How I Became A Christian

Just before I came back to OA, a dear friend kept trying to convince me to check-out Christian speaker Joel Osteen (see Inspirational Links, if interested).  I finally reluctantly agreed.  To my surprise, after seeing his show, I realized that this was the first time in my life that I had ever walked-away from a Christian message feeling hopeful and positive.  At around this time, I also started reading anything I could find by Dr. Wayne Dyer (see Inspirational Links, if interested) and I became very interested in spirituality.  I was especially fascinated by the way he integrated all types of religious and philosophical beliefs into the idea I have interpreted to mean that there is a loving Creator Of The Universe that loves all of us and wants to have a relationship with all of us, and that all people all around the world are drawn to this same being, but they just express this feeling in different ways.

After I was back in program and working on The 12 Steps, I very slowly began to re-think the religion of my childhood.  This lead me to one of the best investments of my life: I spent $30 on the book, “Christianity For Dummies.”  I was immediately and completely stunned by my lack of knowledge of even the most basic teachings of Jesus, even though I had been raised a Catholic.  Next I bought a KJV Bible (because I had heard that it was the most accurate translation of the original texts) and I started reading it with the approach of a scientist doing research.  I wanted to know why so many people were drawn to Jesus and what was so special about His teachings.

Then one day, as I was channel-surfing, I happened upon a woman named Joyce Meyer (see Inspirational Links, if interested).  I did not know that she was also a Christian speaker.  In fact, when I tuned-in to her for the first time, she was talking about her addiction to chocolate-covered peanuts.  That, plus her matter-of-fact delivery and her quick wit, grabbed my attention.  I cynically sat there, waiting for a pitch for some new diet pill or new exercise machine that never came.  Then she started mentioning the Bible.  Thanks to Joel, I had already begun to put aside any past prejudice I had about formal religion, so I was okay with this and able and to just listen and see if there was anything in what was being said that could benefit me and my new lifestyle (just as I have finally learned to do at meetings).  But then Joyce mentioned…”The Devil.”

Now THAT was a different story.

I instinctively went for the remote control.  Then this thought came to me:  “Just substitute the words ‘my addiction’ for ‘The Devil’ or ‘Satan.’ ”  And that was all it took.  I am not saying that I agree with all of Joyce’s beliefs, but being open-minded enough to listen to the things she presents that DO seem right to me has made a huge difference in my life, especially with regard to her straight-forward techniques for how to squash the negative thoughts that had dominated my thinking (and therefore, my life) for more than four decades.  But even more than that, she helped me realize that what I was really seeking in all my “research” was a personal relationship with my God, not merely an intellectual understanding of Him.  This, combined with the foundational knowledge I now had about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, convinced me that I was ready to call myself a Christian.

In February of 2011, quietly, at home, through prayer, I gave my life over to the care of Jesus.  Through the 12 Steps, I had already given my life over to a “God of my understanding,” but now that understanding included Jesus and all His teachings.  I then went through an odd period of wanting to tell the world about my awesome new life, but at the same time, being afraid that once I did, I would never be able to live-up to what it truly meant.  I really wanted to wear a cross, which I had never done in my life, but I didn’t feel “worthy.”  I have since made peace with this.  It took some time, but I finally realized that I could apply the program idea that I will never be perfect at following the 12 Steps, that “I am a work in progress,”  to my Christian walk.  As long as I can say that I am genuinely trying to improve, that is all that is required of me (and anyone else).

I have since started-out on a quest to find a Christian church.  I have sat down with three pastors/priests so far, each from a different Christian denomination, and I asked all of them the same grueling two typed pages of single-spaced questions.  All were gracious, all spent literally hours with me, and all expressed complete devotion to and conviction in what they believed, even though all three of them believe three completely different interpretations of the same exact Bible!  Again I was fascinated by the way, even among the same religion, people have come up with different ways to pursue the same thing – – a personal relationship with their God.  As it stands now, I consider myself to be non-denominational, for this very reason.  I also know that I do NOT want to be a part of any church that is critical of any other group, and that I DO want to be part of a church that is based on Jesus’ main doctrine, which is to love God and to love your neighbors (ALL of them, not just certain ones) as yourself.  To me, through the open-mindedness I have learned in program and through hearing about the wide variety of spiritual experiences that people everywhere are having every day in all different ways, it seems so arrogant that anyone would think that their way of following God is the “only” way or the “right” way.  How can anyone honestly believe that when we are talking about the spiritual realm, here!  Doesn’t that automatically mean that it is, by definition, beyond our limited human understanding?  All I DO know for sure is that I have way more than enough “on my plate” (so to speak) in trying to figure out my own walk with God to have any time or energy left over for judging and criticizing what other people are doing in their walk with God.

What others are doing is literally none of my business.

April 5, 2012 This post was written by Categories: The Search For A Higher Power Tagged with:
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