About to enter Middle School, I felt I needed to revisit my belief in God. If I was going to tell people I believed in God that was one thing, but I was not certain about that Jesus guy. My Mom had mentioned in passing that if she was going to instruct someone where to begin reading the Bible she’d tell them to being in the Gospel of John. She, now, swears she would never tell anyone to begin there. She would tell them to begin in the book of Mark because it’s the most straight forward telling of events. That’s nice. I was told John.
So, I opened my Bible to the gospel of John and began to read. Before I finished the first sentence, I felt the Spirit enter my room. I stopped reading and told the Spirit of God to leave because that was cheating. I needed to know what I thought, unbiased. I did not want the Spirit to sway my vote (American already.)
So, God spoke asking me if I knew that the version of the Bible was going to read was, first, written in a different language. I had played with my Dads’ lexicon so I was aware of that fact. He continued, asking if I thought it would be wise to have the Spirit that was there when it was written help me to know what the author meant to try to say, otherwise I might reject something that is good because of a single word that I understand in one way, but that should be understood in a different way. He promised that the Spirit would only interpret the words and would not push any favoritism toward or away from that guy who claimed to be the Messiah. I felt like that was okay, but I was skeptical that there would really be a lack of bias. So, I was pouty, but I allowed the Spirit to read with me.
I read the book in one sitting, stopping occasionally to listen to the Spirit connect concepts from one paragraph to previous paragraphs in the development of a single argument. I felt like nothing conflicted with my understanding of goodness and the commands of this Jesus seemed wise. I asked if there was another book, I should read to understand goodness. I didn’t receive an offer from the Spirit, but instead felt like I was told my understanding was good enough. So, I felt like, since I couldn’t argue against it, I would go ahead and call myself a Christian. And that is not without consequence in liberal Bend, Oregon. But, whatever, God has plans for Bend and for Portland. He’s bringing play back. He’s promised. I don’t care if it falls into the ocean. But it’s God that saved the world. I’m just eating manna.