Religion - a hot button topic. I remember being asked why I go to church. I do not need to tell people that I am a Christian. I don't hide it in anyway but the proclamation of it was never necessary. People can see it in me. People can hear it in my voice and read it in my words. I do not quote the bible, I do not try to 'save souls', and I do not wear a religious title on my sleeve. I just try to live by love. I smile. I strive to be genuine. I'll try to lead by example.
I was exposed to religion at a very young age. My mother was one thing my father another. It didn't cause any problems because, like many today, they represented 2 different households. As a teenager, I entered an elder's bible study and theology coarse. In everything I learned one thing stood out. It has been so long that I don't even remember where it is to quote it but there was only one church in the bible. That one detail would change everything for me. Being a young, curious teenager I decided to do a little experiment. It made some people unhappy, but I have always followed my own path. That year I visited many different faiths to find similarities and differences. I went to Catholic, Pentacostal, Baptist, Jehova's Witness, Morman, and even got to sit in the back of a Synagogue and a Buddist church (COOL). I remember seeing so many similarities. One thing they all had in common was that they all considered themselves the one true church/religion. I think they are all right in that statement but they meant the only one church.
When asked why I go to church, I like to put things in perspective. I do not believe church goers are more or better believers that people who don't go to church. Of coarse, I can read the Bible at home and learn things online.
Why do you go to a gym? Why do you go to seminars? Why do you go to college? All things can be done at home. The truth is that sometimes we are more motivated in a group of like minded people. It is as simple as that. I go to church to enjoy time with others who love God. I go dancing or to a concert (not in years but) to be with others who love music. I have cd's and dance games. I don't need to go out. I go to martial arts classes because it is more fun to learn in groups. There is connection, competition, and energy. Church is no different.
There are a lot of views and opinions on the topic of church. The first thing that comes to mind are hypocrites. I prefer to call them contradictions. Are there any? Of coarse, I am one and so are you. You get people together in any location and observe them you are going to see contradiction. The personal trainer with the collection of snickers bars in their gym bag. The dietitian that rarely eats veggies. The child psychologist who doesn't have kids. I don't know where the expectation of Christians to be super human came from but the only difference between a believer and a non-believer is their dedication. I am sorry to say that being a believer does not take away problems or vices, sometimes you are challenged more. It doesn't mean that as soon as you choose good things that your normal reactions, bad thoughts, and other habits are just going to fall off of you. All it means is that you are going to try harder. You are going to purposeful. You will always slip and fall. You may not even get it right before you leave the earth. Many people think that they know what that means. Did Whitney Houston go to heaven? She praised, acknowledged, and thanked God all of her life. She lost a battle. I can't say if she did or not, I am not there to let her in or block her path. I really think that struggles and failures do not keep you out. I think that malicious intention, greed, and down right badness keep you out. Again, my two cents. Can't be sure, yet.
A lot of Christians judge. I can apologize for them but it is in our nature. We judge everything from fake or real body parts, to food, to lifestyles, to sexuality, to appearance, to style of clothing. Even with nothing else available to judge, people will judge the paint color in a church. Don't take it personal. We all eat, we all sleep, we all judge. I say things like 'did you see that crazy guy just cut me off!' all the time. I don't judge things like status, sexuality, social standing, etc. The list is long but it still doesn't include everything. I will always be a work in progress. I can tell when I am being judged as well. I usually address it with humor too. Most of my friends came to me because of that. I am one to say, 'I know, I know, I am skinny but if you sit with me I can show you my awesome little muffin top.' It only comes out when I sit :D. I am getting muscles now, so I am not sure how long I will get to keep my muffin top :(
It took a long time for me to find a church. I visited many. I guess I am picky. I am not into the constant 'your friends are going to he**...' kinda place. I don't want to feel guilty for not making them come. I don't like churches that are too busy comparing themselves to others to talk about the important stuff. I don't like the overdressed church or the calf workout church (sit-stand-kneel-stand-kneel). I didn't want the religious chanting type of sermon that stretches out words (ooohhh Go-o-o-o-d, we commme before yo-o-o-ou toodayyyyy). I didn't want anyone running laps or doing flips down the church halls. I didn't want to go to a place with out smiles. I didn't want to go somewhere that didn't help the community. I am into the come as you are type of church and I will test it. During my darkest days, when my husband passed, I came to church in sweats. I was a mess and in a fog but I wasn't angry with God so I wanted to go. I couldn't care less about what I was wearing. I cared enough not to go in jammies but that was all the effort I had in me. I am sure people noticed but the Pastor and church staff didn't react. I know some places that would have made the air thick until I left or others that would ask me to sit in the back because of my attire.
Church gives me bi-weekly inspirational seminars twice a week for free, that is why I go. I could pay hundreds for Tony Robbins, but why? I am not walking on fire! I helped make food kits for Kids Against Hunger, that is why I go. Pastor Terry makes me laugh, that is why I go. He let people (anyone, believer or not) come see the super bowl on the church's big screen just because he could and he was a Giants fan. They had a funny women's conference called beautiful. They host plays and concerts. Believer or non-believer can come and go as they please. This church offers a lot for my daughter. I go.
Like I said, I could stay home. I could workout here instead of the gym, but I achieve more and am more committed if I go to a gym (I don't, yet). I could try to learn martial arts from you tube, but I build my skill, improve my form, and compete my fellow students in a class setting. I could read my Bible at home (I never do, yet) but I like to hear the way it is delivered in church. I learn more there. So, I go to church. If you ask me what kind, I will say it doesn't matter. It is my church and if you feel comfy there you can call it yours too. If you ask me what my religion is I will just tell you, I believe and love the Lord and I try to live by his loving example.
Why do I believe? That is a whole other hub but basically all things have a source. I would prefer believe that there is a source for all the good, be inspired, and be wrong than not believe only to find out I was wrong.