Interview on February 7, 2023 with Jocelyn, who is studying nursing, on the Central Mall at CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Jocelyn: Yeah, I do. I go to church every Sunday. I’m Christian. I try to read the Bible with my boyfriend and my daughter. We try to follow His word with how we approach people and talk to people and interact with each other. My family considered themselves Catholic. With my dad, we would always go to church on Sundays, but the church we went to would take the kids out of the main service and we really would just play games so it wasn’t really me connecting with God. At some point my dad left and we were spending a lot of time with my mom and my mom didn’t really go to church. We never really talked about God.
Do you share your faith with other people?
Jocelyn: When the opportunity arises, I try to. When I’ve had co-workers talk about feeling anxious or depressed, I always bring up God: “Have you gone to church? Let me invite you to my church.” So I try to invite them or my classmates. Whenever I feel the opportunity is there, I start talking about God, even if it’s not someone bringing their problems to me.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Jocelyn: I’d say that Jesus is Someone Who loves everyone and welcomes everyone, no matter how they are or who they are.
How did you start reading the Bible and find your current church?
Jocelyn: When I was at my community college, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and depression. I was taking a lot of units and I was spending most of my time at school. Literally all day every day. And one day I saw this little group out on the lawn in the middle of campus sitting in a huddle and reading something. I was interested, “Oh, what are they reading?” One day I stopped by as they were setting up and I was like, “What do you guys do here?” And they were like, “We read the Bible.” They were an InterVarsity club. They asked me to join and I was like, “Let’s do this!” I joined and a few weeks later they said they were having a spring break camp and they gave me a full scholarship. It was such an amazing experience where I really connected with God and I was like, “I think I’m Christian.” Then my brother-in-law invited me to his church, he’s Christian, and I loved it so much that I just kept going.
Do you believe that abortion is wrong?
Jocelyn: No, my church’s motto is “come as you are” and they’re very, very inclusive. Some Sundays we’ve talked about how the Bible doesn’t necessarily say, for example, that homosexuality is bad or that God doesn’t accept those types of people. People are just reading the Bible wrong. I’m not too educated about exactly what the Bible says, I just know that one of the first two commandments of the Bible is that God wants you to have relationships with people, to love people. That was one of His first or second commandments. Why would He tell us to love people and then contradict Himself and say, “don’t accept these people” or “don’t love these types of people”? He tells us to love them, so I think people are just reading between the lines of lines that aren’t really there.
Do you believe some actions are sins?
Jocelyn: I do think there are sins. I think that it’s not really our job to approve or disapprove. I think it’s our job to love them and tell them, “Oh, I’m praying for you.” If you know they’re doing something wrong, you can talk to them. Personally, I’m not sure what the Bible says about that stuff, but I just pray for them a lot and hope that something in their heart triggers a realization that they shouldn’t be doing it.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Jocelyn: Yes, I do. From what we’ve talked about at church and from reading the Bible, if you believe in heaven, you have to believe in hell and if you believe in God, you have to believe in an enemy.