U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-22-2008, 10:26 PM
 
94 posts, read 303,540 times
Reputation: 84
Default Christians do you ever feel like you don't fit in with other Christians?

I've always felt close to God, have had many life experiences that leave me with no doubts of His existence. I always called myself Christian, if asked. But more and more lately, I just feel like I don't identify with the ideas/behaviors of those I encounter (in person or through media, etc.) who claim "Christianity" as their faith.

It just feels to me like what I encounter is such an elitist, judgemental force. Does anyone else relate with that? It's not that I feel differently about God, because I don't. I know Jesus is real, I know He died for me. I don't question any of my beliefs. I just don't feel like I fit in among those proclaming Christianity. Does that make sense?

I'd love to be involved in church again. But it seems every one I've tried, save one (and I can't attend that one anymore because I moved out of state), felt very "cliquey" to me, like most people there really were constantly judging everyone else, looking down on them. I haven't tried to find a new church in a very long time, I just got sick of trying to find one that felt right.

And when it comes to things like the documentary "Jesus Camp", I am just left feeling like I SURELY don't want to be lumped into the same category as these folks! Not that I don't have love and compassion in my heart for them, because I really do. I just don't identify with their practices.

I also think history shows that a lot of really horrendous, very WRONG things have been done in the name of Christianity and this, coupled with the things I've already pointed out, make me leery of telling my children "you are Christian". We talk about God, we talk about and read the Bible at times, we discuss Jesus, etc. Part of me feels regretful that I don't have them involved in church...but another part of me refuses to put them in an environment where people behave elitist and judgemental because it just seems counterproductive, you know?

Anyway, I'd love to hear other people's take on this subject, and hear about your own experiences as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-23-2008, 06:15 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 7,273,494 times
Reputation: 9029
Pippi, I can identify with everything you have said here.

I was raised in my Mother's faith, and in her church, which is Lutheran. I am proud of the family's ties to the Church, given that everything else about them is dysfunctional, and of any of the churches to which I have belonged over the years, it is in this physical structure that I feel I can 'rejoice in the Lord' to some degree. I do far more 'rejoicing' however in Nature, where I see -- if not 'God" as some would define such -- something far greater than what I am.

I ascribe to the teachings of Jesus and would consider myself Christian, more Christian actually than the many I encounter, who sit in judgment of others, and condemn them for not being like-minded, and who want to quote Biblical scripture in an effort to support/condone what they do or don't do in the name of their faith. I'm not quite sure what some believe when they claim to be Christian, as it is too far from my understanding of the Christ and what he taught. For me, He seems to have failed many.

I have one child, a daughter, that I tried to raise in a church, but after many attempts to find one, truly 'of the spirit', I decided perhaps I would not find what I had hoped for within the walls of a building and some of the believers therein. I prayed for guidance, and what came to me was to do what my heart told me to do, with a clear conscience.

You may never actually find what you are looking for in a church.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 06:55 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,830 posts, read 6,008,485 times
Reputation: 58114
Yes, I do feel this way. I haven't given up on finding a church that fits me, but my experiences have been the same. I've been called judgemental and elitist in this forum, but anytime you stand up for Christ and don't back down that's what you get called by nonbelievers and even other "supposed" Christians. I have more of a problem with those proclaiming to be Christians who twist and blaspheme the Holy Word of God than I do with the unbelievers.

About your children....I think you might want to rethink your stance on that. I never took my son to church, because of my abusive childhood experiences with it. That was a big mistake. Tell them they should be proud of being a Christian, and then explain the hypocrisy of some who claim to be Christians. And take them to church.

Luckily, I had a babysitter that picked up my son every Sunday for church. He is now 18 and loves the Lord. And I had absolutely nothing to do with that. I feel so guilty and thank God everyday for the babysitter who took him to church. He's a Christian in spite of my own fears and reluctance to go to church. I will be eternally grateful to God for interceding when I was still struggling to deal with my pain and confusion about "organized religion" and the horrible experiences I had with it and one parent.

