Born in a christian family, oh no i will be very specific. Born in pentecostal family and raised in church like little Samuel. The very sound of church choir, cleanliness, presence of invisible God gives joy and smile in face. Toiling through entire week and entering his presence for thanks giving on Sunday, the feeling beyond expressing.
I hail from a place where religious freedom is very limited, chaos every where. Just being a christian is great achievement by itself :). You may be thinking i am just exaggerating, but no.
The day on calendar was July 18th 2014, pleasant evening chatting with my friends. I got a call from my senior manager, “ Hi J. , How are you. I have a surprise for you. You are traveling to USA for a project. And it will be 6 months”. I rushed to the washroom and washed my face, just to make sure I am not dreaming, Oh yeah. The chase started to complete my travel packing and buying accessories. My mom gifted me bible, and rest all useful things, i guess.
I was happy that i am going to enjoy religious freedom, prayer groups, support groups. I landed on August 13th 2014 in Atlanta, the place where equality gave birth to. Jet lags, paper works, new climate, unknown place, food all bundled up to be a great goliath. My sister was gracious to invite me to her place and wanted me to attend the church on Sunday.
Pumped up with excitement and anticipation, got up early and readied myself to church. The church started at 10 AM and ended just within hours. I was in shock that the service was short. People rushed out to greet every one, as a new member to the church i was invited for a complimentary drink, i guess.
Sister was excited to see her brother after a long time wanted to introduce to pastor. I am 165cm height, brown, slim.. pastor was 195 cm, heavy, fair basically like a goliath. My sister introduced me to pastor and told him my credentials. The pastor looked down, i mean literally and said just “Hello”, went away like nothing significant happened. I was wondering what have i done ? I asked my sister, she was silent. This question kept on lingering in my mind the entire night. I could not get my head around this meeting, bible says simon was excited to see young jesus in church. Oh yeah he is jesus.
I was expecting a warm embrace from fellow christian or a shepherd, may be i am not his sheep. I was thrown off balance on christian faith, all along my life i was wrong about everything or wait am i overreacting?, May be. So i decided to visit another church next Sunday. The next church was closer to my residence and convenient to walk. The church started at 10AM and i was there until the end, you’re thinking i am waiting for complimentary drinks, oh hell yeah. I was directed to closed room, drinks severed, pastor came said “Hello everyone”… boom gone.
I liked the worship so decided to attend next Sunday. This time i was second time guest, so no drinks :). Service got over by 12PM, people gathered to discuss all stuff. I started conversations with few people and i felt lonely, because people talking only to their closed groups. I felt like i was in a desert and no christian to talk. I have attended many churches close to my vicinity, but no groups wanted to welcome me. Am i invisible ? What happened to christ love ?
Religiosity, ritual, groups have taken hold of our churches. The first church in ACTS, people were meeting in houses and breaking bread every day to remember the body of christ. No matter what color, gender, race, social status, if we are washed by blood of christ we are his children.
There are so many people like, who went through persecution needs to be embraced and welcomed in churches. So my search continues to find a church which welcomes me in-spite of my race, color, height, social status.
I am un-welcomed in church.