Beer with Jesus Podcast special guest – Joel Sharpton
Joel Sharpton is my guest this week. I met Joel at Podcast Movement and sensed he had an interesting story to tell. I wasn’t disappointed.
Joel grew up going to the Freewill Baptist church with his family in Louisiana. He accepted Jesus as a child. And even at age seven he had questions about the Freewill Baptist doctrine. He didn’t understand how salvation in Jesus could be free but then could be lost if you don’t toe the line and follow the rules.
Questions like his were forbidden and scolded if spoken aloud. So he left the Freewill Baptist church as soon as he could, in his early teens. He chose the Missionary Baptist church because they had an active youth group, and especially cute girls. Revivals and church camps introduced him to a variety of experiences as his friends from other churches invited him to attend their events.
The fires of salvation cooled as he grew older. And he found no place in the church to ask the questions about faith in Jesus that were bubbling up in his mind. He checked out of Christianity, as he’d received it, by the time he was seventeen.
He explored other religions when he was in college. Daoism made sense to him, especially the idea that each person has a divine purpose. He now describes himself as a Daoist-Christian.
He now attends Trinity United Methodist church in Ruston, LA. He says he’s more liberal in theology and politics than many there. But he has a community of believers who love and challenge him.
The bottom line:
These two quotes from our conversation sum up what we discuss:
The polarization in our society and churches serves to squelch our growth.
We must learn to listen to the voices of those who are different from us and who disagree with us.
Links we mention