I've been raised inside a protestant church. I've been baptised and I did my confirmation when I was 20. I still believe that there is a God. I still believe that Jesus is an example of how we should live our lives. Although I don't read it much, my bible is still one of the first things I pack where ever I go. I might not read it, but it goes with me all the time. I still have a card with a cross in my wallet that's been there for the last 15 years. A so called pocket cross. It's barely readable, it's hidden in my wallet and nowadays I don't carry my wallet with me. For safety reasons. But it's always there.
The card reads the following:
The cross I carry with me reminds me constantly that I want to live my life as a christian and go Gods way.
It's not a magic piece of wood, it's not a magic token of luck. And it doesn't even prevent me for pain or accidents.
I don't carry it with me as an ID card. It's a sign between the contact of the Lord and me.
When I put my hand in my pocket to look for money or my keys I feel this cross that tells me: "He redeemed my freedom!"
It tells me that I can thank my blessings large and small, and that I always, in word and actions, need to be his follower.
It reminds me also to the fact that Christ comforts and gives peace to anyone who surrenders to His care and love.
This is how I carry this cross always with me. As a token of believe and hope that Christ also wants to be my Lord, as long as I don't avoid Him.
Recent events in Belgium with the catholic church made a friend and many of her fellow countrymen un-baptise herself. For me this is a very serious step. I stepped out of the church because I didn't feel at home there. I met too many ego's and having an active church life mend for me to constantly try not to step on anybody's toes and I saw too much hypocrisy. My family all still go to church and I respect that. It's true that in church you are being fed with spiritual life. But for me... ...Not if I know that I can do one thing and sit in church the next week believing something else. I would be the first to confess I'm a sinner and that I do little to change it. But I do believe that Jesus is an example that we all need to life by. That he is the bringer of light and that he is all good.
Humanity struggles with life questions, we think we can do it all ourselves and we don't need a guidance for our soul. I know otherwise.
Back to the Catholic church. As a protestant, raised in a country that destroyed a lot of the beauty that catholic churches can hold physically, I believe that it's wrong to honour the woman that gave birth to Christ. I believe that it's wrong that by giving money it's possible to be salvaged, I believe it's wrong that there is only one person on earth that represents Jesus and can make rules where all devoted people of one church needs to live by. I believe that a lot those people forgot the popular question: "What would Jesus do?"
Honestly, if you take all the quotes from Jesus from the bible, everything he personally said in there. You could carry that in a small book with you, where ever you go. You don't need dogma's, you don't need a complete bible, you definitely don't need the Papal canon.
Would I ever renounce my baptism, or my confirmation? No. In the protestant church baptising does not only mean that I'm saved by Jesus and that my sins are forgiven. But it also means that my parents and anybody in my church will help me to grow my faith, help me in my religion and stand by me. My parents have done that and continue doing so. Renouncing my baptism would be a slap in the face to my parents.
Would I renounce my confirmation? No. When I did my confirmation I believed fully that Jesus is my saviour and that I say yes to God. And accept forgiveness for all my mistakes, all my sins and that I will do my best to live up to the life he set out for me.
Last night I was reading something that a lot of christians would call 'wrong'. I will delve into that later. Now is not time to discuss that. But I grabbed my bible and read the first chapter of John. First time in a long, long time that I opened my bible.
Right after that I read a blog of a guy that is on his path to enlightenment. I've been following him for a while, but never read his blog or forum. Just the occasional newsletter. He wrote down the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,Life is about love, life is about showing the path to the light that Jesus brings and showing others the way and follow Him who is able to stand by you, not judge you but by helping you fulfilling the path to Light, wisdom and freedom.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.