Over the last few years I have spoken of my journey a number of times. It has occurred to me more than once to write it down, not only so that people wouldn't have to listen to me, but to give a voice to my experience and perhaps give voice to others of the same mind.
The Beginning of the End
Growing up in Montana was probably not so different from many other childhood experiences (although EVERY Montanan would lead you to believe it was!). Schools, friends, neighbors, parents, brother, dogs, sports and other things were then norm. Church however, was not.
My first memories of church were after Christmas, looking at the amazing paintings on the ceiling of the sanctuary, playing with my micronauts and wondering why everyone stood and mumbled and sat down again.
There was nothing particularly spiritual or meaningful about it, just playing with my Christmas presents quietly in the pew.
This was my parents 'faith' or faith as they knew it. Both had been raised in the Roman Catholic church on the East coast. Both had left the church but probably would say if push came to pull they were Christians. Church then, was an obligation for them on important days and something you were supposed to expose your kids to. Faith was more of question.
Mom was practical and putting one foot forward a day at a time.
My dad however, was truly looking for something. After leaving the Roman church, he ventured down many paths looking for something that made sense in his heart. He pursued among other things 8 'stages' of Mormonism and was looking down the road of Satanism when he met Jesus.
Although knowing all the stories and having a sense of the answers, dad never had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. After meeting with a Baptist pastor who explained his deep need for a Savior dad trusted Jesus.
What that meant was a myriad of things. It meant that he was an infant but a Viet Nam Vet. He was an infant and a husband. He was an infant but a father. Learning how to live a new life as an adult would not be easy for him or the family.
I came to 'faith' in this environment. 'Church' one morning was watching a televangelist. I watched with my dad how the man sweated profusely, raised his voice and the Bible and talked about hell.
For me, hell was Yosemite Sam poking me in the butt with a pitchfork for all eternity. At 6 or 7 that is pretty bad. I decided I really didn't want to go to hell.
The preacher explained that trusting Jesus was the only way not to go there. So, I did what any kid would do, I trusted Jesus out of fear of hell.
Now that I have a more 'nimble' theology and cringe when I see pastors do this (how do they get on TV anyway?), I find it wonderfully ironic that God used whoever that Televangelist was to bring me to Him.
What has your journey been like?
What environment did you come to faith in? How is it the same or different than the environment you are in now?