Throughout these last 7 weeks, I’ve made a conscious effort to explore the different denominations of Christianity. I attended services at two different churches and participated in a Bible Study with my three housemates. When entering into the program, I learned that although all of the Micah fellows are Christians, I am the only member of the group who identifies as a practicing Catholic. Because of this, I’ve spoken frequently with my housemates about their faith and how they choose to practice Christianity. It was easy to list the differences in how we relate to our faiths. Where as I am personally more drawn to looking for God in my experiences and the people around me, other housemates of mine use the Bible, or Word of God, to find strength and ground themselves in the complex and (arguably) not very God-friendly society that we live in today. Some express their faith more outwardly while others choose to have it be a more inward experience. The list of differences continues to go on…
In the past, I have always seen these differences as something negative. Rather than recognizing that they are all believers in Christ’s resurrection, people, including myself, have chosen to dwell on the small practices and beliefs that differ in each denomination or Church. I believe that the attitude around this issue needs to change. When going out and doing his ministry, Jesus’ goal was to appeal to as many people as possible. He didn’t require that his followers were a certain gender or came from a specific religious background. Jesus wanted to include everyone. Having different denominations within Christianity allows His vision to come true. This development allowed Christianity to reflect the diversity that was, and always will be, present in this world. The question about the differences in denominations should no longer be “Who is more right than the other?” The better question is “What works best for you?” We must come to accept that differences will always be present in every aspect of our lives, especially the ways we choose to practice our faith.
Yesterday, our last Sunday in the Micah Fellowship Program, two housemates and I chose to attend the 10am service at Shiloh Church in East Oakland. Although the worship and preaching style was unfamiliar to me, I looked at the congregation around me and saw faith and belief everywhere I looked. My new attitude about the beauty of the diversity within Christianity was being manifested right in front of my eyes. I could not have asked for a better way to end my faith journey in this program. I will end this blog with the thoughts of my Major Religions class teacher in high school.
He once heard that there is a mountain that every person attempts to climb throughout his or her lifetime. At the top of this mountain lies spiritual salvation. There are several different paths to reach this wonderful place. Some are steeper than others. Some take longer to climb. Some of us who reach the top may stumble and fall from its glory. All people must choose the path that best fits them. What’s important is not how we get to the top but rather that we get there at all.