Give Yourself to Others …

My personal journey, part 1

Posted on: 2009/08/17

It’s always a little arrogant to think that writing about one’s own personal experience might be useful to others.  But here I am doing that very thing, for that very reason.  My purpose is only to provide encouragement to those readers who can relate to my story, or those who are willing to think only for themselves, doubting anything said by anyone else.

So, here goes.

1 Peter 3:14-16

14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

For reasons, I’ve never really known, this passage really stuck in my head — going back at least to my teenage years.  Especially, the middle verse where it says be prepared to give answer for the hope you have.

In my gut, I felt like not all the things I was being taught in my Bible classes at church, really met that criteria.  In retrospect, I was being taught very clear rules, but not very clear rationale for those rules.  Many times the scriptures, provided to me as evidence for the rules, did not, to me, say the things my teachers were telling me it said.

Maybe, you would write that off to teenage rebellion — and I would not entirely dispute that.  However, I’ve never let that passage go … ever.

And when I ask for a reason, I want a reason that is simple and obvious to anyone.  The reason should not require a Ph D in hermeneutics or theology.  A simple person, simply reading the Text, should be able to see the rationale.

Is that too much to ask?

I didn’t think so.  And as a result, I became pretty skeptical listening to preachers and bible teachers, ever since.  No different today.

In my experience, there seem to be a lot of believers who are afraid to question what they think.  Raising a question about one’s faith seems to cast doubt on one’s entire faith.  I never bought that.  Questioning what you believe is the only way to know that you really believe it.  That it’s really part of who you are, and not just something with which you’ve been indoctrinated by parents, teachers and other very well meaning folk.

That was step 1.

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