I grew up in the church so it’s been a very big part of my life since I was about 5 years old. Of course it hasn’t always been a big part of my life by my choice. I spent my first 9 years of school in private Baptist schools so I was forced into chapel everyday and had Bible classes every semester and during elementary and middle school years there’s bound to be a bit of rebellion. I faked sick on more than one occasion to stay home on Sundays and watch Columbo instead of going to church. But even at that age, I still enjoyed the culture of the church and the family feeling it brings. Without a church where do people get dinners when they are sick or helping hands when they need to move? Where do people find doctors and dentists and hairstylists without a church?
Through high school I spent time with a couple of other church youth groups because my home church groups was so small. Most of my close friends at this time were from church. There were some dark times during my first few years of college. I was still going to church every Sunday because I was living at home, but there was no connection with my life and it wasn’t exactly having a profound impact on me. It got worse when I left for a semester away at Western Michigan University. When I returned though, I hooked up with a college age Bible study through one of the churches I hung out with when I was in high school. This group was drawn from several churches of different protestant denominations so the discussions were lively and I started to develop my own beliefs based on what I had grown up with and the new ideas I was hearing. Ultimately, my core beliefs fell closer to the traditions I had grown up with, though I do tend to swing more liberal on some areas.
I’m still growing as a Christian and constantly evaluating my life and my faith but I don’t think there will ever be a time where I don’t have it in my life. I’m an optimistic person by nature, but having faith and having an understanding of my place in this world gives me a hope that I can’t imagine having otherwise. I love the idea of being part of a plan bigger than anything I could conceive, or even understand, on my own. With the security and grace that comes with faith, there is also responsibility and accountability. Many people misunderstand Christianity and see it as a set of stringent rules and commands. The part many people misunderstand is the love involved. The Passion of the Christ was attacked on many front and some of the most common attacks were aimed at the excessive violence. I think the best explanation though for why it was needed comes from my old roommate. He is non-religious but his girlfriend is a Seventh Day Adventist and she talked him into going to see the movie with him. Later that night we were talking about the film and he said, “If you believe he went through that for you, then that’s amazing.”
And that’s the thing. It is amazing.
My life is not my own. I won’t get into the cliched “created for better things” speech, but the truth is, this world isn’t all there is and eventually I’m going to be held accountable for the things I’ve done. If I have to face that relying only on my own strength and my own good works I’m out of luck. I want someone in my corner, someone who can cover my failures and my corrupt nature. And if that means I have to abide my a few rules and regulations until then, I’m happy to do so. I mean for crying out loud, I just finished a story about a sperm bank robber.