Ever get the feeling that some serendipitous moments are more divine interventions? Or maybe that's me. I've been "chasing" Jesus almost my whole life. I've read every book in the New Testament, and managed only to make it through Numbers in the Old Testament. When I look back to my past for reflections, I can pinpoint where I felt Him the most, and the days where my doubts and fears won me over.
It's a bit - and I'll use the word, weird here, as I have no other words right now - weird to read someone else's musings and simultaneously say, "that's me," and "that's so not me." I read Confessions in one sitting and Sarahbeth is witty, and honest, and incredibly curious about her faith - both her place in Judaism and her eventual path to Christianity.
I suppose if I was born Jewish, with the same fervor in finding Christ, I would have penned almost exactly this story. Except, I'm not. Growing up in the Philippines, you were either Catholic or a Muslim. I remember being introduced to a few Baptists when I moved to Texas. As an adolescent girl who wanted to fit in, I noticed that most of my counterparts were Southern Baptists. I wasn't a "Christian." Because of my ignorance - you were either a Christian (Baptists) or not - I deflated anything Catholic related. I remember in college being 'saved.' Nevermind, that I had grown up in the Church, did the religious classes for communion, and confirmation - rite of passages for a Catholic kid. Also, glaring obvious that I've pointed out to several Southern Baptists who have tried to convert me, that I didn't realize that there were two Jesus Christs in history. She counterpointed by saying, I'm not a true Catholic then, if I didn't know the names to ALL the Saints......There are thousands, let me tell you, and I promise not knowing all of them is not a basis to determine if you're a "good Catholic" or a "bad Catholic."
I know nothing about my faith. I still equate my collegiate year in 2004 as the moment I felt at peace with the world and my place in it. It's funny that Sarahbeth said her literal "come to Jesus" moment happened on the bathroom floor of her dormitory. Mine was on a stairwell, bottom floor of my dorm, overlooking the campus gym. Not exactly the perfect setting for both of us to begin our spiritual journey. I also remember the hypocrisy of Evangelicals and the "Christian" culture. I felt the pull of being torn. That no matter what I do, how many questions I ask, I will never be good enough to warrant a place at His table.
I'm digressing. This story isn't about my walk in faith. It's Sarabeth's. But I feel so connected to her that her story might as well be mine! While I didn't grow up wanting to be a Nun (her case, a Rabbi), I often felt out of place in high school and college. Where my friends partied and experimented, I only wanted to drink from His cup and know so much more about Christ. He really is someone worth knowing. He is worth loving.
His way of life, of living and being should be looked at, read over, poured and thought about, and followed - especially in today's glaringly hypocritical Christian culture. We're not all worshipping the same way, but love looks like Him. Is Him. Somewhere in our society, we pick up pieces that we like, and throw away the ones that we don't.
Thank you, Sarahbeth for your story. Your pilgrimage and testimony of a faith is something that most of us 'cradle Christians' take for granted. I truly believe in this divine intervention and that Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter isn't just your memoir, as much as it is stories and reflections on some of us who lost the spring in our spiritual step, and waiting until we can come back home again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarahbeth (SB, Beth) Caplin is a blogger, freelance writer, editor, and self-published author of nonfiction, young adult fiction, and poetry. Her memoir Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter (2012) ranked #1 in Amazon’s top 100 bestselling personal growth books, and her follow-up memoir Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic (2016) ranked #6 in Amazon’s Ecumenism category. On the side, she is also a jewelry maker and figure skater.
A former seminary student, Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Kent State University, and is currently at work on a master’s in creative writing at Colorado State University.
Her work has appeared in The Sun (magazine), xoJane, FeminineCollective, Patheos, and Christians for Biblical Equality, among other places. She writes regularly for Off the Page and Friendly Atheist. Beth edited five novels for Booktrope before the publisher closed its doors in 2016, and she is an associate editor for the Colorado Review. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in northern Colorado with her husband, Joshua, and two cat children, Zoey and Catniss Everclean.
For more about Sarahbeth:
Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!