Saturday, December 8, 2012

Faith Bio

When I was a child I was into music in a big way. Friends that I had back then whom I now tell that I play bass guitar are not at all surprised. From those years, the other interesting part of the story is that I was Roman Catholic, from birth until I was about 16, and was also an altar boy during much of that time. That part of my life was very influential I believe in terms of shaping my view of God. A key question I recall having back then was how God could have both no beginning and no end. I remember thinking at the time that the idea of anything without beginning or end was illogical.

After a few years of not taking faith too seriously I had a few experiences that helped bring me back to being a disciple.

My mother in law has been a Nazarene for several years. I had been to church with her a couple times in her hometown with my wife; during one of those trips she had us meet with an evangelist. When she came to visit my wife and I in California in about 2004 she asked me to find a Nazarene church for us to go to. I found one by looking online for the closest one to where we lived. After my wife, mother in law and myself went there for two Sundays, my wife and I continued to go there afterwards. When I was a child, a teenager, I had not really studied the differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs; studying these and the worship style differences are the biggest issues I dealt with early on.

I had a coworker from 2000-2003 that did the same job as I did in a neighboring city. At one point I went to his office to meet him for a purpose I don't recall. What I do remember is getting into his car and some Christian music or talk started playing on the radio. He quickly went to turn it down, but I had already recognized it as Christian and told him to leave it on and it wasn't a big deal. We started talking Christianity and eventually worked our way to my illogical query above. We had a chat that went something like this. He asked me, you believe God made everything, right? I responded yes; I don't accept the something from nothing atheist position. He then responded with something like this; well if you believe that do you think God exists outside of space and time as we understand it? This friend is a pretty smart guy and we had already had some physics chats, and I had also studied some physics in college an an engineering student, so this wasn't a totally implausible idea to me. After additional study on the attributes of God, I really discovered this is one of the things that makes Him God. Some have argued that for God to really be omnipresent He would need to exist in many more than the usual 3 dimensions of space and one of time (x, y, z, t) that we normally think of.

While Purpose Driven Life was a very popular book, Barnes and Noble had it on display. I came across one of these displays and read some of it in the store, not realizing until I picked it up that it was a Christian book. Reading the first couple chapters in the store really struck me strongly. I suspect that this book had that impact on several people. After reading some of it I was ready to go to a different church for a weekday study of the book while continuing to attend the usual church on Sunday; several churches were doing that back then. After talking with my pastor at the time about this, I was given the opportunity to lead a group read and study of that book and really enjoyed it. This was my first Christian teaching opportunity.

I enjoy interacting with people of various faith backgrounds; I am willing to have at least an initial conversation regarding faith with pretty much anyone. This has led me to encounter people of widely varying faith backgrounds. I also over the course of my life have gotten to know many Orthodox and Messianic Jews, so this also has added to my ability to speak to folks of many backgrounds.

At this point, most of the ministry work I do takes on the form of either music ministry at the church I attend, or acting as a small group leader, either in person or online. My Twitter participation is largely focused on Christian faith talk. At the church I attend, Mount Carmel Church of the Nazarene, in Rancho Penasquitos, California, which has this website, I recently obtained a district license after having been a locally licensed minister for two years.