Reconfriming Faith – Changing Religions
Have you heard that the church – the Catholic Church – is dying? What have you heard about the new millennial generation – are they killing religion because they don’t go to church? Perhaps they are like I am.. a millennial who during college felt more tied to religion because of certain behaviors that were expected, rather than from a feeling of connection to God.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic household. I went to Catholic school, received my baptism, reconciliation, holy communion, and confirmation. I considered myself to be fairly religious. Once I attended college, I used to go to a Catholic mass down the street from my residence hall.
I never felt I fit in, maybe because I felt that it was something I had to do or maybe because what I believed to be different from the ideals from the Catholic church.
I backed away, slowly I stopped praying, but then I stopped believing all together. I graduated college and moved back home. I went from extremely involved in college, to feeling like I didn’t have anything positive outside of work to set my focus toward. Two of my friends from college were very religious and they used to pray together. I envied that faith that they had and the time they spent doing that together.
My best friend from high school was finding her way with Christ too. So, I quickly after, began to see what I could find with God. I wanted a religion that was different than the Catholic church. I wanted somewhere that I chose to go. I wanted to confirm my own faith somewhere I felt comfortable. I researched a bunch of churches. A bunch of different religions and I even attempted to pray to God to lead me in the direction to happiness.
With each variation of religion, there are many similarities and many differences. I liked that the Lutheran church was very democratic in their church process, that they didn’t abide by rules that haven’t changed for many years, and that Lutherans view the Bible as their only authority for faith and life. So, I sought out a meeting with a Lutheran pastor from a local church. Very weary for our first meeting at a coffee shop, we sat down, and the first thing out of the pastors mouth was “Have you watched the new season of Orange Is The New Black?” I think I knew at that moment, that I was meant to be in this church.
Not only because the church has a mixture of older and newer congregational members, but also many who converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism.
I also, was very concerned to bring up the topic of abortion. I have a degree in Public Health and I don’t think that abortion is completely wrong. When I brought it up, it was the first time that I wasn’t hushed quiet for talking about something that I believed in. After that, I decided to give one service a try to see what it was about.
Prior to that, I did some research. Upon reading an article by Thomas A. Nairn, called “The Christian Moral Life: Roman Catholic and Lutheran Perspectives” I found everything written to be exactly what I was looking for. In the article, it talks about how Lutherans believe that Catholics can be “too dependent upon precise rules binding their behavior in areas such as divorce, contraception, abortion, or in vitro fertilization.” I think that this may be a fault in Catholicism because as times are changing, I think that it is important to adapt to some while maintaining the integrity of the underlying message
I align with Lutheran beliefs that serving God within my life is the most important thing.
I think that it’s important for me to believe that I am not capable of choosing God. That God is deliberate in choosing me. For the first time, I find Christ to be just like me. I found that my pastor was also relatable and not a person who was idolized like God. I believe that I should lead a responsible life and that my moral life is a result of this relationship with God and not from God. I like that the Lutheran church accepts and welcomes the brokenness of the people, and uses it in acts of work to help fix others.
If you’re reading this in an effort to find yourself a religion that you are happy with, I encourage you to pray on what God wants for you.
Regardless, His answer will always have a way of finding you.