It is one thing to differ on music styles and wardrobe choices appropriate for Sunday morning service with your fellow church congregants. It is entirely another to disagree on the sacredness of sexuality, marriage, conscience, and life. One should be expected. The other is downright depressing. And yet, it’s an increasing occurrence within evangelical churches.
Last Friday, an acquaintance asked if I ever feel alone touting a Christian worldview in today’s culture and among my Millennial generation. She probably didn’t expect my answer. The times I’ve felt most alone were while defending my Christian convictions with members of my own church.
My worldview loneliness is not provoked by the awkward discomfort that comes from sharing the Christian faith with an unbeliever in secular culture. Which is not to say evangelizing is easy for this introvert. No, that challenge is different.
I expect a lost soul to find the Gospel offensive. The mocking, callousness and avoidance of the Gospel by unbelievers are understandable when in response to the Holy Spirit’s prodding at hearts and minds. Disagreements and withdrawals from lost souls does not usher in loneliness for the young conservative Christian, but merely offers perspective to the Great Commission.
Worldview loneliness manifests itself in the uninviting glares received after suggesting to a singles’ small group that abortion is a social justice issue too. Meanwhile, those you know understand the dignity of the unborn, silently lean in their chairs as far away from your direction as possible.
How about the gloom that settles after a parent asks you and your co-teacher not to discuss the sin of same-sex marriage while her child is in your Sunday school class?
Then there’s the anxiety that creeps in when you defy the parents request and discuss the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman with your Sunday school students. Only to be followed by despair after seeing said Sunday school students on Facebook arguing with each other over same-sex marriage.
This is what it’s like to feel alone because of your Christian worldview in the Church.
Friends, I’m not out to chastise the Church. There’s enough of that going around certain other blogs. Nor do I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of my entire generation nor denomination.
The bright spot is I am not an enigma among Millennials in the Church. Maybe outnumbered, but certainly not alone in the Church. Sometimes it just takes pausing to reflect on this truth. And I pray the Almighty helps me grow secure in my witness in the Church and emboldens those silent about their convictions to speak up.
What else? How can we overcome our feelings of loneliness when our worldview clashes with fellow congregants without giving up on our churches?