Tuesday, June 01, 2004

An Anniversary of Sorts - Part I of my faith journey

It has been one year since we left the ELCA. This past year has been the most spiritual rich of my life. I have learned so much and yet I feel like I'm just starting.

My life thus far...

My husband and I were raised lutheran (LCA and ELC). We were taught Luther's Small Catechism, memorized creeds and scripture and were confirmed in 10th grade in somber ceremonies. There were a few confirmands who seemed, to me, to be a bit overly religious for our age. The adults were impressed with those kids and had them speak at the confirmation service. After confirmation, we were still strongly "encouraged" to attend church, but at least we didn't have to sit through boring confirmation classes. Being teens, we didn't notice the talks the adults were having about a merger. I remember being told that the ELC had become the ELCA, but it meant nothing to me. I'm sure my mom tried to explain it to me. Our church didn't seem to change to me once we became part of the ELCA. Our pastors seemed old and boring to me, except for Pastor Maynard Nelson. For some reason, I paid attention to his sermons. He was the only one who didn't "preach" about world hunger or social justice; he actually preached from the Bible. It was his ability to preach the gospel that eventually brought me back to that ELCA church after years of searching through the evangelical, baptist and protestant world.

In my second year of college, through the influence of some new friends, I learned that it was "bad" to be lutheran. My new friends told that I needed to be born again. I was vulnerable to this teaching because I had spent the past year and a half listening to false friends who told me that life was just a big party. This turned about to be a lie and brought me lots of heartache. I was now confronted with my unconfessed sins and my friends seemed to be offering me hope of a fresh start. At the time I thought I had become born again through my "sinner's prayer". The one thought that I remember from that night was thinking, "I was taught about God and the Bible, but I thought He ceased to exist years ago and what was described in the Bible was just fiction." I had a very clear sense, all of a sudden, that God was real, He knew who I was and the Bible accounts were real. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't learn for 23 more years that the reason I knew those things was because God's Holy Spirit already existed in me, due to my parents bringing me to the Holy waters of baptism, to Sunday School and to confirmation; and that the only way I could possibly confess Jesus Christ as Lord was because of the Holy Spirit already in me. This one false teaching kept me from peace for 23 years and this very prevalent teaching among campus ministries will put my kids into good lutheran colleges! Still, I was on the right track. At least I wasn't looking for fellowship in the bars! I became actively involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. My goal became to rid my life of its sins, praise God, study the Bible and try to convert others. I attended an independent Bible church, because "everyone" knew that independent was best. I told people who asked that I was raised lutheran, but now I was a Christian. When I told my mom that I had become a Christian, she chuckled and asked what I was before. She knew that she had raised me in Christian faith. I think she was just glad that I was seeking God rather than parties. More later...

2 comments:

Susan said...

Hi,
I just found your blog and can't wait to read more of your story. From what I've skimmed so far, it is so familiar.

My husband and I were raised in ALC churches and recently left our ELCA church. We are currently attending a non-denom church as we don't see a clear alternative at present. I'm not unhappy with our current church, but I can't wonder about these things of which you write.

TKls2myhrt said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope to hear from you again.