For Believers Who Have Considered Apostasy When Faith Isn’t Enuf

[Word count: 1671. Approximate read time: 6-7 minutes]

God prompted me to write out my testimony of why I believe in him recently. That was probably so I could have a more sure footing from which to talk about why I doubt him. I usually avoid disclaimers, but for this entry, it’s been as difficult to write out as it has been to live out. So please pray about what you don’t understand or agree with, and also be considerate in your judgments. If I deliver it correctly, you will do some judging.

For all we know

“And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know…”
—from “The Prayer

For those outside Christendom who are unaware, apostasy, also known as “falling away,” is the act of abandoning the teachings of Christ to become an atheist or agnostic. It is essentially the opposite of conversion to belief in Jesus. This is one of the most feared things that can happen to a Christian. It can get you ostracized from your community of believers, and though some believe in “once saved, always saved,” most believe this loss or rejection of faith results in eternal damnation.

For those inside Christendom who are unaware, where Christians believe Jesus Christ is Lord, and atheists do not believe God exists at all, agnostics say “we don’t know.” Agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist. It does not reject that God exists, but it does not prove him either. It’s like the spiritual embodiment of “I can neither confirm nor deny.”

As un-Christian as this viewpoint is, I can honestly say, I have leaned toward this philosophy for years while professing belief in Christ. It’s not foreign to me. I’ve just never really allowed myself to examine it until now.

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Why I Believe in God

[Word count: 901. Approximate read time: 3-4 minutes]

My grandmother, me, and my grandfather

I had a very close relationship with my grandfather. Raised primarily by my paternal grandparents so my mother could work full time and keep the family off of welfare, when my grandmother died in 1989, it was just Papa and I for years, thick as thieves. All he ever talked about me doing was going to college and getting an education. He came through the Great Depression, poverty, and decades of racism having raised a family of 4 on an 8th grade education. He wanted more than that for me.

My mother and I, similar as we were, were constantly at odds. When I turned 18, all I wanted to do was get away from her household and my small-minded hometown. College was my underground railroad to freedom. I thought I was running away from home, but really I was fleeing directly into a place God had set up for me. Continue reading

Lay Your Weapons Down

[Word count: 1605. Approximate read time: 6-8 minutes]

tony-leung-gun-standoff1

I’m hearing a familiar voice calmly asking me to “drop my weapons.” I hear you. But I can’t do that yet. I’m sorry. I want to lay them down. They’re heavy and cumbersome. But there’s a conflict. I picked up this weapon after someone I trusted hurt me pretty badly. My guard was down. I didn’t even see it coming. I’m holding this weapon because I have to. Not because I want to. As long as I hold it, they can’t hurt me again. Not like before. And I still haven’t found a safe place to rest yet. Dropping my weapon would be certain death, tantamount to suicide.

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Love at First Sight, but Not Second

[Word count: 408. Approximate read time: 2 minutes]

While trolling through a clearance CD rack, I flipped past an album I’d always been interested in. Not so much because of its music reviews, but because the album cover was absolutely beautiful to me. The purpose of good art is to attract attention to good artists, and everything about the packaging just got me excited! Soft, warm fleshy browns contrasted with icy pale turquoise under white minimalist type. I opened up the jewel case to find a classy, translucent frosted disc adorned with a cute, flirty icon to match the front. Flipping through the booklet, there’s only page after page of eye-pleasing photos of the beautiful woman on the cover. I fell in love with that alone.

Biding until the perfect moment to see what the music sounded like, I just popped the disc in today. The first track wasn’t too bad, so I kept listening. The second track was so-so, until the end. I couldn’t identify with the lyrics and then the vamp really started grating on me. The third track was mostly forgettable. The fourth whiny and angry. Midway through, I rolled my eyes and skipped it. The fifth sounded like it was going in a nice direction, but turned out to be just a spoken interlude. The next few tracks used some great samples, but after not too long, it was hard to ignore the singer’s drifting pitch.

By the second half of the album, I went from listening to full songs, to listening to half-songs, to scanning each for a minute. As each song seemed to compound the previous one’s disappointment, my attention span got shorter and shorter. Ultimately, there were a few pleasant surprises, but overall, it really fell flat. It doesn’t even look as good now that I’ve listened to it.

I sat for a moment in silence pondering how such a beautiful cover could be wrapped around such lackluster work. They couldn’t have spent some of that packaging money on improving the actual content? Better producers, writers, or even a talented engineer to AutoTune it all could’ve helped dramatically. Talk about the epitome of anticlimactic.

I couldn’t believe something that looked so good could disappoint so badly. I spent money getting this. I spent time listening to it looking for something of value. It was kind of a waste, except for one thing. In a moment of clarity, I thought: “I really need to stop picking my women this way.”