Dear Church, dear Body of Christ,
We try so hard to run from the wrathful God, we try so hard to make the God of Judgment palatable and nicely packaged. We want God served to us in neat cuts, saran-wrapped on a disposable styrofoam tray.
And as a woman, I have been hand-fed a God that is disproportionately represented like this. God is gentle and kind (don’t be scared) and he loves you and holds you gently and protects you (don’t be insecure). And that is good, those are very good things; sometimes I need this more than anything.
But the problem is my troubles are not nice, clean, vague things like fear and insecurity and anxiety. I am in pain (like every other human being). I am seething and I cannot be cured by being mild and presentable and smiling and sweet and good for all my life, taught to bury and hide the anger-turning-to-resentment-turning-to-hatred inside me. I have begun to rot from the inside out. Implode. Sink under the weight of myself.
What if I told you I am brimming with anger? What if I told you if you looked behind my veneer of a smile I so carefully wear in church to be accepted, you would find a seething woman standing here? Stop giving me sermons that skip lightly over the God of the Old Testament, the God of Revelation, the God that is Jesus in a temple flipping over money changers’ tables.
I want a God who fights, I want a God who destroys evil. Give me the God who crushes Satan under his heel. Give me the God who shatters the curtain in two. Give me the God who is unapologetically coming to save. Give me the God who blasts right through those societal expectations and divisions. Give me the God who is power. Give me the God who brings justice like a reckoning.
Give me the furious God. Give me the wrathful God. Give me the God who is gentle and destructive. Give me the God who is both because those attributes are not mutually exclusive. Give me the God who surrendered and won. Who gave himself to completely and utterly set Satan in his pitiful place.
Let me be like Christ. Let me be gentle and let me be violent.
I am so, so angry at the narrative that women are these creatures who bring gentleness and sweetness and purity. Because I am not pure. I am not innocent and I am not gentle. I fuck stuff up every damn day. I blunder into church on Sundays, a broken being bleeding onto your carpet. Why do I have to be pure for your sons? Why do I have to be the redemption for your sons? Don’t stand in that pulpit and talk about brokenness when I cannot be broken before you. Stop those sanitized smiles and holier-than-thou gossip. I beg you.
I do not exist, defined by and relation to a man. I am not a wife or a mother. Those classifications don’t matter—all that matters is that I am a daughter of Christ, just as you are. I can’t stand being looked through, at a man who may someday stand with me. This is why I have such a hesitance, a fear, toward the idea of marriage. I am afraid that everyone will stop seeing me and only see him. Him who I don’t even know yet! But God knows, so I think everyone should stop worrying about that.
(Stop trying to mold good wives and mothers out of your daughters. Mold women who know they are known in Christ, then you will get your good wives and mothers. My parents did this right; I am writing this now because they taught me how to speak up.)
If I ever get married I want to get married in a black dress. I think symbolism does matter; I just don’t like your symbolism. See that I am not pure. See that I will not make his life better; I have no purity to give. I am not someone to be preserved, then given away and unveiled. Sterile until unbroken doesn’t exist—don’t you know I have always been broken? Let us both wear black and walk towards each other down the aisle. Let us meet in the middle, two souls broken yet redeemed in Christ.
Church, you claim that God accepts us in our death—why are we so obsessed with keeping up appearances, then? Swine before pearls. Lipstick on a corpse. Our performances are all futile (it covers nothing). So can we just be open with each other, my fellow daughters of Christ? My fellow sons? My beloveds, don’t you know we’re all on the same level, the level of unable-to-save-ourselves, unable-to-try-our-way-out-of-this, unable? We are equal in our need for rescue.
This is why I write, and why I write myself messily before you. You will never be safe enough to be vulnerable. (Why would it be called vulnerability then? If I learned anything from Latin, vulnerabilis means wounding.) I hope you are desperate enough to be messy with me. Take that risk of wounding. Feel the urgency of the souls in this Body slipping away because they do not feel heard. Don’t forget that God works in death.
with more love than you could ever know, the angry kind of love, the fighting kind of love,
your sister in Christ