This I Believe

Scott - Urbana, Ohio
Entered on October 17, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I Believe…

The survival of our world depends on our willingness to be open-minded to discoveries that will unlock ways of graciousness and acceptance toward one another

Life’s journey had led me in many directions. My first career consisted of 18 years in a sales-marketing driven by material wants and success-oriented recognition and achievement. In a time of enlightenment, I discovered, among many things, that God has been the consistent and supportive force in my life; either through spiritual mentors and family members or through my own spiritual walk.

This enlightenment led me to chose a path less traveled by seeking a vocational change to ordained Christian ministry. Eighteen years after my undergraduate studies, I returned to school to obtain a Master of Divinity degree that a national denomination required. Because of these studies, a hunger for knowledge began to mature. Seven years later the call to ministry moved me to the United Church of Christ denomination. This diverse, open, inclusive denomination, challenged both my biblical and theological understandings. I began to explore what others had to say about the key aspects of the Bible and our doctrines of sin, salvation, and grace. These insights along with discussions and connections with others led me to unravel the inconsistencies and misconceptions we have, and further realize that ingrained in many of us is an unwillingness to explore and discover new possibilities.

What I have discovered is that eternal salvation is given to everyone through God’s perfect grace, compassion and love. Because of this the Christian life is no longer about a life of requirement and reward. It is a life of relationship and transformation bringing God’s grace, compassion and love. To take what I believe seriously effects the way I live and interact in the world. It is to look at persons in a new light. Just as I am a child of God, loved unconditionally in spite of all my sin and shortcomings, so is everyone else. The objective is to become just as gracious as God is to everyone, so must I. For me this affirms a religious pluralism and recognition that stresses love of God, neighbor and self. For that to happen , I had to look to our past, open my mind to the discovery, that what has been taught along with the words that we speak, without informed knowledge, is often inconsistent in the ways of graciousness and acceptance.

Never before would I have ever imagined that in the Fall of 2005, I would begin teaching two college level courses – the first, looked at our nation’s history from a religious perspective and the other looked at eastern and western philosophical thinking. In the first, I discovered that many of our religious misconceptions have a historical perspective that drove the wedge of exclusiveness. Second, I discovered that all throughout our world, we are people who live by similar philosophical views about who we, our concept of a supreme being, our morality, and our ethics.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity and the willingness to be open-minded to discovery. I look differently at the world. I see the lack of peace, the misconceptions of others based upon views regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability, and injustices due to a unwillingness to listen and learn , but rather instead, a need to be heard.

The world’s survival requires a new Christian reformation that depends upon a willingness to be open-minded to discoveries that will unlock ways of graciousness and acceptance toward one another.