I Believe in the Catholic Church and its Faith, by Danilo Poggio

Good Shepherd, which is located in Colleyville, is a Catholic church whose members are very respectful and participative. The sense of profound fraternal community that I found there really catches me. In Sao Paulo, where I used to live, it is difficult to find a church with such a good environment. I believe that it happens because of the conservative way that priests manage the churches in my hometown.

I was looking for something more attractive and now I am really excited about the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Of course it is not about the church in general, but the important things that happen during the mass. There are three priests taking turns during the mass that results in a dynamic ceremony. I know that the Catholic faith is much more than the mass; however, the mass is the church`s front door which must be attractive to call lambs. People sitting in comfortable benches are not just spectators; instead, they are called to participate in the mass during many occasions. A good example is the Washing of the Feet, in which the whole audience is invited to wash each other`s feet. At the first time, I was afraid of going there to wash other`s feet, but a disabled man sitting in front of me washed a woman`s feet. Priest Jonathan, the priest in charge that day, said, “Come and live the experience that Jesus lived.” I don`t know how long I took to decide to go there, but I am really glad that I took the opportunity of living such an intense experience.

People dealing with lack of faith should try to find a blessed community like I have found. I am happy about discovering this beloved community because it brought me back to my faith, which I had lost.

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Danilo is an international student from Brazil enrolled in the TCU Intensive English Program.

This I Believe, by Shane Battis

I believe that although religious faiths can and have helped many people find inner peace and motivation throughout the globe, I view both my life and that of others from a purely secular perspective. Though my family on my mother’s side is staunchly Christian and my father’s agnostic, I was raised in a very neutral atmosphere as neither of my parents wanted to pressure my sister or myself into committing to beliefs we didn’t yet understand. Instead, they decided to let us figure it out on our own over time.

Growing up in Kennesaw, Georgia—like most other places—allotted me plenty of outlets to explore different faiths without pressure. Together, my sister and I listened in on sermons at our local church and partook in several youth group activities. Though the Christian community was receptive and everyone present appeared to be happy, I just didn’t feel like I had found a spiritual connection—the whole point of a faith. I decided that religion, or Christianity at least, simply wasn’t for me and that was and still is okay with me because I find that removing religion from my life doesn’t lead to me to cynicism or immorality. Rather, it has just locked my focus on the here and now. Without any expectation of an afterlife or rebirth, I feel the drive to be completely present in every waking moment and to live the way I know is right and can be proud of whether or not it aligns with beliefs of the many faiths throughout the world. Over the years, I have developed my own code of ethics I can call my personal creed. This is to be kind to those deserving, appreciate all the little joys in life as well as have patience with the annoyances, and hold myself to my responsibilities. Instead of seeking out religion for guidance in the face of moral ambiguity, I look inward for answers which has led me to even more self-discovery than I think I could ever have found in a temple.

I have heard criticisms from several different people that I’m missing out by living outside of religious communities and that atheism is all negativity. It is true that there is a plethora of individuals who are vengeful and unruly in their expressions thwarting those who think unlike themselves, but these are actions of individuals and cannot generalize an entire following. Personally, I don’t feel that being an atheist means embracing a culture of negativity, but simply stepping away from all religions passively and upholding secular ideals instead. By doing so, I am not trodding on other lifestyles; I’m just choosing an alternate one.

I don’t feel disheartened about my spirituality since I am still able to find purpose and love in a secular world. As far as I can tell, at the core of every religious faith and every practice and every prayer is the desire to feel a sense of belonging and direction as life can often be daunting without something steady to rely on. For this reason, I think everyone is entitled to believe in whatever makes them happy and atheism does so for me for several reasons. Firstly, I love that I have unlimited freedom to choose my virtues and fulfill them on my own conscience. Like so many other members of my generation, I strive to be a free thinking individual and by building my own pyramid of thoughts and convictions I am successful in that. It feels far more rewarding to me knowing that whenever I do something for the greater good I am doing it because I know it is right and not just because that’s what has been preached to me. This makes all my actions speak for who I am. Now I’d like to be clear in that I do not think religious people would be without a moral compass if they gave up their faith; their nature is innate and I admire their kindhearted spirits. What I’m saying is that I take pride in my personal brand of morality because I arrived at it independently and that these are simply two different routes leading to the same ultimate goal of finding humanity.

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img_3623Shane Battis is a journalism major in the Bob Sheiffer School of Journalism at TCU.

