Tuesday, December 8, 2009

why i left. part one.


that word leaves a nasty, nasty taste in my mouth.

there's the history that goes with it. stripping people of their culture and beliefs, forcing european standards as the only way to get to heaven.

though that forced conversion is nothing compared to modern missions.

i tried to get over it. i did. i became a missionary. but in the episcopal church at that point we werecalled volunteers. i'd have rather been a missionary. it's like the church didn't want to own up to what they were part of.

my year of service was interesting to say the least, and in the end i left. not just being a missionary but the episcopal church as well. and, to be real honest, it took me 4 years to go back to church at all. and even still i'm not thrilled about it.

that's not the point of my post though. the point is. i'm not a big fan of missionaries. especially in the dr. and that's not to say i don't have friends who are missionaries or that i hate the people.


i have a really hard time reconciling some things. like how do you work with the poorest of the poor and go home at night to your mansion? to your country club membership? to the nanny who is raising your kids or the thousands-of-dollars-per year education for your children?

i mean, i guess it's somewhat necessary to compartmentalize so as not to burn out or become a ridiculous zealot. but still.

and i know that it's not all people.

i just get really frustrated when i get dirty, dirty looks from those same missionaries when i tell them i left. and that i no longer participate in organized missions (but that we continue to be active members of our communities, giving our time, energy and money to ministries... on a very local level). and that we sometimes go to that baptist church down the street. and sometimes to that non-denominational church across from the supermarket.

as if our church hopping is not suitable for an ex-missionary.

all of this has a point of something that happened this weekend that made me realize, again, why i left. i'll write about it tomorrow, but in order to tell you that i had to tell you this.

and if you made it this far without trying to spit in my face through your computer, please know that i'm aware that not all missionaries are nasty. and not all live in mansions and not all compartmentalize their lives. i have two very dear friends who are missionaries that i love and adore. it's just that my vast experience has been dominated by the other kind of missionary.

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