Whoa. I’ve come a long way on this one. In fifteen years, I’ve gone from the absent-spirited acceptance of my birth-given Christian faith, appropriately titled “God-fearing”, to a journey through Buddhism that I am still traveling today, to a kind of lazy, rebellious attempt at breaking away from any religion to form “independent” party.
Recently, God has been unmasked before me, of course having been always there in a formless omnipresence. So having found him, or as I like, It through a reintroduction into Christianity, I have begun reading the Bible so that I may understand this Faith. It is the Way of things that, through doing this, I have stumbled upon my personal bond with faith, and with spirituality.
It goes like this: I’m out walking my grandma’s dog today, and I roll over to Jamba Juice for a soothing Mango Mantra smoothie (oh I love this story) and a Minister from the Calvary Church, which I hadn’t heard of, comes out of Trader Joe’s a few doors down with his two daughters. So I’m sitting here listening to Coldplay-right on- and one of his daughters starts pettin’ the dog.
The minister’s dressed in plain clothes, and he asks, “What are you reading?”
Well Breeze had shown me this book written by her college professor, Edgar J. Goodspeed (not as pompous as he sounds), which was this modern translation of The New Testament written in good old 1923.
So I says to the good minister Steve, I says,” The New Testament.”
“Well la-dee-dah! I’m a minister.” He does this program where he hands out pocketbooks of the Gospel according to John, which is very cool I must say. Here’s the good part. Steve introduces himself (wasn’t that good?) and asks me exactly the kind of question I love to hear,
“Reading the New Testament, do you think you’re going to Heaven or Hell?”
Nice. I was floored.
“Well…Uh yeah I’d say for the most part I agree with what the Bible says is good and I am compassionate and loving and I have sinned but nothing too serious (there’s no such thing buddy).”
So he has me look at a few verses, basically explaining that you can’t earn the love of God, but through redeeming or repenting from your sins you can go to Heaven, basically by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
And then, in so many words he says, “Have been born-again?”
“Well, would you like to?”
“Well then let’s pray.”
I gotta love the guy for this. I say anyone that is willing to pray with someone, to teach them the way of God, to give that gift of absolution, is very brave, and very great. He asked me to repeat this statement with him about the fact that because I have sinned, I need the life of Jesus for my sins. Basically I was born again in about a minute.
“So can I tell you right now that you’re getting into Heaven? If that prayer was sincere, of course.”
And it was. I took this very seriously. I joke about it now but that was one of the most important experiences of my Christian journey, one I am still traveling right now. We exchange e-mail addresses and we move on.
So I turn to Cleo and say, “well that was interesting.”