“I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me. Oh, I feel like, you wouldn’t like me if you met me.”
-from Tegan and Sara’s “You Wouldn’t Like Me”
I grew up in a nondenominational Bible church. As I’ve moved through various nondenom venues of Christianity (Bible Studies, Church camps, Sunday School, retreats), I’ve noticed that there seem to be a few themes that are popular for Christians to talk about. The topics are important, but sometimes they can be dealt with on a shallow level. In thinking about this, I came up with a quick reference chart for some of these.
|Topic||Brief Explanation||Easy Application|
|If you’re a woman, you find your identity in what you look like.||You should stop using mirrors. Focus on your inner beauty [you can even quote Proverbs here, and you’re golden].|
|Sex||You shouldn’t think about it unless you’re married.||Pretend it doesn’t exist. Unless you’re protesting sex trafficking.|
|Grace||You get something that you don’t deserve.||Don’t worry about not measuring up. No one does! That’s why surfer-dude-Jesus came, so we could all be “cool.”|
|Missions||God wants everyone to be saved, but He’s going to send everyone to hell if we don’t get to them first.||Evangelize in the malls! Proselytize at school! Make sure everyone knows where you stand on key political issues!|
Here’s where I get stuck: I can recognize that these perspectives are bankrupt. But in recognizing that, I want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Whenever a speaker or writer starts to talk about identity, a voice in my head says, “Here we go again. Ya, ya, whatever. It’s just something Christians like to talk about, because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.”
And so I tune out.
This week in Evangelical Theology, Dr. Raith was talking about Purgatory. The most impactful thing he said about it, though, was this, “You might not be comfortable with the idea of Purgatory, but it is one way a group of Christians have answered a problematic question. You can’t just say, ‘Well, I don’t like that answer.’ If you’re going to disagree, you have to come up with a better answer.”
My dorm just had a fire drill: sirens, everyone meeting in the parking lot, all that jazz. And so, like everyone else, I picked up myself, grabbed some homework and my coat, and left.
Fire drills force you to pay attention to your world, and they force you to take action.
Monday’s class period on identity was kind of like a fire drill for me. It said, “Jewel, the way you’ve thought about identity, perfectionism, and what God thinks about you is wrong. Something needs to change.”
Fire drills themselves don’t solve any problems. They don’t, by themselves, save lives or things. But they alert and prepare people for the unfortunate possibilities.
Reading Noland doesn’t solve my issues. But it forces me to face the problem.