To: Matt Walsh. From: Your friendly, feminist.

Dear Matt Walsh,

 

You recently wrote an article for the Blaze, a website that I find to be very racist, sexist and lacking in intellectual knowledge or facts with it’s writing. Normally, I swipe past your writing because it only seeks to provoke frustration from me because of your complete lack of actual knowledge and the way you twist stories to fit your own agenda. But this week, you wrote one that I could not let slip by.

Because of the wide range of false information, sexism, and misrepresentation of our US military, I am going to have to break apart your article piece by piece to fully cover just how wrong you are on the NFL, gender equality and the way our current military actually works.

SO, lets start with issue number one, shall we?

 

#1; The female Rooney Rule.

The NFL has made a commitment to wanting to encourage every member of society to engage in the great game of football, whether that is as a viewer,a coach or an official. The Rooney rule was created in 2003 as a way to ensure that African American men were given the chance to interview for NFL job’s, because of American’s history of excluding the black community from sports. As we know today, there are sometimes more African American’s playing for a wide range of sports teams, but this rule was put in place to make even further strides on crushing past racial discrimination. To be clear on the rule, it is not said that they are required to give X amount of black men jobs, but they do need to at least interview them. Skill and experience is still the ultimate determining factor in who gets the job.

Recently, the NFL has collectively decided to apply the same rule to women. No team is required to have a woman on their team, but the NFL has decided that to make sure there is not sexist discrimination, they have to at least let them interview. Giving these women a chance to make their case for why they are just as qualified; which many teams have hired women because they believed so as well.

So to be clear; no one is forcing any team to hire a black man or a woman. They are only required to at least interview them; no special treatment or handouts.

 

I would like to call attention to your first piece of false information that is what I believe, rooted in your disgusting sexism.

“They said it’s about time the NFL addresses its “systematic sexism,” and they assured us that girls are very good at doing football stuff. If NFL teams had more girls involved, feminists reported, they’d be much better at winning the sports matches and getting home runs.” –

The above quote, which you say that a feminist has reported, is not cited by any actual article that was written. I have personally searched all articles over this rule and not found one that makes this claim where a women is quoted saying, “they’d be better at winning the sports matches and getting home runs.” Since you did not cite your source for this piece, something any knowledgeable or respected writer knows to do, I am going to assume you are speaking with false information as a way to push your own agenda of making women out to be unintelligent when it comes to sports. I will also assume because you did not cite a credible source, you lack knowledge and are not worth any respect as a writer.

I would also like to formally extend an invite to you, to come to Texas and challenge any woman who regularly watches football to a debate; I am most certain you would leave with your ass handed to you.

The only thing that I can conclude is that your view of women is so twisted that you truly believe men are the more intelligent of the sexes; because of this I feel very sorry for your daughter.

So, now that we have established that you are writer without any intellect or deserving of anyone’s respect, lets move to issue number two:

 

#2; The draft

 

I want to start by asking if you actually paid attention during any of your college history or American government classes? Or did you zone out in the parts that you couldn’t one day exploit for your own non-factual agenda?

It seems that you have gained enough knowledge about how computers work, because you finally included a source for an article that talks about military generals discussing the draft. But sadly, you still have missed that part where you understand contexts and actual reality, only cherry picking what you deem as “useful”.

So lets talk about the draft; (don’t worry we will take it slow since I’m assuming facts are not something you retain very well)

There have only ever been 3 drafts in American history; the Civil War, World War I and World War II. All three had a wide range of protestors; riots that resulted in death that broke out during the Civil War and even sending many to jail during World War I. However, during the war in Vietnam, over 100,000 men left the country to avoid being drafted into a war that they saw was failing fight, in which they were correct.

The American government learned not only on their own, but also from watching the European government’s failings with the draft, that it was not the governments right to force its citizens to fight in wars. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has said, “There isn’t a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back”, as well as all the vast majority of current military experts and 70% of the US population being in complete opposition to reinstating the draft. In order to reinstate the draft, Congress has to pass a bill through both the House and the Senate, that the president must sign to be enacted. With the overwhelming majority of both Republican and Democrats opposing the draft, this bill would be impossible to pass.

So, to make sure we establish a reality in which facts only exists; America is never bringing back the draft.

But because, as I see from your article, this factual reality does not sell for conservative propaganda, we will pretend that the draft is reinstated and men and women have to serve.

 

Leading into issue number three, which is your view of female strength. I would like to also invite you to challenge any female UFC fighter to a match and see if your “male superiority” can keep you from getting your teeth kicked in.

 

#3; Women are not strong enough to serve in open combat.

Because you are one of the many uniformed Americans who believe that somehow, now that women are allowed in open combat the standards are going to drop, I will provide you with an article  that has Ranger General, Scott Miller pointing out the stupidity of believing this.

