Friday, January 14, 2005

My journey (so far) - Part 2

When we last left our hero, he had just been confirmed and was about to enter high school. This one probably won't be nearly as long. The same warning from Part 1 applies.

1993-1997: So. High school. Nothing of note really happened (faith-wise, anyway) until my senior year. Well, the summer before my senior year. My girlfriend at the time was much more devoted a Christian than I was. I still had questions, was kind of a Thomas Jefferson-brand believer (basically, God exists, and Jesus' teachings are good things to follow). Well, she would push the faith conversation from time to time, in which I was moderately interested. I'd usually mumble something about 'yeah, I believe, let's watch a movie.' My junior year she invited me to the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Atheletes) group that met at the high school on Friday mornings. I went for the donuts and to compensate I could sit through a 10-minute chat that was basically no different than what I'd heard my entire life.

Well, here's where I really began to think a little more seriously about questions of faith. What did it mean to believe in God? What did it mean to follow Jesus? And what did that have to do with the [people] from my dad's last church?

That summer a few of the local churches hosted a picnic at a campsite, complete with a performance by a group called Brian White & Justice (I tried looking them up online; I don't know if they're still together or not). Well anyway, they sang this one song called 'Livin' in the Sight of Water,' based on a story about a man wandering aimlessly through the desert who ends up dying of dehydration despite water being over the next hill (can you spot the analogy? It ain't hard). Well, that night I was moved. My entire life's hearing about God and something finally clicked. There was no 'sinners prayer' prayed or anything like that (I shudder at such things, but that's for Part 3), it just all made sense. God DID really love me. So let's go back to church and FCA and really figure out what that means.

And so I did. FCA, I haven't mentioned, is a fairly 'conservative' group (great, there's that word again). But it's where I got the first answers to some of my questions: the Bible was dictated by God, Jesus' death was a sacrifice, unbelievers go to hell, and homosexuality is a sin (of course people had to especially point this one out). Period. Now go be righteous.

It was a wonderful time of concrete answers, stuff I could hang onto. It was simple and straightforward and I didn't need anything else.

Around the same time I was wrestling with a call to ministry. Despite my rather slim commitment to faith up until that point it had nagged me for a while. But a more serious commitment to being a Christian in general meant I could seriously commit to this call to ministry as well. So as I applied to Heidelberg I decided that I'd major in Religion and afterwards pursue seminary. I'd get more than I bargained for in college, though. And that's for Part 3, where the rollercoaster is about to do some major twists and turns...