 

I Believe in Gratitude, by Rev. Angela Kaufman

I am one of those people….the person with the “life is good” sticker on the back of her car, the one who’s coffee mug says “half full” and who’s currently wearing a shirt that says “happy camper”. I’m the one who sings the “rise and shine “ song from church camp first thing in the morning – much to the chagrin of my wonderful not-so-morning person husband and my half-asleep kids. I’m the person who in our house reminds us before meals to offer up one thing we’re thankful for from the day, and the one who even on my crankiest, most exasperated, most frustrating days finds myself most days hitting my “reboot button”.  I’m like this on the outside because on the inside I believe in gratitude.  I believe in gratitude not because life is always easy or good, but rather because in fact life is often difficult, hard, and even exhausting….and yet is beautiful nonetheless.

This belief was made very real to me at a young age as I grew up with both the “beautiful and the messiness of life” in my own house. One on hand, I was the product of one hard-working, steadfast parent who taught me by example the virtues of commitment and responsibility, faith and friendship. My dad taught me how to fix my own car and just about anything else, how to value a life of learning and appreciate a good book, and most importantly what it meant to live a life committed to God and to the church. But the other side of the coin was very different, and through the anger and volatility of my mom I gained a different set of life-skills.  I learned as a youth how to quietly sneak out the house at night to find peace, how to make friends with people who had spare couches and how to navigate the landmines of an unstable parent. I learned like many others do, how to talk around public conversations that would reveal that I lived with someone whose illness robbed her of her mind and whose anger shut the door to her heart. And while it’s made for a difficult story in certain chapters, that rocky path taught me that life can be just as beautiful in the valley as in the mountains. It showed me how to give thanks on the days when it rains as well as those when the sun shines.

One of my favorite bloggers once said, “a crisis shakes things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most.” For me, what’s left when the crisis, the loss or the grief of our lives has taken hold and shook everything else off? Gratitude. Gratitude for a God who loves us as beautiful and worthy people filled with promise. Gratitude for family and friends who help us live life with humor, love, grace and second chances. Gratitude for the chance to start each morning anew.  I believe in gratitude, and that deep, authentic, sincere gratitude is the product of an imperfect, messy, and beautiful life. It’s birthed out of hope and from it comes joy, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a mobilizer. It calls us not just to sit still and admire the view, but to realize that with every new morning comes the responsibility to care for others, to serve a world in need and give thanks to a God who loves us and reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And with that in mind, nothing can keep me from singing, even if it is early in the morning.

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angela-kaufmanRev. Angela Kaufman serves as the Minister to the University and more recently also as the University’s Church Relations Officer, supporting connections between the church and the campus. She received her bachelors from TCU and her Masters of Divinity from the University of Chicago. Angie has been or is currently active on the boards of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, National Assoc. of College & University Chaplains, University of Chicago Disciples Divinity House, the TCU Wesley Foundation and the General Board for the church.  She is the lucky other-half to her wonderful partner in crime and IT genius Jack and co-parent to two amazing, adventurous boys and a husky-shepherd mix named Bailey.

I Believe in Something, by Hannah Canterbury

I believe in something and I am not quite sure how to put that something into words, to fully encompass what that something is but throughout my life and especially in this past semester of college, I have been challenged on many occasions to define and verbalize what I believe. I have been asked what values and ethics I hold true and how they will influence my future career and life. The majority of the time the questions do not end there. I am asked to dive deeper into where I gained those beliefs, how I choose them and probably the biggest question, why do i believe in this something?

These questions and conversations are challenging but so important. Through these conversations not only am I, the individual challenged to look deeper into myself but I am asked to respect and ask questions of others beliefs; that is not always the most comfortable thing to do. I don’t want to say the wrong thing or end up with a question I can’t answer. But as I have been continually faced with these conversations I have thought more about the purpose of believing in something.

I believe in something, I believe in something because something gives my life meaning, it gives my life purpose and gives me a daily drive to strive for my goals and aspirations.

Everyone believes in something, whether it is rubbing a horned frogs nose for some extra luck on a test or belief in a religion or faith that dates back thousand of years. Those beliefs give an individual what they need in their life, and in a specific moment.

