Class began the other day with the teacher asking if we wanted to see an experiment. Everyone agreed. As he came back into the room with the supplies, he asked if we believed in magic. A few nodded yes, a couple shook their heads no, and some didn't respond at all. He looked at me with this look as if he couldn't grasp that I didn't believe in magic. In that instant, I didn't know what to say. So I said the only thing I'd been thinking since he asked the question. "Magic is of the devil." I didn't laugh as I said it, which I tend to do in uncomfortable situations. I just said what I felt and what I believe. It was the truth, and I have no shame in my beliefs.
Somehow the conversation turned to religion and how people have varying opinions because of what they believe. The teacher asked if anyone wanted to share what religion they were. Very few spoke up. Someone said Baptist and another said Methodist. Then someone else said they were Hindu. I don't recall hearing anyone say Christian. I am sure that the two that said Baptist and Methodist meant to say they were Christian, but they didn't. I have asked myself a million times since Tuesday (when this all occurred) why did they choose to say what type of church they went to as opposed to saying Christian.
The teacher went on to tell about what religion he considered himself due to the varying religions of his parents and grandparents. His mom was a Jehovah's Witness; his dad an atheist; his grandmother Baptist; his grandfather Methodist; his other grandmother Holiness; and his other grandfather was whatever his wife made him be. And the teacher called himself a "mutt of religion", taking aspects from each and implementing them into his own life. He even said he did not consider himself to be an atheist, but sometimes that made more sense than the others.
My natural response to this entire situation was to be angry that someone would dare bring this conversation up in class, when there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. This is a community college run by the state. And this is where the irony comes in, I actually do not believe in the separation of church and state. I believe that this nation was built on a foundation of Christian values and everything the Bible stands for. In today's world, it is not operating on the same standards. It even seems strange to me that I was angered by the situation.
My next reaction was this overwhelming feeling to just cry. I did not actually cry in class, but I wanted to. I just had this burden on my heart for these people, all of them. It doesn't make sense to me. I was raised in a Christian school. Ever heard the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child? I don't take that phrase literally, but I do think that children take bits and pieces of everyone along the way to form the person they will grow up to be. For me, that includes going to a Christian school my whole life. Those teachers, classmates, and other parents all helped shape me into what I am today. It's hard for me to see how people can believe in other gods or in nothing at all. My family never went to church every Sunday or even every other Sunday. I wasn't sent to a Christian school because my family was religious. The truth is, I went there because my dad didn't want me in the public schools. They were gradually worsening every year. And the district we lived in would have put me in the heart of downtown, in the hood, for lack of a better word. Every single day I feel blessed that my parents made that decision to send me to a Christian school. What would I be like today if I had gone through public school? I see all of the kids that are my age and went through public school. I am so thankful to be so different in so many ways!
During a class break, I was asked if I was super religious, is that why I said magic is of the devil. I said well I'm not super religious. I am a Christian, and I stand up for my beliefs. I politely told the girl that I love to debate and argue for my beliefs and I felt it was best I just keep my mouth shut. But is that the best move, to say nothing at all? I think in that moment, I was just so flustered, angered, and saddened by all that had been said that if I spoke up, it would have come out as a debate instead of being a genuine welcome to know and understand God.
Since that class, I have not felt as welcome as I did before. Maybe it's me, and I'm over analyzing. I thought I was fitting in. But maybe it's meant for me to be the standout and go through this on my own. I hope and pray that over the next 20 months, I can be an example to everyone else in that class. Even if I cannot bring myself to talk about God, then hopefully my actions will be enough to show them God.