Testimony

A few days ago, Brad and I were talking about a radio show he was listening to- Dave Ramsay- and we got to talking about religion a little bit in regard to a caller to the show. The conversation turned into the following:
hockeybrad: is this the group that first got you into a more serious religion?
me: no, this was actually the group I was in when I walked away for 3 years. since I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it, do you want a brief summation of my religious timeline? (you can say no)
hockeybrad: sure. start from childhood
me: was planning to. My mom grew up strict Catholic; my dad is/was Methodist. Since my dad didn’t go to church, my mom took us to catholic church, and we had to go to Catechism
hockeybrad: (Catechism is Wednesday night church?)
me: yes. after school.
hockeybrad: yep, Dan and Chris both did that for a while.
me: we didn’t go to church every Sunday because we had SCA and stuff, but we probably went once a month. my sister and I were both raised with the “sex is for marriage” thing taught both at home and at CCD. (CCD = Catechism)
hockeybrad: (yeah, that’s what we called it)
me: I hated CCD, mostly because I had the same teacher from 2nd grade on, and she was awful, but then in 6th grade, my friend joined the Junior Legion of Mary, and I joined with her (really, we were the only 2 in Jr. Legion that went to meetings, so we just ran around the church a lot) Around that time, my mom switched to the Methodist church in town, because the woman who ran CCD refused to implement the changes wrought by Vatican II, and my mom really liked the pastor and the family atmosphere of the Methodist church. I donít know the details, I was too young.
CCD teaches you about the miracles of Jesus and stuff, and also about the crucifixion stuff, and what is a sin (everything) and what’s not (very few things). It doesn’t teach you though about the larger impact of sin (that will be important later) I guess a lot of that gets covered in Confirmation class (7th to 9th grade) but I didn’t go to that. Somewhere between 11 and 13, I decided that there was no God. I was getting old enough to see the things that happened in the world, and it didn’t mesh. I couldn’t understand how a God who was merciful and could do all these amazing things would let the bad things of the world exist. So I decided I didn’t believe in God anymore. I still went through confirmation in the Methodist Church because my mom wanted it and all my friends were doing it.
In college, my lab partner was a Christian and she introduced me to all the hot boys in the campus Christian club. So I started hanging out with them, and going to Bible study, but didn’t absorb anything. I was only there for the boys. I got invited to winter camp at Hume Lake, and I went because there would be snow and the boy I had a crush on was the one who invited me. everyone knew I didn’t believe, and no one really tried to convert me.
I met Joseph the day we left, and on the ride up there he asked me why I didnít believe and I told him. His answer was the first one I’d ever heard that made sense. (he said that the bad things happen because we have free will and sin has consequences, even for those who don’t commit the sin) I still wasn’t convinced.
I often say that I fought Christianity kicking and screaming up until the moment I accepted it. (accepting Christ is a term that’s commonly used) something in my heart changed that night, and I can’t really explain it. Just for the first time in my life, it made sense, and suddenly I craved it as much as I had pushed it away before. it was the truth, and that was just the way it was.
So I threw myself into the church after that, to past the point of obnoxiousness for a while, I won’t lie. I wanted to be a missionary.
hockeybrad: and you went on a mission, right?
me: I went on mission trips. it’s different. those were more like group service projects with some evangelism thrown in.
then all my close friends left the church I was going to, and I started going to a different church, and that was where I joined small groups, and there was a lot of repression in those groups, a lot of pressure to strive to be the best person I could possibly be. I was still a sinner, and nothing is/was going to change that, because it’s human, but we were supposed to want to not sin. one night I went to one of my leaders and said that I thought I had a problem with sinful addictions, and when I got home I boxed up everything I had that was a distraction and threw it away. it gradually crept back in, and I had guilt, but it lessened when I stopped talking about it.
then I joined a small group with 3 of my closest girlfriends from the church. went through the whole purge thing again. after about a year was when I ran into Jay again [destructive ex], and wanted to start dating him again. I told my small group, and they FUH-reeked. after a conversation one night at small group, I stood up and walked out, never to return to the group. it fell apart shortly after that anyway.
I felt like an outsider at church, I felt like I didn’t belong, and I couldn’t go there without crying, thought I was having a faith crisis. tried to push God as far away as possible and wanted to make my own mistakes, and figure it out on my own. did that for 2 years.
and then, and I know this sounds weird, but there was almost an audible snap as my life suddenly clicked back into being what I wanted, and something in my head and my heart said that it was okay, that I could go back to church. and ever since then I’ve done Christianity on my own terms, and if someone wants to judge me for it, it’s their issue.
I lost a lot of friends doing that, and I won’t say that I don’t miss some of them, but it was worth it to me. and it’s funny, as hard as I tried to push God away, I still feel like he guarded me from doing things that I’d regret.
(okay, done now.)
hockeybrad: that’s quite a story. It sounds like you basically just grew up. Being comfortable with yourself and your own opinions and beliefs is a very strong thing.
me: yeah
hockeybrad: anyone you lost along the way was not meant to be your friend.
me: Iíve mostly reached a “this is who I am and I’m not going to apologize for it” place, though there are still parts of me that I don’t show the world because I don’t feel like being judged for them
hockeybrad: you just can’t disagree about core things like that and be friends. friends UNDERSTAND… and there’s too big of a divide between strict believers and everyone else in the world. Save this chat and post it (if you dare). A religious history is interesting as that should be shared.
I thought maybe this was particularly relevant today. That night in the chapel that I mentioned, when I fought God kicking and screaming until the moment I accepted it, was 12 years ago today.

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