I used to be a rational, level-headed sort of chap before I became a Christian. All that is behind me now of course. Once the Christians get ahold of you, it's not likely you'll make a reverse turn, or even make a lateral one to another religion now that I think about it. At least this is the impression I get.
It's not impossible, mind you. I've met a few that have travelled that path and to be honest, I like the way they think. Such as Slacktivist, Brand New Atheist, and Gareth. They were wholly immersed in Christianity and they managed to un-immerse. To de-couple. The further I get into my Christian journey, the more appreciation I have for the courage it took for them to surface.
That is not my path, however. Mine is the inverse. From Atheism to Christianity. Which brings me back to my story, the one I don't want non-Christians to know about because it will almost immediately discredit me, even further, from being any sort of influential voice. And I'm not talking about those three random strangers I met online. I'm talking about my real Atheist and Agnostic friends and family. People I know well, and care about thoroughly.
But this blog isn't for strangers, friends, or even extended family. It's for my daughters. And I have a story to share with them, so I will.
In September of 2007, Dewdette and I took the kids to Burger King for some oh-so-fine dining and playtime. Here in America most fast food chains have indoor playgrounds with intricate tunnel systems and twisting slides. Burger King is no exception. We ate our lunch and I finished first. While Syd made long work of her food, I decided to crawl up into the playground tubes and investigate. I doubt employees ever clean up there and I wanted to make sure my 2 yr old little girl wasn't about to go sloshing through someone else's vomit, or take a slurp from some kid's discarded, 3-day-old milkshake.
The tunnel stairs wound upwards and spilled into a large, circular "room" of sorts. As I entered this hamburger-shaped area I was met with something quite unexpected. The previous occupants had fashioned crosses out of red drinking straws and decorated the interior by hanging them upside down on the wall, all around the circle. They had even thrown in a few anarchy symbols as an artistic flourish. I looked around, soaked in the scene, and then I did what any normal, clear-thinking rationalist would do.
"Oh come on. It was probably a bunch of teens goofing off!"
"You've lost your senses completely."
I've considered that, thanks.
"Didn't you feel like a fool?"
However, when I decided to become a Christian, I decided not to pussy-foot around. I've gone all in, you see. And so in this case, at this point in my journey, I prayed.
I took down all the crosses and anarchy symbols one by one. I prayed that the spirit of God would dwell there and protect the children who played. I demanded, authoritatively (and under my breath), that any and all demons would be gone by the power of Jesus. I cleaned up the remaining litter, came down out of the tunnels, and told Dewdette that I was a freak.
Then Sydney and I had a terrific time chasing each other through the tunnels and sliding and enjoying our afternoon until my kneecaps were sore from all the crawling.
Sydney and Savannah:
Your mother and I will love you forever, regardless of the spiritual path you take. More than anything I hope that you will both be intellectually honest with yourselves. We aim to model for you, to the best of our ability, how to navigate life. We have chosen to do so with a version of the Christian worldview. I realize that this will make it difficult for you both to evaluate the world with truly neutral eyes. I'm sorry about that.
Regardless, I encourage you both to question and test the world around you. Not only in areas of religion, but in all areas. We encourage you both to be your own, unique persons. And at any given time, in any given area of life, have the courage to follow your convictions thoroughly. Even if it means you end up feeling, or looking, a little bit silly.
Case in point, I once exorcised a Burger King playground. I did it with my whole heart and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love you both,
On my Facebook profile, for Religion I have listed, "Christian - The Scary Kind." Now you know why.
I'm guessing you have some stories, too. When have you been courageous in your decisions? When have you felt completely, utterly silly? Theists and non-theists welcome. This is an all-skate.