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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Christian Mutt

I really like cats a lot better than dogs, but the closest description to "mutt" that you get with cats is something like "domestic shorthair" which really doesn't quite give you the picture of something that is such a combination of backgrounds that you really can't say what it is.

That is what my Christian heritage is like.

I started out with just two denominations:  Catholic on my father's side and United Church of Christ on my mother's side.  I was baptized in both denominations, on the very same day.  I had my first communion and confirmation in the Catholic church.  After that, I pretty much stopped going for a while.

I spent one semester of my sophomore year of college at a Catholic college, where I experienced God in a very unique way (I'll write about that some other time) that I had never experienced before and have not experienced since.

After that semester, I lived in Utah for a few months and had some LDS friends.  I didn't learn a ton about the LDS faith--I wasn't interested in jumping into any faith/religion yet but I did appreciate the friends who taught me some things, and I appreciated the thoughtfulness in the gift of a Book of Mormon, embossed with my name, that I received from a friend as a going-away gift when I moved to New Mexico.

In New Mexico, I attended a Presbyterian (PCUSA) church (this is the one I would consider my "home church") as well as a Southern Baptist church for a time (the SBC church didn't actually call itself Baptist; they liked to have a non-denominational feel, but they were still affiliated with the SBC).

The seminary at which I took a few classes has a Wesleyan/Methodist heritage, but is not officially connected to the UMC.

In Indiana, I attended a United Methodist Church and in the first town in which I lived in Iowa I again attended a United Methodist Church but then switched to a Baptist church, though this one was of the Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference, not Southern Baptist.  At this time, the college in which my husband and I both worked was initially connected to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

I now live in Western Iowa, and will end up attending a church that is of the Christian Reformed Church denomination.

In addition to these, I also made some Jewish friends and learned a lot about Judaism from them.

So you see why I used the term mutt.  After typing all that out, I even lost count of how many denominations have somehow come into my life up to this point.

I am actually very glad to have such a varied background; I think it has helped me to be able to see and understand from another's perspective and realize that I don't necessarily have all the right answers.

I am sure that they have all, in ways in which I may not even be aware, shaped me into who I am today.  It also makes me sad to see so much division and fighting between Christians of varying denominations.  At the very least, they all believe in Jesus, and isn't that the most important thing?  

There are things that I have learned from my experiences in each of these, although whether or not they constitute "official" denominational teaching is debatable, and I'll explore what I learned in future posts.  How about you?  Have you always been in one denomination?   Or did you "stray" to another?  What was the experience (or experiences) like?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Oops! I forgot to include the idea of organic/simple/house church is one I have also been influenced by, mainly due to the book "Organic Church" by Neil Cole.