I have been writing, creatively, since I was in middle school. I have always found an easy outlet for my life experience in writing poetry. Writing a poem allows me to capture emotion and thought with imagery without having to decipher between the two in any analytical way. Poetry doesn’t require me to write concise thoughts in sentences like a great playwright. I can write one general “hunch” into a poem. Each time I read the poem, it discloses much to me about my mind and the emotions that feed my thoughts and motivate my actions.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church as a preacher’s kid. My early childhood upbringing left me entertained through the many worlds and characters that grew within my imagination. The land, the food, the songs, stories, homework and silent moments of reality were all a part of that world. They were in no way disconnected from me. Growing up in an environment that was theatrical, thanks to my mother’s influence as a drama teacher and stage director, where I was allowed to experience God through the expressive community of Church made sense.
As I grew older in Church, I encountered bullies in the forms of people, institution, and dusty, unchecked theology. These bullies beckoned me to doubt myself and question my understanding of God. The dogmatic structure, from the most rigid traditional denominations to the most symbolic and mystic affairs of liturgical churches, always left me kicked out to the curb looking for a ride—I sought a new bus to take me home where I could let my weeping heart cry, scream and remake itself over again.
I began writing a memoir a few years ago, and began to see the theme of bullies that have crept into my life as I have grown from age ten to a thirty-something adult. My refuge from the bullies I encountered in my religious life was often found in the theatre. When bullies dared enter that domain, I could identify them (unlike my experiences in the Church) and refused to let them steal the spiritual fulfillment from the sanctuary of the stage. After completing a discernment process for ministry in the Christian Church, and meeting a closed door once again, I sought a deeper, larger spirituality to make my peace with God and those who had invaded my sacred personal space on that journey.
God Is Not a Bully: A Not-So-Churchy Memoir tells my story of regaining a lost childhood freedom in my adult life, after the bullies invaded the playground, and ultimately, how I chose to take it all back. The journey, even though tough at times, made the arrival all the more rich. In honor of the great vehicle of poetry that has allowed me to express the most complicated of thought-emotions, I have included a theme encompassing poem at the end of each chapter.
A colleague and friend of mine has dared to enter this journey with me as editor. We have worked for sixth months now, editing content. As we continue to solidify final language edits and make the manuscript as clean as possible, I write this first blog. I will continue to share my story of life and journey towards publication of God Is Not a Bully along the way.
I hope you will consider joining me on this quest. I promise it will be inspiring, truthful, raw, and always served with a wedge of quirky humor. I can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, this blog and website, and my newsletter. Once caught in the monkey bars of my own life, I have now taken back the playground and the real excitement has just begun.