Stuff Christian Culture Likes (SCCL), a Twitter account, Facebook page and website run by Stephanie Drury, has been a revelation for me. It has shown just how deep bigotry and misogyny (to name two) runs in churches and Christian doctrines. Posts about rocking worship, dates with hot wives and pastors spending millions on mansions, is usually my cue to pour a glass of Baileys. They may seem like harmless statements, but when Mark Driscoll posts about wives being submissive and Jesus being a pansy, you suddenly realise how the church grossly misrepresents Christ and these seemingly harmless statements aren’t quite so harmless.
It’s abuse, plain pure and simple. Abuse isn’t just about the physical, being taught doctrines about your religion so that you fall into line and comply with whatever you’re told (usually out of fear for the repercussions) is psychological abuse. Stephanie describes herself as a survivor of many abuses, I only know about being bullied at school which was bad enough. The church has and continues today to make every effort to downplay these abuses and cover them up. Stephanie ensures they don’t get away with it. SCCL does so much more than that. It’s a place where people can come and share their experiences, express hurt and pain and vent anger and begin the healing process. This simply can’t happen in the sterile environment of the church where you’re not allowed to be angry and labels every criticism as cynicism. Churches simply don’t understand that people need to grieve, grieving involves anger and anger is raw and rarely rational. People need to go through this stage to even begin the process of forgiving; SCCL allows people the space and doesn’t put a timetable on it.
This raw emotion can make the SCCL Facebook page a very hard page to read, and emotions sometimes overflow. The attacks on other people do get quite personal which is why I can understand (to an extent) the push back Stephanie and the site members get. There is a line between calling someone out on something and just outright abuse, and sometimes that line is crossed. You can say “what you just said was unkind” but saying “I’m not a kind person” is a very different statement entirely and that is the line. If you’re dealing with something like homophobia, then crossing the line can be even more devastating because of the power that word has. It’s not always easy to see the line and people don’t always see the difference when they are on the receiving end of the criticism. More often than not, the line is crossed by members of the Facebook group rather than Stephanie herself which does raise of the question of how much responsibility does Stephanie bear for that? To start banning people would be to treat them as they have been treated in the past which completely defeats the purpose of the site existing in the first place. Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility (which the internet is not known for) and ensuring you act in love not malice. Doesn’t always work but I much prefer the line be crossed and it all get very messy than it simply be swept under the carpet and ignored.
The biggest injustice is the silence not being able to have a voice. SCCL provides that. They give each other strength, help each other up. It may not look like it if you’re the subject but then the question you should be asking is “why am I the subject?”It’s a shame places like SCCL have to exist separate from the church, it’s just another example of how the church utterly fails to really engage with the complexities of people; it would much rather people be quiet about it. I have perpetuated this myself by remaining quiet and letting others (like Stephanie) fight the battle instead. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. I’ve been battered for trying before. SCCL has made me look at myself and it’s not comfortable. My favourite saying used to be “you don’t fight to win, you fight because it’s something worth fighting for” People are worth fighting for.
So what do I do now?
To read an interview with Stephanie, check out http://mikeduran.com/2013/10/interview-w-stephanie-drury-of-stuff-christian-culture-likes/