5 Reasons to Lose Christianity… but Find Jesus

It was with great trepidation that I prepared this post, but now, as I share it, there is a sigh of relief in my soul…

After years of trying to identify as a “Gay Christian” or a “church-affirming” person of faith, it seems that the logical side of my brain has had deep conversations with the part of my soul that is tired of drama. Together, they have agreed that the most effective form of spiritual abuse prevention is to avoid triggers.

And Christianity triggers me at the core of who I am – an emotionally awakened, self-regulating, gay woman with an altruistic mind.

First, let me offer an important backdrop for this discussion before I offend most of you with my experience.

We’ve all seen it in social media and even personally witnessed it in some local congregations:

Christianity has been undergoing a very powerful re-branding effort.

At first, this seems to be a good idea, as it is not a faith that has been known for love or kindness to… well, anyone who isn’t white, male and straight. I truly want to get behind the “progressives” who talk about not being “that kind of Christian,” as they follow Jesus’ teachings and attempt to paint a nicer, softer version of this politicized religion on the stained canvas of spirituality.

However, as a Bible College Graduate and a woman who thinks about this topic more than any healthy person should, I recognize that the reason that there is so much conflict over Christianity is the simple fact that its “holy” book is laden with highly disturbing passages, analogies, stories and directives in the name of a God-figure.

Moreover, being progressive right now means big bucks. It means more blog hits, increased interviews, acolades of “bravery” from those who have been wounded by the church, and a false sense of pride in a “new” movement in the faith. (As if the United Church of Christ folk haven’t been teaching this progressive stuff long before it was made cool… I digress).

What we know about the Christian Church is that it is losing popularity… why? Because it should. It’s archaic, draped in a toxic history, shrouded in conflict… and basically the idea of finding community in our modern age is no longer tied to religious beliefs. More folks are happier to stitch and bitch at the local Panera, rather than tithe and survive at dogma-soaked congregational settings. Community, while always difficult to establish, is easier to access and try out, be it through Meet-Ups or the fact that, oh I dunno… we have cars and public transportation, so we don’t need the same local presence that we used to need in order to feel connected. We find out about common interests and we value them much more than our belief systems. Oh yeah, and this social media thing seems to do a good job of helping people feel more connected (perhaps at the expensive of emotional connection at times, but again, another post).

We also know that Christianity is losing popularity because it has this set of beliefs about LGBTQ people, women and overall concepts of social justice that don’t fly with the younger generations. (Did the Biblical writers bother to speak out against slavery? Nope. Sure didn’t. On the contrary, it kinda said, “That’s okay. Slavery happens.” Young people (and yes, some older folks too) do not want to be told what to do based on a book written by men in a time in history that is barely relevant to their own. More and more people are interesting in conversations, not sermons… and giving to the actual community, where it’s tangible and they feel the immediate effects, rather than investing in a pastor’s salary or a building fund. (Your local non-profit… where real church happens?)

However, what the Church is doing, in its well-designed re-branding effort is to make itself hip. Doing as the Romans, they have their loud music, powerpoint screens, even social justice projects, and giving illusions of “cool” when behind it all, the fact remains that there is an extrinsic authority that regulates the Church – the Bible.

Various interpretations and various texts to argue about – but in the end… it’s their holy book – Their script, their point of reference and their reason for the season of known as “Christian.”

But without the Bible, tell me this: Would there be a Christian Church?

I wager there would not be.

Without a book claiming to have authority…

Without a building claiming to be sacred…

Without a leader claiming to be anointed…

Where would the Church be?

It would be in the people.

And thus, we would possibly see that the teachings of Jesus would have some room to grow… once they are no longer confined by books, buildings and budgets. (Oh and egos, but that’s another thought altogether).

