I responded to you, but not in attack mode. I just noted the paper that had called for his impeachment and the firestorm that created.

While my story is very different, Crissi, I wrote a veiled article about a snarky friend who had done damage. I had no idea (like your pastor) that she might read it and realize it was about her. Boy did the knives come out. However, in that I both realized that my intuitions, my truth (like yours) were spot on. You and I both did the right thing. There was a cost to it.

Perhaps what is most important to you in this process, and kindly, for the sake of full disclosure I am not a Christian but in fact a stumbling-at-best Buddhist and largely for the same reasons you left The Church, is to realize that you did precisely what you needed to do at precisely the right time in the right way and for the right reasons. Period. DONE. No recriminations, no blame. You touched me with your piece, and I have no stake in the Church at all. I do, however, have a stake in your faith in yourself, which is far more important than whichever delicate sensibilities you might have offended in others. If people fire shite at you for your genuine, heartfelt truth, then I HAVE to ask how Christian, how Christ-like is that behavior, honestly?

Call me crazy but isn’t there a rather important parable about throwing the first stone? Isn’t there something in the Sermon on the Mount about a mote in one’s own eye? Isn’t this precisely the kind of situation that a practicing Christian might want to remember and call upon those very teachings? Hey. That’s just me.

And therein lies the answer. If people attack you for doing your level best to walk in His footsteps, then I might posit that they might want to walk into the closest bathroom and take a good long look in the mirror. The viciousness that lies in such attacks is not what I understand Christ to be. So if anyone is going to call themselves a Christian, and to me this is the very beating heart of your point, then they might bloody well want to act like it, especially when it’s hard. My spiritual practice demands the same of me. How easy it is to sit in a pew and sing about righteousness and mercy, then leave that all in the body of the church and head out with knives and pitchforks to hurt someone who has, for their own sacred reasons, chosen another path out of faith.

I am an eager student of religious history. I don’t have to be a Christian to want very much to live with a set of very high and demanding principles for how we treat each other. What troubles me about religion is precisely what you describe: in effect, if you’re not with us, you should be tarred and feathered.

Kindly, as they say, Jesus wept.

I am quite sure He did, Crissi.

I am sure He did. And still does.

You did the right thing. Period. You owe an apology to no one. Period. You touched a lot of lives with your honesty and your vulnerability.

What an immense gift.

I might suggest that you receive that as a sacrament (I did, after all, go to Catholic School). Because it is. Sometimes beautiful brave acts can have terrible consequences. If I may, Crissi, you and your husband fervently believe in Someone who did that very thing.

My very best to you and your family on your path, and I sincerely hope you keep writing. You have a gift, and I might suggest that many of us hope you will grace us with more of it.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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