Finding our niche…..

November 16, 2009 — 3 Comments

We seem to constantly fragment ourselves in order to make us unique. We are not satisfied with just being one of many in a common boiling pot. We have to think of ourselves as someone like no one else.  My father’s generation was not like we are. Many, if not most of them, took pride in the fact that America was a fabulous “melting pot” where Italians, Irish, Spanish, etc people came to the United States and became “American” (no dashes were included for them). Now we have to add several dashes due to our ancestry. We can’t just be an American. We have to be a African-Native-Mexican American or whatever the case may be. In my case I am a British-Scottish-Native- American. Several other dashes should probably be included as I’m pretty sure I am a mutt as these things go 🙂 .  I don’t know if that this is a good or not. It is nice to celebrate the different heritages and cultures of our ancestors. But when that keeps us from recognizing our common bonds it can be terribly detrimental. I think part of the fracturing we seen to be facing as nation today is a result of this need to be unique or at least see others, many of who we perceive as enemies, as different from us. The most damaging thing is the hate and disdain for others that some in these groups seem to have.

 I also think this is one of the reasons we have over 35,000 different versions of Christianity in the world today. We have to make our religious journey as personalized as possible. I know I fall into this feeling oftentimes myself. I want to believe that my version of Christ is the “true” one and everyone else just has it wrong to one degree or another. I just can’t seem to fall into lock steps with any of the existing versions.

I don’t know if there is anything we can do to change this trend or even if it would be beneficial to change it. But it just seems wrong to me that we have fractured ourselves to such a degree. We seem to almost be at a personal level of an “us vs. them” mentality in that it is now probably a “me vs. them”. In the U.S. that things always seem to swing from one extreme to another. One of the miraculous things is that we have, at least in the past, the uncanny ability to swing back toward the center rather than go over the edge. Lord help that be the case with this also. Maybe one day Christian groups will start integrating with each other instead of splitting.  But I imagine this is wishful thinking on my part.

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3 responses to Finding our niche…..

  1. 

    My son Dan’s site referred me to yours. I find your question very interesting, and I would like to suggest at least three answers. I am NOT a “theologian”, nor do I wish to be. I am a New Testament student, translator, and sometime teacher, female, and 71 years of age. Here are a few observations:
    1. I suspect that many women, like myself, are more practical than theoretical in nature. I would rather be about the business of helping to create the relationships of the Body that Jesus and his followers talked about, than spin high-flown theories about the “nature of God”, etc.
    2. Most women who have “made it” in churches, seem to me more inclined to prove the point that they can be just as authoritative and domineering as men, than to actually engage in serious Biblical study. Perhaps I have just not encountered the other kind: if they exist, I would love to meet them.
    3. I believe that “influence” in churches — across the spectrum, not only one type — depends less on gender than on POWER. In my efforts to find a publisher, for example, for either a New Testament translation or other study materials, I have not been hampered by people who have looked at my work and found its scholarship unsatisfactory, but by the fact that unless one is (a)a member of some institutional hierarchy or (b)sponsored by someone who is, no one will even so much as LOOK at the work. And my husband, who shares the teaching with me, is just as universally ignored in official channels.
    The sad fact is, that in becoming an “institution” (whose primary goal is to increase and survive), the church abdicated its legacy of true brotherhood where ANYONE was assumed to have a valuable contribution to offer. And of course, once a person has “made it” into the hierarchy, they have a position to defend.
    It is a sad situation; but I am grateful to folks who have opened the internet to many of us who have had no voice. Gutenberg’s printing press allowed one Reformation to happen — I just pray that the Net may open the way for another one!

  2. 

    Ruth, thank you for your insight. It means much to me.

  3. 

    So much honest discussion can take place via the internet that just does not happen in a group. Who wants to be politely shunned by fellow worshippers because they think you are too much of a renegade because you study the Bible and express your doubts and honest questions? I am grateful for the internet and the openness it has fostered among us.

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