I don’t fit anymore

A church for everybody?

I join the ranks of singles, gays, artists, doubters, divorcees, addicts, non-english speakers, graveyard shifters and liberals; all misfits within the mainstream evangelical church culture. I’m a sock without a match.  I’ve become an introvert with issues. I’m a church goer without a church.

The church doesn’t work for me right now. My anxiety and inability to handle too much noise automatically makes church a big pile of no. Add the obligatory hand shaking, people greeting, passing of peace and I’m a goner.

This place I have loved for the entirety of my life has become an edifice of challenges that reinforce the feeling that I’m a round peg in a square hole.  “Get over it”, some say. “Work your way back in”, as if just going for a few minutes more each and every week will inoculate me to the symptoms of my mental illness. Or, my personal favorite, the guilt tactic. “The Bible says, don’t give up meeting together”. (Heb. 10:25) So, I am supposed to trigger my anxiety and disease, making me sick for the next week so you don’t feel badly about us not being together? Well, guess what? I didn’t WANT to give up. I didn’t want to quit. I love the church but the system just doesn’t work for me.

The western church has by-in-large become a place where white families with  families and some access to privilege and resources fit the mold. These families can afford to send their kids to camps, have time to drive their children to mid-week church activities and help them with earning their badges and advancements for those activities. They can give in the offering and have time to do Bible Studies midweek. They generally haven’t worked all night so are alert enough to get to church on Sunday Morning. The “misfits” are singles who have no-one to sit with, blue collar workers who are barely making ends meet, outspoken political liberals who are afraid to speak their passion, artists who’s art form is never ever used in worship even though it is how they express their own adoration of God, recovering addicts who dare not celebrate their milestones except in their recovery groups.  All misfits. And me.

For the record. I haven’t given up “meeting together”. I have relationships with friends and family that are still rich and good. And we meet. And we talk about faith. I just don’t meet at “church”.

What, I wonder, would a church that strove to accommodate the misfits, welcomed their quirks with grace, look like? Should the format be changed to accommodate the fringe or should the fringe get over our damn selves and try to blend into the melee of  the extroverted western church?

Simple solutions

It’s a little niggling issue with my car. The center console lid won’t latch and bounces up and down willy-nilly unless I keep my arm on it.  Every time I get in the car I remember I should fix it, only to have the thought disappear when I step OUT of the car. Today I finally had enough and decided to operate on the auto. Hoping to avoid the “helpless female/damsel in distress” visit to the auto parts store, I searched the internet for the part. No luck.  So I grabbed my keys, sucked in my pride and set out. The woman at the counter tried in vain to find the part in the computer for me. Finally the greasy man worker intervened and said no such part existed. “You will need to go to a junk yard or just buy a whole new console” he said. He might as well have said, “pilot a plane to Europe” for all the familiarity I have with junk yards.  Then the young lady offered a more uncomplicated solution. “My parents just rolled up a piece of paper and shoved it into the latch to make it tighter.” This didn’t sound like a very solid fix so I purchased some velcro tape since duct tape is just a little to redneck for me and superglue, while effective might have been too severe of an answer.

However, in the parking lot I inspected the latch one more time and thought I would give girl worker’s advice a try. I ripped the cardboard off the top of the velcro package, rolled a doobie and shoved in into the latch, making it all a little more “snug”. VOILA! It worked. Then it occurred to me. I now have $3 worth of velcro in a destroyed package that I can’t return.  Yes. I paid $3 for a 4×4 inch square of cardboard.

There are many issues and challenges that woodpecker my brain. Perhaps if I would just put my mind towards intentionally solving them one at a time I would find a simple solution, but instead I just worry. I worry and fret which only erodes the energy I need to actually problem solve. Maybe I could stop doing that.

A simple solution, a scrap of cardboard, could have conserved even a little bit of my sanity this year.