Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Different Reasons for the Same Book

On church on Sunday I was listening to the sermon, very closely, and ironically enough I can't really remember what it was about but I can't seem to get it off of my mind.  That probably doesn't make sense but sometimes you hear what the holy spirit wants you to hear.  The point of the sermon can have everything or nothing at all to do with what the speaker is saying.  I don't mean to trivialize the minister because he is a very important tool for God, I just mean that sometimes the message he delivers isn't necessarily what he planned.

Like I said, I can't remember how I got on this path but I can't seem to get away from it.  I grew up in an extremely conservative church with a minister who I still credit for helping me get me on my spiritual path.  To this day, I don't think I'd have the relationship with God that I have if it hadn't been for Jim introducing me to Him when I was young.  Jim also helped me through countless spiritual crisis throughout my first few years of adulthood.  He is the one who baptized me, he counseled me when I decide to marry Keith, and he and his wife were there for me every time I needed something, they are truly fantastic people.

When I moved to WV Jim helped me find a "sound church" in town and even called them to get the lowdown for me.  Much like most of my experiences in WV, that church presented as open, friendly, and the perfect fit; when in reality it was just one more thing on the list that made me miserable.  I didn't fit in and it caused some major hiccups in my life.  (personal and spiritual)

I'd expected everything to fall into place but it just wasn't working that way.  I ended up leaving the church and leaving all churches for awhile because I'd never gone to any church besides the extremely conservative type and this was the only option within two or more hours.  I sort of freaked out and felt totally lost, I didn't know where to go.  On my way anywhere from my house, I passed a church and one day they had a sign up advertising Tuesday School with their phone number so I called.  I got in touch with this amazing woman, Michelle, and we talked like old friends for nearly half an hour.  That was my gateway into a more "liberal" version of the same brand of church I'd grown up in.

That church is where I met the second most influential minister in my life, Mark.  Mark was a very open minded, charismatic, kind hearted, and fun minister.  Not to say that Jim wasn't those things, but Mark was almost Jim's polar opposite but very similar at the same time.  Mark was the first minister I'd heard, since Jim, who I looked forward to hearing every Sunday.  I always knew that whatever Mark was bringing on Sunday morning would be spectacular, I knew his sermons would be pleasant, educating, and often times life changing.

What's ironic about these two men is that as much as I admire and respect both of them and as terrific as they both are; if I put them in a room together I'm not sure which one would walk out.  Both are Christian ministers but they are pretty far apart on beliefs, and that is what's got me thinking...

How can educated, intelligent, great, Christian men have such different stances?  (Or anyone really, not just men.)  That's one of those things I don't understand about religion in general.  I'm a Christian and I have a great relationship with God.  I pray, I study, I try really hard to live a Christian life, and I believe 100% in God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit.  With that said, I'm still confused most of the time about how we can all want to do the right thing so bad but we all have varying views of how to go about it. 

No one likes labels, but in my religion there is a huge gamete of beliefs and the only way I know to clarify is with the labels.  There is the extremely conservative, legalistic, church that I grew up in then there is the other end of the spectrum that I don't know much about but I grew up hearing tales of the "liberal churches" and I think I fall somewhere in between (but closer to the conservative side.  What can I say, my roots run deep!)

Anyway, this all has me thinking about it and I can't find the answer and I'm not even sure there is one, but I'm glad we all have a forgiving God who loves us anyway.  Whether we have the answers or not, God does and we are all doing the best we can to serve Him and I pray that as long we keep trying He will keep forgiving!


  1. Umm... its because everyone is different. Everyone has different influences and experiences in life that make them who they are. It's not usually about some doctrine be it religion or political views. It's not those things that make us who we are. It's all the other stuff that we don't even think about or realize that make us who we are, and then we just gravitate towards various doctrines that we are comfortable with or that fill some void.

    Your asking and thinking about something that I've pondered for 20+ years now. It's why I don't take anything at face value. I don't usually care about who or what people appear to be about on the outside, I am fascinated about what made people who they are.

    How can kids raised by the same parents grow up to be so different? Same parents, same influences it would seem.. but there are so many other factors that we just don't recognize that make people who they are.

    You can have people believe in the same doctrines but for different reasons. Two people may be fiscally conservative for two completely different reasons. You can have people who are very liberal for completely different reasons.

    It's all part of that "don't judge" thing that the bible talks about. There's a reason for that. You never know until you have walked in that persons shoes, experienced the same things, had the same influences that formed who you are and make you make the decisions you make.

    Had you not been raised the way you had with such conservative values would you be a different person? Same parents but different values, different school or neighborhood, different teacher or friends. The amount of variables in the equation of life is vast and everyone is different. We try to stick with what is comfortable and associate with those we are comfortable with.

    I could go on forever about this. I wish more people would think about this. I wish they would really realize the implication and impact that thinking this way can have on a person. I don't think a lot of people truly realize the implication that this way of thinking can have on one's own philosophical views about people and thus life in general.

  2. If you try to ponder WHY or WHAT about everything, ask WHY or WHAT made Lisa think about this, what made her write this post. What are the underlying variables that you may not even know influenced your decision to post that?

    Think of the human body, thing of all the variables that make us who we are physically.. no one has the same finger print, no one has the same synapsis or neuron's firing. The amount of stuff within each person's physical being is just as vast and different and part of the physical equation that make us who we are. The same thing occurs with us mentally and with what makes us who we are and makes the decisions we make. The equation is just mind blowing.

    You have no idea who you will be 5, 10, 20 years from now. You might think you do, but your just guessing. We all are. One life changing event can completely alter who we are fundamentally sometimes it's sudden changes, sometimes its just little things that we don't even notice. One minor event today, could cause you to ponder something, that could cause you to question something, that could cause you to see something in a new light and so on and on...

    It's a fascinating journey. We should always think about the possible variable in life that might have influenced a person to say or do or feel a certain way, especially if its an opposing view.