I picked up this book several months ago. I was determined to learn the real, unbiased truth, outside the filter of any denomination, an actual historical account of my own faith. If I’m going to follow a church, I’m going to follow one that has roots in Jesus’s teachings. In one that spawned from his direct command. So I asked my sister, a newly-achieved Ph.D. of theology, what I should read. “A loaded question,” she replied, and then linked me to this 400-page tome.
I bought the book, and it sat on my coffee table for a month before I finally opened it.
It’s good. It’s factual without being overwhelming, and it’s presented in a way that’s easy for this non-theologian to understand. But it’s also overwhelming. Because I want to understand all of it. I want to know what happened after the canon of the Gospels. These are the things I often wondered, never considering that the history had actually been recorded. And that I’d be able to learn it.
Obviously history had been recorded in some sense. But from my Bible-only religious education, it didn’t seem feasible that there was anything after the Bible.
Until, of course, I started to look.
I was driving to church, the same way I always drive to church, and was hit with an overwhelming sense of peace.
Logically, it doesn’t make sense. I’d decided months ago to leave the church I’m a member of, but I still attend occasionally so they don’t know I’ve been searching. Actually, of all the things in my life, this gives me the most anxiety. Because I enjoy spending time with my friends at church. My pastor has become a good friend; he was the first I’d befriended when I’d moved out on my own, and we later traveled together in a group to Israel. So I continue to attend, because I don’t know how to tell them that I no longer can.
Maybe this sense of peace was a long time coming. Maybe I’ve emotionally pushed past the fear. Or maybe God decided it was time for me to calm down already and He smacked me with a “it’ll be okay.” Most likely the latter. Because I’m dumb, and He knows everything.
There were times during the service that I felt singled out, that the accompanying verses or the invitation were solely for me. But it made me sad. Not because I felt any sort of regret, but because they don’t know. I’ve been saying for months that I’m moving on, but for the first time, it truly felt like the beginning of the end.
I won’t say anything bad about the church I grew up in. I learned a lot, and it’s strengthened my faith. And for some people, this is the church they belong with. But me? It isn’t, nor has it ever been.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I’d been convicted to change. Maybe it was the first time I attended Mass. Maybe it was the first time I attended Mass alone. Maybe it was the first time I prayed to a saint, or crossed myself. Maybe it was the first time I took communion at a wedding Mass because I didn’t know non-Catholics shouldn’t take communion, because whatever, I was baptized in the Church. (I didn’t know, okay?)
(Maybe it goes back to when I was baptized in the Church, though I can’t claim to remember that.)
Or maybe it was that precise moment I was told something I’d been taught “didn’t make sense.” And for the first time, I saw that it didn’t make sense.
Whenever, or whatever, it was, it was overdue.
I’ve read books. I’ve listened to podcasts. I bought a new Bible. I created this blog.
This is a journey. This is my conversion.