“Only read the Bible and books by other Christians because you don’t want to become “led astray” or “confused.” I remember when I was in high school and one of my classmates was a Muslim. It was in various conversations I discovered there were many levels, simplicities, and complexities to exactly what that meant for him. It was one day in gym, a day where we didn’t have to dress out, when we had this conversation about some differences in our faiths. Two young people, discussing differences, without arguing, but to seek an understanding of “why” we see or believe things that way.
No insults were traded. No belittlement. Disbelief? Yes. Shock? Yes. Ah hah moments? Yes. Thought provoking and respectful. He said he would bring the Holy Koran to school since I had never seen one. I told my mom and she cautioned me as she had been cautioned. He brought it to school. I looked at it. I was like “Wow. Cool.” I mean what did you expect from a teenager. It was like an Indiana Jones moment. I came home and said, “Hey, Mom. Still Christian. Just letting you know.” She seemed to be relieved. I thought it was humorous.
The things is, I had been reading all kinds of books from Astrology to History. I am curious about almost everything and I lived directly behind a library. It was only natural to seek more information and explore ideas about God outside of my faith. Was I confused? Sure about some things. But, many things only confirmed what I had always thought about God anyways. Thank goodness I read other books, spiritually led to them, taking what is true for me and letting things in the books that were not, go. When you read something, that you are led to, you must learn to EAT the FISH and SPIT out the BONES. You do not have to believe everything in a book. If it aligned itself to my core beliefs, if it aligned itself to my spirit, I was good with it. I never thought about leaving Christ. Yet, I have thought about leaving Christianity in a sense of how it is viewed by those in it and those on the outside looking in. I hate to be constrained in any way!
I read. I read outside of my faith and it has created a freedom in me I can’t explain. It allows me to be respectful to others who do not believe what I believe and it has given me a command to not be in company with those who cannot respect my beliefs. This includes other Christians as well. Who are we in respect to the Creator? We do not know it all. We do not have it all. NONE OF US DO. I have no need to put you in a Heaven or Hell. Though, I do believe there are just somethings that must be accounted for…
So, I don’t apologize for the books I read. God put the quest in me to discover what God means and who God is to me on another level than just what is between 66 books. We don’t have all of that either. How can anyone have all of God? You do not own Spirit.
One thing reading has done is allowed me to appeal to the spirit of a person. I have no qualms about what you believe or not unless it is used to harm others. It has taught me that I don’t have to understand you, to respect you. I don’t have to feel sorry for you because you do not believe what I believe. I don’t have to make you believe what I believe. I don’t have to change you. Heck, I don’t have the power to change you. Only you can change you.
Deep calleth unto the deep. If it hasn’t called you, don’t worry about me.