Some would claim that there is no better apologetic (a reason for believing) than a personal testimony. I am not sure if that's the case or not, but an eyewitness account, given in terms common to all, and the testimony of a few generally reliable witnesses, can readily settle a matter in a court of law where the truth is honestly sought. Here I offer my own personal story of how I came to believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh of a man, though He was "one with God," and of how that admission changed my life.
Born in 1958, I was raised on Chicago's south side as the sixth of eight Catholic children. Our folks were strong Catholics in the sense that not only did they bring all of us to church (where we filled our own pew), but they brought church home to us. We knelt and said the rosary every night after dinner (unless we were made to sit at the table even until our cold mashed potatoes were all gone), and every year the 2 or 3 foot statue of Mary was brought to our home for a week and the neighbors came there for some special prayerful function or other.
Four of the five boys at least made a stab at the seminary high school. I put in four years at the boarding school seminary over in Michigan. The real reason I was there (I can admit now) was because I felt a calling to the 600 acres of wooded sand dunes and 2 miles of Lake Michigan beachfront the school owned. I had told my Mom when I was 12 that "I either want to be a priest, or a construction worker," but early on my innate romantic nature determined that I would end up married, and not celibate.
Through those four years with a live-in, day to day contact with a bunch of priests ( fallen people) and a preponderant repetition of daily morning prayers, mass, and evening prayers (man-made religion), I lost any deeper attraction to Catholicism that might have been engendered otherwise. Yes, I was molested by a priest in one short-lived incident, and I know that other boys were more victimized. At least the one priest that "checked me" for a hernia when I reported sick one day was later kicked out of the priesthood.
Before I ever left home to go to school, my folks were somehow exposed to an "evangelical" group of Catholic friends, and they were "born again" (John 3:3) At various times my Mom tried to pin me down to explain what that meant, but perhaps because I was the sixth child I was very independent minded. It seems that I pretty much took care of myself. Even "spiritually." I remember saying, not to Mom, but at least to my own stupid and insolent soul that "I don't need to be born again; I was born right the first time!"
And so I lived, thinking that my own natural status was the standard others should judge the truth by.
To be continued.......
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