Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shaken Foundation

I feel like I should preface this post with a cautionary note... I know some of my readers are closely tied to some of the things I'll be discussing, so I just want to say, I'm sharing my thoughts, and if they offend you, feel free to take it up with me. However, I will not apologize for the personal thoughts I share here.

Last year at this time, I was in turmoil about my true spiritual/religious beliefs. The ground upon which I thought myself to be firmly planted was suddenly shaken, and everything - yes, everything - was uncertain. To help you understand just how much my world was shaken, I'll give some background.

I was raised "in church." Let me be more specific. I was raised in a United Pentecostal Church (UPC). We had church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. As I got older, I also participated in prayer meetings on Mondays, Bible studies on Tuesdays, youth service on Fridays, and Bible quizzing on Saturdays. Yeah, that's a lot of church. No, I never minded it.

If you don't know about the UPC, let me try to briefly share some... This gets difficult, because I think you see it very differently from the inside out than from the outside in, and I feel like I can see it both ways, at least to some extent. So, let me try to do both... From the outside in, I'm sure it looks pretty strange. They (especially the women) look different because of some physical standards they observe. They act differently in church service and are very open, even "crazy" with their worship. Further, they may tend to seem very exclusive, arrogant even. Now, from the inside out, we are adamant and unwavering in our beliefs. We believe exactly what the Bible says, and we include the whole thing, not just bits and pieces. We want everyone to experience the wonderful truth we know.

That whole thing about including the whole thing, not just bits and pieces... I'm not so sure... Somewhere, it seems like we've forgotten that first and greatest commandment and the second one, which is pretty important too...

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
But, I never saw that before. I was raised this way, and I didn't see anything else until I was 18 years old and moved away to go to college. Now, in the UPC there is this stigma about going to college and leaving "the church." I didn't do that. I got my pastor's permission, and I moved about 70 miles north to go to the University of Northern Colorado. And when I went, I went to another UPC church out there. So what changed? Nothing at first. But (and this actually goes along with the stigma), the more I learned, the more open minded I became, the more a grew... the less I felt the strong conviction that had tied me to "the church" all along. These were my convictions too, not things which were forced upon me. A lot of the "young people" are in church because their parents make them go. I never had that. My parents were raised in the same church I was raised in, but they never went when I was growing up.

I personally was deeply convinced of everything I believed and was convicted that we had the one true way of salvation. I based my life on this set of beliefs. My entire world view was determined by them. Well, a lot changed for me... You have to see that when this foundation was shaken, it changed everything. I didn't understand anything, and my life was definitely characterized by an atmosphere of dazed, lost confusion.

I'm going to leave it at that for now... I feel like this subject will take several posts, and I know right now with this first one, it doesn't necessarily seem to relate to the topic of the blog. But I'll continue these thoughts with the next post...

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