He Wants You To Fit In

There are 2 Christian Radio stations that I have found locally that I have been listening to.  I prefer the talk show based one since it has more talk radio and more religious music versus the “trying to be mainstream” Christian music station.  I was listening to one of the local religious radio stations last Friday  and the host said something that really moved me.

“He doesn’t want you to get in, He wants you to fit in.”

The host went on to talk about how at the Second Coming when Jesus comes you will get a new body, all your ailments will disappear, your body will be perfect, but your character is yours.  Character is something that one needs to be growing right now because the character you have at the second coming will be your character for eternity.  You get a new perfect body and hopefully your character is worthy of it, but I am not worried about my Character.  I am concerned with not being an outsider.

I don’t fit in.  I won’t fit in.  I have been trying to figure out how to address this for a month and every time I start to write it just doesn’t come out right but now I think I finally have the right words.

I don’t see how, even if I decided there was a God, would I ever fit in?

I do not believe that life begins at conception.  I support the right to have a abortion if a woman wants for whatever reason she wants only because I support the rights of all people, young and old to make their own decisions for their own body.  I support gays; I support them in getting married or civil unions or whatever the government wants to call it.  I don’t think they are bad people and I don’t think they are doing anything wrong just because they love another with the same sex chromosomes as them.  I believe in evolution.  I do not believe that the earth is just 6000 years old or that dinosaurs were just made up by atheist scientists to fool the masses into disbelieving in God.  (OK I’m not sure how many christians believe the 6000 year old Earth and Dino thing but really they come out in droves on the internet).

I know that America is not a Christian Nation built on Christian beliefs and even if we were? We were also a nation of people that at that time believed we could own other people.  Money didn’t have “In God We Trust” on it til the 50’s same with the Pledge of Allegiance; it did not say “One nation under God until then either.  Those changes were brought on by the fear of communism and Cold War.  (I am still not sure what one had to do with the other though- I should probably research that.)  I don’t believe that there should be prayer in school, not for Muslims, not for Mormons, not for Hindus, not for Catholics and not for Christians.  I think that sex education, though primarily the responsibility of the parents, should be taught in schools and that includes teaching about prevention not just abstinence.

It seems that my beliefs on social issues do not align with the bible or with the majority of the Christian populous.  I think that is must be ridiculously hard to be a Scientist, a Gay or Pro-Choice and still believe in a God that apparently doesn’t think you fit in.  I wouldn’t fit in and I don’t see myself changing my beliefs on social issues and from a few of the responses I can tell that though a few other Atheists that have become Christians haven’t changed their core social beliefs.

So even though I enjoy the learning aspect of church and I will still keep going because I do enjoy what I am learning; I still do not agree with most of it; I don’t fit in and I don’t see that changing.

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24 thoughts on “He Wants You To Fit In

  1. One thing my grandma always said was that there was no right way to be religious. I am a scientist, I am pro-choice, and I am also Catholic. I have many homosexual friends and I fully support them. My grandmother did too, and I think that if we could somehow prove that she performed two miracles, she would be a saint. I think if my Grandma C was still alive, she would tell you that there is no fitting in to anything. She would say that it would be your relationship with God (on your terms) and your character alone (not judged by anyone else) that would grant you passage into heaven as long as you are a truly good person. The masses like to make religion about “fitting in” however I think that is the last thing religion and faith are about. It’s about trusting in a higher power when there is no more hope (and there are a number of occasions where scientists say there is no more hope) and then somehow something happens that can’t be explained. To me, believing in God is about having someone there to listen to you when you’re alone so that you can share your happiness, your sadness, and your worries. I’m not telling you that you should believe in God, I’m just saying that you don’t have to buy into fitting in and doing things “right” in order to believe in Him.

    • And many people do believe that also – but so many don’t. It makes it hard to not wonder what is up when a group of people that all believe in essentially the same thing and they get their info to base that belief from the same place have such vastly different ideas of what is and is not ok/right.
      Maybe that is just the American way to do things since we also have a single piece of paper that essentially tells us how to handle our countries business but no one can agree on that either.

  2. i’ve never commented before except the post where you asked us questions, but i thought i’d mention that i think the link between fear of communism and adding the God parts to the money and in the pledge of allegiance is because karl marx identified himself as an atheist. also, many communist leaders were atheists – lenin: “religion is the opiate of the masses.” i’m DEFINITELY not saying that all communists are atheists or all atheists are communists or should be identified as such. also, i don’t want you to think i’m saying that identifying as an atheist leads to being like lenin, because i certainly do not think that. i’m just saying that that’s probably where that comes from – ‘america’ identified these communists with atheism and so had that reaction. hope that helps!

