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I'll save the full, lengthy story for the personal stories forum, when I have time to type the whole thing. But last week I finished a wonderful book called Being Wrong, which, among other things, describes what happens to people when they discover that they have been wrong about the big stuff, their worldview or whatever. Ironically, the book perfectly described the existential / faith / identity crisis that it triggered in me. My wife is going through a similar, though not identical crisis. So we're on an interesting, exciting, scary journey together. For years, as I tried to find my way within the Christian faith, I've told myself and a few people I trusted that I was always wavering between heresy and apostasy. Now it feels much more like the latter. I'm not yet sure that "progressive Christian" is what I am, or will be, but it may be close. At the least, there seem to be people here who could understand where I'm at. So, um, hi. Thanks for having this site up so that I could find it and feel a little less alone even if I'm not yet sure where I'll end up.
(Quick warning for grammar Nazis, I type kinda lazily online. My bad.) Hello everyone! I'm glad to have stumbled upon this site and I'm very intrigued that there are other people out there who have the same sort of ideas I have. But I'll introduce myself now and for the sake of brevity I'll spare you the play by play. (Hopefully, I'm notoriously long winded...sorry.) I've essentially been raised in a Conservative, Evangelical, Holiness or Hell doctrine. As I entered my late teens I became very skeptical and rejected organized religion outright and informed my mother if God wanted to have a relationship with me, He'd have to contact me personally, In a way I could understand. Be careful what you wish for. Long story short, I delved into heavy drug use and went down the downward spiral that usually accompanies it, only to find myself moved one night in my closet, grovelling at my knees and crying like a baby for forgiveness and accepting Christ as my Lord and Saviour, the only way I knew how. Which opened up a whole new world. For better or worse, I'm not sure lol. So here I was, At the beginning of this year, a "Born-Again" Christian excited about the new change in my life and feeling refreshed about letting go of the burdens and guilt I'd accrued by my previous actions and sins. Then I started going to church. And this is where my journey begins and has lead me here. I had a wonderful experience with the Holy Spirit which I still can't fully comprehend or explain in which I found myself once again humbled before Him speaking in a tongue I'd never heard and experiencing a feeling more intense than any high I'd ever had . I was afraid the drugs had done permanent damage. But it felt good. I was a poster boy of the transforming power of Christ and was being "groomed" as a Deacon and potentially a Minister. But my skepticism and misgivings refused to go away. Much to my dismay. You see I've always had a problem with "Conservative" or "Holiness" theology. I was taught that there are three steps in order to get to Heaven. You get Saved. You fast and pray for Sanctification and then the Holy Spirit comes in into a Sanctified life, in order for you to turn away from your life of sin and live as perfect as you can. Because the Lord has commanded us to be holy as He is holy. It sounded good. And I followed the steps to a tee. My religion was essentially my new drug. And I was eager to share it with everyone around me...by any means necessary. But thats another story. But I started to see and feel that that approach had wholes in it, as I've seen my whole life that when people attempt to live by that rigid standard, they sometimes turn into very hypocritical, judgmental and angry individuals. Not really Christ-Like. I started to read more because I had questions. I'm young, only 22 and a huge Nerd. A child of the internet if you will, so I have been heavily influenced by the age of technology and science and I wanted some explanations of the origins of the Universe to combat the onslaught of attacks from the heavily atheistic rantings of the internet. So I started reading Apologetic material from Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, Rave Zacharias, C.S Lewis and many more. Which helped tremendously. But also left me with more questions on the nature of God and issues like Homosexuality, Hell etc. Now the church I was attending was a small country church which had 5 members. Including myself and had never seen ore than 30 members since I'd attended from the age of 15. My presiding Apostle is in his late 70's and was pretty much convinced that the computer, internet and too much reading was the world's knowledge and hindered spiritual growth, so there wasn't any help there. So I started to stagnate. I had so many questions but I pushed them down because I didn't want to lack faith. I didn't want to have "itching ears". I didn't want to be a backslider. Doomed for Hell because I relied on the "Worlds" system and man's knowledge. But of course it didn't work. I eventually fell into temptation, which I feel was a mixture of lack of spiritual growth and discontent and weakness on my part. But anywho. I'm still left with questions. Which led me here. Most of the Apologetic works I've read essentially lean to the Innerancy of the Bible, Resurrection and Divinity/Deity of Christ, Resurrection, Etc. I've done some amateur studying and research and agree, for my own personal reasons and experiences, in the Deity and Resurrection of Christ. But am skeptical about the inerrancy of the Bible and the formulation of modern organized religion and creeds. Which led me to here. They talked about the "Liberal" Christians. And I was curious as to find out who these strange liberals were. Needless to say I've come to a point where I'm pretty confused and frightened at my questioning of things, Even coming to this website and researching Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christian theology. In the back of my mind I feel that I'm not enduring sound doctrine, it's the end of days and I've joined the lost in flocking to a doctrine that will fulfill my itching ears and give ease to my guilt and sinful ways. I was trained well. And I've got some issues. So I'm here to learn. I want to find out about this other world of different thinking Christians. I want to have the audacity to believe that Christs love really does outweigh everything else. That perhaps anyone who believes in another Religion isn't just doomed to Hell for eternity. That maybe all Homosexuals or unsaved aren't filled with demons and spirits and I must avoid them at all costs if they aren't willing to be converted. I guess...I don't know I'm seeking answers pretty much. And I'm hoping this place will be a good place to start. Thanks if you've actually read this wall of text. I appreciate your time and look forward to scouring the boards. Peace.