I'm not sure how to start this blog, so I will "brain dump" this one out. Apologies if it turns into a jumbled mess.
I've been considered the future. What is best for me? I want Dylan to have a strong legacy of faith like I do. My Great-great grands, great grands, were believers in Christ. The legacy has been passed onto me through my Pastor Grandpa and grandma, to my mom and now its my turn. How do I best go about this? Admittedly, I have no clue. I know Dylan will mirror what he is shown until he can decide for himself. I realize the bible talks about training your children in the way you desire them to go. The hope is that they don't turn from that when they grow older. This terrifies me.
I've been raised in church from day one. If it weren't for personal experiences and church being the place I feel most at home, I'm not sure where I'd be. I've seen plenty of people by hurt by other believers. I've even felt the need to apologize for other believer's actions numerous times. I find that deplorable. I don't want Dylan to grow up being hurt by anyone, let alone the people who claim to be followers of a loving God. We, as a spiritual body, should hurt when terrible things happen. Do we though?
If you loose the use of your natural eyes, studies show your ears will become more sensitive to their surroundings. A physical body will compensate with it's other senses when injury occurs. It a physical response to a loss that proves to be most significant. One that the church should mirror. Actions ARE very important. (I totally hadn't planned on this direction with this! Woowho for brain dumping.)
I believe Christianity is the truth. I do find many challenges in our chosen responses to foundational doctrine of Christian belief. We say we want revival or an influx of new souls to nourish into strong Christians. One of two things happen: nothing or the people come. We forget new people means unpolished humans who are at or close to rock bottom in need of God's love, forgiveness, and grace. They come with their smells and habits. They come as unsavory looking characters, you know the ones we try to shield our children from. They are the huddled masses.
I find when new people do come, we immediately try to show them into a get-saved-be-polished-to-perfection box. We may as well show them into a locker room shower with a bible study in hand. It IS exciting to see the new faces become transformed. I've often wondered if this quick change is a true character building God lead salvation or just a move-into-a-mold-with-bags-in-tow type of experience.
I have felt the latter as a child not fully understanding everything. I had no tools to comprehend what the rapture meant or how awful hell was. I still don't. I had reoccurring nightmares of people in our church dealing with spiritual battles. I learned quickly that the spirit world was a very real place. I remember running home from the bus after school one day to find my house empty and freaking out. The teacher at school had been talking about solar eclipses at school and I knew that to be a sign of the end times. I recall knowing the move of God's spirit through prayer.
I had people tell me again and again to get the Holy Ghost and get baptized. It was a lot of pressure for me at such a young age. While some of the pressure was genuine God-lead personal conviction, most of the pressure came from believers. I did take the steps to into salvation when I was 12 years old. Some describe the experience as freeing, a place where their burdens rolled-away. I recall it being where responsibility to answer to the cross was added. It was a type of burden to know the battles I'd dreamed about was now raging over me. That night I slept knowing which side I'd chosen.
(Sorry so long...) While I want Dylan to have a legacy of faith and belief in Christ, I don't want him to feel pressure TO believe. I think there must be a way to teach him the important things about this life while showing him there isn't fear in love. There must be a way to let him know true conviction comes from God and lasts your lifetime. I don't want him terrified into salvation. I want him to know how to worship his way into a life with Christ and out of life's sticky situations. I want him to respect other religions and find wisdom for his own walk from them.
I admire the Mormons for their knowing what they believe They send their youth to a summer of service. The young people must be out of debt to go on mission. They are gone anywhere from 3 months to a year or more. The first portion of their mission is an in-depth study of doctrine. Most of the kids I've sat/sit in the pews with don't know the books of the bible, how to share with others their beliefs, or where in the bible those beliefs stem from.
Muslims are called to pray 5 times a day. I find this amazing. I know there are days some times weeks that I don't pray outside a church service. Yes I'm ratting myself out for honesty's sake. I admire their value of abstinence for the young and unmarried, despite the stories I've heard on how they enforce it. They seem to cherish it.
I admire some Eastern religions for their stance on peace and giving. I admire other belief systems for their care of the this planet. We should be taking care of the things we are given to the best we know how: our health, our finances, our relationships and our world.
There are other religions that go to great lengths to show their devotion to their gods. The worshipers will cut themselves or give everything they own away to walk miles on their knees to their holy place to show their loyalty. While I don't think such lengths are necessary in worshiping Christ, we should be willing to give everything away. We should at the very least get out of the pew in which we sit to give thanks to the Creator.