Monday, September 29, 2008

Me and religious culture

marjorie says...

My visit to Legacy Christian Church on Sunday was interesting not only for the political angle, but also for my own personal reflection. I rarely go to church, but as many of you know I was raised to be a churchgoer, and not just in a passive Sunday morning service kind of way. For this reason, being in church, regardless of the type, isn’t a strange experience for me.

Around 9:30 Sunday morning I began getting ready to go to Legacy. As I was automatically putting on a skirt, it dawned on me that a lot of women at the service would probably be wearing slacks. After all, when I watched the early morning service online, I noticed women in slacks on the stage. Nonetheless, I had almost a gut reaction that I had to wear a skirt. I’ve noticed this over the years when going to other services as well, or simply walking into churches wearing anything but a dress. Even as a tourist. I always notice it. Personally, I think this is somewhat amazing…that something can be so inculcated that it pops up like this decades removed from my childhood.

While I was at the service, I had a moment of wishing I was still a churchgoer, of missing that Sunday morning community. Fast on the heels of that came this strong feeling that if I were going to go to church it wouldn’t be at Legacy. Not because of the message, but because it simply isn’t my culture. And frankly, I think I'd have this reaction regardless of what church I visited.

Where I’m from, we do things differently. Our prayers are different, our way of interacting is different, and our services are most definitely different. This isn’t a bad thing, just an observation about my reactions.

None of this means that I couldn't integrate into a different church just fine. It's just a description of some gut reactions I had, based in feelings rather than logic. It strongly occurred to me that when it comes to just visiting, I kind of prefer the church I grew up in. And I think this is about culture more than anything else. This past Sunday morning I definitely had a bit of insight into how my upbringing influenced my own personality. Indeed, I’m a product of my environment in many ways. And you guys can decipher that however you wish.

Ps: I should say that aside from general disagreements I have with the message being disseminated from the pulpit at Legacy, in general I liked the pastor. When I compare him to a lot of other evangelical pastors (that I’ve mainly seen on television), I liked his style and persona. He was low-key but a charismatic speaker at the same time.