My suggestion would be to take them to church....whether you want to or not. If you like the pastor and the preaching, then that's really all that matters. Don't get too involved with the people....that's where the problems come in. Go to a big church, where you can blend in instead of stand out. There will be more activities and programs for the children that way too.

I was blessed enough to have someone care enough to take my son to church....you may not be so lucky. I think it is imperative that we teach our children Biblical principles-----and also imperative to watch them like hawks to make sure they receive the RIGHT kind of teaching.

Just my thoughts and experiences, for what it's worth.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 07:11 AM
 
12,365 posts, read 14,426,793 times
Reputation: 14546
Good thread Pippi..Like Rds, I can also identify with some of what you say..Many times I feel very out of place among the christians especially the ones who are very connected to a certain doctrin that they have been taught in a building they call "the church" by a man that they have become dependant upon to bring them a "message" each Sunday morning...
I read the bible, I study the scriptures, I learn many things from the bible, but I do not depend on the bible as my source of communication with God..My contact with God is through the Holy Spirit that is within me..He teaches, leads and is my source of wisdom..It took me many years of outside searching and I was never satisfied with what people told me was the truth, until I was brought to my knees in tears, ready to give up and poured my heart out as a last resort..That is when I knew that He was with me all the time, pure and loving..Once I rejected all the false doctrine and teachings of the world from my soul, I was cleansed and ready to let my soul fill with the light and wisdom and love of my creator...And the peace of knowing I had finally found Him has never left..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 7,273,494 times
Reputation: 9029
While I can understand the plea to take the children to church, I would be afraid of what indoctrination they may come away with. I have met many ministers that I liked quite a bit, agreed with what they may preach from a pulpit, but did not want to subject my child to everything else that went on in the church, largely the hypocrisy.

I shared my beliefs with my child, but made sure she understood she was of a free will to worship as she chooses. Unfortunately, what I hear from her is along the lines of "crazy Christians" and she confesses she leans towards the teachings of Buddha. She could do worse. If she lives her life as a good person, and is of clear and sound judgment and conscience, I will be proud. That is far more Christ-like than what I have found in much of organized religion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Lambs Book of Life
1,592 posts, read 3,009,626 times
Reputation: 620
Churches are made up of the people in them, so, none of them will be perfect.

When looking for a church, where you live will only have a certain number of choices, so start by learning what churches are available. Look at their websites and read their Statement of Belief for what they believe doctrinally and how they stand on important issues. All the while, and most importantly, be praying for God's leading to the church He has in mind for you. That may be different from what you might choose for yourself, so be prepared for that possibility. Rather than choosing what I want in a church, I would much rather go to the one that God has in mind for me.

Visit a church you've chosen for several weeks. You can't get a good feel for most churches after just one visit. And keep praying.

What do you look for? The Bible does give some help with this. Galatians 1:6-9 says we should listen only to those who preach the true gospel of Jesus. If anything else is taught, then move on. What they're teaching should be what's taught in the Bible, God's Word. The gospel is that we are sinners, in need of a Savior and that Jesus is the only way of salvation and the only way to the Father. Look at what the church teaches about the Trinity, eternal security, free will, the authority of the Bible, eschatology and God's sovereignty. These are all things we should understand as much as we're able to and are some of the doctrines that are important to keep in mind when choosing a church.

If you're not sure how you stand on these subjects, then look for a church that teaches the Bible as God's inspired Word and that He is sovereign. His sovereignty is in the fact that God is lovingly and in control of all of history. He works in everyone's lives to ensure His plan is carried out in every detail and in His perfect ways (though they're often not understood by us). Avoid a church where you’re told that God only wants happiness, health, success, and wealth for you; the Bible says that, as Christians, we should expect persecution and suffering for the cause of Christ. God uses our pain to encourage others and to help us grow. While God desires us to be happy, He is more concerned with our holiness than our temporary happiness here.

