Aug. 13th, 2011

midwestbuddha: (dear jesus)
First, some background info: the purpose of these interviews is to bring people of all faiths closer together by promoting understanding of different perspectives. Enjoy! And if you would like to be interviewed, I am currently looking for someone who can tell me about their viewpoint as an Athiest or Jewish person. Just comment here and I'll contact you. Thanks!

Interview With [livejournal.com profile] fleurette:

1.) What is your chosen faith?

I am a Christian...a Christ follower.

2.) Please briefly describe the basis of your faith, as you see it. (Feel
free to quote a brief sacred text which illustrates this description for
you.)


From the Bible; John 3:16; For God so loved the world, He gave his only
begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
eternal life.

God's son, Jesus, was sent to live as a man, and to take on the sins of man in order to take man's punishment upon Himself, so that we can be saved. God is Holy, untouchable, but through Jesus, who intercedes on our behalf, we can each have a relationship with Him.

3.) Were you (and your mate) raised in your chosen faith? If not, how did you learn about it?

I was raised more or less, in the Roman Catholic Church, which is a major
segment of Christianity. I was baptized, that is, sprinkled with holy water
in a traditional ceremony when I was a baby, and I attended Catholic school
in first and second grades, during which time I took my first Holy
Communion, Protestant Christian school in third and fourth grades, two
(secular) public schools in fifth grade, and back to the same Catholic
school for grades 6 through 8, during which time I was confirmed in the
Church. High school was secular and private, yet it was during that time I did the most spiritual seeking.

My mom was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, and so my dad, who was
raised Protestant, had to take instruction and promise to raise me Catholic,
but really as a family, we didn't practice the traditions on a regular
basis, and to my mind, became progressively less Catholic in tradition,
though not necessarily less Christian.

I began to discover Christianity in a more personal way during my time in college...and I attended both Catholic Mass and Protestant services. When I was on a retreat with my college Christian group, I discovered people who weren't just trying to convert me, but were real, living their faith, and generously sharing it -- at the end, we wrote notes to each other...kind of like signing a yearbook or something, and the chaplain referred to me as a committed Christian, and I decided, why not?

4.) What is the most compelling element of your chosen faith, for you?

There is nothing we can do to deserve God's love. He gives it
freely if you just ask. God's love and forgiveness is for everyone...even me!

5.) How often do you experience others prejudices directed toward you regarding your faith(s)? (i.e. daily, weekly? Is this a common or uncommon occurrence?)

I've been lucky enough not to have experienced much of this prejudice
directly, but I see it often enough to realize that it is a common
occurrence. Most of the prejudice is directed toward the negative
stereotype of the evangelical Christian. Back when I was in high school and college, the televangelist scandals were at their ugly peak, and it felt almost like there was a stigma attached to being a "born again" Christian, and even now, people sometimes assume you to be close-minded and bigoted if you happen to be Christian.

6.) Would you briefly describe one such incident, how it made you feel and what you did about it?

There was only one incident, in the virtual realm, that is, entirely online. I had a subscriber to my live journal question my faith because I dared to speak as though homosexuals were people who deserve rights like anybody else. That, and the fact that I am not conservative. I don't mind friendly agree to disagree discussions, but this person, who claimed to be Christian, was mean-spirited and advocated murdering other peoples' pets, and wouldn't accept it. I deleted her, of course!

7.) What is your favorite faith tradition?

Probably singing Christmas carols...also, communion. Our church does this monthly...we eat and drink together in remembrance of what Jesus did for us.

8.) If you could dispel the most common misconception about your faith, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I think a huge misconception is that Christians are all alike, and mostly close-minded, conservative, and homophobic. Stereotypes unfortunately have their basis in truth, so it's true that there are Christians who are like that, and make it harder for those who don't fit the stereotype. Not sure how I'd dispel it except to act in such a way that others can see that I am not like that at all.

9.) If you left a previous faith for the one you now call your own, why did you do so and how do you feel about your previous faith?

I never left my faith, but I did switch the way I practiced it. I found a church in which I felt comfortable and accepted in, and it just wasn't Catholic. The Roman Catholic church is a big part of my heritage and a wonderful way to worship...some of the Catholic traditions are beautiful, meaningful, and if your worship there is based on faith, and not just repeating the actions, it can be a true blessing. Christians worship the same God, but not in the same way, and that's perfectly OK.

10.) If there were one thing you could change or eliminate about your faith, what would it be?

I think I'd just encourage more openness and sharing between denominations.

11.) Does your faith require certain types of clothing be worn or avoided?

Not mine personally, though there are requirements/restrictions in some denominations, and among some clergy and other individuals.

12.) Does your faith restrict you from eating certain foods?

No, but again there are some denominations and even some individuals who consider dietary restrictions based on their faith.

13.) What advice would you give to someone whos considering joining your faith?

I'd say go for it...don't worry, you really don't have to be perfect...it's perfectly fine to be a work in progress!

14.) What is your faiths most widely celebrated holiday, if any? (Brief descriptions welcome.)

Christmas and Easter, both celebrated widely and in a secular way, but Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, and Easter celebrates His resurrection from the dead.

15.) What are the taboos relating to your faith?

Blasphemy...denouncing God, which I think is pretty universal. Some denominations would include specific examples of depravity, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol abuse...but there are a lot of variables.

16.) Does your faith encourage belief in an afterlife? (i.e. heaven, hell, purgatory, nirvana, reincarnation, etc.)

Heaven and Hell. Purgatory as well for Catholics.

17.) Does your faith encourage belief in more than one deity?

Not at all. However, we do believe in the Holy Trinity, which is God the
Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. These are three
persons in the same God...three aspects of one deity, all holy, all
powerful, all knowing.

18.) What healing methods are practiced by your faith? (Brief descriptions encouraged.)

Simple prayer for healing...in which one asks God to heal someone.
Anointing with oil in conjunction with such prayer.
There are sometimes people who God grants the power to heal, but the point is: God is doing the healing, and man is just the instrument.
Healing by the medical profession -- God provides us with skilled people to do his work.

19.) Does your faith embrace many sects? If so, feel free to name and briefly describe the differences.

Many! For example, the Roman Catholic church has many traditions, including praying the rosary...a set of beads, each bead denoting a particular prayer, the sign of the cross, "in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit (Ghost)" while touching head, chest and shoulders. Sitting, standing, kneeling at different parts of the service. In the Christian and Missionary Alliance church I attend, we sing songs of praise together, and listen to the pastor talk about how the stories in the Bible relate to us...which is actually a common thread between every Protestant and Catholic church service I've ever attended. In many African American churches there is a rich tradition of Gospel music, and there is much loud, worshipful participation...some churches are quiet and traditional, others are louder and more contemporary, but the message is the same!

20.) If you are part of a bi-faith marriage, briefly describe an incident you had with a conflict and how you dealt with it.

I'm not married; although my parents came from different denominations, I
don't consider it bi-faith because they're simply different, yet both valid
traditions of honouring the same God. They never had a problem with it,
though I hear of Catholic/Protestant marriages sometimes going through that.
I would say a couple should try and focus on what they have in common rather than where they differ.


Thank you so much, [livejournal.com profile] fleurette! Feel free to share your experiences with this faith in comments below.

Namaste, all!

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