There and Back Again

Five thou­sand four hun­dred twen­ty-sev­en days ago, I vis­it­ed Gar­ri­son Creek Bap­tist Church after hav­ing been invit­ed by an online friend, some­thing which was alto­geth­er new for me, con­sid­er­ing this was 2001 and meet­ing folks in real life who were first met online car­ried with it a fair­ly sig­nif­i­cant stig­ma of danger.

The accep­tance of that invi­ta­tion changed my life sub­stan­tial­ly in that with­in the span of just a few months, I became increas­ing­ly enam­ored with the church expe­ri­ence and the reli­gion of Christianity. 

I did­n’t just went to church, I went to church three times a week for ser­vices and glad­ly went at every oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty, includ­ing spend­ing Sat­ur­day evenings at the church assist­ing in the prepa­ra­tion of the bul­letins for Sun­day morning.

A lot changed, year to year, dur­ing my time as a Chris­t­ian. My choic­es and my doc­tri­nal self-edu­ca­tion led to changes in where I felt most com­fort­able attend­ing church until I became dis­il­lu­sioned with the whole idea of cor­po­rate church ser­vices alto­geth­er, find­ing the idea to be both unnec­es­sary and unbiblical.

Nine years after first attend­ing Gar­ri­son Creek, I found myself explor­ing a pas­sage of the Bible on my own, no doubt in ref­er­ence to some debate or what­ev­er online, that of Deuteron­o­my 22.

I lost my faith when I saw that God required vir­gins to mar­ry their rapist. I did­n’t talk to any­one about it but instead let my faith col­lapse in upon itself, and I did not look back.

That is, until recent­ly. Folks who know me may have noticed a relax­ation in my usu­al­ly com­mon “attacks” against Chris­tian­i­ty on out­lets such as Face­book; my per­son­al pro­file has become far more polit­i­cal, and my page Sec­u­lar Now, I’ve increas­ing­ly ignored.

I real­ize now that I have been led astray. I’ve been cav­a­lier with the truth, and in my blas­phemies, I’ve risked lit­er­al­ly all I have to risk. And I’ve reached the point at which I can no longer keep up the façade.

I’ve often said, since leav­ing Chris­tian­i­ty, that if Jesus’ fol­low­ers would actu­al­ly just lis­ten to Jesus, the world would be much bet­ter off; I real­ize now that so per­fect a moral sys­tem — which uplifts the most under of dogs and is designed to bring out the best in any­one who prac­tices it — could only come from divinity.

I can­not call myself a Chris­t­ian — far from it — for the Bible says that any­one who takes God’s name in vain will not be held guiltless.

But I can call myself one of his.

I’m learn­ing anew what that means for my life, and I seek to share that jour­ney with you here at On Six­es & Sev­ens — six­es denot­ing earth­ly top­ics, sev­ens denot­ing heavenly.

Half a decade has passed since I’ve stood with the Lord’s flock. It’s time to get caught up, and may I find mer­cy for my fer­vent attacks against the reli­gion of God.

April fool! No, I have not aban­doned free thought to return to the chains of reli­gion. The actu­al inau­gur­al post is com­ing soon!

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Rick Beckman