It always happens that someone feels like if they apologize to me, that I’ll suddenly get saved again. It ain’t gonna happen kids. Anyway, here’s another email just like the other ones I get almost daily:
I am so sorry that something or someone had such an impact on you that it turned you away from God. On behalf of the entire Christian community, if you’re even in the slightest willing to believe I mean this, I am sorry for anything the people that say they belong to the body of Christ did or said to you that hurt you. I hope one day, maybe not today, but when you are ready, that you can find peace in that apology, even if its the only sincere one you ever receive from someone who loves God.
Yesterday, I received an email from a guy who’d been recently following my author Facebook page. I was online so I checked it out. I’ve been receiving quite a few nice emails, thanking me for my blog, so I thought that’s what it would be. After all, I’ve been explicitly clear on here that I don’t want to be witnessed to and even went so far as to say I’d bill people via PayPal if they kept at it (that’s a joke, but I should do it).
Anyway, he starts off nicely saying this:
I stumbled across your site because I was doing some research on MC, not to mention several people had contacted me about their past experiences within this program, that’s when I found you. So I’ve read your bio, the mess you came out of and now I see the end result. Please don’t misunderstand or mistake my contacting you as a gesture to judge you or “pray” for you (which I still will of course), but I just wanted to say that I “get it”. I get the whole anger you’ve got when it comes to religion. I “get it” when it comes to “church hurt” because I’ve been where you were at. I grew up in church, but my hurt led me to Hollywood, Larry Flynt and Rob Zombie and a budding career as an indie filmmaker and a working screen writer.
My point is, I get you. However, let me equally say that I found my way BACK to Christ and the second half has been better than the first. My work now is in China as a preacher and missionary (returning this spring to live IN Chengdu). All I will say is, one day I believe that same path will once again present itself to you and one day I’m hoping that you’ll once again find Christ, and realize that Christ is not what religion presents him to be, but what he really is – reality. (emphasis my own)
What struck me is what strikes me everytime I see these emails (and trust me, I rarely go a week without seeing a more judgmental version of this). The people who send me these emails are so judgemental and they’re so set in their ways–wanting to convince me that I’m wrong or bad because I’m unsaved. They don’t even realize they’re straight out of a Colbert Report skit (which MAKES FUN OF THEM).
Many of you have shared with me over the years that you get these responses, too, only they come from your Christian friends and family after you bring to light abuse or rape or pedophilia that’s going on in a church you attended.
Wait, did I hear you correctly? YOU did the right thing and reported a CRIME (or bad leadership) and THEY judge you/tell you that you’re wrong? Now they won’t be your friend?
Wow, talk about Christlike (insert sarcasm indicator here)!
Basically what you’ve shared with me is that some of the same Christian friends who used to call you family are total pricks. Man, when we start seeing the light, we see it brightly, don’t we?
I had the same experience.
Unfortunately, keeping this blog up means I’m having the same experience day after day. Mostly because these assholes don’t read and can’t follow instructions. I tell them to email hellolisakerr AT gmail DOT com for letters like this and I clearly indicate that my other email address thelisakerr AT gmail DOT com is for professional use only. That’s so I can herd all these emails into one spot and never read them. I hate sorting through these to find legitimate emails from fans or business offers. Reading these emails cause me unnecessary stress and I’m over it; unfortunately, I haven’t found a working solution for keeping these emails at bay while being able to read the good emails. I often ignore all email because I don’t want to stress out over reading someone’s judgement call. It’s sad, but true.
The more I blog, the more people want to challenge my lack of faith. Lately I’ve had a lot of angry men challenge me–some even say they love debating ‘smart atheists.’ As if there are any dumb atheists. Geez!
I kid. But seriously.
The point is, I don’t want to be witnessed to. No one wants to be witnessed to. I’d go so far as to say it’s an invasion of my personal privacy and it feels utterly intrusive. Witnessing should be banished from the church simply because it makes you a shitty, pushy salesman. And no one likes high-pressure sales tactics. Except the salesman.
So, Christopher, if you’re still reading, take a break from preaching to me. In fact, take a break preaching to those in China, too. Let them be. The world will not end if you stop preaching to them. They won’t go to Hell. They might actually live just as happy, and maybe even happier without all that fundamentalist guilt, without it.
To read my responses to Christopher, scroll down.
