Archives For belonging

Recently at church I heard a lesson about the importance of building
margins into our lives. The irony of it was that this teaching came
from the pulpit of a megachurch. And generally speaking, it has been
my experience that most megachurches implicitly gravitate towards an
extroverted structure. Thus, for the introvert, there is very little
room for “margins.” (Or at least margins that an introvert would recognize).

Yet that is exactly where I feel I’m at when I’m attending service, or
trying to get involved: in the margins. Donald Miller
wrote–in Blue Like Jazz–“At the time I was attending this
large church in the suburbs. It was like going to church at the Gap. I
don’t know why I went there. I didn’t fit. I had a few friends,
though, very nice people.” I understand this. My family and I live
this. The only connection we have to our large church is a few
friends–friends we made via some activities our kids were once involved
in. Now it’s really our kids that keep us going back. If they didn’t
like it so much, I’m not sure we would.

Continue Reading…

Fear

randomlychad  —  March 28, 2012 — 12 Comments

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In my blogging life, I’ve been honest, sincere, snarky, forthright, sappy, and stupid–sometimes all at once. I’ve even been a douche a time, or two (or three, or four).

But if I get right down to it, employ some of that random transparency that’s cropped up from time-to-time, a lot of what I’ve done has been motivated by simple fear:

Fear of not being accepted

Fear of being left out

Fear of being outside

The picture above comes from a book called The Quotable Lewis, a collection of CS Lewis’s writings arranged by topic. In 1944, he delivered a sermon (called “The Inner Ring”) to college students that was later collected in his book The Weight of Glory.

It is that last line that kills me:

“Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.”

Nearly a quarter century have I walked with Jesus, and still that fear remains. And a hypocrite, too:

I tell my thirteen year-old son “Cool is not a virtue, not something to be sought,” and yet I want to fit in with those I perceive to be the “cool kids” in the blogosphere. Is it any wonder that he struggles to find his niche (just like his dad does)?

It was upon reading the Lewis passage above this morning that it dawned on me why I’ve been so unsuccessful (where I perceive others as more successful) in making the much-vaunted networking connections:

My fear, and the things it has motivated me to do. I don’t know how to get past it….

Because instead of making connections, I’ve tried to penetrate the inner ring–and found it empty.

Because my basis was fear, I sought to get inside for the sake of being inside.

As Lewis so adroitly states: there is value, no fellowship, no friendship in that.

I’m laying bear my heart here, folks. What do you think?

The fact of the matter is: you–the world–don’t need me to be “cool,” you want me to be me. Because the truth is: folks online are looking for the same thing they are in real life: honesty.

I’m sorry I’ve let you down in that regard. I hope you can forgive me.

Have you ever let fear lead you to places you shouldn’t go?