I’ve noticed that there is a ton of Christian blogs discussing millennials. It is hilarious to me because most of these article authors assume that there is some sort of mass exodus of millennial happening in the church. It’s a heated panicked discussion of “how do we reach millennials?” As someone who has recently returned to church ( 2 years and counting), I can explain my reasons for leaving the church, the community of God.
1.I didn’t feel it was relevant. From a social justice standpoint, I didn’t see churches uplifting blighted communities, teaching black men what their rights were, or comforting sexual assault victims. To me, the world had gone to hell and a hand basket and the bride of christ was sitting on the porch drinking tea.
2. Too many arguments. People wanted to discuss things like should women preach, should women wear pants, men being the head of marriage, what day is the sabbath and I felt like I had better things to do with my time.
3.There was too much emphasis on doctrine, not enough about the good news. We believe this and this and this… oh by the way Jesus died for your sins. At that point, I just went so everything I am and do is a sin and against the beliefs so why do I need Jesus. I wanted to go where it’s warm. Where I was welcomed and not rejected. That is not. to say that there are not hard truths that need to be said. But it’s all the approach.
When I returned to church, I was met with arms open wide. Nobody cared if my skirt was too short or if I had multiple tattoos, or what my journey had been like. I was constantly reassured that above everything I was loved and had received grace upon grace upon grace. Nobody tried to force me to be a certain way or dress a way. They told me that its not my job to change people… that’s all Jesus. Jesus does the heavy-lifting. He who began the work is faithful to complete it.
I don’t believe millennials are leaving the church in droves. We are forming our own communities of church. Where we can be accepted with face piercings and entire sleeves of tattoos. Where we can curse and still love Jesus.
If you’ve been around social media, you have seen this hashtag. It is to spread awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment. As a woman of color, living in America, I always wondered if my experiences of sexual violence were unique to me. Yes, in some ways my experiences are unique and singular. However, bacteria thrives in darkness. So while keeping my secrets close to my heart, I was creating an environment for sickness to thrive. I ascribed so many things to myself as a result of these experiences and was living carrying the bags of my shame. But in Christ, there is freedom and light. I am what he says I am not what the museum of my past says I am.
First and Foremost I thought I was broken, just shattered and couldn’t be whole.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.Psalm 34:18
I thought that I was a bad person. That everything I touched turned to ash.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I was convinced I had no future.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29: 11.
For people like me, who have had traumatic experiences change their identity. It is important to speak and declare God’s words over your life. For one, it makes me feel less depressed and like every day is a trial. For two, it really enhances my relationship with Jesus if I know who I am in Him. I cannot say that its been easy. I’ve had nightmares and flashbacks and have spent a significant amount of time ruminating on my failures. I am also convinced that my experiences have put me in a unique position to reach people who otherwise couldn’t be reached.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.
I have been listening to this Kristen Dimarco song for more than a week, every single day. The first time I heard it, I sobbed. I was hysterical because I wanted to believe the words but I just couldn’t. Now, it seems like the more I listen to it, the more I seem to accept the words as facts.
The first verse is as follows:”I am no victim, I live with a vision. I’m covered by the force of love, covered in my Savior’s blood. I am no orphan, I’m. not a poor man. The Kingdom’s now become my own and with the King I’ve found a home”
How does someone with PTSD or any other mental illness, get behind these words? How does a suicidal person? Someone who feels alone and like everything they touch dies? Someone who has no evidence for believing in anything other than their present situation?
So as I pondered these thoughts I decided to look for the parts of the song I unequivocally believed.
- Covered in the Savior’s blood ( CHECK)
- Not an orphan (CHECK)
- He is my Father ( CHECK)
- He is who He says He is ( CHECK)
Ok, so I buy four lines in the entire song. The problem that really struck me was my strong unfavorable reaction to the title ” I am no victim”. I mean, Wasn’t I? I kept looking at the hot mess that was my life and alternating between one of two thoughts. 1.It’s none of my fault. 2.Its all of my fault. Over the course of this week I’ve actually discovered that none of that actually matters. The most important part is ” I’m covered by the force of love… I am who He says I am. I’m defined by all his promises, shaped by every word He says”
I really struggled with the idea of starting a christian-themed blog. I have had eight different blogs. I have written good pieces, not-so-good pieces, and morally questionable pieces. I wondered if I should do this under a different name. But God is redeeming all of me, the whole story, not just part of it. So in spite of and because of where I’ve been I have to say that my truth is more about how God loved me than anything else.
I have two degrees in creative writing and I always knew I would be a writer. I didn’t think I would write for Jesus because quite frankly I didn’t think of that as a constructive use of my time. I learned just this weekend that “building the Kingdom” is not extra work, It’s my primary purpose as a daughter.