fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

I was proselytized today in the bodega trying to pick up a soda while doing laundry. It wasn't anthing all that offensive, so much as persistent. The man wouldn't take my assurances that I was a lifelong Christian, that I attended church every Sunday, or even my rattling off of the Nicene Creed as "proof" that he didn't need to continue (which he really didn't, on both doctrinal and just basic moral and courtesy levels).

It's a bit of a weird position. I think I've always enjoyed a kind of Christian privilege in that I looked and acted like the kind of person (for the area where I grew up) who you'd presume was Christian. I was "decent" (read: modest and respectful in my dress and behaviors), middle-class, often running around with my family or living in an area small enough people recognized me as having that connection. I was the kind of person who would go to church and almost certainly was "saved." But in the Bronx that doesn't really apply, and I'm running into people who think you need to evangelize people wherever you meet them, even if you only have thirty seconds and they're a stranger. And assurances that I'm a churchgoer doesn't cover it in these circles, I guess because of the fear that I'm a "Sunday Christian."

The truth is that I'm at a good place with religion. I went to church this morning but won't be going back because it wasn't a good fit spiritually. I know I believe in God, read my Bible regularly (on top of various commentators, popular and academic theology/philosophy), and I try my best to reflect how I understand Christianity in my beliefs and actions. It so happens that my life doesn't map well onto the kind of lifestyle that fits well into the rhythm of church life, but I go when I can to small groups and to church services. I don't feel so bad if I'm not in church anymore, nor do I feel a compulsion to believe the "right" or "popular" version of what Christians are supposed to believe. Basically, my test is would a God worthy of worship expect this of me, and I let my conscience and study be my guide there - and that includes "is it important I show up to this building at this time.

So I'm actually not just a Sunday Christian, I'm living out a relationship. It's just a less literalist, fundamentalist relationship with the divine than those people would have. Which they would know if they knew me, and at some level that's kind of the point.

It's weird to be in a place where being increasingly secular or at least "unchurched" makes me more in line with what the fundamentalists say they expect me to be. Really weird, actually. But also a bit insulting, as they seem to think they have the right to question my values without knowing the first thing about me. So I'm wondering: is there anyone who has more experience dealing with this, and if so, have you come across a response that actually stops the "conversation"?
Tags: religion, rl

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