Love you. But I’m Not Going Back In The Box For Any Of You.

Over the course of this last year, I’ve seen a number of friends shake their heads and even their fingers in lament at the “changes” they’ve seen in me.


And I have made a few changes.


I changed political parties. True.


I’ve become more active in the blogging community and thus more vocal on issues I’m passionate about — advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and my brothers and sisters of color.


I’m disappointed in my former churches and fellow Christians when it comes to their resistance to rooting out abuse, misogyny, and bigotry within their ranks.


And I’m absolutely done with being shushed about any of it.


But I’m still the same person.


I’m just not stuffing. Not making myself small. I’m not whispering and waiting for someone else to speak up and say what I want to say.  I’m opening my own mouth — opening it a little wider and speaking a little louder than I’ve ever allowed myself to before.


I can tell you, though, those who’ve sat or stood closest to me over the years are not in the least surprised.   


I’ve always had a heart for the underdog. I’ve long been a fan of Beyoncé, Eminem, Missy Elliott, and the like — edgy, raunchy lyrics and all. 


And the word “FUCK” does not bother me.


Rape, Brutality, Racism, and Inequality, these bother me.


True, my views on some things have shifted, changed, progressed over time and experience. But it’s precisely because I know this about myself that I’ve chosen to keep an open mind when it comes to others and their experiences. I don’t like when people discount me or mine, so I’m mindful to not discount them in theirs — it’s that important to me.


I like my new-found voice. I like having the right to stand firm in my beliefs, change my mind, or have my mind changed. I like having friends who give me the time, space, and freedom to do so — not on their timetables, but on mine — and that’s the kind of friend I like to be to others.


Some “friends” and family have not been fine with this. They’ve given up on me because they’ve realized their views and mine — or the ones they’re just now hearing about — aren’t in perfect alignment anymore, if they ever were.


They’re baffled at where I stand and my willingness to admit it. I’m baffled they’re baffled and so willing to walk away.


But this is me. It’s always been me. It’s just out loud now. And I’m not going back in the box for any of you.


Love you. But no.


And don’t worry. I still love Jesus, and Jesus still loves me.


Photo Credit: Adi Korndoffer — Inside the box

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      1. Caroline

        I want to stand with you. I’d like you to be president.


  1. ·

    Excellent post , Laura . Many of us are in this same boat. Glad to be your brother in Christ !

  2. cam

    Well, it’s the first post I’ve read, and yep, we definitely have a lot in common. One friend who was angry at me for supporting the Standing Rock protest told me (with the intent to shame), “You’ve changed SO much.” I basically told her what you’ve said here. “Yes, I have changed. And I can’t change back just to please you.”

    1. Laura Haines

      We do. 🙂 And I agree. I’m not going back to being a wallflower for anybody. I didn’t like me then. I like me now. This feels right. I hate the word resonate because I’ve heard it used too much in God-slobbery ways, but what I’m doing in standing up for and alongside those who other Christians want to silence and shove to the side resonates with what I know and love about Jesus. I feel those vibrations of rightness all the way down to my wishbone.

  3. BJ

    I’m proud to call you family…and a friend.

  4. Beth

    Yes, all of this. I’ve gone on this same journey, perhaps a but in advance of you.

    I remember learning about the special sink at church for disposing of excess communion wine. I went in search of a religion that would treat the rest of the earth as carefully as the Lutherans treated the wine. I found it in neopaganism, but also found so many similarities to Lutheranism that I came to believe that all religions stem ultimately from the same Almighty, that all the strife is from man, not a difference in deities.

    So now I’m a sort of non-practicing deist who strongly believes in the golden rule and the WWJD principle. Because Jesus would flip a table and ruthlessly pursue justice.

  5. Paul Appleby

    You are an inspiration!

  6. Christine

    So often we are liked for the predictable person we are in the box, which is only a shadow of our real self. Then we get healthy and begin to express our heart. A new and vibrant person shows up, and we can say what we feel and act on our convictions. Some people cannot deal with this new person and will cut the cord. Jesus never took the easy route.


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