Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Keeping the Faith

So, I am well aware that I have not posted in my blog for a while. I'm sorry. I wouldn't have had too much to post anyway.

The Lutherans (and Orthodox monk and miscellaneous other students) leave tomorrow morning to begin their week of traveling that concludes the program. I was a bit skeptical at first, what with an entire group of religious people descending upon our Institute and me (The Most Non-Christian You Will Meet, Except Maybe Next To Osama And His Wacky Al-Quaeda Muslims, Except, Still An Exaggeration) having to lead them.

But, I got to know a couple of them fairly well, and I am sorry to see them leave. I regret that I did not pass along my contact information when I had the chance, but I think we must have their contact information around here SOMEwhere, so I might use it and email them, or something.

I also am sad that I did not ask some of them out for coffee this week. I (briefly) discussed my faith (or lack thereof) with a pastor from Slovakia, which got me thinking. Although I don't consider myself a Christian, I am intrigued by those who practice (and believe in) religion. Do you practice because you actually believe in it, or just because you were brought up that way and it is habit? Would you have discovered your faith otherwise?

The whole concept is fascinating. Which makes me a bit sad that I didn't get to discuss it more with my two new pastor friends. Thankfully, both live relatively close (as in, Europe, instead of, say, Russia or South America or anywhere else not quite so close), so perhaps during my travels I will visit them and continue this discussion. Or not. Who knows! Only time will tell :)


On another note, my social life is going from booming, to non-existent, for at least a couple of weeks. I was busy EVERY DAY this past weekend, but now Jessica is traveling for a week and then going home, so no friend for Heto! I really need to look into going to visit Bridget, though. Maybe we'll go to Luxembourg! Or Köln! Yay for inter-European travel! :)


Jessica said...

a.) If you are serious about wanting their contact info, then you know where to find it. (Me!)
b.) Why are you discounting Steffi? She exists!

Jessica said...

Ooh... and c.) I have to answer the religion question, since I am one of those church-y people myself, and since you asked an interesting question. Why do you (i.e. why does one) believe in something?

I have seen a lot of people believe in God for a lot of different reasons. For one friend, for example, she grew up going to Sunday school and being taught about Jesus and things, and just never saw any reason to doubt it. Maybe that is the easiest route, but there is not much you can do about it. Another friend grew up not going to church at all but always was sort of curious what goes on there, so she started going to church in college and asking lots of questions and just slowly felt at home there. One friend has a Jewish mother and a Lutheran father and he went to church/synagogue with both of them when he was growing up, until it got to the point where it was uncomfortable to be both and so he chose one (Lutheran, because there was a cute girl in the confirmation class). Another friend is the son of two pastors and decided early on he hated the church, so he didn't have anything to do with it for a while but then something was missing so he went back and is now happy about it.

For me, I grew up sort-of Catholic (a Christmas and Easter Catholic, except I also went to Catholic school, which didn't neceessarily have any effect on my FAITH). When I went to college I was looking for community, and found the campus ministry that way. They were simply the people offering the best activities, and they were nice people to boot. Faith came later, and sort of surprised me. I think music might have been a big factor too. Plus, I was at a Lutheran school where I had to take a couple of religion classes, which put me in contact with some really intriguing questions about the bible and what I believed, and then I just kind of figured out that what the Lutheran church believes felt right to me (or at least righter than the other stuff I had seen), so I stuck it out.

I think that it goes both ways: you practice a religion because you believe in it, but some of the believing comes from the doing, too. Like, you go to church every Sunday (or, ahem, most of the time anyway), and you start to piece together this story that people are telling, and start to understand how it might fit into your life. I would say that it is definitely not necessary to believe something in particular in order to go to a church. That is where you are supposed to learn these stories, and they can't very well expect that you figure it out on your own. :-)

Now I am hogging blog space, so I will stop (but hey, this is my vocation, I have thought about this a lot!...) :-)

Heto said...

Thanks Jess! Hog blog space all you want :) To answer your questions: a)if I cannot find their contact info here, then I will definitely get it from you. They were all Good People (I keep using that phrase!) and would like to stay in touch with some of them. b) I don't discount Steffi, but I know she is busy. Plus, it's easier to be 'woe is me' (even if I don't feel that way) by acting like I have NO friends WHATsoever, lol. and c) thanks for the insight! I'm still not sure (clearly) about my own beliefs, but I appreciate you sharing yours :)