    • I was going to say something to this extent 😛 most atheists are liberals, and a while ago liberalism was associated with socialism. Communists could be considered extremist socialists. I myself am a classical liberal; I don’t agree with socialist ideas.

  3. This past Sunday, the pastor teaching landed one on a huge point that seems fitting, and is also a point that I wish my fellow Christians would always remember – Christians should not expect non-Christians to believe/behave/do the same thing as they do. In other words, quit holding non-Christians to the same standards, and as a result, quit being self-righteous toward them.

    As a Christian, it is not my duty to change the behavior of non-Christians. It is my commission to share what Jesus has done in my life – that’s all. God will handle the rest.

    So with that said – I know (or have known) Christians who are Democrats, who are okay with others having abortions (but they would never do it – that’s between God and them), and are okay with gay civil unions (but not religious “marriage”). They don’t believe in a new earth theory (neither do I – the Earth is more than 6000 years old and I think the Bible supports this). They don’t believe that every story in the Bible is true – but is simply a parable with an important principle. Do they fit the mold of other Christians? Of course not. But they come down to this – it’s between God and the individual in the end.

    In my experience, once a person decides that God exists and God is someone who can be trusted and relied on, then God will begin to shape that individual as much as that individual wants to be shaped. Skeptics might argue that’s just church brainwashing and maybe it is. But Christian viewpoints/beliefs are too wide and varied when it comes to social stuff and theology stuff simply to be all-out brainwashing.

    Dy-Anne – you might be interested in a book entitled UnChristian. You’ll find yourself nodding in agreement with much of it. I recommend this book to Christians because as a Christian it’s heart-wrenching and I hope my fellow Christians will grab hold of the idea that we need not to stop judging, and start being Christ-like.

    • There was similar teaching at “my” church on Sunday. It was about being heard as a Christian is ok to be heard and that Chrsitians should spread the word but that they need to do it tactfully. Until the pastor got to that point I wanted to get up and leave because much of what he was saying was making me upset because I could hear the condemnation from people but then he basically said to not be an a-hole. He obviously didn’t use those words but that is what I wrote down in my notes.

      I have dealt with many of the “holier-than-thou” types and they make you want to bang your head on the wall but I have also talked with many who really are “christ-like” and are ok with other’s differing opinions and beliefs; I definitely prefer those people.

      • “I have dealt with many of the “holier-than-thou” types and they make you want to bang your head on the wall….”

        LOL. Totally understand. I get so frustrated because it’s that kind of holier-than-thou attitude that causes so many to despise Christians and think we’re all just a bunch of hypocritical brain-washed drones.

        Jesus wasn’t an a-hole (never thought I would put those two words into a single sentence). And people who say they are following Him shouldn’t be either!

        • WTG Babe. I was going to comment, but you did it a lot better than I could (Jordan is my hubby).

          Dy-Anne, I got a little angered, saddened and frustrated by the statement that the commentator said. Realize that Christianity is not a club, a clique, or a posse. Many people feel that it is a club and that if you don’t believe in the way that “they do”, then you are not going to fit in. That’s not the case. Christianity should be about your RELATIONSHIP with Christ. As a christian, it’s about sharing him, loving him, and becoming like him (christ-like).

  4. I LOVE what Jordan said and I agree completely. I think you shouldn’t worry about not fitting in. My dad just became a Christian about 7 years ago. I remember it very well. He always said he couldn’t be a Christian until he cleaned himself up (he was an alcoholic), but that’s not God’s plan. God wants to change you between you and Him. That’s what relationship is. It’s not about just following rules to be a good Christian. It’s about knowing Him.

    He wants to deal with those issues with you, not against you. Hopefully that makes sense. God cares more about the journey with you as you get to know Him even more than the end result. It’s in the journey to change that you get to know Him more and understand His heart more. If you just change your beliefs because it’s the “Christian” thing to do, it’s not going to be real in your heart.

  5. You seem to try pretty hard to fit in with Christians, and for the most part you do. You have a great mindset, and it is of course possible to be friends and get along. But if you try to fit in religiously, it’s really not going to work. I enjoy your blog and I would say it has a new perspective on Christianity that I was to young to really know about when I was a Mormon.

  6. I think the idea of God wanting us to “fit in” has some serious flaws in it 🙂 For the simple answer, to be a “christian” means to be Christ-like, not to be “american church-isized”.

    So, the question is do any of the positions which you hold go against what Christ / the bible said:
    For sure not the 6000 year old earth – no dates like that in the bible

    no reasons on the “american is a christian nation debate : agreed – so what?

    on the gay marriage thing: jesus did say “in the beginning he made them male and female…a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” – so, that’s a little more problematic.

    sex education and prayer in school – not addressed

    I don’t see anywhere in the bible where Jesus is trying to get people to “fit in” with some sort of Christian sub-culture. On the contrary, he seems to act very contra-culture most of the time.

