Oy.  A challenge has been thrown down.  Now I sit here considering it. 

Have I become (gasp) a church person??

Honest moment.  Church people scare me.  There.  I said it ok?  I am afraid of them.  Despite some of my best friends being church people, I am afraid that the church as a whole doesn't like me.  I am afraid that I will never fit in, because I am not like them, and don't see myself becoming like them.

I have a list.

1) Church people project an aura that they are better than (fill in the blank) person, and sometimes they seem to be.

Well, maybe some have an aura.  Maybe some "normal" people do to.  Maybe it isn't just a church person thing.  And maybe the church person DOES genuinely have something that the world in general is missing (namely Jesus) and they just forgot grace for a second.  I do that sometimes, right?  Like 30 seconds ago when I started comparing myself to them.

As far as their "goodness," in a way I am hopeful that this isn't true on the deeper levels,that they are more like me than I realize.  They smile a lot, tho not really joyful. They do meal trains. They dress well. They play nice. They don't raise their voices. They don't drop the f bomb. They don't have thoughts of doing physical harm to the cashier at Giant who says that you can't have your Western Union money because some yahoo spelled your name wrong (and it is ALWAYS spelled wrong anyway). They don't smoke. They drink now because it is cool and they are "allowed" after they escaped fundamentalism. They like their husbands more, well, a lot more since they all want to submit so gracefully. Yeah, I failed this in every category.

2) Church people want you to conform.

Deep sigh.  I can sorta see this in a good way (wanting people to become more like Jesus and hopefully the church person wanting this is like Jesus) and I can find the bad way...legalism.  Growing up I saw more of the legalism and less of the grace.  Not that they were bad church people, they just were what they doing what they thought that they needed as church people.

I, on the other hand, want to embrace and encourage the unique giftedness of every individual and every individual church.  I mean, God made us that way so wouldn't he WANT us to celebrate it?  No Mormon cult dress for me, thank you.

3) Church people talk funny.

Ask Jesus into your heart...where he cannot possibly take up residence lest he block your aorta. 

Say a prayer and be saved.  Really???  WHY?  What does recitation do?  Am I saved only from hell or, and I prefer the or, saved FOR something?  Either way, it is not coming from that little prayer.  Sorry, Billy.

Having a burden.  Like heartburn?  Like a ton of bricks?  That is so....Christianese.  If you have a desire to do something that is within Scripture, just do it.  Why do you have to wait until it becomes a "burden?"

4) Church people like to be busy with church activities.

There is always some class cropping up.  There is senior high groups, junior high groups, women's groups, mom's groups, inductive Bible studies, Gospel light studies.  I could study my brain off and never meet a non Christian because I am too busy hanging with church people!

5) Church people are catty.

While they have a very nicely polished and kept veneer, there is an under current of jealousy or perhaps fear?  They like things to be done their way, because of course they know best (see #1). This also makes it challenging to trust that they are being honest.  They smile to my face but are they sharpening their nails behind my back?  Sometimes it seems like the people who should have the most grace and love for each other have so little compared to the church basement types who don't go to church or even believe in God.


I am gonna stop there to compare myself to this list:

1) My aura should say: I suck as a Christian.  I can't quote to save my life.  I like to take vacation days from Sunday worship.  I sometimes get on FB if the pastor is boring.  Sometimes I just sit while everyone is standing, and I have been known to leave if I "just don't feel like being there."  I like to hang out with freaks and misfits (don't tell my friends tho).  I refuse to dress up at church because someone showing up may not have a Sunday best as I didn't when I first came around. I am very aware of my pride and my rebelliousness and that I wrestle with God before I give anything up (despite hearing "Trust and Obey" in my head often lately). I wrote "bitch" on the board in a class I was leading without even thinking about it (I was referring to me anyway). I am often vacillating between grumpy and melancholy. I don't cook much. I like guns.  I believe we should submit to each other.

2) I secretly want to conform.  I just don't know how.  I want to feel a part of rather than like the perpetual outsider smoking at the entrance.  I don't know how to make that shift, tho.  I don't know when/how I will be good enough to be a part of...and give myself permission to be a part of.  But I do know that I want to show love like Jesus did.  I know that I want to be open to loving people that others have forgotten or stepped over.  I know that I want to speak truth with grace (not doing so hot today, huh?). 

3) I try to consider myself bi-lingual.  I can speak Christianese when I need to, but I prefer normal English.  And I actually enjoy the challenge of fitting Christianese into the context of my environment.  I just pretend that I am a missionary in a foreign land.

4) I am too busy.  But I try not to make it church stuff.  Is that wrong?  If you could see me, I am squishing my nose with a wrinkly face as I consider that maybe I am busy with quite a few church things, I just try to make them relevant for my community at large.  Rationalization?  Maybe. 

5) I think I proved my own cattiness by writing this blog.  Perhaps, and maybe I am just trying to figure things out.  There are many people at church that I like, but I feel awkward around.  I say the wrong things.  I think I can do things that I shouldn't.  Is it their pettiness that I am really worried about?  Or is it mine?  To some extent, God chose me. I didn't choose him.  So maybe it doesn't matter what the "church people" think?  They have to put up with me for eternity.  Maybe I need to start figuring out how to work with them now?

But, God save me, or to be more precise, save Your church.  I think I may just be a church person!

Nah, don't think I am ready to own that yet. Still too wild at heart.


Bev said…
Nice blogging j-hp! Beautifully honest :-) I sometimes read your ponderings and admire how honest you're free to be. Not to be all over-the-top but it's inspiring.
Jaime Plank said…
LOL I do think that my friends, who are church people, God love 'em, do enjoy that honesty. Over the years, I have been working with God to combine my truth with more grace tho :) Miss you, friend!

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