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No Longer Hooked

By Julia H ~

No one should have to make this journey alone.

But I have.

I’m 54, and left all the competing versions of Christianity fighting over my soul when I was 22 years old.

Raised as a traditional Catholic until I was 10 or 11, my parents began adding to it...first the Charismatic Movement, then a Covenanted Christian Community, then the Fundamentalist high school I went to. During high school, I went to Mass Sunday mornings, Community gatherings Sunday afternoon, Monday through Friday was the anti-science, Biblical literalism that passed for an education, Wednesday evening often a Community gathering, Saturday evening Community gathering. Of course, all these groups were convinced that the others had it wrong and were going to hell. To be honest, I don’t know how my parents were able to combine all of this into the shitshow that was my upbringing.

Spock saved me.

I always loved Spock, and from early childhood, he was the personification of the Reason in my mind that kept me from utterly losing myself to the crazy around me.

But, I was still quite lost in it. After all, I was an emotionally neglected kid looking for approval from parents who would never give it.

My brother, who was extremely close to me, died when I was 19 (he was 21), and my “Christian” friends quickly distanced themselves from me, and urged me to reject any mourning process. My pastor, the former principal of my tiny high school even used my brother in an attempt to divert attention away from growing criticism of himself.

Throughout my adult life I have cycled repetitively away from and back to some version of Christianity. At every low point in my life, I would reach out for it, for the stability, the identity, the promise of control over things that overwhelmed me. Each time had the same pattern: I would become susceptible, “repent”, go to whichever church I was exploring, be fanatical, until about 6 weeks in, when I would wake up one morning and say “WTF am I doing?”.

Each time, my recovery would be a little deeper. Each time, when I awoke from the spell, I could see a little more clearly what trapped me, what lured me, and what repelled me.

With this presidency, this Congress, this fundamentalist backed regime, I am finally cured. I see in this political climate the results of the grooming that was going on through these religions. I can see how people are into the identity of being a Christian, and that their belief in their own moral superiority is a fantasy. I no longer have the hook in my heart that I cannot be good without them.

With this Pennsylvania investigation of the pedophile rings in Philadelphia’s Catholic church, I’m finally ready to refuse to be involved, even with relatives, in anything which touches on the Catholic Church. I may have to make an exception for funerals, but I won’t participate in any of the regular, holiday, any of that.

For many years, I’ve lost my voice, silenced by those who invalidated what I said before I opened my mouth, because I wasn’t their version of “righteous”.

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