If you are a good Christian woman, you are supposed to be innocent. The way to remain innocent as an adult woman is to abstain from life.
You cannot become virginal, you can only remain so. It’s not enough to avoid sex, you need to also avoid me. There are legitimate warnings people make against a man and a woman praying alone together. It’s too intimate.
You are supposed to be faithful too. If something bad happens, “God has a reason.” The ideology this phrase comes from is called “Calvinism” and it means that God has predetermined every single thing, ever. Of course it’s awesome for white Christians in the land of plenty to believe their minor set-backs are part of a larger plan for their prosperity. I’ve yet to met a Calvinist from an economically destitute country.
Faith in this context is an absence of doubt, not the perseverance in spite of it. No one remembers the man in Mark 9:24 that said “I believe! Help my unbelief!”
Doubt is something to dance around, not dive into. Your stock goes down if you’re unsure, or if you’re open to exploring new ideas. Simone Weil says you never have to be afraid if something that isn’t Christian seems True because Jesus is Truth and he wouldn’t be upset if you chase what you think might be True, because you’ll always find him. That idea is trust. It’s faith in it’s most badass incarnation.
A good Christian man doesn’t want to save himself for an analytical wife. One that offers questions instead of cliches. He doesn’t want someone with dirty hands, that’s been out in the world instead of avoiding it. If you can’t end an argument with “I just know in my heart that this is true” you’re going to feel out of place. A lot.
This is why I cannot be in a community of Christians, even though we might all have a lot in common. I can’t believe that curiosity is a bad thing, unless the only criteria that matters is luck to be born into the right circumstances (and religion) and the self control not to lift your head up and look around at any point during your life.
Like Rilke, I have too much trust. He says, “You, my own deep soul, trust me. I will not betray you.”
I can’t trust that I was born into a family and an education system that would hand me exactly the narrative about life and the eternal that happened to be correct. I can trust my soul, though, my communion with the spirit I feel exists (whatever name you wish to call it), I can trust that there’s a reason humans have brains and that we’ve spent thousands and thousands of years learning how to use them. My ideas and beliefs are so mired in this tiny, tiny piece of space and history I occupy. God knows this. I wouldn’t be disappointed in an ant, for not understanding all the parts of me because he happens to run across my foot. And what is an ant’s understanding to my ego, anyways?
I don’t think God’s ego is so easily shattered that my searching around to understand Truth and the world around me is going to be found offensive. We’re made to do something and whatever the voice inside you is telling you to do, I trust that’s a good place to start.