Saturday, July 21, 2007

Choosing my religion

I was raised Methodist. My parents were Methodist, and we went to a Methodist church every Sunday. I knew that we were Methodists, because that is where we went, and I knew that others weren't Methodist, because they went elsewhere.

As a child, I believed that everyone worshiped their own way - hence the numerous churches. I don't know if my parents told me or if I just assumed that people made their choices and that was all right with God because he listened to us all as we were all his children, but that's what I grew up believing. I don't know that I ever thought that those whose faith differed from mine were "wrong;" I just thought their faith was different.

Perhaps that was one of the intangible benefits of growing up Methodist - that you are encouraged (or at least not discouraged) from questioning faith, or asking about how things come to be. In my experiences since I left the nest, I have encountered scores of people of different faiths. Some of them believe similarly to me, others believe that the only way to worship God is to do so "their" way (i.e. they are right and I am wrong). It's interesting to me to be a part of an adversarial conversation where I don't believe the other to be "wrong" while they believe me to be.

I don't think I'm better than those who believe differently than I. I don't think they are better for thinking I'm wrong. After all these years, the one thing I am most convinced of is that God encourages us to find our own faith, and to adopt that manner of belief that best supports them.

5 comments:

red.hot.mamma! said...

I was raised Methodist, too! Apparently all the cool kids are. ;)

My most vivid memory of going to church (besides skipping out to hang out with older, cooler kids who just hung out with me because they were bored & I was up for it) was the big stained glass window of Jesus with lambs and kids and stuff all around him, all happy and loving. After experiencing some of my friends' religious services (Catholic, Southern Baptist, etc.), I began to equate Methodists with "happy Jesus" and some of the other churches with "angry Jesus" or "suffering Jesus" or "scary, bloody Jesus." I also got only the good messages about Christianity from the Methodist church - do charitable works, love your neighbor, treat people with respect, etc. I may not be religious now & I haven't believed in God in a really, really long time, but I'm still glad I was raised in the Methodist church.

Gramma said...

I always thought it was wonderful that God is big enough for all different ways of acknowledging/worshipping Him. And yes, the Methodist Church does encourage questioning and wondering and learning and thinking.

Anonymous said...

good luck Steve!!!!!!!

(if I don't see you tomorrow)

shailey

Anonymous said...

Good luck manana!

J

AVONLADY said...

AMEN TO THAT!