“They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” John 17:16
If you did not fit into the group at high school, you won’t fit into our contemporary corporate-based society.
That’s the bad news — although it really isn’t bad news. It just seems like bad news because, as human beings, we like to belong — to be embraced by those around us, to be a part of “normal” and accepted.
However, when “normal” is restrictive, and being accepted into its embrace involves giving up one’s individuality, then not belonging — while it feels painful — is actually the better thing.
Many People Don’t Fit In
Many, many people in the world today feel as if they do not fit in. Some of them realize this; others, in a state of denial, keep subverting who and what they are and submit to the strictures of whatever group plays a major factor in their day. In much the same way we adopted, during our incarceration at public school, particular fashions (remember “Star” jeans? Don’t worry, they’ll be back), certain patterns of speech, make-up options, lifestyle choices and odd hair coiffures, so we find ourselves doing throughout our lives, because we never, in a corporate-based society, get away from the group: it’s at work (“We’re a team!”), in the military, (“We’re a TOUGH team!”), on the news (“We’re a nation, and we have an exciting election coming up!”), and, quite strongly, in church (“We’re a community! In Jesus!”).
This latter area, the religious arena, where we should be the most free to, literally, be the uniquely crafted individuals that God created us to be, is sadly one of the most successfully repressive environments, one in which many people get a regular, multi-weekly dose (kind of like a vaccination schedule) of conformity.
Be on time. Punctuality is godliness.
Make sure your homework, for Sunday School, is ready. Did you read the passage assigned last week? Did you fill in ALL the workbook blanks?
Listen to your pastor, and submit to the authority of those above you. (Franklin Graham, risingly famous son of the perennially famous Billy, had some chilling things to say about submission to authority — “If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that.” Even more chilling is the number of people who “Liked” this comment on Facebook.)
Stand when you’re told to stand; sit when you’re told to sit; repeat this statement and sing this song. This is called, tellingly, “corporate worship.”
And while we can’t be instructed, directly, for whom to vote, we can be admonished, as Billy Graham tells his acolytes, to “vote for biblical values.”
One can’t help but wonder — which, and whose, particular “biblical values”?
If It Quacks Like a Duck . . .
Church Christians in the United States, the country in which I live, like to bemoan that they are rejected and spurned by the world, because, like Jesus, they are not of the world — but how?
Many approach a level of consumerism indistinguishable from the average American; they equate material blessing with God’s approval; they believe everything they are told by the “Christian” equivalent of news media jabbering faces; and they’re insanely busy. That much of what they do is church-related is somehow acceptable: we’ve watched families head out for a “Sabbath” afternoon of what plainly looks like work, in between morning service and evening small groups. But as long as those two latter obligations are met, so, apparently, is enjoyed the day of rest.
As Christians, we are called to be members of a body, not a group; we are told to love one another, not promote conformity so we that look, externally, like we unanimously agree; we pursue an individual relationship with Christ, from which point we are then strong enough to join together without being pushed, prodded, nudged, shaped, and adjusted into a building block that fits, quite neatly and tightly, into the hole prepared for it.
Because that, you know, is what it looks like to “fit in.”
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes, where it is my profound prayer that God’s people see themselves as salt, an extremely strong and necessary seasoning that isn’t particularly glamorous or plentiful.
Posts complementing this one are
This article is linked to A Little R and R, Wake Up Wednesday, Terrific Tuesday, Wednesday Showcase, Jennifer Dawn, Homemaking Link up, Wise Woman, The Mom Club, Intention, Ducks in a Row, While I’m Waiting, Wholehearted Home, Anything Goes, Moonlight and Mason Jars, Pat and Candy, Grandma’s Ideas, Wednesday Round-up, Turn It Up Tuesdays, Tips and Tricks, Titus Tuesdays, Mom Moments, Inspire Me Mondays, My Joy Filled Life, Mom Moments, Meandering Mondays, Mopping the Floor, Moms the Word, This Is How We Roll, Shine, Hearts for Home, Shine On, Thoughtful Thursday, Our Simple Homestead, Daily Cup, Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Sincerely Paula, Your Turn, Family Fun Friday, Pretty Pintastic, Grace and Truth, Blog Booster, Home Matters, That Friday Blog Hop, Saturday Link, Friday Flash Blog, Awesome Friday, Freedom Friday, Funtastic Friday