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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Confronting the Cookie Cutter Christianity

I find myself losing sleep over not speaking up in my Bible study Group. This gracious group of women let me into their circle for a Bible Study group at my church, we had an informal book club, met at each other’s house, they kindly ate my gluten free experiments and pray for my family.

But every time we meet, politics inevitably creeps up into the conversation. Out of politeness I refrain from adding my 2 cents. Why should my opinions take up space? They bash the Democratic party and the Democratic presidential candidates continually every week and complain how the “liberal media’ engages in Bush bashing, I keep silent. It would open a can of worms.

Ive reached a point that if I keep silent any longer than I am a fraud to my own political convictions, personal history and moral obligations. I cannot live a life that is in any way inauthentic. My hesitation of joining a church is now being made manifest. When I first became a Christian it was because of a supernatural experience in my bathtub Christmas Eve ’99 that changed my life forever. In those fragile first years, I would of benefited greatly from the support of a community of believers. But I refrained from going to church for several years because I perceived such a strong pressure to conform to a cookie-cutter image of what it means to be an American Christian, I did not want to lose my individuality to a human establishment, or a human idea influenced by class, education, race, culture of what a Christian should act like, look like, etc. Human history if rife with the mistakes of that.

Yes I believe I am the righteousness of God via Jesus, that when the Supreme Being looks at me, I am sinless, guiltless, perfection and a work in progress. Such love, I need no intermediary, just this relationship of communion where God lives in me and I in God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus. I am indeed a new creation, everyday, with no cares of the past or the future, just resting with and in the eternal I AM. My only struggle is to rest and relax into this perfect, finished work.

That does not mean I suddenly am a NRA card carrying Republican, that I renounce women’s lib and will vote against Obama, that I support sex education based on abstinence, fear a Homosexual agenda etc or supported the Iraqi invasion.

Jesus challenged the religious elites and establishment of His time. His followers were society’s rejects, disenfranzhized, invisible—prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers. What happens when His church becomes the establishment, the religious elites? How does the contemporary church deal with this tension of being united, of growing as one body and yet not being elitist, of being exclusive. Who are the rejected outcasts of today? What groups are invisible? Native Americans are hidden away on reservations, transgender persons, AIDS victims, the very poor, illegal immigrants. I don’t see America’s church’s reaching out to any of these groups. Who are the excluded?

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