I am a member of the church of Christ. Wait! Stop right there. Don't leave until you hear what I have to say.
I am not one of the brow beating, ultra right-wing conservatives that think everyone that isn't a member of the church of Christ is going to Hell. That is my grandmother, and my heart breaks to know that she will be judged harshly for that.
I believe in the Bible. Period. One of my favorite ways of saying this is, "Your relationship, or the lack there of, with God is just that. You rs. You can't get me to Heaven any faster than I can get you there". The sooner more people realize that and move forward, the better off everyone will be.
My family, on both sides, are all members of the church of Christ. Grandaddy, my daddy's father was a preacher, and Papa, my mother's father, was a deacon in the church.
My mother and father met while both were attending David Lipscomb College, and one set of my Aunt and Uncles met at Abilene Christian University. We are surrounded by other members of the church of Christ.
However, in growing up and in my formative years, my parents and I rarely went to church. Actually, I feel pretty confident to say that unless we were visiting with my family, we never went. That was very disappointing for me as I loved Sunday school, and VBS. Yet, we never went at home. I can remember crying and wanting to go, but couldn't.
To feed my desire, I started going to spend the night with friends and visiting their churches. None of which were the church of Christ. There were Presbyterian, Baptist, and even some Southern Baptist thrown in for good measure. I didn't care. I just wanted to sing from the hymnals and study God's word.
I vividly remember two specific instances of what I now know was the 'invitation' at the end of the sermon. One was at a Baptist and the other at the Presbyterian church. I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9. Both times I felt compelled to 'go forward' and proclaim my love for Christ. Both times I was told by the man in the suit that Jesus loved me, I was saved and I would spend eternity in Heaven with Him. I was so proud. By the time I got home, I was bursting with joy at this thought! That was, until I told my parents, and they told me, "No. That's not right." Which was quickly followed by, "Don't tell your grandparents about this."
I was devastated. Heartbroken. The nice man had just told me that Jesus loved me, but my parents are making me feel shame and confusion. Talk about depression.
I believe that this is why I feel so strongly about not judging each other based on religion.
God is love.
He says so.