Knowing this has provided me with great comfort and allowed me to respect others beliefs despite how foreign they may seem to me. I think it is still vital to ask questions of ourselves and our beliefs and start conversations with others about our own and theirs, building those conversations on the foundation that everyone believes in something. I may not have all the answers to why I believe that something, I may be stumped and challenged when faced with deeper questions but those questions have allowed my beliefs to strengthen and transform.

I believe in something, and that something guides my heart and my mind to do what I feel is best and the understanding of “something” allows me to respect and appreciate others.

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Canterbury, HannahHannah Canterbury is a senior social work major and religion minor. She is currently the President of Disciples on Campus and is actively involved with the religious and spiritual life office of TCU. She is also the Social Justice chair for the Student of Social Work Association. After her senior year she hopes to attend graduate school for social work and pursue a career in mental health.

I Believe in Ordained Ministers, by Rev. Jill Sullins

You there.  Yes, you.  I know that look in your eyes.  The wondering if what you’ll say on Sunday will make a difference.  I know that fatigue and I know that….”this text again?  There can’t be anything more I can say about this.”  I know the energy it takes to create something new from something old and listen to the same tired argument for months on end.  I know that feeling of uncertainty and if your leadership is absolutely taking your church to where it needs to go.  Yes, You.  I know you.  And I believe in you.

I believe in ordained ministers who tirelessly seek ways of preaching in order to speak justice in a way that is kind, but challenging.  I believe in ordained ministers who take that call in the middle of the night even though every bone in their body says to ignore the call.  I believe in ordained ministers who carefully let their best selves be invaded by the Holy of Holies.  I believe in ordained ministers who speak truth into a world when everything seems uncertain.  I believe in ordained ministers.   I believe that the words you say do matter and do make a difference.  I believe that taking that call has shown someone a love beyond boundaries and limits, a love that mimics the Christ on the mountaintop who came away from his prayer in order to heal and to listen.  I believe that what you do speaks to justice even if it felt like a watered down point of view.  I believe that who you are is exactly why God called you to ministry.

I believe in ordained ministers.  I believe you are God’s gift to the Church and that gift is opened every day with new exciting opportunities to be who you are and exactly how God made you.  I believe you are called.  I have watched you reach into the depths of your hearts in order to make strong decisions for your congregations.  I have watched you open your eyes to the pain in your neighborhoods and empower your congregations to heal that pain.  I believe in your call even when you do not.  I believe your call has led you at times into depression, and at times into amazing joy.  I believe in ordained ministers because I have followed your examples of love and life.  I have followed your footsteps in maintaining your integrity while walking the tightrope of peace.

I believe in ordained ministers because of the strength you’ve shown in faith.  Your passion to share the Good News and to do it at all costs.  I believe in ordained ministers because when hands were laid on you, you did not run, but instead you cried knowing that God saw you for who you are and designed your life to do important, sacred things.  I believe in ordained ministers because of the numerous camps you’ve counseled and directed empowering youth and children to seek a greater faith.  I believe in ordained ministers because of the ways you’ve served regions and greater Church.  I believe in ordained ministers because you reach beyond the tradition and found a whole new world opening up in which God is doing great things.  I believe in ordained ministers because you’ve been my friends, you’ve been my mentors, and you’ve been a challenging voice when the road has become too rough.

I believe in ordained ministers because I’ve watched you love recklessly, extended grace boundlessly, and healed the brokenness around you.

So YOU…..I believe in you.  God believes in you.  The Church believes in you.  You are loved, there is hope, and I believe in you because you are exactly you.

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GA TIB BOOK Jill SullinsRev. Jill Sullins serves as senior minister at South Summit Christian Church.  She joined South Summit CC on December 1, 2013 with her husband, Eric and daughter, Maddie.  She previously served congregations in San Marcos, Texas, Independence, Missouri, Fort Worth, Texas and Grand Prairie, Texas. She earned her bachelors’ degree in Religious Studies and a minor in music at Texas Christian University and her Master of Divinity degree at Brite Divinity School. Jill finds God in lots of everyday things. She spends her free time playing volleyball, punching numbers on a remote control, conquering the world of tutu making and other nonsense crafts, cooking, and of course being a mom and a wife.

I Believe in My Sister’s Jesus, by Rev. Ryan Motter

Just one year before “The Facebook” came to TCU, many students used an online service called “Xanga,” (pronounced Zayn-gah with an inflection of irony and a hint of regret).  Xanga was an “open journal” blogging site, a place where millennial angst could spill out for all to see.  As a Freshman living in Clark Hall, I used Xanga for two reasons: first, so that my mom and sister could have print evidence that I was still alive and, second, so that I did not have to confront social anxiety and make new friends.

