Single Christian Feminist seeks Single Christian Man with a heart for social justice. And who isn’t averse to confident women, advanced degrees, science, or the word ‘feminist.’
The reality behind my fear is this: I feel rejected by the Christian communities I grew up loving so dearly. And, now approaching 30, I find it hard to even find friends in these places, let alone someone who might want to do lunch, or life, in a more romantic sense.
I have soul-searched. And there are a variety of reasons why I don’t fit the mold, I realize this. Reasons why I don't seem to fit in: Autoimmune disorders. Life as a PhD student. Activism. They all add a layer that, to one group or another, may make me a little harder to understand. It would take a truly unique person to accept all of these layers. Maybe it’s just me.
But I’ve talked to my sisters. And it’s not just me. We live in New York, Chicago, California, the South… We love Jesus and He’s given us a heart and a voice to effect cultural, societal change. We are vulnerable: sharing our experiences- good, bad, and ugly, opening up our homes, our hearts, our arms. Loving the unlovely. Sharing His love with the marginalized. Following where we feel Him leading.
We want to make the world a better place. We want to bring the Kingdom to earth. We want to share His love, His light, His peace. But we also want, someday, partners and families of our own.
And the devil comes and tells us that we can have them if…
...if we were a little less smart.
...if we lie about our education level.
...if we slow down.
...if we were a little quieter.
...if we drop ‘feminist’ from our online dating profile.
...if we were a little less self-sufficient.
...if we conform a bit.
...if we were a little less nerdy.
...if we were a little less socially awkward.
...if we were… something else.
In other words, we can have them if we compromise; if we stop being what He has called us to be.
And we stand firm, most of us. Because being what He has called is better than life, better than what we want, better than acceptance.
But sometimes, we doubt. Because if we are doing the right thing, shouldn’t it be a little bit easier? And wouldn’t we get a little more support from the people around us? Wouldn’t the church (that we are so committed to serving) recognize these things?
When the church fails to accept and embrace diversity- be it in education level, in career path, in body type, in political affiliation, in gender, in race, in ethnicity, in skin color, in hobbies, in favorite food or calling- it provides a stumblingblock for those of us who do not fit the mold, despite the fact that we are on the ground, working hard for His purposes.
When the church fails to accept and embrace diversity,
it provides a stumblingblock for those of us who do not fit the mold.
When the church does not recognize our efforts, or- worse yet- sees our efforts and questions our Christianity (because it looks different than ‘mainstream’ Christian culture), it is at risk. It is at risk of losing our efforts, our giftings, our talents. I’m not talking about the risk that we will just cease to go to church, or to follow Christ (although, if we’re pushing people away that hard, we should be a little concerned about that, rather than just thinking that it is their ‘sin’). I’m talking about the risk of having people amongst us, in our churches, who are silently coasting or are holding back because, while they have lots to contribute, they have been told they don’t fit.
We don’t understand them, so we think they don’t have anything to offer.
A quote (often attributed to Einstein) says, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Likewise, Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 12:17, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”
Let’s stop assuming that anyone who doesn’t look like us isn’t doing it right. Let’s vow to talk to someone who seems different and discover the beautiful things God is doing in them. Without judging, without trying to change them. Go put down roots into real, honest, engaging friendship. Go ask the scientist in your church what he’s working on. Go ask the activist what cause stirs her up. Go start a conversation about how the church can support these individuals, their work, their callings. Go ask him what he’s passionate about, what God is doing in Him. Go ask her how she wants to change the world. Go ask her to have lunch. Go ask him to grab a cup of coffee with you. Go ask her out. Go ask. And listen. Really listen. Listen to the hearts of people who love Jesus telling you what Jesus is doing in and through them.
...Because when you ask and when you listen, we can’t hear the devil tempting us to shrink.