If you read the about section on the main page you know that I am starting this blog 7 months into my journey into Christianity to track my progress, work out thoughts, and discuss things that are weighing heavily on me. This is the first of 3 posts exploring where I came from and how I came to be.
Who am I? Today I identify myself as a Christ follower, but I wasn’t always a Christian, and to really find out how I came to believe in Christ I have to look at who I was. I am the only child of a former Catholic mother and a Lutheran father (who were divorced when I was very young). As an infant I was baptized Catholic, went to CCD (Sunday school) up until the point of my First Communion (which must have been when I was around 7 or 8 years old). After that, and even during CCD, I lost interest in God and Jesus. I remember coming up with these ideas that Jesus was just a man, a great teacher, but that’s it. Maybe you could have convinced me that he was a prophet, but not the Son of God. Where does an 8-year-old come up with these ideas? One place; from my mom. Now don’t misunderstand me, my mom is my best friend, and has always been. But when I was in high school my mom started exploring Wicca, which is an Earth centered neo-pagan religion that worships both god and goddess through nature. Their central rule is ‘an it harm none, do as ye will, which many basically means enjoy your free will as long as you don’t hurt anyone by doing it. Many Wiccans will even interpret harm none by not interfering with anyone else’s free will. When my mom started buying books on Wicca, I fought her on it, saying it was evil. I didn’t yet know anything about it, and I didn’t believe in Jesus, but something was telling me it was wrong. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, maybe it was just my introverted teenage desire to blend in and not be different than everyone else. Now here’s the “funny” part: Even though I never truly believed in Jesus and only went to church on Christmas and Easter (when my dad forced me to go), I never stopped praying. Every night at bedtime I would ask god to bless each member of my family, I would say the Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary. I couldn’t sleep unless I did this.
When I started college I joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). My reason for going was because someone invited me, and I wanted to make friends. My reason for staying was because of a girl I was hoping to run into again. I met some very nice people, and we sang songs and worshipped the LORD, but I still had very little interest in really knowing Him. I tried to read the Bible (king James), but I couldn’t make it past GEN 5 – The Descendants of Adam (So and so begat so and so, and he begat so and so…Oy Veh! Get it over with already!) But I kept going to IVCF and I even started going to a church on Sundays, but this was only to impress another girl. I had, at this time, no contempt for Christians, but I didn’t really believe as they did. I went through the motions, not to better myself, but to impress girls. Like the song says, I was Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places. In my second semester of my first year of college I stopped going to IVCF and I stopped praying at night. I saw my prayers as a manifestation of an obsessive compulsive disorder since I could not sleep without saying them. It only took a few days before I could sleep well without them. I also started mocking Christians, and frequenting a website titled “Why Christians Suck”. This became my new doctrine. In doing this I separated myself from God. At the end of my first year I went home for the summer, and picked up one of my mom’s books on Wicca, and I was hooked! Everything that I was reading made sense to me. All the ideas that I had formed for years about the nature of God was in this book. It felt right, and I felt right with it. Looking back now, I am pretty sure I had heard some of those ideas while talking to my mom, and they got filed away in my brain so when I read them in her books years later they felt like they were my own genuine thoughts. It was then that I decided to explore Wicca more; I read more books, began meditating, and started those nighttime prayers again except they weren’t directed to God or any gods; they were more of an inward reflection and affirmation. I stopped severely hating Christians, but they became the punch line to many jokes. They were, to me, foolish and misguided.
In the summer of 1997 I made the conscious decision to become Wiccan, because it “felt right” and because I had “always had these beliefs”. Now let me clear this up, Wicca is not a hateful religion, in fact; Wiccans are very peaceful people (see the Wiccan Rede above), so when I made this decision I felt like I was at peace with the world. I felt a part with nature, and I felt connected to the gods, or universal energy, or Tao. Whatever IT was I was a part of it. It was during this time that I started to receive what I considered signs that I was on the right path. I would see butterflies everywhere, and at one point I even stopped my car at a light and a butterfly flew inside my window and then back out. I took this as Gaia or Mother Nature telling me I am one with her. The next semester I joined a student let pagan network called Green Spiral. I met a lot of friends, (many of who I am still friends with today), and learned a lot about other pagan religions (Asatru, Thelema, Neo-Druidism, etc). I joined a local group of eclectic Wiccans and held Esbat every full moon and observed all the Sabbats. It was then that I started performing witchcraft, or Magick. I should point out that not all Wiccans practice Magick, but it is a part of the religion. My take on Magick was that it is just like a prayer, except instead of hoping for God to answer, you are manipulating the IT that I mentioned earlier to pull in favor of your desired outcome. I took a class in the religions of East Asia and started learning about Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism. I also independently started studying other world religions.