The Moment It All Changed
On Sundays, when I write, I do so at length on some topic of religion, Christianity, Jesus stuff, or faith. Beware. These Sunday posts seem to get more interaction that other topics I write about. Religion is buzzworthy, apparently.
It also may be because some of my thoughts come as a surprise to many of my Facebook friends, especially those who knew me before the moment that changed everything. They remember me as the youth group kid, the guy destined to become the next big thing at the next big church. Advocating for churches with expiration dates seems like the last thing I should be doing, in their minds.
These people were also not there, though, when everything changed. The summer of 2002 was a pivotal one for me and my faith (and my love life - that's when I met and fell in love with my wife), due to questions I was asking at the time, books I was reading, and one fateful encounter.
One lunch with Levi sent my certainly about religion and theology packing, replacing it with a more compassionate and dynamic faith than I'd ever been a part of. It began over noodles but is a journey that is still taking place.
Want to know the details? Click here to read about it at Niki Mathias' blog.
She asked me to guest post as part of a series of people she's profiling who had things change in a flash, who have had to rebuild an understanding about themselves and their world after things fell apart in some way.
I'm happy to share my journey at her place. Here's an excerpt:
I couldn’t believe I said those very words. Out of my mouth came what I only knew before as dirty devil lies. I shocked myself. What was I doing? Was I throwing away truth in order to pander to his emotions and come across as politically correct? I was throwing away years of study that had become my very identity. If I said what I did, and worse yet, if I ended up believing it, then I would have no idea who I was. I would be a completely different person and would have to forge a new identity based on who I was after I paid my lunch check. It was my quarter-life crisis five years too early.
I could recant. Even if I never told Levi anything else, I didn’t have to tell any of my like-minded friends what I told him. I could ask God for forgiveness later. No one had to know I even went to lunch. I could just keep it in that secret place all of us keep all of our dirtiest secrets and biggest regrets. I would never have to relive that moment if I didn’t want to. I could continue as before, with this minor road bump serving as a mere hiccup in my quest to be right all the time and keeper of all the answers. I could still study the same theology that dumped me during lunch. Perhaps I could coax it to fall in love with me all over again and we could pretend like lunch never happened.
But to do that I would have to deny who I was becoming. And running from who we are is a chase that never ends and a race we can never win. Our legs will get tired, we will run out of fuel, and who we are will overtake us and we will regret all the miles we ran in the opposite direction. The lunch moment brought to the surface my own destiny and trying to suppress all I was destined to become would only cause me years of heartache I would never be able to get back.