The best way to describe the church I grew up in is Pentecostal. But we weren’t just any common Pentecostal. Oh No, we were Holy and Sanctified. We were not Assembly of God or UPC. We were the Body of Christ. The TRUE church. God’s chosen ones. The New Israelites. His bride-to-be.
All these words make me smile. Not because I find them ridiculous. No. I find them to be dear friends that I used to know.
Aside from the abuse, the standards that confined defined me, and the lack of Grace, I really enjoyed growing up in BBA.
I loved (and still do) the music. My father played the piano in service. I often sang with him. It has been a part of my life up until, well 2007.
I loved listening to some of the visiting elder pastors when they spoke. Some scared the pee out of me (LITERALLY when I was 6!) but most of the time, I grew up listening, comforted by the sounds of familiar voices. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to cringe at the teachings that would come forth from the pulpit.
The faith that I remember was really non-denominational. And although they did not emphasize the importance of a conversion experience, they did talk about Jesus. Only, he was our groom-to-be. I never did really understand the importance of his death and resurrection until I was 33 and left the church.
The thing is that you cannot put a label on me. There’s no way to pigeon-hole me into one religious dogma. So how do you label me? Am I truly Christian?
I believe the Bible is true…the stories are true.
- I believe in God the Father. He has a son named Jesus Christ. They have a father/son relationship.
- I believe in the virgin birth. I I believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
- I believe the Holy Ghost is the life spirit that flows between the Father and Son. That on the day of Pentecost this life force was “poured out” on the early church. It was (and is) the comforter that Jesus spoke of to his disciples.
- I believe that evil exists within the heart of a man, not outside of man.
- I believe that when you die, you die. You are as dust. If your soul is alive, it returns to it’s Creator. If your soul is not alive, the soul dies.
- I believe that I am a created being. I am a Spirit within a human body. I DO believe I was truly created in the likeness and image of my Creator.
All these things I believe. Not JUST because I was taught them as a child. No. These are things that I have searched out in the scriptures and believe to be true.
I no longer believe some things.
- That God will kill any child of a parent who turns their back on Him. THIS Idea LEADS TO ABUSE.
- That I am a Christian. I know that the church was called “Christians” first in Asia. However, I do not believe it was ever the intention of my Savior to establish another religion.
- That I have two people living inside of me, causing me to live in anguish. The Bible states that when I accepted the gift from Jesus, I became a NEW creature.
- That I will be part of a literal “Bride”. I believe that a majority of the Book of Revelations has happened.
- That God and Jesus will return to the earth to dwell, not us going up to Heaven (wherever that is).
- That I can make a mistake and God will make me “start over”.
- That I must dress a certain way to show holiness.
- That I must profess loyalty to one man to “lead me in the paths of righteousness.” The only person I follow is Jesus Christ through the spirit lodged inside my soul.
- That I must believe what you believe to be your sister.
Jumping outside of the box has shown me that God is vast beyond my ability to comprehend. He is able to handle a myriad of ideas (correct or incorrect) about Him and it doesn’t change his love for us. I have since decided that calling myself Christian is simply a way to label myself. It doesn’t define me. It divides me.
Divides me from my brother, my sister. Divides me from my neighbor. Divides me from my community. Divides me from the human race. The way I see it, we are ALL human. Our experiences may be completely different, but inside we all have the same red blood.
I no longer see myself as better than you simply because I acknowledge the existence of my Creator and you do not. I no longer see that I can treat another human being differently because I profess my way of living is higher. I simply do not know 100% for sure if that is true. That’s why it’s called faith.
My faith. The one with no label. No definition. Simply a created being longing to be reconnected to her Creator. Loved beyond belief.
So, that’s my faith in a nutshell. From a severely limiting faith to a faith that embraces the reality that God is beyond my limitations.
I think that’s as it should be.