Lastly, it should be a place of fellowship and community, as it was encouraged by the apostles in Acts. They should be welcoming of EVERYONE but still speak the truth about sin. They should also be reaching out to their community and not focused inward on themselves. Their worship music should be just that... worship. Not performance.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 08:34 AM
 
Location: NW Arkansas
3,981 posts, read 5,178,556 times
Reputation: 3650
Well said Simple Living. I would like to add What the Apostle Paul said about the Bereans: " Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they recieved the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." Acts 17: 11 NASB

Listen to what is being taught on ALL of the scriptures, and compare it with what the word of God says. If you need help in finding what the scriptures say on a particular topic, get a concordance and read what every scripture says on it. That is what I did when I was a new Christian. I have thousands of notes that I wrote down all the topics that I was researching. Concordances only give a portion of the sentence, I wanted the entire verse. Knowing what precedes it is necessary also. Differant people are being spoken to, and they may be in a differant stage of their Christian life and require more or less information. Sometimes the speaker isn't even talking to a Christian. The context is very important.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 12:42 PM
 
537 posts, read 797,588 times
Reputation: 140
On judgement day the only person you will give an account for is yourself. You won't be able to say so and so was a hypocrite so I just could'nt walk with you because of their bad example. All Christians make mistakes, that is why you need to look to Him and not any person. Seek Him and you will find Him.

There are many people who claim to be Christians and we know they can not all be right because the Bible says few will enter into His kingdom. Those who truely know Him forsake all for Him and do His will. The Bible says you will know them by their fruit. So don't look for "christians" look for followers of Christ, the doers.

I often do not fit in as well, but mine is for different reasons. I see many in the church following men and not Christ, and I wish to follow no man. People think I am legalistic or too radical, but I am only following what He has led me to and what His word says. I see many as not radical enough, in Revelation He says He will spew out the lukewarm. Pick up your Bible and read it with the Holy Spirits leading.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 01:57 PM
 
Location: NC
10,943 posts, read 8,528,964 times
Reputation: 1230
Quote:
I've always felt close to God, have had many life experiences that leave me with no doubts of His existence. I always called myself Christian, if asked. But more and more lately, I just feel like I don't identify with the ideas/behaviors of those I encounter (in person or through media, etc.) who claim "Christianity" as their faith.

It just feels to me like what I encounter is such an elitist, judgemental force. Does anyone else relate with that? It's not that I feel differently about God, because I don't. I know Jesus is real, I know He died for me. I don't question any of my beliefs. I just don't feel like I fit in among those proclaming Christianity. Does that make sense?

I'd love to be involved in church again. But it seems every one I've tried, save one (and I can't attend that one anymore because I moved out of state), felt very "cliquey" to me, like most people there really were constantly judging everyone else, looking down on them. I haven't tried to find a new church in a very long time, I just got sick of trying to find one that felt right.

And when it comes to things like the documentary "Jesus Camp", I am just left feeling like I SURELY don't want to be lumped into the same category as these folks! Not that I don't have love and compassion in my heart for them, because I really do. I just don't identify with their practices.

I also think history shows that a lot of really horrendous, very WRONG things have been done in the name of Christianity and this, coupled with the things I've already pointed out, make me leery of telling my children "you are Christian". We talk about God, we talk about and read the Bible at times, we discuss Jesus, etc. Part of me feels regretful that I don't have them involved in church...but another part of me refuses to put them in an environment where people behave elitist and judgemental because it just seems counterproductive, you know?

Anyway, I'd love to hear other people's take on this subject, and hear about your own experiences as well.
Hi I have felt this way, Pippi333, but have to realize that people are at different levels of growth in their spiritual walk. The church is made up of imperfect people but we are a part of the body of Christ. I have received a lot of judgmental and critical things said about me because of my beliefs but I have to realize that God is the judge and I put my faith and trust in Him. I would encourage you to continue to pray for guidance in this area. God may want you to be in a place where you can lovingly challenge in a good way and/or be a better example for those who may display the judgmental and elitist attitudes.Just my pov. Take care and God bless.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2008, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Indiana
1,250 posts, read 2,286,698 times
Reputation: 750
I understand what you are saying, but I usually only find myself feeling that way on this forum.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top