The article interviews two women who have successfully completed the U.S. Army’s Ranger School program and their male counterparts who completed with them. None of the standards for this program were lowered in order for these brave women to complete the program and in the end the men even stated that they rarely remembered that they were serving with someone of the opposite sex.

Second Lt. Zachary Hagner explained a situation that he experienced with one of the females going through the program, when trying to receive help carrying extra weight:

“I went to every single person in line, in no order,” he said. “As soon as I went to Ranger Griest … she basically took it from me,” he said of Capt. Kristen Griest.

Nine guys were like, ‘I’m too broken; I’m too tired.’ She, just as broken and tired, took it from me with almost excitement. Griest said with all the weight they had to carry, “all of a sudden the men don’t care whether you’re a female.”

These women gave absolutely everything they had to the program and came out successful. When given the opportunity, they were just as strong and sometimes even more determined than the men.

Because we’ve established that you are not great at retaining things that are factual, I will include an extra article, with statements from the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh, saying that not only are they excited for larger pool of qualified and committed individuals to pull from, but that they will not have to lower any current standards in order to include women.

So again, I would like to invite you to come and live in the reality that currently is; Women can and currently are proving to be strong enough mentally, and physically to serve in open combat positions.

Now, you’re a spineless man with a computer who likes to degrade women, so I understand if you want to stay there. Women like this can be quiet intimidating to men like you.

You are the type of man that has the audacity to write things like this:

“The military will be absolutely flooded with egregiously unfit recruits culled from sorority houses and Justin Bieber concerts. We’ll be occupied and enslaved by the invading hordes before we even get the first group of draftees through basic training.”

Again, you are plagued by your sexist mind. You live in a reality in which all sorority girls are weak (not factual, as I currently know a sorority girl who is studying Krav Maga for fun) and that no one who attends a Justin Bieber concert is allowed to work out or want to someday fight to serve their country. I’m actually starting to wonder if we should call a mental hospital to come and fetch you? You seem to be living in a universe that could be very degrading to your daughter and other women you come in contact with.

 

You’re article is so riddled with propaganda and emotional fallacies that I sadly don’t think, because of time, I will have the pleasure of ripping it all to pieces. So we will have to ignore your false stats on abortion rates, claims that feminist are required to sacrifice children on an alter (seriously, someone call a mental hospital on you, your stupidity knows no bounds) or that same-sex couples are coming for our children, and I will finish with this last issue.

 

#4; If what your preaching is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it.

Oh, Matt. you are one of those people who make me reconsider this whole God thing. You speak of Him as if you know His character and are simply stating exactly what He thinks. You write, in your sham of a news article, “if now we are asked to sacrifice our daughters, how can we even call ourselves a nation? We are not a nation. We are a black hole. We are a decaying carcass. We are Sodom. We are even worse than all of that.”

There’s this thing that we Christians use that’s called a Bible, it’s really great. It gives us insight into God and character through the writer’s stories of their interaction with Him. You should really pick one up; but be careful, you tend to read things only looking to push you own agenda. So maybe phone a friend to read it for you?

But, as you have stated above, if we as a nation ask women to lay down their lives for others, we are like the city of Sodom in Bible. Completely sinful.

So let’s pull out that good ole book that you like tarnish with your disgraceful writing, shall we?

Turn to Judges, chapter four; there is a wonderful women I want introduce you to. (Try not to be too intimidated by her. This is a woman that God is using in a position equal to a man.)

Deborah was a prophetess, a speaker of wisdom, but when war came she led the out-numbered and badly equipped Israelite troops to a great victory. Deborah stepped up when the men would not, commanding an army and being brave enough to follow the will of the Lord when certain men were too afraid.

So apparently in your mind, you would say that what this woman was doing for the Lord was equivalent to the sin in the city of Sodom. Therefore, I wonder if you believe that God is wrong and actually sinful for when He called her to lay her life down for other’s and command an army?

I’ll leave you to have that quarrel with God later and continue on to the next astonishing woman that God uses as a warrior:

Another woman, Jael, used a tent peg and mallet to kill the opposing enemy general in this war, Sisera. She called Sisera into her tent, hid him and fed him. After he fell into exhausted sleep she drove a tent peg through the side of his head. She was hailed as a national heroine by the pursuing Israelite forces led by Deborah and Barak.

Not exactly your silent and submissive woman, huh?

But again, you think what this woman did was sinful. That by God putting her in a situation of risk, His will is again as sinful as the city of Sodom.

Finally lets talks about one of my favorite women in the bible, who is often misrepresented by people like you, Esther.

People like you, like to tell the story of Esther and often leave out the incredible danger that Esther faced by speaking up to King for the Jews and against his laws. Esther could have murdered on the spot for what she did, but God called her to it anyways. He told her to risk her life for the sake of others, and as we have stated, calling women to do this is something you consider as horrible as the city of Sodom.

