I was three years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Kneeling beside my grandmother's bed, my cousin Jarrod's hand in mine, we bowed our heads and asked for salvation. Of course, I worried that it didn't stick. I "rededicated" myself to God at age 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19. I was 6 the first time I led someone to Christ, a little 4 year old girl who was attending the same "Fall Festival" party at a church that I was. I tried to convert gay friends in high school, by telling them that God loved them, even if his people were bigoted jerks. When I attended Vineyard Christian Fellowship, the pastor, his daughter, my mother and I used to go to a nude dance club to tell the women who worked there that they were beautiful daughters of God, and that they were always welcome to come by on Sundays. I really wanted God's love to be true. But the Christian definition of love includes condemnation and damnation. In defense of this harsh father figure, Christians will justify torture (hell), calling it correction; subjugation of women, calling it a parable for our relationship to God; and child abuse, calling it discipline.
That's not love. And that's why all those times I gave my heart to God, the loving feeling faded, and guilt and fear crept steadily in. Christian theology states that God is knocking on the door of our hearts, that Jesus is merely waiting for us to accept his gift of salvation and his love. But looking back on a lifetime of belief, I was the one who made all the overtures. I was the one who knocked, who asked, who gave. Like a bad date, time after time, God stood me up.