Posted by: celticanglican | June 18, 2007

My Testimony

A shorter version of my testimony has previously been published on SheLovesGod.com, but I felt it would be beneficial to share some of why I made the decisions I did.

I was raised in the Episcopal Church and attended the Eucharist every Sunday as a child. I don’t remember why, but at a certain point my attendance dwindled, and for several years I only set foot in a church for funerals, weddings, and special occassions I was invited to. In elementary school, my friends and I weren’t much interested in religion. It wasn’t until junior high that anyone seemed that interested.
The town I grew up in was pretty diverse, and the other kids belonged to several churches and religions. Many were Roman Catholics, others were Jehovah’s Witnesses, quite a few were Jewish, and a few attended a fundamentalist Protestant church. Between these few listed here, and other religious affiliations, I wondered how anybody could tell which were true and which weren’t. To top things off, a few kids who professed Christianity behaved in a very un-Christian way. This put me off of Christianity,
since at that point I was judging faiths by their followers.

A New Age bookstore/resource center opened up in town when I was about 14, and I quickly developed an interest in astrology, dowsing, Tarot cards, crystals, the paranormal, and the Quaballah. I also found books about Marian apparitions interesting, and read a few esoteric Christian writings. I believed at the time that Jesus was a great teacher and prophet, but that organized Christianity had distorted His teachings.

After a few years of this, though, I still felt a bit of a void and was questioning the wisdom of dabbling in the occult. I also questioned the lack of unity in New Age teachings and felt that some of them (such as reincarnation, “walk-ins”, etc.) were incompatible with the concept of a loving, personal God. I later learned that much of New Age teaching is centered around a belief in monism (all is one, and all is God), which doesn’t fit in with the idea of a personal God, IMO. While I believed in one God, and desired something with more concrete teachings, I still wouldn’t accept Christianity.

I started reading up on Judaism, and thought that would be a good option, although I wasn’t sure how my family would react. However, when the holidays came around, I started to think of how Christmas and Easter would be handled. We did go to church that Christmas Day, but the matter of going back every Sunday wasn’t pushed. However, it was about that time that I got out a copy of the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) and started reading it. I realized, too, not only would the holidays be an issue, but from reading about Jesus in the BCP’s Catechism, I started to believe that He was the Messiah, and know such a belief was not compatible with Judaism.
During a particuarly depressing week I had in March of 1997, I did some real soul-searching. I was almost 17, but felt like I had about as much spiritual sense as a child. I walked by a Catholic church that had a statue of Mary in front of the parish office, looking like a very compassionate mother. I felt a sense of peace, and I asked God to show me what to do.
That Saturday, I realized that the next day was Palm Sunday. I asked my mom if we could go to church. She looked surpised that I’d asked, but we went. The liturgy was very moving, and I came to an understanding of what Jesus went through-for us, during the singing of the 22nd Psalm. I asked God to forgive my sins. From that point on, I was there almost every Sunday.
My confirmation date was April 25, 1998, on the Feast of St. Mark. Things were a little shaky for me after I moved from Massachusetts to Texas in 1999, but in the last few years I’ve found my faith strengthened. While living in Houston, I was part of a parish that placed a lot of emphasis on finding and using your spiritual gifts. My faith became more alive for me in a new way after attending a mini-retreat that my parish had. In June of 2003, I become a third order associate with the Order of St. Andrew and, in spite of all the turmoil my church has faced lately after our recent General Convention, my faith has stayed strong. I re-affirmed my confirmation vows in December of 2003 and was commissioned as a Eucharistic Minister in 2005.

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