Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blog Name Change and my religious background

I honestly was never a huge fan of the previous name, One, it didn't flow together well. It wasn't a complete sentence and it wasn't in alphabetical order. (Seriously, this bugged me EVERY TIME I LOOKED AT IT). The definition of journey is typically a word used for physical travel. While pursuit means to seek, reach, search, chase. And this feels more accurate for me at this time. Yes, it is still a journey, but it is something I am pursuing wholeheartedly in understanding and coming closer to God through. Something I think we are all constantly pursuing. The name may change again, but I believe it fits for this stage.

 I've been wanting to write about my religious background for a while, but it's a hard topic for me. I've noticed most people fit into a few categories and I don't seem to fit into the same. For me, my family was pretty divided when it came to religion. My paternal grandmother's side was raised Methodist. My paternal grandfather's side was raised Baptist. My mother was raised Catholic but as an adult, her father renounced Catholicism and became a Baptist missionary spending most of his time in Mexico trying to convert natives. I

 attended a small Baptist church with a classmate for a while, and then our family started attending a non-denominational church with a few hundred members (this would have been in maybe 1993?). That church has now ballooned into a mega church of around 4000-5000 members and I've attended a few services with my father when I go home to visit.

 We then moved to a little town outside of Atlanta; I was in the middle of the Bible belt (this was a foreign concept to me as a Native Texan from the Dallas/Fort Worth area). This was a town where everything closed at 6, and was shut down on Sundays for church. If you didn't attend church every Sunday, you might as well have been a leper from the Old Testament and stayed away from everyone. It was that serious at the time. A lot of the maps I see that show the Bible Belt, do put most of Texas in it. A little unfair, since to us it's cities East of Dallas (East Texas) that still have that Deep South, Southern vibe and I'd consider being the Bible belt. But with the Dallas Theological Seminary, and one of the biggest Baptist Bible schools in the country being around there, I guess that's why. 

Back to Georgia. We started attending a mega Baptist church. It was a very large church, with each grade level having their own class (this was unheard of to me). I was baptized in this church at 13 as well. They did full submersion and I had several interviews/meetings with an older couple from the church first. My siblings had been baptized a few months earlier, but being the stubborn older child, I wanted to be sure. I later attended smaller Baptist churches, and a Catholic church, with friends from school. Catholicism was interesting to me as I had only attended funerals in the Catholic church growing up. There was so much going on!

As a child, I was always fascinated with religion spending hours on my CD-ROM encyclopedias researching them, and reading any book I could find on them in the local library that was conveniently across the street from my middle school. My family did not approve of this and I was scolded quite frequently and called a heathen by my stepmother. I still love learning about other religions as I enjoy the parallels, the history, the culture, and experience. I have friends who are Muslim, friends who are Catholic, Buddhist, Shinto. It's fascinating.

 Once we moved back to Texas, my stepmother and Dad split shortly after. Old habits die hard and she wasn't willing to not act like a teenager. I'm not holding this against her, it's just how she is and still is over a decade later. I attended a Pentecostal church with a boyfriend whose friend's dad was the preacher. I had never been in a Pentecostal church before and this definitely threw me for a loop as it was very different. The people were all very nice and understanding but I never really felt like I fit in. (Also, no one told me there was a dress code and my skirt that came just below my knees was apparently a no no in their book...oops). As a Mother, it seemed hard to find time to go in between caring for him, being a nanny, and being in college. My son's father did not grow up in a church so he was hesitant to start. We split up when my son was 5 though we have remained close friends. As a now single Mom, trying to find an accepting church was even harder! The few times I did try, I was met with hostility and not so nice comments from the individuals there and I really would prefer to not have my son's experiences in church be negative, as well know how much negativity towards something during your childhood affects you as an adult. Now that I live in Austin, I'm ready to try out some new churches. I have been attending (off/on) a church and small group with a co-worker. It was interesting how it came about as a group at work started a Bible Study group that met on Friday mornings. I loved starting off my last day of the week with the Word! It has since been moved to a time during the week when I cannot attend. However, through this group, I discovered a friendship and sister in Christ.

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