tonight i was talking with a friend about church and christianity and it really got me thinking. i think that one thing i've always really enjoyed about going to church is that it makes me think. i remember being a little kid listening to whatever sermon or homily (depending on what church i was going to). i always enjoyed finding ways i could relate what the person was talking about to my own life. most of the stories were true to life in some way or another. i liked the fact that i was challenged. but it occured to me tonight that i was always challenged on what to think, and how to act, and if i agreed with a certain aspect of what was being presented or not. whether i agreed or not wasn't the point. it made me think and form my own opinions and belief systems. there's no way a person can believe every single thing they hear in their lifetime. at some point they have to make a choice to believe it or not. i think it's healthy to have to form your own beliefs and opinions.
i grew up catholic and there were a lot of things (from early on) that i never really agreed with. there's way too many to list, so for example's sake let me use the whole praying to saints arguement. from a very early age, i remember thinking that it was weird that there was a commandment that said we shouldn't worship other gods, but it was okay to pray to a saint. it never really made sense in my head. i remember asking questions about it in school, but i never got the answer i wanted. so i always thought it was weird. i never really made it part of my beliefs. i didn't agree with it, so it was out.
i always loved hearing what other people thought about certain subjects, and i still really enjoy that. i think there's a big difference between being open minded enough to listen respectfully to another person's opinions and being closed off to any ideas that aren't your own. it's okay to disagree with someone. it seems like sometimes people have been taught something for so long, that it just becomes embedded in their heads. they've never really thought it about it on their own or thought it was okay to disagree, but they thought it was easier to just go along with what they've learned.
now that i'm older and i have more of an idea what i believe and what i think about certain topics, it should be easier to find where i fit. recently i've been looking for a church. i do think that somewhere down the road i'll find a great fit. but i'm not naive enough to think that i'm going to agree with every single thing that church teaches. there are definitely the big things that you'd have to agree upon and have similar views on, but the little things...there's no way a person could agree with everything. i want to find a place that first preaches the love of and belief in Jesus through the gospel. it needs to have strong community. and it needs to share God's love to others at all times not based on circumstance. as long as those are met, i think everything else falls into place.
it's a scary place to be. and yet we wonder why people have such a srewed up, skewed view of christianity. i've always tried hard not to be one of those people. not to have a skewed view to present to other people. all i know is that i definitely don't have all the answers...