this is/not a safe space

Below is a poem written by Mac Shannon that explores the lack of safe space - or the lack of continuing safe space - within Christian communities. Mac writes, "So far, I have been effectually excluded from, pushed out of, or "well-meaningly lectured" out of all groups, and this has angered and hurt me quite a lot. The lack of openness within the Christian community has always bothered me and over time the pain of this exclusion compounds."

“this is a safe space”

you sent me to a month of christian camp the summer that I came out to you- a young (gay) scared child you would think that the (scared) (child) part would come to mind first, but it didn’t. they made me run miles upon miles of hills, threw bible verses and prayers at me like it would cure my fear, or rather, cure the gay out of the (scared) child i was nothing less than terrified self hating i ran with rocks wedged into my shoes so that they would slash my calves open, when the boy in my group pointed it out, i pretended that i was surprised.

most nights i woke up sweating like i was already in hell. i was, wasn’t i?

“but this is a safe space”

love the sinner, hate the sin, but I couldn’t separate the “sins” from who i was, tried to kill myself twice that year didn’t care when my doctor over-prescribed my anti-depressants walked around so drugged that I couldn’t think clearly, couldn’t love, couldn’t crush, couldn’t seem to exist outside of my head maybe this was the answer, am i still gay am i still gay am i still gay played spin the bottle four minutes before i’d speed home to meet curfew, drank too many bottles to forget worked out four, five, six hours a day lost weight until my body was a perfect girl lightheaded hallways and doctor’s visits is this a safe space?

“this is a safe space”

i was dragged to my pastor given stacks of papers to read about how homosexuality is the worst kind of downfall it is difficult to see yourself demonized that was the night i tore my skin apart for the first time in months refused to eat for weeks is this what redemption looks like "this is true love i have your best interests in mind—" that is what he told me, years before he was kicked out for lack of truths my father felt betrayed i had been cast aside long before the entire church there is no such thing as perfect community

“this is a safe space”

another pastor told my mother that true love was tough love, and that in order for me to truly appreciate my recreation she was to tear away all support the only thing that i learned was that nobody will help you and nobody will believe you except yourself. that is not the gospel; “good news” and love thy neighbor, that is damnation and judgement, all the things that my sunday school teachers told me were not a part of church by “loving the sinner and hating the sin” and you have cast me out locked yourself in i wonder who wakes up burning at night.