I have a confession to make. I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies. I know very little to nothing about them. I am officially an outsider when it comes to all things Star Wars. With all the Star Wars hype I’ve been feeling like an outsider. It has make me think about how church outsiders must feel.
I have casually dropped the fact that I have never seen Star Wars in a few conversations recently and each time I’ve been greeted by total shock. Some people acted like I had just grown an extra head. That’s never a good feeling. I guess all Star Wars fans assume everyone else is a Star Wars fan.
Sometimes Christians act that way too. As we interact with new folks it is important to remember that not everyone comes with the same experiences we do. Instead of reacting in a negative way when we learn someone may have little to no Christian experiences or background, let’s react with love and openness. We need to create spaces where outsiders can feel welcomed to come explore and ask questions.
As an outsider I’ve also been stuck with just how important language is. While everyone is talking about Midichlorians, Courescant, and Maz Kanata, I’m standing silently on the sidelines of all those conversations. It can be a lonely and isolating feeling. Language helps us define who we are and who is a part of us. Each church has its own language. Taking time to look at how our churches communicate and the words we use can help us make sure outsiders can be included instead of excluded. It’s no fun visiting a place and having no idea what any of their insider lingo means.
I really don’t know why I have never seen any of the movies. My family was never into them, so I never really thought about seeing them. They just never were on my radar screen. No one ever told me how great they were. (I’m assuming they are great. Everyone else seems to think they are.) The passion for these movies from everyone else makes me want to watch them. Our faith should be the same way. If we are to truly be a faith that outsiders want to join, we must live our faith with passion. That passion can be contagious.
I feel it’s important that I let you all know I’m adding the Star Wars movies to my must-see list. Maybe I’ll become a Star Wars insider soon. May the force be with us all as we work to welcome outsiders into our churches and faith communities.