Stages of my Faith over the Years

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(© Jeffrey S. Bowman, all rights reserved, use by permission only)

 

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I've discovered that my faith has had stages over the years. These came from the pressures of life and age. Sometime in the future I’ll expand my thoughts but for now here are the Stages of my Faith that I’ve identified:

In my 20's I was a "True Believer." I fit the description that Eric Hoffer discusses in his book The True Believer. I wanted to find something to sink my life into and I found it in the Jesus Movement. I acquired my Bachelors Degree in Theology and became a Pastor at the age of 23 and found myself in a very conservative church in N.J.

30's a "Believer.” I left the “ministry” and moved back to my home state (CA) and there started a Friday Night Church all the while working in the new computer industry. I then went back to school and my Bachelors Degree became a Masters Degree in Theology. I was committed to my faith and wanted to “grow” more.

40’s a “Serious Believer.” Feeling I was now called by God to get “back into the game” and it was “my turn at bat.” So I went back into the Ministry and revived a dying church in Anaheim. I took a 50% cut in pay in leaving the computer industry went into “full time” ministry. I continued to study and teach the Bible and sought to grasp the details of the Bible in light of my culture. Needless to say, my studies caused me to pull up to a 50,000 foot view of the text because my typical “over interrogating” the text took me to some dead ends. Such greater view of the Bible opened my eyes to the cultural Christianity that I was locked in. Such cultural Christianity works for some but it actually forced me out of the church.

50’s a “Skeptical Believer.” My faith was still present but full of questions and I discovered that Religion (and my former world) deals with answers that cannot be questioned whereas simple Spirituality deals with questions that cannot be answered. I then began to see that “all truth is God’s truth” and that the Bible was never to be interrogated like I was doing. Rather the big picture is THE picture.

Now that I’m in my 60’s I’d say that I’m a “Natural Believer.” It is only natural to believe in something greater than ourselves. Now I’m content to see that God’s love, light, and laws are in the hearts of every human being. We are called not to build walls but to overcome such tendency with love and tolerance. I see that humans “naturally” seek to look beyond themselves... especially as they deal with the pain (emotional and physical) and death that comes from life.

What will my 70’s or 80’s bring? At some point the “dirt nap” that I’m prepared to take... awaiting the REAL message of the Bible - RESURRECTION.