on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

This I Believe

I grew up in a conservative Christian community. And I am thankful for that upbringing.

I was taught that it was important to “believe the right things.”  I could easily give you a top ten list today of these “right beliefs.”  The tenets of the faith were handed down to me and I held them close to my heart.

And yet it cost me very little to “say” what I believed. It was the same belief system of my family, my church, and most of the society I grew up in.  It was the faith of the majority.

I was comfortable and confident with it.

As I grow older, one of my challenges is to decide what I still believe from those early years, and what are the beliefs I need to let go of.  It is not an all or nothing proposition.

I still believe that God is love.

And anything said or done in the name of religion that is not loving, is not of God.

I have let go of the belief there is only one way to God.

If I had grown up in Afghanistan, I have no doubt I would be Muslim.  If I had grown up in Israel, I would be a Jew.  And so on.  My family roots are deeply Christian.  I am arrogant when I assume that my understanding of God is the only way.  It is the way that seems right for me.  Of course, my beliefs are empty words unless my life backs them up.

What do you believe about God?  What do you need to let go of?

As for me, I pray that I will no longer value comfort as the goal of my faith, and that I will look for ways to support the minority rather than the majority.


  1. Willie Hafer-Allen

    Thanks for putting words to a subject so difficult to explain.

  2. Cathy Goodwin Moncrief

    Experiencing the world does challenge what we were taught as children, that’s for sure.

    And I think that’s a good thing. One of the best descriptions of this I ever read was from the dissertation of my former pastor, Tim Lovett, “We are taught about God in primary colors, but we experience Him in all different hues & tones.”

  3. Sandra Langston

    As always, Malcolm, I really appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and beliefs. Like you, I have let go of many of the “beliefs” I grew up with, but I am grateful for that upbringing and the family and community support that I knew. It actually helps me understand some of the beliefs of others.

  4. Mary Tittle

    Malcolm, you & I were influenced by the beliefs that were taught in the Southern Baptist Church. As I grow older, I too find that I have beliefs that are written in stone and others that are sometimes contradictory to what some of my fellow Christians believe.

    I admire your conviction in speaking up for what you now believe to be true.

    Actually … that was the same problem that Jesus had to deal with in his time. Very often what he was teaching was in opposition to what the Jewish priests were teaching. Love & compassion for our fellow man should be high priority in the way we live our lives.

  5. William Lockhart

    Thank you for this – it is pretty much what I believe and it is comforting that I see someone that I respect feels the same way.

  6. Hugh Tobias

    Lewis Marler would be proud, Malcolm!

  7. Malcolm

    I really appreciate all of you making comments, thank you very much!

  8. Danny

    Oh thank you, Malcolm. I too grew-up in that very same church. Both my grand-fathers were Southern Baptist ministers. My paternal grand-father preached in many churches from Elmore County to Coosa Co. among a couple of others. He was so much wiser than most of the clergy in that denomination at the time, though he never realized that. He died at the age of 96.

    One day I was bold enough to ask my Dad, a church deacon, why our minister at the time always yelled when he prayed. I asked that if God is with us all the time, why are we screaming as if He’s deaf or something.My Dad said nothing; my mother said, “Amen to that, son.”

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