As I have said before, if what you are preaching is God’s true characteristics, I want no part of this faith. While I see absolutely no logic behind your claims that men are the only ones called to serve and lay down their lives, I would like to enlighten you on what the bible ACTUALLY says about it:

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

The entire point of the Christian faith is the grace that God showed us through sending His son, Jesus, to die for us. He was an example for us of how to live on this earth and the most honoring thing He did was died for the people he loved.

So, when you claim that you are a Christian and then write that it is a sin for women to risk their lives for the protection of other’s, I want to urge you to please either do more research on what Christianity is actually about or drop the name all together. Until either is done, you are only proving to be a disgrace to the testimony of Jesus.

If I am ever privileged to have a daughter one day, I am going to teach her about Jesus. I am going to tell her how He spoke often about not having fear, because love casts out fear. That the greatest act of love, is laying down your life for another person. That is not a command that God sees as sex based.

 

I want to close by saying that though I think you are a sexist and someone who refuses all knowledge and reason, you daughter is someone that I am going to be praying for daily.

I pray that she meets strong, independent women who will be an influence in her life. I pray that she will see the capacity of life and value that God can offer her as a women, not just her male friends. I pray that she will dive into the gospel and see that Jesus was the ultimate defender of gender equality. And I pray that she will soften your heart, as it is plagued by sexism and a view that somehow women are less than men in what they are able to achieve.

As for trying to save the world form “gender equality”, I’m overjoyed to say that you will not win that war. We won’t be going back to a world where women have no voice, no right to vote, are legally allowed to be raped by their husbands, or sold as property. All things that gender equality have demolished. There are too many men and women who have risked their lives in the fight for equality; something I would never assume a coward like you could understand.

As sickening and disgraceful as your “article” (can we even call it that when its the equivalent to a 13 year old kid’s writing?) was, you reminded me just how important the fight for gender equality is. That there are people who are still out there that honestly believe women are not equal to men. You are what give Feminist the passion and courage to speak out and state that we are NOT going back to the old days.

So my friend, keep writing your sorry excuse, conservative-propaganda, christianity-disgracing, articles. I hope to have a future career as a political writer, and with writing like yours, I will never be out of a job!

With love and promises to always expose your atrocious writing;

your friendly, feminist,

Andy.

 

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Too loud.

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“Why are you so bossy?”

“You’re too loud. Use your inside voice.”

“You don’t have to get so worked up over everything. Learn to take a joke.”

“Wow, you’re really over opinionated for a woman.”

“Come on, you’re just looking for an argument.”

“Calm down, you don’t always need to have an opinion.”

 

These are the words I have been told my whole life, used to silence me. They were said to effectively end my voice or cut me down for my passions. I have received them from men, but I have also received them from women. That, I am “too much to handle”. That I should, “know my place as a woman”. That, “men don’t want to marry a girl who feels the need to always stick her nose into politics”. I’ve struggled and I’ve hidden my passions because of these words, but not any longer.

I am my father’s daughter. He raised me to have an opinion and to always have the knowledge to back it up. My father pushed me to work hard for everything I wanted, and he always reminded me that “hitting like a girl” was a good thing.

Of course he taught me how to be compassionate, empathetic, comfortable with my emotions and even suffered through Pride & Prejudice with me, but despite all of that he showed me what real passion looked like. Something that I would later find out, was not what the world wanted to see women be.

 

“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.” – Bette Davis

Throughout middle school and high school I found myself in many situations of conflict. I used to tell myself that It was all my fault, that I liked to argue too much and that I needed to just shut up about the beliefs that were burning inside me. What I have come to realize is that I didn’t like to argue with people much during my adolescent years; I just wanted my voice to be heard. I wanted the chance to share what I had been learning or voice my convictions, but because I was a girl the people around me didn’t know how to handle my passions. I had to raise my voice because no one would listen. So I was told that I was too much for people and that I need to calm down; I regret deeply that eventually did.

It was not until my sophomore year of college that I found my voice again. After suffering through a very controlling and manipulating relationship, I realize just how weak I had become and how much I was letting myself be pushed down. I switched my major from Education to Political Science; Something that I had always wanted to do but had told myself I shouldn’t pursue due to the fear of being called ‘bossy’ or ‘too opinionated’, like in high school.

That fear quickly became true.

What I have realized from my past year in my degree plan, is that society sees opinionated men as intelligent, engaged, decisive, holding the characteristics of a leader. But that it does not see opinionated women as the same. A few expressions of my opinion on Facebook, and I have had both men and woman jumping to put me back in my place. I practically started World War III by posting a sexist remark I received from a man about, “women being created to do the job that men can’t”, and had my Christianity called into question for stating that I am a feminist.

Ladies, if that fact that calling ourselves a feminist is chastised, mocked and deemed as sinful is not enough of an indicator that we still live in a patriarchal world, I don’t know what is.

