I can remember being in the fifth grade and thinking, "Why are Christians so uncool?" I thought I would one day pull off being a cool Jesus Freak and really make a difference for God.
More than a quarter of a century later, I've learned a few things. One of the things I've learned is that I'm not at all cool, now that I'm pushing 40. Not at all.
More important, though, I've learned that going against the current is difficult and discouraging.
The Christian current in the U.S. is the predominant fundamentalist movement, in which people gather in their buildings every Sunday morning and look just alike and act just alike and vote just alike and do freaking everything just alike. It breaks my heart that so many of these Christians are in bondage to unnecessary expectations. It's sad that Jesus' message gets diluted by fear. I know about this, because I've been there and I've done it.
I've tried to be a part of those churches over and over, in different buildings in different cities and locations, but I have never fit in. No matter how hard I try, I can't be like them. And I can't buy it that God wants me to!
This summer, I finally decided it may be time to just give up on church. It has evolved too far from Jesus' original plan.
Right about that time, my pastor friend Matt told me at the coffee shop one morning that he is planting a church with a denomination called the Evangelical Covenant. I like Matt. A lot. He is a great friend, and he enjoys diversity. He loves Jesus, but he's cool...well, in the same way I am, which is to say 'probably not at all.'
I'm a few months into the church plant with Matt now. I have just returned from a training given by the Covenant denomination, where we had a great time and where everyone was different: different races, different political beliefs, different thoughts on baptism, different ways to worship God, different beer preferences...
It was beautiful.
For the four days we were there, I kept thinking to myself, "These are my people."
Just when I was beginning to think there was no hope for a "different" Christian like me to have any connection or respect in a church, God has brought it all together. He has even given me a leadership position. God likes diversity, too. That's why He made us all different. Duh.