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AmandaHicks

ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

ALeapinFaith
IrememberbeingsoexcitedtogotochurchwhenIwasyounger.EverySunday
morning,myparentswouldwakemeupandhelpmeandmysiblingsgetreadyfortheday.My
oldersisterandIwouldcoordinateoutfitswithourmother,andmyfatherwithmybrother.We
wouldhavefunwithit.Iremembergoingtoalargechurch.Theredcarpetwassoftunderthe
solesofmyfeet,thepewsweremadeofvarnishedpine,andthecushionswereassoftasvelvet.I
rememberhighrisingceilingsandchandeliersthatglistenedwhenthelightswereturnedon.In
thefrontofthehundredsofpewswasaglossyprayerrailandacommuniontableanddirectly
behindthatwasthepulpitforthepastorandtotheside,agiantorganinallitsmajesty.One
morninginparticularIrememberIfeltthissensation.Iwasn'tsurewhatitwas,butitwasn't
normal.Iwalkedintothechapelandsatdown,contemplatingoverwhatIwasfeeling.Fellow
churchmemberstrickledthroughthebackdoorsandfiledneatlyintothepews,speakingsoftly,
andevenso,thehumintheairmademyheadhurt.RightwhenIthoughtIhadmyheadache
minimizeintoadullache,theorganbegantobeplayed.Theorganistpoundedthekeysinjoy,
hisrobesleevesbeingtossedeverywhichway,hisheadbobbingtothetempoofthemusic.It

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AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife
RHET1311(8:00)
4September2015

wasthenthatIhadrealizedwhatIwasfeeling.Thisforeignsensationwasnumbing.Withmy
earsringingandmyheartracing,Irantothebathroomandcried.IrealizedthenandtherethatI
stoppedbelieving.Iwasofficiallyonthebottom.Overthenextfewyears,Ibegansearchingfor
areason.WhyhadIlostfaith?Wasitduetomypersonalstruggles?WasitbecauseIjustsawit
forwhatitwas?Orwasitsomethingmore?ThemoreIthoughtaboutit,themoreIwantedto
moveasfarawayfromitasIcould,butthenIwonderedwhatitwasforsomeoneelse.I
wonderedwhatexactlyitwasthatkeptthefaithfultruetotheirbearingsandwhatdrovetheonce
faithfulawayfromtheirreligiousfreedom.Iwantedtoknowwhyitwasthatallofasudden,life
gottobetoodifficultformetonothavethestronginitiativetostriveandthrivewithsomething
tobelievein.Wantingtoknowquickly,Iwenttomyfellowfriendsandfamilytoaskthemwhat
exactlytheybelievewhenitcomestowhattheybelievein.

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AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

ThefirstpersonIinterviewedwasmyfriendKaetlyn.KaetlynwasraisedintheCatholic
church,butherfamilydidntenforceverystrictparentingstylesonherandhersister.WhenI
reachedoutforhercomment,shewasabithesitant,butlaterafterthinkingitover,sheagreedto
talktomeaboutherviewsonwhatshebelieves."IbelieveinGod,yes.IbelieveinHeavenand
Hell,andIalsobelieveintheHolyTrinity,theFather,theSon,andtheHolySpirit.However,
my
beliefismyown.Iliketokeepwhatgoesonbetweenmeandthemanupstairsbetweenus."
WhenIaskedherifsheeverquestionedorstrayedfromherpathwithGod,shereplied"What
Christiandoesn't?We'reonlyhuman,andtosayyou'veneverstrayedsaysalotaboutyourfaith
aswell.Wehaveanaturaltendencytoquestionwhatliesbeforeus,soitwouldbeimpossiblefor
menottoquestioniftherereallyisaGodouttheresomewhere."
Decidingthatitdidn'treallygetmeanywhere,Iwentontoanotherfriendofmine,whois
anatheist.Theydidn'twanttheirnamesaidinthepaper,soI'mchangingtheirnametoRoger.I
askedRogerwhyhedidn'tbelieveinGodoranyotherkindofworship.Atfirst,hedidn'treally

