My journey to understanding the Bible and how it applies to my life has been a long one. As a child, my parents had me baptized in the Methodist faith and we attended church until I was 9. Often, my parents would drop me off at Sunday School and then go home, not participating in the worship services themselves. As a child, I don’t remember having a “faith.” I don’t even remember doing those little kid Sunday School things like coloring pictures of Jesus with children and lambs.
When I was 9 years old, we lived in Vermont and attended a Congregational church. It was a wonderful church and I sang in the children’s choir. It was here that I received my first Bible, a Revised Standard Version, as a gift from the pastor. I had the measles and the pastor came to our house to give it to me. It was so beautiful and all boxed up really special! I often opened the box and looked at it. Every once in a while, I would take the Bible out of the box and feel the leather cover, but, I would always put it back quickly, lest something terrible happen to it.
I didn’t read it. It seemed too difficult to understand. It stayed in the box until I was 17 years old. We moved to Alabama at that time and I was encouraged by my classmates to attend the Southern Baptist and Pentecostal churches. To them, I was just another “lost soul” to be harvested. They didn’t know my secrets.
During this time the Bible became a terrible book for me, full of anger and judgment. My friends were horrified that I might be gay, and used it to hammer me over and over again. I put that Bible away. I felt that, the way these people saw the Bible (and they must be right because they have been Christians for so long), I would never be accepted as a Christian, much less learn to appreciate The Good Book.
I spent over 15 years struggling with whether the Bible was a book for me. How in the world would I ever fit in? You see, my father did a very wise thing for me. He allowed me to search the different faiths and find my own. We investigated all of the Protestant denominations, Jewish synagogue, and everything in between. And I chose Christianity! Now, Christianity didn’t choose me. What could I do?
At that very moment, I was led to a particular site on the Internet. Neat thing, this Internet. It was certainly amazing to me since I grew up with an old manual typewriter and a 1965 version of The World Book! Here it was. My answer. God’s answer. I found the Whosoever Web site. I read it voraciously! I could hardly believe my eyes. I was accepted. I belonged. There were others like me out there.
In a moment’s time what began as a Good Book, and turned into a terrifying Book, became a Good Book again! I could read my Bible. It was okay to look at different translations. It was okay to apply to my life. I was overwhelmed with joy!
Over the past few years, I’ve been learning more about this Good Book. I’ve learned that, for me, it’s not about the rules. I’ve learned it’s really about the LOVE. I’ve learned how to assimilate the thoughts and history of my Bible into my every day life.
It’s been a long, difficult road. Oh, I’ve fallen into my share of potholes along the way. (Truth be known, some of them were huge sink holes!) But, in everything, the Divine was working for my benefit. God was leading me to a place of acceptance. And now, as I am led to a place of ministry, I know that the long journey was preparing me for this place, this time.
My Bible is truly now a Good Book.