Rant

First of all, let me just say that I have talked myself out of writing this post about 42 different times and should probably do that again. But, I figure I’ll only have the excuse of being pregnant and hormonal for a few more weeks, so it’s time to get some things off my chest! Then I can apologize in a few months and blame it on the baby, who’ll be so cute you can’t help but forgive me!

Our family’s life looks MUCH different than most of those who knew us before we got married were expecting it to. Well, really it doesn’t, but I’ll explain.

When Josh and I got married, we were both employed by Southern Baptist entities, and we both pretty much had been our short professional lives. Josh worked at his church in Alabama from the time he was 18 or so, also having glorious part time jobs that he would love to tell you about some day (McD’s, Blockbuster, David’s Catfish House …). I did a paid internship in college at a church in Texas, then my first “real” job was with a leading SBC organization. All along, we were both volunteering in various youth groups and religous organizations.

We made the decision to walk away from the SBC part of our lives not long after we got married. I am seriously willing to tell ANYONE the trail of events that led us to that decision ANYTIME. It involved our honeymoon and our amazing friends Mike and Jill, some interesting circumstances at the church we were attending at the time, and so so much more. But we didn’t make that decision lightly. Both of us had grown up in the SBC world our entire lives. My mom was the church secretary for 18 years of my life!

Sidenote, Josh was the church secretary for a while, too! Ask him about that some time!

My parents and some of our closest friends left the same time as we did. We all made the painful decision together, for different reasons, but believing with all of our hearts it was the thing to do.

I can remember people telling us on our last few weeks how much they would miss us. Moms and Dads would thank us for the difference we had made in their kid’s lives, then follow that with, it’s a shame your relationship won’t be the same. Call it immaturity or ignorance, my response would always be “well don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere. We’re leaving this church, but not your lives.” I would laugh with Josh about how people kept saying they would miss us in their lives. I always thought they thought we were abandoning them, and we would just kind of laugh and say, BUT WE’RE NOT LEAVING YOUR LIFE! It really became comical, and I laugh looking back at how many times we said things like “but we will still be at your basketball game” or “we will still be at your birthday party” or “we’re still going to dinner Thursday night, right?”

It never dawned on me that when we walked out of that church for the last time, we were basically walking out of a lot of our closest friends lives. Not by our choice. But it happened.

People didn’t know what to do with us. We didn’t get invited to the little socials that we knew were still happening. Just because Josh and I left the church didn’t mean all the kids didn’t go to Wendy’s every Sunday night anymore. It didn’t mean that our friends who were leaders with us didn’t get together for dinner at each other’s homes on random nights. We just didn’t get included with that stuff anymore.

And that’s okay. Really, it is. But I guess I’m just saying I didn’t realize we were walking away from much more than a church. By making the decision not to be aligned with the SBC anymore, we were forcing ourselves not to be aligned with a lot of our friends. We were those people who they encouraged the kids in the youth group to stay away from because we were “negative” or because we admitted we drink an alcoholic beverage every now and then.

The people who we had been having the exact same conversations with that led us to our decision to step away all of a sudden were the biggest cheerleaders for what they supposedly hated. And they condemned us for drinking, even though we knew half of them did it to, because we used to laugh about it behind closed doors.

Obviously, by no means do I think you can made generalized conclusions and say everyone acted this way towards us. Many people are still some of our great friends. Many are still nice at least to our face. We had the privlege of sitting at one of the family tables for our friend Ashley’s wedding this year and it literally brought me to tears thinking of how faithfully the Brannens stood by Josh and I when most others we stabbing us in the back. It was an honor to know that our relationship never skipped a beat because they realize we didn’t actually join the circus! No joke, someone told me the way that everyone was talking about us that we literally got jobs at the circus. Wow.

In a politics year like this, after experiencing so many crumbling relationships just because Josh and I march to the beat of a slightly different drummer, I have realized why I think they way I do. I have always felt a “check” in my gut, but this election is bringing out in many SBCers and hard core GOPers what I find so repulsive.

The inability to see things may be a little different than they always thought. The complete inability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes for even just a minute. Again, not a generalized statement, as many of my closest friends are some of the most generous people I know, and still GOPers.

When I logged on to facebook this morning after Palin’s speech last night, many of my friends had status messages like “Palin just gave Biden a wedgie and kicked Obama in the nuts.” Honestly. One even said he was “wondering why anyone would vote for the Anti-Christ Obama when you can choose a hero like McCain.” I mean, REALLY!

THIS IS WHY WE WALKED AWAY FROM CROWDS LIKE THIS!

I don’t think it’s any secret I am an Obama girl. I was not too impressed with his speeches at the DNC and I think he has resorted to some name-calling and jabbing that are completely unnecessary. I am not a “hardcore liberal/Democrat.” I think they do just as much harm.

