Around three years ago, I went to a conservative Christian camp with people that I didn't know at all for a week. They were very welcoming and kind to me, and I had a great week. I fit in for the most part, until it was time to speak tongues. It soon became apparent to me that I was the only one who couldn't - or at least admitted they couldn't - speak tongues.
I was brought up to the pastor there, and all of the people were praying for me and speaking tongues around me. He asked what my native language was, joking - yet weirdly foreshadowing - that it could be a Scandinavian one. He then labeled me as an intellectual, without having ever talked to me before in my life. He most definitely wasn't wrong.
I may not be able to speak tongues, but God chooses to speak to me in other ways, such as creating columns out of me in the way that I've heard someone call religious, without even knowing that it was a faith column that I was writing. I am most definitely a Christian. I am also someone who identifies as an intellectual . . . liberal. I'd like to ask my conservative readers to keep on reading here and actually hear what I have to say, because I think that you might be able to get something out of it.
I was raised by parents that love God and explained every scientific process to me that they could. They taught me to put others before myself and might have slightly overexposed me to plant science. They never forced anything on me, and I decided to become a science-appreciating Christian as well.
I've been exposed to both the non religious lifestyle and conservative Christian one. Ultimately, I felt that I could never be fully accepted into a conservative community, because my views on the creation involve science working with God. I recently lived in a largely non religious country and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't fit in well.
Until I started being open about my scientific views, I was fully accepted into the conservative community. Those people were wonderful, caring people. They wanted to make the world a better place, and they cared about their families. They, too, went through struggles like everyone else. They were human, going through human struggles and triumphs, just like the rest of the world.
Life in a nonreligious country wasn't all that different at the core. Nonreligious people care about their families, go through struggles, and want to make the world a better place. I've made incredible friendships and families in a country that doesn't value religion.
However, these two sides are very unfamiliar with the other. Conservatives just can't fathom why the liberals are supposedly out to mess up the world. I haven't met one European that fully understands why on earth the president of my country is Donald Trump. In the end, both groups end up demonizing the other, which isn't in any way a God thing. It's a human failure thing.
There are a select few liberals who might just view me as differently because of my "illogical" religious views. There are many conservatives who would consider me a "crooked liberal" if they knew about my political views and maybe even some who will see me differently now that they know about my intellectual take on things.
However, though I personally feel like I'm caught between two extremes, I know that I'm far from being alone. I know that there are actually there many people in this world - and quite a few in this town - who are in the same position as me. Despite this, I feel like I'm just missing a lot of them.
I may currently feel a bit out of place in my beliefs, but I am okay with that. This is who I am - a Christian in a non practicing Scandinavian country, the girl who earned quite the reputation for her refusal to accept that climate change wasn't a serious issue at a very conservative high school. Sometimes it is a bit tiring feeling like I don't fit in anywhere, but that is better than being something that I'm not.
I am not quite exactly sure what challenges that God will choose for me next. I do know that no matter how much I feel like I don't fit in, that I won't be alone and I might even get the chance to meet grow in my faith and meet other Christians who are intellectual. They might even possibly know a Scandinavian language. God has a great sense of humor.