when i was in high school, i was not particularly serious about my faith. as a matter of fact, i was pretty good at keeping it concealed during the week…and then breaking it out just in time for church on sunday morning. truth is, i was working really hard to be cool (around people who really were cool), and whatever “style” points i was accumulating, i didn’t want to risk losing by admitting i was the nerdy church guy.
anyway, after i graduated, two things happened. first, i was out of the high school scene and the non-stop pursuit of teenage popularity. second, wanda and i started to get really serious…and she was a young mother teresa in my book. she lived on some lofty spiritual mountaintop that i had only read about.
i desperately needed to get my spiritual act together, if there was ever a chance of her keeping me. i started to get serious…at least on the outside. i took a bold leap of faith.
it was the summer after my senior year in high school and i was washing my car in the driveway and there’s this dude walking down the sidewalk in front of my house. he was a hippy-looking guy…probably a vietnam war vet…looking pretty ragged. he stopped and stared at the back of my car while i was bent over washing my front bumper.
when i stood up, he looked right at me and said some words that had never been pointed in my direction before:
“you don’t believe that sh*t, do you?”
to be honest, i don’t remember exactly what i said, but i guarantee you, i was not profound. i did my best to say that i believed in jesus and that his way was the right way…but this guy was ready for battle. he attacked every attempt i made to defend my faith with a logic and secular philosophy i had never encountered.
when he saw that i was no match for his worldly wisdom, he laughed at me and moved on down the road. i was left standing there with a dripping sponge. a hopeless mess.
the philosophies of the university campuses i was getting ready to step foot on in the early 1970’s were going to swallow me alive.
i was only 18 at the time, but my life was changed. i either needed to walk away from this whole “religion” thing…or start studying to figure out what i really believed.
i decided to study.