I came to your bible study, and I want to know if you can accept me.
You taught us, and directed us to flip back and forth in our bibles; you supported each idea with a reference to scripture. And if I view it as "this is one particular interpretation" then I find what you said very interesting. Some ideas I hadn't heard before. But if this is supposed to be THE meaning that God had in mind when God brought the bible together, then I have some major arguments with it.
I came to your bible study, and you called me "Sister Wan." That's great; you see all Christians as brothers and sisters. Everyone at the bible study was friendly. But I wonder if you could really accept me, if I tell you what sort of Christian I am.
I came to your bible study, and you talked about Jesus, and I felt so lonely. Do I just nod along in agreement, or do I mention that I disagree with some parts? It's okay with me that we disagree; the important thing is we are both Christians and we love God. But I need to know if it's okay with you.
I mentioned that I view it differently, and you flipped forward to Acts, to give an explanation supporting your point of view. But really, I don't need you to teach me. I already understand what you said. I just need to know if you can accept that I believe differently.
I came to your bible study, and I saw the way your little bible is marked and worn and highlighted. I know you've studied a lot, and I respect that; I've studied the bible a lot too. Every idea you gave, you supported with a reference, even when we ended up talking about topics you hadn't planned. You knew the references on the fly, and to be honest, I can play that game too, but I didn't. I can cite a verse to support every opinion I have too, but I didn't want this to turn into a debate, because that's not the point. Really, I just want to know if you can accept my existence as a Christian who disagrees with you.
I came to your bible study, and I finally told you the reason I was uncomfortable with your focus on figuring out the meaning of everything in the bible. I spoke Chinese and explained what I've seen in American Christian culture, how Christians judge each other and declare "you are not a real Christian, you are a false teacher" if they disagree. I guess you didn't mean it that way, but that's why I was uncomfortable with what you said about false teachers.
You reassured me, of course no one at the bible study is going to tell me "you're not a real Christian." And actually, I already knew that, I knew no one would say it so directly, to my face.
I want to know if you can believe that I am a Christian, even if I disagree with you on some topics. But more than that, I want to know if you can believe that the reason I hold those beliefs- the reason I don't believe in hell, the reason I said love is more important than reading the bible- is because I am a Christian, is because I love God, is because I have studied the bible.
Can you believe I am a Christian, but not a Christian who is innocently confused about these topics and needs someone to teach her the correct Christian view? Can you believe that at the points where we disagree, my opinions are rooted in my own study of the bible and my own deep love for God? I believe that about you, would you believe it about me?
Maybe it's a new concept for you, and I get that. I get that you may need time before you can accept it.
I came to your bible study, and I worried about whether or not I could be honest, whether or not you can really accept who I really am. And I wish it wasn't this hard. I wish going to a bible study group automatically meant people would support and love me. I wish it could be a place for me to rest and feel safe and accepted, instead of having to defend myself.
I came to your bible study, and everyone was so friendly and nice. I hope I have the energy to come again next week.