I was never very comfortable with Christianity. Sitting in church made me uncomfortable; the church-goers seemed like judgmental, overbearing people who would jump at the chance to call you a sinner, if only to feel self-righteous.

Like most Midwestern families, we followed family traditions whether we understood them or not. We did these things – church, family holidays, etc. – because, well, just because we had always done it like that. I attending confirmation classes from age 8 to 15, waiting as patiently as a child can to break free of the teachings of The Church. I did it, though, because I knew it would make my grandmother happy. Of all of her grandchildren, my siblings and I were the only ones to get any sort of religious “training”. We were the good kids.

It seemed funny to me that my instructors used the same passages to teach us year after year, conveniently glossing over the dozens of passages about rape, murder, and slavery inflicted by people claiming that they are following God’s path. These were the good guys.

These are some of the passages that have led me to doubt the words of so-called Christians:

“When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house.  But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb.  After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife.  However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion.”  Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.   Exodus 21:7-11 NLT

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB

“Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked.  Show no mercy; have no pity!  Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children.  But do not touch anyone with the mark.  Begin your task right here at the Temple.”  So they began by killing the seventy leaders.  “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded.  “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill!  Go!”  So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.”  Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT

I could go on quoting scripture, but I won’t. This blog will be about my journey to finding a gentler spirituality.