Labels, judgment, and ‘boxes’ of believers

Sarahbeth Caplin

Sometimes when I find myself fading out during small group discussion, I look around the room and observe the people around me. It hasn’t been a full year since I started attending this church, and I’m just now starting to remember people’s names. Talks about theology tend to go from zero to sixty in terms of getting to know someone, though, and in the process of learning the basics – what they do for a living, where they’re from – I’ve also picked up a few things that give me pause before accepting an invitation to hang out outside of church.

In my mind, I seem to have separated people into three categories. The first is Safe Christians: a category reserved for those whom I deem “safe” to be honest with about my doubts and questions. They are people I trust will listen and show empathy, rather than judge me…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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