I’m reading Lauren Winner’s girl meets GOD. I just finished the first chapter, so I can’t really recommend the book yet; but so far, I like it. The book is Ms. Winner’s memoir. She’s the child of a Jewish father and a “lapsed Southern Baptist” mother. She chose to become an Orthodox Jew, and then she was “courted by a very determined carpenter from Nazareth,” and she became a Christian. This book documents her journey to reconcile her Jewishness with her Christianity.
She writes that the more Christian she became, the more she needed to break ties with Judaism. So she gave away all her Jewish stuff — her books of Jewish poetry and volumes of Hebrew commentaries. She stopped reciting her Jewish prayers. She didn’t celebrate Jewish holidays. She ate lobster and shrimp scampi. She regularly attended an Episcopalian church where she learned Christian liturgy and sang Christian hymns.
Then one day she is in Mississippi for a scholarly conference. Her ex-boyfriend is also there. And they end up driving to Memphis on a Saturday to attend a Messianic Jewish church service. As they sit in the parking lot, watching families enter the sanctuary, the ex-boyfriend says:
I like it here because these people are pariahs . . . They don’t fit in anywhere — not with Jews, not with Christians. Being a Christian means being a pariah . . . it means not fitting in anywhere in this world. Your Episcopalians are no pariahs.
I, of course, mean no disrespect to you if you’re Episcopalian. But I like his point. Being a Christian should mean not quite fitting in in this world. I am reminded of that Andrew Peterson song I referred to the other day. This world isn’t our home. Hebrews 11 and 1 Peter 2 remind us that we are aliens and strangers on this earth. I don’t really belong here any more.
So, I’ve been thinking this morning. Am I a pariah? Or do I fit in?
My Father, You are so Other-than. And I tend to fit in so well on this earth. Please increase within me. Please help my worldliness decrease. I don’t want to fit in. I want to be peculiar for You. Not to draw attention to myself, but to glorify You. To point anyone who might notice my otherness to You. You were a pariah, an outcast. Please make me like You.