I have always believed in God. Having gone through hellish pain for most of my life and having come so close to dying several times in my childhood, and after surviving a car wreck that should have killed me, I actually look at myself and say I am a steadfast believer.
When I was growing up my Mom raised me to be Pentecostal while at the same time encouraging to find my own faith if I wasn’t satisfied with the Pentecostal teachings. I didn’t. Although the Pentecostal church was fundamental and very strict in what considered a “good” person and everyone ultimately failed when they compared themselves to the tenets of the faith. At least when I looked at myself I always fell short and didn’t come anywhere close to being that “good Christian” which is what I really wanted to be.
I wore pants, which, at the time, was highly frowned upon. My hair was short because I was in the bed when I was younger more than I was out and, although I wanted long hair, it was easier for my mother to keep it short. I understood this completely and figured God did, too, and wouldn’t hold it against her or me. Also being the child I was, I questioned the preaching because it seemed a little judgmental to me, and preachers weren’t supposed to be that way, or Christians for that matter.
As I grew older and read more, I discovered there was a “First Church” still in existence: The Orthodox Church. It took a long time to find it and along the way I tasted as many denominations as I could to see if I fit in somewhere else. I didn’t. I don’t. Not really. I have always been Orthodox in my way of thinking, I just didn’t know until I came to the Church that there was another place that thought, felt, and believed the way I did…do. It was a relief and a great weight off my shoulders and I haven’t looked back. I am happy in my faith and belief.
One thing that has really surprised me is the Orthodox Church music. It is uplifting and so beautiful. It teaches just as much as the rest of the Church does; however, it is as far from what I grew up with.
The one thing I miss about the Pentecostal faith is the wonderful, spirit-filled music that would ring out of the church house on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Nothing has ever filled me with such happiness as that music on those nights. Being Orthodox I cannot go and participate in those services, but the main reason I wanted to go was because of the music. I thought I would never be able to enjoy that music again and had given up on it until this talk my husband and I had about music in general.
In most other denominations the music you listen to matters. Usually if it isn’t Christian music of some sort you are listening to you are really just being a hypocrite. Father explained that there was secular music and Church music. You can listen to just about what you wanted to and it not matter. (He actually found it amusing we were asking these questions.) He went on to explain that we, as Christians, knew what was appropriate and inappropriate for us to listen to based on our what we know to be wrong based on our own tenets and doctrine.
Recently I have so missed the music of the old home church. It was what used to speak to my soul when nothing else would. So, I went and found some wonderful bluegrass gospel – what an interesting genre this has turned out to be! Every song and then some that we used to sing is there and I even made a Pandora station of the music for me to listen and sing along to. This music, along with folk and some classical, has become a salve to my beaten and worried mind. Plus, I have been able “to sing my parts” just as I used to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to dance to and dance music, but right now there is nothing better than some good ol’ bluegrass gospel to make me happy. Isn’t it odd how the farther we grow and go as individuals some things always from our youth will make us happy?
- St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Brixton: 25th anniversary (khanya.wordpress.com)
- Orthodox Worship Versus Contemporary Worship (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
- A Coming Evangelical Collapse? (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)