7. Something that shook your belief system to the core (a big disappointment in your life).
I’m diving right in.
I won’t be writing about a disappointment, but I do remember a moment, just a tiny moment of my life that was actually enormous. It was a conversation, a comment, really, but I walked away shell-shocked. And the more I digested the conversation, the more I was changed by it. The things I chewed up and digested my whole life were suddenly under a bright light in a small room being investigated by the realization that I had blindly believed what I had been taught by others.
I was in my first year of Highlands College and I was in a car with a couple people. And for some reason they were talking about how they had baptized someone. And I said to my peer, “I thought only ministers/pastors could baptize someone.” And he asked, “Where is that in scripture?” And I realized I didn’t have an answer. I just replied that in the Methodist church, you had to be a minister to do that. If I replied at all. I don’t remember too much, but I remember how shocked I was. I remember realizing that I had accepted everything I believed to that point.
And it shook me. I was raised in the Methodist church. I went to the same church from the age of 4 to 18. And I retained a good bit of what I was taught. A lot of tradition and a lot of “do’s” and “do not’s” – and it was just the way I understood church and the Bible. And I never thought to look into it, or decide if I agree or disagree. The belief system I took as my own was officially challenged.
This conversation, this moment, it changed me. I started researching things about communion and baptisms, I expanded my Bible reading to commentaries and listened to more sermons. I stopped “taking people’s word for it” and discovered God’s word on my own. I prayed and asked God what he meant by this thing or that sentence. I discovered what the Bible said about things clearly, and what it left unclear and why it was unclear. I started to see that the reason the Methodist church did things the way it did is because people decided it needed to be done that way. I let it sink in that church denominations were created by man and that God’s word is infallible and people sometimes get it wrong. Or they get it weird. Or they just get it in a way that I don’t agree with.
This is the moment that I stopped identifying myself by what KIND of church I went to, and just decided to tell people that I love Jesus and who cares what kind of church I do or don’t attend? Those traditions or lack thereof don’t define me.
And there are still many things that I don’t know or don’t understand about the Bible, but I no longer blind-believe.