15 May 2011

SMALL TOWN GENESIS [by Jayda Kelsall]

Small Town Genesis is the story of an atheist's relationship with Christianity from childhood into adolescence.  Raised an atheist, Jayda's perspective is the genuine view of someone looking at Christianity from the outside in.  Her childhood misunderstandings of Christian concepts, like sin, are told with humour and tenderness. 

She also describes the prejudice and bigotry of Christianity as a social institution with endearing judgement.  My favourite story in the zine is about the time when she was told, for the first time, that being gay was considered sinful and wrong by Christians.  Just before, she had met a friend of her older sister's who was gay and who was super fun.  He painted her nails and let her paint his, too, and she "had a burning desire to be as cool as he was."  When she was at a youth event, the leader opened the topic of homosexuality and, before the leader could begin telling the group about the Church's view on it, Jayda jumped into the conversation and shared with the group how much she liked her sister's gay friend and how lovely he was.  She wrote, "After enthusiastically telling the group about him, it got really quiet."  The group was then told about how not lovely the Church considered gays.

Homosexuality is the one breaking point between Jayda believing and not believing in Christianity.  In her zine, she does a wonderful job of showing how Christianity isn't all awful and how not all Christians are bigots.  However, by the end, the baby does get thrown out with the bathwater because, let's be honest, gay-haters are people-haters.  Nevertheless, Jayda concludes her zine by discussing how polite she is with others who believe in Christianity, ever the one to practice ending prejudice in any possible way.