Doubly Marginalized

marginalize-300x200

If you follow this space, you’ll note that most of my brilliant revelations come after I meet with my spiritual director. A spiritual director is someone who companions with you in your life with God.

I meet with spiritual director for an hour once each month. I usually spew my tangled emotions and somehow she manages to find a theme or important question in the midst of my ramblings. That helps me make sense of my life.

Lately, for the last several years, my confusion has been around not feeling like I fit in my “evangelical” Christian culture, yet not fitting anywhere else either. This leaves me feeling rather untethered and lost. God is still real and near, but where do I fit in community with others?

Last month when we met, she used the analogy of a cog of the “wheel and cog” variety and I realized, I just don’t cog very well anymore. I don’t fit the prescribed evangelical Christian culture; I love gay people, and I can’t understand how ANYONE could vote for Donald Trump. With some of my dear friends, this makes me a rather uncomfortable person to be around.

cog.jpg

Some friends have unfriended me, some have unfollowed me. Some hold me tenderly, at a distance. Others are watching to see what crazy thing I’ll do next. I am confident that they all still love me. We just don’t speak the same language anymore.

This month, that wizard who is my spiritual director used a term she had heard from Brother Don Bisson, a Jungian-Christian spiritual director. The term is, “doubly- marginalized.”

It comes from the idea that when a person works with those on the margins, they fit neither with the people they are working with, nor with their former community. I find this to be exactly true for me. I love my rainbow family, yet, as a cis female, I am not one of them. And working with my beloved rainbow family has changed me. I am a different person now, which makes me not “cog” well with many in my former Christian community. God is bigger to me now and has blown out all of the tidy boxes I used to keep him in.

So, where does that leave me? I’m still a Christ follower, that is true. And there are others who don’t cog well that I’ve found to cluster with. And there is my rainbow family, who love me unconditionally. So, I’ve decided it’s time to put the blinders back on and keep my eyes on Jesus – to go where he leads me, to love those he has called me to love and to try and ignore those loud, very loud, voices telling me I’m wrong, crazy or apostate.

This is me, a not cogging well, doubly marginalized, Christ follower. Care to join me? Do you ever feel that you don’t cog well? I’d love to hear your story.

Cog picture credit

 

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. joan stockbridge

    Dear Jackie,

    I’m so touched by this post. Thank you.

    Could I forward it to Bread of Life, who organized the Don Bisson retreat? It would affirm that work as well.

    Thank you for your courage, honesty and compassion.

    In love, Joan

    On Aug 2, 2016 1:16 PM, “Infusing Reality With Hope” wrote:

    jacciturner posted: ” If you follow this space, you’ll note that most of my brilliant revelations come after I meet with my spiritual director. A spiritual director is someone who companions with you in your life with God. I meet with spiritual director for an hour once eac”

    Like

  2. Pam Martin

    Thank you for this.  It is timely and helps me feel a little less alone.I have one son who is gay and another son living with us whose pregnant girlfriend also lives with us.God has called us to be full of grace, to listen, to try and understand, to support these struggling kids with hopes that they will see Jesus and trust Him with their troubles.  Where I feel lost is in the responses of friends and co-workers (I work in a church).  People just don’t want to talk about our situation, unless of course, they want to tell us to come down harder on our sons’ sins. We do have a few understanding, gracious friends.  But I often wonder about my standing at work, and who is saying what to whom – since they aren’t talking to me.  So, I don’t bring it up – the things that are foremost on my mind and heart are silent during the workday.  I feel myself slipping away from the faith of my friends and growing into something different, but unacceptable to others.  I feel God’s presence and blessing, but I also fear that it is true I am slipping into “the world’s mold” as my fellow church-goers would say. I want a vibrant faith, but I don’t want to compromise.  There is no one else I know of that is safe to share my struggle with.I guess that’s my story right now :-)pam

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing your story Pam! I feel for you working in a church and that should be the safest place ever! Hard. I hope you have found some of the private groups on Facebook where Christian mom’s of gay kids support each other. It’s a great place to share openly. Here is one. https://www.facebook.com/groups/892104134150060/ It’s called Serendipitydoah and you can use my name to get in. Jacci

