I came to faith backwards, is how I like to begin sharing my story. That's probably a theme for my life, doing things in the wrong order! Wrong according to some, that is. I'm not sure God is so concerned with the order as with the heart of the matter, although there are certainly cases to be made for the order of some things like marriage and babies. But that's for another post.
My family was part of a large Church in Cincinnati and I was participating in a large Confirmation class. I'm guessing there were 35 in the class. It was THE most boring class I'd ever been in up to that point and from that point on to today! The curious thing was that down the hall in the Parlor was a growing youth group that as they grew they got louder.
My plans were clear: I would be confirmed, join the church and never be seen again. God interrupted, as He so often does. He had other plans. As the saying goes, if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!
As the end of the class approached and membership loomed, if we had not been baptized as an infant we needed to choose the mode of baptism we wanted, sprinkling or immersion. What I appreciate about the Wesleyan theology of the Methodist Church is that it's not about the water but rather the activity of God in baptism. When the focus is on God then the amount of water doesn't matter, although there are clear analogies to death and resurrection in an immersion baptism that makes it a preferred method.
|Ancient baptism pool - Israel|
It was after that that something changed. I dried off, got dressed and at some point found myself out under the portico of this Baptist Church. I remember looking up, because that's where God lives, and praying:
"I don't know if You're real, but if You are, I want to know You."
Talking with friends who were part of the growing and loud youth group, they were talking about Jesus. I knew about him but not a lot. In Confirmation class we weren't learning about Jesus, the Head of the Church. We were learning about the Church and I was bored. These people down the hall were joyful, excited to be at Church. "How weird," I thought to myself.
"I don't know if You're real, but if You are - and these friends down the hall believe something about You - then I want to know You."
Backwards. Baptism then a prayer of faith. Although I'm really not sure the order matters here because baptism depends on God's activity not the water. God moves and that's the most important part. The focus is on what He does far more than what I do, as if I could do something without Him that was of eternal significance.
Whichever way it happened I'm glad it happened. I think it took! My faith journey was off, on a roller coaster ride through life. I consider this a pivotal moment in my life. What is your pivotal spiritual moment?