Monday, March 3, 2008

Minority Report

I discovered something interesting about myself last night during a conversation with my sister and a dear friend. (On a side note; Skype is awesome and you ought to check it out) I'm sure many of you have realized this about yourselves already, but bear with me, I'm a little slow about some things. Here is the grand revelation: I am a Minority. No, I'm not african-american, hispanic, jewish or "other". Actually, I'm about as white as they come :) What makes me a Minority is not the color of my skin, sexual deviancies or my ethnic background. I am a Minority because of my beliefs about certain things. And I'm not talking about my core religious beliefs here. As an Evangelical Christian, I've been trained to think of myself as a Minority because of my faith in Christ, but in America today, the Evangelical Movement is pretty powerful and widespread. We're a Majority going around calling ourselves a Minority. (Well, perhaps I'm over-generalizing here, bear with me again.) I think we've forgotten what it's like to really be the Minority--powerless, persecuted, misunderstood, hated.

So what makes me a Minority in particular, is my position on certain things that within my larger group (Evangelical Christian) class me with a tiny group that tends to be considered weird and extreme by the rest. In particular; child-training, natural childbirth and Biblical submission to my husband. These three things are dearly-held ideas for me-- ideas that define my roles as mother and wife. They aren't things that I consider on a level with undeniable Biblical truths like salvation by grace alone, but they are very important to me. Not the "well, this is what I think, but you're entitled to your own opinion" kind of important. The truth is, if you disagree with me on any of these three topics, I think you're wrong. I don't doubt your salvation, but I think you're wrong.

Because I feel this way about these three topics, and because I'm one of these American Christians who doesn't know how to deal with being a Minority anymore, I often find myself in circumstances where I don't know how to respond to people who disagree with me. I don't know how to say (in a loving way) "I'm sorry, but I firmly believe you're wrong on that". I find myself copping out of the argument, giving up, smoothing things over, selling out. And then later venting to someone who agrees with me about how wrong this or that person is. That's not good at all. It's not the way I want to be! I want to have the boldness to speak my mind. I want to have the Spirit of gentleness to come across in a loving way to my listeners. I don't like the idea of settling comfortably into the position of a Majority, who agrees pretty much with everything the people around me say and think and doesn't spend much time stirring up the waters.

My concern over this is re-inforced by my reading of Hebrews 11-- the record of the great men and women of faith in the Old Testament. The lverse that really stood out to me today as I read was this:

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hmmm, strangers and exiles...

I have the idea that long ago, Christians in this country understood how to stick out like a sore thumb for Christ. How to witness, not just about the Gospel, but about lifestyle and a walk with Christ. I want to learn how to tell someone that I disagree with them, in a kind and courteous way, but without the underlying mutual understanding that we all seem to find so necessary, that it's just a matter of a difference of opinion. It's not just a matter of opinion. I think I'm right. I leave open the possibility that I'm wrong, but this is not just a matter of personal preference, along the same lines as what one eats for breakfast every morning. This is my life we're talking about here and I'd like to share with you why I'm right and you're wrong-- in a nice way, of course....


Padgaretti said...

I am not sure why difference would lead to venting unless the others were attacking you in your choice, but this stuff coms up often for Rob and I.

Christians will have different views, especially on things not as cleary written. Childbirth is not as clear as Submission in the Bible, prob bc hospitals and pragancy and such were not as today. I am talking of method of delivery and care not conception.
But I could be wrong, maybe I missed quit a few verses:)

Submission, child rearing, breast feeding, tithing/offering, leaving and cleaving and missions are the ones we have a hard time with others undertstanding, Christian and non. I just get tired of questions and also explaining to people that are nonbelievers bc at that pt how is Submission (or whatever else) remotely understandable when the 1st ten times it wasn't.

My hardest time is when people argue/yell that I am wrong, instead of state that I am wrong or infer I am a stupid. Remember I am in a strong Polish/German/Italian nonchristian family who thinks we're nuts.

Oh well, maybe this is just me venting, but I do think it holds great value to spend time with people who hold different beliefs and core values. I am sure you think that also:)

I have lost my voice for 2 weeks now so I am typing away:)

HaHa! I just remembered Home Group the other week when I was rather adimant. Man, I slipped into being like my new Bonfiglio family.

Herb of Grace said...

Good point you brought up, Hannah. I do indeed agree that being with people who think differently than you is a good thing. The question is; how do you approach people who disagree with you? How do you discuss things? How do you express your beliefs in a positive, and yet kind way? For example, let's say someone is a strict non-drinker--truly believes that the Bible teaches against alcohol (I have family members that think this). How is that person to (in a Christlike way) "deal" with Christian friends who drink?