That’s what we tell the boys to say when we are getting them dressed and we need them to put their arms up. I grew up saying “Reach for the sky!”, my kids say “I Believe!” because it’s kind of funny to this buttoned up Scandinavian girl.
But the truth is, I do believe.
(Astonishing to some, I know.)
I feel strong and stable in my beliefs even if not a single person around me knows what they are. Quiet. Strong. Not going anywhere. I’ve got 34 years under my belt and you can ask my parents and my pastor- MANY years of questioning. (That’s a good thing.) I am happy.
I will tell you something though: I get really uncomfortable with people who wear their religion like an accessory.
I don’t put Jesus Christ under my loves on my online profiles. I don’t always respond to requests for prayers and positive thoughts on Facebook (although I am most likely sending them). I just wasn’t raised to talk about my religion. (I think it’s a Minnesota thing. Or maybe a Scandinavian thing?)
I always get the feeling people are trying to prove something. Or make up for a past that didn’t involve going to church and now they are going to make sure everyone knows they are on board.
We were raised ELCA Lutheran and we were baptized and confirmed and we went to church every week and we talked about the sermon on the way home and we loved (or hated) the hymns and we had our favorite pastors and we lived our lives as good as we could, it was just this thing that was a constant that I was glad to have.
In high school there was a group of kids who went to the evangelical church and all of a sudden it was cool to wear a cross around your neck. Or pray around the flagpole before school started. Or thank Jesus Christ when you were chosen for the Homecoming court.
I was in my questioning years at this point so I wasn’t touching that with a 10-foot pole. My beliefs, even though I questioned them, were not for show.
College was an entirely new experience. Catholics! I didn’t know any Lutherans in Columbia and the only churches I could find were either Missouri or Wisconsin synod and this ELCA girl just wasn’t having that- so I went to mass on Sunday nights with my friends.
After Yogi Dad and I got married, we started going to an Episcopal church. Because after you go to mass for 4 years, you get used to all the “stuff” and you kind of like it! Smoke? Kneeling? Holy water? Yes, Please! Also, there were no good ELCA options in town and we could take communion there.
When we moved back to Minnesota, we never found a church. We talked about it a lot. We researched churches nearby. But we never actually found one.
It seemed like everyone around me was up to their necks in Jesus and that just wasn’t what I was looking for.
I wanted strong, solid, traditional, foundational.
I wanted a service with hymns I know.
I wanted an organ that makes my heart sing.
I wanted choirs brought tears to my eyes.
I wanted a pastor that “gets” me where I am right now.
I wanted a congregation that leans more to the left in their social views.
I wanted someplace that wasn’t going to blink an eye at Yogi Dad’s yoga practice (Hey there, Christ Moves!) or meditation practice.
I wanted a place where I can see my kids learning like I did.
I wanted the Minnesota Lutheran experience.
Basically, I wanted what I grew up with.
Open hearts. Open minds.
No one telling you that you aren’t a good enough (or real) Christian. (What does that even mean?)
No one judging.
No keeping up with the Jones’ in the “Who loves Jesus more?” department.
And, I think we finally found that.
And it really makes me happy to finally have this piece of the puzzle falling into place.