Friday, February 10, 2006
The Unbroken Thread
Through my roommate in college in the fall of 1970, I met Craig Rouch, whose following of Jesus got my attention through authenticity. Some months later, thinking that being a Christian had something to do with Craig's character, I listened to his invitation in a cassette-letter and asked Jesus to save me. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I bought a bible and started learning.
The problem was that I didn't really believe what I learned. Protective coloration at work here: if what I learn is different from what others teach, then at least act as if I believe the people. The Holy Spirit didn't stand a chance. I heard his voice. I just couldn't believe it, and over the ensuing years I drifted off. I was trying to find the hard core of truth in Christianity, and failed. Finally, in about 1980, I just bagged the whole thing and made the working assumption that there is no God. I held the filter in my hand through which I had run everything I knew about God, and there was nothing left in it. No matter how fine the mesh, no truth of God stayed in.
I told people I didn't believe in God, that I believed life was up to me. If anything was going to come of it, I'd have to do it. If the question came up seriously, though, I also said I didn't believe there was no God. I assumed he was a myth, but even I, pragmatic, statistical and based on the Scientific Method, could see there were things that couldn't be explained with current knowledge. That didn't prevent me from making jokes along the line of "Jesus is just another invisible friend, like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. Believe if you will."
Life went on. 20-odd years later I was about done. Life held no meaning. If it was up to me, well, it was going to end. I'd run my last option. God brought a man to the beach one day while I was making a sculpture and that meeting led to visiting Mosaic, in which place God showed up and said "Remember me?"
Twenty years of classic backsliding. Intellectual hole-digging. Years of denying God.
He never denied me. He still guided my life, stepping in to keep the worst from happening. This was almost invisible amid all the events of my life until I started thinking about it in the light of the Mosaic events. Coincidences? No. I'm enough of a jackleg statistician to know the odds against a succession of events such as I'd experienced. Timing, practice, events, bumbling along and landing in the right place. Too much for luck.
God doesn't forget his own. Even if they try to forget him.