On my way to Koinonia for the first time, I was scared. I was an agnostic who disliked the idea of organized religion yet, I knew Christianity had a way of spiritually inspiring and uplifting me. As I mentioned in my first blog, Christianity has a shameful history of lies, inequalities amongst people, and ill-motivated leaders; all of which has shunned me away from the religion and made me despise its followers. So when I walked through the doors of Rosa parks center to my first Koinonia meeting, I masked my frightened mind state with confidence (even arrogance) that I was above them.
As weeks went by, I experienced extraordinary episodes of coincidence that I could only articulate as supernatural (I’ll spare you the details). These incidents frightened me at first, almost to the point of depression. “I am a smart, atheist-like college student who now wants to believe in Jesus ?!” These type of ideas were at the forefront of my thoughts for weeks. But instead of trying to fight it, I went along with it. I moved past doing an ethnographic study on Koinonia by fully embracing Christianity all in effort to save two birds with one stone: study elements of masculinity (my topic in the group) and answer this aching question regarding my own spirituality.
After weeks of studying the church (I went to multiple) and Koinonia. I could spot the similarities between them. Although Koinonia was more open to serving people from different religions and spiritual ideologies, both the church and Koinonia shared an overall atmosphere of love and communion and the desire to help people. However, I also spotted the similarities in masculine dominance and covert distaste from the group for different people (non-Christians).
Overall, this was very uplifting for me. I had fortunately revitalized my religion and my relationship with God. I was extremely thankful and happy I chose to deepen my ethnographic study as it had changed me.
During the next couple weeks, my connection with the religion dwindled ironically as I stopped attending these services. No matter how much it humiliated me, I continued to pray and ask that Jesus be in my life but felt nothing. I began to wonder if I was overlooking the aforementioned coincidences or involving myself too deeply in the study. Yet as I am writing this very word, I am realizing that there could be no such thing as over-involving myself in the study. I became a part of the group despite their acceptance of me. I allowed the group to change me. Thus allowing myself to change. As professor Johnson mentioned in class, Culture is constantly changing form and position. Maybe I temporarily experienced being a part of the culture again. A solar eclipse between my personal life and my spirituality had occurred through the intervention of an ethnographic study of Koinonia. Hmm