Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#45- The Need For Validation

That's me in my former life.
After being dismissed by the head pastor of my church when I asked him a serious question about Jesus I found myself in a constant search for answers.

Sunday School was my favorite part of church.  I was often the first one in class and I was certainly the most educated and most motivated to learn.  My Sunday School teacher was a happy-go-lucky guy who was burned out by the on-goings and politics of the church.  He had a lackadaisical approach to the class and his zeal reflected onto the students.

People often came in to class indifferent to the subject.  I offered to spice things up by appealing to their tastes.  The Sunday School, indeed the whole church, followed archaic schedules tailor made for Haitians in Haiti presumably around the time that the head pastor and his leaders were young.  Thus, practically no one of my peers or plus or minus 10 years had serious mental investments in the ways of the church.

Having just learned that the person that the church worshiped was not the Jewish Messiah I endeavored to share that info.  I was met with immediate opposition.  Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and critical thinking are just about sinful in that place.  I was well read and motivated.  I found that the more knowledgeable members of the Sunday School class engaged in straw-man arguments and misguided depictions of non-Christians.  They approached the provocative topics with caution.  Looking outside the Bible was increasingly discouraged.  I was ridiculed when I disclosed my sources. I was told that going to a Muslim site should be expected to produce an anti-Christian slant and should thus not be trusted.  The Jewish site was treated similarly.  I made my best attempt to use logic to jolt the laymen to get involved but class increasingly became a show between my teachers and I.

I formally approach the necessary parties to be a teacher but was told that I would have to take a class before teaching.  When I asked another Sunday School teacher if she took the class she said "no".  I had a feeling that I was being discriminated against.

I suggest the real stuff.  Not the generic brand.
I attended Wednesday Bible Study whenever I could.  I wanted to find someone who was like me who read the Bible and was not afraid to call it as it is.  Those meetings were almost always a less formal version of the Sunday sermons.  The scene was more intimate and only the core members of the church showed up regularly but the opinions of the laity was rarely sought.  When I did began to question I drew an ire.  I knew people were uncomfortable with me but I pressed on.  I made a point to befriend some of the brothers beyond just church so that we could get a feel of one another.  I was branded a "searcher of truth" and given backhanded compliments about having my heart in the right place and so on.

There is much to say about this time period but it suffices to say that I grew disenchanted slowly and surely with the church.  It was a time of self-searching for me.  In some ways I enjoyed being a maverick but it did bother me in other ways.  I realize now that I assumed that the intrinsic goals of the church were the same as mine.  The fact is that this is not true.  This caused me a great deal of pain.

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