So this leads me to a very direct and poignant call to support a great exodus from Christianity. Hanging on to Jesus’ teachings may be the hard part and it is optional, in my opinion because some of his teachings are socially and emotionally under-developed. But without any further ado, I offer you something that will upset many of you. For others though, it may put the nail in the church coffin. You have been waiting to hear that it is safe to walk away. It is safe to lose Christianity… here are 5 reasons why…

1. Lose Christianity because… their holy book is profane.

Unlike most spiritual texts, Christianity’s “holy” book is grossly tied to violence, inequality, 1947957_278200805670461_1195406355_ncrimes against humanity, injustices towards women and minorities and frankly, a key plot twist that never sounds appealing – child sacrifice. The older I get, the more I realize that killing your son has got to be the least creative option for achieving justice. I would like to say, “Hey God, I hear you made hummingbirds, dinosaurs and the ocean, but when it came to retribution, your creativity leveled out at killing your kid? Epic creative fail.”

1782130_278199992337209_142745578_nOne of the most obscene Biblical passages regarding God’s need for justice/righteousness is when he turns two bears on a group of 42 bratty kids for making fun of one of his prophets, Elisha. Yeesh. I want God to get my back, but what’s with all the child-murder? I work with children… In fact, I work with about 42 every day and if they say mean things at times, it’s because they are kids. Doesn’t God know they are just testing out hurtful words vs. helpful words? A book that tells this story about that God should be banned, at least for anyone under the age of 18!


2. Lose Christianity because… you don’t need to be the house negro to make a point.

Ouch. Did she just say that? Actually, I’m anonymously quoting a friend who made that statement in regards to LGBTQ Christians. We can make our points about spirituality without subjecting ourselves to the system that keeps the white folk empowered (straight?) and the colored (gay?) scrubbing windows and able to come in from the rain at night. We all know that Jesus is not the same as “the Church.” Do you really think that if he was hanging out among any of this today, he would recognize these “churches” as what he meant when he said to gather and share? The Church is a system and in the end, the return on investment is low for its inhabitants, as its owner (pastors and politicians) reap either financially or psychologically. (Oh, there’s the ego conversation again…) There is a safer way to find spiritual community than surrendering your identity to the system.

3. Lose Christianity because… they can’t seem to reel in their rogue right-wing.

1602068_275828789240996_643552855_oOften times I hear progressives and conservatives isolate themselves from one another. “Fundies” are viewed as the enemy while I hear “liberals” are just as much a problem for those who believe in “Biblcally-based” things like marriages, families and 401k’s. For a religion that they are trying to brand as one of love, there is a schism deep within itself that is undeniable. If these two groups could figure themselves out, I may take the whole lot more seriously, but when you tune in and really listen to what’s going on, you can see this: One side of the coin despises the other side and claims they have different values. They are on the same piece of silver, no matter if you flip it 40 times and apparently Jesus isn’t even enough to bring them together! If the progressives are so grand, rather than recruiting the de-churched or those who happily walked away, why not take all that liberal “Jesus is love” stuff and lavish it on the brothers and sisters of the faith? In short, even Jesus said, “Get your backyard in order before taking over the neighborhood.” (Or some shit like that… a plank eye comes to mind, but thankfully, Bible College was a long time ago 😉 )

4. Lose Christianity because… their God is kind of unstable.


Be it the Old Testament or New Testament, the holy book has a way of making the Creator sound like a petty father who can’t determine whether to smite or smother. It’s a simple fact that the religion is based on God “loving” the World that he SENT HIS SON TO DIE. Meanwhile, there are rules and regulations that differ based on interpretation and no routines are established for what “really” pleases God. (Do justly, walk humbly and seek mercy rings a bell but apparently even that is too vague).

AZ_Refuse_ServiceWorse yet, is when Christians ignore the absurd nature of the God’s supposed decrees. When I saw this sign to the left, I didn’t think, “Yeah, you tell ’em.” After I thought, “Don’t you know how to spell virgin?” I thought… “Why am I the only person who thinks that it’s ridiculous to make so many excuses for this strange holy book? It’s full of nonsense at times!



