As with most other people life has been somewhat of a treacherous journey. I’ve made some bad decisions, focused my resources on the wrong things, and generally pursued the pleasures of this world over a relationship with God. A book-ended set of events over the course of the last 20 plus years initially tore me out of the loving embrace of God’s arms only to have recently returned to experience a much greater love and forgiveness than ever before.
I consider myself fortunate to have been introduced to Jesus at a young age, maybe 5 or 6, and I publicly professed my faith with water baptism on September 20th, 1987 at the age of 9 in a mid-western Southern Baptist church. However, in my early teens my life exploded unexpectedly when an entire branch of my family tree cut off contact with me and walked out of my life. This branch of the family tree was the Protestant church-going side of my family. The other side wasn’t of the church variety though on the “important” religious holidays we would occasionally attend a nearby Methodist church. Though the seeds of faith were planted in my early youth, when this event took place I simply could not reconcile how a “Christian” family could do such a thing.
By my mid-teens God had seemingly replaced my father with a better example of Christian faith. A neighbor who loves his neighbors. A good Christian man (of the Oneness Pentecostal denomination) who has a deep, genuine love of God and a calling to help children. I began attending his church and experienced a new version of Christianity. Though I am incredibly thankful for his mentoring and the experiences I had from that particular denomination I began to realize that much like individuals can be broken and hyper-focused on the wrong things, so too can churches and organized religion.
As I moved on to college the gravitational pull of our culture and this world took hold. By this time the things I had experienced, seen, and heard, in a variety of different church denominations snuffed out all desire to be a part of any organized denomination of Christianity. I instead focused intently on my education, career, and multiple businesses I have owned. Though I never stopped believing in God I did stop seeking Him for nearly 20 years. Thankfully, He didn’t stop seeking me. He called me back in early 2013 and I answered the call. I began working through how to get from where I was and what I had done back into His arms and to see His face. I began attending a church again. One that simply emphasizes a personal relationship between God and His children. One not focused on denomination or legalism.
By the end of 2014 God and I had worked through some serious issues of forgiveness, love, and what is really necessary to please God and make Him proud to call me His son. I also began to feel compelled to share my experiences with others, thus Templar Pride was born on November 1st, 2014.