Me. After much consideration I've come to the conclusion I am.
Let me say straightaway that I love Linden and in almost all respects it's exactly as church should be, as far as I'm concerned. So why do I feel like an outsider?
The service this morning was great: good worship - I struggled to 'get into' it but that was my problem - and good message, which was 'be yourself, don't try to be somebody else.' And maybe that's my difficulty. The myself that I am is quiet, bad at small talk and not very sociable, which makes mixing with a large crowd of people difficult. Certainly makes belonging almost impossible.
We've had a huge influx of new people over the last year and that's great. The new people aren't the problem any more than the old people were. I just don't quite fit in. It's telling that the people I'm closest to in Linden are those on the edge, the ones that are a bit different and those who've left in unhappy circumstances.
I suppose it doesn't help that I don't feel that I'm taken seriously. I'm vaguely entertaining and a source of amusement with all my mistakes but I'm not someone that you'd listen to. To be fair, I wouldn't listen to myself half the time: I know I get things wrong, I don't think, and I'm too hasty to jump to conclusions. So maybe I shouldn't blame others for their opinion of me.
And I'm not really trying to fit in. Building relationships takes effort and I'm not putting, nor ever have put, in that effort. I'm the administrator of a church that has been good to me yet I can't be bothered to work at what it takes to belong.
Zac's I belong. I feel on level ground there. Still entertainingly stupid but trusted. The work I do in the prison I feel is appreciated too. So is it about my need to be wanted, to be useful, to feel good about myself? That's not what church should be about. Or should it? Part of the message today was, as I said, about being yourself, not trying to be Sue Brown because she's wonderfully hospitable, gentle, calm, wise and loving, but acknowledging your own gifts.
I'm talking myself in a circle again.
Two final points:
It did make me smile to myself when someone in church today remarked on the incredible diversity of people that make up Linden. Diversity? Oh you mean slightly different theological viewpoints. Come to Zac's if you want diversity.
You can tell you're not really into something when you're supposed to be praying but you're trying to decide whether the flower print on the woman in front's tunic looks more like a puppy in a puddle or a hamster in a bird bath.