I am always envious of those who tell about being a ‘born again Christian’. It is such a life changing experience for them that I feel left out. Growing up in Ohio, I thought I had been a Christian all my life. My grandmother taught Sunday school; we were there as a family every Sunday. I was an active member of Methodist Youth Fellowship as a teenager. I went to school with many Jewish kids, even had a crush on a Jewish man in college. His Father, a Rabbi, didn’t approve of his son dating me, but we never discussed our faith.
But I came from a different generation. Our culture and customs were different. For example, we expressed love for a mate, children, parents. But the Lord and God were heavenly beings to be worshipped, revered, followed, but loved and talked to up close? Another example, it was uncommon for men to hug each other; it might have been uncommon for Dad’s to even hug their kids.
I reared four children in a military setting. They are all followers, not fans, and I praise God for that every day. But I was still a fan. In my forties, I earned a graduate degree and went to work in industry. All my life I have tried to live by the golden rule, but religious topics in the workplace are frowned upon. Still, in my field of organizational development there is an element of what God commands of how we live our lives – truth, respect, fairness, integrity, and even commitment. But we don’t spell it out as being scriptural in practice. That’s forbidden.
In my fifties I attended a Bethel class, the first time I had taken time to study scriptures. It caused me to hunger for more. So I started with Lydia Sarandan’s Bible study every Wednesday. I learned how to talk to Jesus – every day. What a revelation. Since that experience I have kept on studying the scriptures and learning more. I discovered that the Lord had never abandoned me and that I could listen more intently than I had in the past.
The fan/follower series has inspired me. I return often to the questions that give me simple, practical, and challenging concepts by which to evaluate my faith journey.
Even though I have taken the path to giving back, through volunteerism, I realize that it’s not the service we give, but the personal relationship with our Lord for which we must strive every day. It’s the struggles to be less self-absorbed, giving up control to Him, being less judgmental. That’s the essence of my faith. It took me a long time to get there, but I think I am emerging as a follower. I won’t know until (and if) I get There. But I intend to ask Him.
I am not a fan. I am a follower of Christ.