I just think that if Joe Biden’s teenage daughter was pregnant right now, my “Obama Nut Kick” friends would be giving him hell. But they are okay with Palin’s daughter. There is grace for her.

I don’t have the right words to put it in, but I was reading my oh-so-favorite blog today, Dooce, and Heather put it better than I ever could have …

Any time I engage with one of my conservative friends or family members, or sometimes the conservative commenters on this website, it usually devolves into them screaming about WELFARE! and TAXES! and THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING MY MONEY AND GIVING IT TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T WORK! And what they don’t understand is that this is not the issue at all. What I and many of my more liberal friends want is to HELP people, not give them a free ride, but also not to ignore those who would benefit from us tossing them a life jacket.

I just think it’s funny that my Obama Anti-Christ friends walked away from Josh and I because we don’t attend their Sunday morning services anymore. That’s the only reason.

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6 Responses to “Rant”

  1. Rick Says:

    For us, we left one SBC to go to another before leaving the denom, going to a non-denom, leavnig that, now at another non-denom. Sorry – rambling. But each time we left or were asked to step aside, it was as you described. We haven’t moved, but we’ve got little/no contact with anyone from the past. Friends, mentors, youth group – we’ve got no contact. Those relationships were based more on location and the circumstantial passing geographically than on any other factor. One friend said she missed seeing us on Sundays. When we mentioned that we live in the same house the same distance from their home as before, she said, “I just don’t know if it’s worth it.” Well, evidently not.

  2. Leslie Says:

    Woah, you read my mind or my gut and my tight chest. This election has seriously made me sit by myself in my bathroom and cry. It has made me try new breathing techniques and I am on my way to buy a yoga video today! Really, it is not the election. It is the true sides of people that come out. It is the selfishness, the hatred, and judgement that makes me ill. I love my family, but if I mention Obama, I really become the enemy. Crazy names are thrown at me and my intelligence and character are judged and why? Because I think social programs are important? Because I think that war has killed innocent people. Because I value human life? Because I think Sarah was a bad choice and her parenting skills should be considered. If you cant parent well, how can you lead a country well? here is the thing. I am not tied to a party. If there was a great republican candidate, I would vote for them. But here with are with a Democratic candidate that could postivily change the world, and we are not grabbing a hold of that? We are not helping our kids and their kids and the world at large? I dont get how that happens. What is more upsetting is that people wont change. I am more than willing to open my ears to different opinions, but dont find that to be the case with many conservatives. Oh, and there was no nut kick. Since when did they start from door to door knocking to fund social programs for the community? They talked down to hard working americans. I think that was pretty stupid. Here is the thing, I am PRO-AMERICAN who thinks that the war is wrong, that we should help people who cant help themselves, that Bush is a close to satin as I will see in mylife time, that digging for more oil is not a solution, that there should be stricker gun laws, that a woman should choose, and taxes are the least of my concern. Hear that people, PRO-AMERICAN! I love my country and my difference in opinion doesnt state otherwise. I am concerned and McCain and his no name concern me. Obama is not some unqualified suprise. People knew he would run for president when Kerry was running…ya know when Obama was going door to door to talk to average americans about how he can make things better? He has been around making things better his whole professional life. Phew, sorry, I need to break. That all to say, I got ya Anna. your awesome. I love you.

  3. joshua case Says:

    Anna-

    Thanks so much for putting it out there. To be honest, I was really feeling much of the same as you last night when watching the speech and..i was thinking, “Oh my goodness, there are people who actually think the way she is talking about people, and the politics she is advocating is good for all?”

    Honestly, it made me not only scared but quite moved to try to do more for Obama in Georgia.

    Leslie-

    Thanks so much for your post too! And I love the several very quotable part in the future.

    Again Anna, thanks for the raw honesty. I am glad you decided to post it. Thanks for the real articulation of faith and the honest articulation of what it means to be on a journey, even when it means to be on one with people who choose a much shallower route to friendship than you do. Friendship that is reciprocal, and committed over the long haul.

    joshua c

  4. Julie Tiemann Says:

    Girl, you’re speaking my language. I left in college. I’ll always be grateful to the SBCers for teaching me about Jesus, but I can’t reconcile what I believe in my heart Jesus was about with the political-ness the denomination seems currently seems all about. There’s a lot more I could say, but I make it a point to not put my politial viewpoints out in cyberspace, so I’ll stop. But I’ll just say, I’m with ya, girl.

  5. april Says:

    i love you, Anna.

  6. he was fragged for our sins » Blog Archive » The “eat together” test, or, a post about deep community. Says:

    […] out of my reaction to reading the first half of Anna’s recent rant, appropriately entitled: “Rant”. The post talks primarily about a similar experience of the Brown’s, where they left a church […]

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