When I published part of my testimony in my last blog post, “I never knew that what I was missing even existed.” I was concerned that some might take it to be a negative “review” of church. I feel like I need to clarify a little bit.
Although it may sound like my experiences in church were stumbling blocks in my spiritual growth, I believe everything I experienced in the churches I attended as I grew up were stepping stones which led me to the place and person I was when abandoned my fear and compartmentalized life in exchange for an intimate relationship with Christ that tends to evidence itself in my life in a transparent, and sometimes vulnerable way.
In 2007, when I read “The Taste of New Wine” by Keith Miller, I believe I was ready to receive the messages in that book. Around that time, I also read The Practice of the Presence of God (free on Amazon & B&N).
(If you’ve been around Compendium before, you know those weren’t the only two books I was reading at the time. When I’m learning something, I collect a stack of books on the subject and saturate myself with information from as many different perspectives as I can find. I take the information that resonates with me, that I can identify with, and it becomes part of me. I discard the rest, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently.)
When FirstHusband and I began attending a Methodist church 12 years ago, we already had a firm theological foundation and truth be told, we still say we are Baptist when asked, because our beliefs are more in line with Baptist doctrine. We were just trying to learn more about Methodist doctrine when we first began attending. We also believe the Methodist church has Biblical and theological foundation, it was just challenging to follow the bread crumbs. Now we know where to look (Book of Discipline).
When it comes right down to it, we wish the Methodist church were more evangelical. (see? there’s that Baptist showing again.)
But even if we had continued to attend Baptist churches, I think the active, prevalent faith I live out today is something I had to find on my own. I’m so thankful for Keith Miller’s book (and Brother Lawrence’s Practice the Presence) for opening my eyes, mind and heart to the idea that a relationship with Christ could be such an integral part of my life.
My goal now is to try and let others know how an intimate relationship with Christ can become an integral part of their lives, no matter what church they attend – or don’t.