At least, not in any recognizable or meaningful way. According to most people who care about such things, I haven’t been a Christian for a long time anyway and my insistence this last year in using the name Christian has been an offence—even with the Heretic disclaimer prominently attached. I am not changing my doctrinal positions (I had none anyway) or a faith in God (I tried atheism before and that just didn’t work well for a mystic). Nothing about me has changed at all, just the name. I’m still debating whether to rename the blog or not.
I cast myself as a Christian Heretic a little over a year ago as I was working through the process of integrating my religious past with my spiritual present. In that time, I’ve made peace with the Christian God, found a sense of Jesus that suits me, and stared down the darkest and meanest of my inner demons. It’s been a hell of a year. Embracing the Christian name was a big part of my journey. It gave me the ability to work from within my heritage instead of fighting myself as an outsider. I did so much work that I just need to rest. My soul is battered and bruised and needs to spend some significant time in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.
And I don’t think I can do that while keeping the name Christian. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of my Christian community is online and remarkably supportive of my heresies, I have nonetheless felt a constant pressure to conform, perform, reform. Simply to stand my ground feels as though it requires a continuous effort to hold against the current of conventional thought. This is not an indictment of any of my readers. You have all been uniformly fabulous, gracious, kind, and loving. More so that I ever expected when I began blogging. In fact, this pressure is probably all in my own head, the result of yet-unresolved issues. But I need to quit holding an identity whose very name triggers these internal pressures.
I need to rest, regroup, recoup, not to continue breaking down old strongholds. That will come someday but, for now, I need a long sleep. So I am stepping outside the Christian identity, back to the place where I meet Grace without any baggage. I long for a time when I can be comfortable being a Christian solely on my own terms, without needing to challenge the paradigm, but that day is not now. Now, I can’t seem to be a Christian without feeling the desire to get all up in the face of conventional institutional religion.
My insistence on using the word Christian to describe my spirituality has become a boxing-in of myself rather than the freeing, whole-self inclusive soul-expansion that it has been. The word itself feels like a weight pulling down from the backside of my chest. It is time to let it go.