For the past eighteen years my family and I have been outliers to my extended family. My step father adopted the religion of Judaism and passed it along to my mother. The tradition; however, reached its ending point when I wanted to explore different ideas and philosophies. To this day, I had not made any decision to tied my values to any religion. That soon changed as my religion professor sparked us with a challenge to go out onto the field and find something meaningful. I had been the outlier in the family, but my parents did not want to pressure and let me live my life as I could striving forward. Oddly enough, I ran into a childhood friend who I had not seen in years and invited me to his church. He described it as “fun and energetic.” That was hard to believe since I used to spend Sundays in a synagogue that vastly fatigued my spirit. I told him that I would agree, but only if he would not reveal the identity of his faith. I did not want any of my biases to affect my decision to attend or not.
I did not know what to expect, but felt somewhat secure in the company of my friend. As we drove up to the Temple, it had a Roman Catholicism affect to it. Once there I noticed the big cross and immediately I knew it was a Christian Temple. The name of the church was “Walking With Jesus Daily.” The population was one-hundred percent hispanic so I felt included more than excluded for ethnicity reasons. It seemed as I belonged. The temple inside looked nothing like a church at all. Instead, it looked like musical theater packed house. The stage was huge. It was about ⅙ of the actual space. The service began with worship that lasted forty-minutes and then came out the pastor. The pastor preached for an hour and a half and soon after the service was over. I asked one of the gatekeepers to describe me the structure of the service. He told me “The way we are structure is through a hierarchy. First on top, comes the wise pastor, second is the veteran members of the church and lastly is the youth.” The seating arrangement in the church was exactly as the structure. In the first row, the pastor’s family sat. The second row included twenty to thirty year old church veterans who had been recruited by the pastor years ago. Lastly, the youth sat in the third row. The gatekeeper characterized the youth as the “building block of the church and they are the future of this religion.”
The pastor preaching left me speechless. It was not what he said, but in his different techniques that he managed to get his message across. The pastor is a former famous colombian actor and his wife is also a famous colombian actress. This is important for the following reasons. When introducing the preaching, he started off with jokes that were funny due to the oddity of them. He brought in the crowd and kept them off the edge of their seats. He would relate the teaching to a personal experience or to another joke. He knew the limits however. He would tail off and towards the end, give an emotional statement of how the youth or the world is being destroyed little by little. He made the message impactful and meaningful. Something the synagogue failed to do in my five years of attendance. I found myself relating to the message and reciting what the message was days later. It left a lasting impact on my soul. It filled a void that has been longing to be filled in all my years of existence.