Where do your loyalties lie? Huskers or Longhorns? Green Bay or Giants? West O or Midtown (or, as a friend called it, the cool part of the city or BFE?) Where do you fit in, belong…feel comfortable? If you spent a couple of months at Occupy Omaha, would you go to your neighbor the cop’s back yard barbeque? If you were invited to a gathering of people who were predominantly Hindu or Muslim, would you feel comfortable going?
If a nice, kind, thoughtful fundamentalist evangelical Christian invited you to coffee to talk about your trip to Turkey, would you go?
I did. I’ve scanned her church’s website, found the document stating, for example, that they believe the Bible’s literally, inerrantly true, and that they aren’t “egalitarian”, that only men are meant to be heads of households and elders in the church. (I mentioned this to my husband and without missing a beat, he said, “You’ll tell me if that’s how things are supposed to work, right?” You betcha, babe. Love my hub.)
It’s easy for me to make fun of things like that because at one level they’re so ridiculous they, well, invite ridicule. I could blog forever about the insanity of trying to structure a twenty-first century family and life on first century culture, but all I’ll do is send my blood pressure into the danger zone. Worse, I’ll further solidify my membership in the group known as the “peace-loving, forward-thinking, progressive, intellectual, grasping-the-clearly-obvious Christians”, which automatically lumps my friend into the group most easily labeled as “the other”.
This causes me some cognitive dissonance, because the most basic thing I believe, the single defining framework for my life is that we all belong to God. All of us, no matter your ideology, theology, or ethnicity. However you identify yourself, I believe you belong to God, and the more I open myself to God’s presence in my life, the more aware I am of the labels we seem biologically hardwired to develop, refine, use, apply, judge, or even kill each other for.
We like being right, and we like belonging, but the ultimate relationship transcends rightness, belonging, or membership. The ultimate relationship is with God, and this relationship is available to all people, even my friend who grounds her life in the opposite end of the theological spectrum. So I take my friend’s outpouring of interest at face value, and I plan get coffee with her again and listen some more.
This time, I’ll ask some questions, too. 🙂