Xanga became the space where new ideas related to my major, Religion, played out.  Just a month into school, I wrote: “How do we know that we’re Christian?”  Mid-semester, the words were different:  “What if God is fallible?”  Then, at the start of my second semester, it was just flat out: “I don’t believe in Jesus.  Got no issues with God.  Just Jesus.”

That last one sent my sister, Kate, into a tailspin.  She lashed back with comments about how she didn’t know me and that Jesus believed in me even if I didn’t believe in him.  Back home, the church that I had grown up in, the same one in which Kate was still growing, had descended into terrible conflict.  What had been a source of faithful strength in my youth became, in Kate’s youth, a place where followers of Jesus acted as embittered hypocrites.  For her brother to move from “church camp all-star” to “deserter of the faith,” was betrayal to Kate.  When I stopped attending church at the end of my first semester, that betrayal became real to both of us.

After that, my sister and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on much about Jesus.  As our home church disintegrated, Kate became involved in Young Life.  The Jesus she came to know became vastly different than the Jesus, historical, theological and ethical, that I was coming to know through my coursework.

Slowly, Jesus and I found each other again, for the first time.  In my Junior year, I returned to a church because there was a hole in my heart that nothing else could fill.  I heard sermons from a minister who used both her bible and her brain, and she helped me to know an intimately personal Jesus who had intellectual integrity.  I sang in a church choir that was forgiving of my angst and gentle with my spirit.  My coursework in Religion encouraged me to be less critical and more generous, both to the material and myself.

In the summer after graduating from TCU, Jesus brought Kate and me back together.  She and I began to talk about this man who we had come to know separately.  She practiced the hospitality of Jesus that her Young Life groups instilled in her, and I found the vulnerability of Jesus I’d learned through doubt and grace.

Together we discovered that we believed in each other’s Jesus.  We still do.

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GA TIB BOOK Ryan MotterRev. Ryan Motter, ’07, is a minister at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Smithville, Missouri.  After his time at TCU, Ryan earned his Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and was ordained to Christian Ministry.  He and his wife Rev. Suzanne Kerr Motter, ’00, MDIV ‘04, are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in November.  They can’t wait for her to meet their fur child Jeff, a female Yellow Lab Mix named in honor of two of Ryan’s TCU roommates. 

I Believe in Youth Ministry, by Rev. Aaron Todd

When I was preparing to graduate from Brite Divinity School during the Summer of 2009 I found myself sensing a nudging to explore other areas of congregational ministry outside of the field of Youth Ministry.  This was a scary proposition as I was, at the time, serving an amazing congregation with an even-more-amazing youth group.  But as my time at Brite was coming to a close, I began to sense that it was time to “spread my wings” and go on to other “bigger” things.

Five years later, after two stints as a senior pastor, I made the decision to return to my “roots” and re-engage the crazy, holy madness that is Youth Ministry.  For myself, for my spirit, for my ministry, and for God’s Kingdom, this was the best decision I have ever made.  Youth Ministry is what I am called to do, and for me there is no more sacred work than to journey alongside teenagers during those crazy, unpredictable, beautiful years of middle school and high school.

This is where I belong.  And the truth is, of course, that I have always known this to be true.

My initial call to ministry came while on a mission trip during my junior year of high school.  It was a call that was reaffirmed while serving as a counselor during a week of church camp.

The most holy communion experience I have ever participated in occurred on the floor at 7:00am with elements of orange juice and glazed donuts.

The most in depth theological discussions I have ever witnessed have sprung out of seemingly innocuous comments uttered during youth group gatherings.

I believe in Youth Ministry.  I believe in late nights and early mornings.  I believe in silliness and play. I believe in laughter and spontaneity. I believe in that a trip to the coffee shop can yield the same holiness as a trip to the monastery. I believe in messy rooms.  I believe in intentional prayer.   I believe in the sacred art of holy listening. I believe in silence.  I believe in creating.  I believe in teaching and in learning. I believe in sacred community. I believe in relationships.

When I say I believe in Youth Ministry what I am saying is that I believe in the youth of our churches and our communities.  I believe that our youth are not only capable of leading the Church, but they are capable to transforming the world (and are, in fact, already doing both these things).  However, our young people will only live into the fullness of who they were created to be if they are made a priority by the Church and it’s leadership. The boundless potential that abides within the souls of the youth whom I am blessed to serve is what helps to stir my spirit and what drives me forward in ministry.

