It began in high school, I believe. I sat in the front row. Metal crates were connected beneath the desks for us girls to store our books during class. The theology teacher was new but, like most teachers who try to connect with students, she kept a shoebox on her desk with pieces of paper and pencils for students to leave questions. “Anything you want,” she clarified. “I will answer anything. Theology related or not.” One Thursday morning, after announcements and prayer, she swirled her hand through the shoebox. She unfolded a thick index card and, out loud, she read, “Is it okay to attend a gay wedding?” Before answering, she refolded the card and tossed it into the recycle bin. “No, it’s not okay. It is sinful.”
It is three years later and I am at my desk trying to pin point where the shift began. I think theology class might be a good place to start but still I am uncertain. Last night I saw a movie with my mom. We stopped for coffee afterward. She drank a cinnamon latte. I had hot chocolate. With our fingertips, we broke off pieces of a coconut bar and placed them in our mouths. A song played throughout the coffee shop. It was a song I had only heard before in passing or mindlessly while driving. But last night I heard it differently.
“What is a renegade?” I asked my mom. She reached for her phone and adjusted her reading glasses. After a few seconds of typing she said, “Renegade. Adjective. Having abandoned one’s religious beliefs.”