I used to consider myself a boring person. I was always in awe of people who had tons of anecdotes and personal stories to share. How do they do it? Is everyone else’s life really that much more interesting than mine?
Then I started paying attention to these stories more. Stories about pet cats, stories about rogue traffic lights, and stories about rescuing drunk college students from the dean. And that’s when I realized: “Hey, I have just as interesting experiences to share. And also, dude, you told that story last week.”
Point is, never put yourself down. Don’t believe you’re boring. Everyone has amazing/humorous/serious/*insert adjective here* stories to share.
And of course, this wouldn’t be much of a post if I didn’t share some of my personal anecdotes. Unfortunately, it’s not just an anecdote I’ll be sharing; it’s more like a long-winded rant. So if you’re not into rants, I’ll end it here and say, Happy Easter!
(for the record, I am a Christian. A jaded Christian, perhaps, who is especially wary of overly religious folks.)
I like Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. — Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi was always wise, wasn’t he?
For the past few years, I’ve been a part of my college fellowship group. It’s where local college Christians gather twice a week, discuss passages in the Bible together, and sing praise. Sounds innocuous enough, right? I had a few very good friends back home who were Christians, and they were the most genuine, sincere people I’ve known. So 3,000 miles away at my new college, I thought, I need to find more people like them. A college Christian fellowship is the place for me!
I don’t know what I expected. Warm hugs, acceptance, and life-changing lessons? A place to learn more about God? What really won me over was how seemingly nice and friendly everyone was to me when I first joined.
They immediately got personal about my history and wanted to know whether I had a Christian background or not. Um, red flag alert? I should have realized the warning signs right then, but I was naive and mistook the whole thing for eager friendship. (Today, I learned it was actually a feigned technique called “love bombing.” Read the Wiki description. Just read it.)
Because it was not friendship that these people offered. As I later found out (after three long years), this particular college fellowship is bent on spreading the word. Their main activity is going to random college dorms door-to-door in order to introduce people to the Bible. It’s what they do every week, regardless of whether you’re a complete newbie to the faith or an expert. Their mantra: Bring people to God through any means.
At first, I was just like, Oh, okay, to each their own. I was busy with school and didn’t really care. Then the group’s leaders started passively aggressively harassing me to join in. (Which, by the way, I think I wrote about here)
And that’s when I realized: the over-friendliness they displayed to me on my first day? A facade. All a facade. They do that to virtually every stranger.
And once you’ve “joined the club,” so to speak, they don’t give two hoots about you:
You’re sick with the flu? No follow-up.
You’re going through a rough time in life? Hey, here’s a public, ostentatious “I’ll pray for you!!!!” post on Facebook. Good luck.
You miss Church on Sunday? “Hey, where were you? Why didn’t you come last weekend? Have you been keeping up with your daily devotionals, though? Were you just busy? You’ll come next week though, right?”
These people are making it their primary goal to just bring people to Christ. They don’t invest in the relationships. They don’t develop friendships. They treat you like holy poker chips, where the more you have, the better Christian you supposedly are.
Not to mention the amount of backstabbing, trash-talking, and gossiping that the college fellowship leaders take part outside church walls. And they talk about other church members. How do I know? They’ve done so, right in front of me.
Nothing else makes me infuriated beyond belief. How can someone talk so low about another person, and less than a week later, actually have the gall to act buddy-buddy with that person in the pews?
My college fellowship has been a lie. I’m sure there are great, fantastic groups out there, and I hope I’ll find those one day. But this has been my story. Inevitably, when you get a bunch of young college kids together, you’re going to get bad social dynamics. Even in Christian circles.
On the bright side, this isn’t an uncommon problem. See this thread here.
On the dark side, I think I can truly call myself a jaded junior. I haven’t even listed the piles of passive aggressive dung I’ve had to endure by members of this “fellowship.” I can honestly say that I’ve met nicer, friendlier, and more mature people outside this group than in.
Well. At least this might make a good anecdote in the future, right?