"Christian mom blogger" Glennon Doyle Melton has claimed both she and fellow author Jen Hatmaker were "shunned" by "Christian figures' after they both came out in support of same-sex marriage.
The 41-year-old "Love Wins" author, who recently announced her engagement to soccer star Abby Wambach, took to Facebook to voice her displeasure with the "Christian machine".
"My friend Jen Hatmaker is an author, activist, minister, mother, wife, sister, and friend," she wrote. "This year she publicly affirmed the LGBTQ community as deserving, equal children of God and in response- much of the Christian machine shunned her. Christian bookstores dropped her books, friends abandoned her, churches shut her out, and public Christian figures mocked her and her family."
Melton continued: "You can imagine that I know some of what Jen's felt this year. It is one thing for people to tell you that they hate you, it is far another for people to tell you that God hates you. It's really something. It really is. it never stops stinging."
The Momastery blogger went on to offer some advice for Hatmaker and others "who feel like the outcasts of today": "religion is not God," she said."There is chasm wide difference between the two. No man can keep God from you. God is yours and you are God's. Nothing can separate you from God's love."
She also advised the "gatekeepers" to "consider using your words to love instead of crucify [Jesus'} beloveds."
As reported, Hatmaker made headlines in October when she told Religion News Service columnist Jonathan Merritt that she supports same-sex marriage and believes that LGBT relationships can be holy. Shortly after this revelation, the Southern Baptist chain LifeWay Christian Resources said that because the author's statements contradicted its "doctrinal guidelines," it had discontinued selling her books in its 185 stores or online.
Rosaria Butterfield, popular Christian author and former lesbian, said Hatmaker's acceptance of the gay lifestyle would have been like a "millstone" around her neck if she heard it back when she was still a homosexual.
"Today, I hear Jen's words-words meant to encourage, not discourage, to build up, not tear down, to defend the marginalized, not broker unearned power-and a thin trickle of sweat creeps down my back," Butterfield wrote. "If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen's words would have put a millstone around my neck."
In a blog post shared on Good Friday, Hatmaker said the fallout made her "painfully aware of the Christian machine".
"My mind knows the difference between the Christian Machine and Jesus, but this year it feels hard to separate," she said. "The whole system seems poisoned, and I struggle to drink any of it."
The Texas author added that the isolation she feels allows her to empathize with Jesus, who was rejected by His people and crucified.
"[Good Friday] all makes sense: the death, the anger, the man who never took his place in the machine," she said. "This day was lonely for Jesus. It was excruciating, physically and emotionally and spiritually."
She continued: "Today, everything falls away and there is only Jesus for me. In His presence, my numb, angry heart gives way and I sob without end. But only with Him. Elsewhere, I have to be careful because I can never be as vulnerable as I was ever again. Everyone else at arm's length. I'll be friendly with folks but never again tender. You'll get the strong, varnished version of me but I'll not make the mistake of handing you my true heart."