Even more emotionally unpredictable and illogical are the belief systems themselves. For example, prayer has a complication in that it is entirely unreliable, yet it is a key ingredient of the faith. Exactly what part of the brain is working to monitor something so circular and illogical as prayer? If prayer works, does that mean that I have influence over God? If I do have influence, what does that say of this egomaniac God who only blesses those who know how to talk to him/her/it properly? As a person who teaches social and emotional intelligence, I have to say, this god could use some lessons on being assertive vs. aggressive, as well as learning the power of choice in order to maintain healthy relationships.

5. Lose Christianity because… you have the Freedom to Be and Leave.

I wrote about this in Enlightened-ish and am sharing an excerpt below because I think it’s time that the bigger picture of our core beliefs be considered. Sometimes we stay attached to Christianity because it’s our cultural reminder of family memories. Sometimes we stay out of obligation because “they aren’t all bad” or because we like the community and we’re too busy to find it elsewhere. Sometimes we stay because of actual convictions related to the cherry-picking of verses that matter to us. (Cherry, or cotton, I don’t know. Ouch). But in the end, beliefs are in fact chosen… and if Christianity is too violent, dramatic, unstable or just plain illogical for you… the Freedom to “Be” and Leave means you have options. I can’t promise that other religions are any better (as most are male-driven and seem to reflect a lack of social intelligence) but perhaps a fresh start will feel good after all of the lost friendships, church-hopping, blog-bantering and arguments in your faith journey.

From Enlightened-ish: A Grief Memoir about Spiritual Awakening:

“For as disillusioned as I felt about the church prior to my father’s death, I never intended to write about anything specific related to my time in a progressive church… Leaving the Christian Church became a key breakthrough for my spiritual awakening. 

“I cannot have my spiritual journey tied up in the success or failure of an organization. It sounds like high-risk behavior for a spiritual person to place all his or her eggs in the collection basket so for me, I cannot support a place where my investments are not diversified. The ROI for the Christian Church would make my spiritual portfolio plummet.

“Many members of the community had hoped I would stay connected, in spite of how this place contradicted my core beliefs (core beliefs discussed in depth, in Enlightened-ish). I didn’t trust any of the leaders to understand where I was coming from in separating from the community. The gossip and lack of emotional intelligence had become toxic. I cut ties altogether with some subgroups of the church. Once the standard operating procedure for conflict management became, ‘Efficiently shuffle things under the rug and psychoanalyze one another,’ I knew my time was up… I gave myself the freedom to “be” and “leave.”

In the end, religious leaders benefit from having followers because those followers surrender their most valuable resource: The ability to self-regulate. If the Bible, a pastor, or even God regulates you, you are not on a path of becoming a self-actualized person

And I know this, because I was once a person who falsely believed that surrendering “my” plan for “God’s plan” was a part of being a loyal, obedient and even wise follower of Christ.

This manifesto, coming from me, is pretty bizarre really – a woman who dedicated her life to Jesus at a crucial age, attended years of church camps, graduated with honors from Bible College, served several churches in youth and pastoral leadership positions and even continued to engage in “bridge-building” with people on the progressive side of this conflicting issue.

But it’s time.

Because the truth is… the Church is not an ally to itself, let alone an ally to the rest of the world. (Um, exactly what teaching is behind hate/discrimination bills? Church teaching, that’s what.) For every minute we spent trying to criticize it or rebuild it, we lose time that could be spent focusing on the person of Jesus, our relationships with our neighbors and the ability to self-regulate during conflict in order to reach peaceful, mindful communication.

So, what about finding Jesus? (Yikes, can it even be done? Well if you are still reading, let me sum this up already so we can all move on!)

