This past week I decided to do an experimental question and answer time with my Twitter followers through a third party app. Going into it, I had no idea what type of questions I would receive, or if any questions would come in at all. I was curious what type of questions the people who follow me on Twitter were asking themselves regarding faith, politics, and morale–hoping they would include me in their wonder. I was shocked at how many questions began to roll in. Fifty. One-hundred. One-fifty. I was overwhelmed (in a good way.)
I began to read and answer the questions. Some of the questions were regarding my personal life, some were silly. But I’d say 90% of the questions asked could be comprised into three categories. Suicide & cutting, sexuality, and young humans who were turned off by the whole church thing.
“Wouldn’t suicide just be, you know, another way to die?”
“I feel like I’ve wanted to die for about 7 years now, I was raised Catholic & I’m sure we all know if I killed myself I wouldn’t even get to go to purgatory. Basically I’m unsure of how it could ever ‘get better’. Seems like bullshit to me.”
“Honestly, life just doesn’t seem worth it. Like, it’s not for everyone.”
“What are your views on drinking? I grew up in a church where you were going to hell if you even thought about it, but is it really a big deal if I have the occasional brewski?”
“Why do people say “my relationship with God is number one, and my relationship with you is second.’ My boyfriend believes in God and I don’t. He says that a lot…”
“I stopped going to church because I was so damn tired of ‘Christians’ telling me why my lifestyle and sexuality are wrong. I don’t care if it is honestly, but it’s nice to know you aren’t like the rest, you aren’t judgmental.”
“I came out to my dad a month ago, I really thought he’d be accepting of it, but he kicked me out. I haven’t been able to get ahold of him since then. He’s embarrassed that I’m his son. How can I undo all of this?”
“You’re the first person to tell me it’s okay for me to be gay. My dad is a pastor & my family was pretty disgusted when I told them. I haven’t told anyone else but I saw what you’ve said to others on here, and I just wanted to say thank you because I don’t want to kill myself anymore for being gay.”
It breaks my heart so much. It breaks my heart that the strong majority of the people participating in the Q&A are hurting at the fault of a sleeping church. What does it really mean to follow Jesus? What does it truly mean to participate in the kingdom of God? These are questions I’m asking myself more than anything during this season of my life.
I’m surrounded by human beings who desperately wish someone… anyone… would just accept them where you are right now. Join me. Let’s be inclusive. Let the good news sound: “You’re welcome here.” My prayer is that we as the church would plant seeds of hope, and from the cracks in their pain would emerge solidarity, giving root to peace in the hearts of the suffering. Be a voice of encouragement. Be a voice of hope.