When I have told people that I am a liberal their response is instantly, “well of course you are. You’re young and a woman”. That by somehow me having a vagina and two X chromosomes makes me too intellectually impaired to make a decision on a political party. I’ve been reprimanded for saying that I believe rape is an issue we need to solve at the source, teaching men that it is not okay, instead of just trying to help women avoid it. Being accused of always “playing the victim”.

When people ask my plans for my career I am met with questions of, “how do you expect to have kids and a job in politics? Are you seriously going to ask your husband to stay home? Won’t he feel less than you?’. They then turn to my male friends and begin to ask them about which programs they want to pursue and even encouraged them to go further in their studies.

When society meets an opinionated woman, I have seen that they do not know how to handle her. They shame her for being a feminist and speaking out for equal rights. They feel the need to try to make her seem ignorant in her beliefs. They tell her that she just needs to lighten up and not be so driven all the time. They attempt to take away the beauty of a woman; her strength, her voice, her ambition and her heart.

Despite all of this, I have decided to not stop speaking out for what i’m passionate about. To not back down from calling myself a feminist and encouraging other women to fight for equal rights as well. I’ve found that when I am being my loudest, it allows other women to feel comfortable to speak out as well. The more I vocalizing the need for women being seen as equals, the more women I have come in contact with that, like me, felt shamed for so long when they were attempting to show the world who they really are.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the most encouraging men, who support me and want to work just as hard to remove gender roles. But I would have never met these people if I hadn’t stopped worrying what other’s would say about me and used my loud, opinionated and feisty voice. We waste so much of our potential when we try to confirm to societal standards and hide who we truly are.

Yes, people might tell me I’m bossy, but bossy people get things done. They are driven and want to work their hardest for what they want.

Yes, people tell me I’m ‘too loud’, but the loudest people can speak for those who have softer voices.

I do not say any of this to throw myself a pity party, the challenges as a woman have been hard but I would not trade the lessons I’ve learned about strength, desires, humility, and accepting myself. I write to let other girls know they are not alone.

 

When someone tells you to ‘calm down’ about an issue; DON’T.

When someone tells you to “learn to take a joke” about something you don’t find funny; SAY NO.

When someone tells you, you’re “too loud”; BE LOUDER.

We should always try to be loving when speaking to other’s, but loving does not mean silent. Love is passionate, it speaks fiercely and it is not afraid of what other’s think.

So if you’re one of those girls like me; If you’ve been told any of those phrases from above and feel ashamed for how you were made, know that there are women out there just like you raising hell and being ‘too loud’. We will be your voice while you find yours again; and when you do find it, USE IT. You’ll give freedom to another woman just like yourself to do the same.

“Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” —Susan B. Anthony

 

So I have decided to be ‘too loud’. I’m going to continue to raise my voice in a discussion until, as a women, I’m not called ‘too loud’ or ‘too opinionated’.

Until I’m seen as just someone who has opinions and passions and is willing to argue for them.

I want finish with a video of Emma Watson giving her UN Women Goodwill Ambassador speech a few years ago, which always brings me to tears.

“If not me, who?

If not now, when?”

Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign 2014 – Official UN Video

 

So if you need me, I’ll be the ‘too loud’ girl always yelling about feminism,

 

Andy.

Certainly uncertain.

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“Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” -Frederick Buechner

I’ve never had a moment in my life when I didn’t have doubts about God. I’m not sure if that’s a normal thing, but I just know that growing up, I was always looking for the simple man behind the curtain pretending to be a great and powerful God. These feelings were separate from my other ideas that if there was a God, He would never love me. But, none the less they caused me trouble.

I remember trying to ask my youth pastor about doubts and claiming I was, “asking for a friend”, because no one could know that the pastor’s daughter wasn’t too sold on this whole ‘God’ idea. I was given books, argument that tried to capture the proof of God, and stories about how this guy who was once a drug addict found God and now couldn’t get enough of experiencing Him. Which was great for the crack-head, but it wasn’t happening for me. I was the 13 year old girl who tried to pray every night, tried to do all of the good christian things, and never once heard God’s voice or experienced him. So that left me with a lot of sleepless nights and “trying to have more faith” so that maybe one day this whole God thing would click.

It didn’t.

Sophomore year of college I began to get to the end of my wits. There were a few questions that hit my faith pretty hard, but there were two that completely killed all my simple evangelical answer:

  1. If I was born in the Middle East and raised to believe in Islam, would I have ever found my way to believing Christianity?
  2. If God is an all powerful “father” (or mother, because God has no gender) and we are His children, how does He watch the children of He world starve, be raped, abused and suffer because of where they were born and not use that power to stop it?

Now, I know many of you have formulated answers in your head for these questions and are ready to set me straight- but just hear me out for a moment.

