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That Special Kind of Nameless Feeling and What Stands in Its Way

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Several nights ago, I went with some friends to their Wednesday night church service. I wouldn’t have normally gone; the only reason I missed American Idol that night was because I had to have proof that I went to the Baptist church at least once in order to continue playing basketball there. Don’t get me wrong; I am a Christian. I’m just one who doesn’t think going to church every Sunday is what automatically gets you a one-way ticket to the pearly gates. It has to be something more than that, doesn’t it?
Anyway, the night started out well. Better than I had expected, at least. My friends and I were dropped off at a smaller building across the parking lot from the main one. I was told that this was where the youth group held all of its activities. I guess it’s to make us feel more independent or something. Inside the doors, groups of teens gathered and chatted about whatever. I hardly knew any of them, so Brittany and I climbed up the steepest stairs I’ve ever seen to the worship room, where everything would take place. We sat in chairs facing a small stage equipped with drums, a microphone, and a large screen. Two girls were rehearsing there, singing and giggling. “This used to be the old church, before we got the new one built,” Brittany explained as the lights dimmed and teens came pouring in from the door in the corner. The youth’s pastor, a man I judge to be about 24, appeared and started giving the announcements for the night.
Then, he auctioned off a basketball signed by Ramses the Third and Elvis. A lady in the back bought it for $45. I learned that this money would go toward a camping retreat for whoever in the group wanted to go. “You should come too,” Brittany said. “I can’t, I’m going to Florida.” I was strangely and very secretly relieved. Then several of the teens acted out a hilarious David and Goliath scene- complete with dramatic sound affects and prolific improv. I was finally beginning to relax, enjoying being in a church for the first time in a long time. It felt good to be a part of the group.
After a few brief Bible verses, everyone stood up and stood by the stage, where we were treated to the two girls singing upbeat songs about faith that I, along with everyone else, was really getting into. That was when it happened; I felt something. There was something without a name there, something I had only felt on a few rare occasions in my life. It was making everyone’s hearts beat as one. We were all understood and loved by one another. Nothing superficial mattered anymore- we weren’t there to be seen; our school cliques held no warrant in this place.
Then came the lesson and prayer- God loves you, no matter who you are and what you’re going through. It doesn’t matter with God. We all prayed together, and that feeling was back. Those who wanted to, including myself, went up to the stage and kneeled with our hands on the rough carpet or clasped with one another’s. It felt as if we were all holding each other together. I had never felt that feeling so strongly before. I never wanted it to end. So I prayed; God, please help me let go of the reservations I have for you. I want to believe in you so badly it hurts, but I can’t. I’m losing myself. Save me. And that was all I said.
Everyone opened their eyes and began shuffling out the doors. “Wait!” shouted the youth leader, “Remember that we’re studying cults next Sunday night. Be sure to come.” “Cults like what?” someone asked. “Like Mormonism. Fake religions like that.” My heart sank. The good feeling was washed from me in an instant, and I felt nothing but sadness. It had come. It always had to come. Just when I was getting into it, he had to go and call someone else’s’ religion fake. I would not be coming back next week because, you see, the thing I despise most in this world is people who have a religious superiority complex. My rule of thumb; I won’t say you’re wrong if you won’t say I’m wrong. Because, even though I sure don’t believe in it, I know there are people out there who do. There are no different from me, and they are no different from you. They want what we all want; to have a religion that understands us and fits our beliefs. Who are we to take that away from them?
And another thing; you can go to church every single Sunday of your entire life and still be a horrible person. I cannot and will not believe that one of my best friends who is nice to everyone she meets and has never judged a soul is going to hell because she only eats kosher and has a slightly different Bible than I do. I just can’t understand.
And so I have come to the conclusion that I must once again return to my non-church going ways. I’ll stick instead to staying here at home and praying for the answers instead of having someone else implant the wrong ones inside me.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.



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Kareebear. said...
May 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm:
I TOTALLY agree with you. i have to say, i was just like you. praying at home and asking for the answers but eventually i fell off track with jesus. then i found a church similar to the one you were describing and i know that feeling you were talking about. i love that feeling too. but anyway, i say that you should keep trying to fidn that one church who keeps that fire in you like it did for me. and about the "fake" religion thing? i agree but you should have spoken your mind about the subject ... (more »)
 
Briella13 replied...
Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm :
The church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, or Mormons, actually isn't a cult. I'm not sure where that rumor came from, but it's actually a Christian church.
 
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