    In any case, the point of following Christ is not to “fit in”, but to be in relationship with God. I think if you spend time just reading Christ’s words, and spending time getting to know him, you will find that you already “fit in” with Christ. Anything that he wishes to change, he will make known to you; it’s not a case of becoming somebody else to be with Christ. It’s about being with him as you are.

  7. “In God We Trust” has been on US coinage since long before the 1950’s. I am not sure of specifics but I have seen Morgan Dollars from the 1800’s that say “In God We Trust.”

  8. I’ve been following your journey on here and I am glad that you are continuing. As for fitting in, it’s not like trying to stick a round peg into a square hole, I honestly don’t think God needs or wants us “to fit in” but instead to come just you are. God takes all. If you wait your whole life to fit in before giving your life the it will never happen.

  9. Dy-Anne, hi again –

    I hear you. You make some very good points. I’ve often pondered about how so many different ideas abound in the Christian world. One thing that comforts me is that, even back in the first century, even among people who knew the apostles and Jesus himself, there were different ideas present. Some of these ideas were OK and didn’t really matter, but some were so far-fetched that they had to be dealt with by the church leaders.

    In Christianity, it all boils down to one thing, really: Jesus. If one believes in him and does what he and the apostles taught, then that’s basically it. Most everything else, as we say in Louisiana, is lagniappe.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe there is a plan of salvation clearly outlined in the Bible. And I do believe we should follow it. I also believe that there are parameters and that the Bible teaches this. It’s just that quite a bit of what we believe can vary. For example, I don’t believe that Jesus will reign on Earth for a thousand years, but I don’t condemn anyone who does. Nor do I condemn anyone who is pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, though I myself do not personally support these ideas. (Having said that, let me also say that whenever I or anyone else says “I believe,” it is open to interpretation. In my opinion, the only things we can know for sure about God and his history and plans should be taken from the Bible. Science can explain some things that are not included in the Bible, but not all. Of course, other books exist that can help us understand certain things, and I have even recommended some of them here. But all of these should be taken with a grain of salt.)

    Concerning some of the things that you mentioned, I probably line up more with you than many of my Christian brothers and sisters. I can see why it might not be a good thing to have prayer in school b/c of the varying religious beliefs that might be represented there. To be “fair,” we would have to give Muslims, Hindus, etc. their day to pray, in addition to Christians. I mean, if this weren’t a “Christian nation,” then I’d be forced to participate in something that I myself would not condone. Maybe I feel this way b/c I used to teach about freedom of speech and such. Who knows? But I do know that I, like you, don’t want someone trying to make me “fit in” when I feel as if I might be a square peg in a round hole. Truthfully, I can’t remember our praying very much at all while I was in school during the ’60s and ’70s. In my mind, school prayer won’t make *any* difference in a child’s life; it’s what he or she learns outside of the classroom at home or in Bible school. But I have friends who feel differently on the issue, and I respect that. Same thing with sex education, though I do think that abstinence should be included in those discussions as well.

    Concerning how old the Earth is, I try not to get caught up in that debate. I think it’s something that can’t really be explained. I don’t think scientists can accurately say how many “millions” of years old the Earth is, so to try to argue about that – again, IMO – is useless. I do believe in dinosaurs, though!

    And about when life begins: That’s truly a toughie. One of the reasons (in addition to Old Testament scriptures) I believe that it begins at conception, is – if it does not – when is the “magic moment” that this takes place? Since I don’t see an answer to that question, I revert to the conception theory.

    As others said, thankfully, God and Jesus accept us for who we are and work with us from there. God takes care of us and makes us acceptable and holy through his grace and mercy. It’s nothing that we do for ourselves – as I know you have probably heard for years, over and over.

    If we could just wave a magic wand and make everyone think and feel exactly alike, maybe that would be great. But, then, maybe we’d all just be automatons or Stepford wives.

    I’m glad that you are planning to keep on studying and learning. That’s great. My suggestion would be to concentrate on poring through the Bible, praying and finding out for yourself how it can work within your own mind and heart. I believe that God made it plain enough for us to understand, but mysterious enough to keep us intrigued and interested.

    God *does* want us to fit in, but not with standards that humans or nations have set. It’s by his and Jesus’ standards, and in that regard, there’s room for all. As you undoubtedly have known since childhood, Jesus was friends with outsiders, and he chose his closest helpers from people whom everyone else would have overlooked. Even so, there were rich people and also Jewish leaders who followed him. All classes. All personalities. The beauty of the thing is that it doesn’t really depend on our fitting ourselves in. He and God are the ones who do the work. It’s a constant process, and as it continues, we remain “ourselves,” just (somehow) better.

