Musings From A Musical Mind

We live in a culture where it is important to ‘belong’.  We have all been either ‘in’ or ‘out’ when it comes to the ‘clubs’ of our society – like church groups – country clubs – gyms or sports arenas.  Even as children we gravitate to those most likely to accept us and either start our own ‘club’ – or long to be with the ‘other kids’ who seem to have a better ‘club’ than we have.  We all want to belong.  We all want acceptance – even as children.  We want to be noticed and to ‘fit it’.  Sometimes sacrificing ourselves in the process – because being with the popular kids – or the ones who are ‘in’ is far superior to us than being on the outside looking in.

Unfortunately we have also done this as adults.  We’ve done it in our churches.  We’ve done it as Christians.

It looks something like this:  New person comes and joins my ‘club’ and now I feel threatened.  Maybe they will take something away from me.  Maybe my friends will like them better.  Maybe they will be funnier than I am – maybe they will be better than I am.

We had a situation years ago in our church – where we had a thriving music ministry – choir, orchestra and worship team.  This ‘club’ involved about 100 people on any given Sunday.  It was hard work to keep the thing going, new people were encouraged to be a part – but looked at somewhat suspiciously.  Eventually those involved took on the identity of the ‘club’.  When changes were made and even drastically cut down – those that thought they were ‘in’ were threatened and challenged.  Suddenly church did not become about the ‘big picture’ – or about new people finding Christ – as it became about the ‘club’.  It was their identity.

For years we have defined who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ as far as our Christian faith is concerned.  Some feel it necessary to have a firm grasp on just who is accepted as part of the ‘club’ and those who are never welcomed in.  Those divorced, from a bad family, those involved in moral failure or substance abuse would not be a part of the club.  It was not said in so many words – but everyone just knew. I mean – ‘they really aren’t very spiritual, are they’?

Is is ever possible to really hate the sin – but love the sinner?  Do we put feet to this by allowing them into our ‘club’ – into our ‘world’ to break bread with us?

We live next door to a lesbian couple.  They are the nicest human beings you will ever meet – and though we ourselves think homosexuality is wrong and contradicts everything we know to be true as far as the Bible is concerned – we really like these ladies. We love them.   We know these women would be shunned by others of our faith and it makes us sad.  They would only see the shame and sin – they would never be able to see them.

We also know of others who are shunned, ignored and made to feel ‘out’ instead of ‘in’ – because of those judging them have much emotion – bad feelings or personal prejudices – nothing more.  They are judged on a feeling or on the physical appearance. Or because they don’t believe like we do. I think we have to be very careful – when we have a ‘club’ that is exclusive – and restricts because of small mindedness and agenda.  In doing so we give the silent message to all – “I’m better – I have the only truth – there is no other way to see it than my way”  This is dangerous indeed and it is how cults are formed – and why Hitler had so much power and influence over people.  It is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

We need to embrace people – especially those that are different from us.  There is much we can learn from other cultures and even other denominations.  I believe we may have a surprise when we get to heaven and find our Catholic brothers and sisters – even the Baptist and Lutheran standing beside us!  How small our little ‘club’ will seem then.  God sees the ‘big picture’ – he is not about denominational walls – he is about the heart.

Let’s not make the mistake of judging others – especially the heart and motive that only God can truly see.  He is the only judge – and in the end the truth will revealed.  Someday it may be revealed to us – that very person we don’t like – and that we’re not allowing ‘in’ to our ‘club’ – God is whispering, ‘they are my favorite‘.

Our job is to love, encourage and be an example to others of the love and acceptance that we received from Christ – when we stood before Him and said, “I’m in”.  Let’s bring a whole lot of others with us – as we change this dying world – with our love.

Who’s In?  You are. Remember – you are God’s favorite.

God Bless

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Comments on: "Who’s In – And Who’s Not" (9)

  1. I’m with you, Cindy, and do my best to embrace others, regardless of their “situation.” I DO believe it is possible to “hate the sin and love the sinner.” I didn’t say it was easy, just possible. I remember being in one church that I dearly loved except for one thing. It was during a time during my life that I was very, very ill and although they supported me in a roundabout way, the undercurrent was always there that if I only had enough faith, I wouldn’t be sick. Eventually, I left. Took me a long time to stop blaming myself, too.

    Sometimes, Ray and I look around our present church (very liberal in terms of dress) and giggle when we think of a few former pastors who would have heart failure to see folks walk in like some of these do. Our pastor’s viewpoint, though, is that he’d rather have them there, no matter how they’re dressed. I’d say that’s about right. 🙂

    • I totally agree with your pastor!! We have a similar one here – in fact I would say most of the churches here in the Northwest are pretty casual – caring more about relationships than about outward appearances. I would say – it’s about time!

  2. You put this very well, Cindy. We are always trying to determine “who’s in” and “who’s out” by our own inadequate standards. How we like to draw circles around us! We’ve talked about this before. I believe God has a much bigger tent/house than we realize. What we all need are eyes to see the world and the people in it as He sees it all.

  3. I’m in God’s club and and therefor I’m cool. 🙂

    But yes, as human beings we all want to be accepted somewhere, to be part of a group. And true enough, the moment you are accepted in a certain group every newcomer is viewed with a slight suspicion: Will I be “out” because the newcomer is “better”?

    As I grow older I’ve come to the understanding that it’s less about “being accepted” than “accepting others”. That “the others” don’t think exactly like me is okay. Or have a different life style. 🙂

  4. I have always been an outsider. I grew up a very shy kid who moved every few years so I was the new shy kid on the block. I didn’t have all the latest styles and didn’t even like them. I was incredibly short so I could never even see what all the fuss was about! LOL I never liked mainstream things or what was popular. I never was popular. I am pretty much the only Christian in my family. My dh, kids and I are, but my extended family and many of my dh’s family are not. I’ve had issues that weren’t understood like Fibromyalgia and thyroid where you can’t see why I felt so bad. I’ve always been the oddball so I never did feel I fit in. When I became a Christian, I also felt some shy away from me because I was “new.” As a new homeschooler, many of the seasoned veterans didn’t want their kids around mine because they were not homeschooled all their lives. I grew up knowing I was different so I don’t tend to see all the ways everyone is different, but all the ways everyone is alike. I embrace new experiences and different ways of looking at something. I enjoy someone who is good at something and look for ways to join them. There is, unfortunately, division among God’s people, but we are all different and each unique with something to add to our lives if we let them.

    • Well you are not an outsider anymore! Lots of acceptance and validation from friends and colleagues!

      I wish everyone could look at people that are different as unique and having something else to offer – unfortunately that is not always the case. With more people around who are aware of this – we can slowly turn things around!

  5. I remember when I first brought my son to church…with his sister who was 11 months ago. Yes, he was a newboarn and his sister was 11 months old…and I was a single mom. In fact, at my church, I was the only single mom in the congregation of 400. I got two very different responses that day…both women who had known me my entire life…One, took both of my hands in hers, smiled, and said “You surround these babies with strong men and women of the faith and you will be just fine.” The other…smile, took both my hands in hers and said, “Won’t it be great the day you marry and your children will finally be accepted in the church.” Same day. Two very different responses. Well, I took the advice of the first…and my children have turned out beautifully…with strong loving relationships in their lives and mine. I’m married now…*smile*…and me and my children are just as accepted into the arms of God as we were from the moment of our first breath. I love you, Cindy, and all that you heart speaks in regards to this…its close to home…all our homes.

    • I love you too Brenda – You are an inspiration – you have such a humble and teachable spirit with all you’ve been through and God has rewarded you with wonderful kids and a GREAT husband! It’s great to ‘journey’ together with you!

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