Faith which Forms You

Monday, March 08, 2010

Faith which Forms You
While I comfortably describe myself as a wild-ass liberal now, it has been a journey of discovery and defining my faith. We are formed by the institutions of our childhood for better or worse. Sometimes our faith is deppened when we are forced to question the faith of our upbringing.

I have a needlepoint version of the poem below in my bedroom. It resonates with me because I had to search for Truth in my spiritual journey. I think it is written by Roberta Dorr a Baptist missionary who served with my Aunt BJ in Israel. But I'm not positive. Would love to hear from anyone who has further information about its origin.

Counterfeit

Sand is the water of the desert.
It can bear the traveler on its billows,
Or wash her cups
And clean her hands.
But when her body's
Racked with thirst
No counterfeit will serve,
And one would trade
One's kingdom in the sand
For one clear cup
Of sparkling, liquid water.
One faith is quite as good
As any other
Until the heart in thirst
Cries out for what is true.

Religious experience started for me at Camp Reveal. Pappy Reveal, a non-denominational, evangelical minister, started The Rescue Mission in downtown Evansville for derelicts and drunks and Camp Reveal on the outskirts of town for underprivileged children. Mom and Dad attended this camp as children, so my brother, Bill and I went also. During my summer there as a five year old, my aunt prepped me to sing in public for the first time at the Wednesday night camp fire.  I sang Don't Do a Half Day's Work for the Lord and Expect a Whole Day's Pay. Today I can't sing it without sounding sarcastic, then I was a sincere little angel-choir-of-one.
Don't do a half day's work for the Lord and expect a whole day's pay.
Only what's done with all of your heart, counts on the judgment day.
How can you stand idly by, knowing souls are doomed to die?
Don't do a half day's work for the Lord and expect a whole day's pay.

I think I won third place, but it might have been first. Only in retrospect do I question the theology of the chorus. At the time, I didn't understand what a heavy spiritual load the song intended to lay on a five year old. I dodged the guilt, at least for a few more years, because I was much more concerned about winning the camp fire contest than pleasing the Lord.

However, I did 'get saved' at Camp Reveal when I was nine. At a late night service in the big building when tears and remorse flowed freely, I walked down the aisle and confessed my nine year old sins. It didn't occur to me to confess that the aunt who prepared me to sing at that campfire a few years before, also sexually molested me on a regular basis. In my forties, I finally figured out this was a sin that she needed to confess. It took an even later epiphany to connect panic and fear of singing in public to that fifth year in my little girl life.

On Friday nights at Camp Reveal, we hiked to the foot of the cross which marked the entrance of the camp. When a car passed on the country road, the campers would call out "Graveyard" in a sing-song manner which I suppose was to encourage you to get off the road so you didn't end up in the graveyard. The hike seemed like twenty miles, but was probably two or three. The cross signaled the existence of the camp for passersby on old Highway 41. Surely, it was at least fifty feet tall, but later years proved it to be about eight. Made of wood, it was also wired for electric lighting and proclaimed brightly for the entire sinful world to see that "Jesus Saves" in neon letters. We sat at the foot on those hot summer nights and sang choruses, gave testimonies and wallowed in the culpability of our wayward existence. Even at nine, I knew I was a sinner saved by grace and Pappy Reveal. Pappy was a charismatic stump of a man who would have whole cows donated to his ministry of saving the wretched children of the poor.

What are your spiritual origins?

updated: 6 years ago

ADD COMMENT

Jerry SnowTuesday, March 9th 2010 12:46PM

I sprital awakeing happend when i was 19.That is when i learned who God is.Who Jesus Christ was.What his birth life death ment to me.As a child of our Heaevly father.That is when i learned about the atonment.I still cry when i think about it.And how people can go to a church for umpteen years and learn nothing.Because that church teaches nothing.They think they do but don't.How the pastor preaches every sunday.You sit in church like a bump on a log.It's cool.But where is my part in this church.I never felt i was serving my heavenly father.Bro Hill did every thing opening prayer sermon closeing prayer.Why? Went to southern Baptist church Why?Bro Hill pastor why?If he was truly called of God why did he have to go to preacher school ? Jeremiah 4-10.Then i thought about Paul when he said Let there be no divions among you.Toss about by the doctrones of men.Mean wolfes come in and scatter the flock.Lucky for me i found the truth while i was young.To learn everything i needed to know to get to heaven.

Jerry, I think the spiritual journey is very individual for all of us. I'm glad you have found something that is meaningful for you.

Bren, you are great!Monday, March 8th 2010 9:17PM

Bren,
This is so great. You make me laugh and cry at the same time. Love you!!

And who is this person who calls me "Bren?"