Faith is a funny thing.
I remember taking a "Good & Evil" class in high school that dissected literature and art that depicted good and evil or both. We studied lots of art, movies, great works of literature, and poetry. I can remember sitting in class with a guy named Luke who was a very strong Christian. He carried his Bible with him always and could argue with any non-believer for hours. His mother was even the DJ for the local Christian radio station. Even though he was like this he was still "cool." He wore all black and was almost gothic. He was very intelligent and could write essays that left the rest of us with our mouths hanging open. Anyway... while in this class we studied the Bible. We tore Genesis apart and were thrown questions about whether or not it was real or just a bunch of fables to morally guide us. We were kids. I was only 15 when I was in this class and I found myself questioning things that I had always been taught. I watched Luke, because he was the strongest Christian that I had ever met, and it wasn't long before he too was questioning his beliefs. When that semester ended he was an agnostic at least if not an atheist altogether. How could this be?? I have often wondered about this. How does more knowledge and studying often leave us with even more questions?? I have had this happen lots of times in my life. After reading "The DaVinci Code" I was almost certain that Jesus was married and had a child. Why? I was taught different, but my mind seems to be easily swayed when new information, whether factual or not, is thrown at me. I find myself so eager to learn that sometimes I am learning the wrong things or maybe false things altogether.
I was not raised in a "Christian" home, but I was dragged to church each week to make my grandma happy. I was taught all of the Bible stories that little ones are taught. I learned the songs, I painted the pictures, I did the hand motions, was in the plays, and quoted the verses, but was I really learning? I am not so sure. I find myself now, as an adult, soaking up things about the Bible that for some reason or another went right over my head. I believe it more than ever, but I want to know more about it. I want to study it, but am scared of being swayed again. What if I find things that don't "add up" for me?? What if I read things that I don't personally agree with? What if I find that I have been living in a world full of lies and false hope? What will I do? Will I be able to steer myself correctly? Will I be able to believe things that to a lot of people are unbelievable?
I haven't seen Luke for a few years, but the last time that I saw him he was still in that non-believing frame of mind. I remember how strong he was and it scares me to think that if Satan could shake him up, then what in the world could he do to me?
The other day a girl wanted a smiley face sticker from me. It read "God loves you." She quickly picked up a black marker and marked that out. I stared at her, but didn't say anything. She also saw some stickers shaped like fish and asked about them. I told her that it was the symbol for Jesus and she asked why and I tried to explain. She said, "Well, I don't believe in that stuff, so I don't know about it." How can you not believe in something that you don't know about? That is ridiculous. I want to be a fisherman for Christ, but I often find myself not knowing what to say. How can I help save souls when I am unsure about my own?
My grandparents are pretty sure that I am going straight to Hell based on the fact that I wear pants, cut my hair, wear make-up, and wasn't baptized in the NAME of Jesus. It would drive them to their grave if they knew I had a tattoo. It is in instances like this that I wonder what the point is of trying to save people if there are other people out there going behind us saying, "nope, that's not good enough." Who would want to be a bitter Christian who isn't allowed to do anything except eat?? Am I going to Hell, because I have some jeans? Will I be eternally damned for wearing lip gloss? Do we even believe in the same God? My God is a loving, forgiving God and their God appears as a sniper looking to shoot out anyone that doesn't fit in this perfect mold. What in the world????? Am I wrong?? Are they? Are we both right in some strange way? Or are we both wrong? It is so confusing.
So... the reason for all of this is that I want to learn more about Christianity, but am scared that I will find out things that will rock my faith in a way that it can't be put back together. Am I strong enough to search deeper in my beliefs? Or should I just continue to nod and pretend to know what is going on??
I love penguins, but am not so sure that I want to be one...
"Just smile and wave, boys. Just smile and wave."