Don’t be a Religious Weirdo
Who can forget the famous Flanders. He is a religious nut who lives next door to Homer.
He says things like, “I’ve done everything the Bible says – even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!” He accidentally pokes fun at the religion which he is very serious about. I think when I first became a believer in Jesus, I followed a lot of what other people were doing around me. Many of the “rules” were probably beneficial for me, but some seriously limited my exposure to the world.
Over the years, I still have a very deep faith in Jesus, but it looks a lot different than it used to. I am not sure how to explain it to others, except that it looks so much different than when I was a bible college student. A lot different.
I went to bible college for a year in Missouri and a few of the rules are below:
- You may not go to the movies at all.
- You may not wear shorts on campus unless you are playing sports.
- You will attend chapel daily.
- You will keep yourself to the highest level of morality.
There were a ton more, but I did not last more than a year there. I realized that even in American Christianity, it mattered less about who you were than it mattered who you knew. I saw minority students kicked out of school for marijuana use on their first discipline referral. I also saw students who were clearly not following morality rules, yet they were speaking during chapel. It really rocked my world, especially when I started dating a young lady who came from a pretty troubled past. I made my share of mistakes that I regret.
I ended up leaving bible college to never continue.
I still ended up doing ministry off and on for eleven years. I wanted so much to be in the crowd of ministers. They would tell me I was gifted for the ministry and would often work me to the last ounce of my energy. Ultimately, I gave up on vocational ministry in 2012, and I have never felt so faith-filled and authentic in my faith.
My faith has always been integral in my life, but I see it more evident now, just not in the way that many people would count it. Now my faith means the most when I am teaching my middle school students. I want them to find a way to make sense of their life.
I am glad I am no longer the Flanders of my neighborhood.