      Like

  3. Denise B here, Jacci. I am not scrolling FB much these days, nor do I follow very many people, due to my more severe sensory overload problem, related to the ME/CFS disease. I cannot handle any news or posts about anything painful for other people, or I end up more sick with PEM (Post exertional malaise), from the emotional exertion. And so I am happy that I did find this post today. Good, good, good. Jesus didn’t fit in either, did he? The religious people then criticized him no end, and finally did away with him. Way before your and Dave’s work with the LBGT community, way before my good friend’s adult son’s deep depression revealed he was gay, had been all his life, but praying God would heal him… way before all that, I believed if Jesus was walking around today we’d find him in a gay bar, loving people, healing hearts, making disciples.
    My “not cogging well” has been more hidden, until Facebook, when I couldn’t keep my opinions and passions to myself anymore… yet still muted. We have also been in a fishbowl, dependent entirely on the support of friends and churches— ones who did “cog” in the evangelical system dominating the American body of Christ. Only a handful could I be myself with, when I began reading once again about the issues that are heavy on my heart: Social justice, the poor, racism, sexism, the criminal justice system, immigrants and with your help, have since become more aware of the life struggles of Christians who are gay… and non-Christians who are gay… like several relatives. The fact that my illness keeps me away from church and any groups of Christians makes it easier to not fit in. The pressure is always there to keep my mouth shut, so I don’t rock the boat for our work, my husband’s work, for our agency. For these reasons, and others, I don’t miss the church experience that much. You are under the spotlight still, being in ministry, being still relatively newly exited from a parachurch organization I would have thought would always be the place to “fit in”.
    I cannot understand how any believers could vote from Trump either. But I believe it all falls on the abortion issue. Everyone always seems convinced that somehow the next conservative President will be able to appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe vs Wade, (and I hope they DO!!), yet the state appeals courts fighting federal court decisions shows that it isn’t just one person in the White House who can change it all. So many other crucial LIFE issues, such as immigration, refugees, and the US military’s activities, not to mention domestic systemic racism, and I could go on. It is such a burden on me that our church, Christ’s body, is blind to how Jesus would behave. He actually didn’t get involved in politics…. had to be a revolutionary for that with the Roman occupation, like Simon the zealot had been…. No, Jesus just went straight to people’s hearts with the Kingdom of God. I wonder if more of the church in the USA got unstuck from all the political speeches and propaganda, and focused on grassroots ministries down where Jesus would be, if more Light would shine and the Kingdom would grow in a way that people would look more like Jesus.
    Right now, it’s the church in Asia that is growing like crazy, and often due to the small discipleship ministries people to people, family to family, village to village. Jesus is doing the same miracles there that he did 2,000 years ago. Our mistake is in mixing our expectations of our government becoming more “Christian” via our votes. According to the Word, that’s not going to happen, not until Jesus is ruling.
    Thank you for sharing again. It encourages me, that I am also not alone. I also want to keep my focus on Jesus himself, follow his sandals as they kick up dust on the path ahead of me. I want to listen to every word, and understand with his Holy Spirit’s help, and apply it. But just as his disciples were a minority, so will we be. Thank you for being strong for the rest of us, Jacci. Thank you Lord for making Jacci the voice she is. May Jacci and Dave follow you ever close, being brave to obey You first, whether they fit or not. And help us do the same.

    Like

    • Thank you Denise. I really, really understand the fish bowl thing. I had to be so careful for so many years. Thank you for sharing and being in this with us! JT

      Like

  4. summer

    To be honest, I’d love to see evangelist culture stay in the past where it belongs. Evangelism takes a person out of the world and they can’t relate to people on any level, and can’t speak to them without getting preachy. No one wants to be preached at. Show how much of a Christian one is through action, people are tired of listen to bible verses.

    Like

    • Summer, thanks for your comment. We might be confusing terms though. An evangelist is somone who preaches the gospel as you have indicated. I’m referring to the evangelical church culture, which is different, although there is some overlap. But either way, yes, it is no fun to be preached at that is for sure!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: