I want to preface this article by stating two things. My sole intention is to encourage men to pursue their convictions, even in difficulty. I hope to do this by sharing a bit of my own journey. Second, I in no way believe I possess the answers to the massive and complicated situations I am about to mention.
In the early 1990s some of my earliest memories as a child were within the confines of a traditional Evangelical Covenant Church and to be honest there are some pretty good memories. Playing with other kids, eating classic church potluck food, waging competitive war in ultimate frisbee, and getting my back scratched by my parents during the sermon. The only Sundays as a young dependent that I did not spend worshiping the Christian God seemed to be when on family vacation or puking my guts out at home. Needless to say, missing a Sunday church service was equal to or greater than the end of the world in my young mind. I went to Sunday school, did an AWANA program(kinda like boy-scouts), and was quite involved in youth group. I did it all!
Life continued at a steady, unwavering pace, as it does. I found myself and my journey with Christianity quickly moving out of that ever so comfortable central, Minnesotan bubble. When I graduated from high school I wanted to see for myself if this Bible was all it was talked up to be. Over the next five years I traveled across the U.S. residing in five different states, living out of my suitcase for very long periods of time, and serving under charismatic Christian ministries that were innovative for their time and the closest thing I could find to God tangibly interacting with the human race. I began to wonder about the journey I was on. I will openly admit that there were things that I cannot explain nor am I sure I ever will be able to. One could say I cannot deny God and I would agree with you. That is conversation for another time, however.
The personal pursuit I had for truth had set me up in the middle of nowhere, unsure of what I believed anymore. Traveling had its ups and downs that eventually landed me smack dab in the middle of the country. I landed in Kansas City, MO, working as an electrician, where I still currently call home and make my living. The employment of a normal career that was far outside of the religious world I was immersed in has released me to start diving deeper into books and allowing questions and thoughts to arise that were not morally acceptable in past organizations I had been affiliated with. I started questioning almost everything I believed off the basis of this one statement that had developed in my mind. "If I am afraid my beliefs will not stand up to questioning, then I do not believe they are true. Therefore, I should question everything I believe to find out what I believe is true." This led me to discover that many of the core values I had held in close to my heart were actually cultural assumptions that had no substantial legitimacy. Initially I was devastated. The projection of these principles into the atmosphere of the past organizations I loved and served in, led me to naturally accept them as true. These principles that had shaped my life were merely part of a culture and not an absolute truth.
In my pursuit of Jesus and truth I had come to find that the Christian Culture I had grown up in and associated myself with was simply nothing more than another social club cross-pollinated seamlessly with an ancient Judaic religion. I found that much of the ritualistic obligations that I had once felt so deeply to comply with were nothing more than fragments of a manipulative system trying to conform me into something which I did not even see present in the pages of scripture that was preached from their pulpit. This is where I find myself today.
I am telling you all this because I am on a journey to find truth and authentically live out what I believe. That is one of the many reasons why I started The Man Effect. I want to truly know what it means to be a man, in its most real and raw form. In my pursuit of the unknown, my pilgrimage has led where I did not anticipate, it’s not even on the same planet. You see, in the last five years a significant portion of what I held to be true has drastically changed, even though I was "seeking after" Jesus. My journey has led me away from the church and into a life which some would consider normal with the basic secular grind. I am wrestling with God and my belief of his existence.
So if you find yourself in a life where you are not sure what is true anymore, like I did, then I urge you DO NOT GIVE UP. Get uncomfortable, ask the hard questions, don't run away, don't numb yourself, and fight the good fight of life. I was thinking the other day about how slow a tree grows and the hundreds of good and bad seasons it will go through as it grows into the mighty structure that will eventually stand firm in the earth. I wonder if life is about figuring things out, or rather just existing in the wilderness and not giving up. If everything I once held to be good and true no longer is, then will I be okay? What if aliens do exist (hahahaha!)? What if our government is not out to get us? What if Jesus is not what I was taught? Will I survive the changing seasons or will I just shrivel up and die? I find it so important for myself to face these type of questions and trials. Would you join me on this journey?
I would love to hear your thoughts! Please take time to comment and share!!!!