Imagine that you’re a father or mother, maybe some of you are, but imagine your child is starving. They’ve been raped or beaten. You have, at the tip of your fingers, the ability to stop it all right then and there, would do it?

Because my answer will always be, “hell yes”. So that’s where I don’t understand, If there is a God, how can he watch those things happen to his children and not stop it, just for the sake of being just? and fair?

Yes, i know i’m committing a very big evangelical sin by questioning the authority of God. I actually do that a lot. But I didn’t and still do not understand or have answers to these questions; how a person can be judged for believing the religion they were raised in? or how God, the compassionate, can watch people suffer that He loves?

These were the questions that shook my faith and caused me to resent Christianity. Even as i’m writing this I’m wondering “why the heck do I believe in this God?!”. But even then, I still do.

Love is the thing that keeps pulling me back in. I’ve seen it amongst believes. I’ve been told they’re inspired by a man named Jesus, who I once thought I understood. And I know what some people who do not believe in God will say, that love can be found outside the church and God, and I agree. I’m not one of those Christian’s who believes in total depravity. But I do know it’s not our human nature to be selfless or to love our enemies. That the world teaches us to work for things that promise to make us ‘good enough’, but Jesus preached that God wanted to obliterate the need to be good and offer us grace. It is the times when I’ve witnessed Jesus’ followers be compelled to do acts of love because of the characteristics they believe Jesus and God inspired. When I’ve seen the teaching of Jesus played out, I know that it could literally change the world. The Jesus who taught us to love our enemies. That the God i’m questioning about saving those from harm is the exact same one that compels me to lay down everything in my life and take care of them.

One of my favorite, current day philosophers, is Peter Rollins. He talks a lot about our human nature and how we are drawn to this idea of certainty and wholeness that people believe religion can offer them. Rollin’s believes that Christianity does not make us whole. It obliterates the need to be whole. That the very thing that makes us human is our doubts, questions and feelings of disconnect in this world. As we know, the world tries to offer us things like money, fame and love to fill that void. But we as Christians have pursued our own idol through our faith by making God the substance that removes this disconnect. But He is not.

God is what makes us okay to be broken. God is what makes our life worth something WITH the void. Rollins says that our question no longer have to be, ‘Is there life after death?’ but rather, ‘Is life possible before death?’. He says that when we stop pursuing wholeness and rather just simply be, in our disconnect, we actually feel whole. I have found this to be completely true. The moments where I have given into the darkness, the uncertainty, the brokenness, I actually find life and peace.

As I am writing this blog post, I recently had a discussion with a fellow believer about my doubt filled faith. I am a very open person when it comes to the questions I have and how some days I wake up and just simply do not want to believe in God anymore. This can be hard for other Christians to take in because we are in different places; I no longer search for certainty. But some times I do question if it is wrong of me to doubt and feel disconnect.

An article written by Jonathan Weyer, addresses whether the Bible condemns doubt or not. (Follow the link for the entire article, he makes some really great points.) “Eloi, Eloi, lema, sabachthani.” Translated to, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, this is the moment on the cross where Jesus was consumed by sin and felt the disconnect it creates as a human. He doubts himself and questions the void just like we do. So it is my sincerest belief that God does not fear our doubts or our questions. He allowed his son to experience those very things so that He could offer us grace and mercy. So through my doubts, I remember that Jesus once had them as well, and yet continued to show the most sacrificial love the world has ever seen. Just like through my doubts, God’s biggest concern is not whether I believe in an eternal hell, a literal flood or believe something is a sin that other Christians do. His biggest concern is whether I am still giving of myself and loving other’s just like His son was doing through his doubt on the cross.

As for my two major questions that have shaken my faith, I take a page from Rob Bell. Rob Bell tells his listeners to take all of their doubts and questions about God and to put them in a box, and write the word God over it. To keep them there, knowing that you may never get an answer, but to have faith that He is enough. That He is what makes us able to live lives worth meaning, even through our nothingness.

So for those like me that struggle with doubt on sometimes a daily basis, I want to leave you with this quote;

“We are nearly always longing for an easy religion, easy to understand and easy to follow; a religion with no mystery, no insoluble problems,no snags; a religion that would allow us to escape from our miserable human condition; a religion in which contact with God spares us all strife, all uncertainty,all suffering and all doubt; in short, a religion without a cross”
― Paul Tournier

Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Certainty is.

Certainly uncertain,

 

Andy.

 

Duct Tape & Purity.

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I was thirteen years old, sitting in a giant, gazebo like chapel, at a Baptist youth camp in San Antonio, Texas. I sat in the back row with the rest of the girls from my church and anxiously waited the “teen girl-sex talk” that they had split up the genders for.

I had grown up in a fundamental, Baptist home and had already received the basics on sex: don’t do it till you’re married.

