Monday, August 18, 2008

The In Group and the Out Group

Even though I am a practicing Christian, I really dislike hanging around other Christians. Almost every church I've been to has seemed swept away in jargon--Have you been born again in the blood of the lamb?--and totally self-congratulatory--We are so Awesome. We worship God in this totally unique way. Wouldn't ya know, it's the only way He wants to be worshipped, and I know this because I have Him on speed dial and also I have this little used translation of the Bible that isn't accepted by any other church...

This is how I ended up Catholic. Not because I think they are right about everything, but because Catholics feel so guilty and inadequate. It cuts down on the smug.

So, anyway. A friend, an intelligent Christian friend, whose beliefs I would respect just because they happened to be hers, said that she has hesitated to join a local homeschooling group because of the statement of faith. The statement of faith is loosely based on the Apostles' Creed, which many people (I'm told) feel is a tool of exclusion.

Oh, I hate exclusion. I have been the popular girl, the girl who the popular girls hated, the girl who hated the popular girls... Adolescence sucks, and I feel no need to recreate it in my adult relationships. I don't think it's a requirement to be a Christian. Christ was inclusive. He included everybody who came with an open heart, and even a few who didn't. I try to emulate that.

On the other hand, I think we can believe things, and have a group based on said beliefs, without excluding others. But if the others feel excluded, we have effectively excluded them just by failing to include them. Is that confusing enough? I don't want cool, funny, smart families to be afraid to join our party. And, apparently, they are.

How do I fix this?


TJ said...

I really am amazed at how many christian groups out there do exclude people. If you don't do this or feel this, then you aren't one of them. Not at all how Jesus called us to act. Have you seen the move Saved? That is exactly one of the themes of the movie. I think I'm going to talk about this at my Moms devotional next week, as it's important for us to be mindful of others and make sure we aren't exclusive.

Hope your kids found some toys they liked! Mine haven't missed them yet, so it was a good send off.