A two-minute backstory…
My faith background is a little out of the ordinary: I was raised in a secular Jewish home, but always had an interest in saints and church history. Most importantly, I was always attracted to the incarnation – a personal God in the flesh who walked the earth. I started calling myself a Christian in college, and attended a conservative seminary shortly after for a master’s in divinity, which later got changed to biblical counseling. A subsequent faith crisis caused me to drop out after a year — I started dealing with hard questions I never let myself contemplate before. The evangelical church groups I was involved in did not respond well to these questions and doubts.
Once I permanently resided in Colorado, I discovered the Episcopal church, which is the denomination I feel called to today.
On God: I affirm the Nicene Creed
On the Bible: I believe it is a collection of ancient writings, written by different people in different time periods, cultures, and circumstances, and reflects the history of God’s relationship with His people in addition to His plan of salvation. I don’t believe in inerrancy or a literal six-day creation. As an English major, I don’t believe that every story must be literally true in order to contain truth (a good example of this is the parables Jesus told).
From Genesis to Revelation, I believe the Bible has an arc that bends toward justice, which helps me reconcile some of the more disturbing parts of the Old Testament I’d rather not dwell on too much. I believe that our understanding of God and His will has constantly evolved throughout history, and continues to do so today.
On heaven: I believe Jesus died for everyone’s sin, and agree with C.S. Lewis when he wrote in Mere Christianity (paraphrasing) that many people who don’t call themselves Christians have a better understanding of Jesus’ heart and teachings than many who claim to follow Him. We should allow ourselves to be open to the possibility of being very surprised by who we see in heaven.
On hell: While my beliefs on this aren’t set in stone, I think the annihilation theory makes the most sense – that is, ceasing to have eternal life. I do not believe in eternal conscious torment for a variety of reasons, but mainly because the concept did not exist in the Judaism that Jesus knew – nor would a loving God allow it.
On Messianic Judaism: I’m asked about this a lot, considering my background. I have met and respect Messianic Jews, but I do not agree with their theology and thus do not identify as such. More on that in this post.