I thought I would write to let you know that despite everything that has happened between us I am doing well. To be honest in the forty years I have known you I can see now the fear you have for yourself, the pain you are in because you are slowly dying and that is a scary thing to have to accept. As your congregations shrink, as new ideas about the rights of human beings and what it is to be one change you must be so scared as you watch yourself whither. I’m sorry, I truly am and if I can help. I will, but you need to accept that the choices you made lead you to the state you are in. You are riddled with cancers, old ways of controlling mankind that have no place in a modern world or even the faith that you profess. Yet you have allowed your leaders to keep those beliefs alive. You have in being silent, not allowing yourself to grow, you have allowed yourself to die and within a few short years the church you love will be gone. It won’t be Satan who has won when the final door closes, it will be through your own neglect and unwillingness to follow the Christ you profess as your saviour.
Part of you is scared and I understand that. Thirty years ago the thought of being able to write in one country and have your words read immediately by any person on the globe was a dream, but today its a reality. With every day new technologies appear that threaten the stances you have been comfortable with for so long. If you truly wish to survive you need to learn to see how faith IS different from religion. How the old men leading you are also killing the things you love, the people you love. They will tell you that only a few can be chosen and that is their judgement. Jesus tells me that I have the right through him, not man, to get through those pearly gates. So please, I know it hurts but forgive me if I see your men in purple or red as just that, men. Jesus never said that anyone was infallible. Even Paul or Peter, both of whom he loved, he loved as much for their flaws as their triumphs, he understood to be men and therefore fallible. Your popes, your archbishops, your cardinals are just men in costumes playing at being something that they aren’t. And while you allow them to hide what they do and condemn others out of hand you will continue to die. The lesson I learned all those years ago is that it’s impossible to embrace somebody who refuses to embrace you.
There was a time when a black man was thought of as an animal, not even human. There was a time when women had to remain silent, had to wear hats. There was a time when you justified the death of entire continents because they were heathen. But over the years you have seen the error of those bad ways of thinking, and saw that they were people, just like you, who have a right to find their god in their own way. Would you seriously still ask my sister to be silent and cover her head in church? Would you still say that she was her husband’s property? I don’t need to defend her because I know the response you would get from her when you told her to do it. So good luck with trying to bring that one back. But the old men keep finding groups for you to hate. Where once it was the Jews, the Africans, the women, now front and center are the homosexuals as the destroyers of morality. In fact they are blaming us so that you don’t hear the shredders destroying all those documents from the last thousand years. Its easy to blame a group who you have set up as a scapegoat. They taught you to hate us and so you naturally believe we are capable of every crime we are accused of. Remember that line that appears in all the best legal codes? Innocent until proven guilty. You condemned us without trial or evidence and keep trotting out the line because they tell you its your salvation. Please think for yourself for once, and see you created the broken lives and warped identities and begin to actively heal the wounds.
When the old men you follow are called upon to admit their guilt they make sweeping apologies that have no substance, and do nothing to heal the wounds that they have created. They choose first to protect the institution rather than choosing to be like Christ and heal what they made sick. Until you choose to follow your faith as you believe it, not how you have been conditioned to believe, then you walk in the footsteps of men not Christ. Until you choose to make your leaders truly accountable and tear down the walls they have put between humans and God, you will see your children and your children’s children pushed away from God at best, and at worst learning that they are unacceptable, unworthy, have no hope because a man has told them so. Will you choose to reinforce words that Jesus never would have spoken to them?
When you rejected me I was hurt and so I made bad choices with my life. Because the pain was so great and I had no one else that I could turn to, I stumbled for years believing there was no hope and that I was ugly. But after stumbling for twenty four years, I want to tell you that I forgive you. I forgive you for believing that you could decide what was right for me, for turning me away from a God who actually loves me for the incredible creation I am. I even forgive you for turning my friends and family against me. That, perhaps, was the hardest thing because I have had to learn that it wasn’t my family, it was you telling them that they should hate and threatening them with rejection if they failed to tow the line. I don’t blame them for doing it, but I have had to learn to forgive you for forcing them to choose. I even forgive you for turning years where I should have been able to be hugged and loved by my family into years of desert living.
But with a niece on the way I have to look at the next generation. Should she find herself outside your rules, no matter how, I will stand beside her, tell her just how beautiful she is, and how much God loves her. While I had no one to do it for me I choose to see your institution die cold and alone before you harm one hair on her head. From me she will learn that every human being is beautiful and that no human has a right to say who is acceptable and who isn’t. I would die rather than see her rejected by the paper tiger of religion.
There is still hope for you. If you can learn to admit your guilt, admit the specifics and be held accountable for all the death and pain that you have committed, then perhaps, just perhaps, you will find the world can begin to love you again. If you can’t, then I will be there at the funeral, not laughing but grieving, because it will have been a life wasted. A life spent pursuing a thirst for power and a lust to subjugate people you had no right to. I forgive you but hands off my niece.