Hello and welcome to my blog!
Today I’d like to talk about religion and my relationship with God and religion. I’d like to say right off the bat: all of these opinions are mine and in no way am I judging anyone else or being nasty or insensitive about others people’s opinions! I have a difficult and confusing relationship with religion and I’d like to try and make sense of it myself and get some other people’s opinions to help me understand where I’m at with God.
- I’ve never really been religious.
My family are not religious so I’ve never really understood it all. I’ve tried in the past to be religious and when I was younger, I went to traditional church services – protestant ones, and I never really felt a connection with the idea of religion and of God. I didn’t understand the feeling that being religious gives you or I never realised that a relationship with God was separate to being religious. I thought that there was a big, scary man in the sky (I was a child at this point) that would punish me if I ever did anything wrong – like be rude to my mum or not want to do something. I found it scary and it was something that I never wanted in my life.
- My ex boyfriend got ill and my perception changed.
When I was 17 I had a boyfriend who became very, very ill and he was in intensive care. I was upset and felt lost. At this point, a new neighbour moved in and we got talking and she told me she was a Pentecostal Christian and that I should come along to a service. I was so confused I agreed, and upon entering the church (our community centre) I felt a connection. There was something there but I didn’t know what. It was different to what I’d seen before. They preached the love of God, not the anger and vengeance of God, which I’d heard before. Now I’d like to say that not all churches preach the vengeance and anger of God but unfortunately the ones I had been too did.
- Pentecostal what now?
This is a church that “places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” Here is a link to the church where it all began for me FreshFire Church. I am not trying to get anyone sold on my idea of a church I am just showing you the one I am talking about! This church is all about love and individual and personal relationships with God, which I like. They believe in talking to God and Jesus and that both have play a strong role in their lives. Oh, and they sing and dance. Going to a service like this made religion seem accessible and fun which I believe it should be.
- So, what happened next?
Well, I became a member of the church and started going every Sunday and to a smaller group on a Tuesday. I loved it. I loved the friends I made and the religion that I had been introduced to. However, problems began to arise. They didn’t like the idea of drinking (I was 18 by this point and loved it), they believed that people were going to hell without God in their hearts and that homosexual people were wrong and needed ‘curing’. Now, I understand hell is part of religion, but I couldn’t understand why a God who was so loving, could throw people away because they were unsure. I really couldn’t understand them saying that gay people needed curing- this is something I had an argument with a few members of the church as my sister is gay and has two beautiful children with her wife. I just couldn’t get my head around it.
- Any other problems?
One other thing was that the church was encouraging people to give them money, something I understand but it seemed like if i didn’t give money then I wasn’t a good enough Christian. Now I know this probably wasn’t the case but it’s just how I felt at the time. Also, I can’t understand if there is a God why people are in poverty, why there is so much hate in the world. I know it’s all about free will I guess but I just don’t get it.
- I still love the idea of religion
If I’m having a particularly bad day I like to listen to the song that made me want to be part of the church One Thing Remains. Again, not trying to sell anyone on the idea of religion! I learnt this song on piano because it hit me so much. Maybe one day I’ll do a playlist of my favourite religious songs. Any way, I love the idea of religion, the idea that there is someone out there that is 100% in your corner and will love you no matter the mistakes you’ve made, I think i struggle with the overall Christian ideology that my church still uses, even though they are more progressive.
- I am conflicted.
I want to be a Pentecostal Christian. I want a relationship with God and Jesus and I want to accept God’s love into my heart, I am just in a constant battle with myself over if I can tweak the bits I don’t like, such as the ideas surrounding gay people. If anyone else has experienced this, I’d love to hear from you for some help! I feel God calling me to help others and to be part of a church to make a difference in my community, but it’s the ideological part I struggle with.
- What now?
I will keep trying. I will keep coming back to God and religion until the day that either I decide it’s right and I can accept it and God or the day that I decide I can’t get over the ideology. I want to take my time and really understand myself and God and see if that is a relationship that will help me in my life. Doing some research I feel will help me, like just writing this I have discovered that people who are gay know God loves them and that is something I can get behind! I guess if it’s supposed to happen it will – it’s a waiting game now until something clicks either way!
Well there we go! My experiences with religion and my thoughts on my relationship with it. I was very scared to write this post as I am worried people will have a go at me for the things I’ve said. I want to make it really clear: These are my thoughts and I know not all of them are correct and I’m probably wrong in some of the things I’ve said, but this is how I feel. If other people can’t accept that, then I suppose it’s their fault not mine! I hope you liked this blog post. If you’re in a similar place or have been there before, please let me know! And lets be loving and kind in the comments!
Until next time,