So this is the first post on my blog about Catholicism. Ahh. Yikes. Big step. I think I should start my blog with the story of how I got to this place in my life (DON’T WORRY! Not my full testimony.) I won’t give much intro to what my blog is about or why I’m writing, you can read that in my About page. But without further ado, vaminos!
So the story really starts after my senior year of high school, but that was only possible because of things before that shaped me into who I am. I grew up going to Baptist churches which all turned into “nondenominational” or “community” churches when those first became a fad. I did Awana’s and all that stuff little kids do. I am so grateful for how intentional my parents were in how they steeped my education in the Bible and Christian perspective. I went to the same private Christian school K-12 (and not one of those ones where you send your kids to shape up, but like everyone had to be “Christian” and be a member in a church somewhere.) So I grew up with a ton of Christian education and biblical training. At some point in 7th grade, I actually had the Westminster Shorter Catechism memorized for my current Bible class. I discovered later, the original Westminster Confession denounced the pope as the Antichrist and the Roman Church as the Whore of Babylon from Revelation. Ironic.
One interesting thing to me as I grew up was how split the church was. At my school, our Christian-school “Halloween” was celebrated as Reformation Day, where we did skits of Martin Luther courageously standing up to the corrupt papacy and had a carnival that taught the younger students “all” about the Reformation and the antiquated, corrupt Church of Rome. So you could maybe say I grew up a little prejudiced. Just maybe. I look back on it now and I wonder,”How could we so joyously celebrate the biggest rift in church ever?” But denominations always puzzled me. I constantly was asking why my friends (who were still Protestant) went to different churches if we were all Christians. I thought the fact that I went to a megachurch was great because there was a larger unified Christian body.
That brings me to my senior year of high school. I was struggling with going to church on Sunday. Why? I simply had heard all the messages coming from the pulpit. I mean if you go to a Christian school where you had a very faith-integrated education in almost every subject, go to youth group and church all your life, have a personal interest in apologetics and Bible study, there’s only so much new stuff that can be preached to a congregation. I asked my teacher who also helped mentor me a little during high school, “Am I doing church wrong?” He said not necessarily, but he encouraged me to find God in the experience of going to church, not exclusively the teaching from up front. I tried that but I really only found that kind of experience in the worship period at the beginning and end, and yet there’s a good 30-40 minutes where I have to sit and listen to lessons I’ve heard before.
The other thing about my senior year was that I joined up with our youth worship team. I had a refreshed joy in playing the piano/keyboard, and after a little additional learning, I got to experience leading worship for the first time. It also bolstered my efforts to find God in the experience of church, and like I mentioned before, I was really only finding Him in the worship.
My favorite memory of leading worship was when our youth pastor let me play this absolute fire intro riff I had written for I Am by Crowder. It had the delay, the verb, we added some drums, it almost sounded like an intro to a U2 song. We started the song and everyone started clapping to the beat. It was just me and the drums. I felt like a rockstar. Shouts and cheers from our rather large youth group. We finished our set. When I walked off stage, I had just so much happiness welling inside me. It didn’t take long before my introspective nature started to analyze why. Not long after that, I felt like crap. How could I think so arrogantly about myself and my abilities on some keys? Isn’t the whole point to point to the One who deserves our praise? I quickly became skeptical of worship (that is, the part that involves us singing songs) and began to see things like lyrics that weren’t totally theologically accurate. For example…(and I’ll probably do a separate article on “worship” later)…the song that goes, “set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.” As much as I find it beautiful that someone is on fire for God, I also find it beautiful when Christians practice the fruit of the Spirit, including SELF CONTROL!! Things like these irk the hell out of me. But to come to a point, I then lost my last real hold on going to church for more than the fact that the Bible tells me it’s good and I should.
Senior year. Done. Finished. Fin. I’m off to college, right? Nope. I got a last minute opportunity to serve on Summer Staff at a Younglife camp. And that’s when my world paradigm made like the Death Star.
I can’t say it was one thing that made me reconsider my comfortable world of secession, but it was more like a bunch of things, like a friend who helped me out of nowhere, a voice in my head that pushed me to do something unconventional, that eventually got that photon torpedo to hit its target. And yes, I am a nerd. Deal with it.
I’m at almost 1000 words right now and I am contemplating the appropriate length of a blog post, because at this point we’re at the good stuff, but there’s so much of it I don’t want you, my magnanimous reader, to miss any because you’re tired. One of my editors (friend with an opinion) is telling me I should take a break here. So next week I’ll pick right back up where we left off and talk about the New Hope…
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