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Mar. 24th, 2007

Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in Christian Churches

I didn't read the whole article, but I did read up to where the font mysteriously changes, and then scanned the rest. I am re-affirming the fact that I skipped my "teen-age years". During the time that I had a "1" in front of my age, I was facing life shaping decisions. Maybe I was just mature enough to realize that I was making these decisions? I don't know. But this was the time of my life where I questioned my faith. As a rule, I didn't go to church. I didn't want to participate in something that I didn't believe in. I would stay in bed until it was too late to get to church with the rest of the family - unshowered and undressed for the occasion. I was still made to go on many occasions. I was peer-pressured into joining the FCA(Fellowship of Christian Athletes) in my late high school years. This was around the time that I started to remember things that I never knew. Things about God and faith that were reawakened within me - perhaps that had been asleep for thousands of years. Yet, it seemed like I knew these things before. It wasn't a learning processes - it was a process of remembering.

There is a huge difference here. Learning is about taking things from outside of you, processing them into a form that can be understood, and absorbing the information to be used later. This is what is done with the information that is given to us in science class, history class, etc. Until you are exposed to it - there is no way of knowing about it. It must be given to us by an external source. (okay, so most people could probably figure out the basics of gravity themselves - but that's beside the point.)
Remembering, however, is a completely different process that is harder to explain as it is completely internal. Sometimes something happens in our everyday life that triggers a memory - you see a toy that you used to play with as a child and you have a flash of your younger self playing with it, maybe sounds, smells, other senses associated with that experience. You can relate that memory, but the process of remembering it is hard to explain - however, since most people have experienced it, they have an idea of what happened in your brain.

This process of remembering is how I came to be in a deeply intense relationship with God. Remembering is a unique experience - the process in and of itself can create a new memory. But that initial memory, the memory that was so deeply placed inside my soul, was what began it all for me. It was somewhere during the summer after I graduated from High School. I can only best describe it as a Reawakening - the faith inside of me that was so deeply buried in my soul underneath disbelief came rushing into my life. It was like a memory that had been suppressed for such along time that it was just a vague, fuzzy idea. The more that I concentrate on this memory and allow myself as a conduit for God, the more clearly I can see it - the Whole Picture. Sometimes I don't even realize how much of it I can see now until someone asks me something about God/Christianity (usually Heather) and I know, beyond a doubt, the answer that I didn't know I knew. Huh. It's like telling someone a story about your youth - this is what God wants from us or this is what God really is all about - as you are telling the story, you remember it even more. It is really a beautiful thing, but almost exhausting.

I have never attempted to put all of this into words before, and I hope it makes sense to someone other than me. :-P But as I am writing this today, I wonder how many people on this earth also have this memory inside of them. Perhaps they only need a trigger to awaken the memory in themselves, too. Or perhaps it is so buried under disbelief, false faith, and arrogance that it will take more than a single moment to unearth it. Quite an interesting thought.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
pica_scribit
Mar. 24th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
I left my own church (episcopal) at 17 over differences with the pastor. I just didn't get on with his methods at all. I spent the rest of the year visiting every single other church in my community, including the LDS church, but couldn't find one to my liking.

I guess I didn't go to church regularly at all between 17 and 28, but now I've found a really awesome church in Ohio (also episcopal), and I've begun going again. God and I get along just fine and we talk all the time, so church didn't seem necessary.
tenthz
Mar. 24th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
I totally agree that God and church are not mutually exclusive.
mountainheather
Mar. 24th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
I think I'm a little confused as to what the memory actually is?
quilynn
Mar. 24th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
I went through something similar when I read the Tao Te Ching the first time. The concepts of Taoism, which I have so unsuccessfully tried to explain so many times, came to me easily. I didn't learn the concepts, they just unfolded before me like a childhood memory, whispering things I already knew, and sending ripples through my consciousness to reassess everything. Exhilerating, beauitful, and yes, also exhausting.
lordxyyndragon
Mar. 24th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Episcopalian: The Fun Catholicism. I did this for a number of years. I was very religious in high school because religion is a wonderful way of fitting in when you think no one understands you. Unfortunately, when you're young, it's just a bunch of tradition and ceremony and going through motions without realizing the meaning behind it all. I stopped going to church around 17 and since then I've kind of decided to make religion a personal rather than public statement. I like some parts of Christianity, but I don't want to be taught from a book what God means. I don't think God is male, or human in form. There is a lot in the Bible I don't agree with, and I'm not interested in picking and choosing what to believe and what not to. It's a tough decision to break from the mold and try to find your own path when your past is deeply rooted in traditional religion.

I don't think religion means anything until you are old enough, experienced enough, and have learned enough about yourself and your own values to really understand what it means to have faith in something.

I can tell you that I recited the Lord's Prayer in church countless times without realizing what it meant until 20something. When you're a kid, like saying the Pledge of Allegiance, it's just reciting sounds.

Finding religion is a personal journey that you can't possibly begin until you really start to know yourself.
memeslayer
Mar. 24th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Finding religion is a personal journey that you can't possibly begin until you really start to know yourself.

The fact that most people follow more or less the religion they're born with is a problem for that idea. The most basic stuff like whether you adopt a monotheistic view is almost entirely determined by the culture you're born in. The need to find religion is just one way of expressing the need to find *meaning*, and that's as much a part of your childhood as it is any other part of your life. I think the results of raising a generation without childhood religious training would be very interesting, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely -- how many of you aren't going to take your kids to church with you?
lordxyyndragon
Mar. 24th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
how many of you aren't going to take your kids to church with you?

I'm not. I'd love to introduce my kid(s) to several religions but going to church every sunday isn't going to happen.
memeslayer
Mar. 24th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
false faith

What does this mean?
tenthz
Mar. 24th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Hm, I guess I really meant Blind Faith. Or even just faith in something where you don't even really know what you are having faith in.
memeslayer
Mar. 24th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Okay.

(Your post does make sense, by the way)
tenthz
Mar. 24th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
Wooo! Making sense!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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