The female speaker finally showed up, along with three men. Instantly all of the girls in room were confused.

She proceeded to give us the typical intro to all Christian sex talks;

Sex was created for a husband and wife.

Sex outside of marriage is sin and God hates it.

Sex connects you to person you slept with and you can never break that bond.

 

I knew all of this already and believed in my heart that all it was true.

She then continued to give us a visual representation of these beliefs, involving the three men that she brought and duct tape.

She lined all three of the men up, ripped off a long piece of the tape and slapped it on the hairy arm of the first guy.

All of the girls in the room gasped, and then precede the giggle; we knew what was coming.

After she put the tape on the obviously terrified man’s arm, she explained that the tape was supposed to represent us girls having sex with a guy, who was being represented by the man’s arm. In one swift motion, she pulled off the piece of tape and the guy let out a loud yell in pain. She held up the tape for us to see all of the arm hair the tape had picked up, and explained that when we have sex with someone and don’t marry them, we leave with pieces of them left on us. The speaker then placed the piece of tape on the next guy and proceeded to do the same process of ripping it off. The man, though still slightly yelping in pain, seemed to be somewhat less effected because the tape was less adhesive. Finally, she put the tape on the last man’s arm and, due to the excessive arm hair; it could barely even stick to him.

She closed her sex-talk by explaining to us girls that when you had sex with multiple men, it left you ruined and unable to commit to anyone else. That the number of people you had been sexually active with, dictated your value and worth as a woman and no guy wanted to marry a girl who had a list of men she had been with before him.

 

Cue internal freak-out.

 

Now, at the age of thirteen years old I was still a “technical virgin” and had not had vaginal sex. But I had visited all of the other “bases” with a few guys. I wondered what this meant about me then?

Was I all used up and jaded?

Was I going to be rejected by my future husband when he found this?

Would I even be able to commit to him in the long run?

 

Needless to say, my self-worth took a silent hit that day and I sure as hell was not going to talk to the rest of the girls in my youth group about my promiscuity with different guys.

I had reasoned in my mind that as long as I remained a virgin that I was okay. I’m not used up, or defiled or not capable of commitment until I step over THAT line. And so I continued to push my limits to that very line for the rest of my high school years; until I got into a serious relationship.

I lost my “technical virginity” when I was 18 years old. I was in a committed relationship in which I believed was going to result in marriage. In my mind, sure I was breaking one of God’s rules, but it was okay because at least I was going to marry this guy in the end. I couldn’t have commitment issues because he was the only guy I had ever had sex with; we just stuck the tape on a little early.

But life took a very sharp turn when I ended that relationship due to suffering from abuse. I can honestly say, I’ve never felt so devastated before.

So there I found myself; I was now one of those girls I had been told about in junior high. My tape was covered in some guys arm hair and the next guy who came along was certainly going to find that unattractive. But there was some things nagging in the back of my mind.

I didn’t feel different after losing my virginity.

I didn’t feel used up or dented.

I didn’t feel like I would never be able to commit to another guy.

I didn’t feel broken because I had sex, I felt broken because I had to walk away from someone I thought I loved.

So much of the worth I put in being a “technical virgin” turned out to be completely false. I started to wonder if maybe I was just too jaded to feel anything anymore?

What I’ve realized is that this is one of the most damaging things that we teach girl in the church. That any of their self-worth and purity is tied to their virginity. That we over generalize the complexity of emotions and sexual intercourse between humans to one category.

What if a girl lost her virginity due to a rape?

What if she was sexually abused her whole life?

What if she was forced into sex trafficking?

When we teach girls this formula to purity, we completely removed the message of grace and restoration that Jesus offered.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:20-24

Preaching a message of purity that relies on anything to do by our merit is completely contradicting the new covenant that was established under Jesus. Telling young girls that the path to purity is to refrain from sex is wrong; the only way to purity is through grace.

What has been amazing for me to experience is that when I am able to live in the mercy of Jesus, the outlook of my worth changes. I don’t refrain from sexual interactions because I think it’s the only way to be Godly, I know that I’m too intelligent to be used by a man that just wants me for sexual gain.

That God’s purpose for my life is so much more than just dating and trying to make guys like me. But none of this worth goes away by choices I make regarding anything sexual.

 

So to the girl who was sexual abused at a young age, or raped or just escaped sex trafficking;

You are not tainted. You are not jaded. You are so beautiful and so precious. You are worth being loved and being held as though you are the most cherished thing on this earth. None of what was done to you defines who are.

 
To the girl who just lost her virginity;

You are not destined to a life of commitment issues. You are not of any less value or something that men won’t want anymore. You will learn and you will grow. You are still worth everything that Jesus suffered through on the cross.

