I was born Mennonite, in a long line of Mennonites. Around the age of 13 my family left the Mennonite church and began attending a non-denominational church. At the time I took issue with many things that I saw in the denomination and decided I would never return.
Around the age of 8 I felt the call to be a missionary. Hudson Taylor has been a role-model for me since a young age and I always saw myself heading to China. In my senior year of high school I took a 10 day trip to India and loved it. I enrolled in a summer program in Papua New Guinea that would focus on assimilating primitive cultures and doing linguistic work, learning a language no foreigner has ever undertaken learning. I enrolled at West Chester University's Anthropology Program, with a minor in Linguistics. I always told God I would go anywhere, do anything.
I am now the Associate Pastor of Worship and Youth at Swamp Mennonite Church. I work about a mile and a half from the home where I grew up and serve in the church that my mom called home. I was installed by the same Mennonite minister who dedicated me as a child. And I hold a degree in Sociology and Psychology.
Oh the humor of God.
Throughout my lifetime I have been close friends with Baptists, Reformed, Sovereign Gracers, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Ex-Pentecostals, and many other strains of Christian (and non-Christian) theology and philosophy. Through it all, I have become more and more dependent upon the Bible as the source of truth and the primary vehicle through which we understand God in our world. When asked what my theology is I will say, I do not submit to any one systematic theology, rather I consider myself to have a Biblical theology. I never want to be so set in my ways that I am unwilling to consider an idea and weigh it against the truth of Scripture. For this, I am forever indebted to my Mennonite upbringing.
In this pursuit of Scripture I have ended up with an interesting theological make-up. I take an Anabaptist approach to Scripture, discipleship, worship, the church, and interactions with society. I view salvation from a Reformed perspective. I consider the Spirit to still be active and necessary for the church today, allowing for all of the Charasmatic gifts. And I think that mission is inherent to the nature of God and that primary to our understanding of what it means to be Christian should be a sense of Missional calling. I also think that this missional calling comes from Scripture as well as out of a deep sense of the love and grace of God for humanity through Mystical experiences with the Spirit through prayer. I cannot help but end up in these positions over and over as I read through the Bible.
All in all, though, I consider myself an honest seeker of Truth. My greatest aim is to know God, to love God. I fall short every day, every minute even, but I keep pressing on. Through the mist and the darkness, through times of depression and despair, through times of elation and joy, through moments when God is the only real thing to me, and through times when I don't even believe that God is real; I keep pressing on to win the prize for which I am called heavenward. And what is that prize that Paul references in Philippians 3:14? Unfortunately so many have been deluded and deceived and do not know the prize we are promised as Christians; it is nothing less than Jesus Christ himself. We press on towards the prize of knowing Jesus.
I do not yet know as I ought to know.