianity” back!

I don’t want to hear about it in a sermon. I don’t want anyone to prove it by speaking in tongues or being slain in the Spirit. I don’t want it tied to the giving of tithes.

What I want is simple—for us to stop using Christianity as a weapon of mass destruction, a tool of racial, economic and social oppression, as a mechanism of control.

I simply want us to live into Jesus’ command to love one another, and to follow the example of Christ by loving people unconditionally, just as they are, just as they were created to be.

Specifically, I want people to embrace the words found in Luke 22:25-27:

But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the world rule over their people, and those who have authority over others want to be called ‘the great provider for the people.’ But you must not be like that. The one with the most authority among you should act as if he is the least important. The one who leads should be like the one who serves. Who is more important: the one serving or the one sitting at the table being served? Everyone thinks it’s the one being served, right? But I [Jesus] have been with you as the one who serves. (ERV)

Kind. Compassionate. Loving. Accepting. Gracious. Merciful. 

Let the Reclamation Project begin!

Photo via flickr user Ashley Rose