The Christian Denomination Name Game: Why I choose not to be tied down to one

I, for sometime now, have chosen to be unaffilated with a Christian denomination. Sure, a good chunk of my life was spent as a Presbyterian (16-17 years) but that’s because I was enough of a regular at a particular church people thought that I was, but even then I wasn’t one to state my denomination unless asked (you think telling people you were a follower of Christ was enough, but not true).

Lately I have connections/ties/envolvement with 5 churches, that’s right 5 and it works out in various ways; some I attend, some I help lead a youth group in, some I’m helping out with their media/photography/videography and some I just stay in touch with the people, breaking bread with those who want to and facebook…yeah, I keep in touch with them there as well.

But I’m not a member of any these churches, I don’t have a badge that says “Hi I’m Nathanael, I’m a follower of Christ, my denomination is ________.” Because, well, I find denominations are limiting to what I want to do with my life, what I want God to do with my life and frankly people (Christians and nonChristians alike) assume things about you when you play the denomination card.

We think Pentecostals are a bunch of raise-your-hands-up-get-down-with-the-Holy-Spirit-Hallujah-Amen kind of people, I remember hearing about them when I was younger and even among my Presbyterian peeps they were put down and told to be avoided, because good Christians don’t act like that.

We think Baptists (Southern and other) are a bunch of homophobic, Bible bashing, Yurr-Goin’-to-HELL kind of people, a group of individuals who make silly rules about not drinking, smoking, cussing, voting Democrat…and so on! This also is the stereotype, and even tho I did go to a school that was affiliated in this way, it’s my school’s denomination not my own.

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So you see where I’m going in not wanting to be denominationally affiliated? In some of my churches they’ve tried to “recruit me for their team” and while their requests are denied politely, I have shared with them as to the reasons I just mentioned. One Reverend I work under responded by saying “Good for you Nathanael, stay strong and just say no!” Not bad coming from the head of a church, eh? He gets it even though he’s the head of his church.

It has played out well to my betterment than I’ve expected yet so far and I’m sure God will continue to use me for his glory by not tying myself down to a denomination, but rather tying myself down to Him.

~Nathanael~

P.S. Do you have any thoughts about denominations & what you’ve/heard/thought about them? Feel free to share if you like.

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Goals for 2011

Rather than come up with resolutions, here are my goals for the year 2011, in no particular order they are as follows:

1) Consume less, give more
2) Find more ways to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community
3) Start writing my screenplays
4) Figure out what it’ll take to study abroad in Ireland for a Masters degree in Divinity
4a) See if I can get one that’s not denominationally affiliated
5) Find more ways to serve the homeless in my hometown
5a) Find ways to help the homeless in Skid Row
6) Get a secondary job local
6a) Get a job out in Southern California
6-7) Move out to Southern California by May or June ’11
8 ) Learn how to ride a motorcycle and get a motorcycle license
9) Learn how to drive manual
10) Become more proactive with various social networks outside of chatting with friends and posting photos
11) Visit some Xangamigos
12) Upgrade my camera
12a) Take more film photographs
13) Smile more, worry less
14) Start writing a few books
15) Write more snail mail
16) Go to a few concerts
17) Fall in love and stay in it
18) Travel around the U.S.
18a) Travel outside the U.S.
19) Get back into shape
20) Hold people accountable
20a) Be held accountable as well

~Nathanael~