Monday, January 13, 2014

When Our Love is Conditional

Why do you love me?  Do you love me for my me-ness, or for the me you think I ought to be?

Would you love and care for me if my quest for my me-ness led me out beyond the boundaries of labels and compartments, outside the church walls, beyond the narrow-road living we used to spur each other along?

Would you still love me if I left the word "Christian" behind to step more ever deeply into the excruciating, exquisite mystery of the God-Man and his gospels? Into the femininity of divinity?

This is what crosses my mind more and more and more, what I silently ask of others as I wrestle out what feels true and holy.  Three decades I've breathed in the winds of this world and yet still I do not know who I am, and I am tired of living by everyone else's description.  I want the wild and untamed self, just as I want the earth-smudged savior(ess). 

I have been so very loved by the souls we share circles with.  So very, very loved.  That love has been a saving force, has been one of many buoys that God threw me when I was floundering in the tear-salted ocean, drowning. 


I wonder (I fear) if now that the very growing that was born of the buoys, the growing that is stripping me of all safe definitions, is the growing that will lose me the friendship of of all.  Not because they have said so or demonstrated so (mostly), but because I see it happening in our culture, in our church.  I see it in the cheering of homophobia and racism.  I see it in the droves of customers eager to take a stand against perceived immorality by consuming righteous chicken, not realizing that they are boycotting their own humanity, while their flesh and blood gay brethren are force-fed steaming shame and hatred and you-are-not-worth-loving.  I see it in how the way we live contradicts that way that Jesus lived.

We have a history of hating each other.  We have a history of hating other and different and not us.

And so when I find my{self} changing, shifting, outgrowing her old skin and sloughing it off, I have to wonder if I will be seen as other and written off as a sad story of falling away and rebellion.

Is your love conditional on the category you can sort me into?  Will you value our friendship, our sister flesh and human blood, over toeing the line that someone else has drawn for us?  If I howl at the moon, will you acknowledge the freedom I have to choose to do so?  Will you howl with me, or come at me with a muzzle, "for my own good"?  

Will you love me if you can't "save" me?

I fear the answer to these questions.  I fear the loss that may come.  But even more than these terrors, I fear living asleep for a single second more. 



  1. This is very powerful Beth, it's brave and, dare I say, a little vulnerable? I have known you for how long? Year and a half? And I've seen your journey change, seen you moving away from the standard religion you were given, maybe from all that you know... to something else. I don't know what exactly...but I see. And you know what...I pray for you every day...not that you will "repent and turn" but that the Lord will continue to hold you and carry you as you search your soul and your feelings. Some will leave. Some will be angry. I experienced that when my depression was so so SO deep that church friends and families turned away washing their hands and letting me have my consequences. One person, One person only let me turn my own way, covering me with grace and love while walking beside me, through all of it. And that One person was still there, when my soul was tired of running and looking and denying and giving up. I know what it's like to have people bail on me, so in answer to that question "will you love me if you can't save me" my answer is absolutely YES. Because I am not your judge, I am not your savior. I am your friend. And I love you!

  2. I love you for being you, Beth, in all your glory... the ups and downs, the victories and set-backs. Today in the mail I received one of your fine art prints, that says "be you" which I bought for my eldest daughter. It says it all, really... so BEAUTIFULLY! Thanks :)

  3. This may well be my favorite post from you. <3 This is such an exhilarating place to be, such a heady question to ask. Lean into the wild, love. You are birthing new life.

  4. I believe that we know his children by their fruit, and not by their theology/doctrine. Howl, friend! God made the wildness. And he called it good

  5. I love this, deep in my bones. Great post.

  6. I swear we are living this parallel life somehow. Love to you and I love knowing that when I cannot write how I feel, odds are I will read it here!

  7. Oh, friend. There's nothing like the ocean of salted tears to make us desperate for the fresh water only asking these kinds of questions can bring. Anyone who doubts it also denies our oceans and I just can't go there anymore. Thanks for this.

  8. this is just wonderful. this is so wild and dangerous, and absolutely flowing with life.

    so honoured to be walking home with you, beloved friend.

  9. Those of us who have been turned away, presented with cold shoulders... we will all be there. Those, like my Pastor, will be there. There are those with love, compassion, understanding, real hearts and real stories, who will always be there.

  10. This is hard. I came out as gay after being the star of my church. I was a missionary at 18. I did all the things they wanted me to do. Because I wanted to. Because I believed in revival. I lost all of it because of who I am. Some stayed with me, but most didn't. Most dropped me like I never existed. It's funny, though, because if you study the history of the church and revival and all the good stuff that everyone is so quick to pull a quote from, you'll see that the old church, before American Christians have made it what they have, valued struggle. The great thinkers didn't get together to agree, they got together to challenge one another and ask big questions. That time is long gone in the current church. Replaced by sameness. It won't last, though. I promise. But in the mean time, there's a whole big group of us left alone. Discarded. And that hurts deeply.

  11. I loved this post....Truly loved it

  12. I will still love you Beth. I have found myself saying like the Black Eyed Peas "Where is the love?" when it comes to Christians. I am conflicted. I connect so deeply with Holy Spirit, Father and Jesus, but not with His followers (Traditional Church). I don't feel like I fit in with them and have found their love to be conditional.

  13. oh my oh so eloquently put into words what i have trouble articulating yet feel deeply. thank you beth, thank you for being you. xo


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King