When I was younger, I can remember going to church on bright, early Saturday mornings with my family to our Seventh Day Adventist church in Woodbridge, Virginia. I enjoyed my time there as a young boy learning about Christian life and the way of Jesus. In primary class, our teachers would lead us through stories of the Old Testament, from the suspenseful near-sacrifice of Isaac to the whir of David’s slingshot. At this age, I was what might be termed inquisitive and precocious for understanding. Why was Abraham tested by the Lord in such a horrific way and just how exactly did a single stone knock out a full-fledged giant? Inquiring minds had to know! Luckily, my teachers were patient and our class sizes small. I had an abundance of answers to put my mind at rest until new question marks would bubble back.
When it came time for the sermon, things changed. Like many other churches, our pastor would stand at the pulpit and deliver a sermon. The content was mature and crafted, of course, to resonate with the complex lives and questions that adults inhabited. For a child like myself at the time, I can remember being challenged by theological issues that surrounded eschatology, sex, death, resurrection, and the nature of sin and evil. Primary class was the junior league, and every sermon felt like I had stepped up into the majors. But alas, while eager to hear the varying prophetic interpretations of the Book of Revelation, I was not afforded a channel where I could ask my pressing questions during the sermon. I would often have to wait until immediately after church, and sometimes days after, to discuss these incredible topics with my family. Maybe rightly so, given my age, but the feeling of wanting to engage in informal discourse as the sermon was happening never left. Often these questions and possible answers would play out in the isolation of my own head.
Fast forward to 2015 and how much do I wish that I could transport my younger self to the present day. As a member of Hill City, I have come to happily embrace a community of Christians and righteous people who exalt the ability to have theological conversations during church (and after too!). In addition, there exists at Hill City a visible plurality of thought that does not impose itself upon one’s personal beliefs but rather lovingly challenges one to test and reaffirm one’s belief in the presence of unique testimony and grace. In simpler terms, there is no pressure to tow a particular dogma or party line. I can remember how excited I was to learn that Hill City engages in question and answer sessions after every sermon and different viewpoints were always welcomed. As I continue to grow at Hill City, I am encouraged by its culture of generous orthodoxy, guided at the core from the unshakeable truths of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus calls us to come to him in the spirit of young children. I am blessed that Hill City has allowed me to engage in my inner inquisitive child and continues to do so.
Like what you see here? Join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington for the conversation and our Q&A.