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'my enjoyment of being a Christian' - Common App: Overcome stereotype

cupnoodle123 15 / 52  
Dec 24, 2011   #1
Sorry about the length, but if anyone helps me read over this and CUT IT DOWN BY 200 WDS , I would so appreciate it :)

Let me know your guys' thoughts...

And if you can any essays for me to read, give a shout :O

Describe a significant exp, and its impact on you

When I go to school, I do not really know how to share with others my enjoyment of being a Christian. Friends see me as cheery, humorous and sociable, and when one day in class I shared that I fell under the category of a more melancholic person, my peers were surprised I was not rather a sanguine. I had always appeared as a happy-go-lucky Christian, but my friends did not know how often I felt insecure and would turn to God's word and prayer to address my insecurities. Yet I did not reveal this side of me to them, because I did not want to be labeled "Christian". In today's culture, the word seemed very black and white, evoking a religiously prudish and devout person. I know my friends respected my adherence to Christianity, as my personality and character made obvious its good influence in my life. Yet sometimes when I excused myself from an activity because I was committed to attending church, I felt I had put the stereotype back into "Christian", as they shook their heads and teasingly said, "Why are you so church-active? You're too 'good'". I did not know how to gently counter whatever misconceptions they had about church, though I wished I knew. Thus I kept my church life more private, and if I shared it, it was shared only in measures.

I do not think I am very religious, only because my faith is not simply ritualistic devotion. I pray to God in conversation, freely expressing ideas and sentiments about anything that concerns me. I like challenging my opinions and viewpoints with what the Bible says about certain topics, such as seeking to understand how faith and logic overlap, for I feel they must somehow. At church, as I read the Bible with Christian friends and discuss various issues, I learn to be more open-minded to topics that have been downplayed or perverted at school. My family sometimes does not understand my strong devotion to God, so they sometimes call me the "nun". I know it is just playful joking, but I feel stung because it is more misunderstanding.

But the hungry and the poor were often willingly open to such religious beliefs, and this juxtaposition taught me something. After school, I once joined my Christian club to McDonalds, where we performed a "chain reaction". We bought some food, but also paid the money in advance for meals of people who would order food after us, in hopes they would do the same for people after and start a chain reaction of free giving. People were so surprised and grateful that they came to us, eager to know why we did it, and we said it was to show Jesus' love for them. We demonstrated this kindness which mirrored our beliefs, and their reaction was as if they had learned of Christianity for the first time. One man, after eating, came back and said it had been an honor to eat his burger. During another instance, I joined a Christian organization to set up a huge soccer match for kids in a very underprivileged area. I made friends with kids on other teams and at the end of the game, I was surprised they said good bye and "God bless you." I knew the organization had long helped these children, but I realized these rougher-looking kids had also accepted God because of the kindness they experienced from this organization that represented him.

I arrived at my non-conclusion, that in fact I still had a lot to learn about people. I realized I had to put down my own firewall toward my others, put that stereotype behind me, and let them get to know me openly if I wanted them to understand me and my beliefs better. I did not need to know the answers to all their questions, for I still had plenty of my own. It is still awkward to mention my faith to others, but it is getting less awkward with some. Those are my friends whom I listen to a lot more, spend a lot of time with, share my life with a lot more, and who know me for who I am. Often I did not know how to prove anything except that I was genuine.

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