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zandd.com: I have always thought of church as a place where individuals could unite as a community, as one body for the purpose of worshiping Jesus Christ. As a child, I enjoyed going to church because we would sing, pray, and color. Every time I was at church, I would watch the youth group doing their worship and hoped that one day I, too, would be old enough to participate.

When I was old enough to join the youth group, I was very excited. All those things I had watched as a child were open to me. However, I soon learned that not all the members of the youth group had religious intentions foremost in their minds. I came to the realizations that many came to church with a social agenda and not with the true spirit of Christianity in their hearts.

Some of the behavior I witnessed from members of my generation led me to believe we were incomparable to past generations, and not in a positive light. These so-called "Christians" spent much of their time trying to impress people and get themselves a date for Friday night. Their main desire was to get attention from others and would look for it anywhere, even church. The most difficult fact for me to accept was that I watched those who I had grown up with behaving fraudulently through acts of jealousy and envy. I would see these people once or twice a week for about 3-5 hours each day and I believed that I knew them. I thought that some of these people would grow up to be good people with a strong Christian devotion, but I guess that was too much to expect, as not one of them did turn out normal. I think a lot of outside influences changed their course. In my opinion, one of the major reasons for their misguided behavior is because of the corruption some bad elements (people) brought to church.

At church, we would be told repeatedly that we were so bad and evil. They instructed us to be sorry and ask for God's forgiveness. They would constantly ask me if I was ready for the day Jesus would return, saying that I was going to burn in hell forever for not accepting Jesus into my heart. I listened to their words and formed my own opinion. I accepted the impossibility to be perfect, but thought if I tried my best to live a good life and do what is right, then that would be acceptable. To give my best effort to live a lifestyle according to the teachings of scripture would be all I could offer as a human. But lecturers and people of influence made it sound like that was not enough. That it would never be enough.

I believe my friends began to tune out the teachings. I think there was a rising sentiment that they were sinners, but could act as they pleased as long they showed up every weekend, cried during the "proper" moments of service, and walked the walk, then it was acceptable. What made matters worse was that they would use the church as a date line to pick up dates, get popular, and persuade people to act in that same manner. If someone chose not to follow their lead, then they would go around talking trash about them. So-called best friends would talk behind each other's backs because of hidden jealousies. What was truly appalling was 17-19 year olds using their influence as "big brothers" and "big sisters" to pick up 14-16 year olds. They would even go as far as using their so-called "holiness" to earn their trust in hopes of gaining intimacy on Saturday night.

Making matters worse were the youth group leaders through hypocrisy. They would tell me that I was bad if I don't go to church on Saturday nights for bible study. Yet on Saturdays, instead of doing bible study, they would go play pool or go bowling. They labeled me the bad boy of church because I did not conform to their rules. They persecuted me for having my own opinions and brandished me a rebel and deviant. Now I don't see how going bowling with them makes bowling so much more holier than going bowling with my friends, but what they were basically saying is that if I did not hang out with them, then I will suffer eternally in the fiery depths of hell. And I am convinced that this is not only indicative of my church. From others I have spoken to, this is a common occurrence in many Korean churches. I know this because kids from my church invite people from other churches to come to our retreats and revivals, and most of the time it is so they can play the field with some different people who are not already wary of their games. It all seems like one big scam or party. A church shouldn't be your personal club just because you can't hang in a real one.

The blame for church corruption does not fall solely on the shoulders of the youth group. The adults are just as much to blame. Church is no longer a family, as adults and children are separated. The adults no longer take an active participation in their children's Christian life. The adults come to church and work out business deals with one another or to gossip amongst each other. All these adults come to church late and stay late enough to talk about how they don't like this person because they have a better car or to get someone to do business with them. It almost seems like the spirit of Christianity has been lost amongst many adults as well. Never once have I seen the adults of our church go to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. I have never seen them help anyone but themselves to a doughnut and a cup of coffee while talking to their buddies after service.

I am not saying that all churches operate in this manner and that all adults and children are like this. And in no way am I trying to judge people. What I am saying is out of concern and I am hoping that my words may spark some introspection amongst Christians, and perhaps raise some questions.

Have we really forgotten why we go to church? Have we no moral standards left in ourselves? Why do we even bother going to church? Those are the questions we should be asking ourselves when we are at church trying to pick up a date for the next weekend or while we try to make the next business transaction.

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