I have never done a blog before, and I am told that it is not that complicated. My boyfriend teases me that I am acting like a sixth grader getting a MySpace for the first time…and I have no idea how that feels. I have never had a MySpace before either. So that reference fell flat. But hey, he tried. 🙂
Regardless, being the sometimes no-nonsense gal I tend to be, I researched on how to write blogs, (yes, the paranoia of university to research EVERYTHING is still in my blood). I found out mainly that blogging is about content. And so because content is a pretty big deal, I am going to start off with the biggest story of my life, which happens to also be part of the biggest story of the universe.
I am a s Seventh-day Adventist Christian. A lot of people, when they hear that, either blank out, or have immediate thoughts of a cult like culture that is anti-pork, or for those who have grown in the church, may yawn at the memory of countless of arguments of doctrine and the Sabbath. Some, when they hear that, may remember that they used to be Seventh-day Adventist, and left the church because of church issues and such and such person ran them out because of their legalistic ways.
Well, I was that “Such and Such Person,” who can have the knack of saying hurtful things under “good intentions”. I grew up in the church. Both of my parents were Adventists, almost all of my family is Adventist with the exception of a few on my father’s side, they are Catholics. When you are born into this type of family, it is very easy to grow up with the Adventist culture and simultaneously connect it as being the same as having a personal relationship with Jesus. As a small kid I was almost always concerned with right and wrong, I was always the conscience of the group of friends or cousins. I also wasn’t a push over, I would make my case as to why the wrong was wrong so powerfully and logically that I ended up intimidating those around me, or irritating them, or they ended up respecting me. I was such strong willed kid; I never buckled down under peer pressure. I don’t have stories that I regret of growing up in where I did massive screw ups in the name of youth, “for tomorrow we die” mentality. I was never bullied. I didn’t give people reason to talk. I barely have a blotchy record, and the few blotches that are there, I would fess up to them without much of an issue, cut the drama about in half, and move on with my life. And I was one of the loneliest kids I knew, but I would never confess that.
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I was about 13 years old when I finally met Christ, and begin to have a vague enough of an idea to surrender my life to Him. I wanted to be with Him, kind of searching a way out to this loneliness and craziness that was going on in my life at the moment. There was hope that entered into me. I baptized at the age of 14, and have tried to be faithful to Christ ever since. However, I still battled with what I battled with. I was such a “rule person” that I showed my relationship with Christ through external things, like making sure I wore none to minimal make up, the clothes that I would wear, the things that I would refuse to engage in, certain movies or music. I mean the list was long, I came to know Christ, and I still was scaring everyone away. That continued through high school, and almost all the way to university. I was doing all the right things at church and at school, and inside I was one of the sourest people I kept confronting. I criticized everybody, I couldn’t understand how people could struggle with sin, yet somehow still maintain a form of relationship with Christ that was much more vibrant than mine. I didn’t get it. And it seemed that every single time I went to my knees to Jesus, I would pull out my list on how faithful I have been to Him, and still not receive blessings that I was looking for. I was a theology student at Southern Adventist University, and I was having one of the greatest struggles of my life. I kept praying that I wanted God to have His way in my life, that I wanted to serve Him, that I wanted to have lives like the disciples and the famous missionaries.
Instead, I got one of the biggest whoopings of my life. Extremely difficult years came my way, where issue upon issue came into my life and I found myself one day caught up in a string of sin that I have never intended to enter and yet it was still there. And all the promises of doing the right thing next time never worked, and all the boundaries I placed were too weak, and all the logical arguments that entered into my head were all right, but I did not have victory over the issues that I knew were wrong – that I had been trained as a kid to know they were wrong.
Have any of you read C.S. Lewis’ book, “Until We Have Faces?” Powerful book. Not so much an allegory of the Christ story, but more of an allegory of the human’s journey to recognize certain truths. There is a part of the story, where the Princess Orual makes one of the biggest discoveries of her life, “I am Ungit.” Ungit was a goddess that Orual had hated ever since she was a little girl. She viewed Ungit as demanding, selfish, never satisfied with what was given to her because she wanted it done a certain way, and an exaggerated martyr to gain sympathy. Orual would go to the understanding of the Greeks to show rhyme and reason in a world that was oppressed by these “gods and goddesses” and she was so desperately lonely, yet she came across as a strong person, an intimidating person. Then one day, after a course of events, she got the truth smacked in her face, “I am Ungit.” She realized she was the very thing that she had despised all these years, and she had never noticed it.
That’s what happened with me. I was smacked with the reality that I was the very thing that I kept criticizing people for, prideful, not knowing Christ, critical, with no hope and insecure. I got smacked with the truth of it all; deep down inside it was made to clear to me that I didn’t know Jesus hardly at all and that what I have been doing was keeping a system of rules and regulations. I did not know the Jesus that was in the Bible. And the reality stung…..but at the same time, it was one of the biggest gulps of fresh air I have ever experienced, because it meant that now, I could really get to know Jesus. You know, Jesus is crazy about you and I and I am so thankful that He was persistent in answering my prayer to get to know Him even when I was ignorant of what that even meant. Through my pride, my insecurities, Jesus worked in such a way, where the mask was finally pulled off of my head and I had to look at myself and admit it, “I am Ungit.” I had thought myself so good, because of so many things that I knew was right and did them, that really, I had no need for the saving blood of Christ, I had no need of Him, as a Person, as a Friend. Now my face was slammed against a mirror that I could not escape, and I was such an ugly person inside, such a manipulative, prideful, selfish, insecure girl. And when I was compared to the light of Christ, I saw that I was nowhere near Him as much as I thought I was, and that what I was parading as Christianity was white washed tombs. But even it was a struggle for me to connect to people and make friends with them, Jesus came close to me and had been a better friend. He came to me while I was still ugly, and worked with me in such a way, that I was shown my need of Him, and it was no different than the person who is a drug addict, alcoholic, or struggling with sexual sin. And I realized just how beautiful He really was, and how much He really loves us.
I was shown the Gospel. How it really is supposed to be. And it clicked in my head, that if you can fall in love with that Jesus, not the Jesus that you build in your head because of your perception, but the Jesus that was in history, the Jesus that is in the Bible, you will understand why people who truly lived for Him, were those who also truly died for Him. And it is beautiful and powerful. It renders one speechless. To be with Someone who loves you so much, that He works with you to the point that the light bulb comes on. I was shown my need of Him, my true, deep, most sincere need of Him, that I couldn’t do it on my own. I can’t even do this Christian thing on my own. I need Him. I mean, I really, really, really need Him. I can’t even pray right without Him. How can I even begin to think that I can enter salvation without Him?
I am Ruth Bonet. And I will be the main contributor for the Sexuality portion of this blogging community. I share my testimony as the first entry because of this: it doesn’t matter whether we write about theology, health, worship, sexuality, or whatever if the connection with God hasn’t been made to the point that you realize that you are nothing without Him, anything I write will be pointless. Because sexuality doesn’t make sense until you have found yourself in Him. And you can’t identify who you are as a person, until you have come to the foot of the Cross. So I invite you to come on a journey with me, to follow Christ, and to see what that means.