August 24, 2016
Mike McHargue, Good Samaritan UMC, Tallahassee
I'm a Southern Baptist turned atheist turned Jesus-follower.
And now I'm a Methodist.
Like so many in our culture today, I lost my understanding of God, and with that my relationship with Christ. It's a long story–but basically my dad (a music minister) left my mom. I searched the scriptures for answers, found only more questions, and ultimately turned to the New Atheists to understand why God did not make sense. I found the arguments convincing and prayed to God, "I don't even know why I'm praying. You aren't even real."
I was now a church deacon, Sunday School teacher, praise band member and atheist. Neat combo. I did what any reasonable person would: I hid. I lied. In person, I was a committed Christian, but online I was an atheist who helped counsel people who were losing their faith.
Ultimately, I told my wife. My wife told my mom. They prayed over me, and asked God for a miracle. God delivered: I was soon invited to a small conference with Rob Bell where I came to terms with Christ in the Eucharist and met my maker standing on the shore of the Pacific. God gave me the miracle I'd been looking for–but only after I stopped looking.
Peace with God did not create peace with his followers, and my family was ultimately divorced from our home church in a messy way. I was ready to give up on organized Christianity until the good people of Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee found us and cared for us–fulfilling the name of this congregation.
Since that time, I have been studying science, mainly physics and neuroscience to understand how God works in our world and working to make the Bible, the church, and even the gospel itself accessible to modern people who accept the scientific worldview. I've had conversations with hundreds of doubters and unbelievers in person and thousands online–all at their request.
Lately, I've been traveling with Michael Gungor and other musicians in a project called The Liturgists. We use science-backed approaches to help people know and experience God, and these forms just happen to be the ancient liturgical practices of the church.
I'm nearing my word limit, so I'll just include a few notes for further reading.
Here's my full story as recently shared at Good Samaritan: http://mikemchargue.com/blog/2014/3/2/my-story
Here's a short bit about what we're doing with the Liturgists: http://mikemchargue.com/blog/2014/3/9/a-week-with-the-liturgists
Here's a short bit on God in our brains: http://mikemchargue.com/blog/2014/2/28/this-is-your-brain-on-god
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