Growing Up in the Church
Growing up, most of my peers were not associated with a specific religion, or associated with any religion at all. To this day, I am asked about my experiences, and how I maintained my participation in my church while growing up in a society where religion or attending church service is not the most popular thing.
As long as I can remember, I was attending church. As a child, the services were long, and boring. Nothing that the pastor was preaching about was mad to pertain to a 7 year old. I attended Sunday school, which was before the church service actually started. The classes were made up by age groups. The material that was taught in the classes were topics that that specific age group could relate to. I remember being taught basic things like the books of the bible, and memorizing the order in which they go in. Then compared to now when I attend Sunday school, I am taught more in depth concepts such as Meekness, Courage, Lust, and Wisdom. As a child, I personally hated going to church. I had a short attention span, and the service, I feel, was long, and drawn out. Now that I am older, I enjoy attending church, and it actually gives a sense of peace when I go to church.
A typical service on a Sunday morning consists of praise and worship, the reading of a scripture chosen by a minister, the announcements of the events going on in the church for that week, the singing of the choir with 2 songs, the preaching of the sermon, and the closing prayer. My favorite memory of going to church when I was younger is that they would have a “Children’s Church” going on at the same time as the regular church service. It was a way to entertain the kids at the same as getting a message across to them as well. Going to church is more than just attending Sunday school, and the service on a Sunday morning. My church offers morning bible study on Tuesday mornings, and prayer on Tuesday nights, there is bible study on Wednesday nights, along with other events that the church holds on any other given day. There is various groups within the church like, the choir, the children's choir, the praise dancer's, and the women's organization.
Just like any sub-culture, the church has its own discourse, and rules. In the church, there is a certain way that you are expected to dress, and way not to dress. Women are supposed to wear skirts that are longer than the knee, and not form fitting. Women are not supposed to have their chest exposed, and we are not to wear short sleeve shirts, or wear too much jewelry. There is also a way that you are expected to act. Children, and younger members of the church are expected to respect their elders. Children are expected to sit quietly during the service.
Along with the worsening of society, the rules in the church have gotten more strict. Its like a cause and effect scenario. When society changes, or something traumatic happens, the church tries to react accordingly, to make sure that its members are prepared for the situation. With an increase in the openness of sexuality, the church has tried to educate the youth more on that topic. With the hatred going around in society I think the tradition of the congregation of the members of the church is he most important. Even with the craziness going on, the church tries to maintain a family oriented atmosphere. Everyone in the church treats each other as family, and anyone seeking to join the church is treated as such too. People who are new to the church are greeted openly with love, and respect. I think people looking in from the outside, have this opinion of the church, that the people are mean, and looking to judge, but its actually the opposite. Church members are always trying to get people to join the church, and dedicate themselves to the Christian religion, and that's what I love about my sub-culture so much.