I feel like I'm in a very difficult situation. My father is senior pastor at a small, non-denominational restorationist church that's very conservative but not as much as other churches. I do agree with conservatives on some things (I'm pro-life on abortion and euthanasia and believe premarital sex is wrong), but I agree with progressives on other things (I'm pro-gun control to some extent, am pro-environment, and consider myself both a feminist and an egalitarian). Even though I love many of the regular attendees and especially working with the kids, I sometimes feel like I want to be in a different environment. I have a disability and my parents have guardianship of me. I live with them and I don't have a car or access to public transportation, so I can't go to a different church. Plus, it would look bad for me to go to a different church because my father is the preacher. Even if I did leave I might not be able to find a church that agrees with both what I side with conservatives on and what I side with progressives on. I'm afraid to talk to my parents about how I feel out of fear of them criticizing me or my beliefs. Any advice?
Dear Preacher’s Daughter,
What exactly are the reasons that you feel as if you need to be in a different environment? Are you thinking that it is difficult to be in a church where other members do not see eye-to-eye with you on some issues, or is there perhaps some other reason? If you are thinking that you would like to be in a church where the members are more in line with your political beliefs, you could be searching for a lifetime and never find that. Even married couples rarely see eye-to-eye on everything. Generally, congregations are made up of people with varying political beliefs and differing opinions on political issues. The church is not meant to be a place of uniformity on all issues, but a place of unity on the essential elements of the gospel. You may have heard the saying, "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent." The Bible is very specific on things such as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and what one must do in order be saved. However, the Bible is silent on such things as the environment, gun control, and how the national economy should be managed. You may have also heard the saying, "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love." "In essentials, unity" means that Christians need to be unified on things that are clearly revealed in scripture, especially on essential matters such as Christ's deity, crucifixion, and resurrection, the plan of salvation, the elements of worship, and the importance of avoiding sin. "In non-essentials, liberty" means that Christians have liberty in their opinion about things that the Bible doesn't mention or doesn't make clear. "In all things, love" means that we are human and we will have differences of opinions and beliefs (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8), but we are unified by our love for God and for one another (Luke 10:25-28, 1 John 4:11).
Since your parents have guardianship of you and you are dependent on them for your housing and transportation, how would it be practical for you to change your environment? Would it not be better to accept the people in your church who have differing beliefs on political issues, while loving them as your brothers and sisters in Christ? For additional guidance on this, please read 1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:23-26, Titus 3:9, and 1 Peter 3:8-11.