Story of Recovery: Rachel

I got saved by accident.

Yep. It was an accident. Around the age of five I was attending a Backyard Bible Club in my neighborhood - which was a very common thing to do in the small town where I was raised. Toward the end of class one day, the teacher asked us, "If anyone would like to become a Christian today, raise your hand." I, being the social butterfly that I am, was talking to my friend and only heard the "raise your hand" part. I eagerly shot up my hand - and then quickly put it down when I realized I was the only person with an extremity in the air. But, alas, the teacher had seen me and she asked to see me after class. I followed her into a back room where she led me in the sinner's prayer. All the sins and dirty deeds that I had committed over those five years of life got washed away and I became a new creation.

This is my "salvation story" - but my becoming a Christian was pretty much inevitable. I was raised in a strong Christian home with parents who attended church Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. We were taught about Jesus from day one. And at our weekly game nights, I became quite the Bible Trivia player.

I don't have a rebellion story to tell you about because I pretty much never strayed from my faith in Jesus. In fact, my faith just became deeper and stronger over the years. My friends knew I was a Christian - which wasn't too exciting cause none of us had ever met a non-Christian. And, as I entered high school and college, I became a leader among my peers on matters of faith. Two years in a row I won "Best Christian Character" at my Christian High School - though I secretly coveted the "Best Looking" superlative. And at my Christian college, I became the Chair of Campus Ministries for the campus. And it was real. I really loved God and I really believed in Jesus. I knew the Bible and I sought to understand it better.

However, there were two things I didn't know or understand 1) Myself and 2) The world.
I started asking questions about these two things around the same time that I graduated from college and moved to the big city (A.K.A. Los Angeles, CA). I moved in with a Jewish family in L.A. in order to become their children's nanny. Through our conversations, I began to see that there are other legitimate ways to see faith. What a revelation! Up into this point, I hadn't had any real discussions about faith with someone who didn't completely agree with me. It was challenging and deepening - and it made me start to doubt some things about the way I see God.

Over the past few years I have continued on this journey toward discovery of God, myself, and humanity. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface - and I'm glad about that. I like learning. And I like that I know that I don't have everything figured out. I like that I still question so much about my beliefs - because it leaves room for faith.

I have, however, come to a few important conclusions about my faith that guide the way that I live my life and see the world:

1) I believe that love is the most important thing. Even though I disagree with the way some other people believe, (i.e: I support marriage equality. I think it is wrong to hate and kill - even if you are protecting someone/thing else) I still believe that we have a responsibility to love each other. Republicans. Democrats. Independents. Muslims. Gays. The poor. The rich. Everyone. Even Tom Cruise.

2) I believe in original goodness rather than original sin. I think that every human being has goodness in them - and that this goodness is the light of God. I believe that there is sin and evil in the world and that this is most clearly evidenced when we do not love our neighbors and show care and compassion to those around us. And I believe that every human being is worthy of love and compassion.

3) I do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Meaning, I believe that the Bible has flaws in it. I believe that the Bible was inspired by God - but that it was also heavily influenced by the cultural and political context of it's day. This doesn't shake up my faith one bit. Nope - it only strengthens it. I still believe in the life of Jesus and I wholeheartedly devote myself to his message of love for all humanity.

In a world with as much chaos, hatred, bigotry, and over-consumption as what we live in - there is a need for the hope that faith brings. I think that when I fully embrace these beliefs and live in the knowledge of them, my faith seems clearer, my world looks brighter, and loving others is easier.