I came OUT of a Churchey-Christian background, and into varied religious ideologies ... some pretty strange - mos, ultimately good-for-growth.
Like I said elsewhere, I was four when I questioned the whole Bloody Cross thing ... and as I grew more \"mature\" (ha ha) I grew further and further away from any sense of being Christian. I just plain didn't like that (to my mind) bloodthirsty God, and couldn't sort the whole Atonement scenerio from the Jesus who spent more time living and teaching and healing, than suffering and dying \"for my sins.\"
I had the Urantia Book on the shelf like a lot of hippish \"seekers\" - and it mostly sat there for long periods between my attempts to read. Starting at the beginning each time, I would go into Johnny Mneumonic overwhelm over the thick intensity of the Forward.
Butcha see ... I was avoidin' all that whole (part 4) \"Jesus stuff.\"
One day I was reading those first 50 famous pages of Clyde Bedell's Concordex (3rd edition) and hit my head on one phrase: \"don't be afraid of the religion of Jesus.\"
I 'd read it before, but my brain hadn't quite wrapped around the kind of unusual wording: \"religion OF Jesus\" until that one moment of pure clarity. He's not talking about the kind of Christianity I just can't \"get into\" ... he's talking about JESUS' religion. (I'd been stuck over that religion ABOUT Jesus for all those years!)
So, being a slightly aged (at that time) hippy dude, I looked up the word \"sin.\" You gotta understand, I'd done a LOT of stuff that I knew I'd be burning in hell for all of eternity over - if it was up to that blood-thirsty God I'd encountered when I was four.
And here's the listing in the Concordex that I chose to read:
P.41 - ß6 God loves the sinner and hates the sin: such a statement is true philosophically, but God is a transcendent personality, and persons can only love and hate other persons. Sin is not a person. God loves the sinner because he is a personality reality (potentially eternal), while towards sin God strikes no personal attitude, for sin is not a spiritual reality; it is not personal; therefore does only the justice of God take cognizance of its existence. The love of God saves the sinner; the law of God destroys the sin. This attitude of the divine nature would apparently change if the sinner finally identified himself wholly with sin just as the same mortal mind may also fully identify itself with the indwelling spirit Adjuster. Such a sin-identified mortal would then become wholly unspiritual in nature (and therefore personally unreal) and would experience eventual extinction of being. Unreality, even incompleteness of creature nature, cannot exist forever in a progressingly real and increasingly spiritual universe.
It took no time - none whatsoever, except the time to read that - for my entire world to stop. DEAD STOP.
There it was - everything I knew I was searching for, but couldn't even form into a question.
Right there was everything I ever wanted/needed to know about God. Everything I ever wanted/needed to know about me. About us - Him and me together.
From that moment on, I've not been afraid or ashamed to be:
1) A Christian
2) One of those Urantia Book guys.
Admittedly, the book ended-up back on the shelf for longer than was really sane, due to my exhuberant go-getting of myself directly into a Group that was doing a bit of \"adding\" to the book.
But I'd come, over and over and over again, back to the book, and over time - bit-by-bit (more \"bit\" than \"by\") slowly read, savored, and relished the entire last 1/3rd of the book. The telling of the life and religion OF Jesus.
And I've become so in love with the Jesus and His religion ... that when I finally (actually pretty recently, now) tried to read that tricky Forward again ... it flowed like milk from a pitcher into a cup. And it still flows - page-after-page.
And my cup runneth over. Every single day.
So that's my \"Spiritual Story\" - an' I'm stickin' to it!