Relationships & Religion

So for the past few days I’ve been hanging out with this really cool individual (Don’t read too much into it, just friends… for now). And like with most new friendships/relationships/acquintances hopefully there are a sreies a conversations about each other, your pasts, your futures and various other topics. While communication is always a good start to meeting someone new, when the topic of religion comes about I tend to avoid it.

This past weekend was no exception, for I had invited my new friend to accompany me to my Frat brother’s book release/signing party. Over the sounds of some neo soul/ new-bohemian cd played we talked about various plans for this upcoming Sunday and he asked (paraphrasing of course) ‘What church do you go to?’ ‘I don’t’ I replied and from there I could have predicted the next words out his mouth. As a non-Christian, I’ve been in this scenerio plenty of times where it seems that I have to defend my faith as to why I don’t attend church. Oddly enough since I’ve live in Chicago the question frequently asked isn’t “What is you faith?” but “Where to you church?”

I guess I should stop with the misnomers in my post titles since this isn’t a post about ‘Relationships & Religion’ but rather ‘Relationships with Religion.’ As a child, religion wasn’t never pushed onto me, being that my mother was Muslim and my father was Born Again (don’t ask me how that happened). My dad didn’t want to step on anything that my mom was teach me but he wanted to make sure that I did get a Christmas. And as I grew older my mom became less strict on following the Islamic faith and bought me gold chains and feed me bacon. I never really felt tied to either extreme and in the end my parents told that I should follow my own path and see what faith speaks to me.

So from that point, I’ve never felt the need to justify or defend what I chose to believe in… I do believe in God and I put my faith in Him. I accept that we may not agree on the same beliefs, but I’ve learned that tolerance can go a long way.


It seems like your parent’s approach to religion and how they let you decide how to practice it, is the perfect response to anybody who wants to try to put you on the defensive. People can be of different faiths and still respect and love each other and appreciate each other’s differences.

It’s pretty ignorant when people assume a) you are “supposed” to practice something or b) if yours is different from theirs, you can’t have anything to do with one another.

yes, it is interesting when someone asks a simple question for a convoluted answer. i wonder if they ever expect or accept the quick version answer.

while faith and spiritual growth are important to me, religion and church (i.e. the walls, leak in the basement foundation, how much Rev’s car cost…) are not. church is a fellowshipping community- at least in my idealic mind.

although it’s simple to respond with a building’s name, that really tells me no more than the statement, “I like beets.”

In the wonderful city of Chicago, it is a great presence of people who have spiritual backgrounds that extend back into time with generations into the south that utilize Christianity beliefs as a way of promise and survival. I feel this is a contributing factor why Chicagoans are very sensitive and concerned about church attendance and affiliations of faith.

I personally feel that everyone should seek after God, anchoring his or her faith in Him, but I cannot push or superimpose my faith on anyone because God will not do it to anyone of us. God is no respecter of persons and He allows us to have free will and choice to do what we wish and desire within our heart. However, I am fully persuaded that without God as the bedrock of my acknowledgement and pursuit, what I have today would have never existed. I take no pride to myself or say that I have done anything from my hands. All the wealth and blessing I have gained is provided by God to allow me to obtain wealth and blessings. 1 Corinthians 2:5 said it best, that our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Quintessentially, I give all reverence and humble myself within my faith to Him, for he is the author and the finisher of my faith.

Speaking about faith, how can you defend your faith if you are not fortified and continually confirmed that what you believe is sure and of a firm foundation? Your faith is built by hearing the word of God and assembling yourself with others that belief identical to yourself. Romans 5:1 say that we are not in peace until our faith is justified. 1 Timothy 3:9 categorize our press of faith better by saying that holding the mystery of our faith in a pure conscience. Only this can be achieved by submitting ourselves under an appointed covering (leadership) that can spiritually nourishing us; for we are an ever involving saint being perfected and edified within our love and faith of God. 1 Peter 3: 15 is the ultimate paradigm to all that believes that we should always have an answer and defend our hope in Christ in faith for any man that asks.

None of these works can be executed without knowing and practicing your faith. I am not saying everyone is perfect, because we are not perfect. However, to say that you have a faith and do not express it or feel that you can remotely service your faith is particularly a problem within our society today, which has an adverse spiritual impact and if you be ashamed of God, Jesus would be ashamed of you before his own father…. think on that!

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