Your email was almost really nice but you pretty much failed there at the end. Here’s my take away: You want me to get saved and think my life would be better as such. Why do you want to impose your beliefs on me so much? When I was a minister I was never that pushy (well, until I was in MC and we tried saving people as a sport.) A missionary is by definition a pushy son of a bitch, intent on wrecking cultures and community for their own self serving needs; assuming that other cultures are heathen because they don’t believe the same as the missionary.
I imagine you have all Christian friends who don’t need saving so you need to find something to do and someone to save. I’m not it. I don’t even befriend people who approach me in that manner because it shows me they lack a deep understanding of humanity and society. Not to mention a lack of understanding of who I am. Reading a few blog posts about me shows you a side of me–a shade of my anger a few years ago. That’s not me. Fast forward past 2010.
I don’t think you “get me” actually because you think I should be like you and my outcome will be the same as yours. What if it’s not? What if I believe that there’s no possible way there’s a God for the very simple fact that I would never believe in a male God? But it doesn’t really matter what I believe–beliefs are private and you should respect that. Butting into what I believe or don’t believe is insulting on so many levels. It’s literally none of your goddamn business.
Worse of all, by trying to push your beliefs on me, maybe you’re missing out on a cool friendship because I’ll tell you right now, I’m actually pretty cool. I change the world, too, but by telling the world how fake certain ministries are. And guess what? I’m influencing others to bring critical thinking into the pew and question unintelligent people or beliefs that might not make sense. Occasionally, people read what I write and it helps them in some way. They see that I can get through this without God and they consider that as an option.
One day you’ll find yourself alone and feeling like God doesn’t exist. Maybe a shit storm will hit you and I hope that you will find reality. That even when life is darkest you’ll realize that you don’t need a belief in a higher power–you can be stronger without one. I hope when life is hard you find the strength that you need to get through those times with what you need–reality.
He couldn’t leave well enough alone, so he wrote this back:
And yet God will always be there – to remind you of that one constant truth, that Christ never changes and that we will all stand before him, saved and unsaved and then reality will sink in. Again, I’m not trying to convert you back, like I said, I stumbled across your site and it required some response, (call it the preacher in me) either way, the cross has never been removed and God is gracious to offer a second chance. And you’re right, you might never repent, you might never come back to the cross, I’ll grant you that, but then whose to say this late night email was not “inspired” as a reminder God’s ever present resolve to come back to the cross? As I said, not looking to antagonize you at all, wasn’t even a consideration, it’s just that when I see you, I see what I was in some respects and while it’s true each person has a different path in life, the one who created that path still reminds us all that there is an eternity to face and what will you do then if you’re wrong? Thanks for the reply.
This commenter definitely hasn’t read my blog for very long. I present to you the Jesus Troll of the Day:
May I first start by expressing the sorrow I felt reading your testimony. In my journey I have learned that it is very common for people to twist the word of God to mean what they need/want/ or feel more comfortable with it meaning. His very word warns us of false teachings and teachers. This is why we must search for Jesus and keep Him close in our hearts. I believe one of the biggest problems in our society today is religious people who speak of the word of God but live completely against it. The word tells us salvation is a gift. It cannot be earned. We are sinners in nature and we cannot change that. This is the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We cannot make it without Him. I have never been apart of any type of group or program dealing with religion. I found Christ on my knees in the confines of my home. Since I have found Him however he has put a desire in my heart to leave my home and go out to fellowship with other believers of Christ Jesus. The most important thing I have learned is that while Christ was here, he preached of Love, forgiveness, and mercy unconditionally. To respond to evil with Love. To live our lives with meakness and humility. He preached against sin, and requires repentance. In my search for a church today I look for these qualities in the teaching of the word. If what they are teaching doesn’t line up with the word of God I have no part in it. I listen to Dr Charles Stanley daily and he has helped nurture the seed that The Lord has planted in us all. I pray that in your tragic experience, you haven’t lost faith in our living, loving, Lord Jesus Christ. I also believe in all my heart that if you seek His counsel, he has a way to bring miracles and good out of it. There are great people/helpers in this terrible world we live in. There are many false teachers also however, and this is why it is so important that we align ourselves closely to JESUS CHRIST always. Prayer is our link. Salvation is our gift. Sharing the love he gives us woth others is just one of the many rewards he has to offer. It isn’t always easy. In fact sometimes it gets really hard. We have a whole world against us. But if we persevere, and stay true to his word, and our faith, we will not be the ones lying in disappointment when our time on this earth is over and we are reunited with our savior. God bless you! And may his strength and courage always be with you!