I remember the day that my faith first died.
It was a Sunday afternoon in the late summer and everything that I once knew was gone. It was during a time of transition in my life and I was on shaky ground as it was — I did not need something else to fall apart. See, I grew up very sheltered. My family and I were at church every time the doors were open. I attended a private, Christian school from kindergarten through eighth grade. Just about everyone in my life believed the same thing. And then, I transferred from my private school (which had about 150 total students) to a public high school (which had about 2,000 students). I realized then that not everyone believed the same thing.
And then, that Sunday afternoon happened. It was the day that my faith died. It was the day that I first began to understand what hypocrisy was. It was the day that I began to wonder if church, Christianity, or even God was true at all.
An announcement was made in church that morning: the pastor was resigning. Now, for many people, this is not a big deal. For me, it was. See, my pastor was my mentor. I began wrestling with “a call to ministry”, whatever that meant for me at the time, and he had taken me under his wing. Then, he was gone. I found it odd that I had sat and watched a football game with him the Friday before and he never mentioned a word. Yes, very odd indeed.
I would find out later that Sunday afternoon that my pastor had failed morally — that was why he left the church without giving me a hint that I would never see my mentor again. I have never seen him since.
I found myself growing confused, sad, and angry that afternoon. I just did not understand. I remember crying myself to sleep that night, trying to pray. For the first time in my life, I was not sure if God was there.
I tell you this story because I know it is not a unique one. I know that I was not the first or the last person to be hurt deeply by the church. I was not the first person to pray to a God that I was not sure was there. Somehow, someway, many of you can relate to this story I have just told you.
I also tell you this story as I am beginning a series of blogs which I have titled, “An Apology”. Now, this is not going to be a typical apologetic approach where I hope to prove the existence of God. I gave up on such endeavors a long time ago. I do not hope to prove anything or even “convert” anybody — whatever that means. All I hope to do is explain why I, despite whatever doubts come my way, have chosen to live in to the gospel of Jesus Christ — why I believe that Jesus’ words are true. This is not an argument. This is an apology — because I am sorry that the Church has so often misrepresented Christ. Because I am sorry that I do not have all the answers. Because I am sorry that you have spent nights crying out to a God that you doubt was there. I am sorry — I apologize. I apologize that I put my faith in a God that many have felt abandoned by.
Perhaps, if you give me a chance, you can understand why I unashamedly believe in Jesus Christ despite doubts.
“An Apology” will consist of several blog posts, to be posted each Monday. The posts will be as follows: “Introduction”, “Apologizing”, “What I believe”, “What I don’t believe”, “Why I believe”, “Why I don’t believe”, “Conclusion: Why I Still Believe”.