I want to be clear, I'm not special. You'll hear some testimonies that are radical, akin to Saul the Pharisee to Paul the Apostle, but that's not me. I grew up in a Christian household, and my parents certainly try their best to follow after God. I have two older brothers, one of whom is now a police officer, and the other a musician. Growing up with them had it's challenges; it wasn't uncommon for fist fights to break out between my brothers. I've always been more of a pacifist; I'm sure I've given out a couple shoves, but I've never been one to pick a fight.
I think most of my story begins when I was about fifteen. The church my parents attended had a pastor who's parents out in western Canada has some failing health. When this pastor left, there was a search for a new pastor. The church contacted the head office of the denomination we were associated with, looking for someone to fill the role. We had several pastors come in as potential leaders, but none were interested in an out-of-the-way, older congregation-filled church. After all options were exhausted, it fell into my Dad's lap, who took the position. To be clear, my Dad would probably consider himself under-qualified, and would have rather had someone with the education and confidence to lead the church.
In parallel started declining. While I don't have proof for or against it, my parents were (and still are) convinced that it was a spiritual attack. We'll get back to my personal opinions on that later. For a number of years, my health was up and down, with multiple doctor visits, surgeries, pain medication, and home-care nurses. I had to do my highschooling part time, mostly at home, but I did go into classes some days when I could. If you think that sucks, I still have the same medical problem, with no solution in sight, even though my original surgeon said my issue was common, and should be fixed up in three months.
When it came to the end of highschool, through all my part time schooling and pain medication, my marks weren't great. Originally, I wanted to get into university for software development, but given the state of my transcript, I wasn't going to get into Waterloo University, which was my hope and preference. Instead, I ended up at bible college, in Kitchener, the sister-city of Waterloo where Waterloo University was. Honestly, at this point, I don't really know why I chose to go to bible college. I guess I wanted to do something post-secondary, and the barrier to entry in bible college is pretty low.
Bible college was certainly an event. There is all sorts of things to unpack and talk about, but there is too much to put here. In my second semester, I felt drawn to baptism. After my baptism, things were different. There were things in my life that I just knew I could not do any more. I also started doing ministry there, leading a weekly prayer group, and a little later, also leading worship once a week in the chapel. In my third year, I met my wife, Erinn. We bonded over video games, technology, and being a cute bunch of nerds. We also bonded over what the college considered a heresy, simultaneous monarchianism modalism. When we shared our beliefs with some professors, we were very rudely told how heretical and unchristian we were, and we would never be able to graduate. I can't take the credit, and neither can Erinn, but after we left, the bible college took a nose dive and is just barely handing on to this day.
Since leaving, Erinn and I were sort of fed up with all that Christian stuff. Bible college is the sort of place that can really drain you, and make you so disillusioned with who has been given authority to lead the church. I don't think we fell out of faith. We just needed a long break from things, and time to figure out who we were, and what this whole marriage thing is.
Our faith got recently reignited when we started discovering that New Age and New Thought had infiltrated the things we thought were good and celebrated God. One of those things was our enjoyment of the band Jesus Culture. Well, it turns out there is a new age/yoga/kundalini root that stems from that band, to their church, to their leader, to a spiritual awakening at Toronto Airport Church, and runs deep and far into the things we thought we could trust. And those roots were in us, too, and we had to repent and uproot all sorts of things. There are games I cannot play, music I cannot listen to, and movies that I can no longer watch. Repenting is hard.
I'm still learning about my faith, but I am confident in my salvation in Jesus Christ. Where I used to just go by things that I've heard, I've been digging much more into my Bible to get first and second-hand accounts of Jesus and His ministry. I've settled that in all of theology, the only thing that is important is salvation, and salvation is through Jesus Christ alone.
I'm actively looking for a Christian community to join, but that's proven hard. The pastors that say they believe in Jesus can't answer when I ask if they preach that same Jesus and salvation to their community. The predominatly mennonite town I live in has hardened hearts, and have been infiltrated by people practicing wicca and witchcraft. All that, and I feel that I can't compromise my faith, just like I stood by Erinn and our beliefs at bible college, so I can't just join a church that doesn't preach the Jesus I know and love.
In spite of everything I've been through, I still praise God.