To read the first part of these posts, go to I. Betrayal
As described in the previous section, I was angry. I was angry at the individuals who I had thought lied to me. The church had taught me that God was a being who only cared for my personal wellbeing and not the wellbeing of other people who are being oppressed by structures of white supremacy and patriarchy. I realized how the church didn’t necessarily lie to me, they simply didn’t know about these matters just as much as I didn’t. Nonetheless, I felt stupid and ill prepared for the world outside of the chapel doors.
What was so fascinating about the progression of my anger towards the church was that I was (and still am) attending a college that preached the same rhetoric as my church back home. Even though they were two separate entities, they still stood for the same beliefs. Since that belief system had wrecked me and left me adrift, I subconsciously developed a plan to get revenge. I saw this belief system as false and oppressive and I wanted to change it so that it wouldn’t hurt another individual again.
In the time that I sought revenge against evangelicalism, my search for my identity was a never-ending process. Whether it was an individual, a specific author or a certain field of study, I was looking for something that I could confidently place my identity in that would guide my thoughts and actions. As helpful as it was to place my identity in these different pursuits, nothing was as captivating as my faith in God had once been. My faith in God had an endurance that lasted through the years. Many of these other “identity pursuits” had an appeal that only lasted for a few months.
Throughout these past couple years in my searching for a new identity, I still have had a desire to take revenge against the evangelical tradition that previously screwed me over. It has only recently been made apparent to me that I have burrowed my identity in my pursuit of revenge and resistance against the evangelical tradition. Evangelicalism was my life and my identity. When that identity was shattered because evangelicalism hadn’t taught me enough about reality, I ended up finding my identity in opposition to evangelicalism.
In my new-found identity of resistance against evangelicalism, I have made some poor decisions and have made unfair judgements about certain individuals that I labeled to be the “enemy.” I write Betrayal and Revenge to reconcile my identity. I don’t want my identity to be grounded in an anger against evangelical Christianity. If I continue to follow this path, my life will be unfulfilled and my joy will be sucked from me. My joy and life will be drained by this pursuit because I will never win. I will never win because evangelical Christianity is much bigger than I am and one person doesn’t have the power to topple a whole religion. Furthermore, I would not just be contending against evangelicalism, but I would also be fighting against myself in my desire to attain an identity that looks similar to the one I had in my “God-fearing” days.
I don’t know if I will ever find a singular identity that I can confidently associate with. Honestly, I am okay with that (I think). There are parts of myself that I celebrate, such as my identities as a son, brother, boyfriend, and good friend to others. I identify as a writer and a photographer and I want to keep doing those things. Also, just because I will forsake my identity as an avenger against evangelicalism, it doesn’t mean that I won’t resist certain aspects of the evangelical tradition that I think to be oppressive and hurtful. My resistance will be balanced with other aspects of my life.