Back in October I blogged about being a Christian and I loved the response and the discussion it evoked. As Easter approaches I think many of us start thinking about our faiths/religion/beliefs and start asking more questions.
As someone who did not grow up in the church and was raised with no spiritual convictions, Easter to me was about baskets of candy and pink and purple hard boiled eggs.
As a child I had one friend who went to church. She was Catholic and invited me to Christmas mass once. I was probably 15 or so and all I remember was there was a lot of kneeling and reciting and making imaginary crosses in front of chests and I felt weird and uncomfortable. As a teenager I didn't know much about religion, nor did I care. I had very few interactions with people of any faith and it wasn't something I felt I needed in my life. I was a "normal" kid...I did some "bad stuff" as a kid but I didn't have a rebellious nature; for the most part I was obedient, responsible and wanted to please others.
My general feelings and questions about religion started to form in college. I actually decided to go to a Christian University not because I wanted anything to do with Christianity, but because this particular university had a great program for my major and I received a grant. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by so called "Christians" and I quickly formed an opinion of these folks. For the most part I didn't like them. I was driving their drunk butts home from parties; I was watching them pay other people to write their term papers for them; I was hearing about their sexual escapades; I was hearing them gossip. I thought they were a bunch of hypocrites--and honestly, I felt like I was a better and more moral person than most of them.
I still knew nothing about Christianity, but my assumption was that if you were a Christian you were required to be good (ie, no sex, drinking or drugs), you thought all homosexuals were going to hell, you picketed outside abortion clinics and you judged people left and right.
My first couple of years in college I grew more and more independent; I labeled myself a feminist, and I had extremely liberal views. I wasn't having sex because my personal conviction was that I wanted to be in love...and I simply wasn't in love with anyone yet. I wasn't really a drinker and wasn't interested in drugs. I felt like I was a good person; I still had no views on religion, but this was the first time in my life that I felt like I was searching for something...was it peace? Was it comfort? I'm not sure what it was but I began to very slowly start seeking answers to a question I couldn't quite define.
At the end of my freshman year I heard about this summer job selling books door to door where you could make a ton of money. Because I was paying my way through school I decided to go for it. At 18, I packed up my stuff, went to Nashville, Tenessee for a week of training and then found myself in a suburb of New Jersey knocking on doors 80 hours a week and hoping people would buy from me. It was the hardest, most humbling thing I had ever done. People swore at me, yelled at me, looked at me like I was the scum of the earth, called the cops and set their dogs on me. It was a job that drove me to prayer. I didn't know who I was praying to, but I started praying.
....to be continued.