When You Don’t Fit In At Church

http://alise-write.com/when-you-dont-fit-in-at-church/

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I should not fit in.

Why not?

According to a number of demographics, I am nothing like a lot of these people. It would be all too easy for me to focus on our differences. There are plenty, and if I’m being perfectly honest, some of them matter to me. I care about things like LGBT equality and access to birth control. I’m pretty iffy about hell. I’m far more likely to reach for John 3:17 as a life verse instead of John 3:16.

And yet this is my home.

Okay, well you’re welcome to continue hanging out with us and wrestle with how to reconcile your opinions with the revealed word of God.

I don’t fit in, but I am loved.

And because I am loved, it is much easier for me to reciprocate that love. I am accepted, so it becomes easier for me to accept. I am honored, so it is my desire to return honor.

Bravo – you have learned how to love the people who voluntarily loved you first despite their prejudices. Baby steps.

And when we love like Jesus tells us to love, fitting in isn’t really a concern, because love makes all kinds of room for everyone.

I understand that many people feel encouraged by statements like this (particularly my liberal Christian friends who linked this all over facebook), but I find statements like this very disheartening, especially when written by a supposed regular congregant. How sad is it that anti-church and anti-Christian messaging has so successfully rendered judgmentalism the default secular assessment of the church?

I don’t so much question the sincerity of the post as much as I do the pretext behind it: that even though she doesn’t fit in with her church’s traditional conservative values, her church loves her anyway because Jesus commanded so.

And I don’t think this blogger has any self-awareness of just how offensive that pretext is.

Judgmentalism isn’t the norm in America’s Christian churches. Showing love to the congregants of many various worldviews, political persuasions, lifestyle choices, and personal vices isn’t uncommon; in fact, it’s typical. There’s nothing remarkable about being treated with compassion and respect by the church. To praise the church for not being as intolerant and bigoted as presumed is to insult the church and its congregants.

Sure, it’s completely okay and even expected for a nonbeliever or a new believer to be anxious about fitting in, but that anxiety naturally goes away with familiarity. But for seasoned Christians who continue to perpetuate their insecurities over their perceived “differences” from their church home, I ask: Why are you unfairly casting your fears onto these good people? Are they not imperfect people just like you who deserve better than your continued prejudice? Did not Christ humble himself to a cross for them too?

To that person, I say: Get over yourself. Drop the act. The church loves you regardless of your differences, not in spite of them. You fit in because Christ has made room for you. Now please make room for the rest of us.

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When You Don’t Fit In At Church

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