September of Silence


I am struggling.

I mean really struggling. My emotions are up and down…anxiety, depression, anger, hopelessness, regret, sadness, and self loathing have dominated my summer. My meditation practices are off, I feel disconnected from God, from relationships, and from myself.

I am struggling.

I think that I have narrowed down the sources of my discontent. There are three…
That man in the White House
The Evangelical Church
Myself

Let me try to be as brief as a I can in explaining why I believe these 3 things have played havoc with my emotions over the summer.

That man in the White House

I will not go into all the reasons why I truly despise this man. Suffice it to say his treatment of and policies toward women, POC, Muslims, the LGBT community, the poor and other marginalized people groups repulses me. But there is something even greater fueling my anger toward him. He is a bully. A bully of the highest order whose arrogance and pomposity is on full display for the whole world to see. A bully who thinks his words and angry tweets can beat others into submission to his will. He reminds me of all the years in elementary and high school I was bullied by people just like him.

The Evangelical Church 

When I became an Evangelical 34 years ago,  I BECAME EVANGELICAL. I went out and bought a big black leather-covered Bible and an American flag. I evangelized, reminding people of the FACT that unless they repented they would either die and go to hell, or have to suffer in the “Great Tribulation” experiencing the unrelenting wrath of God on earth and then in hell. I knew exactly what God was thinking, what God was saying, and what God thought of “sinners.’ He loved them unconditionally but if they didn’t turn from secular music and television, smoking, drinking, drugging, and all kinds of promiscuous sexual activity, they themselves were CHOOSING hell, and it was not God’s fault.

Over the years my rigid convictions began to soften, I began to better understand what the unconditional love of God, forgiveness, and grace were all about. But my changing did not sit well with some Christian “friends” and some began to turn on me. The church I had attended for 21 years and was heavily invested in because of my love of ministry to people basically pushed me out. The Christian Counseling agency I worked at around the same time fired me for sharing a “struggle” (nothing illegal, but according to some sinful)  I was having in my life. It seemed that all those words I had heard over the years of love were in many cases just words. I was deeply, deeply hurt and wounded.

I joined another church, told that pastor at our first meeting that I hated Christians and hated Church because of the hurt I had experienced. He assured me that his church was not like that. Seven years later, because I wrote a short editorial in the Buffalo News supporting marriage equality as a civil right I was hounded off the leadership team and literally call an “enemy of the cross of Christ” by a fellow believer.

I joined another church that I thought would be a good fit and I even filled in preaching from time to time when the pastor was away. Several fellow believers left that church because they did not like that I had a Obama bumper sticker on my car and I was reported to the person in charge of this particular denomination in the Northeast for teaching the heresy of God’s unconditional love and grace for everyone. When the new pastor started there I met him for lunch and he told me that he and I disagree on many social issues and that only one of us was right. I don’t think he meant me.

I have been hurt to my soul by Evangelicalism and when this past November 82% of white Evangelicals voted to support that “man” in the White House my deep wounds were torn open and have been bleeding since. The leaders of the Evangelical Church have turned the most gracious message of God’s love for humanity into a method for acquiring political power to achieve their immoral agenda. But the worse thing is that they have convinced millions of regular church people that they are right.

Myself

I am a deeply flawed human being.

Growing up I was reminded over and over again by peers and even a parent that I was not normal, that I was a broken, that I was a waste of space.  As a result of years of bullying and rejection I came to believe that their assesment of me was indeed true, and I loathed myself enough to self sabotage my life over and over again.

I struggled with deep depression, anxiety, and feelings of self worthlessness for most of my 58 years of life. It has only been over the last 12 years of so that I have begun the work of becoming authentically me. But I have stumbled and fallen so many times on this road to authenticity. At times it becomes overwhelming and when that happens I’m paralyzed from moving forward.

I am to the point now that I need to take some time to re-evaluate where I am and what I am going to do with the rest of my life. I have to confront head on the fear that has dictated my life. Fear had told me it would protect me and by hiding melonliness I would be alright, by constructing a facade I would be seen as “normal.” But inside this facade I have been dying emotionally and lashing out at the church and that “man” has only distracted me from the real work.

So from midnight tonight through the month of September I will be on a social media fast. I need to work on me so that I can live (God willing) the second half of my life as me. I may post updates here on WordPress that show up on Facebook. But that is all.

I covet your prayers and positive thoughts for this month. If you want to reach me you can email me at markleeschnitzer@gmail.com  or message me on Messenger, or if you want to talk via phone send me an email and I will give you my number. And I am always open to meet for coffee or a glass of wine. Face to face contact is most meaningful to me. 

For now much peace to all of you my friends. I truly love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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