Gettin’ Holy

Chesney Loehr

So, I went to Church for the first time in years, and it was interesting. If you know me then you know that I am not religious at all. Now, I am not going to give myself the label as an “atheist” because I feel like putting a label on myself like that has so many strict guidelines, but it is safe to say that I am borderline atheist. I do not share this information for the judgement or for anyone to try to convert me, I say it because it is who I am.

Church and I are just not a symbiotic relationship and if it is for you, then good for you. I am glad you are able to find a community and a faith that you can devote your time to. Church has just never been for me.

Anyway, a good friend of mine wanted me to go to church and he surprised attacked me one Sunday morning, very last minute, and asked if I would go. Even though it stressed me out to the max, I agreed because I knew it meant a lot to him. He goes to The Ridge, a popular modern church, and he reassured me several times that I would enjoy it, a partial truth.

Walking in was nerve wracking, I felt like people were staring at me as if I was out of place, and I was very out of place. I did not fit in with these people, I was not a christian. Of course no one else knew that, but I knew it. I was not like everyone else in that church, I did not believe what they believed in.

I eventually found my friend and I could tell he was in church mode. It was interesting seeing a community of people come together and have a good time to follow this massive belief. It was especially interesting to see this guy who I have gotten to know in an environment that I have never seen him in, and it was weirdly beautiful seeing the impact it had on him.

The music was upbeat and there was even a fun skit at the beginning. This church had a fog machine and weird strobe lights, definitely not what I was expecting. I grew up in a strict church where you sang from the hymn book and shook everyone’s hand and said something that sounded like “rice krispy treat”, but it was most definitely not “rice krispy treat”.

The entire service focused on criticism, a message that I really needed to hear. The sermon felt personal and hit me hard. I enjoyed the message given and felt like it impacted me greatly. That aspect of church was great for me, a message that is impactful to everyone, one that is raw and hits home.

However, there is always a however with me, I did not feel right. The message was right, the togetherness was right, but the religious aspect was not right for me. While I did enjoy my time there, I was overwhelmed with uncomfortableness everytime “Jesus” or “God” was said.

Now, some of you may see me as a sinner, and trust me I am, but I cannot see myself following a religion. The best way I can explain the feeling is this: imagine waving to someone who you thought was waving at you, but it turns out that they were waving at the person behind you. We all know that uncomfortable feeling I just described, and that is what I constantly feel when I am around church.

The Ridge was a great experience and if I was asked to go again, I would. The church atmosphere was relaxed and fun, you could tell that they saw one another as family. Yes, I am aware that I just compared church and I to a scenario of awkward human interaction, but sometimes that awkward human interaction influences you to become a more evolved form of yourself, a more experienced version.

Do I think going to church again is going to change my views? No. Do I think the atmosphere was a nice change to my everyday life? Absolutely. It was a great experience and the overall message touched me, even though I was anxious the entire time. I saw a side of my friend that I have never seen before and I am so happy that I got to experience that moment.

Religion is a weird thing and is different for everyone. The views I shared today are not meant to influence or offend anyone, but to merely share my experience that others may feel similarly about. I would like to thank my friend for inviting me and The Ridge for introducing me to an experience like no other.