In 2020 I suddenly found myself very disappointed in the Church and Christianity as a whole. It felt like with every social issue that 2020 brought to light, I felt like Christians were on the wrong side.
I kept seeing social media posts from Christians that left me fuming and wondering if I even wanted to still be a part of this group that kept NOT showing up the way I thought they should. At that point, I realized that I didn’t HAVE to be part of that group.
It was time to really think about what I believed and claim my faith for my own.
I took a break from social media for a couple of months and started pouring myself into books. I was hungry for validation of what I thought was right and what I thought I knew about God and the church. I read every spare second that I could. Since we were not attending church due to the pandemic, it felt like a really good time to meet with my husband and kids and figure out what we wanted “church” to look like for our family — realizing that by the end it might not look like attending service in the building we had previously been attending.
My husband and I were both raised in the church, although in different denominations. We both went to a conservative Christian college, and for the most part, had been following a faith very similar to how we were raised. Honestly, we both should have reexamined our personal faiths years ago, considering we have both been out of our parent’s homes for almost 15 years. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The range of emotions I went through on a daily basis left me drained and questioning things I couldn’t always find answers to.
But the more I read, prayed, and talked through things with my husband, the more I felt myself reconstructing a new faith instead of deconstructing the old one.
The change was small at first, but we emerged from 2020 feeling very solid in what we believe and really feeling like we had found our own faith as individuals and as a family.
So what changed in our personal life? Well, we finally feel like we have a faith that is our own versus a faith we were raised with. We have studied hard and found what is important to our family and included our kids in our study. We have had hard conversations. But we came to find out that while the loudest Christians on social media who left us upset and angry are still frustrating, we have had so many powerful conversations with friends and family and have found we have more similarities than differences.
We are waiting until our kids are vaccinated to go back to a church building, but we both agree that we miss the feeling of community and feel like it is important. Most importantly for us, is we have Scripture to back up our beliefs instead of just saying, “well that is what I was always taught” … and that feels powerful.
In addition to the Bible and biblical commentaries, we found these books and podcasts helpful during our study.
A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines
I Think You’re Wrong, But I’m Listening by Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland
Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christians Search For God in America by Jeff Chu
Jesus and John Wayne: How While Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Pantsuit Politics podcast