It was never my intention to grow up and grow out of the church. I was raised there. Had some great times there. Loved mostly every minute of it. As children in my home we figured out going to church at least on Sundays was NOT AN OPTION we [well I at least] began to look for a way to get involved and start enjoying it. Because let’s face it, there are some things a young child just isn’t going to understand right away.
In Zion Rest Missionary Baptist Church, I learned the values of friendship, fellowship and worship. Nothing weird. Nothing cult-like. Just… church, fun, and togetherness. I was at the church 6 days out of the week for a long period of my childhood. I was an usher, I sang in the choir, I played the drums, trombone and keyboard for the choir. I attended Bible study, JCIA [Junior Christians in Action] and tried my best to eat all the food there was to offer when the fellowship hall offered it. My mother cooked most of it so… of course.
As a young adult, we’d go on trips together as a church, hang out together, go to revivals and just… go through life, with our church family! I didn’t really have any friends outside of that! School was just… school, not some place to be social. Church was where I was social.
Getting older, I got wind of a few things. And it all went downhill from there.
Being so involved with the church, I heard a lot of talk, and witnessed some things. And my mother, being the go-to- woman for nearly everything, she was involved with a lot herself. She’d never admit it, but she’s somewhat of a gossip… like many other ladies of the church. One thing I can say is, my mother’s gossip always revolved around the truth. I’ll exclude everything I heard, and just focus on the things I know happened.
My sister, Constance was apparently the first woman in the history of man to ever have a baby ‘out of wedlock’. Some of the mother’s at the church didn’t like this. They began to make it extremely hard for her to continue to praise and worship there like we had for amany years before the occurance.
My ex-wife’s cousin, Sharee, had come out as a lesbian publically. The same thing happened. Now, Sharee was really something. When it came time for choir practices, she would come pick me up in her personal vehicle, then make rounds to peoples houses picking them up. To come to the house of the lord. For praise. Worship. Fellowship. The things we’re supposed to do. A small group of adults and some of the clergy at the church systematically ousted Sharee from the church. Firstly moving her out of the choir. Then basically alienating her until she decided not to come to church anymore.
Even myself. Was accused of being a child molester in a matter of words because I got along with all the kids in the church, and two particular girls wanted me to buy them ice cream one day, and I told them to ask their mother if it was ok. Instead of seeing them again for an answer, the next I hear my mother is firmly chewing someones ass for bringing this matter to her attention.
Why do people do this? It’s not just Christians either. “Religious” people are known for being overly judgmental, pushy, and seemingly only wanting people who they consider ‘perfect’ in the church. That’s not what church is for! The sinners… NEED to be in church. When they found out Constance was pregnant, those women should’ve wrapped their arms around my sister and lifted her up with support. Lending a hand… advice. Love. Not bashing her and calling her a bad influence! Hell, it’s a strong possibility a number of those very same women were shitloads more loose than my sister could ever dream of being!
When they found out Sharee was gay, they should’ve invited her to stay! Maybe not encouraged her lifestyle, but still not excommunicate her! They should’ve been a reminder of GOD’s love… tried their best to keep her around, keep her involved.
But no… All the things we preach GOD is, love. Patience. Kindness. I rarely saw exhibited by the people who called themselves “Christians”.
Now, as for myself. I know there’s a GOD. I’m not sure which doctrine he, she or it exclusively endorses, and frankly I don’t care.
I just don’t go around calling myself a Christian, or a Muslim or anything else because I feel I’d be a bad representation of the diety from any of these factions. Take my marriage for instance. I allowed the fact that my ex-wife was substandard and unsatisfactory as a justification for me cheating on her repeatedly; Instead of being a good leader and making a Godly decision about our relationship.
I’ve dabbled in a few religious doctrines. Perhaps none of them are 100% right. But aren’t the basic principles of any religion kinda helpful? Not the rituals… the superstitions… the threats… and even the promises…
But the basic rules.
Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Be kind. Get married. Obey your parents. BE GOOD parents. Give to the poor and be benevolent. Don’t cheat.
Hell, you don’t even have to subscribe to a religion to do all that, do you? But religion is a show now. From the things people wear, to the practices and all the OOGA BOOGA! In the Islamic faith, it’s customary to say “Mash’allah” after giving someone a compliment. Because if you don’t give that honor to Allah, then he won’t bless or in turn curse whatever it was that you complimented. In Abu Dhabi, one man got angry at one of my coworkers because he said the mans child was cute. He didn’t say “Mash’Allah” and a week later the kid got sick.
That, is bullshit. Sorry. No offense to my Muslim brothers and sisters but that’s just a superstition. Buddhists… they’re religion is FILLED with superstition. Christians too. I know in southern baptist church’s, if one needs to excuse themselves from the sanctuary during service for any particular reason, they put their pointer finger in the air while walking out. That’s nothing. It’s actually kinda retarded. It makes your interuption no less disturbing or disrespectful.
Prayer beads. Rosaries. Kufiya’s. Turbans. Kippah’s (Yamulke), hijab… it’s all just for show. None of those things are going to increase your chances of going to heaven or make you more Godlike or favorable. It’s just for show.
Kneeling, or putting your hands together during prayer. It’s doesnt speed up the process of sending the prayer. It’s just for show. Or when Catholics motion the cross from their foreheads to their chest… means and does absolutely nothing. It’s all just for show and symbolism.
But what is all this show supposed to help? What is it people think they’re doing by following all this garbage? Is it helping you grow? Whenever I speak to religious people I find out just how little they know about their religion.
Since I read the Koran and the Bible I like to quiz Christians, Catholics and Muslims. Because for some reason, millions of peoiple in the world think that being part of a certain religion only means to follow the things their parents and other people tell them to do. But not to actually read the book their doctrine is based upon.
I had an ex-girlfriend whose mother was a complete lunatic. A catholic Filipino woman who swore up and down she was the most perfect and relisious woman on earth. Called herself down-talking me because I was getting a divorce and talking about marrying her daughter. She said that as a Catholic woman she knew that divorce wasn’t allowed. And wrong. I felt I needed to remind her [even quoted scriptures from the bible] that divorce was not only ‘allowed’ but also, the bible gives guidelines to when it’s allowed and under what circumstances. It’s quite sexist actually, and I wasn’t in the wrong whatsoever… other than the fact that I was porking her daughter already. So were several other people I found out later, but that’s besides the point. Point is… she claimed she was making her judgments based on her religion… but knew absolutely dick about the bible!
Or Muslims who like to say it’s mandatory for women to cover their heads and or hair. But thats not a mandated thing from the Koran, from my understanding that is mandated by Sharia Law. That’s not the same thing at all lol.
People want to pick and choose which things thery follow out of these good books. So, what do I figure the solution is?
Believe in your GOD. Practice the basic principles. Which are basically the major laws of the land. Keep all the supersition to yourself, don’t put it on others, and just TREAT PEOPLE HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!
It’s very simple. The church is the people. Not the building. The religion is the practice, not the relationship. What youre seeking is a relationship with GOD. Not to please other people’s idea of one. This is why people can’t discuss religion without fighting… Everyone thinks they are right! There is no right. Not when it comes to whose doctrine is ‘the best’. Islam is not perfect. Neither is Christianity. Or Buddhism, or Sikhism. The GOD’s they believe in maybe… but not the doctrine. And even if they were, once it filters down to people’s interpretations of them… it’s all fucked at that point. Just walk your own path, and don’t impede anyone elses with YOUR bullshit.
That’s all I have to say… for now.
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picture of wooden cross: Huffingtonpost.com
Church folks: http://www.funkydineva.com
prayer beads on religious textbook:Pixabay artist> Kaheel7
hijab clad woman: pixabay artist > ebrahim