Jesus was probably the most misunderstood and messed up figure to ever try to be a spiritual teacher and healer. Imagine that, without social media and the written word, I died today, but 70 years later, less than twelve of you tried to write up some thoughts about my life. Good grief, I hate to think of how you would portray me, even if you loved me 😉

And so it goes… we can go on a search for Jesus, if we feel that he matters… that may be valuable to some of us…

But what the Christian Church has shown us is that it is time to let it go of their business.

Because for many, it is nothing more of a reminder of a broken culture, a crucified faith and a burden to our collective ability to Love One Another. And if it weren’t for the Bible, we would probably be church and no one would have authority over how we live it out.

Walk gently through these explosive thoughts… and know that even if you stay involved with the organized church, this isn’t a judgment against you… but having been there, what I know is that a part of you wonders why you’re doing it. If you ever get tired of the drama, it is in fact, safe to walk away (even if just for a season).

No matter what, I wish us all the ability to breathe deeply as we seek to reconcile ourselves to… ourselves.


This post goes out to three “influences” in my cyber communities. The first is a blog post from a Facebook friend. Please check this out and know that the content is well-prepared by a former Christian leader. It is honest, raw and will probably make you re-think your position on homosexuality and the Bible.

The second influence is a Facebook Page called, “Holy Shit.” I do not know the admins (yet), but I stumbled upon their page and found myself feeling at home, revived and encouraged by the satire, the honesty and the community. I know I can’t please ’em all, but as I lose readers with this post, I know there are ten-fold to gain. Knowing we are not alone – What a valuable influence for us all, no matter what we choose.

To the folks at CTofBM, this doesn’t mean I love you any less either. You remain supported in your chosen frontline duties of the Christianity Branding War… but if you ever fold up shop and call it quits, no judgment here 😉


DSC_0821Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. She has appeared in FOX DC News and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Her new book, Enlightened-ish became available April 25, 2013 and chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.


10 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Lose Christianity… but Find Jesus

  1. You have wonderful way with words that flow across the page. Eloquently spoken and understood. My husband and I also walked away from the Christian organization. To much pretence and drama. Not at all what we thought Christianity was all about. I’m glad we walked away when we did, because our son told us he was gay; which we never had a problem with, but I could only think of what persecution he would have suffered. Sorry for the rambling, but bottom line you have put the proper words to paper as to how we have felt so long. Thank you for sharing:)


    • Ramble, away, Anne-Marie! I am thankful for the messages I’m receiving about this post. It took a lot to move towards this conclusion. I often wonder how many parents wouldn’t really have any issue at all with their child’s sexual orientation if it weren’t for message from the church… whew, what a concept! Good for you, for your husband and obviously, for your son, that there wasn’t that baggage in your relationship. Parenting is hard enough as it is, right? 😉


  2. Gail, I really appreciate what you said here, as it mirrors my own journey. In the aftermath of my mom’s funeral in April of 1996, I began to fall away from the Catholic Church. By the end of May I had quit going (for the most part) and began – finally – to question my sexual orientation. I tried going back to Catholic Mass, but it was almost always for a brief stint leading to my stopping once again. I am willing to bet that I have given much of this as much thought and consideration as you have, but I’m not intending to turn this into a contest.


    • Hey Brian ~

      The death of a parent (or anyone really) seems to be such a powerful moment for people of faith. So many trite responses and larger questions that don’t get answered when they are living… I’m sorry that you have gone through this too, but at the same time, there is something to feeling awakened enough to discuss it and leave some things behind… I know I’m still young, but I am beginning to feel quite thankful to have gotten out when I did.
      P.S. I would never want to sign up and win that competition, no doubt 😉
      much love!


  3. I just stumbled across this and I found it interesting. I disagree, but it is interesting. Being a Christian means to follow Christ, so you can’t reject Christianity and follow Jesus.
    Similarly, Jesus came to us to teach us about God’s love, and to teach us to follow God. You can’t reject God and his teachings and still fully accept Jesus. (Maybe this isn’t a rejection of God and I just misunderstood your use of the phtase “their God”.) Jesus and God are not separate even if you dont believe in the trinity. I do agree that we can reject “The Church” and still find Jesus, but you can’t reject Christianity

    However, I think we can all agree that to show love should be our top priority in the world, as that has always been what God wants from us.


