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“As a Good Christian, I Can’t Understand How You Can Do That & Be a Good Person”

·492 words·3 mins

“As someone who was raised Christian,” she says, “I can’t understand why you are the way you are, especially because you seem like such a good person.”

It’s not the first time someone has said something like this to me. Not by a long shot. But it’s still funny to hear… because I was raised Christian, too. Catholic precisely. I was the youngest daughter in a devoutly Catholic family. I went to mass at least once a week every week until I was officially confirmed. Went on Catholic youth retreats, eventually led icebreakers there as a youth leader (yes, really). Acted at my small town church as a lector, the person who reads scriptures during masses. I went off in a different direction spiritually, but I was certainly raised in the church. Had a lot of exposure to its teachings.

Hokey pokey style, I threw my whole self in — and one day after years and years of trying and failing to fit in there and make the teachings make the sense I desperately wanted them to, I threw my whole self out.

My mother has always had a strong Catholic identity. She’s a leader in a charitable organization that does fundraisers for that same church.

One of my sisters is the church organist.

My grandmother is a eucharistic minister, which means she helps give out the communion wafers and wine to parishioners during mass, and she led an intensive Bible study night class for years.

“Someone Who Was Raised Christian”

When someone starts talking about “someone who was raised Christian,” I have a hard time making assumptions. Some of us leave the church, like I did. Others stay, like my mother and grandmother. But even those who stay aren’t all the same in the way that they view the world, in their level of tolerance and understanding of people who live differently.

My mother tends to be very closeminded and has a very set notion of how she thinks others should be. Meanwhile, my grandma is incredibly open minded and socially progressive. She tends to be fairly conservative in how she personally lives, but she’s always been supportive of people who were different. My mother is notoriously homophobic; my grandmother is supportive of LGBT rights.

And the argument that a certain upbringing should make you less open to other people is always curious to me — because my progressive grandmother is more religiously devout than my mother. And she certainly knows more about scripture and the history of the church.

You see, labels are funny things. People don’t all use them the same.

Maybe you don’t understand why I don’t conform to your sense of normalcy. Maybe it surprises you that a person can be fundamentally good and still opt to do life differently than you.

That’s fine. And I can understand why that combination might surprise you.

But I don’t think it’s just because you were raised Christian.



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