Monday, October 01, 2007

Thinking About Testimonies

Recently, the subject of testimony has gotten my attention. I have been wondering about writing my own testimony. I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I think it might be useful. Ideally, this blog is kind of like one big, ongoing testimony, but I realize that I've been going at it for over a year now, and I have several readers who I'm just getting to know who didn't know me back when this first started.

A testimony might be useful for them, because it will provide all the back story that's needed if one wants to really get to know the real me. It might also be another tool that I can use to reflect back on my Christian faith--how I became a Christian, what struggles I have faced in the past, and how I'm viewing Christ and my future in the present day. It sounds simple in theory, but it's really a hard topic when you get down to it. How could I possibly boil down all the wacky, wild, and weird events of my life, not to mention the infinite love and grace that God has shown me, into a couple of paragraphs?

Maybe those of you who've ever had to write or share testimonies can give me some advice here. Is there anything in particular you'd want to know about me? I'll warn you--any testimony of mine is not likely to be a very exciting read. I have been blessed to have not had a lot of "drama" in my life, but as Mark Twain once wrote: There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy.


MR said...

Of course, I would appreciate hearing how God prepared your heart and how you first believed the Gospel. As you could guess, I would also like to hear about when you realized you were attracted to guys and how you responded to that. Finally, please tell us how your theology has changed as you have had life experience.

Norm! said...

I've always found your posts to be interesting, so don't worry about making your testimony exciting. Although having heard many thrilling missionary conversion stories while growing-up, I can relate to wanting to give one's own story the Hollywood treatment (i.e. "Based on True Events"). :)

I would be interested in knowing whether you were born into a Christian identity or did you consciously have to choose Christianity? Have you had experiences with other faiths? If you were raised into Christianity, are there any doctrines you've since questioned? What religious group, denomination, or organization, if any, inspires or you feel aligned with? Most importantly, how has your faith gotten you through the hard times and when have you felt it has let you down?

[Apologies if my questions sound like an inquisition. Obviously you're under no obligation to share anything too personal.]

Mephibosheth said...

How well I remember the before/during/after "3-minute testimonies" of my Cru days! But I didn't include my SSA in the story, at least not in those days.

My only advice: I think I have very rarely heard a testimony that didn't turn into a sermon, usually about whatever theological or moral issue is big on the mind of the testifier (and I am guilty of that as well). I would suggest just keep it simple, and talk about what God has done for you, not what you think he needs to do for the hearers. Knowing your heart and your humility, I don't think you'll have a problem with that.



kurt_t said...

Things I'd like to know about Jay:

What animals are you afraid of?

How much weight did you gain in your freshman year?

Do you know who Ethel Merman is?

Can you drive a stick shift?

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

What would you consider the all time best chase scene in any movie ever?

Jay said...

Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm getting a lot of ideas on what my testimony should be centered around (after all, it's not an autobiography--you'll have to wait till I'm famous for that one).

As for you, Kurt, I can answer those questions now. :) Here goes:

1. I used to be scared of jellyfish before I got stung by them 100+ times. They still suck, but I'm used to them now. Other than that, I'm pretty much cool with anything--spiders, snakes, rats, you name it. To be honest, I think snakes are especially cool.

2. Ten pounds. I lost it all (and then some) the following summer. Thank you camp!

3. Heck yeah! There's no business like show business.

4. Heck no! I can barely drive a normal car.

5. Any unhealthy, overly-sugary cereal with way too much 2% milk.

6. The Shogo vs. Kazuo chase/fight scene in the uber-violent Japanese action flick Battle Royale.

Joe said...

Let the testimony speak for itself. Don't try and force one out. Perhaps it's the same as writing novels except you have to express the 'truth' with facts and not fiction (hey, I don't really know what I'm talking about - I'm not a novelist!).

If you can squeeze a Battle Royale reference into your testimony, it will definitely be worth reading. :)