 

To the girl who has been with multiple guys;

You are not a girl with a list. You are not a used up piece of duck tape. There will be men who try to make you feel like you are less valuable now, trust me I’ve met them, but you are not anything they say you are. You are the woman that the Pharisees dropped before Jesus, naked and scared, having been caught in sexual immorality. He did not condemn you. He did not let them stone you. He loved you and saw you for what you really were; a precious life worth saving.

 

And so that’s my story, bearing a lot to the world with the words above. I know that not everyone’s story is the same and we’ve all walked different paths trying to navigate how to be a woman in this crazy world. But Jesus’s message of grace and acceptance is never different for anyone who wants it.

 

Attempting to let the world see a piece of my heart,

 

Andy.

 

 

 

I almost became an atheist.

I almost became an atheist.

Reading that sentence is going to shock a lot of my friends and family. Actually probably the majority, seeing, as I am never open about my doubts, grievances and issues with the Gospel except for a select few of my friends.

As someone who doubts the existence of God, questions the teaching of Jesus and the current interpretation of the Gospel by the evangelical church today, I feel as though I should be an atheist.

A little more context to this belief that I should be an atheist is that I am a recently die-hard-Sarah-Palin-loving-Conservative turned Liberal. I am the only Liberal (that I know of) in my entire family. I grew up as a fundamental Baptist-pastor’s daughter that was strictly Conservative and believed that a Liberal was basically just a political name for an atheist. Towards the end of my sophomore year of college, when I started to identify with progressive views, I began to have what I call a “existential crisis” in my life. I could no longer support the Republican views and values due to my personal and logical convictions. As I began to study science I realized the holes in creationism and saw that evolution was not a satanic belief system that Charles Darwin had created in order to discredit God, but rather backed by evidence and helped us have a better understanding of humans. I began to question why homosexuality was a sin and why two people of the same sex that loved each other deeply could be sent to hell even though the science behind sexuality proves that our ideas of sexuality/sexual orientation are greatly limited by our social societies, when they are actually more complex than our minds can imagine. I also became a feminist and a supporter of groups like BlackLivesMatter, something not deemed acceptable by the vast majority of my friends and family. This of course led me to question why woman could not be pastors and why we were only seen as someone to bear children and clean the house. All of this was in complete revolt of my upbringing and what I deemed as “true Christian values” and yet my heart was screaming that it was finally free and more in tune with an expression of who I really was as a person. Clearly you can see why I began to have many sleepless nights and hours in prayer, asking God to give me clear answers on these questions and show me how my new way of thinking was sinful just as I grew up to believe. My entire faith began to crumble and I was left with the question of; how can you even be real God?

My older sister often tells me that this process of deconstructing our faith is like playing the game of Janga. I was given a neatly packaged, comprehensive world view that always had clear cut answers, from my parents at birth that I quickly learned could not so easily hold up when faced with these questions. When we begin to remove pieces of our fundamentalist basis that we do not truly believe any longer, it is much like removing the small wooden pieces from the strong foundation in this game: we end up wobbly and almost toppling over.

Bitterness and anger took over these holes as I removed the pieces.

Why did God not think to answer all of these questions in the Bible?

Was God really only in favor of these harsh conservative values that I could no longer support?

Did God really reject someone who wanted to love and serve Him faithfully but could not help that they were attracted to someone of the same sex?

Did God really intend for women to remain silent in the church? Limiting spiritual gifts to the confinements of gender?

How could God create people with such restless hearts and such uncertainty of life?

To say that I felt like I was in complete isolation was an understatement. I began to draw further into myself, keeping everyone out from my thoughts and harboring bitterness for Christianity, American Nationalist, Republicans, and basically anyone who believed that they had a clear answer regarding the certainty of faith and the meaning of life.

This is around the time that I started to secretly considering myself an atheist, or at least an agnostic that had a bone to pick with this “God” that Christianity talked about. But even though I had resolved within myself that as soon as I was done with my undergraduate degree and moved to another state, that I would finally become an outright atheist, God began to chase my closed off heart, just like He always did.

Social media can be one of the most amazing things in our generation. It allows us to connect with so many different people that our going through things just like us and help us not feel so alone. God used Twitter to save a lot of my faith.

I met one of my most respected friends Ricky through a mutual and just as respected friend, Ian, over twitter after tweeting commentary of the first Democratic Debates. I was shocked to find someone else that was a Christian who also supported progressive views and was actually voicing them! After connecting over Twitter, we three began a group chat that remains both an outlet of philosophical, theological, scientific and political ideas, as well as a group therapy session where we can scream in all caps about things that infuriate us to our core. (We also briefly discuss Star Wars but that’s a must for obvious reasons.)

Through this interaction, God began to move in my heart and show me that I was in fact not alone in my thinking, but rather one of many who had gotten to their wits ends in their faith because of these questions.

