Blog Post #3
I went to another church this Sunday. The name of the church is Victory Charismatic Church. This experience along with some other conversations makes me want to write another blog post about the religion, culture, and me.
At the end of the last blog post, I argued that the church serves as a sanctuary without elaborating on the concept. I had a couple of deep conversations with some Christians about what does Christianity means to them and how does religion shape their lives.
I had some very intriguing answers from talking with them. First of all, I definitely had a deeper understanding of Christianity (shaped by Ghanaian culture and economics). In the church, when preaching, the pastor would ask people to “shake hands with at least 7 people and say may God by your side”; “hug people while saying the ever-present God”, and so on. Through those hugs and shaking hands, I got to know those people a little better. I definitely felt a sense of connection with those people. The church is like a small community built to help each other out. I would argue that the church is a sanctuary where people could always count on finding a sense of belonging, knowing you are always in a community and not alone.
Another person gave me an intriguing answer “Christianity gives me a relationship with Jesus Christ.” From the second experience from going to the church, I felt the same way in some sense. This Sunday’s preaching is about ever-present God. The pastor said repetitively that “when you are troubled, when you need help, people may abandon you, but God is ever-present, God will never forsake you. God will never forsake you. God is ever-present.” Though he never connected his examples with his arguments, those statements make me feel more assertive of the being who I am, knowing that God will always be around me and protecting me. The church, providing a connection with God, offers not only a sanctuary but also a source of power and autonomy.
It’s interesting for me since I have always been a skeptic in terms of religion, but those preaching really starts to make me think twice. Though I would not say that I believe in God yet, but if we disregard the religion side (such as only Christians can go to heaven, all others will go to hell), I think the life lessons (“meditating with the presence of God when tempted, when troubled, and hard tasked”) and the sense of secureness from going to church are so powerful.
There are so many interesting things about the church experience: people dancing so passionately, the offerings, the lack of logic of the pastor yet the enthusiastic reaction from the crowd, and so on.