Influencers Along The Way

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 1.13.20 PMIt’s been a few days since I posted. I think we’ll veer slightly into the spiritual realm here. I’ve been thinking about the writers/speakers that have influenced me along my spiritual journey. Maybe a little background first. My dad was a Baptist preacher for much of my life growing up. He also was a teacher, and for a brief two year span was a janitor. We’ll get to that in another post. So my formative years were in the church. There’s lot of ground we could cover, and again, we’ll save that for another day. But my dad was definitely the main guiding force during my early days. After high school I went to a christian college, a conservative one, in Miami. I attended churches that, while not baptist, were still in that line of thought for the three years that I attended the college. I spent the next two years attending an art school in Ft. Lauderdale, and attending church bit more sporadically. But I never left the conservative teaching that I grew up with, even as I tried to balance my tastes in music and art and culture with those beliefs. Eventually I married my wife, who grew up in a fundamentalist environment, and we set off having kids and starting our new lives. We became very involved in a local baptist church, eventually serving in many capacities, sunday school teachers, deacon, advisory board, young adult group leaders, Wednesday night kid’s group teachers, etc. I became very interested in christian apologetics during this time, and the advent of the internet gave me resources beyond just books. Francis Schaeffer in particular was very influential in my thinking during this time frame. His video series “How Should We Then Live” blew my mind. So we’ll put Schaeffer in as a big influence. A few years down the road, my wife and I were growing in what we viewed as the Christian walk and we were introduced to the concept of small groups by a close friend of mine. We were amazed by the community that could happen in them. My friend’s church sponsored my wife and I to go to a mega-church in Chicago for a small group conference. The first speaker we heard was John Ortberg, a teaching pastor and author. His teaching was eye opening. My conservative roots were worried but but I was enthralled by John’s teaching. To this day I love his writing. So Ortberg was a great eye opener and influence. Fast forward a few more years to a huge christian music event known as Creationfest. In addition to music, the event has daily speakers. The second year we went, they had a speaker I had never heard of by the name Rob Bell. I had never heard anybody like him, his teaching opened doors and thoughts like no one I had heard. I bought and read his book “Velvet Elvis” and I was never the same. It was the beginning of the end in some ways and the beginning of the future in other ways. So, Francis Schaeffer, John Ortberg, Rob Bell. I read and listened to many others, but these three were the big influences. I’ll explain how in future posts. Feedback time, who has influenced you?

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Author: marvborst

Artist, photographer, truth seeker

2 thoughts on “Influencers Along The Way”

  1. Marvin I have awaited this blog post. I enjoy the introspection you exhibit. Thinking of my life, there are pastors that had influences during my formative years. I grew up in the Methodist Church which in the 60s and 70s was not as liberal as it has become today. The term Stout hearted Methodist described my Grandmother perfectly. As I aged and married I moved to a Congregational Church and a Reformed Church both of a liberal bent. All of my Christian training has been inclusive in nature. The teachings and words of Christ should mold a Christian church. I know too many people that are what I call Old Testament Christians, remember that God in the Old testament was vengeful and fear inducing until he sent his son. Christians should be accepting, loving and striving to lead a good life making a difference where they can. In my short time knowing your father he exemplified what I strive to become. He was a Christian man, imperfect, loving, serving and inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words about my dad. I think you nailed it as to who he was! I plan to write about him in a future post. Enjoyed your look back at your religious life and totally agree about what a christian should be. I have changed, as I will get into in the posts, and don’t really identify as a christian anymore, but I do identify as someone who believes that Jesus showed us the way to live. If only we did live like him!

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