Thursday, August 20, 2009
Have you ever felt "dissed"?
I consider myself to be fairly stable in my mental health. My greatest weakness is fear of rejection, bit of a people pleaser, goes with my personality and career. I have read a good bit on the subject and have made some progress in standing alone if need be.
That being said, some of the most emotionally painful experiences in my life have involved being "dissed", for one reason or another. Now by that I mean not one, but two words. Disfellowshiped, and being treated in a dismissive manner. I am willing to admit this is one reason why I am interested in changing the way we Christians in the evangelical world treat those outside our fellowship of faith. Dismissiveness can occur in any discussion of issues in politics, or world affairs.
The first massive experience of this took place in my Calvinist grad school. The high degree of theological debate and knowledge created an atmosphere where, if you said something that indicated you were not in a certain camp, (They were called TRs, the totally reformed, by those of us trying to survive being dissed), you began to be ignored in your conversation and mocked when opportunity arrived.
I found that when I ran into these folks years later, they absolutely refused to let me grow from the moment of being dissed and had me permanently planted in the "not of of us" camp.
In later years, I attempted with very little success to change the predominant dismissive attitude in some leaders who had asked me to bring growth to the church we served. It got ugly real fast.
I have mentioned it before because it was so deeply ironic, but I have had some people stand in the same room and have discussions and greet people and refuse to acknowledge I was in the room, all 6 ft. and 230++++ of me. Now that's the fine art of dissing carried to its meanest and proudest heights.
I think normal unchurched people feel this attitude from too many Christians. It seeps from our pores. They will know us by our love, genuine unfeigned non dismissive expressions of concern, compassion and kindness. No more us and them. Its more Pharisaical than Christlike in my opinion.
I fall into this mindset as we all do when we care deeply about things, but a spirit of reconciliation can break those habits which are hurtful. I hope so.