I love and respect my father very much, but try not to make him uncomfortable. This means I try not to talk about anything we have different views on. Thanskgiving weekend I did just that.
I asked my father if he knew anything about my spiritual journey, assuming the answer was yes since he found out about this blog soon after I started it. It turns out he has never read anything on here.
Since we have never talked about it, his views predictably matched the horror stories that we were warned about.
“I see spiritual darkness in your life. Your new religion of feminism has made you angry and bitter.”
I knew this was the accepted story of deconverts and feminists, but I thought that my dad would see that since I left the church, I haven’t had a major episode of depression! That my nights of rolling on the floor, in too much pain to cry, wishing I were dead, were gone! Gone! That I was going back to school, exploring new ideas and pastimes, being creative, thinking about my future with less fear!
No. What he saw was that I was more open to talk about what made me angry. I had never told my parents of my self-loathing, my suicidal thoughts. I had never let myself be angry at harmful church teachings when I was in the church- it felt safer just to turn it inwards. I couldn’t let anyone see how I was hurting as it would have been a bad witness for Christ and would have hurt other people. He thought the mask of quiet, content Christian was all there was and missed it.
Breaking up with church culture was messy and painful and brought ugly wounds to the surface. Feminism, secularism and humanism were more like scalpels opening up a buried festering. They gave me the language and courage to talk about it. I don’t blame my dad for being wary and blaming the tools.
I am sad that instead of talking to me, he assumed that the old stories about deconverts were more true than my own. I understand though. I don’t know what is hiding behind his mask.