Wesley serves on TCP's Communications, Forum, and Recruiting Committees.
From all the way across the globe in Paraná, Brazil, I was born into a Presbyterian home. My father is a pastor and my mother also studied in a seminary. Since an early age, I’ve asked some tough questions about faith and the doctrines that I heard in the church, but since people gave me no answer that satisfied me, I ended up searching for answers on my own.
I remember myself asking my mother about the origin of god when I was only six years old. At age 10, I wondered about predestination, about the lack of forgiveness for blasphemy against the holy spirit, and about whether Christianity really was the true religion.
I grew up in a proud United Pentecostal Church family in the Bible Belt. Words and concepts like “holiness,” “shouting,” “anointing,” and “apostolic” were and are important in UPC circles. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, these terms stand for rigid codes of physical dress and behavior, highly physical expressions of worship, a belief that followers could be “in tune” with the Holy Ghost (speaking in tongues is required as “proof” of being filled with the Spirit, which is necessary for salvation), and a literal translation and application of the whole Bible (as interpreted through the book of Acts as a lens). I know some of this sounds tedious to outsiders. I know some of it sounds ridiculous. But it was my sub-culture, my world, from the moment of birth, and to me, the idea that we were right and the rest of the world was wrong—it was a self-evident fact.