“I believe … (in) Jesus who died on the cross as the lamb (a substitute for my sins) and was resurrected … (He) will return. God created everything. The Holy Spirit is a teacher (and) counselor. Every word of the Bible is literally and symbolically true and will come to pass as was written.”
The one great thing about moving my stuff around is that every now and then I stumble upon something I had done over a decade ago – much like the contents of this blog, I can get a glimpse of who I was, how I thought, and how see how different I am now.
The above statement was a “doctrine of creation / personal statement of belief / creed / fill in the lines with what we want you to exercise” from a “bible study”. That sort of describes what I found in all the old “bible study” booklets I found. I know, technically that’s what you’re supposed to do – fill in the lines with the answers they expect you to give. I expected more of myself – odd questions like: “Why? When?” or an occasional thought like: “The intended audience wasn’t writing to Paul to see if they were all on the same page; ‘Hey Paul, sorry to hear you were thrown in prison, but we wanted to be sure that we agreed that you agreed that we agree on what we agree on…’ They were asking questions because of their differences, sometimes cultural, sometimes regional, and sometimes on interpretation. How can we be certain that we have it right when they weren’t?” I guess I hadn’t learn that it was okay for me to ask such questions back then.
So here’s what I did learn: the old me was too lazy to write with proper grammar, proper penmanship, and liked to write as few words as possible when using pencils or pens, but found it much more enjoyable to use metallic gel pens and as a result wrote slightly more legibly. She did was was expected, filled in the lines with the answers that she was supposed to. She was better about completing the first few lessons and usually didn’t finish the last few lessons of each study. It’s difficult to believe that she somehow became me.
I still believe in Jesus. I guess I’m okay with God (the Father), after all, they’re a package deal. You can’t have the Son without His Father. I’m still fascinated by the Holy Spirit. But my beliefs about the Bible have changed. One of the books says I’m going through a ‘Crisis of Belief’ and that it’s a turning point in my faith. I look at the question: What has God, or what do you hope God will reveal about Himself to you?
My answer: (I hope God will make himself known to me in a real way..) what I know so that when I am asked “Is this really true?” I can say I know it is true not because it is in the Bible, but God has shown it to me to be true. This is so, in such a way, the one who asked me would hear me and the Holy Spirit and know it, too.
There .. a glimmer of myself. It’s possible that even back then I had begun to realize that something somewhere was not quite right. Shortly after these studies came a time when the Church really let me down. Only when I took a step back could I see the whole picture, the cracks that had always been there that I couldn’t see because I was too close. It’s been a long slow transformation from the textbook case of a Christian to a ‘still a believer, somehow’ that I am now. I may not be a shining example of perfection, but in many ways I’m better … and that’s enough for now.