By Daniel Erickson
My name is Daniel Erickson. I am an architecture student in Berlin, Germany. In the summer of 2021, I was baptized and confirmed in Community of Christ. Like many believers, I was raised in a Christian household, so the idea of God always has been present.
My exposure to religion was somewhat different, though, because my parents belonged to different churches. My mom was part of Community of Christ, and my dad was part of Crossway International Baptist Church.
Wanting to give me the luxury of choice, my parents never forced their beliefs on me. This allowed me to discover my own faith and evaluate what I wanted to believe in.
Throughout my childhood I was caught between these two belief systems, which led to a lot of confusion and inner conflict. I was unsure what to believe, because in either church I was taught a different kind of faith—they preached completely different theologies.
Wanting to give me the luxury of choice, my parents never forced their beliefs on me. This allowed me to discover my own faith and evaluate what I wanted to believe in. Community of Christ ended up being the community I most related to and most enjoyed being with. The idea of a democratic faith community and the Enduring Principle of Continuing Revelation especially resonated with me.
I think the admission that we as humans can’t possibly know the true nature of God is extremely powerful, too. In my opinion, too many believers are convinced they know everything about God and God’s intentions.
The focus always seems to be on what can be accomplished through our faith. The vision of Zion is in the center of what holds the community together.
Furthermore, I’ve always felt like I belong in Community if Christ. Though my beliefs often are quite different from those of other members, I’ve never been afraid or ashamed to speak of them. My opinions always have been heard and valued, even when people held completely different views.
I’ve seen it with other people, too. Often people of different faiths have come to our meetings and camps and shared in the community. They always were accepted. So, when I started inviting friends, who were mostly atheists, I never worried about whether they would be comfortable or welcome.
The fact that religion isn’t forced upon you is very important to me. Too many people suffer from oppression by such forceful preaching, so I value the openness I experience in Community of Christ. The focus always seems to be on what can be accomplished through our faith. The vision of Zion is in the center of what holds the community together.
That vision is a goal that not only Christians strive toward; it is this drive that actually can create significant change in the world. The backing of religion only makes it stronger.
Most enjoyable, over the years, have been the church camps. The escape from daily hardships and the coming together as a community to enjoy each other’s presence—as well as God’s presence, which we experience in our time together, discussing peace—have become part of life I depend on.
I always leave the camps refreshed, recharged, and ready to face the world with a more peace-oriented mindset.
I look forward to continuing my faith journey with this community and seeing how we can create Zion, piece by piece, together.
About the Author
Location: Berlin, Germany
Status: Dual architecture student