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My name is Ryan, I'm a recovering Agnostic ...

Started by blaze, July 11, 2005, 11:37:25 PM

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Like all of us, I have gone through a number of transformations over the years, the most extreme being the spiritual transformations. I was leafing through old papers I wrote in college the other day, one entitled "The Philosophy of Ryan" ... it contained a mixture of the self serving philosophies of man that would serve well to help anyone rationalize their way through even the most self destructive behaviors. I reflected on that time and wondered how I had gotten there?

When I was young I believed in God. I remember being seven and arguing with my best friend Sean and his Dad that evolution was purely a figment of Darwin's dreams. they always bested me, I was seven and knew little. When I turned eight, I met a new friend at school ~ Scott. Unaware that our friendship would be short lived, we became good friends. As I had no formal relationship with God (never tried praying, my family rarely went to church) I only knew I believed in him as I did the easter bunny, or santa, without knowing why. But Scott had a very strong Christian family, and I respected that. In ways, I grew strength from it. Four days before Scott turned 13, he died of cancer. He fought it for two years. At times they thought they had beaten it ... I still have photos of me standing next to Scott at those parties he had every time he thought he'd won. In the end he didn't. Before dying he started an organization to serve other kids ~ OTHER kids ~ who had cancer, to help them through it. Charity was the first thing on his mind while he sat and felt his body fall apart, had a leg amputated, and eventually died.

At the funeral I was speaking to Scott's mother, she was telling me how much Scott liked fire trucks, and how she had seen over a dozen in different places on the way to the funeral. How she felt like that was Scott's way of telling her things were ok, that he was ok. Then a woman, the preachers wife in fact, came up to Scott's mom and said "God killed Scott because of something you did. You need to figure out what it is, and repent." Scott's mom believed it.

God would have the nerve to torture a little kid for 2 years and then kill him ... a kid who had nothing in his heart but love and charity? That's the day I stopped believing.

And ten years later I was in the same boat. I held a lot of bitterness. It made me angrier every time someone rationalized stupidity, violence, intollerance or selfishness with religion. I had closed myself off to the scriptures and to spirituality. And then I met the girl.

Guys, why do so many of our "for the better" transformation stories start with a girl?

Well mine did. Ill spare the details of how we met, but through our meeting I was introduced to other people my age who showed compassion, humility, love, and true joy in life ~ all the things I felt Scott had, and that I was missing. It led me to investigate religion further.

The bitterness I held wasn't against God, or Jesus. It was against the percieved notion of who a Christian is. It was against all the negative stereotypes of Christianity I stood, and it was against people that believe God will kill a child for spite, that I stood. God allowed his own son to die so that we might live. That is seen as a sacrifice and an offering, not a punishment. It was through good examples of loving Christians, such as Christ, that I came to open my heart to what the gospel of Jesus Christ had to offer.

I learned that it's not through guilt or grief that the lord wants us to live, it's through the joy of serving others, and through serving others, serving him.

I thank Jesus Christ for what he gave us. His sacrifice is an example of pure love, and I will try in my love to show nothing but thankfulness and respect for that sacrifice by offering love to those around me.

I thank the Lord for taking the void that was the universe and creating the beautiful and stunningly complex wonder that we are in the middle of, and a part of. I thank him for the principles and guidelines that make us truly free in our hearts by truly understanding how much we all really do matter.

And I thank Scott for being a shining example those 12 years ago.


Jane Walker

July 12, 2005, 02:19:16 AM #1 Last Edit: July 12, 2005, 11:34:34 AM by Jane Walker
Ryan ... You have come a long way and I welcome you to the Family.  Sadly there are far too many who, like that pastor's wife, have a warped sense of what God is all about.  He is a God of LOVE ... I am grateful you knew Scott and more grateful that you met this girl ... Thank God for your perception and understanding. 

Again I say Welcome to the Family.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass .... it's about learning to dance in the rain!


Hi Ryan, your testimony is beautiful. I  am so glad that you came here to share that testimony with us here at Christian Photographers.  God Bless you Brother you have come a long way.

"Good people take care of their animals, but even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel" Prov. 12:10
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Al Moak

Thank You, Lord, for Ryan, and thank You for Scott's reflection of Your goodness.  Oh Father, fill Ryan - and fill me - with more and more of Your goodness and teach us more and more of Your Word.  Oh reveal Jesus Christ through that Word to us.


What you wrote Ryan reminded me of something dumb I heard a long time ago. Ever have one of those dumb things that wind up haunting you and just try and prove themselves over and over through the years.

There was this big problem between a boy and a girl I knew. It was messing up both families and somehow you just had to know deep down inside this wasn't meant to be.

While I was sitting there lamenting the terrible things had become between everyone an old man just up and spit this out of nowhere: "When God wants to bless you, He sends a woman, when the devil wants to destroy you he sends a woman."

At first I thought, HOW STUPID ( I didn't say that to him out loud though), but over the years that saying rears it head and smack pops me at the strangest times.