Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. I hope you’re all hanging in there.
I don’t know about all of you, but yesterday felt like exhaling after holding my breath for four years. As of yesterday, the United States has a new President and Vice President, and while neither of them were my first choice, and I recognize that there’s a lot of work ahead of us to hold them accountable to their more progressive campaign promises, I’ll take them over the former occupants of the White House any day of the week.
The past four years have been…a lot. Traumatic, even deadly, for many people. Even from my place of privilege where most of the horrific policy decisions didn’t impact me directly, I’ve spent most of the last four years feeling like a coiled spring with a stomachache. Today, my breathing feels easier than it has since the middle of 2016. Much of my body still feels like a coiled spring – it’s going to need some convincing that it’s safe to relax. But the difference in how my body feels is palpable.
In addition to the big national news, I got some really wonderful personal/professional news yesterday. I can’t post super publicly about it yet, but I’m happy to chat with people individually if you’re curious and want to reach out.
I’m going to leave you with this link where you can go watch Amanda Gorman read her poem, The Hill We Climb, at the inauguration yesterday. It gave me a lot of hope for the future, and also some hope for the present. It’s well worth the listen. (Also, Gorman has a children’s book coming out in September, and you can preorder that here or from your local indie bookshop!)
Tuesday, on my way to pick up the rental car I would be using to drive six hours round trip on Wednesday for a meeting in Dixon, I was stopped on the street by a man selling banana bread for Jesus.
Well, okay, that’s not the whole story. He was part of an organization that aims to get people out of substance addictions and into religion of the evangelical Christian variety. (His t-shirt literally said “Addicted to Jesus” on the back.) The banana bread was to raise money for the organization.
Despite the fact that he said repeatedly that he wasn’t trying to start an argument or to save me, his actions told quite the opposite story. I tried to gently tell him I was truly happy that his beliefs worked for him (which was true), it wasn’t for me (also true). He insisted on asking what I believed, and when my Minnesota nice kicked in and prevented me from speaking because I didn’t have kind words in the moment, he gave me the advice that, “Now that you’re an adult, maybe you should try Jesus on your own terms instead of how he may have been forced on you as a kid.” As if I hadn’t spent several painful years of my life doing just that.
So, without further ado, here is a list of:
Things I Wish I’d Said to the Man Selling Banana Bread for Jesus
- The fact that you are grouping atheists together with the majority of the world’s belief systems into a category of “atheists or nonbelievers” is incredibly disrespectful. I don’t call you a nonbeliever because you don’t share my beliefs.
- I know you mean well, but your enthusiastically evangelical verbiage is making me flash back to my own evangelical days, and that’s triggering a panic attack that I’ll be fighting for the rest of the night. Thanks for that.
- I believe in banana bread with chocolate chips.
- Please don’t assume that the fact that I’m not a Christian now means I just didn’t try hard enough at it when I was one. You know nothing about me. I’ve probably forgotten more about the Bible than you’ve learned yet.
- I don’t do gluten or repressive social systems. (Thanks for that one, N!)
- I believe that if there is a God, then they’re capable of connecting with different people in different ways. To say you have the only answer is to put God in a human-imposed box.
- Jesus and I are cool. I have no problem with him, and frankly, I’m pretty sure he has no problem with me. We’ve just decided to see other people. It’s a great arrangement for everyone involved.