One of my favorite things to do in the morning is drink coffee outside on the porch. I'll admit I don't do this as often as I would like, but whenever I do I find that I'm much more peaceful than I would have been otherwise. I especially love doing this on Sunday mornings. There is a church near my house and on Sunday mornings the church bells ring out loud and clear. I can sit there with my coffee and listen to the bells and watch the squirrels dance through the trees. It's a peaceful time, and I know I need to do it more.
When I gave my speech to become the Religious Vice President (RVP), my main point was that I wanted to make sure that everyone was able to connect with God in the way they needed to, but also that no one felt that they had to. This got me thinking about how church tends to work, and how I have been affected by it.
On paper, here is what I look like in the eyes of the church:
- has attended Adventist schools since preschool
- went to church consistently until the age of fifteen
- was baptized at the age of twelve
- went to church camp from the ages of nine to thirteen
- taught baptismal classes to sixth graders
- is the religious vice president at her school
- will probably go to an Adventist college
- will probably work at a church camp during college
My biggest problem with church is that the above list is considered important. It doesn't seem to matter that even though I have attended Adventist schools my whole life I still thought about leaving, and I will probably send my future kids to public schools. I wish I had gotten baptized later than I did, and that's what I told the sixth graders I taught. I'm the religious vice president because I want people to be able to see God however they feel they need to instead of forcing everyone into a box. It's the box I'm trying to avoid.
What if instead of going to church on Saturday mornings I sit on the porch and drink coffee and listen to the church bells? What if I like the idea of lighting a candle in a church but don't really want to listen to sermons? What if sometimes all I want to do is sit and be quiet instead of talk about religion, but other times all I want to do is talk about beliefs? If I've learned anything in my experience in the Adventist church (actually, just church in general) it is that no one connects with God in the same way, and no one connects with God the same way every time. Right now, I am content to drink coffee out of Spanish mugs and listen to church bells.