My Story, Part One
It’s easy, these days, to hide behind the wall of the Internet. We can avoid telling people who we are, or even, make up a character to play. And in the realm of atheist/Christian dialogue, people can use that wall to be brave and say anything they want. It’s easy and it’s safe. You can hide behind the walls of logical argument, historical proofs, or scientific investigation.
But, telling your own story is way more difficult. It opens yourself to be fully picked apart in areas that you might consider very personal. And, I have to confess, I have put it off for a few days because I didn’t want to do it. My story isn’t really that dramatic. I don’t have any “I was on drugs, but Jesus saved me” type of moments. I seriously doubt I would ever be asked to give a testimony in one of those TV churches. Instead, my road is one long battle with my doubts, my faith, and trying to work on both in the context of the church. I don’t know how exciting it will be, but don’t say I didn’t warn you beforehand.
First, everyone should know, I’m a creed confessing, bible reading, Jesus loving fool. I believe that God created the world (over a long period of time using natural processes). I believe humans were created in God’s image (a huge issue that can’t be covered in this post) that we sinned and feel from our image bearing role. I believe that sin is the source of all human suffering and pain. I also believe that God entered into our pain through the person of Jesus Christ.
I fully believe that Jesus was fully man, or as I have told my boys, he laughed, he cried, he hurt, he farted and he picked his nose. But, He was also God. There, I said it, the farting God. You can quote me. I believe He offered himself up in our place and took on not just our sins, but our pain and suffering. I believe He rose again on the Third day. I believe He will come again to restore the world and make things right. I don’t believe He is coming to take us away to happy heaven land, but to restore this earth in all of it’s goodness.
Now, I’m sure that might distress some of you. I’m guessing you were hoping that I would be more “liberal” in my beliefs and that’s why I’m so accomedating in this blog. But see, that’s what you don’t understand. I really believe my faith. I’m not afraid when people question me. Do I still doubt? Of course. Does it scare me? Absolutely. But, I still believe. And all that drives me to let people be who they are and express honest questions. I don’t expect atheists to act like they believe in God, or pretend to be nice in regards to that particular question. Real truth can’t be gotten to unless you ask honest questions. In my mind, if God can’t take some questions, then He isn’t worthy of worship.
My story begins in a small Indiana town. I grew up a good German Catholic boy, serving as an alter boy, and I loved it. I still have a very soft spot for the Catholic church. It’s where I learned the Nicene Creed and all the basics of my faith that still guide me. I went to mass everyday and loved it. I didn’t have daddy issues (and still don’t). My family loved me and didn’t shove faith down my throats. I was allowed to explore, to create and to love my world. I especially loved the natural world of rocks, bugs, trees, and creeks.
But as I moved to St. Louis when I was in sixth grade, it changed my world. Doubt entered into the question and I reacted to that doubt by throwing myself into the nondenominational Charismatic world. It’s there I became the chief of sinners, a know-it-all, pedantic, pharisee. The worst of sins, spiritual pride entered my heart.
I will pick up my story there in my next post.