Last night, I spoke to a group about 200 evangelical pastors at a conference about evangelizing. I was part of a panel that consisted of 2 atheists and a Christian that most Christians would not consider Christian. I was the latter.
During the panel, I talked about my time in college and why I chose Habitat for Humanity over Intervarsity as my main social group. I said that when I looked at both groups, I think I chose Habitat because I wanted to be more like those people, while I definitely knew that DID NOT want to become more like the Intervarsity folks.
The list of why I was repulsed by Intervarsity is easy to come up with:
Girls were weirdly perky
Guys were kind of assholes but with a moralistic veneer
Girls and guys were separated and traditional gender roles were clearly the norm
I hated praise songs
In the Q&A sessions afterwards, a woman asked me what was so attractive about the Habitat for Humanity group.
I bumbled the answer so I thought I'd record what I should have said here:
They were fun and funny. This may be relative as I'm sure the IV folks experienced fun. But my personality liked the kind of jokes that were made at Habitat.
I had a liberating sense that I could be myself. The only social limit I saw was that you couldn't be an asshole. I sensed that in the IV crowd, I would have had to use clean language and did not see potential for personal exploration that I thought should be part of the college experience.
They were smart and wanted to change the world.
They actually worked at making the world a better place every Saturday. My first year, we raised $27,000 and built an entire house in partnership with the neighboring college.
They liked me for me rather than for how I might be lauded as an example of the success of their ideology.
There was a potential for me to be a leader there, even though I was a woman.
Unfortunately, this was the best question that a conference on evangelism could ask so I'm sorry that I bumbled it. If more churches were like that Habitat for Humanity group, more people like me would go to church.
for the albums - Ah, photo albums. Those much-loved records of our years together, invokers of good memory, and such a pleasure to peruse the pages of. And also...dare I say....