My Youth inspire me to be a better pastor, Christian, and human being and for the gift of being permitted to journey alongside them I will be forever grateful.

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GA TIB BOOK Aaron ToddRev. Aaron Todd serves as the Minister for Education at First Christian Church-Midwest City, OK . He is married to Debra, who is also a Disciples pastor, and together they have a 3 year old son named Zach and a precious baby boy named Josh. In addition to their human children, they have a 5 year old dog named Amos (named after the prophet).

I Believe in the Church, by Rev. Allison Lanza

Dear Church,

I was watching you this weekend. It was early on a Saturday morning. 20 of you were holding hands in a circle in that old fellowship hall.  I noticed how diverse you were.  In that circle some of you were children, some young adults, some weathered and wise from many years on this planet.  Some of you were black and some white. Some had large houses, some 1 room apartments, and some of you had nowhere to call home.  Some of you have been going to church since you were babies and others walked into this strange community just a few months ago. In that circle you were CEO’s, janitors, marathon runners, chemo patients, addicts, granddads and moms.  I saw how different you were, but I don’t think you noticed the differences.  I could see in the way you treated each other that you saw the other faces around the circle just as fellow church members, as equal, beloved children of God.  Standing there you prayed that God’s love might be known through bread and smiles.  Then you went outside.  You spent the morning giving out free fresh produce to your neighbors.  When folks asked if they qualified for food, you told them, “yes, this is for everyone!”  When they asked how much food they could take, you said, “as much as you want, take some for your friends and neighbors too.”

Church, this weekend, I saw you at your best.  You were following in Jesus’ footsteps as you gave food to the hungry and loved your neighbors as yourself, no questions asked.  You trusted in God’s abundance and generosity instead of trusting in your own fear that there might not be enough.  It was beautiful.

A lot of folks are losing faith in you church.  I see where they are coming from.  Too often you have chosen shame instead of grace.  You have closed your doors and told some members of the body of Christ that they are not welcome because of who they love, or because they ask questions, or because they do not believe exactly the same way that you do. You have tried too hard to be cool and powerful and in doing so you have sometimes left Jesus and his teachings behind. You have gotten stuck in your ways, unwilling to change.

In spite of this, I still believe in you.  I don’t believe this is who you really are.  I just think this is what you act like when you are afraid.  You are better than this.  Church, I believe in you because I have seen you when you are at your very best.

I have seen you baptize a child and promise to raise them in God’s love, and then I have watched you follow through.  I have seen you bring casseroles to a devastated family and read psalms beside the hospital bed.  I have seen you show up when the tornado hits and stay long after the news cameras have left.  I have watched you help teenagers hear God’s still, small voice and I have seen you whisper to the outcast, “you are God’s beloved child and you are welcome here.”

I have heard your prophetic voice crying for justice, your hymns sung out in praise and your quiet prayers whispered into the silence.  I have watched as you fed the hungry, visited the imprisoned, healed the sick, and let the oppressed go free.  I watched you knock down the walls that divide us and invite us into one community as sisters and brothers in God.  When the world says, be afraid, I have heard you whisper, love.  I have seen you proclaim that love has overcome hate, life has overcome death, and that hope will have the final say. I have watched you live as if you really believe, in spite of the evidence otherwise, that this might be true.

I believe in you church.

I believe in you because you raised me.  I have seen you come alive.

So, let go of your fear.  Be God’s church in this world again.

We need you.

You can do it.

I believe in you.

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GA TIB BOOK Allison LanzaRev. Allison Lanza serves as an Associate Chaplain at TCU.  Prior to this she served at Hillyer Memorial Christian Church in Raleigh NC.  She graduated from Trinity University and Vanderbilt Divinity School.  She is a part of Ridglea Christian Church in Fort Worth.  The daughter of a TCU professor, she has been a horned frog since birth!

I Believe in Growing Your Faith as a Young Adult, by Katherine Wright

I grew up as the ideal church kid, I went to Sunday school almost every Sunday, I attended all the church camps and mission trips, participated in the youth hand bells, and I was a dependable nursery worker. I took advantage of every aspect of the church and eventually found a calling to be a minister. However, soon after I graduated from high school, I felt a change in my church life. I was no longer relating to the youth but I was also uncomfortable sitting in the “adult” Sunday school class alongside my parents. I felt lost in one of the most familiar spaces I knew – so much that people were surprised to see me around.

