Religion has been hard for me. I grew up without a church home. My father is not a Christian and has never attended church, as far as I know. My mother grew up in the church but I think that, within a marriage, it’s difficult to maintain a relationship with a church unless both partners are invested.

In school, science was my favorite subject. I loved learning how things work, how things are connected and I ultimately pursued a career in health care. I liked using what I learned in school, namely microbiology, to help patients.

I went to a liberal arts school and am a fairly moderate Democrat. I have friends and family who are gay and some of those friends are also Christians.

I have a lot of questions and not very many answers. 

Can I be a Christian and still believe in evolution? Can I believe in creation and evolution? Why are creationists so scathing about evolution? Is everything I learned in my science classes over the years (and this makes me so mad) the work of the devil? This dichotomy pushes me away from the church even as I know I need it.

Can I be a Christian and not take everything in the bible literally? If I take everything in the Bible literally and do not put it into context, I would likely be living as the property of a man, possibly along with other wives. I would have no rights of my own. I would have no rights over my body. I would have no job other than to submit to my husband. Without societal evolution, we would never have had the contributions we’ve had from women in literature, science, arts, politics, et. al.

Can I be a Christian and not consider something a sin even though I have no intention of committing that sin? If I don’t believe a loving homosexual relationship is a sin in God’s eyes, can I not be a Christian? If I, a heterosexual woman, have no intention of committing that sin, am I still able to be a part of a church? Do I have to pray for their immortal soul and essentially allow them to be condemned to hell if they do not repent? This is where religion, for me, gets difficult.

I’ve struggled with these issues for the past few years and, while I’m still a member of a church, attending Sunday School and Bible Study, learning all I can with no intention of leaving, I still wonder and worry.

My mother-in-law was, in fact, the one who put it into perspective for me. She asked me one day, “Do I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior?” Without really having to think, I replied, “Yes.” She told me, “That’s all you really need to worry about.”

Religion can be hard. Faith doesn’t have to be.

Jen Mearns

My name is Jen Mearns and I live in NC with my husband, three boys under four, a geriatric cat, an enormous dog, and two chattery parakeets. My work has been featured on Scary Mommy, Pregnant Chicken and Babygaga. I am a former microbiologist turned writer, pet sitter and stay-at-home mom.