Does anyone else find that their close friends – indeed the vast majority of their friends – aren’t Christians? I’ve always felt far more comfortable with non-Christians.
I find that with Christians there’s always something in the way somehow or other; I feel both under pressure to project a version of myself which isn’t the truth, and also that they are feeding me a false image of themselves. My friendships with non-Christians feel far more honest, and so far more real. I can’t help but feel that this is totally the wrong way around, that it should be within the Church that people are free to deal with each other as we are rather than as we feel we ought to be; but it doesn’t seem to work that way. To me, at least. It’s not for want of opportunities; I was brought up in a strongly Christian family, went to the usual round of Christian house parties, my brother and sister both have largely Christian friends.
Of course, there are some pretty painful issues with having a basically non-Christian circle of friends. First and foremost there’s the difficulty of not being able to talk about something that’s the most important part of my life. I’m a very reluctant evangelist; not entirely from fear, either – I have always been very reluctant to trespass into the parts of people’s lives that really matter to them without their invitation. Where invitation and opportunity arise I do, but they don’t very often. Not that I find it any easier talking about Jesus to Christians – not without slipping into some fairly shallow cliches and platitudes, anyway. And then there’s the points at which morals diverge so sharply as to make it very difficult; particularly over relationships.
I don’t know whether it’s a failing of mine or not, but it makes things very difficult. It’s difficult always being a bit of a prude by comparison with your friends, unable to share in many conversations without either appearing a rather judgemental prude or else betraying things you really believe. It’s particularly difficult if you fall for someone who doesn’t share your faith. Yet I rarely feel at ease, relaxed and comfortable, in a group of Christians.