I'm going to make a confession. I don't like to go to Christian conferences. Today, I got my hair cut and my hairdresser is gay and Vietnamese. The clientele beside me included a Japanese bride who was in NYC on 9-11, a cute little blonde student who is living on Ramen noodles and planning her wedding. And a white guy who didn't talk much.
What does that have to do with Christian conferences? Seriously, I can make a "mistake" with one of these people and it's all right. They'll accept my mistake and we'll move on. I don't feel that way in Christian circles outside of Silicon Valley. I feel like if my faith isn't just like theirs, and I don't prove my Biblical background, I'm not really one of them.
As you know, I grew up Italian-Catholic. I didn't have rules like that growing up. Some Catholics drank, some didn't. You weren't better than the guy who drank, you were different. Some Catholics smoked, too! Again, different. Why do I feel like so many Christians don't respect other Christians with differing beliefs than theirs? It's the Gospel plus NOTHING equals salvation.
I simply don't fit into the Christian culture and I'm tired of trying. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the rejection, the "correction", the feeling of people being above me because they wouldn't allow their kids to watch certain movies, or play that game.
In the Catholic church, we knew we had jerks at church. No question about it, but you didn't act like you were going straight to heaven on a one-way pass because YOU weren't like them. They were simply a jerk and you didn't spend time with them. I just feel left out and offensive when I'm with Christians because if I don't cover who I really am, I'm not like them.
Today, my hairdresser who came here 15 years ago, not knowing a word of English, told me he redid his condominium. He found a Chinese couple, new to America getting a mattress off the street, and he tried to motion, "No, no take the bed. I have lots of furniture for you." He outfitted this Chinese couple with all his Ikea castoffs while he upgraded to Crate & Barrel without one word of understanding between them. Only the simple communication: I see your need. Let me fill it.