How many of you read the “Poem for Jesus” by Colleen Sutherland? Confession time. I wrote it. But that should come as no surprise.
Colleen Sutherland, you could say, is my alter ego; the main character in my book The Brimstone Legacy. She is the new student at Brimstone Biblical Academy who just doesn’t quite fit in, much like me at her age. Of course, who could possibly fit in at a school like Brimstone, unless of course, you fit their mold– the self-righteous, Bible Thumpin’, thoroughly washed in the blood and eagerly awaiting the imminent return of Christ- by -Christmas -break crowd. (Yes, they become convinced Jesus is coming back by Christmas, and they teach Bible Thumping as a bonafide academic discipline! Don’t believe me?- Check it out! Did I mention I had so much fun writing this?)
Simply stated, the “Poem for Jesus” is the poem I always wanted to write, but was afraid to. If you read my book, you will see that Colleen drafts this poem, but she never turns it in to her teacher- and for very good reasons. You just don’t question God’s word or the authority of the good Christian folks at Brimstone Biblical Academy! This book describes exactly the way I felt growing up in Christian school; spiritually stifled and locked into a sick form of literalism. To question “God’s word” was to place myself in danger of hellfire and brimstone- the very thing I feared most- and let’s not even talk about my fears of the Rapture and endtimes!
So, now at thirty, guess what? I’m free to question! I’m free to write! I’m free to be me! That which was considered sin and rebellion in my years at “Brimstone Academy” is now a celebration of a divine gift- the gift of my mind; the freedom to question; the freedom to break the silence and speak out against all that has happened as the result of years upon years of brainwashing! And this is exactly what I wish for you in your recovery from fundamentalism- the freedom to speak out and celebrate your own liberation from a lifetime of restrictive religion! Whether we still choose to believe in God or not, or whether we have redefined “God” altogether does not really matter in the end. All that matters is that we know from where we have come and where we are going, and that we never give up in our search for truth. It is the search for truth that will set us free!