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  3. Christians: what are some of your Damascus Road moments?

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 months ago#1
Specifically, what are those life events that have caused you to reconsider all that you once believed about God, the bible and/or the world?

For me, it actually happened in/around Damascus...gate, in the old city of Jerusalem. Prior to having gone to Israel, I dreamed up romantic notions of the Holy Land and what it meant for my Christianity (particularly, my eschatology).

At the end of a 9-day stay in Israel, I had a glowing epiphany that Israel has nothing to offer Christianity. By supporting the concept of Zionism, I was in fact doing harm to my Christian brothers and sisters who live in the land, while pledging allegiance to a secular state that really doesn't (at least not in the sense we're often led to believe) care about God. When I started to dig deeper into the issue, I found that there are Orthodox Jews who even disagree with Israel's land policies.

Being at the Temple Mount and in Bethlehem supported this idea. I was, while in these places, surrounded by Arabs/Muslims, I was shown nothing but hospitality...by these folk that mainstream, evangelical "Christianity" deems to be horrendous monsters who are out to literally rape our daughters and invade our homes.

============

This is a small glimpse (there is much more to the story), but I've never been the same. At first I doubted God (for the first time in my entire life), because my faith seemed to die in light of me having to change my mind about key elements of my faith. Then, I realized that I was a far more caring person. I now defend Muslims against attacks from other Christians; I am more confident than ever when I stand up to loved ones who encourage harsh border/immigrant policies. I no longer fear certain groups of people, but rather view the world as in desperate need of Christ's love.

In other words, I was now blind, but now I see.

============

Any stories of your own?
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 months ago#2
Hmm. I don’t quite have moments like that. I have had loads of doctrinal development over the years, but it’s been a more gradual process for me. Harder to pin down ‘Damascus Road’ experiences.

There have definitely been moments of an intense felt experience of God that I can point back to. For me, they often happen when I’m in a natural environment. One particularly memorable experience was when I went hiking/camping in Colorado years ago. A few of us decided to wake up before sunrise and do a relatively short hike (about 45 minutes, but it felt basically like going straight up) to a spot with an amazing view of Pikes Peak. We saw the sunrise over the surrounding mountain ranges and it was amazing. My buddy had brought his guitar and we worshipped together in awe of the God of creation.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 months ago#3
the_hedonist posted...
We saw the sunrise over the surrounding mountain ranges and it was amazing. My buddy had brought his guitar and we worshipped together in awe of the God of creation.

This is my biggest regret of having not found God when single. I have these very strong desires to leave the civilized world (temporarily) and to worship God in solitude in some place like that you've described.

But there's always something around the house to do. I'm jealous, man!

I suppose this is why the Sabbath was given to man. Need to get back to it, I suppose. Rest and enjoyment of God's wonderful creation. Going to Costa Rica in two weeks, so maybe I can find time away to do that!
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: TurtleInFreedom

TurtleInFreedom
3 months ago#4
One life experience that really changed by perception on God was my ordeal with my schizophrenia phase. I had a mild form of schizophrenia called schizophreniform, and through the experiences I had I came to a very real realization that our rational faculties were on really shaky grounds. What is reality? What constitutes what is real and what is not? There's literally no way for us to ground ourselves to reality without some kind of dogmatic faith in reality, whether they be expressed or not. Through schizophreniform I've come to the realization that our senses were very suspectable to corruption, and that even our rationality had its limits and had plenty of room for failure as well, as my schizophreniform had shown me in very real terms. So basically through these experiences I crossed out empiricism and rationalism as basis for reality, in philosophical terms. I thought it just made more sense that reality is grounded in God's sovereignty, that what reality is is contingent on a personal God who wants to have a relationship with me, and that my reality or my perception or rational faculties have zero bearing on that ultimate reality. Soli Deo gloria.

User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 months ago#5
YHWH_Saves posted...
This is my biggest regret of having not found God when single. I have these very strong desires to leave the civilized world (temporarily) and to worship God in solitude in some place like that you've described.

But there's always something around the house to do. I'm jealous, man!

I suppose this is why the Sabbath was given to man. Need to get back to it, I suppose. Rest and enjoyment of God's wonderful creation. Going to Costa Rica in two weeks, so maybe I can find time away to do that!


It truly was an amazing experience for which I should not take granted. And I did have many more opportunities to travel when I was younger. But I do believe everyday we are afforded the opportunity to stand in awe of the God of creation if we just discipline ourselves to slow down and recognize it. Even if we stay inside all day, we can recognize the wonder of the human body. The apparent simplicity of breathing, standing, and walking downstairs is in reality beautifully complex and amazing. But we are regretfully unaware.

