I think it is a problem when we see and define ourselves predominantly based on the opposite beliefs and lifestyles around us. This means that we tend to generalize “others” as “different” - rather than seeing that many “others” are very similar in many, many ways. Often, we really are more alike than different - even though we almost always are and should be unique and "peculiar".
Too often, we think we need to be able to “preach the Gospel” to "heathens" or "Gentiles" - when we often need to do nothing more than ask people to share in our lives - to invite them into our social circles and fully join theirs, as much as possible, with no expectation other than friendship and fellowship and mutual edification.
I get a bit frustrated sometimes at how we tend to use the term “doing missionary work” - as if, somehow, sharing the Gospel is separate from our daily lives - something we have to set aside time to do. If we simply were more willing to talk about our lives openly and un-self-consciously without worrying about conversions, I believe the acceptance (and eventual conversion) would come much more naturally. We just let ourselves get in the way too often.I think the insularity that too often defines us in others’ eyes would disappear to a large degree if we more actively sought out others with similar lives and concerns. Sure, we still might feel out of place and awkward in bars, but we would feel right at home in many settings where we feel out of place and awkward currently. We try to be “not of the world”, but, too often, we don’t live enough “in the world”.