Spiritual Time Travel

TJ’s MacBook was on the fritz for most of last week, so I lent him mine and dusted off my old Dell desktop so I could partake in my usual web shenanigans and not suffer from catatonic schizophrenia. The clackity-clack-clack of the keyboard is like a virtual time machine, transporting me back to college in the late 90s/early 00s.

(For the record, I bought the Dell in 2002 and, like a technotronic pimp, maxed its RAM and hard drive capacity at the time. After a motherboard meltdown in 2006, it continued to be my primary connection to the world until I joined the cult of Steve Jobs in 2007. The Dell was then banished to the closet, where it would make brief appearances every once in a while, if only to access my old video clips of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.)

In any case, the most interesting thing I’ve rediscovered since the Dell’s latest resurrection is the list of old bookmarks I had on Internet Explorer linking to a number of pastors’ blogs. I visited those sites recently, noting how much these guys had changed (or not) and how many of them were still in business.

It’s been a fascinating trip down my spiritual memory lane, revisiting the priorities I had back then and reflecting on how much I’ve grown in my spirituality since.

In 2006, I was neck-deep in what I’d consider an ultra-religious, super-awesome, Kool-aid experience. The particular church I got involved in here in DC was terrific and showed me a “new” kind of Christian community. It was–for lack of a better word–cool. My time outside of work and grad school was almost exclusively occupied with church activities and with the Jesus people I met there. I became very close with some of them as I continued to immerse myself in the “lifestyle,” even as I abandoned my preconceived notions of appropriate churchwear and began wearing hipster eye- and footwear. I think the only thing I was missing was a WWJD armband.

I’ve always been a Jesus Freak, and I’d like to think that my immersion into this particular church community was 100% motivated by Jesus. But I’d be lying if I said that was true. I think I got caught up in the trappings of the “scene.” It was new, it was cool, and it was unlike any church community I had ever been in. (For one, people wore jeans to church. For two, the people who attended the church were super hot.) But in the process of becoming part of this community, I think I lost sight of who I was and who I knew God was calling me to be.

If anyone’s keeping track, I haven’t posted about my faith in a long, long while because in parting ways with this particular church community in 2007, I became somewhat embittered by my experiences with Christianity and organized religion in general. (I pretty much share in Ghandi’s sentiment: “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”)

What caused my leaving the church is a long, complicated story that I’m only now unraveling and processing in my own head. But it did have very much to do with my epiphany about what it really means to be both Christian and gay–to be true to oneself and true to what God made me to be. And quite honestly, that’s one of those questions that you’d need plenty of free time (and lots of beer) to tackle.

So there really isn’t a satisfying conclusion I can put here that won’t be the emotional equivalent of a “To Be Continued” banner frustrating the end of an engrossing episode of The X-Files. But revisiting blogs from Christian leaders whom I once revered brought back so many memories that I couldn’t quite keep them in. And I suspect that this is part of a larger and more sustained spiritual nudging that I’ve been experiencing–like one of those spiritual 2x4s that God loves to use–to get me to process my bitterness with Christianity so I can begin to heal and grow.

So, for now, to be continued…

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