For this project I decided to g to a Christian Church. One of my aunts converted to Christianity about seven years ago, and the change I saw in her always made me curious about her religion. Besides serving me to help me get a grade, this project helped me find out about the religion, their beliefs, and helped me as well to open my eyes and realize there are countless ways of living life.
I told my aunt about my project and went to her church in West Palm Beach. Getting there made me nervous because I did not know what to expect and was worried of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. As we arrived I saw a public school looking building with a parking lot absolutely full of cars. There was a big sign with the words “Christ Fellowship” on it. It was the name of the church. I got my little notebook and pen ready to write down my notes.
I went in and my aunt introduced me to Pastor Todd. He seemed very excited to find out I was doing a project on his religion. My aunt does not speak much English, so he told us to go with Mr. Padilla, the “Spanish speaking guy”. I had taken little notes here and there, but once he started showing me around, I completely forgot about my notebook and just went with the moment.
By that time my aunt had lefts us. Juan, as he told me to call him, showed me all the rooms in the building. There were several of them, each had a different function, and each one could occupy a great deal of people. First we saw the room where they hold service. The altar was located going down about 10 long, small steps. In the middle of the altar stood a giant, thin, wooden cross, which had absolutely nothing on it. That called my attention. I asked Juan about it and he said that neither God nor Jesus should ever have any material representation.
Everywhere we went there were people saying hi to each other, talking, and laughing. We then went to the room where the 18 year olds and less people are found. I thought I would just see a lot of introverted, absolutely religious kids. However, I was pleased to find that the majority were actually very extroverted and cool. They talked about God and religion in such way that it really got me to actually listen to what they had to say. I found their power to involve me in religious conversation interesting and exciting.
After visiting other places within the church, we caught up with my aunt so we could attended the service. It started with a band playing Christian music, to which everyone sang as loud as they could. The word “Amen” was repeated constantly. People would dance from side to side.
The service itself was very exciting for the church’s members. For me however was somewhat uncomfortable. Naturally, I did not agree with many of the things the Pastor talked about. In particular, I did not enjoy the way he talked about anyone outside of their religion as if they, or we, are less because we do not pertain to their religion. They emphasize loving your neighbor, forgiving who hurts you, and helping the one in need, which is why I found it very contradicting of them to talk less of people pertaining to other religions. Off course I did not expect them to be loving of other people having different beliefs, but I did expect them to respect it. There were a couple cases, which I would rather not mention, that demonstrated me that a lot of them do not respect. Apparently, all of us outside their religion are doomed to rot in hell. I took in the molesting comments and did not respond to them. I thought it was better to be the bigger person in these cases.
As a general experience, this project was very eye opening. It made me think about my beliefs and why I believe in them. How I came to believe in them and whether or not I want to keep them. Visiting the Christian Fellowship Church made me feel as if for a while I was on another place of the world, and I am very thankful for all it offered me.