I was raised in a Methodist church. The largest Methodist church in my city with about a block of parking, a huge church. Where I’m from people often refer to it as the “Six Flags Over Jesus” church. I was baptized and confirmed here. My parents were married by the minister and had been official members of the church since it began. The more members the church had, the more it seemed to me to be full of people who sat in church and lifted their hands when they sang and really loved Jesus. But I quickly realized the only time they truly seemed to love God was here. Sunday morning and Sunday night during services. I saw them gossiping about other kids (which happens naturally when you’re in your pre-teens of course), but more than that I saw the “popular” kids really tormenting those of us who weren’t as popular. It got to where I, and others, never wanted to go to that church. I dreaded it – I pretended I was sick, or that I had too much homework Sunday night to go to Youth services. The more I encountered these “Christians” I assumed all Christians were like this – hypocrites. People were so rich in this church and yet would just pass the offering plate to the next person, not leaving anything. They didn’t want to donate their time or money to spreading the Word even in our own community. It always felt wrong to me, I always wanted to do more.
I have written elsewhere of my long, difficult spiritual journey. I was a disobedient, rebellious person even after I started becoming convinced of the Truth. I have wandered down many dark paths, seeking for answers but often refusing them when they were right before my eyes. But now I thank my Lord and Savior that he is long-suffering and merciful and kept goading me until I admitted defeat and surrendered to Him.
During this long journey, I looked for wisdom in many places. I have read the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras and the Book of Mormon, the teachings of the Baha’i and pagan/occult works. It wasn’t until after my mother died in 1976 that someone led me to the Bible- and I could tell immediately that this book was different. I had found the explanation for why I- and the whole world- was such a mess. More importantly, I had discovered the One who had the solution. It would be many years before I would really have the desire to live by the precepts taught in the Bible, but thereafter that Book and its Author would never let go of me.
The popular atheist PZ Myers has had a running series on his acclaimed blog, Pharyngula, titled “Why I’m an Atheist.” I see this shared on Twitter all the time and it’s very sad to read these atheist testimonies. All too many of these posts are stories of people who claim to have been Christian and have left the faith. I wanted to start a counter-series here on your story. The series will be, “Why I’m a Christian.” All you would need to do is send me an email at maxeoa[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me why you became a Christian and why you continue being a Christian. Your story can be however long you want it to be. Unless you note otherwise (if you want last name, last initial, anonymity, etc.), I’ll only use your first name. I hope to spread your stories to demonstrate the glory and work of God in your lives. Another benefit in doing this is so we can encourage other Christians to persevere in the faith and hopefully some of your stories will resonate with the hearts others–Christian and non-Christian. Please share this with anyone you think may be interested. I’ll post them as they come in.