My Spiritual Journey

     Just as our spiritual journey is a work in progress, so is this page.  Here I summarize the chronology of  my spiritual journey with links to separate posts on different aspects of it.  I will be expanding it with some of the specific spiritual experiences that I have had and with a bit of my personal persuasions and opinions. 

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     As spiritual journeys go, mine has been fairly winding.  My immediate family background was United Methodist, and so much of my early childhood was spent in Sunday School and worship services there.  I went with a friend to a children’s crusade where I first actually understood the Good News that Jesus died for my sins, and I accepted him personally.

     Some time later I heard about the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  I spent lots of time in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and eventually, as a teenager, decided to formally leave the United Methodist Church.  I described myself as non-denominational and began to focus on Christ himself rather than on a particular set of beliefs or practices.

     As  I studied the Bible and attended seminars on the Jewish roots of Christianity, I got involved in the Messianic Jewish Movement.  I learned a lot during that time and met lots of interesting people.  I even learned a good bit of Hebrew.

     My wife introduced me to the denomination of her childhood, the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  I am currently a member of a C&MA church, because I appreciate the Alliance’s emphasis on missions and on Jesus as Sanctifier.

14 responses to “My Spiritual Journey

  1. Well, I don’t see a date for when this was posted, but I’m surprised there haven’t been other comments yet.

    If RG’s path has been winding, I hardly know what to call mine.

    I went to a Congregationalist church with my father as a child, but I was also influenced by my mother’s beliefs. She went to a Unity Church, which is part of a movement called New Thought, and has a lot in common though is not the same as New Age. Using the metaphor of a spiritual journey, my parents would have both agreed that everyone ends at the same destination no matter what path they take to get there. The Bible would be sort of a travelogue, telling how some people had found God.

    By the time I was a teenager, I had decided that if there was a God, he didn’t have much to do with my life. But the idea of faith appealed to me, and when I went with my sister (who had become a Christian at college) to a church that preached the Gospel clearly, I wanted what they had. So I joined an independent fundamentalist Baptist church and received believer’s baptism (I had been baptized as an infant in my father’s church). This church taught that there was only one way to God, with the map clearly marked in the Bible.

    I went to a Baptist college, but also visited other churches, including Presbyterian. The PCUSA church was too liberal, like the UCC church I grew up in. The OPC church was good, but too far away to attend regularly. I went to Spain as part of a study abroad program, and attended first an indigenous church (called Evangelical, which simply meant not Catholic), then a CM&A missionary church.

    After graduating I found a job as a teacher in an interdenominational Christian school founded by a group who were primarily Pentecostal. I discovered that some of my fellow teachers drank alcohol and went to movies, and the school actually had a dance teacher!

    I remained Baptist myself, though I was happy to finally find a Baptist church that was Bible-believing but thought going to movies was OK, women could wear pants, and other versions of the Bible besides KJV were good.

    Then a young man from a Presbyterian church started going to our Baptist college&career group, and within a year we were married. The church he had picked (for its good music program) turned out to be poor on teaching the Word and discipleship, so after trying to start a class to explore what it means to be a Christian and finding people saw little need for it, we went to another church.

    That church (a PCUSA church also, but with a much better Christian ed program for all ages) clearly preached the Gospel, but did not have a problem with having joint services with the nearby Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, and even Catholic church. (The Quakers also joined us but never hosted the service.)

    While we were at that church, my husband found that the call to be a pastor, which he had ignored as a teenager, reasserted itself. So he went to seminary (RCA rather than Presbyterian, for various reasons) and became an ordained pastor.

    He pastored one church for almost six years, until dwindling finances (it was a church of almost exclusively senior citizens) brought about his decision to resign (rather than let the church spend all its money on his salary). He pastored another church for six months, but they decided he wasn’t a good fit for them after all. (Both these were very conservative PCUSA churches.)

    The PCUSA church where we live now is liberal, and wherever the closest conservative Reformed church is, it’s too far away to be part of. For a while my husband worked at the Salvation Army, which he was required to attend so we went with him. It was OK, but strange to me that they don’t celebrate baptism or the Lord’s Supper.

    We currently attend a church that is Baptist but doesn’t advertise the fact, but tries to be a “seeker-sensitive” church.

  2. The Bible says: “The Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). This is how Christ fills those who are His. He has taken up His abode in the Church. There the Lord’s people are to seek their strength in the communion of saints and in the Lord’s Supper.

    It is from the Church, that Jesus will fill the individual. We read that He will fill all. Temperament and natural aptitude are not determining factors. No one is by nature such that he cannot become a Christian, yea, that he cannot be filled by Jesus. Also you can be filled.

    This filling is a gradual process. Jesus fills the individual by more and more taking possession of him. He will fill “all in all.” The individual’s whole life, his home and his work, his thoughts and his interests, his words and his feelings, all of his nature and his being shall be filled by Christ.

    Lord, fill me! Fill everything in me! Place Thy stamp upon me! Take possession of me! Grant that all that I do, all that I say, all that I think, and all that I am, may testify only of Thee!

  3. This is a nice little web site you got going here. I think there need to be more Christians like you who are writers and are willing to blog about ideals and experiences. I can tell by looking around on your site that you are a artistic person and I believe that God is going to use you tremendously. I can see that you update and write things on here often and that’s great!

