It's okay to ask questions.
It's okay not to know the answer to everything.
It's okay to sit in the gray for a while.
It's simply okay.
Since my most recent post about stating publicly that I'm a feminist, I've had quite a different response than the one I was expecting. I admitted that while I would label myself as a feminist because I believe women should be equal to men, I still have questions about some other things that would follow in being a feminist. Because of this, I received a lot of backlash from a few people. Granted, most people supported me and understood where I'm at, and I'm thankful for those people. But there were still many others who said rude and hurtful things.
I stated that I don't know where I stand on whether women should be lead pastors or not. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my upbringing has that belief, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I haven't done a ton of research on it. Is that my fault? Absolutely. But the bottom line remains -- I still have questions.
I won't apologize for having questions. I won't apologize for being forthright in what I'm struggling with. I would much rather be honest about my difficulties in faith than hide it and become bitter, resentful and end up walking away altogether.
Whether we want to admit it or not, there are gatekeepers on both ends of the spectrum of faith. If you ask too many questions (or the "wrong" questions) on either side, you're tossed out and told, "You don't belong here," or, "You're not like us," or, "Come back when you agree with us."
When did this become an accepted way to do things? As my pastor said during service on Easter, "When did it become okay for us to be bouncers for Jesus and faith? When did it become okay for us to decide who gets to be admitted?"
I don't take feminism lightly. I firmly believe that women deserve equal rights. I firmly believe that Jesus was very countercultural in the way he viewed women, and he saw them as equals. I firmly believe that sexism and misogyny are still very real in our society, and that while we've come a long way from the past, we still have a long way to go. I firmly believe that women are not only mistreated in society, but in the church as well.
I also firmly believe in respecting one another. I firmly believe that relationships with people are far more important than any defense of my ideology. If anything I say or do causes someone I care about to feel alienated, rejected, or hurt, I've done something wrong and I've lost focus.
We were never called to be gatekeepers. We were never called to injure anyone, much less one of our own. We were never called to let anger and bitterness reign over love and forgiveness. We were never meant to expect that people must believe everything we do in order to be acceptable. We were never called to push people out.
There is (or should be) room at the table for everyone, regardless of the questions they have or the struggles they face. There should be inclusion, love, understanding, and care for those who simply don't know.
I pray that we can be Christians who love, respect, and include those asking questions instead of being exclusive and only letting a "select few" in.