Place: My rural, northwest Ohio high school.
Characters: Yours truly and a persistant classmate I’ll pseudonym Chris.
Chris: So, you’re a Christian, right?
Chris: What kind are you?
Lydia: Just Christian. My church doesn’t belong to a denomination.
Chris: Oh. Are you Catholic?
Chris: Eastern Orthodox?
Chris: Oh, ok.
I no longer remember the real denomination that I agreed to in order to end the conversation. It may very well have been Anglican. All I can say is that it gave Chris an acceptable answer and for the rest of our high school career Chris never again asked about my beliefs.
If I could step into that moment again I would be honest with Chris. Our church was influenced by the Vineyard movement of the 90s and when I was much younger previous churches had been Charismatic. Either one would have been more accurate than the unfamiliar denomination.
Why lie? I didn’t want to be pigeonholed. The conversation caught me off-guard. I thought that Christian was descriptive enough.
My labels have changed over the years but the discomfort remains. Yes, one-size-fits-all is convenient and can make communication easier and sometimes thinking inside the box make it easier for other people to understand stuff they’ve never had to consider before.
In no way does this make the label-go-round any less odd, though.