In my opinion, I have had an interesting religious upbringing regarding to the different denominational practices that I have been exposed to and a part of. I have been going to church since I was born because both of my parents wanted to raise their children to become good Christian men and women.
I was baptized in the Catholic church as a baby and also went to Catholic pre-school; we remained in attendance there until I was about six or seven years old. I don’t remember much of going to church there other than that we didn’t attend every week because my parents weren’t happy with the structure or the content of the church and its beliefs. My mother and father had both been raised Catholic, but I don’t think the church that we were attending was fulfilling their spiritual needs. They started looking at other churches, and I was not happy about it because I had grown comfortable in that setting. They found a church that they really liked, which was an American Baptist church, and we started to go there. I grew to really like the people, the atmosphere and the teaching in Sunday school. But I started to realize that I wasn’t getting as much out of that church as I thought I was when I started to come into my own as a teenager.
It was there, in the youth group that I had been going to for seven years, that I realized how hypocritical and judgmental Christians can be and how pastors can take advantage of their calling to preach and act as if they have as much power and authority to speak as God does. My parents had chosen the church mainly for its youth group. I was going off to college and my younger siblings refused to attend the youth group because they had no ties to the church. So after 11 years and a lot of thought, my parents decided that this church was no longer right for us.
My parents now attend a Pentecostal church that they had briefly attended when they were first married. While I go there on occasion when I am home, it is not an environment that I feel comfortable worshipping in, so I go to a church that is American Baptist and somewhat like my old church.
Here at Eastern, it took me a while to find a church that I liked and fit into. I went through a period where I didn’t go to church at all, but finally found Hope Community Church which is a loving and accepting environment.
Eastern, although they are founded on Baptist values, has taught me a lot in regard to faith and different denominations since I have been here. I had a Bible professor who was Greek Orthodox, and I have met people here that are Mennonite and Quaker, things I am not exposed to at home. I believe that Eastern is a melting pot of different denominations and practices, lending to an environment of learning from one another.
At this point in my life, I can’t really claim one specific denomination because I go between three different churches, but I do know that there is not one denomination better than all the rest. Each has different teachings and practices, but what matters is that they all glorify one God and acknowledge that He is the God of all.