Changed My Mind

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(The courtyard of the Freer Museum in Washington, D.C.)

I grew up with Evangelical Southern Baptist parents and spent a solid amount of time attending church, youth groups, AWANA, vacation bible schools, and youth camps. When I was 18, shortly after I graduated high school, I became disenchanted with church – with the Evangelical Southern Baptist denomination in particular. Much to my parents’ chagrin, I switched to a non-denominational church a few months after turning 18. Six months later, the church I was attending offered a 10-month-long “internship” that was a cross between listening to a billion speakers every week (on topics like counseling, money management, and self-improvement in addition to biblical teachings) and being a full-time church volunteer. It was a wonderful experience that grew me tremendously and taught me a lot. I completed the internship and then did not go to church for about 6 months straight. I moved to Europe and attended an international church with non-denominational teachings for 2 years that was a plant through the C3 church organization. I moved back to Texas and did not go to church for 6 months. I got married and moved to Tennessee and tried church again off and on for 6 months. About this time last year, S and I stopped going to church.

I have changed my mind a lot. I have had one idea of God followed by a different one. I have had a thousand beliefs and will have thousands more; I am okay with this.
I am a thinking individual. I do not think it is right to believe in something just because someone tells me to. I do not believe in disregarding facts merely because they are inconvenient.
Because of all of this, I have found myself in an interesting place on the landscape of spiritual and religious beliefs.

In a way, it is hard for me to write about this. I have heard and seen only too often how ugly and harsh supposedly ‘loving’ Christians are to people who share 99% of their same beliefs. I have kept a tight lid on most of this because I was not ready to for the response from those who will certainly disagree. I do not desire to be told I am wrong – I am already aware that I could be. I have been wrong many times before, after all. I have no desire to start a debate, or for someone to ‘question’ me, or to tell me I do not align with what they think Christians should be or what the bible says.
To be quite frank, I give zero craps what you think.

I believe that the search for understanding and ‘truth’ (regardless of your religious affiliation) should be unending.
I believe that it’s okay to find that you have been wrong, to offer yourself grace, and to change your mind on serious issues.
I believe in love and acceptance of people and of incredible grace.
I believe in evolution – micro and macro.
I believe in gender equality, in feminism and in the righting the ways that treating women as second-rate citizens affects women and men negatively.
I believe in homosexual rights, and in not being a close-minded bigot who shames others.
I believe in God, and I am most familiar with the biblical portrayal of God but I don’t think God is limited. In other words, I don’t think Christians are 100% correct about what they believe about God, and I don’t think Christians are the only ones with correct ideas of God.
I believe that the bible was inspired by God, but I probably use the word ‘inspired’ differently than you do if you happen to be a strict Christian.
I believe in keeping things in context.
I believe that theology does not trump science and/or history; I value them equally.

There will probably be two reactions to this:
1) shock and disappointment
2) happiness and pride
Whatever you feel about my ‘coming out’ of my beliefs, I hope you will keep any negativity to yourself. You are certainly allowed to disagree, to think whatever you want of me, but I have no interest in hearing about it. My goal in writing this post was honesty, not to put a target on myself; please keep your mean-spirited, out-of-context bible verses to yourself (looking at you, Facebook Guy).
On the other hand, if you have something nice to say, I would definitely like to hear it. I know there are a lot of like-minded individuals out there and I would be glad to read about your perspective in the comments.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Wildcard356 says:

    So many things could be said here, but I’ll keep it short. Bravo & Here, Here!

  2. Charles Lominec says:

    Your quote here says it all: “I believe that the search for understanding and ‘truth’ (regardless of your religious affiliation) should be unending.”

    The problem with religion is they claim to already know all the truth that needs to be known, and that anything outside that narrow view are just tricks of the devil meant to lead us astray.

    Never stop learning ;)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on you insights, unending search for understanding, and your willingness to “step out” and share with others. Wildcard356 summed it up perfectly: “Bravo, Here, Here!”

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