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Dipping My Toe Back In The Christian Pool


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Hello, all. My name is Bill. I am a 47 y.o. Creative Director/Graphic Designer, telecommuting with a company in Pittsburgh, and living with my wife in Venice, Florida.

I grew up as a Catholic Charismatic. That meant mass on Sunday, and a prayer meeting during the week. And consequently, my spiritual upbringing was more evengelical/fundamentalist than Catholic. But then in college, I met some great Catholics at a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting, and rediscovered and cherished my Catholic identity.

But then after college, due to both a lack of like-minded peers and a lot of reading about other religions, I came to the conclusion that Christianity wasn't the ONLY way to God. I felt that all religions were valid. But, since at the beginning, I knew of no church, religion, or denomination that held such universalist views, I became a non-practicing Deist.

But then, after reading some of the neo-Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris), I kinda lost my faith in God. So for a few years, I was either an Atheist or an Agnostic. At first it was liberating. But later, live started to lose all of its joy.

But luackily, later I did discover and became involved, at different times, in Unitarian Universalism, Vedanta Hinduism, Reform Judaism and Neo Paganism. And for the past three years, I had been a part of a wonderful Vedanta ashrama in Pittsburgh.

But then my wife and I moved to Florida to be closer to my family. And the closest Vedanta center is over an hour and a half away, and could only make it there every once in a while. So I had always kept my eye out for other progressive/liberal/universalist groups or places of worship. So I had been planning to check out the local UU church, or a Reform Judaism templle.

Now Jesus and Christianity was always on the periphery of my mind. My feelings about Jesus were all positive, but my view of Christianity was largely negative. So I didn't necessarily think of a Christian church as an option.

But then recently, a few things started happening, and I don't remember in which order they happened. 1) I had a health scare (that eventually turned out to be nothing), 2) I started praying to Jesus, 3) I started looking into Progressive Christianity via sites, blogs, books, videos and podcasts. 4) I checked out a local UCC church, 5) buying Bibles, 6) listening to Christian music.

Well, it's been over a month. I'm still attending (and loving) the UCC church. And I'm voraciously reading and listening to podcasts (Borg, Crossan, McLaren, Keating, Rohr, Homebrewed Christianity, Moonshine Jesus). And I must say that I have been COMPLETELY FLOORED by the discovery that there as many liberal/progressive Christians out there as there is. I had NO IDEA. It's very exciting and invigorating.

And a quick, neat example. I met with the pastor of the UCC church, and told me one interesting anecdote. Many of the parishoners are ministers that have retired and moved to Florida. And many of them told him that they COULD NOT WAIT to retire so they could join a church that was "open and affirming" about LGBT singles and couples. These ministers had long disagreed with their church's position on homosexuality, but largely kept their opinions to themselves. But now they are so happy to be in a faith community where they can be themselves.

I don't know where this is all going to go, and I'm not sure what I believe. But I do believe loving and serving each other is Jesus' key message, and the focus of my spirituality. And I may have found a great community of loving and like-minded friends.

So that's me in a nutshell. And look forward to exchanging ideas an inspiration with everyone here.

BTW, I am joining many of the church members this weekend at the St Petersburg Pride Parade. Such a different world!

Edited by BillyBitts
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Billy great to read your story and spiritual path. It makes me happy that you were guided by joy. You bring a lot to this forum so I hope you share your thoughts in our discussions.

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Welcome to this online community. Your story is familiar and i share your joy in being liberated from being boxed in by blind acceptance masking as faith in fundamental Christianity. May your journey be filled with love and an inward peace that cannot be robbed by other men and their myths.



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