Throwback Thursday #30 – Religious Influences

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. This week Lauren is at the helm and she is asking about religious influences in our early lives. Head over to her blog to get the details, and then join in!

This week’s prompt is: The Impact of Religion

My post follows.

When I read Lauren’s post this morning, I became curious. I searched my posts and found that I have mentioned some aspect of church in at least 40 different posts. I think being raised in a church shaped a great portion of my life.

I was raised Protestant and attended churches of three separate denominations throughout the years. I was raised in a church that focused on leading a good and simple life and followed the New Testament as their guide. It was not a hell and damnation type of church. Being raised in a small close knit community with only two churches, there is a feeling of being part of a bigger family.

My father was a lay minister for a few years when I was young. He was always a man of faith as much as my mother was a woman of faith. In my youth, I did not know of life in a community where people did not attend church.

On Sunday morning, we had Sunday School, followed by preaching. The first being a study of the Bible and the second being the delivery of a sermon by the minister (or preacher). There were also church services on Sunday evening, but I rarely attended those. Wednesday evening was either prayer service or Bible study. None of this was required as you would see in a cult. My religious experience was always one of free will.

I found great comfort in the church and the people there. I still find comfort in the hymns we sang in church. I remember both my mother’s and my father’s favorite hymns. They make me happy when I hear them.

Through the years, I found it difficult to find a church that had that small town family feel to it. In many cases I found judgement where there had once been acceptance and forgiveness. I find that different denominations have different doctrines and the vision of God seems to morph from church to church. Is God a Jealous God, or a Loving God, or a Judgmental God, or a Forgiving God? It can become very confusing.

At this point in my life, I have a more personal relationship to my God and to my own spirituality. I love and accept people for who they are. Honestly, every one of us had different upbringing, yet most believe in a single higher power. I often wonder what I would believe had I been born elsewhere under different circumstances.

I think my life is better when I am open to listening and understanding and respecting the culture and religion of others. It does not change what I feel, but it does make me a better human being I think.

I also think my God has a sense of humor. He must to keep up with this human race, don’t you think?