Adventures in the Bubble
After a bit of a hiatus from blogging, I have been wooed back by a series of stories that come from a women’s bible study my wife attends each week. I’m only going to write about one today, but I’m entitling this group of posts “Adventures in the Bubble” because the best way to describe them is as a journey for Michelle back into the Christian bubble. The place where everyone, everything, every song, every comment, even the vernacular is culturally Christian (though perhaps not really Christian). The Christian bubble isn’t about a church form, a geographical place, or a certain type of people, it exists wherever a group of people create a haven of safety, exclusion, and affinity. The purpose of recording these stories is two-fold. One is that they have highlighted for Michelle and I how our perspective on faith and the world have changed as we were once both residents of the Christian bubble. The second is to challenge anyone who might happen upon them with what it really means to be a Christ follower versus the comfortable American version of Christianity. So, on with today’s story…
One of the questions during the discussion time today was “should a woman’s spouse and her close friends be Christians?” As soon as the question left the tongue of the facilitator people began chiming in their unanimous support for exclusively Christian spouses and close friends.
“I always pray that my kids will just have Christian friends. It’s so easy for them to be polluted by non-Christians,” one lady said.
“You become like the people you’re around. So of course your friends need to be Christians,” another woman added.
Michelle listened to their comments, and while she agreed that a believer’s spouse should also be a believer, and that all Christians need close Christian friends to affirm, challenge, and support them, she got the distinct impression that the group consensus was that ALL friends should be Christians. And to her credit, she spoke up.
“I hear what you’re saying,” she started. “We do need Christian spouses who share our faith. We all need close friends who do that too. But the Bible says we’re supposed to be salt and light too. I don’t know how we can be light if we’re in places that are always light. The light needs the dark to make a difference. And Jesus told us to go into the whole world and make disciples, doesn’t that mean we really need to be in relationships with people who aren’t Christians too? Beyond that, friends who don’t share our faith can teach us a lot about ourselves–who we really are.”
The response? Absolute silence. After an uncomfortable pause the leader said, “Well, we need to move on to the next question.”
During the prayer time at the end of the session, one of the women shared how she would be taking a long road trip with three women who weren’t Christians. “Pray for me,” she said, “it could be a really long and difficult trip.” Again, to her credit, Michelle had the courage to say something.
“Sounds to me like you have a great opportunity. You’ll have a lot of time with them for them to see who you really are.”
Silence once again.
Michelle planted some bubble popping seeds today. I hope they take root.