This I Believe

Cristin - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I had always struggled with my faith as a child. I was raised Catholic but I was never a fan of church, let alone mass. After I had expressed my disconnection with Catholicism one day, my friend Dan, who was also Catholic and interested in studying the priesthood, asked my why I had my “falling out” with the church. The question took me by surprise and I began to really search for the answer. I realized that mainly I had just grown to resent Catholicism because it was something that was forced on me as a child and had a lot of negative memories attached to it. In our discussion that we had, I told him some of the Catholic beliefs that I did not identify with and share a belief in. I never understood why it involved so many rituals, why mass had to be so serious, what point the priest was trying to convey or what I was supposed to take away from his homily. I didn’t see why purgatory, more than one type of sin, or confession were necessary. All of these things I knew I didn’t believe in, but then Dan asked me what I did believe in, and I found that I couldn’t give him an answer.

It was then that I realized the key to strengthening my faith was to not only find out what I didn’t believe in, but also what I did believe in. How could I strengthen my faith if I wasn’t even sure of that?

I began searching for what my beliefs were and what denomination they fit with by attending different churches. I was encouraged to attend Blythfield Hills Baptist Church. I liked the youth group and I felt that my youth leader’s teachings made sense to me. However, when I attended service at Blythfield, the skits and dramas that were a part of many of their services I knew did not represent what I believed in.

Then it occurred to me; why did I have to identify with a specific denomination? Wasn’t faith supposed to be about a relationship with God above all else? I believe it doesn’t matter what denomination you are, it is the relationship that you build with God that is most important. I attend mass again, now that I have allowed myself to appreciate it, and I feel it is right for me. I still attend the Baptist youth group as well, but I don’t consider myself to be either denomination. I believe your relationship is not measured by whether or not you follow the rules stipulated by a denomination. It is okay to pick and choose things to believe in from different denominations because it’s having a relationship with God that allows your faith to strengthen. The relationship allows you to find your identity, and once you find it; your faith has the ability to grow and flourish.