Andrew Whitlatch - Courtesy Laugh Network - April 19, 2011
My sophomore year of high school I started and led a Bible study group for my peers. We met in a dirty middle school gymnasium every Sunday afternoon. It was a space for teenage youth to pray and ask questions. I think we thought we were really mature for our age to have such a deep connection with God. As Easter Sunday approaches, I think about the role of faith and how we define it.
If you ask a college student or someone in their twenties about their faith, chances are you will be served an eclectic array of undergraduate sound bites from Sociology 101 or Religious studies courses, along with snippets from 3rd grade Sunday school. It’s an incredibly complex and intricate question to ask. However, where do we find the answer? It’s not uncommon for most college student’s last day of church to be the weekend before they move into the dorm.
I am not the same person I was seven years ago in that dirty gymnasium. I no longer hold the same beliefs I had when I was fifteen. The only constant is my fascination with introspective growth, the hope that I can create a better version of myself. I think most of us believe there is a better version of ourselves just around the corner. Is this really different than what Jesus represents? Has my faith changed because I don’t attend church services regularly? Or have I grown out of the mold I was born into?
I have heard so many of my peers talk about how they used to be a good Christian and they need to get back to their faith. Is this regression? Are we lacking in faith, or are we desperate for direction? My whole life I was told what Christians are supposed to believe. The constant dependence on a single brand of Christianity is stunting our growth. Our faith should not be defined by a solitary brand.
Our mold is shaped by how we interact with our environment. Church, Bible study, youth group and missions trips was the road map to my spiritual journey. Long talks and Bible memory produces a single type of Christian. I think most Christians agree that the fundamental requirement to be a Christian is to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins.
The fundamental belief of Christians is meant to embody the spirit and image of Christ. It’s not meant to exclude or humiliate other beliefs or cultures. A verbal profession of the belief in Christ feels incredibly one dimensional. We are more complicated than that. Does prescribing to one way of life really save us from hell?
Are we ok to consider the possibility that some stories in the Bible are simply not true?
During Easter weekend some of us celebrate the resurrection of Christ and some of us just celebrate a day off from work. I think we can all celebrate the end of winter and the renewal of spring.
Embrace who you are and push to be a better version.