Moving forward in this, I began to discover writers and theologians who have gone through the exact same “existential crisis” that I was currently trying to navigate through, that had indeed still found a love for Christ Jesus and deeper faith than they could have ever imagined. I ordered theology books, listened to podcast, poured through blog posts and, while trying to hold everything to the light of Scripture, I realized that I was not the only person going through this experience and even read about how many of these people had even spent a period being an Atheist. People like Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessy, Michael Gungor, Mike McHargue, Peter Rollins had been down this path before. They had wrestled with scripture, their faith, been angry at God and still found themselves deeply in love with a Savior who did not give them the black and white answers they were searching for.

This is something that God has been revealing to me a lately. There are some things in the Bible that are very black and white for an answer; but most issues are flesh colored. Our personalities, our experiences, our race, our gender, our generation, our social structures, the limits of our cognitive mind and that capacity of what it can hold, shape these things. We have to wrestle with these things, we have to keep going back to scripture and refine the way we interrupt it while seeking to exhibit the grace and love of the God who inspired it.

I approach this confession of my change, not to say that I have discovered all the answers to my questions or that I believe my way of thinking is the only Biblical truth; far from it actually. I have found in my searching lots of pain, confusion, exhaustion, bitterness, anger and overall wanting to give up on the belief in God all together. But I have also found honesty, love, peace, joy, community, grace, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, and have been humbled by a complex God more times than I can count.

I do not know why God had me be born into the type of conservative, fundamental Baptist family that I was. I do not know why God made me wake up one day and question everything that I ever believed. I love the way that Rachel Held Evans describes her similar upbringing in her book Searching for Sunday:

“At times I’ve tried to wring the waters of my first baptism out of my clothes, shake them out of my hair, and ask for a do-over in some other community where they ordain women, vote for Democrats, and believe in evolution. But Jesus has this odd habit of allowing ordinary, screwed-up people to introduce him, and so it was ordinary, screwed-up people who first told me I was a beloved child of God, who first called me a Christian. I don’t know where my story of faith will take me, but it will always begin here. That much can never change.”

I love my family; they’re the best people I know. I love my friends; they’ve been with me through so much. But I am terrified as I write this post. I know that many will shut me out and believe that I’m giving into secular culture. That I am just not believing enough or I’m reading the wrong type of books and listening to misguided Christians. I can be open to admitting that maybe I am. God has knocked me on my ass enough times these past few months for me not to think that I have any perfect way of thinking.

God is not confined by my political views.

God is not confined by my view of sexuality.

God is not confined by my understanding of the way the world was created.

God is not confined by my view of what sin really is.

I have gotten so hung up with trying to have all the right answers that I missed the most astoundingly complex and mysterious part of God; that He has called a sinner like me His beloved, extended me an unfathomable grace and asked me to partake in an adventure of living out a life that reflects His love.

When thinking of this, I am reminded of the story of Jesus and Peter, after Peter denied Jesus 3 times before his death.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs”. He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him a third time, “Do you love me?’ and he said to him, “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

I am so much like Peter in this story. When I’m faced with the reality that God wants me, I constantly question him.

“Andrea, do you love me?”

“Yes God, but I’m a Liberal”

“Feed my sheep.”

“Andrea, do you love me?”

“Yes God, but I believe in evolution.”

“Feed my sheep.”

“Andrea, do you love me?”

“Yes God, but I’m a feminist.”

“Then, feed my sheep.”

So this is where I am. I am Liberal, feminist, postmodernist, theistic-evolutionist, LGBT lover and accepter, perpetual skeptic, deep thinker and lover of who I believe Jesus Christ was. And I am completely okay with being wrong on every single one of those things.

I am deconstructing and I am learning. I am being humbled in the face of my pride. I am asking for grace and forgiveness for the things I might say and do as I go along. I am asking for prayer, community and acceptance of who I am and who I am trying to be.

More importantly, I am falling in love with Jesus. Some days I wake up and do not want to love Him. I don’t even want anything to do with him. Some days I doubt and cry and some days I can’t imagine how people go through life without knowing the amazing mystery that He is.

I will end with this quote by Mark McHargue in his soon to be published book, Finding God in the Waves, that I believe is where I have currently found myself in my faith;

“I can no more prove that Jesus is the only way to God than I can prove my childhood toys came to life when I left the room. There’s no ground to make the claim that I can’t take apart in my own mind and it doesn’t matter to me at all. I don’t know if the world needs Jesus, I just know that I do.

I know that for me God is an infinite, inscrutable mystery with Jesus. I know there are things I’ve done that I have had a hard time forgiving myself for, but that I am able to when I believe that Jesus already forgave me. I know the story of the man who said “turn the other cheek” inspires me to approach other people differently, and the inspiration turns into real action that effects those who interact with me.

I don’t need to know how Jesus means to the world. It takes all my energy to understand what Jesus means to me.”

Attempting to be the most truthful version of me,

Andy.