Today, I take a break from my usually zany blogging style to share my experience in conforming to the norms of the groups that you associate yourself with. Thanks to the daily post (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/daily-prompt-11/) I gave some reflection to my early experiences a Christian.
I became a Christian when I was 17. Naturally, shortly after conversion I still had a lot of doubts about my faith. I can’t remember all of the intellectual and ideological hurdles that I was facing except that my problems could be categorized under those two monikers: intellectual and ideological. Not wanting to cause any harm to my credibility of a believer, of course, I kept my doubts deep inside, not showing even a glimpse of the struggle that was going on in my mind. At the point where I confessed I was a Christian, I had put enough thought into the subject of Christianity that I at least liked this Christ fellow, but such a radical shift in worldview causes a re-analysis of values and convictions.
And it was during this re-analysis of my values and convictions where I half-heartedly, though seemingly whole-heartedly, adopted the political alignments of the Christian right. I thought that since I was Christian I needed to think like a Christian, and take the Christian side on issues. The Christians around me convinced me that being conservative was the right way to behave like a Christian. I was very vulnerable because I didn’t want to give any hint to my religious doubts, so I gave in when my old ideologies were challenged -thinking that this new worldview I adhered to meant that I had to agree with all of the views of the community it was associated with.
After four years of bible college, and countless hours reading all the news and political opinions I could get my hands on, I find that I’ve shifted from the far right to the center-left -but only barely by secular evaluations. I don’t have a problem with my conservative peers, except that I usually think they are wrong, and its been easy for me to remain in community with them. Sometimes I cross the line and offend people, but I generally stay peaceful enough that I still have very conservative friends.
All that is to say that when you join a new community, you don’t have to fit in with perfect cohesion. You can hold onto your own unique views. If you aren’t accepted by your peers and the group you want to be in, then maybe that group isn’t even worth your time. Acceptance shouldn’t be contingent on whether or not you agree entirely with a group. Especially for Christians, we can’t deny people from our communities because they have disagreements with us.