A friend shared with me this YouTube video that was apparently all over Facebook night before last:
I'm Facebook-free since 1988, so I was oblivious.
If you have seen it, what did you think of it?
Let me be up-front -- I'm not advocating for any particular religion, sect, denomination, or belief set. I'm merely sharing with you my story.
See, I was raised in the United Methodist Church. That means organized religion. That meant church every Sunday growing up. That meant Sunday School every Sunday beforehand; choir from preschool until I graduated from high school; mission trips from sixth through eleventh grades; Methodist summer camps from second grade through graduation from high school; various ministry volunteerisms, such as acolyting from second through twelfth grades, and other church activities.
My family and my church are not the hands-in-the-air, moaning and swaying and passing out, convert-or-die types. Rather, we're merely devout Christians. I didn't participate in all of those activities because I felt forced or pressured, but because I was interested and curious.
In 9th and 10th grades, I definitely questioned my beliefs, my parents' constant and unwavering beliefs, and whether God was listening to me. I think a lot of this uncertainty was due to my best friend at the time, who put a lot of doubts in my head. She was very persuasive and manipulative, and I was feeling pulled in several different directions. Hey, I was 15 or 16, chock-full of raging hormones, and trying to find my place in a very aggressive high school.
My incredible experiences in college (e.g., meeting the love of my life, earning my goal GPA and graduating in 4 years, and my membership in Alpha Delta Pi sorority), as well as what I think of as a new life and a fresh start, reconnected me with God. I so rarely doubted that God was listening and helping me through every difficult test, every knee-knocking presentation, and every harsh conflict with my apartment roommates. My parents, my sister, and Ian's close presence also helped get me through a lot of the tough stuff :)
So... What's my point in all of this?
Well, if you watched the YouTube Video, you likely saw that the man who posted the video posted this message underneath:
"A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it's core Jesus' gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover the truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair..."
I enjoyed the video, and I definitely found it enlightening and refreshing.
However, I'm a firm believer in the mission and teachings of Jesus, but I was also raised to believe that the church and the Bible deliver those teachings and that mission to Christians everywhere. What I'm saying is that I believe in both entities and that they can coexist peacefully.
The friend who sent me this video has a lot of questions and doubts about God and religion in his own life. We frequently discuss the differences between our beliefs and the ways in which we practice Christianity, but we don't often agree when it comes to this difficult subject. Sometimes, I feel a twinge of that old doubt creeping back in, but I remind myself of my personal beliefs. I'm not one to shove my faith on others, and I try not to allow others' doubts to cause me to question something in which I deeply believe.
P.S. Please weigh in! Did you love/hate the video? Do you ever question yourself or your belief system? Do you worry that others' interpretations might affect yours, or that theirs might be correct and yours incorrect? I'd like to hear what you think!