Something I've seriously been struggling with is trying to understand why it is that certain churches so alienate people who are different. If the gospel transcends all boundaries and is really meant to destroy the dividing wall of hostility, then why do the churches of Jesus make it so hard for a Christian who is different to live and thrive and give glory to God? In my life, there have been three churches that I consider my church. In one of them, if you don't like softball, you're an outsider. In another one, if you're not studying at a prestigious Boston educational institution or able to converse about jazz or indie music, you will feel left out. In another, if you don't like meeting up to drink coffee and talk about life, you're not growing in Christ. In all three, if you're not committed to dropping 50 bucks a week eating out, then you're not fellowshipping with Christians. Call these observations unfair caricatures if you will, but caricatures only accentuate the truth; they never perpetuate it. Why are we still making it so hard for different people that God gifted with differentness to be lovers of Jesus Christ?
Perhaps the issue isn't as bad as I think it is and perhaps I am just amidst a season of emotions. I am still young and young people are not yet steady and set. Perhaps this is a part of the brokenness of a redeemed-but-not-yet realized-eschatology church. Perhaps it is God's way of reminding me that the church is a broken place that will hurt you and let you down, so don't place your ultimate trust in it the way you ought to place your ultimate trust in him.
Another related issue I've been struggling with is this: Why don't reformed evangelical churches do more things to love mercy and act justly in a social manner? This question is like a stench I can't scrub off that follows me everywhere and unsettles me. If the gospel that saves kings is the same gospel that saves beggars, why is it that so often I feel that what I'm being taught in the churches that I am a part of wouldn't work in most parts of the world? Is the theology I am being taught a bourgeousie theology? Why does it feel like these walls are too high and the gates too thick for the poor?
It goes much deeper than the pedantic statement that, "Evangelical Christians don't care about the poor". I have a deep fear that the claim only describes a symptom and that the real issue is systemic to the teaching that I've grown so accustomed to and so readily accept as God-inspired truth. Moreover, I have a deep fear that I am too much a part of the system to objectively understand it. I am a part of the problem. I need to think about this more.