I was born in Louisville, KY in 1985 and was raised in the Catholic Church where I attended on the occasions that are relevant to the time of year it happens to be. Entering first grade I attended Portland Christian School (Church of Christ), from which I graduated in 2004. Once in PCS going to church on Sunday was mandatory and part of my grade for Bible class. My family then started attending church more often where I completed 4 of the 7 sacraments. The first being baptism (at a very early age), then Eucharist, reconciliation, and confirmation. I loved going to church on Sunday, I always sang along and could recite mass from memory. I liked helping poor people, probably because I grew up in the poorest neighborhood in the city and saw them all the time. Additionally, due to my parents playing on multiple softball teams, I grew up around a very diverse group of adults from pot smokers to openly gay people to ex-cons. I loved going to school too and learning scripture, putting it to memory, and reciting it on the spot when called. Then I got to high school and starting noticing things, things that I wasn’t particulary happy about. The first thing I noticed was being treated different by some, some teachers as well, because of the neighborhood I grew up in and because of my parents political views (very liberal). I also started noticing a lot of hypocrisy and a lot of people not “practicing what they preach.” These things made me a bit of a rebel (or so I thought), posting rock n roll lyrics in my locker (I still love rock and many other genres of music, but more on that later), calling out teachers on their bullshit (I love Jesus, but I cuss), and many other things that landed me in the principle’s office on multiple occasions. Going to a private, Cristian school was unique but not very diverse, unlike my life away from school. Looking back now, it wasn’t so much of me being a rebel as it was the beginning of me “losing my religion”. My parents were wrong for being Democrats and the people they hung around were going to hell. It left a sour taste in my mouth and as much as I fought against it it was difficult not to walk away from there with a lot of things I disagree with instilled in me. It hardened me quite a bit thinking that although I didn’t necessarily believe like the people from PCS did that maybe they were right and my family was wrong.
After high school I joined the military and it was a diversity explosion! I met and befriended people from all walks of life, different religions, atheist, gays, etc. It was easy making friends because of the way I was raised in my home life, but still having this idea that these people were going to hell. I grew up a lot in the military and realized that everyone there was there for a lot of different reason, but we all had one common goal and that was serving our country. Getting to know the people I was serving with and seeing that they were great people I began to wonder how these people could be damned. It made me bitter and it made me resent my religion more.
Then beginning in 2008 I lost my religion completely. America had just elected its first African American president and racism was running rampant. I noticed people on my FB saying and posting racist things and being cruel, my “Christian” friends. It only got worse as time went on, every “liberal” move the president made was criticized and condemned by Christians and now eight years later he is still hated by “the Christian Right” because of his politics. Now I didn’t come here to defend Obama, but what a great POTUS he’s been. While campaigning for his second term racial tensions, among other things, were rising and I hated my old religion, I wanted nothing to do with its people or their God! And then just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, Donald Trump becomes our countries conservative, Christian, Republican candidate and spews his hate and anger and lewdness and narcissism and bigotry around like a cold! And what does the people of my old religion do? They defend him, make excuses for him, and continue to support him like he is the second coming of Christ. It seemed most Christians were intolerant of all non-Christians and vice versa. Now, it seems, I’ve lost my religion and my faith. My faith in God and my faith in humanity.
Through my whole experience the big things that I’ve wondered are: what happened to Jesus? What happened to his teachings? What happened to the love? I have this overwhelming feeling that He is disappointed. I think, no, I know that this is not what He taught, not what he practiced, not what he preached. What he taught and showed to all was LOVE and acceptance and understanding. Judge not lest ye be judged, treat others as you want to be treated, love each other!! John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. My religion needs to return to this simple commandment and quickly. Quit concentrating on the Old Testament and focus on Jesus’ teachings, because His sacrifice made the the Old Testament moot, rendered it useless, null and void! Get it? The answer: Love
In closing, I still believe in Jesus and I still believe that through Him all things are possible. I still believe in love and I still believe that people that share my beliefs are, at their core, good people. I believe that no matter what walk of life you are from or how you believe that we can all accept/respect each other and that we can all love one another. Maybe then I, and others like me, will “re-find” my religion that I love.