Sunday, February 24, 2008

Give Me That Old Time Religion

I grew up Southern Methodist, and was content with the weekly services absent of bass guitars, drums, or tambourines that were a staple of my cousin's Southern Baptist church.

When I was younger I thought our family went to church because we were supposed to like all good Christians.

Religion can be a confusing topic with various denominations and theologies seemingly competing and contradicting each other. To my mind, spirituality has nothing to do with religion, pomp, circumstance that takes place in most churches.

In the years I've lived in New York City, I've never formally joined a church, but was always interested in finding a regular place of worship. I don't know if it was a feeling of dissatisfaction or confusion that kept me out of organized religious ceremonies.

One Sunday morning years ago, I opted not to go to church and expected my mother would demand that get dressed and make my way to the car. She didn't. It was as simple as my saying I didn't want to go that I was allowed to remain at home. That was pivotal in my ongoing spiritual quest to question my beliefs and why I attend church.

I read scriptures and participated during Sunday morning services in various capacities because I enjoyed public speaking and was encouraged by Sunday school teachers and church personnel. When I landed in New York City, I didn't decide forgo formal church services again. By not actively pursuing a church, the decision was cast in stone.

I miss the spirituals and gospel songs of my adolescence at church and during the glee club. I yearn for inspirational and invigorating Southern-style sermons that are based on reality, not clogged in religious rhetoric or conflicting scriptures.

I've twice attended evening church service at a Midtown Manhattan church that felt more theatrical than spiritual or religious. I didn't like racing into church to get a seat.

The search for God and the strengthening (or establishing) of faith is a continuous process. There's too much information, stimuli, versions of the Bible.

I've began going to a new nondenominational, international church closer to home that's a beautiful place to behold, but the pipe organ and ceremony aren't replacements for what I seek: a meaningful church service with a message.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Your post is very interesting. I like to always say that Christianity is not a religion but a way of life. I live in the south and I know the type of services you are talking about. I believe the Bible taeches that we should fellowship with other Christins and Church is a good place, but it should be where other Christians have similar beliefs based upon the Word of God. Saying that, there is something I found that enhances my spiritual walk with Jesus.
I try daily to find a quiet place where I can just be alone with the Lord. There I will praise Him and worship Him in purity, no one there to see how I conduct myself, I can sing shout raise my hand in worship, pray in tougues pray in English it is just between me and God. Start off 10 or 15 min and you will find 1 to 2 hrs will soon elaps.