Monday, October 5, 2015

To fit or not to fit...

I've been thinking alot lately about the undercurrent or subculture within christian churches -
you know...the things that make you look at someone and say,"oh they look Baptist,or Pentecostal or Amish" lol
Our family has been called Amish in the past and I know the Amish people would cringe at that!!!
Finding our place is a struggle -kinda like arm wrestling! LOL!

First let me say that I think our family is unique in that we don't really fit the mold of...well ...of anything. Its not on purpose either.
 It gives me pause ...long years of pause sometimes, to analyze and try our motives and actions.
But still no real answers.

For lots of reasons,some very good and some not so much,our family has had  a very broad experience with church cultures.I guess we're sorta likable which draws us into circles within the larger church, our flaws are quickly noted and alas or maybe at last we find ourselves back  in the distant onlookers orbit.
Please believe me when I say that its not mean spirited or hateful people that I'm speaking of but good,honest normal folks who love God and other people.People who clearly have no trouble fitting in.

We are THAT family that just isn't easy to hang with- we have lots of quirks from health limitations to spiritual anxiety- its not on purpose but its who we are.
Its taken years to see this but clearly we have the tendency to  make the normal folks a bit unnerved. We are unnerving- even to ourselves !

 We know it- so don't feel bad for thinking it-we already know it.
Its the source of almost weekly discussion -we tear it apart,turn it over and always end up realizing that its us and we can neither hide nor change it - at least not much.

Let me give you an example of how this works(or doesn't) in a church setting-

- when you are in a 300 person church and feeling comfortably invisible,and the pastor or music leader stops the music or whatever and asks "everyone turn to the person beside you and...."
whatever it is... shake hands or say something repeated after the speaker- it is over for us!
 All of us!
You have just invaded our personal space and demanded that people  we just saw in the
 hall pass us unnoticed, greet us (it feels quite unnatural on demand) because he said so.
You have just secured our distrust and unnerving suspicion.
As a frequent visitor to different churches I cannot imagine how leaders think or imagine this would make a visitor feel welcome.
Now those same people greeting us upon entering or passing in the halls or even as we are being seated seems completely appropriate - not structured demanded or unnatural

Church face happens when we KNOW its one of those things thats about to happen...again.
I call this the church face

You get the idea- I'm sure.
We've been to churches who embrace everything in the name of love and those who shun everything in the name of love.
Can both or either be right?

Ive listened to prayers that 3 generations of a family say that could be dubbed over in a recording and you'd think it was the same person and Ive listened to prayers that are spoken spontaneously with passion -
Sermons with 3 points and a conclusion and sermons that ramble from Genesis to Revelation with little more than a point to it all.
Churches that only fellowship with "their own" - so much so that they have NO idea what those folks across the street are like because they stay so immersed with themselves- and churches that welcome and fellowship with anyone- anywhere so much so that its hard to define their direction.

About the only thing I have figured out is that there is a lot of good in all the places we've been- and the best good is when you find people who just allow you and themselves to be who you are and yet still hold to convictions without apology.
Its the most refreshing thing in the world to experience people and their varied beliefs within Christianity.

Being so hyper-aware(as my son observed ) its easy for our family members to assess a group and see quickly when  things will not go well for us. I mean who are we to step into a place and expect everyone to make US comfortable- or worse yet for us to make THEM uncomfortable.
 Its far easier to stay at the fringe,assess and enter when and if it can be positive and retreat when its not.

Are we cynical? I hope not- but I constantly question  that too.
Are we judgmental? Probably so,but we are all working hard not to be.
Are we unfriendly? I really hope not!
Are we insecure? Umm, not likely :/
We are just a family that thinks,feels,discusses,and analyzes (for more reasons that I care to explain) constantly-
Some of us wish we could just be normal and "fit in" and some of us don't -
So whats the point?
If YOU feel like you don't fit, take heart - likely there are others.
Maybe fitting in isn't for everyone- its a luxury in our world- so if you fit then celebrate!!!
 If you don't, well, find a seat in the back with us and happily exist observing the fitters.
Just us...

But please don't judge us as unconcerned,uncommitted or unfeeling- we could be saving you from a world of confusion! :)