Tuesday, December 1, 2015

You Know Nothing Joel Vogt - Part 2

This is part 2 of a series that I started about a week ago.

Part 1 Is right here. Please read this before you read part 2.

If you are Christian that is not 100% grounded in your faith I must strongly recommend that you do not look up several things that I will write about during this series unfolding. I will Highlight specifics that I think are dangerous in red. Many things in this series may surprise you, or change your opinion of me. You may learn things that you do not know about me yet. You may be surprised, or upset, or angry at me if you love me. You may not feel any of these things at all and I may just be assuming things. I am trusting that God is with me while I write this, and I am praying that the message comes though very safely and clearly. Let's get right into it shall we?

When I entered High School I was finding myself through music. I came into marching band before school started and it became the center of my social circle. I made a few friends in the beginning of the year. they all played a card game every day. I became enthralled in this card game. it became the reason for me going to school every day. I focussed on getting better cards and becoming better at the game more than my work. Between this, and my fascination with the opposite sex I became 100% distracted from the foundation that my faith was built upon. I continued to play video games when I was home, and I spent a lot of time playing Final Fantasy at home in the first two years of high school.

I still attended church on the holidays, and I had a tendency to pray when I wanted something. Sometimes I even made bargains with God. Do this and I will do that... that kind of thing.

I attended CCD classes and I learned about what God was supposed to be.

I began to see strange things more and more at this age. I would catch a glimpse of someone in my peripheral vision. I would sometimes have long episodes of de ja vu. It would seem as though I had lived whole 10 minute periods before. I slowly became interested in Ghosts and other spiritual beings in my freshman year of High school.

I told my mother about these things and she encouraged me to listen more. I did more and more research on the paranormal. It began to overtake my Christian faith. I began to stop asking God for things and I simply used my "gifts" as I called them to justify what I believed. I did not need God or his word to tell me who I am or why I am here.

In my Junior year of High School I met a girl who would become my first super serious girlfriend. She was Pentecostal. It was important to her that I attend church with her for certain things so I did. I went to church with her on and off that year. I learned a lot about the Pentacostal religion and wondered why it seemed so different from what I was taught. I then attended an evangelical Christian church, and a baptist church, and an Episcopal church. I had realized that there was a hole in my spirit. I was trying to fill it.

Just before I received the Sacrament of Confirmation I had started to study Astrology. I was almost obsessed with spirits and ghosts, and I had continued to play video games almost obsessively. I was not able to stay stable in a social situation for very long.

Though it was not the case, I felt unloved by my family. I felt shutout from everything around me. I felt that everyone who once loved me was constantly attacking me. I only found comfort in playing music, video games, or hanging out with that girlfriend.... the one that I broke up with soon after confirmation.

In my senior year of High school is when it would all change. It was a false start that year, and it would not be the last.

It was when someone very close to me told me about the gifts of the Holy Spirit that something in me changed. I started reading the bible. I started asking questions of my friends. I tried to get closer to God. I prayed. I asked him to help me know him. I asked him to fill me with his spirit so that I could know him.

I was asking God to give me exactly what I wanted.

He had reached for my hand and I had said... no.. you have to do this for me.

I wanted this blessing so I could prove his existence to non believers.

I wanted to be the reason that people believed in God. I wanted to give them undeniable proof. I wanted this so badly that I attempted to write a research paper for my English class that would prove the existence of God. I wanted to do this mainly because I had been told that my English teacher was an Atheist and I wanted to prove him wrong.

I wanted to be a hero.

I wanted to be God's hero.

That research paper got a 41 out of 100 by the way.

That was the last time I tried to prove his existence. I stopped reading my Bible.

I didn't stop believing but I did not ever give my Life to God.

I always did what I wanted to do no matter what it meant to God.

I would apologize later and I would feel shame and guilt, but it did not stop me.

I stopped believing in Hell and Satan because I started to believe that, in my enlightened 18 year old mind, these things had to be simply created to scare people. (I thought that I knew everything)

I began slowly surrounding myself with people that believed in either nothing or another religion in an attempt to convert them with nothing but the summary of my beliefs. I must confess that I surely did more harm than good. I certainly had the "Holier than thou" part that I had been exposed to my whole life down... but a Biblical Scholar I was, and still am, not.

I slowly stopped caring...

Then my dad had a conversion moment back to Christ. He has a blog about it. I will link to it next post if I get his permission.

During this time we began attending church again. I got on a first name basis with the priest.

When I went off to College I still attended church with them for a little while.

One night when I was sitting in my bed in my dorm room I had a wild idea pop into my head.

I started to think that I should talk to my dad. I needed to tell him what I wanted to change my major to. I spoke with him. I talked to my friends. I explained it to my adviser. Then it was time to talk to my priest. I had to tell them all....

I felt that I was being called into the Catholic Priesthood.

That's it for part 2 Ladies and Gentlemen. This one was a little tougher to write. I hope that it wasn't too hard to read. A lot of time was cut out here, but I didn't want to include unneccessary filler material (normal life for someone that age).

It was hard to delve that deeply to pull as many of the ups and downs of my beliefs as I could.

I am mostly writing this as a record for myself, so that I do not have to keep digging up memories that sometimes are not completely there, but if this entertains, informs, or educates even one person on even one topic then I am glad to share it.

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