I just followed your Twitter account today. I’ve been reading the stories on here from others. A lot of this looks familiar. I was enrolled at a Christian School when I was 12 years old (entering 7th grade). For 6 years, I was basically told to “follow the rules, or you’re going to hell.” (Okay, that last part may be a bit extreme, but I said that to make my point.) You were to NEVER question the principal, the pastors that came in to preach weekly chapel, your teachers, your parents, or authorities. No matter what. I saw girls in my classes humiliated because their dress was 3/8″ short of the “required length.” I got busted for not shaving one time my Sr. year. Guys and girls weren’t allowed to sit together on the bus or anywhere else. “RAWK MUZIK” was of the devil himself. Needless to say, legalism really skewed my perspective of faith.
Oh, and did I mention I was constantly mocked, ridiculed, and made fun of? Yeah. I had legalism drilled in to me for 6 years. It really messed with who I was and my faith. Anytime you messed up, you were made to feel guilty.
I struggled with my faith after graduation and going out into the “secular world.” For a while, I put it on the back burner. Then, I abandoned it for a while. It wasn’t until I met my most recent girlfriend that she showed me “grace, not guilt.” Convinced me to give church another try, and I’m glad I did. I now realize that showing grace to someone instead of drilling them full of guilt is how we should live our life for Christ. It’s showing His Love, not His Wrath (God can do that on His own, He doesn’t need our help.)
I’m about to add your podcast into my lineup. Can’t wait to go down this rabbit hole.