Tuesday, February 09, 2010

i went to church this past weekend and attended sunday service for the first time since 2001.

the last time i stepped foot into a church for sunday service was in flushing, queens right before my high school graduation. i even remember my awesome youth pastor giving me an uplifting christian graduation book with a sweet handwritten note in it. i believe that was the last time i saw her and anyone else from that church.

during high school a friend of mine invited me to start attending his korean church and i enjoyed it immensely. i was sort of shy back then and didn't have many friends in school until senior year so it gave me a sense of belonging and it was nice to have social gatherings to attend on weekends. unlike the other mega korean churches in flushing, this church was really small and intimate and there were probably 20 kids max in our youth group. it would always be interesting to attend these large korean american christian church gatherings in queens (all you korean americans who grew up in queens know the deal) and see all the other large youth groups everywhere, we always looked like such underdogs compared to them. most of the kids in my youth group had been going to this church their whole lives so they all knew each other pretty well---no one in my family went to church so i was the random kid who showed up alone every weekend. i was one of the oldest though and they were all nice so i had no problem getting along with everyone. our tirelessly caring youth pastor would always take us out to outings and worked so hard to allow us to grow in the church and bond with each other, i really do have some great memories from that time.

however, the only thing missing from that time period is my christian connection. for the 3 consistent years i attended church and christian events, i honestly never once felt spiritually connected to god. i really wanted to (and still do) but it just hasn't happened. back then whenever we prayed, i would always just close my eyes and think about stuff while everyone around me was lost in their dialogues. don't get me wrong, i did try to actually pray all the time but i would only think things like "okay you're god and you know i am sincerely trying to pray but it must be crystal clear to you that i'm not actually praying because you know all so i am not even going to try and pretend to pray but instead i'll just sit here and think about stuff." a lot of times i would always open my eyes and just watch other people pray. it bothered me that everyone else seemed to just naturally get it but for me the simple act of closing my eyes and putting my hands together was the farthest i was able to go. it was just enough to let me get by and be perceived as a good christian so no one suspected anything, but secretly inside my heart just didn't get into it. even on our seasonal retreats far away from the city where during the prayer service the whole youth group would be crying their eyes out and praising and getting blessed, i would just be sitting there wondering how much longer until all this was done and we could go hang out or sleep.

this past sunday i went to church because i have been wanting to go for years but haven't out of pure laziness. i stopped going after i graduated high school because that's when i started my hardcore partying stage and i was usually too cracked out on sundays to even leave my room. the service i attended this past weekend was in the west thirties near the hudson river and i approached it with a completely open heart and mind. i've grown a lot as a person since the last time i was in church at the age of eighteen and really hoped that this would be the start of a new beginning in my spiritual life, but it didn't happen like that. it felt the same as it did in 2001 and i really don't know why and guess it's a bit disappointing. however, i still (and always have) truly believed in god and am a spiritual person and this in no way completely turns me off from christianity.

i have hope that one day i'll experience spiritual growth with some sort of religion but i guess i'll just have to march on until then.


  1. God speaks to people in many ways, and in most cases it doesn't involve the clouds opening up and choirs of angels descending from the heavens.

    Many times God guides us through our consciences; most people know what's right or wrong, even though sometimes they want to obscure it from themselves (which I fully admit to doing).

    And your time with God doesn't always have to be conventional. I pray where I'm most comfortable, and that's usually not in church, where the pressure to feel inspired sometimes makes it impossible for me to be serious.

    Create your own sacred places. God isn't confined to a single designated building--He's everywhere. Developing a relationship with Him means, I think, speaking with Him by yourself from time to time, knowing that only He will hear you.

  2. Anonymous3:43 AM

    God reveals Himself to those who earnestly seek Him.