Some people are of the opinion that one needs to be a certain age or have a certain amount of “life experience” before they earn the right to write a memoir.
I’m 25 and wrote my first memoir at 22. I’m contemplating writing a second.
The only reason I’m considering this is because the kind of memoir I am interested in reading does not exist. At least not that I know of.
There are a plethora of memoirs out there about finding faith, losing it, and the grueling process of finding it again (see Addie Zierman’s When We Were on Fire, Elizabeth Esther’s Girl at the End of the World, and Rachel Held Evans’ Faith Unraveled for some awesome examples). But one thing these women have in common is their faith journey began in a church from early childhood. If you know me at all, you know that is not my life.
I want to read more books about people who chose Christianity after growing up in an environment that was staunchly against it.
I want to read more books about people who continue to choose Christianity despite the inevitable bumper-car effect of old cultural mores clashing with new ones; of old lingo that doesn’t jell with a new spiritual vocabulary; and the Pariah Syndrome that comes with being one of few people in your church with this particular background, which you are not ashamed of, but refuse to talk about because you are a person who desires to make friends, not some Show and Tell presentation.
If those books exist, I have yet to find them. It is my hope that if I were to write a book like this, it will bring other people with similar experiences out of the woodwork and into my favorite coffee shop to talk to me.
As of now, the people who share or at least relate to these experiences live in my laptop, not in my city. They can be found in organizations like Christians for Biblical Equality, but they live all over the world, not down the street.
The idea of “biblical equality” started with the idea that women can and should be able to lead people as male pastors do. But I want to take this definition further and expand it for people who worship differently than the “mainstream” Christian does: people who find standing during worship songs uncomfortable (and sometimes the lyrics tacky); people who feel squeamish when asked to pray out loud before a group; people who long for community but feel excluded because they aren’t extroverted or “outwardly spiritual” enough.
“Biblical equality” can mean that your worship is as valid and meaningful as my worship. I don’t see this idea expressed often enough.
I’m currently working on a piece that I hope to submit to a popular blogger as a guest post, so it won’t appear on my blog yet. But I hope to use it as a starting point for the maybe-memoir I might write. Because when it comes to improving community and making all members of the body of Christ feel welcome, there’s not enough paper in the world to discuss it.