I am as much preaching to myself here. I’ve lived in both urban and rural settings. In places with little in terms of ‘natural’ beauty and in places with more of it. And it is admittedly easier in some places to see the handiwork of God. But the reality is that it is always all around us.

In regards to Sabbath...this is a recent soapbox of mine. While I don’t believe it is a commandment that Christians must abide by, I do think it is a spiritually beneficial practice, a gift to us from God. And I believe that failing to establish Sabbath-esque rhythms into our lives is potentially harmful to our souls.

The New Testament is clear that we are not to judge those who do not honor days as holy or who do honor days as holy (Romans 14). That said, the Sabbath was instituted before the fall. It seems that it was woven into the very fabric of creation itself. I believe that there’s even a secular case to be made for Sabbath-keeping. And while Jesus did not keep Sabbath as strictly as the Pharisees, he said that man was not made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath for the man. In other words, Sabbath is a gift to us.

My wife and I have been trying to be more intentional in Sabbath-keeping in the past year or so. It’s been incredible for my walk with God. And I have kids and a house, too! There’s always things to do. I firmly believe that I will be more effective the other six days of the week if I practice Sabbath intentionally. Takes a little more effort on the front end and there is an adjustment period, but it’s an extremely important practice for me.

If you’re interested, this sermon series from Bridgetown Church was very helpful in information some of the different things my wife and I do to practice Sabbath:

https://bridgetown.church/series/sabbath/
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 months ago#6
the_hedonist posted...
And I believe that failing to establish Sabbath-esque rhythms into our lives is potentially harmful to our souls.

Could not have said it as brilliantly as you do here!

I'm by no means a legalistic person. I don't point fingers and shame others for not "keeping the commandments."

But as someone who suffers from chronic depression, and has a family that does the same, I see the dire need for us to keep a "Sabbath-esque rhythm" in our lives. There are seasons during which we all sort of doing our own thing - never forgetting God, but not as afire as previously. It usually takes a random "Sabbath" break from the world to reinvigorate our faith. It's a shame that our busy lives can run so darned contrary to what I believe to be the will of God.

You're spot on about everything from the cellular to the celestial, revealing the handiwork of God. It's one of the reasons why I love the animal kingdom so much; I can watch nature all day. In fact, I need to set aside more time to do so.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 months ago#7
TurtleInFreedom posted...
So basically through these experiences I crossed out empiricism and rationalism as basis for reality, in philosophical terms. I thought it just made more sense that reality is grounded in God's sovereignty, that what reality is is contingent on a personal God who wants to have a relationship with me, and that my reality or my perception or rational faculties have zero bearing on that ultimate reality. Soli Deo gloria.

This is beautiful, and a point I've never heard before. That's an amazing testimony, man!

I mean, I always hear - and believe - that we can't lean on our own understanding; but I've never heard anyone testify to such from the perspective of one whose perception of reality has been compromised. I don't think I've suffered from the same ordeal as you, but I tell you the truth: I can definitely see the divide between physical reality (how life is/what it looks like) and God's design/template.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: TurtleInFreedom

TurtleInFreedom
3 months ago#8
YHWH_Saves posted...
This is beautiful, and a point I've never heard before. That's an amazing testimony, man!

I mean, I always hear - and believe - that we can't lean on our own understanding; but I've never heard anyone testify to such from the perspective of one whose perception of reality has been compromised. I don't think I've suffered from the same ordeal as you, but I tell you the truth: I can definitely see the divide between physical reality (how life is/what it looks like) and God's design/template.


I guess to someone who hears this it's beautiful, but to me it's more of God's mercy on my rational faculties, my being. At any time I could lose sense or control of myself, but it's God who allows me to function in a manner that constitutes as a normal person, someone who sees reality as it really is. For me, it's grace, and I allow that grace to illuminate the other aspects of life which God sheds grace upon. In many ways I thank God for this experience because before then my relationship with God was very nonchalant. Now I really see God's grace in every aspect of life.. in struggles, in nature, in our interactions with people, and so on.

User Info: LinkFanatic

LinkFanatic
3 months ago#9
I don't have schizophrenia (that I know of; I have suspicions, though), but I do have several mental illnesses; I've also been hospitalized three times. Safe bet I know what you're going through, Turtle. Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you continue to find comfort in your faith. :)
Islam is Chaos Control.

User Info: TurtleInFreedom

TurtleInFreedom
3 months ago#10
Thanks. Comfort is something I find in the total sovereignty of God though, not on anything on my own part. :]
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