Saturday, on Buzzfeed Facebookpage, I run into the story of Vicky Beeching. Did you happen too?
If you didn’t, here’s the link to the interview (http://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/this-is-what-happens-when-you-come-out-as-a-gay-christian).
So, now, you may understand what this post is about :-).
I was really impressed by her story so I took a look at her website too and again I run into a video that made me think and literally made me reconsider my thoughts about religion and religious people.
I’ll start from my experience to see what led me there.
I always considered myself a kind of anarchist when it comes to religion.
Born a catholic, I have been going to church until I was 12 years old.
I did what for a catholic is an important step “ La comunione” and then, since my parents weren’t so observant, me and my brothers (I have got a sister and a brother) ended up rebelling to this practice that we happened not to feel deeply (going to church every sunday, enjoy the community, pray, etc, etc.).
We preferred playing outside, enjoying our adolescence doing as much sports as we could. Sometimes our Mother used to try to convert us to a better Christian life, but she didn’t succeed in it. We were too wildly alive 😉 .
I didn’t ever feel that religion could be a home of comfort too.
I always enjoyed being alone or playing with my neighbors, that I didn’t feel the need to relate to that world, which it felt so distant to me.
Religion back those days was to me strictly related to memories of my grandparents.
I remember my grandmother praying for us the “Rosario”, praying for her husband too and lighting a candle for her lost child.
Those days I wasn’t thinking to much about religion, yet I had always a feeling that there was something deep and, at the same time, wrong in it.
I didn’t realized that my grandmother probably didn’t love my grandfather (did she?), but I remember well when she said to me about him: “It’s the cross I bear”.
“It’s the cross I bear” those words scared me, they meant acceptance of her faith and revealed an incredible inner strength, a strength I could not keep up with.
During my school days I studied about Jesus, whom, to me, was a perfect example of empathy. Nonetheless I, I could not accept that someone, once he or she had taken a sacrament, or because of being a woman, should go on forever and live in pain because of a book written by men.
That was my point of view.
Growing up I developed a kind of spirit of disgust in confront of the Roman church. I studied history and what was made in the name of religion. I felt ashamed of being christian.
In my twenties, I met people who told me they risked or saw abuse from religious people.
In my thirties, I met priests that had, in my opinion, not respect for human life at all.
Or if they had, they looked to me as if they were enjoying the role of savior and that was a big excuse to treat everyone disrespectfully – ‘cause they had a mission to accomplish.
Nothing bad with the mission, they did a large amount of good, but I truly believe that one person should treat everyone equally and with due respect.
I witnessed two times, priests fighting for money. I saw one addressing to poor people with hate, because, in his opinion, they were too dirty. They were smoking and drinking coffee in a place, where the priest would rather prefer to have rich people sons. The solution, he offered, was to get rid of those poor people, far from the eye of the rich people – the same rich people that used to park a big expensive car in the place destined to disable persons.
So I grew up having in hate- I admit it, I am too a bad person – bad preachers.
I grew up avoiding mass rituals and searching for a form of more intimate religion.
Of course, it came the time when all this running away had to be faced and, as everyone, I fell down. Many beliefs of mine, and with them all my confidence in me, were dismantled.
There were times in which I ended up praying for me, for my parents, for my friends. I shed so many tears in my loneliest hours.
Yep, in my bad times I asked for help, I prayed! How come? Wasn’t I an anarchist? How dared I asking for forgiving and relate to a…God?
I guess that, growing up, you have to come to terms with what you learnt and with what life means to you. That is why, even if I consider me almost an atheist, I ended up praying.
Trying to search for a way out to those darker days of my soul, one fine day I found myself in a big cathedral in Ghent (Saint Bavo).
It was an ancient building, so empty and void that I felt there was truly space for devotion and spiritual thinking. I found a prayer (oh Lord, I am just waiting) that somehow fitted me and took it at home with me.
It is now on a wall near a mirror in my bathroom and it is there for me when I need to remember or to be calm. A piece of paper written by a man.
I think I ended up accepting my need for this intimate kind of religion, for this secret talk with me and the God in me.
I don’t know if it could be called God, I’ll call it The inner strength of Nature (am I a pantheist? I don’t think so ;-)). Could it be defined as the power of humanity?
Such a big question, isn’t it?
Anyway, I just think that in good-times and further in bad ones, there is something beautiful in us, a secret place of quietness and perfection that helps us going on.