    I am also a writer but I just don’t have enough to say and I want to write more. So you’ve filled me with a bit of inspiration. I hope you get many more readers and that God flows through your writing and that people would get touched by Him through reading it.

    So, thanks for inspiring me, and continue to do what you’re doing because it’s really great and I’m sure God thinks it’s great too.

  4. I have a different take, though I understand where you’re coming from:
    http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/faith-philosophy-and-the-modern-age/

    I’ve got a lot of posts in my blog about the spiritual situation now (I’m working on one for tomorrow called ‘The Void.’) Here is one about spiritual dehydration:
    http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/spiritual-dehydration/

    Yet whatever one believes, the journey to understand oneself and life is worth it. I’ll respect Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and others like myself who can’t adhere to a particular faith, but recognize the need for a spiritual quest.

  5. I found myself on somewhat a diff. spiritual journey. I was baptized a Missouri Synod Luthern and confirmed in the faith. While in the service I was active in the Navigators. When I married I was baptized a Southern Baptist. During my marriage I became involved with the United Methodist Church. In my later years I have found that reason and common sense have taken hold and I currently hold no belief. I find it comforting at age 70 to be an agnostic.

  6. I am trying to identify the drawing of the resurrection at the beginning of the current page.
    It is deeply moving. I would like to know the artist, name of the piece and where I might view a larger or higher resolution version. Help with this is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

  7. To clarify, by the current page, I mean the March 23 posting of renaissanceguy.
    I am trying to identify the drawing of the resurrection at the beginning of the current page.
    It is deeply moving. I would like to know the artist, name of the piece and where I might view a larger or higher resolution version. Help with this is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

  8. Micahel, the illustration you are referring to is an engraving by Gustave Doré. I don’t remember exactly where I got the image, but if you do a Google search on his name, you will find many nice illustrations of his.

  9. Thank you very much.
    God bless.

  10. When I taught at a Christian school, I was happy to find that they held a hard line regarding a few Christian “basics” (ie, the deity of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, etc) but let some of the secondary issues go (ie, baptism by immersion vs. sprinkling, speaking in tongues, etc).
    What a relief to hear people talking about GOD and FAITH and not about whether the Conservative Baptists or the Southern Baptists were better. Whether Catholics were really Christian or not, whether 7th Day Adventists were a cult or not .. . . aaaaiiieee . . .
    The experience teaching at the Christian school was so good for me; who grew up Catholic, was new-age in college, and had an affirming experience with Jesus as a young adult, it was sometimes confusing to sort out what was “ok” or not.
    Now I know, there are a couple hard-lines we must agree upon:
    1. the Bible is the Word of God
    2. Jesus is his only begotten Son
    3. The trinity is composed of three equally powerful/mutually submissive persons as one God
    4. Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for our salvation if we only believe
    5. Jesus ascended bodily in Heaven and awaits us there

    The preceding statements clarified my faith and allowed me to love and accept others freely. aaah.

    I’m looking forward to reading more on your page!

  11. michael young

    Hi am mike, im 46 years old, i have resistently starting going back to church after over 30 years. I would like to go on my own spiritual journey, would you be able to help me in any way? I am not working at the moment and have very little money, but i would like to start my journey as soon as possible.
    Many thanks
    Mike

  12. Mike, I will offer what I can, I feel like I have started my own spiritual journey just recently(about a year and a half ago) but I think that our whole lives are more or less part of that journey.
    Anyway, I have heard many times that tithing(giving a tenth of what you have to God) is a very good idea, and that people who always make sure to do this first always have enough money, at least to make ends meet. Which makes sense to me, because God knows what we need better than we do.
    Anywho, I would suggest reading the Bible, perhaps starting with a book like Matthew, Luke, or John. Acts is also good. But that could just be my personal preference. I will pray for you, and I hope you get to know Jesus soon :)

    Getting involved in a community of some kind is a good idea. Perhaps you could try going to church with a friend, or something like that.
    I hope that helps! As I said, I will be praying for you, and I’m sure other’s will be also :)

  13. Also! Figure out what you are looking for: Truth or Tradition. It might sound weird, but it is definitely worth thinking about. Ask yourself if you want to find truth, however uncomfortable it may be, or do you want to find what fits what you want right here and now?
    Music is also helpful for maintaining trust in God. Some of my favorite artists are Sanctus Real, Relient K, Stellar Kart, Brandon Heath, TobyMac, Superchick, Tenth Avenue North, Chris Tomlin…I guess that is a few of them :P
    Oh! And it is quite possible that it will be tough, after all, when one decides to give the soul to God, Satan is losing something he very much wants. And who ever gives up easily when they are losing what they very much like to have? But God is stronger than the devil, and all of his demons, things will get better :)
    Some Bible verses I like: Romans 8:18,28,38-39; Mark 5:1-20, really look at verse 10, and how the demons interacted with Jesus. Isaiah 53:5, although the whole chapter is neat.
    I’ll keep praying for you!

  14. The strangest thing about Christianity is the way that a sectarian movement between denominations or teachings is considered to be a diverse and variegated journey. The fact of the matter is that RGs journey appears to have been a meandering along a protestant evangelical pathway. This is indeed a very narrow path, and it allows for a very narrow understanding of its teachings. How is it that we are able to interpret who JC is at all from such a background. In the end, context is all.
    D

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