I Identfy With These Words


For several years now, my journey has taken me on a much different path (outside the tribal box), which at times has left me feeling alone, but with a new sensitivity in identifying with those who never quite fit in. The problem is that now no longer fitting the denominational mold, I feel like the odd man out, or a square peg in a round hole.

There are two reasons, I mention this. The first is that today began my denomination’s annual business sessions of which I will once again participate. For the last few years my anticipation and expectational levels have dropped. The primary reason I participate is quite frankly to maintain some type of tribal relational connection. But I know doing so will require me to once again deal with the awkwardness of not really fitting in.

Secondly, today Len Hjalmarsen posted a comment from Alan Roxburg that I so resonate with regarding my situation.

I spent almost twenty-seven years in a denomination. I thought I ‘belonged’ to the tribe over that time. In recent years I was in situations where I realized that if you didn’t fit the narrative a process of exclusion ensued. None of it was out loud or direct but, nevertheless, it happened… What are the actual, operative theologies at work among such a group? But much more critically, what is the understanding of God and the other that permeates a Christian narrative that can easily put the other outside? .. difference lies at the heart of God’s nature and creation that I have had to rethink not just my theology but my practices and responses to others. Out of this journey I have learned that to welcome the stranger (even the ones in our midst as tribes – and if we can’t do that what can be our basis for Christian witness?) requires a community of men and women shaped around a rule of life ..

For me it was fifteen years. Anyway in the next few days I hoping for more of a tribal welcome this time. There are signs things might be improving.

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One Response

  1. I feel ya, Rob. This is basically how I’ve felt with pretty much everyone since starting to discuss “new” things.

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