My questioning period has come about 60 years later than for most people and continues...
6 Ways to Sunday: My Spiritual Journey By Betty Ruth Jackson
My spiritual journey began when my parents taught me, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Sometime after learning those words, I heard a second verse: "And if I live for other days, I pray the Lord to bless my ways." That was encouraging! One Sunday morning the Baptist minister of our little church offered a chance to respond to the gospel, as part of the Sunday School opening. I went forward (at about age 9) and went home to tell my parents. Their response was, "You are too young and would have to give up too much." And later I reported this to the minister, with a little fear in my heart, and did not become a member, but did continue attending Sunday School.
The MYF at the local Methodist Church had special emphasis on inviting people to their church, when I was a freshman in high school. That turned out to be a new road to travel on my journey. Again, I responded to an altar call at a Youth for Christ meeting (about age 15) and pastors from the meeting called on me at home with my parents present. They encouraged me to become part of a local church. The experiences in this church family, especially the MYF and the mentoring of the pastor's wife, opened the possibility of going to a Christian college.
Taylor University was my "home" for four years, offering some challenges and opportunities, but looking back I do not see myself asking questions about the Bible, my faith and the world that others have talked about in describing their journeys of faith.
A short term (3 years) in Korea began to open up some different pathways to show love for God and others. In Seminary at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, the great message of the gospel, God loves me, became very real. Even here I somehow dodged some of the challenging questions of mature faith. Even Old Testament studies did not raise any doubts.
One of our pastors at Trinity encouraged us to read, "The Bible in a Year." It was arranged with daily readings that included Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm. It was as if I had never read the Bible before. The shock was great! Did God really tell his people to kill those who lived in the land promised to the Israelites? And about this same time, our Lamplighters Sunday School class began some challenging studies and discussions about the meaning of the Bible, as well as how it was written, and what difference our understanding could make in our witness and living for Christ. My questioning period has come about 60 years later than for most people and continues as the Vision Team and Trinity Church members wrestle with how we can be God's Church in the 21st century.
What has been your faith journey? Post your comments below!