When I decided to wrap up this series, I sorted through every single draft I'd prepared - every lingering submission dating back to April - and reached out to verify each person still wanted to be featured. To my relief (because I love sharing these particular stories), no one declined and most everyone edited their initial responses because in the months since we last spoke, things have changed for them - their beliefs - in one way or another. If there is one thing we cannot escape, it's change.
A few days after I emailed Chris about her discovery process and received her edits, my husband and I visited a massive antique warehouse in Seattle. We spent three hours wandering the aisles, examining discarded items once treasured and personal, overpriced but undervalued memories.
I collected a handful of books from the 1950s - I always find books - and soon my eyes rested on a thick, delicately ornate edition of Webster's Dictionary from the early 1800s. I thumbed through it carefully, one page falling open easily, begging for attention. My eyes landed on the word parable, and then paraclete. There was a small card tucked deep in the spine, a Lesson Card from a Presbyterian church dated June 25, 1911. On the card was text, outlined to be reviewed, with an image of a woman in a bright blue robe, adorned in jewelry, a handmaiden at her side holding a basket full of bread, extending a single loaf to an elderly man clothed in a brown robe with a child at his hip, clinging to him.
(Will someone at home review these lessons with the child)
Review Golden Text: What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with they God? Micah 6:8.
I haven't cracked open my bible in over a year, and Chris' post is one of maybe three to have scripture referenced on my blog. Not surprisingly - because this kind of thing really does happen to me all the time - this very passage in Micah, displayed on the Lesson Card, is how Chris explains her interaction with her beliefs.
I didn't rush home and start reading the bible after finding the card, but I did slip the card in between the cover of one of the books I was buying so I'd always have it; a message given to me in a small, quiet way as if to remind me to be grateful for where I've been and what the bible once meant to me. I know I'm on the right path in my own discovery process, and I'm meeting some very special people along the way.
Responses by Chris Singleheart
What do you believe, and why?
The Apostles' Creed best expresses what I believe. It is an understanding in my mind and in my heart, a belief based on both the historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and on the personal experience of His activity in my life.
*I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
*concerning the whole, all who truly trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
How did you discover your beliefs?
I was drawn to a woman three times my age. Looking back, you could say I came to her to be mentored. She had a confidence about her, a non-conforming attitude. She was a woman of conviction. Upon her instruction, I purchased a study Bible. I told God I didn't know what was all in it, but that I accepted it as truth - much like you would with a person you don't know everything about, but you find them to be truthful.
How do you interact with your beliefs?
In short, I interact with my beliefs by loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). Because I accept the Holy Bible as truth, I seek wisdom for my days in it.
Generally, each morning, I have personal quiet time that includes scripture reading, meditation upon the scriptures, and talking with God (prayer). This is not the only time I hear from Him. You could say I live prayerfully. I do my best to be a "doer of the word." I'm attracted to how Jesus lived counter-culturally and wasn't satisfied with the status quo. He even disagreed with the religious. This is an area where I especially identify with Him.
It is my desire for everyone to concern themselves with social issues, as Jesus did. I feel very unpopular at times, even in Christian circles. When it comes to social consciousness, it seems that others are doing it better. I sense God's call for my life is to a) energetically engage in social renewal, b) point the socially conscious to Jesus, the supreme humanitarian, and c) raise the social consciousness of the Church.
What do you do when you doubt your beliefs?
I was raised Roman Catholic and always had a fear (reverential awe) of the LORD. Still, I led a double-life. When I was a young mother of two, I heard about salvation by grace, not of works. This was earth shattering to me. Until I accepted the gospel, I never had the assurance that I was "in good" with God.
I am currently living sacrificially as a church co-planter. My beliefs are tested daily. The hardest thing to remember is to listen to God's Word, not necessarily the messages of North American Christianity.
Robert Robinson wrote, "Prone to wander, LORD I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." I so relate. When I doubt my beliefs, I tell God exactly how I feel. It gets raw and even irreverent at times. I also vent to my safe person, my husband. Reading about Christians who persevere (i.e. martyrs) often restores/increases my faith. It helps to read the Psalms and know that I am in good company. When I really feel distant and lose my passion, I fast and "wait upon the LORD." I remind myself that Jesus lives to intercede for me and that He will not release His grip on me. He's always been faithful to minister to me and winds up stealing my heart every time.
To read more My Discovery Process submissions, you can find them here.