Prompt: This first reflection paper is your chance to reflect on how you’ve participated in and/or thought about or regarded the Christian tradition up until this point in time. Please narrate your relationship with Christianity in as detailed and concise ways as is possible. This narration should include particulars (you attended this particular church or knew these particular people or remember this particular news story), but should also include some interpretations or feelings about these particulars (you decided you hated Christianity when a flaming crucifix was pointed at you; you grew to trust that pastor or priest whom you first thought was nuts).
I believe in all of the Sources of Christian Theology that Hanson presents, but the one I rely upon is experience, being exposed to viewpoints that shape who I am and from these experiences that I can learn from. I also believe in Hanson’s special revelation, I need to experience the outside world in order to believe in it. I am a scientist by nature, I also have a degree in Environmental Science already from another institution in California. I transferred to Augustana to broaden my resume and skillset (amongst many other reasons that would add another couple of paragraphs and is also irrelevant to the topic).
The following is my story and how I view Christianity based on these experiences. I grew up going to a Christian pre-school and after-school daycare through third grade where I learned all the basic bible stories. I am glad that I did go through this, it gave me a fun and basic understanding of what Jesus was all about. I did find it to be annoying and repetitive because it was every day that we studied the Bible. After the preschool I only went to church on Easter Sunday because both my brother and I were active in sports and school. This kind-of drew me away from the church and secularized me. I have always been a naturally inquisitive person and I found solace in science to be the answers to my questions about the world. Also, my parents were/are both in the science world and sort of drove me toward science. This was a factor in me choosing the major that I did. My junior year in high school I started going to a Presbyterian Church with my grandmother for four years. I did this because I needed a social group to be a part of, I did not drink or party, so church was a natural choice to choose. It rose questions in myself that I had based on the difference between science and religion and how these come together. I was not terribly involved in that church because I was timid to join groups, but I did join a small group of college students a couple of years after I started to attend church. It did allow me to explore what the Bible was really about. Also the church being a traditional Presbyterian church, it was formal and regimented with traditional songs (It was a good experience, but I wanted a little more freedom in worship.) I left the Presbyterian Church because I wanted a church that had a large young adult group that I could become a part of. A friend introduced me to a non-denominational church with Baptist origins. It was great, I became more involved and met people outside of the church group that I could ask questions and explore my faith. I did go on retreats that allowed me to grow. I loved the church set-up and it was less regimented. It helped me find my faith again and has helped me become a better, happier person. I had moved a couple of months ago and as a result changed my church, I go to Bettendorf Christian Church in Iowa and I got involved in their local young adult group. The church is very similar to the one I have back home in style, I am slowly becoming more involved in the church. As a result I like less traditional churches and like just singing and the sermon and values small group discussions.