|Thursday, 21 December 2000|
|In my quiet time this morning the thought that has been wondering around in my head a few months now got my attention. I grew up going to church, but in different ways and different churches depending on how old I was. Early on, my mother took us to the local Methodist church. My father never went with us. I was confirmed (or some such thing) and received my first Bible in that church. When I was probably in fifth grade or so, my father became a Christian due to an invitation my uncle gave him to attend the Foursquare Gospel church in Amherst. I grew up in Vermilion, OH. So, from around the fifth grade on I attended the Foursquare Church until leaving for college. In college, I attended a Christian Church/Church of Christ campus ministry known as ACT (Active Christians Today) and then in my senior year a new Assembly of God (AG) church. After college, I attended AG churches and an independent quasi-charismtic church (Community of Believers Christian Church) until I started graduate school, at which time I became fed-up with the Evangelical church and wanted to experience a liturgical church. That is when I began attending St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, OH. I had played with the idea of Catholicism and did a lot of investigation and visitation, but decided there was just too much I could accept within Catholic theology and practice. So, I became an Anglican/Episcopalian. Much of the same liturgical style and Christian expression, but Anglicanism is much more open and allowing of differences then is Catholicism.
Anyway, enough with the background.... The way the Evangelical/Pentecostal/Charismatic side of the church deals with the living out of their faith, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, is quite different then the more ambiguous and liturgical Anglican Church. My belief in God, Christ, and living out my faith has not changed, but the way I approach my faith, this world, scripture, and life in general within Christianity has. This morning, it dawned on me that the pendulum is swinging in a more balance way to some middle ground between more liberal and permissive Christianity and a more rigid and experiential Evangelical Christianity. At this point in my life, I couldn't go back to the Evangelical Church, not ever the evangelical vain of the Episcopal Church, but neither could I go to the other side -- a very liberal Bishop Spong type of Christian expression. I want a third way; a way that allows for the seeking of truth, allows for sanctuary, allows for doubt and questioning, allows for differences in understanding of the way of living out the faith delivered to us from generation to generation. Yet, I also want a Christian expression that is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ as the path to God. Certainly I do not want the increased legalism and arrogance of the Evangelical church, nor do I want the easy-believeism of the liberal Episcopalian church. If I am going to be a Christian, I want the real thing. At this point, I have found that in the liturgy and expression of Anglicanism, but I want a faith that is going to challenge me and call me to commitment -- if I am going to do this then I want to really do it!
The evangelical church won't have me because off our differences in understanding of homosexuality. Since I do not renounce the fact I am gay, they will not accept me (this is a generalization and their are exceptions, but the exceptions are few and far between). I more liberal church will not accept me because of many of my evangelicalesque beliefs. So, here I am in the middle having to forge a road for myself, as I have always done. Gay, Christian, with a hunger to know truth where ever that will lead me. I'm not afraid of the discovery, regardless of what others may say. It is just hard sometimes bucking the system -- not out of rebellion but out of sincere seeking and wanting to live a life of integrity and honesty.
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