I find this interesting. Raised in a conservative
Southern Baptist church, I have been on a lifetime journey to
make peace with myself, the Christian faith, and with God.
Many doubts and questions about this particular brand of
religion were present and rolling around my heart and mind
from a very young age. But it took time and courage to put the
misgivings on the table and carefully examine them.
For much of my life, matters of faith and following
God felt like a chore or some kind of cruel cosmic exam. It felt
like an exercise in stumbling through an intentionally difficult
maze, taking a test while desperately seeking all of the right
answers, or tripping through a war zone trying to avoid hidden
land mines. My soul cried out for something different.
The atmosphere in which my religious life was formed
was legalistic. As a child, I had no awareness or vocabulary for
such ideas. A fear of hell and damnation outmuscled any
message of mercy or grace in my tenderhearted soul.
Performance and image seemed to matter infinitely more than
the truth and reality of what I witnessed around as well as
inside of me. I did not know where to go to express the
uncertainties that darted around my mind.
Up on the wall in my childhood bedroom, a nine by
twelve framed print of a little girl kneeling in prayer while
looking toward an ethereal light above was displayed. This
mystical glow somehow satisfied my young soul. Is that what
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