The faith tradition I grew up in basically revolved around the Bible and the doctrines that tradition had developed around it. It became a law book and proof text, so that is how I understood the Bible. I'm very grateful for the teaching I received, particularly in my Sunday school classes at the Blue Starr Church of Christ. Unfortunately, regarding the Bible as a law book meant missing really important things, such as Jesus and all he means. It's not that Jesus wasn't important, but he wasn't as important as having the right doctrines and understanding. That makes for a weak saviour, not an all powerful one. I realize now that the faith translated to me was a form of gnosticism. Certainly this wasn't intentional, but as with all things, we humans skew what is meant for good.
So now, at the older age I am, I have experienced the Christian life in communities of the Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, and now Church of the Brethren, and I've learned good things from them all. One might think I'm simply fickle, and there may be a bit to that, though in fact there have been times I've probably stayed too long in a faith community to ensure that wasn't part of my motivation. I actually have to experience a lot of pain to make so significant a move.
As is probably obvious, my views of both scripture and the church have changed, or to use the loaded term, evolved. It's been an incredible process and I imagine it will continue to be, though at times it has been quite painful and frightening. What I hope is to fiercely hold to what is true without belittling what I have reached past and without fearing what may come. Peter Enns posted a meditation by Richard Rohr not long ago. In it he says:
You have to learn from each stage, and yet you can’t completely throw out previous stages, as most people unfortunately do. In fact, a fully mature person appropriately draws upon all earlier stages. “Transcend and include” is Ken Wilber’s clever aphorism here. Most people immensely overreact against their earlier stages of development, and earlier stages of history, instead of still honoring them and making use of them (e.g. liberal, educated Christians who would be humiliated to join in an enthusiastic “Jesus song” with their Evangelical brothers and sisters even though they would intellectually claim to believe in Jesus, or adults who can no longer play, or rational people who completely dismiss the good of the non-rational).The journey is continuing. In fact, my Sunday school class will be reading Scot McKnight's book, The Blue Parakeet, and a theological reading group I'm part of will be reading Peter Enn's new book, The Bible Tells Me So. It will be interesting to see where this may lead, especially now that I'm no longer afraid, (at least not much), because my faith is in the one faithful one, and not my own understanding of him.