      • Agreed Dy-Anne! If a church is looking to control your behavior before looking to deepen your relationship then they have things backwards.
        You might not “fit in” in any church you’ve encountered yet, but Jesus never rejects you.

  10. I am going to try to be a brief as possible here, b/c it’s actually quite simple to answer these questions. Vince said it well in the comment above- “its more about recognizing who Jesus is in your life”. Dy-Anne, I know you would say you are atheist as of right now, so of course your thoughts/social beliefs aren’t going to “fit in” (often) with traditional Biblical views. That’s ok. It would be wierd if they did b/c you don’t align yourself with the Christian faith.

    And, you know, here’s the thing-it’s going at it backwards for any of us to think of it as “well I can’t be a christian b/c my beliefs don’t fit in and I am not willing to change”. The only reason I think as I do on certain issues is because Jesus has changed my heart and my perpective- through following him my thoughts on things have changed- I used to feel one way about ______ and now I feel another, because that’s what knowing God will do.

    These issues aren’t really life or death issues. The real question- the one that is life or death- each one of us has to answer is “what are we doing to do with Jesus?”. I love the way CS Lewis put it- “He’s either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic”. And once you answer that and decide, it’s personal responsibility to search the Scriptures out for answers to these other questions we face.

    The Bible clearly states,” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”. Acts 16:31. That is step 1. Dy-Anne, (and anyone else reading this) God made you for a relationship with Him and there is NO ONE who doesn’t fit that. 🙂

    So, as important as these other questions are, and as relevant to our daily life that they are, I would try not to think of how you can’t ever see yourself changing perspectives on certain things. I know you don’t believe in God right now, but if that changed- even just that- and you began to trust that He is there and ready and willing for you to come to Him, then understood that the only way to do that is by putting your trust in Jesus’ payment of your sins on the cross, and you said to him, “I want to follow you”, then He will lead you in these issues. You don’t have to look/act a certain way to come to Him. I do believe that part of coming to him is having an open heart though and welcoming Him in to teach us and show us where we are wrong- b/c none of us are all wise and all knowing and have everything figured out! And might I add that He does this in a GENTLE and kind way- b/c that is who He is! Not harsh and beating us over the head like some who claim to follow him.

    IF there is a God, and He is the Creator of the Universe, shouldn’t we trust that His ways are right and He is wiser than we are? I can call nothing into existence. Therefore I surrender to the One who can. And did.

  11. one thing you mentinoed here that wasn’t in your questions was the concept of evolution. i wanted to state, for the record, that as a christian (mormon), i DO believe in evolution. i do not believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive. i majored in exercise science (lots of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition) at a mormon college, and i loved that we were able to discuss the religous nature of the sciences we were studying. same goes for biology, chemistry, physics, etc. i believe that everything we know about science is part of an eternal law that we’ve just barely scratched the surface on. do i believe in miracles? absoutely. do i also believe that the world evolved over millenia instead of over the course of 6 days? definitely. (ftr, the use of the word “days” in the creation of the world in the bible, to me, is just a word so that we can understand. i don’t believe it means a literal 24 hour period.)

  12. Jesus never said go down to the local church and call yourself a Christian. He said to follow him. He gave us an example of how to live. He said by their fruits (what we do), you’ll know if they are his disciples. It’s not a matter of having a correct view of politics and culture and fitting in with American Christianity. Follow Jesus if you feel his example is worth following.

  13. What is ‘fitting in’? Is it being the same as other people in terms of belief on a few issues? Or is it adding the richness of your own experiences, beliefs, questions to the ‘body’ of believers?

    Additionally, I wonder if too much emphasis is being placed on a few issues? Yes Evangelicals typically get stuck-like-an-old-record on abortion, creation and homosexuality and that is a frustration for me too. Because they are DIVISIVE, rather than UNIFYING. But what about issues like the treatment of the boy at the school you were subbing for? Don’t we all agree that that was wrong? What about other things like caring for the needy? Or Feeding the hungry?

    Or what about “fitting in” in other ways? Like hobbies? Are there other soccer fans there? Or Moms of tots?

  14. Nicholas Sparks wrote one of my favorite stories. It is the story in his novel A Walk to Remember. Most of the story is false but the main characters are not. The story is inspired by his own sister’s life. I love this movie because it shows one girl whose faith is so strong that she changes her world and suprisingly gets her deepest desire without giving up on her beliefs. I think that you would really enjoy the book and the movie.

    The story explains that it is not about fitting in or getting in rather it is about the journey there.

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