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AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

givemeareply.Instead,therewasathickhazeinthesurroundingairaroundusashemulled
overwhattosay."Tobehonest,"hesaid,"I'manatheistbecausethescienceworksinmyhead.I
needtoknowifthereisgoingtobeacertaincontrollingfactorinmylife.God,Buddha,Allah,
anyofthesegodsarenotenoughforme.Ican'tgoontheprefaceandIcannotsitonthecuspof
knowledge,knowingthatI'meithergoingtobedamnedtoallhell,orifIwilldieandbecomean
angelwithbigwhitewings."Hisanswermademequestionalittlemoreaboutwhyhethought
thisway.Iaskedhimifhewasbroughtupinachurchgoingfamilyandifanythinghad
happenedthatmadehimstopbelievinginsomethingbiggerthanhim."No,infact,Iwasraised
tobelieveinwhateverIbelieve,"hesaid."Myparentsdidn'traisemeinacertainchurchbranch
norwasIbaptizedandcertifiedintoachurchwhenIwasaninfant.Therewasnopushorpull
factorthatmakesmebelieveinwhatIbelieve."
Givingitonemorego,thelastIinterviewedwasmybestfriendviaFacebook,andher
nameisMandy.RightnowsheislivinginVietnamwithherfamily,butIreachedoutforher

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AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

viewonthisandherreplysurprisedmealittlebit.Mandyispolytheistic,meaningshebelieves
inmorethanoneGod.Butthefactofherpolytheismwasn'twhatsurprisedmethemost."Even
thoughIbelieveinmanygods,IstillhaverespectfortheotherGodsthateveryoneelseloves
andworships.It'salsonotassimpleasbelieving,ratherthechoiceyoumaketoopenyourheart
andmindtosomethingwaybiggerthanyourself."
Itwasn'tuntilIinterviewedMandythatIbegantoseewhatIwasmissing.Iwasn't
missinganystatistics,andIwasn'tmissingoutonanyinterviews.It'snotlikeIcanwalkupthe
stairwaytoheavenandaskGodafewquestionswheneverIfeeltheneedinquestioninghim.
No,whatIwasreallymissingwasastory.WhatmakesmewhoandwhatIam?Andit
essentiallybringsmetothequestionofwhatamItoGod?
BeforeIreallygetintothesefinalquestionsofwhatIbelieve,there'sastoryastohowI
camebackhometothechurchIwasraisedupin,andwhy.InJulyof2015,Iwentonaweek
longmissiontripcalledOMP.OMPstandsfortheOzarkMissionProject,wherewearesentout

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AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

todoworkforthoseinneed.Thisyear,my"familygroup"helpedthreefamilies.Thethree
family'snamesIwillkeepprivate,buttheprojectswedidweremainlywheelchairrampsand
painting.IfirstwentonthistripwantingtoknowwhatOMPwaslike,forone,andtwotogetout
ofmycomfortzoneforachangeanddosomethingwithmysummer.Itdidn'thitmeuntilmy
thirddaytherethatitchangedmylifeforever.Beingthere,wewereaskedeverynightatsharing
timethequestion:"HowdidyouseeGodtoday?"Andtheanswersrangedineverythingfrom"in
afellowworker/neighbor"to"thebreezefeltsoamazing,itwaslikeGod'sbreathitselfcoming
overus!"AfterIgothome,Ihadalongtalkwithmypastoratmyhomechurchanddecidedto
reaffirmmyfaith.
Someofusareprobablythinking,"well,whatnow?"I'lltellyouwhat.Thesowhatofthispaper
isn'tformetopreachtoyou,ratheritstoshowyouhowtheredoesnthavetobeanyspecific
reasontobelieveinwhateveryoudo.Whatmattersishowyouactaboutit.Irealizedthisafter

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thinkingbackonmyamazingtripandfromtalkingtoafewofmyfriends.Thesowhatformeis
thefactthatittookmesolongtorealizewhatitmeantformetogotochurchanditmademe.
AmandaHicks
ProfessorScaife

RHET1311(8:00)

4September2015

realizethateveryonehastheirownreasoninbelievingwhattheydo.Itsneithermychoiceto
questionitnoracceptordenyiteither

Atfirst,thewholepointofmypaperwastosubjectifythemeaningorreasonwhywestray

fromGodoranyotherreligiousaffiliationwehave.Butsincedoingtheseinterviewsonthree
completelydifferentpeoplefromalldifferentreligiousbackgrounds,ithasmadememoreaware
ofthetruemeaningtomypaper,whichwaswhyIwastheonewhostrayed.ThatissomethingI
stillhavetofigureoutformyselfandwithGod.Butinthemeantime,Ichallengeyoutotakea
leapinfaithandtoaskyourselvesWherehaveyouseenGodtoday?

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WorksCited

Magee,Kaetlyn.Phoneinterview.11September2015.
Roger.Personalinterview.11September2015.
Nguyen,Mandy.Facebookinterview.11September2015.