Unfaithful

I blame Penn Jillette.

Well, to be fair, it’s Adam Savage’s fault, too. And George W Bush, and many of my current friends, and a lot of the people I used to spend my time with.

I blame Planned Parenthood protesters, and I blame Pat Robertson and Sarah Palin. I blame the friends who won’t return our calls, since we came out.

I would blame my parents, but it’s really not their fault, not at all. But I do blame some of my aunts and uncles.

And I blame myself, for believing it at all.

The road to a loss of faith is not nearly as glamorous as the conversion stories. Paul, blinded on the road to Damascus, the fiery tales of teenaged martyrs, that poor bastard Job stuck in that awful chess game… all these tales have such weight and sparkle. You want to believe they are true, sometimes so badly that you force yourself to believe in them. And I think, that may have been what happened to me.

I was a woman of faith, once, but before that, I wasn’t. My family went to church once in a while when I was a child, then never once I reached my preteen years. I wanted to believe in something, and spent some time mouthing words to pagan deities but mostly feeling hopelessly alone. My father was dying, my grandmother was dead, my mother a changed woman, ravaged by their illnesses more, perhaps, than they were. And in this crazy time, I moved to California, and met other pagans, and the first Jewish person I had ever known, and somewhere in there, Jason and I started going to a brimstone-and-hellfire sort of church, and I decided I did believe in the Christ, after fighting it for so long.

And from there, I identified as Christian for more than a decade.

We didn’t go to that church for long. They wouldn’t baptize me, because at the time Jason and I were living together but not married. We didn’t find a new church until we moved back to Oregon, and were invited by some friends to their church. I ran Bible study groups and planned dinners and teas. It was there that I was told I could not be a Christian and a feminist at the same time, and that women were only allowed by God to preach because men weren’t doing a good enough job. I even preached a sermon once.

I internalized the statements that to be bisexual was bad, at least for me. That to want to love and desire people outside my marriage was the worst sort of sin. That pornography was as bad or worse than theft. That accepting other beliefs was somehow very wrong.

I had two children in that time period, and struggled with deep depression. I wanted to fight all these injustices that I saw, the inconsistencies, the lies. I studied the early church, the words of Jesus, and learned how far modern Christianity had fallen and failed. And I started to fight back. I started to argue, and my friends called me “The best Christian apologist for atheists that they had ever met”.

And I met someone who changed my life. And I started reading and watching things by freethinkers and non-believers.

And the walls started to crack.

And I read a book by Penn Jillette and watched videos by Adam Savage, and our relationships at our church started to crumble. I met and loved an amazing woman, so patient and kind, and I fear I hurt her badly with my fear of my own feelings and the loosening grip of my faith.

But this time, when the closet door opened, it didn’t close again.

We left that little country church. We tried a few other churches but we had been badly burned. My husband finally told me he was done with church, and we stopped trying.

When I met my boyfriend, I still believed, at least a little. That was two years ago.

And I’m not sure when I lost that belief. I think it happened when I finally accepted myself completely, and realized I no longer needed to hide behind any sort of faith.

And I think I can finally say that I simply don’t believe anymore.

 

PS – This was a difficult piece to write and share, but hopefully soon, I will be writing more about faith and the role it played in my life. If this resonated with you, please share it with others, and I also would love it if you leave your thoughts below.

 

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10 responses to “Unfaithful

  • jenn

    The road out of faith is never easy.

  • Riley

    My ex-wife and I turned to Christianity as a last ditch effort to save our marriage. They had me read all kinds of literature on how being attracted to others (adultery of the mind) was no different than adultery itself. We were never unfaithful to each other. But that wasn’t enough for her or our church. I began to train my brain to avoid looking at other women. I stopped watching R-rated movies. I would even find male checkers at the grocery store just in case. In the end, she still left, the church blamed me, and I never did understand. I haven’t been to church since. Thanks for the post. Riley.

  • pastelninja

    I originally just wanted to say good job because this is a difficult topic to talk about. But then i felt oddly compelled to say something else…
    Paul and the formal formation of the church are the primary reason there is a feeling of shame for couples who choose not to be strictly monogamous. Of course, Paul didn’t think people should be sexual at all, and preached a gospel of chastity that if followed, would have eradicated the human race entirely and kept us from ever reproducing. But when you think about it, so much was lost when the Church picked and chose which gospels should be allowed in the bible. The few gospels that were supposedly written by women were mostly about obedience and family. As a woman, I could never believe in a God that doesn’t believe in me.
    Faith is what you make of it. I’m not going to bat for the Jeebus Team here or anything, but i think that you can believe its all a bunch of crap and then, against all your best intentions and cleverness and good judgement, still find yourself believing in god. It happens to the best of us.
    I’m proud of you for coming out and being open where you can about the way you’re living your life. It’s a brave choice, and of course it can’t have been an easy one. I don’t know if I could have been as forthcoming about it as you have. Bravo to you, for both your honesty and your bravery.

  • lyttlebyrd

    Thank you darling… for all the kind words and support and everything.

  • Ayeka

    I “discovered” Jesus at the age of 13. And I was kind of radical about faith for some years (Sometimes I think in my country just talking about Jesus is recognized as radical). Then I realized that I might be able to choose the religion for myself but that I had no right to judge other people. So I stopped evangelizing immediately. My faith cooled down but was still there. I was just no longer a radical teenager 😉
    When I started living poly – well – it wasn’t easy and still it isn’t. But my difficulties have nothing to do with my faith. There is just no conflict between my faith and living poly. And also for me there is no conflict between my faith and being bisexual.
    If God made me being able to love more than one person – Why would he want me not to do it, as long as I don’t hurt anyone?
    It makes me sad when someone feels rejected by faith just because of some stupid people who think they know evereything and that they are the only ones to define how to read the bible or so.
    But as I wrote above, I’m no longer a missionary. It’s just what I think about this theme.

    Please excuse my mistakes. I’m not used to discuss this kind of things in a foreign language.

    And thank you for this blog. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time.

  • lyttlebyrd

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad to hear that my writing has resonated with you, and I hope you continue to enjoy my posts.
    I never felt a conflict between my faith and my lifestyle… there are other, deeper reasons for this loss of faith, and I plan on writing about them more in the future.
    If you feel comfortable and safe doing so, please consider sharing my blog. I feel the more people who read about our lifestyle, the less of a stigma it will have.

  • Missing | Outside the Lines

    […] while back, I wrote a bit about my journey out of faith. It was a hard piece for me to write, and even harder for me to share. But it isn’t the end […]

  • Did I Stutter? | Outside the Lines

    […] you want to read more about my journey out of faith, please read my posts Unfaithful and Missing. I would love to hear your thoughts on anything you have read… please feel free […]

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