To my young, Christian Peers

12/11/2014

Dear Fellow Young Christians,

I wish I didn’t feel obligated to write you this letter, because this is not a conversation I feel like I should have to start, but trust me, it will be good for us.

I know many of you, but there are many of you I don’t know. For the purpose of this letter, I am speaking to no individual person, but to our age group. If you can empathize with whatever I’m saying, please reflect on it. Otherwise, that isn’t my decision anyways.

I look a lot like you. Appearances will do that. If you ask me many of the questions that popular press articles center around and that seem really standard criteria of marking a good Christian young woman, the answers will probably be what you’re looking for. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’m not going to talk about virginity because that one makes me want to weep for the entire world, but yeah, it’s definitely on your list. I am pretty. I talk about the gospel. I can do frighteningly thrifty things on a budget; I have enough practical skills to intimidate even some of my advisors. I am fabulous with children, in fact, I can play house better than most of your average twenty-somethings and I can give you a mom look that would make you shit your pants.

Is that what you really want?

You don’t realize how hard it was for me to earn each of the things that makes me qualify to be quality on your checklist. It’s funny, because the thriftiness that earned me my right to identify hardcore with what is expected of a “good Christian woman” was also the Goodwill jeans judgment cast against me when I tried to join Younglife in highschool. I never went back after that first meeting. Y’all were gossiping about models and anorexia and casting your judgment against eating disorders, and here I am over here, withering alone of clinical depression and you’re wearing a cross. I believe in Jesus now, and that has nothing to do with you. I am so grateful I wasn’t raised in a church consistently; I am glad I never had to imbibe that poison every week and have it slipped into communion wine. I did go to a youth group where I was gossiped against pretty regularly, so I guess that counts. But still. Thank God.

Taking care of children came only recently, but that was a sleepercell gift that only popped up when I fell in love with an asshole and legitimately started thinking about that as more than a bloodbath. But children have this beauty to them that is so the Holy Spirit, they just need time and patience and careful explanations that listen beyond their words to let them see Christ. It isn’t even hard if you don’t overthink it.

When I first liked that boy that hurt my feelings, I vowed that he would never experience my cooking skills, understanding children, and other stereotypical Christian mom traits (idk why, they just seem like mom traits or even better, ADULT traits to me, it was never my label) until he got to know me. He judged me pretty immediately even though he didn’t actually have any good idea of what he wanted (silence) and then vilified me to his friends and family without having any standing basis for doing so.

And this is where we are at, Christian homies. How funny is it that someone who identified as bisexual, who was thoroughly clinically depressed, who lashed out at all kind and concerned adults before they fought to get to know her, and who doesn’t like the sound of your bitching would be able to play mom better than most of you?

I think it’s even funnier that Christ even made that possible. You see, there is a certain tinge of bitterness when I write that, I don’t know how else you would know that, because I’m sure it’s very visible. My friends that I lived with freshman year of college were also 6 of 7 (I was the 7th) self-identified Christians. They didn’t even speak to me until I was fucking obnoxiously making an effort and forcing smiles into second semester. I wish I had the words.

You don’t seem to understand what your hypocrisy does to your peers, and you act like just because you aren’t yet an “adult” (18+?) it doesn’t matter. It does. The gospel is just as much for the men and women in your biology class, your roommates, and the people that (gasp!) live off campus or outside of greek life. On the other end of the spectrum, it is for the people that live in greek life, on campus, and who despise biology with a livid passion. The Gospel doesn’t discriminate. But you do.

And I do too! We all do! It’s a happy crappy love fest that resulted in genocide recently, if not today! And while you are so busy donating a few dollars to missions efforts that don’t even value the souls of those they are serving (for the love of God, never say a nation is “under darkness” unless you want me to call you a bigot and cry), you are also bitching about your roommates like me!

I left and I chose Christ. Do you think that he would accept your complacency, because I know from scripture that there is no way. I’m not sure which of the gospels says this because I still barely know my bible and you seem to think scripture memory is a badge of honor (lol), but let me tell you, it’s in there. I don’t remember the verse, but the part about being judged and having that same judgment used to measure you as you cast against others, that part. I’m much more one Paul’s letters; he speaks in a way that is much more my speed. It’s funny, because we have a lot casually in common considering his roots. But that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.

Please. Don’t belittle the people you are around. Bonus points if you don’t snap-judge the people you are attracted to on the basis of whether or not they are a “good Christian” like you or your family. To me, that implies a complete rejection of the infinite amplitude of God’s love, and that will make you miserable long before I can equivocate on whether or not to call you out.

People think I complain a lot, so let me keep going: Please be kind. You don’t have to be kind to me, fuck, I’m used to you not. But don’t mock other people for not looking like you. Don’t pretend you are better than them. We are all broken, crazy, delusional sinners that put our egos on such pedestals you’d think they were a toddler’s cookie jar. Seriously. It’s okay to be a failure, even at 20! The media is misleading you in ways you can’t imagine; if you had it all figured out, you’d be miserable, because you still have 60+ years left if God wills it. Please stop.

To the adults that look at people my age and think we have nothing to say or contribute: shame on you. How have you forgotten??

Please, Christ came in love. For love and from love we were saved. If you can’t believe in Jesus and age in to the infinite magnitude of that promise, who the hell can?

Be kind. That is all I ask. For my sake, and the people who were so unceremoniously grafted in. It is okay, we aren’t angry with you, we are angry at your actions that are just as sinful and dumb as ours, but not all of us are going to call you out and say so. I like to think I have a thick skin, but regardless, this needs said. Please listen.

I wish you all the best. I wish us all well, really. But please don’t forget that if you are a “Christian”, you have an obligation to not put Christ to shame. And none of us wins at that.

With all the love,

Haley

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haleylol

I am a teacher-to-be who loves people. I am not afraid of many things. I like to explain my thoughts logically on a very birds-eye view level--I was born thinking that way. I follow Jesus Christ, and I accept only that label to describe my identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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