October 14, 2009 § Leave a Comment
It’s amazing how God takes us to places that challenge our sense of comfort and security. Often we think of finding solace and rest in God, but we forget often that God doesn’t allow us to become complacent in that rest. God is a god of Action and Re-Action.
Two years ago, I was thrown (willingly) into a place of serious insecurity. When I got to BU, I found out that there was a whole other wing of Christianity I was unaware of.
I went from being the most liberal Christian in the room to one of the conservatives, or, at best, a moderate.
I went from having the most religious education of my peers to having relatively none.
It was unsettling, to say the least. I felt insecure about my own beliefs because of the way they were discounted by those around me. I realized just how many moral and religious issues I hadn’t yet taken a stand on, and could therefore not really have dialogue about with my peers. It was a completely different social, geographical, and religious climate than I had ever existed in. Not to mention the whole world of Academia can just be intimidating.
But over two years, and even more I see it now, I became more and more secure in my environment. After a period of knee-jerk reactions (some unfounded and extreme, others rather reasonable), I began to find both my niche and my voice. In certain things I adapted and changed, and in others I remained steadfast, but with more sincerity and solidarity of opinion. I now see the halls of BU and the streets of Boston as a safe environment, much like home.
But I’m again entering a situation where the climate is unlike any other. I thought that at camp, and back in the South, I might feel at home again. It’s where I’ve been my whole life!
But I’m not the same person I was two, or six, or ten, years ago. The fact that I have changed has significantly affected where and when I automatically feel secure. Even Lakeshore last summer could be considered somewhat a place of insecurity because the faces have changed so much.
Now I’m in a place where although I feel supported by those I work with, and those who work for me, I have no guarantees about singleness of purpose. In my residency in ministry group, we all come from different backgrounds, both personally and educationally. I know for a fact that if I am not THE most liberal (hate the word, but it’s true) person in the room, I’m one of maybe two. I’m again worried about expressing my opinions for fear of others.
But this time, I’m less afraid of being railed on than I was before. I now am concerned that my opinions (for example, about a fellow minister’s extremely conservative alma mater that they have strong positive feelings for) will bring hurt to those around me.
I always found myself defending the conservative opinion at BU, and I will still defend the conservative religious opinion not because I think it is valid, but because there are people who need that kind of guidance and structure in their lives, and because many of those opinions are well-founded in Scripture (unfortunately sometimes not much else, though). Not all those who hold those stances are “crazies.” They aren’t all (at least not intentionally) oppressing the people around them. They aren’t necessarily bad people.
But I’m back in a place where that opinion doesn’t need any defense. At times I feel a little like Amos, a prophet in a foreign land. But I want to lovingly be a part of the community, without being discouraging or discounting to those around me, as my peers, I believe, unknowingly, did to me when I got to BU. I want to be able to have conversations where I’m not afraid to express my opinion and it will be taken seriously because I have gained the trust and admiration of those with whom I work and study.
We will see where this two-year journey takes me …