Author’s Note: I wrote these short essays for an application. As such, they do not match the regular tone set for this blog. They do, however, mark out what might best be termed my testimony.
Essay 1: Relationship with Jesus
I have been raised in a Christian household and attend Church regularly. This is not to equate either my upbringing or my affiliations as proofs of my relation with Christ, however they serve as explanations of my perspective: Jesus has always been there for me; He is the air I breathe. As such, I consider that I have always been a Christian, but see my relationship with God as possessing all that growth and amazement of a convert; yet, whereas Christ may like lightening catch a sinner, he has revealed himself to me slowly, the unconscious gradually brought to the foreground.
One of the defining moments of this growth was reading C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.” At that point in my life I think I would have already read the Bible through more than once, but Lewis’ basic apologetic explanations awoke something inside me as I read and reread the opening five or so chapters, studying their logic and reason. I devoured any of his theological—as well as a good many other—works I could lay my hands upon. Raised on the “Chronicles of Narnia,” I moved onto Wormwood’s uncle Screwtape. This is to show the beginnings, perhaps, of a more conscious exploration of Christianity, and whereas I always knew Christ, this led me to a more ardent seeking of His presence in my life.
This leads me to the present, where it has come upon my heart to follow this seed planted by Lewis: I want to know what I know, I want to not merely wade in the uneducated (self-educated) shallows of theology, but set a course to truly understand God’s Holy Word.
Essay 2: An Experience Which Made Me
One of the more formative and darker experience of my life might be better classified not as a single experience, but as an extended four year period. These were the grades 5th through 8th, otherwise called middle school. From the inside, it was a chaotic struggle devoid of direction, four years of reactionary hate moldering into bitterness. From the outside, my 6th grade teachers had special consultations with my parents where they complained that I was, for lack of a better term, too Christian. Once I was even taken aside and asked by the counselor and (I think) the gym teacher to not be a Christian when at school.
I was a bit too young to comprehend what was going on. Ostracized, my small group of friends and I were something of the junk drawer, the we-don’t-fit-in-anywhere crowd. But even here, I slowly found myself separated. I found reasons to avoid recess just to be away from the other kids, to eat my food before lunch so I wouldn’t have to sit with anyone.
Part of this was being “too” Christian. To interact with my peers meant listening to them talk of crude sexual acts, meant being brow beaten by a mob for holding some ethical stance, meant being told to shut up about Jesus (perhaps I was sometimes heavy handed in my witnessing). But another part of this, and maybe an equal part, was being an angry kid. I would sit for hours brooding over my hurts, the abuses I’d suffered that day, holding onto my pain as a prize. Slowly, and even to this day, God worked on me, helping me to forgive my peers for their bullying and my teachers for their failures. I don’t know how good of a light I was in that time, but through all of the darkness around and inside me, I learned to trust in Jesus, to love others even when all that was inside of me was hurt and anger.