Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chapter 31, part 2: Confrontation Confusion

My stomach twisted in knots. How was I going to do this?

I walked down to the Volleyball House as soon as the meeting ended. The sooner I got it over with, the better.

Amanda sat on the sofa. “Hey, Gigi, what’s up?” she said. “We haven’t seen you much lately. Guess you’re pretty busy with Brad, huh?”

“Yeah, you know how it is... Breanne around?”

“I think she’s up in her room studying.”

“Thanks.” I climbed the stairs and knocked on the door. “Breanne? It’s Zella. Can I come in?”

Breanne opened the door and embraced me. “Zella! I’m so glad to see you! Did Ian tell you the good news?”

“He did. That’s actually why I’m here.”

“Oh?”

“Actually, the other CSF leaders wanted me to come talk to you.”

“Why?”

“One of them saw you with Lori the other day, and was concerned.”

“Concerned about what?”

“That you and she are back together,” I said.

“What if we were?”

“Are you?”

“It shouldn’t matter.”

“Some of the leaders think it does.”

“I knew it. All this, it was too good to be true.”

“What do you mean?”

“Lori and I aren’t back together at all. Yes, we’re friends again, and I have been talking to her down at the grocery store. When I took a walk with her across campus on Saturday, I was telling her about my decision. She doesn’t understand it at all, said I was only opening myself up to a world of hurt. I guess she was right.”

“Breanne—”

“I can’t believe this. When I started coming to CSF, I felt so accepted. Everyone was encouraging me to get to know Christ’s love and grace. And now that I’ve found it, my every move is scrutinized and cast into doubt? Everyone has struggles, Ian said. I thought being a Christian meant we could support each other along the way.”

“We can. I’ll just tell the other leaders what really is going on and you’ll be welcome back.”

“What do you mean, welcome back?”

“I shouldn’t have said that, never mind.”

“They were going to kick me out? I have to be perfect or else get lost? What a bunch of hypocrites! If that’s how they really are, now I’m not sure I want to come back.”

“What about your faith?”

“What about it? CSF doesn’t have the monopoly on following Jesus. I’ll find my own way.”

***

“How did it go with Breanne?” Ian asked me Tuesday afternoon.

I heaved a big sigh. “Awful, just as I thought it would.”

“So she is back with Lori after all?”

“No. I think I went about it all wrong. She was so offended, all she heard was judgment and rejection. She said she’d rather not come back at all than have to jump through hoops to prove she belongs.”

“I should have spoken up more strongly against this whole confrontation idea in the meeting,” Ian said. “I just hope whatever fragile faith she had isn’t damaged beyond repair.”

“She did say she could follow Jesus without CSF.”

“That’s true, but fellowship is important. We’ll have to be really intentional about spending time with her.”

As the semester wore on, every CSF leaders meeting seemed to bring another heated debate.

Ewan Finley dominated most of the arguments as the most vocal proponent of breaking down the barriers between CSF and the rest of campus. “Most students think that CSF is a bunch of stuck-up prudes,” he said at a meeting in late November. “We need to do a better job of following Jesus’ example.”
Rev. Reynolds interjected. “Ewan, I like what you just said about following Jesus’ example,” he said. “But everyone seems to have a different idea of what Jesus would do if he were here today. What do you think is the right answer? Can you give me specifics?”
“Well, remember, Jesus hung out with the tax collectors and prostitutes. So, I think we should encourage our remaining active members to break out of their Christian cliques, go to parties and basically, get involved in every aspect of campus life. For one thing, it would be a lot more fun than our stale movie nights and field trips. But more importantly, I’m beginning to see that it’s the only way we can shine our lights in the darkness. How will anyone know we love them and God loves them if we’re hiding in a bubble? They’re not going to come to us. We have to go to them.”
"I completely disagree,” said Becky. “God’s been speaking to me a lot lately, and last night I had a vision. I’ll spare you the details, but the point was that our problem is that we’re too worldly already. Why should anyone want to know Jesus if he doesn’t make a difference in our lives? We’re not holy enough, not different enough. We’re called to be a city on a hill, not part of the riff-raff in the gutter. In the world but not of it.”
“But Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners. He didn’t think of them as riff-raff,” said Ewan.
“He was a special case. He was the son of God,” Dwayne shot back.
“And aren’t we supposed to be like Christ?” said Ewan.
The debate continued going in circles. My head spun with contradicting theories of what God wanted. Becky thought God told her in a vision that CSF was too worldly and Dwayne agreed. Ewan seemed just as confident as that God was telling him CSF was too isolated from the world.
I could see some truth in both their positions, but they couldn’t both be right, could they? If God were real and operated like I’d been taught, would he really be giving different messages to different factions of people? Probably one or both of them were fooling themselves. But if that were true, then how could I ever know for sure what God really wanted from me? Zoey’s words on the train in Europe came back to me. Did He even care what we did?