    • Thanks for chiming in, Arose. We do agree on the topic of love… but just to challenge your premise a bit – what is the source of what it means to accept Jesus fully? The Bible? If that is the case, of course we would differ. But it is my belief that I accept him as fully as I am designed to accept him, upon which belief, there is no real authority, is there? Well… perhaps a Creator… but on this side of things, if the Bible is out the window as errant and not an authoritative source on the topic of “accepting” Jesus, then it really doesn’t matter where my money goes, what community I call a spiritual center or if I have one at all… after all, Jesus wasn’t a Christian. Technically, if I wanted to follow his example, I’d convert to Judaism… or start my own religion. Gasp!

      Just food for thought. Thanks for sharing your response!


  4. This was so amazing and really confirmed my feelings and thoughts. I tossed all my religious books and bibles into the recycle bin a couple months ago. I just found it depressing and that it really advocated violence on so many levels. I have always questioned my whole life, but often tried to suppress it as a lack of faith. Because I was gay, knowing since age 7, I knew that if there was a God, so kind and loving, he would have never created me, just for me to suffer. So, now as an adult, I through out all that religious dogma, and that’s when I truly became free. I still don’t know if I really believe, I would like to, only because it’s hard to let go of what I’ve been taught since childhood. But in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe anymore. I guess it’s human nature to want to believe that there is a happy life after death, but now, I just don’t know. Now, I just live my life as happy as I can, with my wife and wish for a long, long life with her. Thanks so much….I look forward to reading more from you.


  5. Oh Gail. I read your post at a very interesting time. I am struggling with the church that I am presently a part of. It is tough because I see and hear some people that have been given a sense of community, a community where they can work with others on social justice issues, where their children like to come, where they feel fed spiritually. However, I see “the institution.” The people that I talk about are largely an intellectual community, not fundamentalist. It’s such hard work though it seems. And I like what you said about us not being able to reign in our rogue right wing. Thank you for sharing. You have given me more to think about. Funny thing is, I am a second-year seminarian and I honestly believe that the God/dess of my understanding, led me here. What is a woman to do? Of course I have dreams of creating a different community that what I have experienced. But is that reality? We’ll see. Thank you again.


  6. Some of the things posted here I feel is not at what is at the heart of God, or the Christian message. There’s certainly been a division of two cookie-cutter types of christians which have been dividing themselves for decades now, as you’ve mentioned in the article. Neither extreme, however, is an acceptable expression of the Christian faith. Both, according to their dogma’s and personalised agenda’s miss at least half of the message, which restricts the way they are able to relate to God and clearly hear and understand his plan and purpose (no cliche intended) for the current world.
    There’s a lack of Christians in the ‘green-zone’ so to speak, and I believe it is these types of self-labelled Christians who make up the majority of Chrsitian people.
    A thorough and well-established sense of who God is, and what his message is through the bible requires a use of brainpower not too dissimilar to Orwells ‘Doublethink’, but not quite so extreme that you make yourself willing to blind yourself to your passions (Of which that said type of passion is exactly what self-labelled Progressive AND Fundamentalist/Right Christians are far too guilty of).

    Neither group is entirely wrong, but neither group is correct either – and that shows via the core issues relating to the way each group is internally inconsistent with their expression of their ‘relationship’ with God to others.

    Conviction of belief is not a relationship as much as belief without conviction is one.
    Prayer is key, and allowing God to correct you is very, very important in the Christian walk. Something that is not popular among either of the discussed groups.


  7. Pingback: A Time to Reflect and a Time to Look Ahead… Welcome 2015 | For Gail So Loved the World

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