Recently I decided to give my art a new focus. I've decided to branch into religious art and paint in my own comic book style the religious paintings commonly painted by the old masters. In addition to that I will be painting some bible stories that were not as popular.
But before I dive into all of that I have started to paint my own experiences with religion and the SDA church. This may surprise/disappoint some of you but I no longer identify or consider myself Adventist or religious. I have decided to just come out with it, because I no longer want to pretend and just want to be myself. I consider myself to be a spiritual person and leave it at that.
I began to realize that Adventism wasn't for me when I decided to be a missionary in S. Korea for a year. During that year I taught ESL for the SDA Language Institute. In addition to teaching English I was expected to encourage my students to come to religious programs and church services as a way of practicing their English skills.
I was not very good at this. I made the announcements, but I never pushed this on my students. I wasn't ever one to push my beliefs on anyone, but there I found out this was not a good quality to have.
I was scolded by my boss/pastor for being a bad teacher and a missionary. When it came out that I was dating a Korean he told me he believed that I only cared about boys and I wasn't focused on saving souls. I went to my Korean roommate for comfort but she agreed with him and told me to go back to the states and that I was a "bad adventist".
I talked to some teachers from my orientation group and learned that pastors received a bonus every time someone was baptized and that some pastors waited for students at the elevator with a piece of paper trying to sign them up for baptism. I found this disgusting. But I sucked it up, enjoyed my weekends with good friends, and finished my contract.
After coming home I thought things would normalize but they never did. I took on church positions to try and get a better perspective but the doubts and negative experiences continued.
Despite all this, I find religion fascinating and continue to read and study not only Christianity but all religions. The studying I do now is for myself and I feel happy again.
There really is no better place to do all of this than in Israel.
That's right! Jeff and I will be spending 6 months in Israel starting in September. We are so excited!