Stuffy Church of Christ
I have had a lot of interactions with new people in my life recently. New faces had kind of become stagnant as I wasn’t challenging myself or stretching beyond the small niche that I had found here in Fayetteville, but my new job at Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter has helped to stretch me in a couple of ways.
Often in a setting of social justice like that faith and spirituality come up. People will ask what background I am from denominationally and I always say I am Church of Christ. Sadly, the most popular reaction I get is something along the lines of, “Oh…”
Sometimes people are a bit more cordial about it and say, “There were a couple of Church of Christ kids that I went to school with…”
I am confident enough now to say, “They probably weren’t very nice were they?” They always grin and say that they were fine people, they just told everyone else they were wrong all the time and came off as feeling like they were better than everyone else.
In conversation I refer to these people as “stuffy.” Just meaning they are not very loving, not very graceful and often seemingly arrogant about the superiority of their beliefs. In other areas it is caring deeply about spiritual things and not so much about people’s physical conditions.
I feel that I am a pretty good ambassador in these respects. I come from a tradition that is historically pretty stuffy. I came to faith in a congregation that could be considered pretty stuffy. But I went to a University where I have seen the ship being steered in another direction. I have a lot of friends at other schools who are all rejuvenated and excited to see the same things happening. Social Justice is something to be held in high importance along with scripture. Caring and loving others is being recognized as an important part of Christian living. And loving Jesus means living like him.
I am proud of the history of my movement, but excited to see the future of it. I understand that the battle of public perception, however, is something that we have to wage with our lives. Now, I wage that war among my co-workers and anyone else that I come into contact with love, respect and active care for their well-being.