Sarah Sentilles, Breaking Up with God: A Love Story (HarperOne, 2011) will be released on 7 June. In an interview with Religion Dispatches, she refers to the Christian mysogyny and narrow-minded beliefs she encountered while training for ministry.
I was almost an Episcopal priest, and now I don’t call myself a Christian … I had been telling people that I left institutional Christianity because the church was sexist—which is true—but I also left institutional Christianity because my faith in God had changed dramatically. I no longer believed what I had once believed. I also told people that I lost faith in God, but I realized that isn’t exactly right either. I didn’t lose my faith. I left it.
People assume I’m an atheist, but I’m not. I don’t know what I am, but if I had to choose a label I’d choose agnostic…. I hope to help people see the wide range of possible ways to think about God. There are so many more versions of God in the Christian theological tradition than most people know about. Why has our own tradition been kept from us? And I’m not just talking about feminist and liberation and black and womanist and queer theology, which I wish everyone would read. I’m also talking about the old white male theologians who wrote amazing stuff—like Freidrich Schleiermacher and Paul Tillich. These guys wrote powerful, revelatory, life-changing stuff about God, and I feel like most theology has been lost and forgotten, or just plain ignored.
Is there a book out there you wish you had written? Which one? Why?
Yes. I wish I’d written the Bible. If I could even rewrite just a few passages and stories, the world would look a whole lot different than it does now.