Today marks 30 years since I was christened.
I recently had the chance to be a tour guide through my version of my faith.
I bumped into a colleague of mine while I was on my way to church. He asked if he could tag along. Of course I said yes; is our faith not meant to be welcoming?
He is a curious person, and never hesitates to ask questions. I’m sure our filters are set to different levels. Perhaps some of what he asked would be considered offensive to some people; I don’t think I found it offensive because, to me, faith and religion should be open to discussion.
I’m hardly the most religious of people, yet when he asked why I go to church if no one was watching, it felt like I was exposing a little piece of my soul. I answered honestly – I go to satisfy the part of my soul that needs nurturing from time to time. I don’t go every weekend, though I do try to.
Why isn’t there a big cross on top of the church? Because, from what I’ve been told, we are not allowed to have one. We have freedom to worship; we don’t need to advertise further.
Can he hand out Bibles at the metro? Er, no, we wouldn’t want to get in trouble for attempting to convert people.
How come you have to pay for food inside the church compound? Why isn’t it free? There might be more Christians if it were… Ah well, we’re already the biggest parish- perhaps we don’t need to bring people in that way. And anyway, hasn’t Christianity used that tactic already?
I told him a little about how a Mass is structured. He wanted to know if the priest speaks, or if it’s only readings from the Bible and singing. Does the priest only tell people what to do, or speak of fire and brimstone and judgement? Yes, the priest speaks, and there are readings, and there is singing, and there are some formulaic prayers. Priests- well, each one is different. But most speak with a thought to context. Some things never change, some rules are constant. The wiser priests know how to bring the lessons from the old days to life for us today.
It’s always interesting to see an outsider’s point of view.