I perceive it when I am alone, when I am in the wild, when I took photographs, whenever there is music or art. It’s everywhere, because I carry it with me. Is it love? Is this feeling love?
So, if to me there is this kind of force, this love, how could I be mad at bad preachers and why the canonical vision of God makes me shiver? Am I mad?
Yes, sure I am, 😉 : I am mad at a vision of christianity that doesn’t admit space for doubt or that thinks that it is all written and nothing can be changed.
I am mad at people who in the name of God, make wars against different religions or race. I am mad at those people who also judge members of their community because, for instance, they are divorced, or not married or, “Good Lord, because they have strange sexual habits, because they don’t believe in the family made by a woman and a man, the Only possible family, oh my lord…destroy them all!”.
I am mad at me too, because I judge them judging others and I can’t comprehend their feelings.
These so called Christians do not even ask for forgiven or for pity for whom they consider sinners. They seem to want to destroy them and protect their unique accepted kind, but where is kindness in all that? Where is love?
Gosh, I want to be a better person, I want to understand and believe that a change can be. I need signs (yes I am almost an atheist and I still need a sign).
As I said at the beginning, all this long post about religion is born from the reading of an interview found on Facebook.
Buzzfeed interviewed this woman, a singer and a theologist of the Evangelist Church.
Before reading that, I didn’t know she existed, how could I? I am an anarchist and avoid Christian communities -as you all should know by now ;-).
Well, she is called Victoria- Vicky as she seem to prefer- Beeching.
She is, as I happen to know and said, a theologist and most of all was a beloved star: she sang Christian song to so many Evangelist congregations and meetings. She was then the sound of God. Further, she made herself an instrument in the hands of God. Thinking that music, as an expression of God, is Love and heals it all. But, there is always a but, one day, as everyone, she fell down and got sick.
And as for many of us, in sickness, she had to find and accept her humanity and vulnerability.
She realized she was living in pain, that she always had, because she was ashamed of what she was thinking and of what she was feeling.
Eventually, in pain, she came to terms with her life. She told what she felt and came out.
Yes, this instrument in the hands of God, is a gay person. What an enormous shock to her community!
Many of them, took her back against her, maybe when she needed them most.
Is it so cruel the mass? Not at all, there were also many people who supported her.
They truly believed that she deserved to be whoever she wanted to be. To them, those blessed people, there was no need of acceptance, there was nothing to accept, to them she was a Person, the same person they enjoyed hearing, the same instrument who made greater to them the voice of God.
God (or our inner voice) bless them!
She felt so miserable, but one fine day, one splendid person used that instrument of evil called Twitter and wrote to her exactly what she needed to hear. He or she gave her back her form of praying. Her right to be.
What did he or she wrote? To know, please, just look at this video (http://livestream.com/GCNconf/2015-vicky-beeching-session-3/videos/73403021).
Listen from her own words the story I told you so imperfectly; listen from her that moment of Epiphany – Bless, like I did, that soul that saved her and us all, only by means of a tweet!
(It’s la long speech, take your time if you can, because it is also funny and you’ll have a chance to know her better, get a better comprehension of what she was feeling and still she feels.
If you are curious and don’t have time, please, with your heart open, feel the empathy and recognize her strength and her right to be, while going directly at 35.18. Listen for a minute ;-) )
So this story, as many others, made me mad at religious people, I admit it once again. I don’t understand (oh God, give me patience…).
But- there is always a but, isn’t it?- this story gave me hope too.
I listened to this woman who is talking about gender matters and I found that she is talking about religion. She is a person, but a Theologist too. Can we define her a preacher? For God sake, she is a preacher! She made me think and reconsider my concept of faith! 🙂
She gave me hope: there are religious people who deal with doubt and admit they know nothing at all! And they are more than I thought!
Maybe it is possible to create a community where everyone, Everyone can be whoever he or she is meant to be and everyone may live their lives without being ashamed.
To do this as she said in the video, we have to shut up and listen, questioning the God in us.
Here we are at the end of my thought too. Here, my experience of anarchic catholic or pantheist or whatever terms you think it fits me, here, my inner beliefs joined her.
I think it is possible to find a better concept of religion. If we start from our inner voice, silencing the voice that is not coming from our inner beauty. If we could just quieten hate and judgement to listen to our inner strength and recognize that what’s left is…Love.