Soon after coming to TCU, I found that there were so many different ways to live out my faith. While I am guilty of going to my roots and joining the Disciples of Christ group on campus, there were so many options for college students to grow their faith. There were opportunities to feed the homeless, mentor, worship, serve, learn, love, grow, and find your place and passion.

I believe in young adults’ faithfulness. I believe that they are looking for new ways to grow their faith. I believe that the church can be a place for that faith to grow. I believe that it’s pretty obvious that millennials are the future of the church, so we should begin treating them that way. I believe that the church is the best place for them to grow in their faithfulness in God.

I believe that God is working among the variety of faith groups at TCU. My prayer is that faith may continue to grow among other outlets for more young adults to find a spiritual growth. I believe that in order for your faith to grow, we must begin to look at ourselves as adults with so much potential growth instead of simply missing our past as a youth.  I believe that my experience at TCU has led me to find a passion that will continue throughout my ministry.

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GA TIB Book Katherine WrightKatherine graduated from TCU with a B.A. in Religion with a minor in Communication Studies and a Women’s Studies Emphasis. Katherine is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at TCU and the Children’s Pastor at New Hope Fellowship (Disciples of Christ) in Fort Worth, TX. Katherine grew up on a family ranch in Melissa, TX where she was involved in her church and was a volunteer firefighter. In her rare free time, Katherine enjoys cheering on the TCU Horned Frogs.

I Believe There is More Than One “Right” Way to Worship, by Dr. Harry Parker

When I was young, I grew up attending Crown Heights Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ church in Oklahoma City.  My parents remained active members at Crown Heights Christian all their lives, serving in various leadership roles including terms as an Elder for my dad, and many years of adult Sunday School teaching for my mom.  My sister and I were both baptized at Crown Heights Christian, and it was our church home.

However, when I was in grade school, there was a period of a few years when my parents also started attending a non-denominational church called The Christian Center.  We would attend Crown Heights Christian on Sunday mornings, but on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights, we were often at the Center (as we called it).  These two churches had vastly different worship services.  Crown Heights Christian had a very traditional, high-church Sunday morning service, with robed clergy, organ music, a traditional hymnal and choir anthems, and a quiet, formal liturgy.  The preaching was sophisticated and philosophical.  We used to note that it seemed our senior minister there quoted Shakespeare and Thornton Wilder in his sermons as much as he quoted scripture (this was OK with me; I was already into theatre).  At The Center, no one wore robes, and the music was much from a gospel and praise background.  The Center had a piano, rather than an organ, and often guitars and drums as well.  The preaching was much more expository, and scripture based.  And the style of worship was much more informal and loud.  Folks frequently lifted their hands to pray, and called back in call-and-response prayers.

When I would ask my parents why we attended The Center, in addition to Crown Heights Christian, they told me they were looking for more.  The traditional worship at Crown Heights didn’t always satisfy their desire for praise and worship.  Why then, I would ask, don’t we just go to The Center and stop going to Crown Heights?  Their answer was that we were members at Crown Heights (I don’t think we ever “joined” The Center, just attended rather regularly for several years), and that was a commitment they took seriously.  Crown Heights had done nothing to drive them away, and they had many friends and ministries there that they cherished and wouldn’t abandon.

I don’t know what happened to The Christian Center over the years.  I know that, in time, my parents stopped attending and taking us there.  But I have many memories of great music, great people, and great worship from both of these widely disparate churches.  It taught me a lesson about worship – and about life, actually – that has served me well.  The lesson is this: I believe there is more than one “right” way to worship.  The worship I experienced at the quiet, contemplative high church of Crown Heights fed me as a young Christian, but so did the raucous, gospel church of The Center.  I believe there are as many ways to authentically worship God as there are churches – probably as many as there are people.  I am grateful to my parents that they taught me, while I was young, that there was more than one “right” way to praise God.

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GA TIB Book Harry ParkerHarry Parker is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre at TCU, where he has been on the faculty since 2003.  He has directed more than 100 professional and academic theatre productions across the country.  Originally from Oklahoma City, he has a BFA in Theatre from TCU, and an MA and Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Kansas.  He is the former National Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and the Founding Managing Director for the Trinity Shakespeare Festival at TCU.  He is an associate member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.