Tuesday, March 6, 2007
My New Harper Family
By the time I was five years old, we had moved to Port Orchard, Washington, and were attending Harper Evangelical Free Church. This is where I would spend the remainder of my life until I moved away to college. Here I finally found a home. The people at Harper nurtured me through daycare and Sunday schools. Harper built the foundation of my faith as I was socialized in the beliefs, sacraments, and norms of the Evangelical Free tradition.
The Evangelical Free Church came from the Lutheran tradition and derives many of the same beliefs and rituals. Harper’s sacraments include communion but only held once a month. Communion for me never felt incredibly sacred, but rather felt more like a celebration than a remembrance. Harper Church baptizes adults but does not baptize infants. I recall a desire to be baptized when I was very young because my best friend Justin did it. My parents wisely advised me to wait until I understood what it meant and I agreed. One aspect of the church that has changed dramatically since I have been there has been the worship. When I was young the worship was largely done through hymns and occasional guitar-accompanied songs. Through the years, the church has adopted more and more contemporary styles of worship to cater to the younger demographic that it is surrounded by. This issue has been heatedly debated in our church and has left much of the older generation unsatisfied. As a result, the background of worship that I grew up with is contemporary, with a full band.
Many times I view myself as a very postmodern Christian. Growing up in a world that is personally defined and where truth is relative, I feel that I have incorporated these values into my faith. If this is so, Harper Church was the beginning of this integration. The teachings by the pastor and even the Sunday school teachers subtly reflected these principles. One time, in regards to Jesus requiring his followers to sell all his possessions and giving all to the poor, I recall teachings that this can be interpreted as relative. I have been taught that not everyone is called to give up all material belongings but everyone is called to give up their “life” to God. This clearly demonstrates Christianity reflecting postmodern ideals.