This I Believe: Church friend #1

(This isn't my confirmation picture...just found this one on Flickr, but I thought it was pretty classic...)
I have had a few brave, kind friends reply to my very personal question that I threw out to many of my confirmation friends:

"So, this is sort of loaded, but I'd sincerely be curious. If you were given a few paragraphs to write your belief statement about what you believe in terms of God and the church and your faith, what would you say? Where are you at? I know that's loaded. But I'd love to know."

This response I am posting below is so candid and thoughtful. And I think the picture painted here is what I was sort of wondering about many of my 20-something friends. Take a moment to read it...the writing is eloquent and honest.

Hey Becca,

So, yes that question was FULLY loaded! I guess I really don't know what to say about my faith. It's complicated? It's been 10 years really since I was involved in anything church-related.

I look back on my time involved with youth group as some really happy times in my life! It was really important to my development to have that community and I think that is one of the best aspects there is to organized religion.

Unfortunately, I wish some of the bad things associated with organized religion were not there. I know it's not every church or every disciple, but I do feel that church/religious choice is the cause of a lot of the lack of understanding between people. I guess it's definitely in a more broad, general sense, because in a more person-to-person sense, I think religious people are very caring and generous. I guess it's the whole saying that one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.

I wonder at times if life would be easier if I had more faith. I try to remember back to the times I was in the church and think if I really worried more or less about things. It's hard to say. But I do know I questioned a lot of things, even while at church. And one thing that I can remember is that I never understood the God-fearing thing. Like, if God is so great and stuff, why should I be afraid?! I don't know if that makes sense.

This is definitely a conversation that would be easier to have in person I think. But I'll push on:)

I question a lot of things. I always have- even when I was involved in the church. I like learning about other religions and seeing where there may be some similarities and see what are some differences. I think the political power of the church, historically maybe more than today, is disturbing sometimes. I vehemently believe that in the US the separation of church and state is an integral part of our institution.

But then I also think the church does so many good things in the community and are we losing that sense of community as fewer and fewer people go to church. Even people that do go to church now go to these HUGE mega-churches and I think it can be hard to foster as much of a sense of community- it seems that some people will fall through the cracks?

So for me, no I don't go to church. I haven't even been for holidays in a while. I probably would go on holidays if I were with my family on holidays but that doesn't usually happen, whether due to work or being on the outs with each other.

I have been doing yoga for 9 years now and the spiritual element of that is something that really appeals to me. I should do it more because it makes me feel so at peace with myself and the world around me.
So what do you think? Are you surprised? Do you know someone like my friend? Or do you agree with what is written? If you'd like to leave a more personal response anonymously with me, feel free to email your thoughts:

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Thanks Becca and friend for sharing this. Sounds like most of my friends too and this is exactly why those that are still part of a church need to think through why we really do things a certain way. Are we practicing what we are preaching or are we just going through the motions? Are we truly loving as Jesus would; no strings attached?