March 17th is my birthday. As is my habit I decided to go to the cemetery to visit the graves of my parents. I try not to go during the week after the time I was sitting at their graves and the sprinklers came on. To get to the cemetery I had to drive past the church I went to all my growing up years. I was feeling very nostalgic so I decided to stop for services.
The male generic language was not a surprise just disappointing. Especially, "Greet each other with a brotherly kiss." My first shock was how few people were at church. I remember it as a large congregation. My second shock was when the minister announced, "Bring a friend to church Sunday" and then asked the congregation to raise their hand if they had friends who were going to hell. I tried to keep the shook from showing on my face as everyone raised their hands. "Well," he said, "bring them to church and get them saved."
My final shock came during the sermon. The minister said, "God instituted capital punishment because murder is an assault against God's image." I wrote his statement on the back of the bulletin because I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I wanted to ask about the sixth commandment, "you shall not kill." Or, Jesus admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. Or, what about the image of God in the person being executed?
Unfundamentalist ChristiansThere are many unfundamentalist Christian groups. One on Facebook calls themselves Unfundamentalist Christians. There is also, the Christian Left, Christians For Biblical Equality and The Evangelical, Ecumenical Women's Caucus-Christian Feminist Today to name a few. They proclaim respect, inclusion, non-judgement, forgiveness and so much more that reflects and represents my faith. I wrote the book, Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women because I felt like my religion had been hijacked by fundamentalist.
I will not go back to that church. I choose to believe in a God who would be just as disappointed with the male generic language, just as shocked by the judgement on the lives of other people and just as shocked to hear that the loving creator had instituted capital punishment.