Just finished reading a post called “She’s a Slut” over at a blog called Following Jesus Sucks. Do not let the title of this blog fool you, Shon has some powerful posts to ponder. He is real, and honest, and raw just like life. He will tell you how it is, and I like that!
Please read Shon’s post before moving on.
I was asked how I felt after reading about Julie, a person sucked into the depth of prostitution.
After I read it, the sad and sick part is the first thing that came to mind was how this story related to my own life within the depths of an institutional church system. No, I am not dancing on poles, or having other people cram money down my pants, but I too was sucked into a system that I gave my body too.
Julie used her skills and abilities to do some outrageous things to earn her what she wanted, money, and more of it. I too used my skills and abilities to gain as much knowledge about Christ, and recognition from others that I could.
No, my story is not as sexually graphic as Julie’s, and I am not trying to minimize the mental and physical pain she likely felt being in that world, but giving oneself to others hits really close to home. Julie was a prostitute, but when you think about it, so was I.
I was basically “prostituting” myself for an organizational system called “church”.
It is pretty insane what people will do for money, or in my case “recognition”. I wanted to be accepted into a community with others, to be accepted into Christ, The Church.
Going to church for me was a lot like work. Week in and week out I would end up doing the same crap, sitting in the same chair, getting pimped by the same system.
Yeah I said it. The church “system” was my pimp, and I was her bitch.
For me it was never an abusive relationship, but many times I felt forced to do what my pimp told me to do. The church system would always want me in a missionary position. My role was to grow the pockets of the organization. We had capital campaigns to raise more and more money to grow more and more campuses. I was asked to tithe to the church, and I did, or else you felt inferior. I was told to read, study, take classes, do small groups, and attend Sunday school at least an hour a week every week for each thing.
Well, when would I ever have time to help people in need, even sit down and have time to talk to another individual to see who they really are and what they are really like. My pimp kept me busy with many different John’s. (1st, 2nd, and 3rd John.. and many other books of the bible). My head was gaining as much knowledge about Christ as I could shove into my skull. In return, I would bring them more possible recruits for them to place in more missionary positions. But these positions were self-gratifying, self-centered.
Maybe all this sounds a bit extreme, but honestly, I think it is a pretty appropriate analogy, and it helps get my point across. Again, I am not talking about the people within the system, I am talking about the system itself. I love the people within the walls. I just have a huge problem with the walls of religion.
If I was doing something solely for the money (like a prostitute), or in my case knowledge of Christ, kissing someone’s ass solely for that recognition in hopes of a promotion (more leadership possibilities, a better seat in heaven), I became a whore. I became a corporate institutional whore.
You may have this feeling inside of you that knows you are meant for so much more. You want to help people. You want to be remembered. You want to leave a legacy. That is the feeling I had all the time, but a feeling I could never have time to put into action.
Unfortunately for me, due to local church membership obligations, I felt literally trapped. Each Sunday morning when the alarm clock would go off, I felt another piece of my soul getting chipped away. And what’s crazy for me is that I accepted it for years!
This is not to group everyone that goes to church, because some people might belong inside that arena, and is able to function without becoming a whore like I did. However, it gets me pretty livid to think that older generations and their “traditions” have taught us that putting up with all this mediocre, monotonous bullshit is what being a “responsible” Christian is about.
I tried really hard to make my “church” life work, and I tried to be a successful Christian at it, but in my mind and heart I finally came to the conclusion that there is much more to what Christ is than a flipping church system made with man’s hands. I needed to move on. I am thankful I did, or I would still be stuck being a “church-walker” selling my soul for a system called Christ and not for Christ Himself.